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 22, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

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 21, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 19, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 17, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 16, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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 10, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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.

October 9, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 07, 2005

What it's doing?

Web2.0 season is upon us.  I can sense the rising tides and flying ambition of frogs.  Time to get some wisdom from the scientist we all love

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
- Richard Feynman

What it's doing ? that's what counts.

Blogging,  wikis, search etc are enriching our online experience and in-fact healing lives, as they did during Tsunami and Katrina. Lets build on that success.

X meets Y to build Z-killer is a sign that tourists have started  landing at the SFO.

October 7, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

Trusting Attention

This is slightly old but I am posting it in the context of AttentionTrust work.  Tim O'Reilly posted Linda Stone's views on the emerging crisis around attention management -

The next aphrodisiac is committed full-attention focus.  In this new area, experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive.  Trusted filters, trusted protectors, trusted concierge, human or technical, removing distractions and managing boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections, that make us feel secure, are the opportunity for the next generation.  Opportunity will be the tools and technologies to take our power back

Notion of trusted network will gain importance as Internet becomes more and more like our real world where trust is mostly a function of our culture and biases. Some of this is already happening behind the scenes where same service behaves differently in different geo-political context.  Yahoo and Google are dealing with those issues in China.  Trust is getting negotiated and manipulated. In that context the efforts of AttentionTrust are worth pursuing.

They rolled out new website with more content to understand what this project is all about. There is a firefox extension as well for recording your attention sharing. This introduces new way of looking at the web interaction activity.

Will be playing with this extension to see how this helps in avoiding something like this.

October 5, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2005

Global urbanization

Big trend towards urbanization in Asian economies will drive next wave of hunger for energy efficient materials. Joseph Quinlan, Chief Strategist at Banc of America -

The world's resource base confronts unprecedented demand as a new urban world unfolds. Against this backdrop, the secular bull market in energy and basic materials is just beginning

This will have big consequences for energy, environment, urban planning and demand for sustainable architecture . More  opportunity for entrepreneurs as well !

October 2, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack