Britney Spears Custody Battle

Just watching the new pages feed over at Mahalo and found out that Britney has lost custody of her two kids to her former husband. [ Insert out of the frying pan into the fire joke here ].

TechMeme Leaderboard ugh…. this is going to make things worse.

Everyone is buzzing (on TechMeme) about the TechMeme leaderboard. The leaderboard is basically a listing of who has the most share of voice on TechMeme. TechMeme, if you don’t know, pulls together technology publications and links the stories they cover together to show you what’s being talked about.

Frankly, three or four years ago this would be interesting. Today? Well, who cares that TechCrunch, Engadget, and the New York Times–we know those are the biggest/most important voices in the space. Frankly, I’m finding the conversations in the tech blogosphere so circular, insular, and–frankly–inane that TechMeme is less and less important to me.

Is Apple screwing up by not opening up the iPhone? Yes.

Do I need 50 different people’s opinion on that? No.

I don’t think is TechMeme’s fault, but I do think that the tail has started wagging the dog and this new leaderboard will make it get event worse. Why? People’s writing is based on how to get on TechMeme today. As people write based on TechMeme’s topics the conversation spirals into itself. Sometimes I’ll open 20 different posts around the same thread and realize that only one or two people out of 20 actually have anything to say.

Random Thoughts over some White Tea with Honey

Some random thoughts over some white tea with honey….

  1. The Final Cut of Blade Runner comes out this Friday. It’s playing in two theaters, one in NYC and one in LA. I’m taking a group of Mahalogins to a screening. Blade Runner is one of my top five films of all time. During a particularly long bought of insomnia I watched the film 50+ times. I didn’t have cable in my loft, just a DVD player. I’d work until 1AM and realize I needed to sleep. Going to bed wouldn’t do the trick, but the music in Blade Runner combined with the visuals would sort of put me in a trance. I’d watch for 30-60-90 minutes and pass out. Good times.
  2. If you want to build a great company spend time with the folks on your team doing social things. If you have a good time going to the movies or dinner you’re going to have a good time working together. If you can’t share a simple movie or meal, well, that’s a red flag.
  3. Now, for BigCo’s I understand folks want to get in and out, and do the minimum in many cases. When I was doing my year at AOL we had the Weblogs, Inc. folks having dinner, going for drinks, and on trips all the time. The folks at AOL would come out with us some times and you could see the ones who ventured out looked like they were on cloud nine. People can like each other and have a good time at work!?!?! Wow! When I was at BigCompanies (I’ve been at two or three) I would hear all these excuses of why people can’t participate in social activities after work (i.e. kids, school, I’ve been here all day, I have work to do, etc), and always wondered how they could spend 40 hours a week with folks, 2,000 a year, but not have the time to go to a two hour dinner a couple of times a year. You gotta make the time.
  4. Looks like Apple is breaking iphones that have been hacked (i.e. modified to run other programs or use the phone network of the users choice). It’s called “bricking” them (as in turning them into something as useful as a brick). It’s interesting how the Apple folks are now realizing that Apple, as opposed to IBM and Microsoft which Apple mocked in their 1984 commercials, is acting like big brother. The issue here is really about stock price and the iPod. Apple had such an amazing hit with the iPod in terms of not only units sold, but the margin of that product, that it needed a second act. The iPhone is that second act. In order to maximize revenue Apple had to sell the soul of the device to AT&T. So, there it is everyone… even the greatest CEO, at the great company has to make concessions when running a public company.
  5. Keep in mind the fact that even the mighty Steve Jobs had to make major concessions on the iPhone in order to keep Apple’s stock going when you start building your company on top of Facebook. At some point Facebook will be a public company and when they are they will answer to shareholders, not application developers. Right now Facebook’s position on 3rd party developers is amazing and I’m sure they are genuine in their support. However, give Facebook two missed quarters as a public company and they might not have no choice but to squeeze every ounce of revenue out of Facebook. That squeeze might include competing with the current crop of Facebook developers. You know what you can do if they have to squeeze? Nothing. You can go out of business like countless software companies did when Microsoft decided that they need a second act after their operating system and came out with Office. Or look at the information providers who were partners with AOL back when AOL charged by the hour. When AOL went flat rate the information providers got rocked–big time.
  6. That being said, Facebook is an AMAZING way to promote a business that is off the Facebook platform…. right?! I mean look at these five huge business that Facebook apps have built…. ummm… the first is… ummm…. let me see. Uhhh…. does anyone know a business that has grown from Facebook into a real non-Facebook dependent business yet? I think MySpace has built one third part y business in right? Oh yeah, and Photobucket which MySpace bought. Building inside closed ecosystems is very, very dangerous…. be careful.
  7. Make sure you vote for fellow blogger and dotcomer Mark Cuban tonight on Dancing with the Stars… he’s out there dancing his heart out for all of us. He is show the world that nerds can Dance… for that we must thank him–with a phone call vote of support!
  8. Went to see Bright Eyes at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night. They were amazing, but played a very short set. The singer from Bright Eyes seemed toasted…. he was saying all this wacky stuff between songs. Either that or he was trying to solidify that “the next Dylan” moniker.
  9. I’m looking for a couple of more HOW TO editors/writers for here at Mahalo. Know anyone? Let me know… full-time position in Los Angeles/Santa Monica. We’re also looking for freelancers.

