I actually wrote about this in 2002, called Blogging goes Wireless, where I said:
This is exactly what journalists should be worried about. In a few years, millions of people will have mobile phones with high-quality integrated digital cameras. Whenever something happens anywhere in the world, pictures and eyewitness accounts will be up there on the web for everyone to see in no time. Of course, journalists will still rush to the scene to get the scoop – but the scoop will already be long gone, and journalists will almost never be the first on the scene anymore. It might not be good spelling or reporting, and it might not be objective, but it will be diverse, real and full of emotions. That’s the new way of spreading the news fast – so welcome the wireless blog, everyone.This is exactly what journalists should be worried about. In a few years, millions of people will have mobile phones with high-quality integrated digital cameras. Whenever something happens anywhere in the world, pictures and eyewitness accounts will be up there on the web for everyone to see in no time. Of course, journalists will still rush to the scene to get the scoop – but the scoop will already be long gone, and journalists will almost never be the first on the scene anymore. It might not be good spelling or reporting, and it might not be objective, but it will be diverse, real and full of emotions. That’s the new way of spreading the news fast – so welcome the wireless blog, everyone.
Now sadly blogging hasn’t been taken up so much that this is really the case yet. We are getting there though, especially with every mobile phone having a good enough camera and internet flatrates getting more common, or at least big enough data plans.
Now the Next web writes that when Twitter becomes mainstream, we won’t miss anything, making much the same point. The point is that somebody on an airplane crash twittered it live. This is actually what was missing in blogging, because you felt you needed to give some thought to it. For Twitter, just just send a Tweet and be done with it. It has to be short so it can’t really have too much thought put into it. It’s very easy, as SMS is, just like an SMS sent to everybody. This is why adoption can become higher and we get more messages out there. It’s a mixture of more people and faster posting.
I love seeing that and am really looking forward to seeing this system develop.
We have loads of user generated content out there and I like it. The main thing behind getting into blogging years ago was my own personal remberall. I blogged the summaries from my MBA for example. This is also true for del.icio.us, even though I haven’t found the perfect bookmarking tool yet. Furl was actually getting close now thinking about it but it somehow stopped being used. Not sure why.
Now I am starting to become a fan of Brightkite, am still an avid user of Flickr, still love Twitter, have my own Tumblr like blog (thinking about moving to Tumblr from Chyrp hating the not possible import feature). I am also on facebook which aggregated my twitter stream and facebook aggregates it all, actually double aggregating some stuff because it’s autotumbled.
The problem I really have is that I want all that. I want it in one system where I can add private feeds and can search for it. I want it so it integrates all tags. If I look for tag “advertising” it should list all stuff for this tag, be it del.icio.us, tumblr, or wordpress. I want it to understand my exact location based on using brightkite and other service while not having to publish my location to flickr and other. This system also need to accept imports from all those platforms as RSS feeds are not going back far enough.
Friendfeed is not bad already but I actually want Friendfeed to store all the content of the stuff that comes in from RSS feeds because I want it included in the searches. I don’t want them to show it to me, I just want it returned in searches damn it, so it’s not about duplicate content or something. I often do not have the word I want to find in the title of the post, if I even remember the title of the post.
This is actually what lifestreaming is about but it’s more of a personal lifestreaming thing. I do not care about sharing it with the world. I can, but it is too much for most people anyway. When I look back in my timeline I would love it tightly integrated with my current location at that time without having to tell that to the world. I want public and private photos.
I am inches away to starting an open source project.
Merry Christmas to all and their families and friends. Sitting here, well fed, good wine, new belt and in the company of familie, feeling wonderful and hope you do too. Talk to you all next year!!!
I have this one sitting in my “To Blog” bookmarks list for ages now, so here it goes. It is actually inspired by a great post by Eric Ries entitled “A new version of the Joel Test“. The original Joel Test was written in 2000 and Eric tried to update it a little bit based on his experience in software development in agile teams. Same as him I start with Joel’s list.
- Do you use source control? Yes, essential and check.
- Can you make a build in one step? We have continuous integration, so check.
- Do you make daily builds? Well, building continuously would qualify I think. Ok, we could always do with more automated test but we are doing ok.
- Do you have a bug database? Sure, check.
- Do you fix bugs before writing code? There I am with Eric, yes we try to, but bug is not bug. There are some things we accept to fix later. But we do have an ASAP list that gets precendence over anything else.
- Do you have an up-to-date schedule? Here I again agree with Eric, damn I agree aa lot with him, but that’s the point. What we learned is that not the schedule is important, but keeping sprints short. As soon as a sprint goes over more than 2 weeks we have a problem of too big a backlog for the next one, too long testing, too much waiting, too hard to test features and the like. Our progress, which is what it is about, is better with shorter sprints, which take less planning and can actually be planned on the spot.
- Do you have a spec? Eric rephrases that into “does the team have a clear objective?” Yes, this is what is important. We try to have a 1-3 sentence goal for each sprint. Everything is aligned to that. There are then cross functional teams that build the spec. In the first meeting we create scribbles, get the features down, try to make the interactions clear, and go from there. This first meeting is very important though and we have failed in this before because you need the cross functional team there and you need to discuss things to the end and fight it out and the team needs to stay fixed afterwards. This is sometimes hard, but very important.
- Do programmers have quiet working conditions? It’s not one size fits all. Two of our devs moved out of each others office because one likes to hear to music and one likes it quiet. Some want company, some don’t. You need to enable that.
- Do you use the best tools money can buy? We try to and this should probably be taking up a bit more, but hey, we are a startup that watches the money.
- Do you have testers? Everybody writes tests first and then codes, as best possible. Yes, we have somebody responsible that makes sure everybody does that, but developer is developer. This is still to be decided in my mind. After a certain team size you probably need someone that takes care of the infrastructure, enabling automated testing by developers, and builds new test cases and handles the release process. But for small teams, it’s a team responsibility.
- Do new candidates write code during their interview? We didn’t do that yet, but more or less knew the people we hired, so it wasn’t so necessary. What we would be doing more in the future to give a new developer full responsibility for a new feature that is laid out so that it interacts with the entire platform. Then let everything be discussed in the weekly code review.
- Do you do hallway usability testing? Majorly lacking here, sorry. We are trying to keep iterations short but will probably have to do some learning in this field.
Next up are some of his suggestions. Yes, we do work in small batches and through daily scrums we know who is working on what and hence there are little conflicts at checking. He also talks about practicing the five Whys which I remember from the MBA. It’s a great idea. Why is it a great idea? Because it allows you to think up till the root cause? Why does that help? Because you don’t fix something that does not need fixing but what really went wrong. Why? Because after the first idea you ask why again and go on from there… get the point? 5 Whys. It’s a great system and oh so simple.
He then goes on to talk about the difference between defects and polish. This is very important to understand. We build a feature, often taking the easy way for the interface (after we learned building it complicated first is nuts ) and how it works but making sure there are no bugs, that it works, and does so reliably. From there we can build polish if need be. This is a subtle difference, but an important one.
His last point is probably the most important one: Does everyone (he names programmers but that’s not enough) understand how what they are doing relates to the company strategy, well being, vision, day to day business? This is where the cross functional teams help. It helps programmers understand what people do. A good developer will go nuts finding out that somebody sits there doing something in the interface for 2 hours every day when the dev can whip up something simple and get that down to 5 minutes. But you need to have communication.
That is actually one thing that I would like to add. The most important thing, and the reason for being of Agile, is that you have communication. The entire point of now doing waterfall development is that you know that the biggest problem in software development is that people speak different languages. Every party will need to try to work out what the other party really means. That is hard, and painful sometimes but only understanding will lead to good code.
I am telling it to everyone who listenes, podcasting is the future of radio. Sounds a bit far out for some, but now NPR proved my point. Mix your own is a system (via RWW) where you can mix together your own podcast right on npr.org, then subscribing to it via iTunes or whatever. Sure, people could do that themselves by subscribing to several small podcasts but what NPR does is so much better.
But one step back. Why is podcasting the future of radio? Radio sucks. I get in the car and the news is already over, I missed my favorite 1 minute comedy, and just this one day only sucky songs are on. It would be much better if I got into my car and it just played what I wanted to hear, freshly synced. All this is actually not a real problem if you think a few more years out. There is no reason that every radio will not be equiped with a 3G connection to sync in at fixed times. Sure you can do that with your iPhone/iPod, but that’s not the point and just not easy enough for the general population. Once everything can sync there is no problem anymore to not have the right podcast on the device at any time.
Of course there is still stuff like last.fm, but I am talking about the future of Radio not the future of consuming music, and I am actually more specifically meaning the future of Radio stations. I am very happy to have the right guy give me new and old music to listen to. I am very happy to get the right show from the radio on my device. Radio Stations should filter stuff for me, just like newspapers, but I want it right when and where I want it, not when they are sending it out. And this is exactly what NPR does with their system. I go on there and tell them what I am interested in and I get just that, at the time I want.
We already know that the focus is going to the consumer, and the focus is going to internet connected media. Paper newspapers will die a death by thousand stabs, if they don’t open up to things like the the Kindle where I can get my stuff from their trusted source. Same goes for radio. Open up, remix, mash up, integrate. The NPR system also allows for integrating ads and I wouldn’t mind.
Rock on NPR. Thank you for an innovation that hopefullly many will follow.
The thinking here again was started by a post by Martin, looking at the question whether the Internet creates or destructs value. I really think that the internet creates value, but the only problem in that statement is that value is not only monetary.
Monetary wise the internet has and will destroy a lot of money in the short and medium term and only then grow up to really create money due to the fact that we need to learn to live with it. One thing that is really important to understand that the Internet, Web 2.0, Blogging, Twitter and the like create an Economy of Truth. What I mean with that is that it is the end of bullshitting, you can’t just give out a product and have an immense marketing campaign saying it is the best thing since sliced bread, when in all honesty it’s total crap. You need to build good things, do good deads, be a good person, in the long run, because all the other crap will get out. This of course means that lots of things need to change in product development and marketing and in the mean time some things will fail.
But more importantly, in relation to RSS and Blogs and the like, it does create a system where it is easy to consume news and share news. My media consumption is so different from my parents and it will become more different as we go along. This in itself does not destroy anything though. The problem is that traditional newspapers have not jumped on that wagon full force yet, and are just trying out things. And with it, advertising has changed.
Google is no white knight here but rather the devil that was bound to appear. Measurability was there before Google but now you want a direct ROI, something you never had or have in TV Advertising or Newspapers, at least not the same as on the all-trackable-internet. And due to the fact that, again, the Newspapers can’t make up their mind (Do I take the performance money or do I remain a CPM only shop?) and are doing it half baked, there is now the problem that it is not fully clear where this will all turn. Lots of people now book standard banners on CPC basis, or high CPM, which makes no sense once you did it through a CPC deal. At the same time the money earned from performance only deals is not enough by far to pay for the very very very expensive writers (who might be crunching out 10-20 articles a day but these articles don’t as such pay their salaries). At the same time sales of hardcopy newspapers are going down and will remain to go that way, all moving into measurable media.
One solution might be to go performance only, meaning that to get a branding campaign you will pay through the nose as you will have to overpay any performance deal on the pages you want to be on. Another option would be to say you only do high CPM deals. But in any case, the easy times from 20 years ago are gone and online properties would never survive alone. One important step in any case is to not give people branding that do not pay for it. That way, people will still feel the need to paying for branding.
And then there is the really big problem of giving an agency the option to spend 500k in a meaningful and profitable way on the internet, in a month, or less, without much work.
