i have been sick for a few days so i re-watched blade runner at one point to pass the time.... it is excellent, highly worth re-watching if you haven't seen it in a while - i personally think that science fiction is more of a a conversation about the technology people see around them in their present time than anything else. it is an exercise in taking present trends that people see in their own t
i figured this time i would spare you the broad sweeping thesis and instead offer a quick distillation of the last few weeks - all quarterbacked on monday (of course):
"everything is denominated in everything else": in a longer post at some point i will go after why i think that currency (which is primarily a store of value and a means of exchange) isn't at all needed in the futu
one of my favorite seinfeld episodes ever, kramer ends up being the 'movie phone' guy. people would call him for movie information and start typing on their phones the numbers of the movies they want to see -- kramer starts by trying to guess what they are pressing but then in one moment of frustration he says "why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you would like to see" - this is the d
in early august i gave a rant at the new york tech meetup responding to clay shirky's new book "cognitive surplus" and generally mouthing off about the power and simplicity of neoclassical economics to explain the changes we are witnessing as a society and help chart the course forward.
with regards to shirky, the four/five line version of my objection is that his book has at its core two central
two different streams of consciousness of recent personal consideration:
the unexamined life is one thing, but the real issue is humans are network io bound:
consider that we are each a bundle of inputs, processing, and outputs with a limited amount of low latency local storage and low-bandwidth access to higher latency forms of massively scaled networked mildly query-able storage (cave paintings
below are a set of 'blips' i have been thinking about recently. of note, i am working on a bit of a 'rebuttal' to clay shirky's cognitive surplus book for tomorrow night's tech meetup, so i am going to mostly hold off on a grand statement of the week and stick with shorter stuff:
letter.ly letters quickly are becoming a sunday activity: last week on sunday i found delivered to my in
a ted-x talk i gave about why in the future only poor people will own things. skip the first minute, there was a technical holdup :)...
regards from nyc on a muggy july 10th - here is what i have been thinking about since last writing...
1. communication technology changes transportation and real-estate values - how car phones, cell phones, blackberries, and myfis dramatically effect the relative value of travel route choices and realestate value.
in the last 1980s and early 1990s when car phones existed but cell phones didn't,
below is a dump on where i am 'at' on a few fronts coming out of the last week or two.
a. 'privacy' vs. 'openness', a false dichotomy
there were several very high fidelity discussions at oreilly's foo camp this weekend about 'privacy' (the buzz topic of the moment and something about which i care very deeply - a sad overlap). it was the best discourse on the core of the topic i h
this blog is over because i believe giving away free content is disingenuous and blogging no longer fulfills my explicit ends. i am switching to a subscription newsletter.if it is worth it to you, fabulous - the content is going to be very good and very frequent, if not, no worries in the least. sign up at http://letter.ly/lessin, $1.99 a month.
i like to say that i always try to always aggressively "over value" my time as a framework for living (http://bit.ly/bix1ri) ... whenever possible i try to create tools or processes to save time, and i will readily trade cash and other goods away for time in ways that exceed normal market equilibrium.
my rational for this approach is comically simple - time is your only definitively scarce resour
1. the medium is the message, our college photo book:this weekend at my fifth college reunion my "blockmate" ed rawlinson presented a gift he had been promising since 2005... he created and had printed a photo book compilation of our four years. the book was wonderful, it brought back tons of memories, but it also was a very clear demonstration of just how true it is that the "med
last night the guys from crowdflower came down to the drop.io world hq to host part of a 5 city event they were having. the networking totally failed, but the local conversation in nyc about mechanical turk ended up being beyond interesting.
things i thought about:
1. the future of illegal immigration is going to be proxying --
turns out there are a lot of people who screen jobs by country. mec
content is not only king but emperor of all things electronic - murdoch
in my 2020 predictions one of my posits was that the next decade would see a significant power swing back towards content creators and away from the primacy of distribution/filters.
we are only a few months in to the year, but i am starting to feel more and more confident about my call. since jan 1 we
location data is awesome... i have been obsessed with it for a while -- i got my first gps for my bar-mitzvah in 1996 (it was the only thing i asked for other than night vision), in v1 of the internet i got to hang out with early innovators like john ellenby / geovector, and then guys like mao/sense networks in 2005 ... the first real post on this blog was about location and i have kept on posting
do people want to be in a crowd? this is a huge question for me.... i was thinking recently about our new-found ability to know where our friends are --
option 1: - i want to see where the crowd is... then i want to find 'margin' - which is when a venue been mis-priced... and is less busy than it should be. so, if a place is hot on fridays, i want to go there monday. (perhaps a real
i strongly believe that there is an exchange rate between social capital and physical capital, even if the exchange rate is low enough, and the transaction costs are high enough, that converting back and forth isn't generally roi positive...
i have found that a lot of people take issue with this premise. i am currently wondering if the conversion between social and physical capital
remember analog radios where you twisted the dial to tune in/overshoot/turn back to a signal? remember how gratifying it was to get a clear channel for a while before you tucked behind a hill? that is what the 'social web' feels like right now...
every few months we hit a new strand/clear channel and the fidelity is great for a little bit, and then we overshoot/undershoot and have t
i am starting to think we need to consider the possibility that facebook and twitter are actually content creators, not content aggregators. nothing new here phenomenon wise... the same pattern of thought can be traced all the way back through history -- but interesting to feel it again in the context of 'social' media. the medium *can become* the message.
andrew parker recently wrote a 'mea culpa' on his 2006-2007 conception that people cared about privacy... he writes:
but, where i #8220got it wrong#8221 regarding privacy was assuming that other users felt similarly to me. i didn#8217t think users were as proactive as i was about privacy hygiene, but i
jon steinberg wrote a good post he entitled 'the rule of no' about the stress on the dynamics between customers and service providers. i really enjoyed the post, largely because i have had my own huge recent issues with jetblue.
of course, i started boycotting jetblue, now i am waiting on the line with delta after they can
comes up in all sorts of ways... the ipad isn't interesting to me because i expect it -- it is on my technology-expectation-line... i get excited when someone busts the model --
i am not sure what my time is worth per hour (aka what someone else would pay for it), but i am relatively certain that i behave/live life based on overly optimistic assumptions, especially with regards to any task i do repeatedly and can possibly abstract.
i don't really believe in giving personal advice, but i do think that over-valuing my time serves as a really good basic framewo
i was in golden bc heli skiing for a very good friend's bachelor's party last weekend. we went out with purcell and had a blast. the second day i took my garmin gps/heartrate watch out just to see what the data would look like...
there were some visibility issues, so we couldn't get up as high or ski as much as we might have otherwise, but it was still a total blast -- this is what
i was honored that many people whom i truly respect took the time to read my thoughts on 2000-2010-2020 and offer insightful feedback. one prediction that a lot of people, including tim o'reilly, challenged me on was my claim that by 2020 the 'relative balance of power in the media would shift from content distribution to content creation'. tim pointed out rightly that this prediction has been
(for starters, just a note that i am posting this en route sfo to jfk at 300 mph and 30k feet... first time actually using in-flight wifi -- call me a child of an earlier century, but this is totally mind blowing.)
over the last week or so i have received a bunch of emails and dms asking me whether or not i agree with zuckerberg's statement that publicity is the new social norm.
last weekend i went skiing with my girlfriend. using my garmin watch i pulled down location (lat, long, elevation) and heartrate. easily yielding stuff like this... on day 1 on my hellbent skis i was doing 30mph cruising - next day on my 5 stars, 36mph was +- casual terminal speed. :)
in 10 years, this will be more the standard than the exception.
decades only happen so often.... and now feels like as good a time as any to pause and do a sketch of 2020, based on a comparison of 2000 and 2010. in jan the blkny30 is going to host an event with the nyc founder's round with a similar goal - but in the meantime here is my personal take and a few calls in the form of 2000 | 2010 | 2020 --
as with all my blogposts - especially exceed
last night i watched several robert shiller lectures on financial markets on the yale open courses website (sorry big h, y actually has more meat open to the public)... one thing that struck me was his early reminder that almost all finance strips back to the basic economic theory of diminishing marginal utility, namely that the value of an incremental dollar of wealth falls the wealthier you
a long long time ago there was a great service that briefly co-existed with facebook called wirehog. one way to put it, it was the first 'connect' app.... it meshed your local files with your social graph. it was cool, and maybe just a bit ahead of its time.
anyway, out of some thoughts about old wirehog, and a really interesting conversation at the drop.io hackathon (which has been
for a long time i didn't really get tumblr, now i do... the reason it is really really good, and the reason it matters, is double blind distribution means that i can consume pure content without social overhead.
to explain. -- let's *pretend* i want content from jenna jameson.
facebook bidirectional friend relationships help grow their system, but also clearly stru
before i send an email, i want a button next to spell check that saysemotion check, when i click it google grabs the words and phrases (+ some historical sets) and computes:
1. the negative/positive tone of the email relative to other emails i send (0-1 scale)
2. the relative negative/positive tone of the email to all emails sent by all people (0-1 scale)
3. the negative/positi
i just read the wsj article (http://wless.in/shortener ) about the risks associated with bit.ly / tinyurl etc and maintaining link integrity. the ideas, as has been commonly addressed in the tech industry for a while, but is crossing over into mainstream consciousness, is that if a redirection service, like url shortener, disappeared, billions of links would go dead. people who
last weekend i spent a wonderful lunch with a good friend, mollie chen, who is an editor at conde nast traveler... as often happens, the conversation moved towards content, and the future (what an original topic for me to get hung up on, i know)...
that said, i espoused my normal position, which is that the value of information is based on scarcity, and really is just a function of s
for a while i was really into twitter, and it made sense for brands to embrace twitter - because there was margin in the medium. the floor was open, but people hadn't started speaking up yet... now, everyone is shouting, so no one can hear, and there is no margin in speaking.
