October 27, 2005
Moving this blog
Decided to move this blog to a blog site based on Wordpress. Still working on the migration and hopefully this time I will get to separate out different topic postings into standalong blogs.
Will appreciate if you can bookmark this site going forward - One More Idea
(For some reason feed url is not working, will fix this soon)
October 22, 2005
Why Write ?
This question is bugging me lately and trying to find my own answer to this. Why do people write ? Flipping through Robert Miller's Motives for writing I find following common reasons people use as a motivation
to record a memory ( travelogues and Biography kind of writings)
to explore the self
to explore an idea (similar to the above ?)
to do reporting (journalism)
to interpreting information (analysts/op-eds)
to evaluate something (academic/peer-reviewed writing)
to amuse others (LOL kind of)
to move others (Oprah in writing)
to persuade others ( spin doctors, subliminal warriors and Silicon Valley entreps/VC bloggers :-) )
to understand reading itself
Since I picked up blog writing more as a curiosity in the beginning and then to explore technology. Eventually it became sort of random bits in order to explore few ideas and also to explore my own interpretation of those ideas. Knowing people who share those ideas was a big plus as well. With blogging we have formally entered into one more motivation for writing -
to connect with others.
Why do you write ?
October 21, 2005
Google here and Google there
And Google everywhere !
Yesterday morning started with one analyst claiming that the right price for Google is at $30. Bambi sure picked the right day to take this interview (video interview is in archive now).
Day ended with analysts cheering for Google and stock went up by $30 in after hours trading.
During daytime publishers finally got the big picture and decided it's now-or-never to stop this winner-takes-all train. Google did their homework on the legal front but left few assumptions on the table (check the comments on this post).
This morning analysts are revising their estimates and rooting for $450 as a price target.
Very soon all VC firms in the Sandhill road will start shaking their portfolio and start another round of Google-killer stealth mode investments. After all look at Google's cold and clinical cash generating machine. When was the last time somebody invented such an efficient cash generating machine ?
And while you are pondering what Google will do with all this windfall gain dont worry about their arrogance on other small issues such as opt-out (Dave Winer's post on opt-out) and privacy etc. This might very well be a good turning point for Microsoft. Now we have a new big bad Godzilla to worry about. Microsoft is a new IBM anyways.
October 19, 2005
It's all about trust
Jeff Jarvis has nailed this web2.0 thing right on - It's all about trust ! During the initial web growth our understanding was mostly around how things differ between the physical world and the emerging online world. This time it's all about making a trust-based distinction between different online services.
In his latest post he writes
the mass market replaced by the mass of niches. The opportunity is greater value. But the challenge is far greater effort and cost: It’s not going to be easy to put together and manage these small and ad hoc networks.
we get to scale while distributing the work and the benefit with the trust. So in the end, the advertisers benefit by putting together the best networks at the lowest cost and effort and risk. And the participants of the networks benefit by attaching themselves, like atoms to molecules, to the highest value buys
It's going to be mainly about trust. How companies and individuals exchange their trust and how much value they put on those transactions will drive lot of business models.
October 17, 2005
Weblog usability issues
Not only my blog content sucks but its aesthetically poor as well. That according to UI guru Jakob Nielsen's Weblog usability mistakes.
He has identified following 10 weblog usability issues -
1. No Author Biographies
2. No Author Photo
3. Nondescript Posting Titles
4. Links Don't Say Where They Go
5. Classic Hits are Buried
6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation
7. Irregular Publishing Frequency
8. Mixing Topics
9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss
10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service
I can surely fix 5, 7, 8 and 10. For the rest I don't think I suck as much as some of the other popular blogs I read.
I do read lot of blogs which suffer from these usability issues. It's interesting to note that most of these usability issues go away when you think strictly in terms of Bloglines folders or Newsgator folders. Though that begs a question - Do RSS feeds really need a browser-centric usability model ? What if I only care about the content quality and ignore how and who of the posts?
At-least to me that's the way of scanning 500 odd feeds , I scan for the content quality and then recheck who wrote the post to get a better understanding by taking into account author's background and his "agenda".
If I were to add some content level usability issues then I will add following -
- Check your BS level
- Mix agenda with some honesty
- Count your I-told-you-so's and keep it to the digestible level
- Latin is long dead and lot of people prefer ground floor level English, so please keep your Wodehouse in your pocket
- Back up your suck-ups with some fair reasoning (I am getting ready for some flames on this one)
What is your pet peeve with the content on Blogosphere ?
October 16, 2005
Science of interruption
Clive Thompson chases the advancements in the science of interruption. (I interrupted myself to read that article and then got interrupted quickly before I could finish reading it completely.)
Anyways here are few interesting tidbits from the article -
Information is no longer a scarce resource - attention is. David Rose, a Cambridge, Mass.-based expert on computer interfaces, likes to point out that 20 years ago, an office worker had only two types of communication technology: a phone, which required an instant answer, and postal mail, which took days. "Now we have dozens of possibilities between those poles," Rose says. How fast are you supposed to reply to an e-mail message? Or an instant message? Computer-based interruptions fall into a sort of Heisenbergian uncertainty trap: it is difficult to know whether an e-mail message is worth interrupting your work for unless you open and read it - at which point you have, of course, interrupted yourself. Our software tools were essentially designed to compete with one another for our attention, like needy toddlers.
About this I am not sure how worried I should be -
The near-term answer to the question will come when Vista, Microsoft's new operating system, is released in the fall of 2006. Though Czerwinski and Horvitz are reluctant to speculate on which of their innovations will be included in the new system, Horvitz said that the system will "likely" incorporate some way of detecting how busy you are. But he admitted that "a bunch of features may not be shipping with Vista." He says he believes that Microsoft will eventually tame the interruption-driven workplace, even if it takes a while. "I have viewed the task as a 'moon mission' that I believe that Microsoft can pull off," he says.
Hopefully they will not end up creating another annoying clip art joke.
Attention problem is another side of the same coin. Attention scarcity and along with the increase in different kinds of interruptions pose big drag on the overall productivity.
October 15, 2005
Open Sour Contract
If there is one thing open source community lacks then it has to be the patience required to understand and adapt to the legal contractual base of the open source business model. It's a very unsexy thing to do and downright boring most of the time.
Whereas if they are putting their money where their mouth is then community and open source advocates need to get basic grounding on the contractual issues. If they don't then there will be many situations like the current MySQL/Oracle issue. Hiring a developer or acquiring the key components of a successful open source product will be used as a hedge going forward by those threatened by it's success.
Now MySQL would be reading the whole contract again and again. It's going to get tougher for MySQL going forward unless Uncle SAP decides to throw it's enterprise weight around MaxDB.
October 11, 2005
Nova has been producing excellent science documentaries lately. Their production quality is simply outstanding. Today's documentary on KQED was all about E=mc(2). Titled Einstein's Big Idea it was a quite a feast for both mind and eyes. I would highly recommend this to anybody interested in physics and general stories of the golden era of physics.
While you are on the site also checkout some select quotes from Einstein. His take on individualism is worth mentioning here because of the recent emphasis on the importance of community for the general social advancement ( all the buzz around collaboration and community)
"It is important for the common good to foster individuality: for only the individual can produce the new ideas which the community needs for its continuous improvement and requirements—indeed, to avoid sterility and petrification."
Thanks to Nova and KQED for showing this outstanding documentary.
October 10, 2005
Get ready for iHotel
Vinnie points to recent buzz around technology improvements in the hotels category. Somebody who travels every now and then I will say - It's about time.
I will wait for the day when I can leave my laptop at home and still access all the data and application no matter where I am in the world - without emptying my wallet over high speed access and roaming charges.
Tribecta hotel did something similar recently.
October 09, 2005
Lots of tiny psychological effects
After all there seems to be a sound theory why we fall for the warm and fuzzy ad servings. Sendhil Mullainathan, a Harvard economist, has found a connection between market demand and our psychological map.
tiny psychological effects can have potentially enormous impact on demand, more of an impact than price
This theory comes out more convincing when taken in the context of recent software success stories . Take all the recent blockbusters - Flickr, MovableType, iPOD, iTunes, Google Map, and Skype. They all have a brilliant execution on the psychological side and have done excellent job getting their user's initial acceptance purely at the design level.
Lesson from the economics is that you should make your product design keeping user's emotional need as well as his functional needs.
Net Take-way - work on lot of tiny psychological effects for your product.