March 2006 Archives

Yahoo! Widgets

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Having seen Mac OS X desktop widgets, I kind of filed that away for later perusal and got back to that now when I read about the Yahoo! Widgets library in PC Magazine.

Very cool stuff! Widgets are great because you can access data and be presented with that data in a unique GUI that is optmized for that data. No more are we confined to the idiosyncracies of a Web browser - let me tell you, after working on websites for almost 9 years, I am coming to hate the Web browser in many ways as much as I love it for what it can do.

I downloaded the Yahoo! Widgets engine and then checkout a whole bunch widgets, while closing some that aren't really useful for me. My current favorites are:

RSS News Reader by John Hinds - I loaded up all my RSS feeds into here. Nice!
World Clock Pro - the ability to spawn separate clocks for each time zone is really important.
Yahoo! Weather - I love the transparency effects of this widget. Very well done and I can monitor forecasts out 5 days which is important for planning my training days.
Picture Frame - somehow the presentation of this widget is better than many of the filmstrip applications out there. I set it to my favorite Yahoo! Photos folder and let it run. Funny that it doesn't work with Flickr...?

I can't wait for Tetris to show up, or TextTwist...!

Get some now at Yahoo! Widgets.

Wall Street Has Heard of Us...?!?!

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Today, my partner went down to Wall Street to meet with a banking buddy of his.

Somehow, he got wind of our venture fund, Neuron Ventures. And it's now the buzz of him and his Wall Street friends. Apparently, they are really excited about what we're doing and how we're doing it. Wonders of wonders.

Not sure why that happened. But I would think it's a good thing that the word is out about us and it could help us if, when we meet them, they know about us already and have already did their research on us.

Colleges

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Colleges - a place where our future generations emerge and develop the new and cool.

Nowhere is this more true than for Web products and services.

We, who have been through the Internet boom/bust years, are now in our 30s and 40s. We have fused the internet into our lives, but we did not grow up with it. We had to integrate it slowly, deliberately, and smartly throwing away old habits...or not. Sometimes we can't let go of the old ways of doing things because we're old farts.

On the other hand, the teens and tweens of today have grown up knowing only the Internet in their lives. They have used every bit of it and have no experience of life without it.

A growing belief is that this generation is really where the next generation Web products will emerge. They see and experience the Internet in ways that we are too old to know. And thus, they can see holes and opportunities in the spectrum of Web services that we can't.

We need to tap into this resource and nurture the next set of great entrepreneurs. College internships? Consulting gigs? Or even simple conversations? All of these and more can be utilized to really figure out what products and services will be necessary and vital for the future Net generations.

PPM Done!

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PPM= Private Placement Memorandum.

A long document describing what we're offering and what the terms are for investors. It's got a ton of legalese and some basic language too. We lucked out by hiring a boutique law firm in NYC who only works on venture funds. They also were able to put together a PPM which was very easy to read even though it has the usual disclaimers and such.

It took a little time to work this out. So many little details on what we are selling to potential investors, but I suspect that we took less time than most.

We wanted to be very standard and not do anything unusual which could raise uncomfortable questions amongst our investors. I figure this saved us a couple of weeks for sure.

In any case, we're done and ready to go sign up investors!

Web 2.8 and accelerating....

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It must have been sometime in the middle of 2004 when the term Web 2.0 really gained momentum. A combination of the opening up of data sources, the social aspect employed against common services, the changing of economics from the dotcom boom years, the ease of development using open source technologies, and a shift in power from traditional companies to the people themselves especially in areas like journalism, among a myriad of other things - Web 2.0 was embraced by just about everyone.

But now, in less than 2 years, we've raced to Web 2.8 and accelerating. With everyone jumping on the bandwagon, there are now TOO many blogs, TOO many little tools, TOO easy for others to take your idea and incorporate it into their own services. How does a consumer differentiate between all the services out there, whose reported competitive differentiators are indistinguishable in the minds of the consumer? A lot of these services were also built with no business model in mind. How do they support themselves? They may be cool mashups and little desktop tools, but they aren't big enough to drive enough revenue to support even the developer.

Sure now the Web has transformed quite a bit since the early growth days from 1995 to 2001. But I would argue what is next? The Web's quick development time has also become it's own way of forcing evolution to run at lightspeed. Like the frightening mutations of viruses becoming resistant to drugs faster than new ones can be developed, the Web is also transforming at an alarming rate - too alarming for those of us operating in the Web world to keep up?

Is there a Web 3.0 about to appear and what will that look like?

Memories

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Remember way back when, when you could walk over to the cube next to you, talk to your buddy, argue/agree/argue/agree, and then you would walk back to your own cube and just build it?

Remember when you didn't have to fill out forms, or get approval from upper management?

Remember when you didn't have to write a 1000 page spec just to describe what it was you wanted to build, but instead just hashed it out on a white board and put a "Do not Erase" message on it until the project was done?

Remember when you didn't have to notify 200 people just to start something, and then get their OK before you could launch?

Just when did we transition from "Just Do It" to "Just Talk About It Until Your Head Bursts but Never Really Get to Doing It"? Or "Just Quit Now Because It's Too Hard to Get to Doing It?"

Too many levels of management. Too much bureaucracy. Too much distrust. Too much emphasis on individual posturing and positioning and not enough on getting the job done.

Are all companies fated to reach this point as they grow to mammoth proportions?

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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