more and more it is obvious to me that 'economic' margin, informational margin, and communication marg
midtown is on a grid.lower manhattan and brooklyn is not.
this landscape difference matters, and technology is changing how.
years ago i remember discussing with my dad how the fact that manhattan is on a numbered gird must have some subtle but meaningful impact on the efficiency of the city, especially for foreign business travelers. it is hard to get lost in midtown, or not know wh
i have loved my ibm thinkpad for a really long time, but it was finally time to demote it from my primary computer to more of a stay at home casual function - i am not proud of it, but i went osx as primary.
as a highly literate person but clearly non-developer, i couldn't be happier. the pre-installed snow leopard build lets me seamlessly dip in and out of the shell, curl, cronta
on various occasions i have found myself in very deep conversations about the nature of copyright with a set of people whom i very much respect... it seems clear that copyright is a natural extension of identity... 'i am me' --> 'i made this' --> 'i made this first at this time/date' -- it seems like copyright registry is a perfect longterm extension of facebook, especially as they are
in sf - conversations tend towards information theory... here are my two distillations from the last 24 hours:
1. email is a 'liberal' form of communication, vs. centralized services: i have been obsessing recently over how massively useful and awesome email is, and how certain properties of central services actually make them less useful forms of communication (a
call me a child of an earlier generation... but i still get a kick out of looking at analytics and seeing that every day users in almost every country on earth use drop.io (ok, looks like we are missing about 5) - there is something really gratifying about that... only in the internet world can 12 people sitting in brooklyn provide services to people across the earth.
over the last
free for the world, since i can't monetize them, and i don't have time to write for real:
1. i am done with traditional maps of space, they serve no purpose, unless you are marching a physical army on foot any time in the near future, or you have a private jet that can land anywhere, takes infinite fuel, and runs for free. the criteria the help me get around is not
the theory of drop.io -- the big picture of what we are really after (pt 1)
when you think of drop.io, you probably think of a simple way to privately share files at http://drop.io -- this is a perfectly valid way to think about what we do. in fact, it is what we do. we try to do it very
an ironically addictive battle of facebook hotness
facerank.us is a simple application that pits all of your friends against each other in a battle of hotness... with you as the judge. simply log on and start judging the winner of head to head hotness battles...
try it at facerank.us
(don't worry, it doesn't touch your feed/post ba
i was quickly thinking about location based applications and monetization this am. if anyone cares about points and badges, a clear win for location games is to let venues buy tranches of 'points' and then assign criteria for giving them away. then advertise 'you will get x points if you go to y spot at z time'.
results of this would be:
1. nice highly i
over the last several months i tried an experiment in the city in variable cost living. the idea was simple - i adore the flexibility that 'cloud' computing gives me to run my business on 100% variable cost basis. the drop.io service can expand and contract on an hourly basis to match demand, which means that even if we pay slightly elevated costs per unit of storage or compute, we can match
the location roundup
a few months ago i analyzed internet week nyc using foursquare checkins from about 100 friends over the week as my dataset. from that small test, and driven forward with great gusto by jon steinberg and bill piel, was born socialgreat
while i am doing really quick blogposts... i have heard of static advertising captchas before, but why hasn't anyone done dynamic captcha ads...
1. get advertisers to upload their ads and then a statement like 'this ad is for a car company'
2. make a captcha that is two advertisements and prompt 'which of these ads is for a car company'
thereby, actually force the use
& and why visa isn't conceptually my favorite investment.
let's not forget that money is just a form of communication... and that banking is just trusted identity + a register of transactions.
*facebook's integration of "@" is really slick as incorporated into a portable publisher...
*i can only imagine that dm: is next (which one would assume would populate i
cities vs. metropolises & the future of super centralized nodes
since it is core to the forward strategy of drop.io, i have been spending a great deal of time thinking about and watching the ‘cloud’ vocabulary evolve over the last several months. it is becoming quite clear to me that web service clouds (specifically aws, “amazon web services”) share a great deal
as far as most insurance is concerned, right now you know that i am a 26 year old male. my auto insurance company knows that i haven't gotten a ticket in years and have never been in an accident. my health insurance company knows my medical history, and since my company has life insurance on me, you tested me for drug use, blood pressure, and a few other things relatively recently to help gen
-- this is a fully nyc story -- during internet week new york i collected all of the location check-in data from foursquare from all of my foursquare 'friends' in new york. i used a simple little generalized email -> csv converter (http://csvemail.com) to turn the email based location 'checkins' into a mini-dataset and used some old skills
as an early birthday present to myself, i am clearing out all but a choice few blog post drafts, so that i can start my late 20s relatively even -- so, here you go, some 'blips' of hopefully relatively scarce mojo that has been on my mind:
0. the actual long-term debate/problem of facebook vs. twitter is simply one of efficiently addressable space & data: you need to find what
note: i am posting this as a draft because, quite frankly, i don't have the time to refine it and won't for a while...
there have been several quite insightful posts analyzing the diffusion of information around michael jackson's death. the point has been made a few times that the 'social' web -- twitter, digg, facebook, etc picked up on and diffused information about his death far
recently i got an amazing garmin 405 forerunner watch which has on board gps and a heart rate monitor. it is awesome for running (main purpose) - but once i have a cool device for data collection i tend to play. recently i have been using the device to graph my heart rate while i sleep. the results are totally amazing (see below). friday night i averaged 55 bpm throughout the night and the
- i want to know if people actually finish this book
- on what page/chapter does the average reader generally abandon (segmented by sex, edu. etc) ?
