My( lost in )Space

October 31, 2010

People are talking about how MySpace has launched a much-needed redesign. I haven’t checked it out, mostly since myspace is the neandrethal man of social networks, the one we needed to learn how to use tools, but that should have died off millenia ago. It’s only alive on the island of the lost since facebook hasn’t arrived there yet.Seriously – there’s no need to look at it to know it will fail. The only people still using MySpace are teenage-has-beens in their 20s that got stuck with their old accounts, and 50-year-old pedophiles still trolling the net 10 years after their target audience has matured.

You never hear MySpace mentioned in any positive fashion. You never see MySpace on billboard ads like you see facebook and twitter next to any national campaign spread. In fact some campaigns are pointing people to their instead of to But MySpace is all but invisible. It needs to be put down, or at least put in a home.See my predictions about where social networks are heading. They’re not heading towards myspace. Zuck tells me facebook is the internet and I believe him. MySpace is like the Royal Post. It might show up in a Kevin Costner movie about the apocalypse and the fall-of-mankind and how a lonley postman passed myspace pages back and forth to keep the American Dream alive, but until then I bid it adieu!


Mirror Mirror on the Wall

October 25, 2010

There seems to be a Real Sarah Lacy(TM) predicting my every move out there. It’s like she knows what I’m planning on doing just a post or two before I do. But that’s ok – flattery is the sincerest form of mimicry. hmmm.

Well, let’s use this post as an excuse for name dropping. Maybe it’s Chris Daly doing this after I wrote this? Or maybe it’s Mike, getting back at me for being disappointed that he sold TechCrunch. Or maybe Zuck for that interview a few years back.

It’s probably not Dick Costolo, the CEO of twitter, who I personally interviewed. Nah. Can’t be.

Why Social Networks Need to Change

October 23, 2010

Ok. I need an iconic post I can use in coming years to link to so that I can prove “I told you so” or “I predicted the future”. I’ve already referred to my e-commerce post from a few years ago. Need something new.

The post needs to be have enough ideas, some of them conflicting, so that it will support any possible evolution of this market. Let’s see:

Social networks today are booming from facebook-style sharing and friendships to twitter-style mutual public masturbation. Older and stupider variants are dying out: myspace, ning, etc. Also see my post on Orkut.

But somehow it feels like nothing’s changed in social networking for a while. I’ve had the ability to befriend people on facebook for years. Twitter let’s me send messages to anyone who wants to listen (hey all of you 20k+ followers). But it’s been a while since this experience has changed.

Here are the 5 directions social networks must evolve if they want to survive and prosper:

  • Make befriending easier – I keep getting friend requests from a lot of strangers I’ve never met, but then I’m me. Most people aren’t. Make it easier for them to find friends automatically. In fact, I’d rather not have to deal with going through lists of people. Simply select friends for me and add / remove based on our level of interaction and how much they adore me.
  • Make it social – It sounds counter-intuitive (I’m really smart and clairvoyant) but social networks are not social anymore. They’re more about noise and people shouting to be heard, plus everyone seems to put filters on what they actually hear. These are anti-social networks. What’s needed is a more intimate feeling while still maintaining 5000 friends and 20,000 followers.
  • Simplify – To give an example, I can’t stress enough how annoying it is to sift through all the garbage people are writing in order to find a few random tweets here and there that I want to retweet so that people know that I follow famous and influential people. An auto-famous-retweeter would be great! There are lots of other ways.
  • Mash with social currency and augmented reality – I had to have a point that shows I know what’s going on and can predict the near future: what I want are glasses that will show me next to each person I see on the street (or at that closed party Mike is throwing next week) how many twitter followers they have and whether or not they reciprocate shoutouts from others. I don’t want to spend my time talking to people who won’t help me get famouser. Also a measurement of how smart their tweets are would be great, but mostly their level of famousity.
  • Cleantech it – One for you greenies out there. Make some greentech version of a social network that doesn’t pollute our rivers by needing to cool down all those servers. Stop frying the fish!

There. That should survive for the next couple of years. But just to be on the safe side:

  • Integrate in unforeseen directions – Start connecting all those social networks to other aspects of our lives. Expand. Think outside the box. Make all our actions recordable from the restroom to the bathroom to eating; do head-to-head messaging; allow us to swap digital music without the IRAA knowing by thinking the song up; Do something new already!

I told you so!


Facebook / Orkut Rumormongering

October 23, 2010

There’s a rumor going around that the new Orkut-to-Facebook feature is what’s causing the latest facebook meltdown. I don’t konw if it’s true or not since I haven’t spoken to anyone about it or tried to verify with sources. But I have an article quota, plus I haven’t shown how smart I am in a while. What to do, what to do?

Oh yes! Pose it as an intelligent question:

Is this new import feature what’s causing the meltdown? And why aren’t facebook and google, two companies that have spent a lot of time making sure their sites scale well, able to handle this sudden traffic? If I were building a website and targeting India and Brazil, I’d have made it much more robust since most people (I don’t have research on this) have more than one on various social networks.

There. No need to be all reportery-like and offer data like the folks at gigaom:


Why I Love My Job

October 23, 2010

Allow me to introduce myself. I have the greatest job ever at TechCrunch. I get to write about what’s happening in the tech world and how entrepreneurs are changing the world. By that I mean that I get to write about myself and “disguise” these things as valid journalism.

For example a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Andrew Mason isn’t humble. Some awful woman in  Seattle complained about Groupon almost killing her business, and I used that as a platform to show how I predicted this by asking about their non-defensible business model, and how I also asked that question of the Webvan CEO just before they closed and how I think the hype cycle is stupid. What were we talking about? Oh yes – me.

Then I got to interview Peter LaMotte. By “interview” I mean that I got to talk a lot about me, and ask Paul Carr question. Do you think anyone noticed I kept asking Paul questions instead of the interviewee? Oh yes – Peter someone was in the room also. Can you count how much of the interview was actually me talking ? I think I had 50% air time at least!

Anyway enough about me for now. Next post will be about me also.