Last week, Chris Dixon posted this comment from Caterina Fake (of Flickr fame) that really got me thinking:
“Flickr is a wonderful place to be a photograph“.
Makes a lot of sense. If you were a photograph, where else would you want to be? On Flickr, lots of people would look at you, you’d be in slideshows, you’d be discussed, you could even be a part of the great liberation of media that’s happened this decade with Creative Commons.
What a splendid thought. In design school (and at BettrAt) We’re always thinking about how to be so intently user focused, because we care.. and we do stuff like “artifact analysis” while we’re doing ethno’s and contextual inquiry, but often times after listening to the whole mantra around “the experience IS the product” we forget to think about the by-products of our experiences.
For me, this was a great reminder to think about the stuff that sits on the shelves of the platform you create. To truly think about the things that people would create on your site and cherish for time immemorial. Flickr has photographs. Youtube has videos (though most of the stuff on there is terrible anymore). BettrAt will be a wonderful place to be a dream.
Isn’t the ultimate win for someone to elicit their dream.. their goal.. the thing they’re trying to really accomplish in the world and have the people they know support them?
That’s our vision for BettrAt.
I look forward to the day I’ll see someone tweeting the title of this post.
Oh great. Here we go. My post yesterday about realtime couldn’t have been more timely.
Now that Google and Bing are getting the firehose, it could have a big impact on search results. For the search engines, the firehose is much more valuable than any single Tweet. They can index it and sift it, looking for patterns and spikes in keywords and shared links to get a better sense of what people across the Web are paying attention to at any given moment. This data can then be folded back into regular search results, even if the top result isn’t a Tweet.
Many startups are tackling this problem, as is Twitter itself. And now Google and Bing can try their hand at finding the most important bits of data in the firehose. The results should be a more relevant, faster feedback loop between data appearing on the Internet and the search engines finding it.
Unless someone figures out this “StreamRank” idea mentioned by Schonfeld, I want to have a big ol’ button that says “TURN OFF REALTIME SEARCH” on almost any search engine I use.
I’m going to take a stand and call utter BS on the article and all these so-called pundits vaunting the realtime web. Google’s mission was to unlock the world’s information. It’s done a pretty good job at doing that, and has earned the hearts and mindshare of many. It’s come a long way in accomplishing this mission and has a long way to go, but is on the right trajectory.
Most of the realtime tools are a way to surface understanding, determine sentiment (often times, I don’t care all that much about sentiment, I want to judge facts. If I wanted sentiment, I’d pay attention to people talking on the CTA instead of listening to a podcast or something). But they are not the solution to unlocking information. Maybe recent information, but that’s about it. The facts still have to come from somewhere.
Some of these experts claim that this “4th wave” of the internet, the real time web, will slowly encroach and obviate the “incumbent” web. Completely false. Maybe for news, but news isn’t everything. Edo Segal, a “pioneer in realtime search” according to the article, says “Google organized our memory. Real-time search organizes our consciousness.”
Ummh. Okay? For the vast majority of people who either 1) Don’t care to share with the world explicit details about their consciousness or, even more importantly, 2) Don’t care to know the inner details of others’ consciousness, organizing it is vastly complex and of trivial importance.
My favorite comments from the wired article:
“Bye bye, facts. Hello, gossip and misinformation”
“I am a bit bored of reading yet another “google killer”, and “google is so old fashioned they totally don’t get the latest hipness”. Yeah. Once the new hipness is pulling down a few billion a quarter with their model, then they’ll be something to talk about.”
There’s a place for realtime but it isn’t going to nom nom nom the entire web. Maybe I should start a slow information movement that’s focused on deeper reflection, processing, and learning, kind of like what “slow food” was to fast food.
Great TED talk by John Gerzema. I won’t make another comment about skating to where the puck is headed, but you get the point.
“Did you know that 68% of Americans now carry a library card: The highest percentage ever in our nation’s history. What you see in this consumer trend is also the accumulation of knowledge.. Continuing education is up. Everything is about betterment, and training and development and moving forward.”
“…Also see a big DIY movement”
“Be a brand that lasts Promise you’re going to be there beyond today’s sale… e.g. Patagonia, Fidelity, SunRun PPA”
“Trust is not parceled out… 72% trust what other people say about a brand. Cooperative Consumerism“. Rise of the “local currency“.
“Group buys –> cow pooling. Incentify companies to do good.”
A few weeks ago I wrote about rating systems for product reviews from an article I read in ACM. Then I saw this article in VentureBeat about what Yelp is doing. The author mentions: “when you’re looking for a fast solution on where to eat, a list full of four-star restaurants makes for an overwhelming “paradox of choice” situation. (Ironically, the site feels less useful to me now than it did two years ago when there were enough reviews that I could discover great finds, but not be daunted by all the four-star choices.) This intrigues me. personalization and curation by peer group (aka tribe or interest net) is definitely the next horizon. Yelp is smart for incorporating features like “nudging users to find and follow like-minded reviewers. Rather than relying on a generic one- to five-star system, connecting people with similar tastes may be the best way of discovering the next gem.” Well done, Yelp. I like it.