- are there sections that people read faster/slower?
- how quickly do they finish the book (pages/min)? (is it a 'page turner')
- what time of the day do most people read this book?
- how many days does it take the avera
a true recap of internet week nyc, because gps rarely lies...
june 1 - june 8 was a week long fest of all things internet in nyc, panels, parties, and events galore. as has become the fashion, the week kicked off a frothy 'wave' of all forms of media coverage - blogs, vlogs, photo
below are a pair of single serving twitter applets i had built and have been experimenting with on side twitter accounts. one is called 'reciprocity' and the other is called 'find friends' - they are stand alone air apps that you can run on your desktop. here is what they do:
'reciprocity' = put in your twitter username, pass
people recommended i share a theoretical case or two on how to use the twitter applets released below. so, i will share two use cases on how you could use 'find friend' and 'reciprocity' in tandem. i wanted to just throw them up and see what happens, but - here you go:
case 1: render unsavory services / pyramid schemes (& things like tweepme) useless - step 1
yesterday i watched a wonderful series of yale lectures on the old testament by christine hayes on academic earth (http://academicearth.org), last night i plowed through another great section of the black swan criticizing the application of the gaussian function, i have been thinking a lot about kant, and bcm and i had a good debate this afternoon - so,
today is jev's birthday... and while there are plenty of 'off gird' ways to wish her well, sitting in front of my screen in nyc while she is in sf i quickly ponder how the internets (specifically facebook) has totally changed the value-flow of birthday wishes. (stick with me - the early bit of this is old/obvious, the end is fun and new)...
remembering birthdays once carrie
(diffusion from high value, low utility - to low utility, high value)
a few weeks ago at our brooklyn y+30 meetup a gentleman came up to me and said that he had been reading my blog, but took serious issue with my definition of the value of information...
i generally like to state that the value of information is based on improbability. information that is perfect
sitting in harvard square, i am feeling a bit in the mood for a harvard post.... for several years i have served as a representative of my class to the harvard college fund. every year, as requested by the college fund, i have written a very small but personally not inconsequential check (actually, credit card charge) and dutifully gone out and asked my classmates to financially give back to
i remember vividly when the internet was first starting to truly takeoff a mad scramble to buy up the domain names of major brands and then hold the urls hostage. it was really quite a simple and old idea, major companies were slow to realize that owning their url was critical, and smart enterprising individuals made them pay for their mistake. i believe, though i do not remember the details,
i have been absolutely loving my kindle 2 - it is, in my mind, the best device i have purchased in a long long time – and i purchase a lot of devices… at a high level, the reason i love it so much is that the form factor and design has completely revolutionized my ability to feasibly have a book and the newspaper on me at all times… because it is literally possible to slip a good book and tod
last week i had the privilege of presenting a bit of drop.io thought at the facebook developer garage austin during sxsw. a few people asked for my slides, so please find them below - along with a dark video if you want a little context/ voiceover video of presentation
my brother is possibly the greatest leading indicator of social trends of anyone i know. he has an incredible knack for picking up and getting very involved in cultural trends which ultimately become exceedingly popular in the mainstream years later. he is the ultimate early adopter. so, when danny started getting very very involved in reenactments and roll playing games a few years ago (lar
once again... an overstimulating week, with not enough time to process. i want to at least quickly note one minor points and then clarify one more major question as brought up by aaron sittig.
minor point 1: follow-up from massively interesting talk at nyse on wednesday night.
i had the privilege of attending a fascinating small dinner talk on wednesday at the new yor
drop.io has almost 3k facebook about 3.5k twitter fans... until yesterday i would have told you that twitter was a was a far more important channel for us, but with the seismic changes to fb pages, that is about to change, possibly... what follows is my on the fly analysis of the facebook changes, as a startup founder trying to re-evaluate what it means for how w
pn: i have been trying to get a post out on why i am bullish on the information business for months. it isn't going to happen, so i am going to codify what i have and move on... the thesis is intact, i just wish i could clean it up a bit.
apparently, the new argument in the online world isn't whether or not the 'press' will shortly be a thing of the past, but inste
...a case for separating 'i/o' and 'network'
i am really enjoying living and creating somewhere between product development and macro economics. splitting my days between helping to direct a highly talented development team at drop.io and working on some of the macro business development issues and problems the company faces has allowed me to cross pollinate, and hopefully made me net-net more effective.
i try to keep is a single csv (text) file with details of everyone i know/work with/have ever emailed with, etc. and go to great lengths to keep this consolidated list up to date and centralized across various social networks, email clients, im, and other contexts...
every once in a while i like to try to re-sync all of my contacts across spheres, by uploading them into gmail, and th
i literally can't keep up. when we started drop.io in 2007 i was forecasting that 2009/2010 would be the years that privacy would become both functionally critical and culturally relevant... but the speed at which privacy is exploding as an issue across the internet along several different lines of reasoning in jan 2009 is staggering.
i mostly blog to help structure my own though
i have been working out a draft of my position on why people like jeff jarvis (who claim the death of the professional press/news-media) are dead wrong for months... i have the argument firmly in mind, but since i actually care deeply about the subject, i am taking my time and trying not to be too loose and free with my discussion and language... (and i will not make the argument here and now
clive thompson hit on my core thesis in this month's wired - the fact that in many cases the internet is actually destroying knowledge and information, not creating it.
in his article he notes, "even the financial meltdown was driven by ignorance. credit-default swaps were designed not merely to dilute risk but to dilute knowledge; after they'd changed hands and been serially securi
in testing/playing with ping.fm (news soon) i started recovering all of the various blog stubs i have played with over the years (http://lessin.wordpress.com, http://lessin.tumblr.com)...
i came across an old blogger blog i had played with in 2004 when i started gettin
last night the brooklyn future meetup y+30 was lead by graham hill of treehugger. he presented a view of the environment +30 years with a message centered around the fact that while we have the tools at hand to do more to stabilize the environment, the question becomes how fast, and at what pace, we feel like "moving towards the life boats". the presentation was exceedingly thought provoking,
so, who knows what the real politics are - but the headlines are reading that facebook is either shutting down or massively limiting "whopper sacrifice" (see note below - updated)... i think this is senseless, if anything facebook should be embracing and promoting the app -- and i wouldn't be surprised if a few of the crew over in palo alto agree.
by way of quick background, burger k
i wrote a short discussion of the most recent nyc tech meetup for adage last week - and figured it is worth re-posting here... the original is at http://bit.ly/srzi
everyone needs someone, and that is especially true in the online world. just as michelin's tire business wouldn't be worth much without a car industry, microsoft windows
i spent a lot of time with my 14 year old sister over the holiday school break. spending time with her, i thought a lot about the fact that she is a true net native, having never really seen a pre-internet pre-mobile world. it made me realize that, as much as i pretend, i am not a 'net native' the way she, and all future generations of americans will be. unlike kjwl, i actua
a sunday pause for a few quick and dirty thoughts on social philosophy
this morning in the gym i watched michael sandel's "justice" lecture #16 on john rawls (available at post.harvard.edu). as an undergrad, i remember having largely disliked rawls. when we studied "justice as fairness" i took fundamental issue with his suppos
i mentioned this a while back, and i am sure someone has actually studied this in detail -- but, having just discussed it again with kjwl, i must say that i am very excited about the future of education. reading david mccullough's 1776 a few months back it struck me that the american generals in the opening days of the revolutionary war were mostly considered qualified to lead by the mere fact
happy new year! -- last sunday (the 28th) in the nyt gretchen morgenson wrote an article called "a paper trail that often leads nowhere" - i was exceedingly excited to read it, not only because it was a great article and expose, but because it highlights a communicative issue that i have been personally experiencing and am exceedingly worried about as a social issue in the midterm.... specific
1. comparing my iphone and my blackberry, i would estimate that typing on/using my iphone is about 20% slower
2. i am on my devices about ~130 min a day (2.2 hours) --> iphone costs me ~27 min of productivity a day
3. there are 25 million iphones in the world --> 11 million hours a day lost in total
6. the median income of iphone users is $15 an hour.
last weekend i spent a wonderful lunch with a good friend, mollie chen, who is an editor at conde nast traveler... as often happens, the conversation moved towards content, and the future (what an original topic for me to get hung up on, i know)...
that said, i espoused my normal position, which is that the value of information is based on scarcity, and really is just a function of s
goal = strike a final blow to the iphone/att experience by applying simple laws re: tragedy of the commons (since bandwidth is on all you can eat plans) - drive users to 'droid'
approach = construct an iphone app (or just a web-page) that streams some nice video down to the handset. have people sign up and give away $1000 an hour to people who are w
recently i had occasion to think about the 'net neutrality' issue a bit. below are some loose thoughts i got to -- seems like the type of thing to throw on the blog
the set of discussions that has been politicized under the heading of 'net neutrality' represent in my mind one of the most complex and deeply important issues of our the next century. these discussions are at the heart
last weekend our very good family friend burt ross was on the cover of the wall street journal telling the story of how he lost the vast majority of his personal net worth with madoff. the graph from the article that struck me most was as follows:
"mr. ross says he remembers being puzzled about how mr. madoff was able to show positive returns, even in months when the stocks mr. mad
dear president obama,
i hear you have been having some connectivity issues... may we suggest you use drop.io?