So overall we can’t live without the internet, but for newspapers, it is destroyed a lot of value and will remain to do that, so some rethinking has to happen.
We have a real fight on our hands. Michael wrote about Le Web saying that Europeans don’t work hard enough or something. Read it for yourself, especially the comments. Then loic answered (I will revisit that post later becuase it rocks) and ended up top on Techmeme. Then Michael answered in a pissed way about the pool de-inviting him from the next Le Web.
One thing that should be clear for everyone is that this is something that will drive up the press for loic, michael, techcrunch, seesmic, le web, and so on. So it’s all fun and games and they will continue to go out for dinner. Above that, Michael will continue to let himself be treated to first class tickets to france and dinners at the best restaurants in the world because reporting from tech conferences IS HIS JOB! So stop complaining michael that you might not go next year and not send people over. Le Web by now is big and something to be reported on. So all the mumbo jumbo about not reporting on Le Web is bull.
Next to that It’s a great number of posts to read, really. The important thing is that Michael gets it totally wrong. The idea by Loic that we go to have 2 hours of lunch is just said to make a point. Relationships are deeper here in many cases. Above that, it’s not about what you push into it, it’s about what comes out at the other end that is important. No matter how much you work, the end result is important. And if somebody makes it on 2 hours while somebody else takes 8, then that’s something called productivity. If Michael being on the Golf Course for 3 hours per week for a few months, makes him close a 2 million deal EUR ad deal from P&G, then I doubt he would see those 3 hours as wasted.
Yes, we do not have as a powerful echo chamber here in Europe as the US has, but that doesn’t make companies here less successful. Above that, I’d love to get an index on all the companies that Techcrunch wrote about to see what kind of revenues they make or if they are bankrupt. But that again wouldn’t be important.
All involved, please continue talking and writing in public, it is a blast.
And as for Wifi at such a conference, I just thought Chaos Communication Conference might be something to learn from but as I just learned the money Loic spent wouldn’t even go a bit of the way for the people they have there and the hardware. Real dedicated geeks are just unbeatable
Tumblr has gotten 4.5 million from among others Union Square Ventures, whom I greatly respect for investing in stuff that I really like. Their recent investment into Boxee is another example. Martin Varsavsky, who was an early investor has a nice short post about it. The important part is this one.
Next year the company will roll out a premium service and further attract external developers on their platform to extend its features.
There are two important items in there. For one, I have the slight feeling that Tumblr might interconnect the external developer bit with monetization, which sounds like a very good idea. It might also split up the premium service into smaller bits, meaning not having one big block but several small ones. I have to say that I really like services out there that are cheap and make it up in volume. Remember the Milk is a great task manager and at $25 per year, having a Pro account is fully worth it, especially with Todo on the iPhone connected through the RTM API. The same is true for Xing, with a few EURs a month or Flickr for $24.95 per year (though I am thinking about Smugmug with full HD Video Option). But all in all, taking a little fee and scaling it up is a very nice Web 2.0ish idea.
The other side that is important also for Tumblr, namely that they have just 6 employees. So they are running very lean, and have a good amount of cash in the bank to continue running without revenue and can probably go profitable with little money. If I remember correctly, the $4.5 million will let them go over 2 years, meaning roughly 2 million burn a year. With 15 million uniques on the platform, and 500k users, they can at least argue that they have an option to go profitable. If 10% of their users would be $4 per month or $50 per year, they are just fine.
I like these kinds of companies but I am just not 100% sure what VC money has to do with it. They will probably make a good return on this, but it won’t be a 10 times return on investment. Of course I would be happy to be proven wrong.
The book is in german and called “Sichere Webanwendungen” and Mario is not the only author, but having been one of the key people at Ormigo, I thought I’d mention that a book he co-wrote is out. Other authors include fukami, Christian Matthies and Johannes Dahse.
And if somebody knows what web site security is about, then Mario is the man. So much so that he can get on your nerves some times and I say that as the higest form of flattery . On a side note, he developed PHPIDS at Ormigo.