That’s it for now… talk again soon. More bulldog puppy love pics coming soon. I promise!

Mahalo top 50…

Looks like it’s a HUGE week for Halo, and Vanessa Hudgens is still nude. 🙂

Top 50 Mahalo Pages

  1. Halo 3 Skulls
  2. How To Make Perfect Sushi Rice
  3. Vanessa Hudgens Nude Photo
  4. How To Tie A Tie
  5. Halo 3 Armor Hayabusa
  6. Meg White Sex Tape
  7. Halo 3 Cheats
  8. Vanessa Hudgens Pictures
  9. How To Plan A Cheap Date
  10. Halo 3 Armor
  11. Jessica Kramer
  12. Sarah Larson Fear Factor
  13. Sarah Larson
  14. Ashley Perrin
  15. How To Cure A Hangover
  16. How To Download Free Music
  17. How To Make Sushi
  18. How To Sleep On A Plane
  19. Rachelle Spector
  20. Halo 3 Walkthrough
  21. Layla Dietz
  22. No Anorexia Billboard
  23. Halo 3 Ending
  24. Mike Gundy Video
  25. White-Lipped Keelback
  26. Michael Vick Dogfighting Indictment
  27. Yvonne Strahovsky
  28. Navy Barracks Swastika
  29. Juanita Bynum On Good Morning America
  30. How To Play Guitar For Newbies
  31. Sushi
  32. Oktoberfest Recipes
  33. Crank Dat
  34. Elissa Wall
  35. Naegleria Fowleri
  36. Veronica Belmont
  37. Lindsay Avner
  38. Rice Cookers
  39. How To Get A Free Credit Report
  40. Oscar De La Hoya Pictures
  41. Allen Steed
  42. Vanessa Anne Hudgens
  43. Nfl Week 4 2007
  44. Nan Goldin
  45. How To Speak French
  46. Halo 3 Medals
  47. How To Overcome Jet Lag
  48. How To Make A Jello Shot
  49. Juanita Bynum Assault
  50. Klara And Edda Belly-Dancing

Geekipedia is great…

Congrats to my *friends* over at WIRED.COM on the launch of Geekipedia… it’s a great resource and I’m sure the Guides @ Mahalo will be linking to it often.

Halo 3 Skulls

Our team here at Mahalo is going Halo crazy… they are tracking all the Halo 3 Skulls, armor, etc.

{ Photo: Halo 3 by ehaver }

Search quality report/research

{out of focus Taurus @ ~7AM in the front yard}

Looking at the quality of our results at Mahalo I’m thinking we would beat, when we have a result, Google, Yahoo, Ask, and MSN hands down. This make sense since our Guides start working when those search engines stop. If we spend four to ten hours building the Paris Hotels page it BETTER be MUCH BETTER than simple machine search.

Is there a firm out there who tests search quality? I’d love to see an indepandent study of search result quality in which they took out the logos, the design, and just listed the links, as well as putting the results next to each other with the full on design.

Anyone know a firm that might do this, or one that is doing it?

Note: I did read the compete study here, but it’s based on clicks not ratings from users. I think clicks are interesting, but I think having folks actually rate the results and say why they liked certain ones would be more interesting.

{Fondue and Taurus, again, a little out of focus with the iPhone}

Zombie Drug

Watching the Mahalo new pages RSS feed I noticed “zombie drug.” Our SERP pointed me to this crazy VBS.TV documentary and I watched/listened to 20 minutes of it. This drug scopolamine makes you into a trance state or something… and it’s airborne!


Here’s the YouTube video of the CNN story…

Random thoughts from the HQ in Santa Monica

{ Mahalo by Mermanic }

1. I’ve been so happy over the past week… I wonder if the puppies have anything to do with it?

2. When you create a startup you’re creating your own world. I highly recommend that when you do this you build a world that you and your team want to live in. For example, I don’t like working with folks who punch a clock and who do average work. I’ve always resented folks who do average. So, when building the team at Mahalo I just asked everyone up front: are you interested in a balanced life or in obsessing over building a revolutionary service? People will opt out if you tell them up front–and over and over again at the company–that your startup is for folks looking to do amazing work.

3. In relation to point two, we’ve created a system here at Mahalo that rewards the folks who do excellent work and give the folks doing very good work a road map of how to get to excellent. If folks do “ok” or “good” work we just tell them that they should find a new place to work. We do this with six month reviews. The upshot of this is that if you get rid of average to good folks it makes the very good to excellent people more incentive to stay. Excellence breeds excellence, and average work drags down the excellent folks (i.e. “why should I do excellent work if the person doing OK work gets to be here as well?”).

4. We’ve got an amazing team of ~50 people here. Folks are having fun, working hard, and learning a LOT. It’s been just over 100 days as a public product and we’re soooooooo far along. Really feels like we’re in the zone. Can’t imagine how great the next 100 days will be.

5. Robert Scoble pointed out this week that there was almost no coverage of the DEMO conference after MASSIVE coverage of the TechCrunch40 conference. I noticed this as well, and I can tell you the reason: we had better companies presenting better ideas. This stands to reason when you think about: a) we didn’t charge folks, so we got first shot at the best companies, b) because we didn’t charge we could have really early stage companies with bigger and riskier ideas, and c) when you have great companies the press stays to “see what’s up next.” It didn’t hurt that we had Google, AOL, Yahoo, and Facebook all make announcement at the event as well.

6. I think this might be the last year of the DEMO conference, or at least in it’s current incarnation. My personal goal in starting and partnering with Mike on the conference was to kill the “pay to demo” virus. As I’ve said, I find that concept offensive as an entrepreneur. That being said, I think DEMO had like, what, 50 companies pay ~$20,000 to present… so, I think if folks are willing to do it then maybe it will always exist?

7. I’ve decided to not talk about politics on this blog. It’s just not worth the effort.

8. I hate politics. My personal believe system says that if you want to change the world go ahead and do it, and don’t use political channels to do it. If you want a community garden or park I suggest going out, raising money, and building it. Why wait for the government? I think the fact that so many people feel that the political system is the way to get things done is a HUGE problem. If you want to get things done just do them. If you don’t have the means to change something then go find the means to do it–but political systems are the worst for getting things done.

9. After working on the open internet I don’t think I could ever work in a closed system where you need to ask for permission to do things.

10. Folks are reporting that AOL is moving to an advertising network model. That’s kind of smart… ad networks are great businesses and AOL certainly has a lot of advertising assets. That being said, I don’t think the portal strategy is dead. In fact, I think Google is building a next generation portal and Yahoo is about to revamp their’s. Facebook is a portal strategy as well. Perhaps the thinking is that AOL is stronger in advertising then in portal development, so play to the strengths.

11. Propellers traffic–according to Alexa–is greater than the domain. This tells me that benefited GREATLY from switching to the social news space. In fact, switching stopped the three year decline. The problem was, of course, that you can’t see an increase on an Alexa chart when you have two things occurring at once: a) the netscape browser default audience going away and b) the social news service audience growing. So, I feel some vindication over the “netscape was a failure meme.” Netscape is a growing and thriving community and it will be a top 500 site over the next year if AOL keeps investing in it–which I hope they will.

12. And yes, I feel some vindication that Digg’s latest group of features were “copied” from Netscape. Digg added messaging and relationships a full YEAR after Netscape. Of course, no one will ever say t hat Kevin copied us–but that’s ok. They will never say that Kevin copied Pownce either. Frankly, I think it’s cool to evolve each other’s ideas and create competition. I just think the digg crowd treated our hardwork unfairly because we were doing MASSIVELY innovative things in social news that DIGG itself incorporated a year later. I wonder if digg will start paying their top user next?!?!? 🙂

13. All that being said, I think Kevin Rose is great guy and very smart. We actually have a nice time when we hang out and have plenty of things to talk about. it’s funny how the media pits folks against each other for sport.

14. Related to that random thought, some how I’ve be labeled as “anti-Facebook” by a large group of the media. Just because I felt overwhelmed by Facebook doesn’t mean I’m anti. A lot of folks have felt overwhelmed by the Facebook onslaught of 2007, and Zuckerberg himself talked about how they have to pull back the throttle on application spam. So, for the record: I love Facebook. I use Facebook every day. I am NOT anit-Facebook, in fact I’m pro-face book.

15. That being said, I think if you build your company based on a Facebook application you’re a fool. If you want to build a real business on the web you need to have ownership of your brand and destiny. If you want evidence of this talk to the AOL information partners when AOL switched from as rev-share to advertising based (circa 94/96). It was PAINFUL. Some day Facebook will be publicly traded and how they operate is going to be based on SHAREHOLDER value, not Facebook application developer value. That’s just the way it is, and frankly the way it should be.

16. That doesn’t mean building Facebook apps isn’t a business or that you shouldn’t do it. It’s a great thing to do if it bring people back to your core product or service. However, I would build your business with the contingency of “what if our Facebook traffic went away?”

17. I really need a vacation I think. I’ve been burning it for months now….

18. I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life right now.

19. The 4400 is a great show, you should catch up.

20. Law and Order SVU was great last night.

21. I’m going to be in a movie with Josh Hartnett next year. The movie is about–wait for it–August of 2001 in Silicon Alley. Yes, I play myself.

22. This is the second movie I’ve done. The other was with Peter Sarsgaard and is called “Center of the World.”

23. I give Valleywag 48 hours before they post clips from #22.

24. I think I’ve said enough for today.

Comments are open for one day.