Open Social Graph

My biggest motivation of this conference was this topic of OpenFaced, takes me back to the dreams of web1.0 with XML and microformats and creating an interconnected web built on open standards of different sites.

Dave McClure set the stage and said if Yahoo and Google were serious about the Open Social Graph, they need to participate in such panels. Brad Fitzpatrick co-author of the “Thoughts on Social Graph” has joined Google, setting expectation of Google opening into the Open Social Graph
Live Blogging from the Panel here:

OpenFaced panel: Opening Up the Social GraphTantek Celik (moderator), David Recordon SixApart, Chamath Palihapitiya Facebook, Joseph Smarr Plaxo, Ted Grubb Satisfaction Unlimited

Joseph Smarr Plaxo:
Online Identity Consolidator find the same person’s account across twitter, flickr,, pownce and everywhere else on the web , all without compromising the privacy if the user. – lists a bill of rights to build out an openweb.

David Recordon SixApart

Ted Grubb Satisfaction Unlimited allows import profiles from other services which support microformats.
Love the ability to create an address book, where is a friend should get a friends phone if I have his email.
Facebook does not allow data taken out of facebook using Facebook API to be stored for more than 24 hrs.

Chamath Palihapitiya Facebook:

  • Facebook pioneered open technologies like Memcache.
  • The service itself itself is conducive to people trusting facebook.
  • There is one social graph of 6Bil users in the world, we have captured 45Mil of it.
  • Here is one model of it, we acknowlege we need people to help us.
  • Everyone including facebook is at the starting point, we need to measure progress over coming years.
  • Its a delicate balance between being open on the web on one hand and trusted and private on the other side.
  • Should be done methodically and systematically not reactively.
  • Consumer choice leads in the end.
  • We need to provide more and more control to App developers and will open slowly and cautiously.

How about integrating Openid and symantic web?
How long will it take for developers to build to an open web across platforms instead of one facebook platform?
What is each panelist doing to share open social graph:

David: Implement Openid
Facebook : want as much information to flow across the graph and touch everyone in the world.( This is an ambitious and audacious goal, but does not seem to signal real open graph outside of facebook, or unless I missing the point here)

update- my followup thoughts: Facebook has done well in initiating an ecosystem of developers and VCs with the F8 platform.
Facebook is building a competitive advantage with this ecosystem and unless the ecosystem demands with clear competitive returns, it does not make business sense for them to open up.
From my own personal experience hanging around facebook developers and SF Bayarea facebook meetup I find facebook clearly aligned with developers and opening up slowly where it makes sense for the developers and facebook.
Chamath has articulated this eloquently and I believe facebook is here to stay and buildout its competitive lockin.


October 9, 2007 at 9:39 pm 1 comment

Google Lunar X Prize

Google has announced $30M for the team to gets a Lunar Rover by 2014. Very cool! Summarized well by Jeff Foust

Bringing space travel closer (or one step before it – the rover) is exciting stuff for me, must be for Larry too!

Its interesting to note the high tech entrepreneurs role in commercializing space industry – Elon Musk with SpaceX and Paul Allen invested in SpaceShipOne of X Prize, Jeff Bezos with his Blue Origin, building a spaceship

September 15, 2007 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

Social Media Optimization And Growing Brands


This is part of the presentation on Social Media Optimization that I gave at BarCampBlock.

Social Media covers a set of technologies and online locations with common characteristics that affect brand perceptions:

1. Your customers talk among themselves, good or bad, affecting your brand perceptions.
– Happy customers should be encouraged to express their love for your brand and customer complains should be addresses openly.

2. Customers operate in trusted circles online and infleunce purchase decisions.
– Need presence and tracking of online communities and social networks.

3. Blogosphere has several influencers who have their own brands in areas of specialities.
– Update them with upcoming releases, court them as partners and help build your products.

Social Media Categories:

1. Digg, Reddit – Community Voted News Sites

2. Social Networks (Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Hi5 etc)
– open sharing, peer influence is high, currently younger demographics is 60%

3. Second Life

4. Blogosphere
– Find blogs related to your brand and encourage articles and discussions
– Court influencers and partner to grow product and brand

5. Groups (Y groups, Google Groups)

6. Sites (review sites, supply chain, purchase sites)
– Monitor Comments and reviews.
– Honest scores high points to improve brands.

September 1, 2007 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

Facebook Apps the Coolest Platform on the Net

Excited to see 3 cool Facebook Apps Developers in a panel, everyone has been talking about Facebook Apps all day long at Community Next Conference. (live blogging to share their experience, which is my summary of a lively discussion)

Joe Green’s Facebook App is Causes, raised $200K. Built on Ruby on rails, $100K on servers.
Joe Suk ‘s site is, social network for churches, 6 apps , besthas 200K users. 3-4 days per App, 2 weeks for one with deeper integration to Facebook.
Adam Kalamchi 225,000 uses for his App launched Boozmail 2 weeks ago.

Booze-mail, Adam says he knows nothing about users, he is the coolest guy in the whole conference by his attitude in he panel!!! I will take the risk of sounding like a web2.0 geek will say I find Adam more promising, letting the market drive, because I can see how it is so aligned with Facebook users to just use Booze-mail to communicate with friends like poking your friend on Facebook.

Adam can scale it later adding any kind of features.

Alec Peters (audience) asked has anyone monetized their Facebook App? Cause is the only app thats making revenues.
Facebook makes it easy to scale Facebook Apps adoption without thinking of revenue models. Everyone is focused on growth, which according to Joe Green’s is the best strategy to grow Facebook as a palatform with smart developers building on it.