we spend a ton of time at drop.io thinking about how private information should and does work. the recent discussion of whether or not president obama can use a blackberry while in the white ho
a quick ignite talk on what it means to live in a world of infinite data
september 2008 ignite
last week i decided that i wanted one single address book, so i went through the process of pulling in my contacts from a wide array of disparate sources into a single database. i pulled together a very rich set of sources including outlook, various mail program ‘auto complete’ functions, gmail, my work mail, linkedin, and facebook…
1. i was able to find opt
several months ago i conducted a brief unscientific survey to quantify the 'value' of 'free web 2.0 services'. i got an n of 115, and while it would be a stretch to consider the results scientifically 'significant' the answers were interesting. the survey was based on one central question:
consider waking up one morning and finding that each of the following services, in turn,
targeting facebook adds to specific individuals.
people have been talking about micro-targeting online for a very very long time. it is the fundamental basis of much of web 2.0 search and social ad driven models... but what about nano-targeting? yesterday, using facebook, i created a series of nano-targeted advertisements targeted at specific individuals. for example, i
the idea: bottle nyc tap water, ship it to china, sell nyc tap water as a premium brand. this is an idea that i half-jokingly presented at a bain dinner as a business idea three years ago. it fit perfectly into the category of ideas i most appreciate - it sounds downright absurd, but actually makes a ton of sense. everyone laughed at me, but i still bet that long term something close will a
in even shorter form than normal:
0. misdirect & misinform: the future of communication is going to be around misinformation. when everything can be heard the only way to differentially transmit information is to over communicate/misdirect.
1. language is getting less and less precise: the more paper, the more writing, the easier distribution of text is absolutely
yesterday evening i did two things. first, i celebrated the resilience of the american people and an opening for a resurgence of the nation. second, i had my only experience ever with a 'collection agency'... to explain:
i got a call out of the blue from a collection agency stating that i owed att money and that i had 'better pay'. i explained to them that i have two att wirel
(i very much hope you will indulge a few moments of unfettered politics, partisanship, and patriotism... i will get back to my normal focus on three other 'p's - purchasing power parity - after a short electoral break.)
i am sincerely proud to be an american today. this year the honor and privilege of choosing the next president strikes me as particularly special in a ver
i am seeing a new 'hack' on facebook photos cropping up more and more frequently that i think will shortly be re-purposed as an interesting marketing tool. namely, people have begun to upload a photo of something they wish to promote (perhaps a candidate or event) and then 'tag' as many 'influential' friends as they can into the image. the tagged photo then shows up in the newsfeeds of the fr
two quick notes at the start of an insanely busy day:
1. last night mashable reported that a twitter rank was actually a spoof set up to steal people's twitter username/passwords (though it was done to point out the vulnerability first and foremost). drop.io pointed out and started a
a quick idea that sounds crazy but i promise has some truth/future around it.
right now mmorpgs are generally designed so that time is 'sped up' - characters in the games gain strengths, knowledge, etc. faster than human beings do in reality. currently, even in slow games, childhood might be a month instead of ten years. what if people designed games the other way... so that time
i have been trying to articulate my perspective on the forth estate for a very long time - in a conversation a few hours ago it finally struck me... i will give the full explanation later, but here is the headline -- the value of actual information is fundamentally inversely related to how scarce it is, but the entertainment value of 'media' has little to nothing to do with scarcity. because t
in the last few days i have been fascinated by the reaction in the 'blogosphere' to my post explaining how facebook photos is starting to be used as a marketing channel. in the post, which is below, i outline why it is happening, and encouraging people to play with the concept of what a 'photo' tag means and how it can be used. the way in which people reacted is sufficiently interesting t
this morning i had a wonderful conversation which got me thinking about the future of "social advertising". it led me down the path of considering how one would theoretically build a scalable ad network on twitter, as an example of a highly open social platform with which it is particularly easy to interface. what became clear is that the framework for constructing social advertising networks
i gave a really fun talk last night on the general topic of saas, and the implications of 'the cloud' on the model. the deck is below, but the highlights (for what they are worth) are:
1. the saas model is the way to go (people have been saying this for 15 years, but connectivity and bandwidth costs make it real this time, not just another hype bubble) - i am a believer -
˙ʇı ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ǝɹǝɥʇ uǝɥʇ - ʇuǝɯʇsǝʌuı ǝɥʇ ɥʇɹoʍ ƃolq ʎɯ puıɟ noʎ ɟı 'ʇxǝʇuoɔ ɔılqnd ʎlǝʌıʇɐlǝɹ ɐ uı ǝƃɐssǝɯ ǝʇɐʌıɹd ɐ pǝʇʇıɯsuɐɹʇ ʎllnɟssǝɔɔns ǝʌɐɥ ı uǝɥʇ ǝlqɐnlɐʌ uɐɥʇ ssǝl ƃolq ʎɯ puıɟ ʎllɐɹǝuǝƃ noʎ ɟı ˙ʇuıod sıɥʇ oʇ ǝƃɐssǝɯ ʎɯ pǝʇdʎɹɔǝp ǝʌɐɥ ʇou llıʍ ɹo llıʍ ɹǝɥʇıǝ noʎ 'ʇou ɹo ǝlqɐnlɐʌ sı ƃolq ʎɯ ʞuıɥʇ noʎ ɹǝɥʇǝɥʍ ɟo uoıʇɐnlɐʌǝ ǝʇɐʌıɹd ɹnoʎ uo pǝsɐq 'os ˙puǝ uɐ oʇ suɐǝɯ ɐ sı ʇı 'ɹǝʎɐl sı ʎʇ
i currently live with my college roommate, bcm, who recently returned from a year in paris to start work at a notable private equity firm. ever since college bcm and i have greatly enjoyed applying our economics classes directly into our private living situation, so we regularly construct simple but effective economic incentive systems to generate mutually beneficial outcomes.
