First Impressions

May 22, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about Google Glass lately.  There are a lot of naysayers, as with any new tech, but I’m really hoping they’re able to pull off a successful launch.  Unfortunately, Google has a long track record of not giving their new releases the support and rapid iteration that’s required at the beginning of the lifecycle for a new product (ex: Google+) and then standing by while they wither on the vine.  So today I’d like to talk about some of the things that need to go into launching a new product and what we can learn from technologies in other industries that should have succeeded but didn’t.

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Going Electric

April 29, 2013
2013 Triumph Street Triple

One of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden.

I love my Triumph Street Triple, in the last few months it’s almost completely displaced my Spyder as my vehicle of choice (basically, unless I need a vehicle with a trunk or there’s heavy wind or I’m driving a long distance I’l probably take the Striple).   It’s an absolutely awesome little bike.  At 675 hp it’s lightweight, agile, and absolutely perfect for maneuvering in heavy bay area traffic for my commute to the city.  42-48 mpg is nothing to sneeze at either!  I’m planning to ride it for years to come.

The only thing I don’t love about it, in fact, is that even though it’s sipping a lot less fuel then a car, it’s still ultimately dependent on a fossil fuel infrastructure that’s completely and irredeemably unsustainable in the long term.  The real question isn’t if we’re going going to stop using petroleum it’s when.

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Doing it Right

March 12, 2013

There’s no shortage of people who claim to be experts on Social media – I have several close family members who think that the fact that they waste time on Facebook means they’re qualified to list “Social Media” as a skill on their Resumes.  Not trying to be mean here folks, but no.  It doesn’t.  Social Media, as experienced by the end user, is a very very different beast then Social as understood by folks who make their living designing and building the promotions and marketing campaigns designed to attract the attention of end users. Think of it like the difference between baking a cake and eating one – it doesn’t matter how many cakes you’ve eaten, the only way you’ll learn to bake is by baking.

The question many businesses are facing today is how to distinguish the bakers from all the people with crumbs on their faces.  It’s not like there’s a certification you can check after all!  And that my friends is the purpose of this post.   What follows are a few tips designed to help you sort out the actual Social Media experts from the people who just play Farmville or Mafia Wars all day.  You’re welcome.   Continue Reading »

Culture and Opportunity

February 5, 2013

I’m kind of a radical.  I say “kind of” because I’m fairly sure that at 32 my days of living in treesits and getting teargassed at endless pointless protests that don’t change anything are pretty much over.  But I learned a lot along the way and these days I tend to see those lessons or principles as the most valuable part of the ethos.  The old lefty idea of a messianic revolution that will solve all our problems is pretty much completely discredited.   The good news is that there hundreds of mini revolution happening around us all the time.   And the more experience I get in the business world the more strongly I believe that horizontally organized peer groups are more efficient and productive then the standard top-down management structure that typifies governments and most businesses.

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Facebook Search is here

January 17, 2013

I wrote about this a few months back, but as of today it’s (sort of) live – Facebook Graph Search is now in limited Beta testing:

So what’s the big deal? This is search customized on the Facebook graph so instead of searching for widgets, news, photos, etc and getting a list of everything on the net; you can search for widgets, news, photos, etc that your friends have uploaded, shared, or “Liked.”

The upshot? Flat earthers, creationists, and climate-change deniers never again need to be worried about pesky science articles showing up in their search results and uninformed people of all stripes can now rest safely inside their own little echo chambers.  That’s probably a Bad Thing.  It’s also suddenly a hell of a lot easier to find the information that your friends have shared with you but you might have missed or forgotten about. Assuming that you place some value on that content this is a Good Thing.  It’s anyone’s guess whether the good will outweigh the bad but it makes me a bit uneasy.

This is either the single biggest innovation in Search technology since Google or it’s a sign of the end times. Or possibly both. Either way it’s big news for anyone who works with SEO, Social, or internet marketing of any kind.

Data is King

January 15, 2013

Back when I was in college studying Political Science I spent a lot of time (or at least a lot more then I expected going into the program) studying statistics and data.  In retrospect that was a good thing.  Knowing how to get reliable data from focus groups, how to write a survey and avoid bias in my questions,  and how to accurately analyze the bulk data resulting from that survey have all turned out to be very valuable in my work managing user communities.  I’ve found myself thinking about data even more then usual in the last month as I went through the interview process and started my new position at Kontagent. Continue Reading »

Garlic + Whisky + Bacon = Alfredo!

October 24, 2012

This is a new recipe, I’m still working on the proportions but it came out very nicely the first couple times I’ve prepared it.   Continue Reading »

A review of the Can-Am Spyder at 10k Miles

October 2, 2012

It’s been 6 months and 10k miles since I brought home my shiny new black Can-Am Spyder RS so I figure it’s about time to write about it. After all, I can’t stop at a stoplight or a gas station without people giving me compliments and asking questions. Well, here are the answers.

The first point I want to hit is that most reviewers haven’t really done the Spyder justice. There are a fair number of reviews out there available, but most of them are written by people used to riding a 2-wheeled motorcycle who’ve had the Spyder for a couple hours or a couple days at most so they haven’t had a chance to get over how different the Spyder is.  Continue Reading »

Dollars and Sense

September 19, 2012

The tech startup world, as anyone who’s spent time in it knows, is a weird place. It’s a strange little bubble universe that’s absolutely awash in cash while the rest of the economy struggles and stumbles along, but the people you might expect to be raking in the cash usually aren’t. Case in point – the people who’ve benefited the most from the tech boom in SF over the last decade are arguably the city’s landlords. There’s a city full of people with 6-figure incomes who each spend half – or more – of their take home pay on insanely overpriced tiny apartments. According to some studies I’ve seen recently (sorry, I can’t find the link atm, will try to add it in an edit later) rents across most of the city have doubled in the past year. And they weren’t exactly cheap to start with! Continue Reading »

Facebook working on Search, Google still MIA on Social

September 12, 2012

I’ve written several times before about the ongoing merger of Search and Social and I expect it’s something I’ll write on a good deal more over time because I think it’s one of the biggest industry changes we’re facing and has the potential to fundamentally change the way people find information online.  Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg told the world I was right.  Not that he mentioned me or anything, I would be incredibly surprised if he even knows I exist, but in his first post-IPO interview he talked at length about Facebook’s plans for Search. Continue Reading »

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