I can’t agree more, there will be a phase when the developers will develop a revenue strategy once they have a userbase.

moderated by Noah

July 14, 2007 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

Viral Marketing Scaling to Million and Beyond

I am at Community Next at Sunnyvale, one of the best

Sitting at a panel session “Online Communities To a Million and Beyond”

Joe Greenstein of Flixter, Jim Squires of Ning, Ramu Yalamanchi of hi5, Jonathan Abrams of Socialilz (earlier founder of Friendster), moderated by Dave Feinleib of Mohr Davidow Ventures.

1. The repeat theme of the day has been to know your users – product-market match.

– Know your target user, whats the emotional element if why they use your product.
– Your product has to be really good, provide value to users. For viral play it needs to have a viral element as part of the product, not forced send-to-friend emails.
– Get your ideas to market, feel the response, users may use it differently, different type of users may adopt it. Listen and adopt.

This topic is dear to my heart because I have been hearing lot of talk about “getting users” or getting a “facebook strategy” etc, which turns me off. Real marketing is about building a relationship of trust with your user. So viral is a tool, so hearing thus know your user is heart warming go me.

2. Is Hiring and Virality Inversely Proportional – How to Hire Teams to Make Viral Happen

Jon of Socializr shares his experience saying its not by super resumes, because he had the experience of firing bad performers in a past startup Friendster, who got hired as VPs because of Friendster’s brand name.
His advice is to hire really hungry people and give them a chance.

3. Invite-Onlys is thats a good idea to create viral play.

Friendster had an open site, then closed it to fix bugs and opened it again. Ramu of Hi5 says they did a live beta where they fixed bugs and responded to market, they did not do an invite-only beta. Everyone agrees

4. Scaling Issues of viral user play

Jim squires of Ning says Spam was the number 1 issue and had to build controls to keep their site usable for real users.

5. Money needed to build a real good growing site

Jonathan says $500K is enough to build, test and figure out if its viable.
Ramu says he got $250K and ran for 2 years and says being frugal in early days teaches fiscal discipline which helps once you scale.
Joe of Flixter has build with raising $30K only.

July 14, 2007 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

Jia Shen of RockYou at Community Next talking about Viral Grow-the-business experience

RockYou is a 14 people company, builds widgets for self expression. All spread virally with their widgets, which they promoted in Forums. Now they are on all major social networks and now seen by 1 in 4 net users daily today.

Zombies seems a cool one, worth checking out.

Jia Shen co-founder of Rock You is speaking at Community Next’s viral marketing experience. Ro Choy (bizdev guy) is ready to talk to any startup interested in RockYou building widgets (ro at

RockYou – Launching Viral Widgets
1. Know your User:
– Understanding your users is No.1. Founders are all guys, social networks are lots of females.
– Go Online and surf at where your target demographics interact online. Subscribed to all teen magazines like Cosmogirl.
– Do not think of the guy next to you as your user, thats the biggest mistake by many Silicon valley startups.
– Facebook is 50% guys and 50% females.
– Took us a year to get into the mindset of our target users.

2. Make a simple Use Case to replace something that exists.
– Quiz are huge on Myspace, find low hanging fruit.
3. Create Viral Channels
– Myspace – user bulletins, In page profile
– Facebook – Minifeed, Invite (only 10 a day now), 14 effective viral channels found by experience
Think of what the users are doing, make it easy to send to the right people with right messaging.

How do you market test?

We do lot of user studies. Find active users and get their feedback. We are grassroots and find users from our database. Do a Webex on how they are using it and see understand usability. We got 9Million users in the last Month and half.

Ben Pashman of Gigya has joined him, as Gigya has been RockYou’s partner that helped them scale. Perfecting technology for widget distribution. Started with consumer focus then focus to become the services for widgets as an intermediary. They have partnered with 200 companies, have more 300 partnerships waiting ti go live.

It takes 30 minutes for startups 30 minutes to embed your content into Wildfire to be live with their tool. Competition is Cursemind, Stickbox. Wildfire is platform agnostic, fash or javascript or anything you choose.

Slide, Rockyou, PictureTrail, Photobucket, BunnyHerelabs, Poqburn Brightcove, – all the top content sides are their partners.

Their product is called wildfire which gives users an interface to use simple code which will embed embeds into multiple social networks, keeping users to just focus on sharing content. It is a piece of Javascript or Flash.

Ben Flashman’s viral experience is B2B so a different experience.

1. Keep it simple, super simple.

July 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm 1 comment

Web Analytics for Marketers by Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson has great depth of thinking about Visitor Engagement (from Seachonomics conference, Santa Clara, CA)

He defines An index created from the following, not built into all web analytics tools today:
– depth of visits and conversion rate
– Recency of visits and conversion
– Brand awareness (people search for your brand and come to your site directly. Find how strong is your brand/how indexed it is in different search engines)
– Social media engagement – If they digg your content, its a measure of their engagement with your site/product
– Blog subscription of your content
– Comments for white papers.
Today we all look at web analytics, but don’t measure that the user loved your content and forwarded to a friend, or digged it or blogged it. That should all be factored into tie to the same user’s engagement with your site.

Good point, we seem to be tracking user’s digging, blogging, commenting, email forward to a friend as viral play and not factoring into web analytics.

The definition of visitor engagement is unique for your business, egment users by repeat users vs new visitors and track visitor engagement separately.

June 27, 2007 at 7:00 pm 1 comment

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