i recently started using a service called phonetag to transcribe and email me all of my voicemail. i always hated receiving voicemail, and phonetag is an amazing service.
one thing has started to happen which i think is worth noting. specifically, because information is being input via voice and output via text some of the meta-data of a call is getting lost in the transfer. peo
reading bloomberg news this am there is a discussion of the fact that while the government has borrowed an increasingly absurd amount of money in the last several months, the interest expense of all the borrowing is significantly down. the yield on treasuries is zero and in some cases even negative. in the middle of the meltdown we are literally paying the government to take and invest our money
i am yet again in the position of rolling several blog posts into one meta-post of ideas from last week for lack of time to frame/post each individually.
notes from fortune's formula:
fortune's formula is the most interesting book i have read in a while -- pop academic take away -- "the essence of a message is its improbability"
1. i am going to be speaking a bit about digital privacy - something i spend most of my days working on in one way or another
2. for starters, what is privacy. people pre-pend the word in phrases like private thoughts, a private journal, private bedroom exploits, or private plans to take over the world - but there are precious few good definitions of what the term actually means
** amendment: as is clear from the below, the iphone keyboard is less than ideal. the word "verasion" is actually "version" (for example)... enjoy
iphone for non smokers: having an iphone is the nerd veraion of being a "social smoker"
a good friend of mine who lives in paris will tell you all about the social value of smoking. he will explain to you at length how the soc
can i bum a landline? maybe there is one in nj?
i had an interesting experience on thursday night. i was invited do do an hour on a radio show called 'computer america' discussing drop.io at 10:00pm est -- the only hitch was that they asked for the interview to be conducted on a landline phone (for quality sake). i don't have a phone, apparently none of my close f
unbundling discovery/transaction (& io/network)
i just spent 5 minutes with itunes and amazon mp3 store open at the same time – i was using itunes as a music discovery engine, pulling up and previewing tracks, and then i was using amazon 1 click purchasing (assisted by google search) to download tracks.
why? well, itunes is a great discovery engine, amazon’s mp3 store
the changing dynamics of information online (in two implied half metaphors)
information is starting to look like matter in newtonian physics: a body at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force: information historically existed in a vacuum and it stayed put (private) until a deliberate force acted on it. this was even historicall
quantum computing & energy crisis: the best thing we could do as a society regarding the energy crisis is invest in quantum computing - solving the traveling salesman problem would definitely save more fuel than almost any other optimization i can think of. on the topic, quantum computing will never get declassified (even if it happens in the next 50 years) because it wou
my new thesis on why twitter is powerful is centered on the concept that it is the only digital unidirectional moniker/id.
to explain, almost all identification parameters have become multi-directional in the digital world. if i list my email address somewhere online as a format of identification i am opening myself to others mailing me back (spam, etc). same thing with phone numb
thanks to all who helped us put together our lightening quick 'test the waters' survey on chrome. as you know google is hiding the penetration numbers for their new browser in analytics, so we have to use more rudimentary means of figuring out if people are using chrome/if it is worth out attention and optimization.
in the last ~12 hours we got an n=98 on the survey. the dir
the iphone continues to simultaneously massively disappoint me as a device and yet prove its overall value by teaching me interesting lessons about consumer behavior and how people live with technology. the two that have been most shocking to me was 1. how much chargers matter and 2. why all these 'top friends' applications are so popular.