I like that Kathy acknowledges that you often need “stuff” to get better. Not in an overly consumeristic, crass way, but finding out what the gear you need to get better is hard to do on your own without others.
This entire piece is spectacular and points to many of the experiences we’re trying to build into BettrAt. I’m glad I found this talk.
I’m not usually a vegetarian jihadist… But I think i’ll give myself the license this time.
Check out this NYTimes article: This woman was a vegetarian. She was a children’s dance instructor (and as such, I’m assuming she used her legs, a lot). Then she ate a burger at her parents house because she missed home food, got E Coli from it, and is now paralyzed having been in a coma.
I thought a lot had changed since the days of Upton Sinclair, but apparently I was wrong. I’m glad there are still muckrakers working for *good* news outlets like the NYTimes.
Anyway, back to my vegetarian jihad. Kevin and I were talking about this provocative question posted on reddit via kottke:
So many of our grandparents were racist, and some of our parents are homophobes. Which of our own closely held beliefs will our own children and grandchildren by appalled by?
And one of the “provocative” answers was “Eating meat” (among monogamy, that drugs were illegal, and imprisonment vs rehab.
Eating meat suddenly doesn’t sound so provocative, does it?
Attitudes about human treatment of animals is something that will likely change in my lifetime. At some point domestication and consumption will move from something that we do because our ancestors did to something that just doesn’t fit into modern society. In a cultural sense, humans don’t belong to the animal kingdom anymore; we’re not normal predators that need to kill animals to survive. Soon we’ll have the technology to grow enough meat in factories to satisfy even the most hardcore meat-eaters. Once this happens, it will be difficult to justify the continued imprisionment and slaughter of cows, pigs, chickens, and the like simply so that we can eat what we like rather than what we need to survive.
Yep.. Meat in factories. Because we don’t get enough processed food already in all the twinkies and doritos we chow down.
Late last week, the University of Michigan had their BOP conference, limited to a core and exclusive group of BOP notables (Patrick Whitney, Dean of the IIT Institute of Design, and BettrAt’s “Thinker-In-Residence,” was in attendance).
I had a chance to catch up with a friend tonight I hadn’t talked to in several years and we talked about social entrepreneurship (a personal passion of mine) and he was wondering if I had “given in” and decided to “work for the man”… or worse yet, “become the man”. We laughed about it a little bit but then it sort of forced me to reflect on what I was really trying to do when we decided to go down the path of commercializing a project that we started working on in school.
When you sort of sit down and think about what you can possibly work on in the world, and just look around, there’s tons of frictions that make our lives a little bit less productive… or a little less better than they could be. And every problem is an opportunity, cliched as it might be. Some people just hate the problem enough that they feel there’s gotta be a better way.
I had to explain to my friend (who’s definitely *not* stupid, but not really wired to think “business” you might say) that having a profit motive and making the world a better place for people are not mutually exclusive. BettrAt is an evolved way for people to get better at their career, hobbies, and school. By keeping track of the activities/content/experiences that you’re having and consuming on a regular basis, planning for the future, and getting better together by following other people, you are becoming an attentive, aware, and active participant in your own life. Imagine that! Or maybe people are already doing that… The “majority” of the people that they talked about in this study. Heh, sorry had to stick that in there.
Anyway, I was digging around for this quote that I heard on ETL lectures before. Good stuff, and I totally believe it.
Every entrepreneur is a social entrepreneur
I could be a little bit more crass about this and quote Gordon Gekko: “Greed is good”. On a tangent now, this is a hilarious-as-usual post by Dave McClure (Sorry, @JasonFried, I have to agree with Dave on this one… Aaron’s a smart, confident entrepreneur who exited when the time was right). Now Intuit, the incumbent has a talented leader, a great platform with a spectacular leader. Good for all parties involved. Except maybe the consumer (they should have had the choice to opt out of the switch to not sell user data… or maybe this is coming and Mint hasn’t emailed me about it yet).
If I don’t know you, I seriously doubt I care what you think about a product. Stop trying to make me buy it.
If I do know you, and you’re trying to sell me something because there’s a monetary award attached to it, you’re either in some network marketing MLM scheme… and I’m probably not your friend, so get lost. And no, I don’t want to meet at Starbucks to learn about your new “business venture” that you want me to be a part of.
If on the other hand, you’re a genuine friend who knows me, and knows what I need and you’re willing to take the time to curate for me, I’m all ears. Extra points if you’re trying to sell me on something that’s related to my goals and interests.