1. one of the best things about blackberrie
it is frequently suggested, in both the popular media and academic press, that the internet is essentially re-writing the ‘rules’ of privacy. this is simply not true. ‘privacy’ always has, and always will be, based on two pillars, trust and transparency. neither the rules of privacy, nor the way in which they are applied, have changed. what has occurred, and what has been misinterpreted as fund
i have already failed to keep up blogging at the pace i initially intended. but one early failure is not going to deter me, just refocus the activity. entries and points will be shorter, and i will role several topics into single posts. here is the new format:
drop.io, proceeding towards simple private exchange.
the buildout of drop.io continues at breakneck pace. since last posting
whenever i buy anything i am acutely attuned to not only its immediate cost but the psychical and psychic costs of ownership. this has so far in my life meant that i have ended up with a lot of super lightweight laptops and very very few pieces of furniture...
most people use this calculus at least in a few places (like not bringing your own food when you travel and relying on the market
this am in nyc the kindle just clicked for me. i had played a bit with the device when it first came out and thought it was cool, but didn't understand how it fit in - now i do.
i have to take a trip today and decided last night that i wanted to pick up a copy of "snow crash" for the journey. i thought it wouldn't be a problem to find a copy of the book on my way to the station in the am.
i am currently sitting in dia waiting for a flight to sfo using the airport offered ‘free wireless’ - no grand theme here, just a quick few comments regarding 1. spoofed wifi networks, why do they even exist? what are the implications of a solution? 2. the concept of ‘free wireless’ – why the service level necessarily sucks, why the ad supported model can’t work, and why airports should really
in the last 24 hours i have been in several situations which have heightened my awareness of public/private divide of aural space… and how technology (ipods, cellphones, noise canceling headphones, automatic mass-transit messaging systems, etc) stresses the balance between the two in a war of audio attrition, where the aural space can be both better leveraged (is more valuable to the individual
i realized that most users have never seen what tracking cookies in general, and google analytics specifically, actually looks like - and am running an experiment opening up an 'open' analytics account on my blog to drop the curtain.
over the holidays i showed my father how google analytics works. my father has been heavily involved as an investor in technology and the internet over the l
a brief pause for more explicit self promotion (sort of). over at drop.io we have been having a very good time hatching up some videos about our service. we think they are really funny… (which may be massive self delusion). i include a link to them here partially because they are tangentially relevant to many of the things i discuss here (they are far more directly relevant to drop.io) – mostly
i learned many years ago from my dad to never check luggage and only take carry on. this last weekend i took it to a whole new level.
after a wonderful launch party at le royale in the west village for drop.io on friday night i hopped a flight to ski saturday morning at 6 am. needless to say, going from a huge party to stepping on a flight the next morning was not pleasant. i cut the flig
over the last few weeks several friends and a few journalists have pinged me regarding the evolving situation with youtube/viacom… at an extremely abstract level the case actually relates to the philosophy that undergirds drop.io, and as a result i have both watched it evolve with great interest, and hopefully been in a position to offer a unique perspective within the sea of discussion and com
crosstalk in the 'social' web, the inversion of the tower of babel, and our usb 'talking stick':
in the good old story/fable/what have you of the 'tower of babel' human beings reach too high so god fractures language so that no one can effectively communicate or get anything done. in the last several months the opposite phenomenon has started to emerge on the social web... as more an
the thing that frustrates me the most about my macbook air is that the thing seriously overheats. it is casually annoying to have it in your lap on an airplane and get to the point that your legs are sweating… but what really kills me is that the thing clearly seems to turn off a core or two when it gets close to combusting and gets un-usably slow. this has annoyed me the most when watching vid
"oh, the iphone and the blackberry should be friends" or... "how i learned to stop worrying and love the 3g iphone"
to not have an iphone and work in any sort of consumer technology today would be like not having aol service in the early 1990s... you might hate the platform, but it would be irresponsible to not engage with it, play with it, and hopefully understand it and its users. figur
i said hello to our friends at pollack in la, and then swung up to sf to visit my girlfriend over the weekend and see a few of our partners on monday.
the weather was wonderful and i got in one great run in through the presidio and by the golden gate bridge.
the trip ended flying back last night on the red eye. i had three seats to myself, which made me incredibly happy and the flig
i just watched jk rowling's 2008 commencement speech (available at jk). i greatly enjoyed it and found it quite deeply moving.
from an overly analytical perspective i might say that she spoke about three often cited graduation topics - failure, imagination, and friendship - and that she did an admirable job of weaving her ow
they need to be consolidated
i need to heavily caveat this post before i make it. 1. a lot of the thoughts in here are either not fully original, and/or the result of conversations with friends – i am not sourcing things because i am not writing an academic paper (and i don’t remember who gets credit for what), i just want to get some thoughts down with some general structure – this
gas pumps in the us don’t have a hundreds place - here comes y2k all over again
my quick survey of local gas stations shows that consumer gas pumps don’t go past $99.99 (they don’t have a hundreds place)… which means that with dollar fuel prices rising outside of the expected band, we are approaching the y2k problem for the gas pump industry. by this i mean that just as computer pro
in summary: google’s “my location” function is awesome from a consumer standpoint. lbs has been a longtime in the making, and though gps is more accurate, this application will get way wider distribution fast and (way more interestingly) will make it easy for google to develop, command, and monetize an enormously valuable dataset on people’s location (appended to all the other information they
the impact of technology on the gradient between the ‘public sphere’ and ‘private sphere’. it will be a continuing discourse on the impact of technology on the distinction between the public and the private spheres as seen through my own personal lens as an active user and creator of relevant new technology.
which i am compelled to write because...
people like to talk about the line between that