Daily Archives: October 27, 2005

Ben and Mena Trott say they are sorry

If you aren’t a geek who has to keep a data center running you might not appreciate the post that Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart, made yesterday. The business challenges facing all of us are deep and extreme as we deal with a world that doubles in size every few months (and for some services is on a far far steeper growth curve).

When you hear about employees leaving big and established companies for smaller startups, you don’t often hear about the long nights, the very real risk of failure. Silicon Valley is paved with the failures of entrepreneurs.

One thing, though, is that I really appreciate management that gives me the straight up unvarnished facts. That’s the kind of people I want to work for (and with). It’s the kind of people I want to bet my own business on.

Hey, Mena, remember eBay? They had similarly horrible days and went on to build a great business. Please do keep bringing us inside your company and letting us know how things are going.

Oh, geez, my son is blogging…

Patrick called me while I was waiting in line at Google for a ride to my hotel. He said “guess what Dad, I have a blog.” Oh, great, what’s the URL I asked. miniscobleizer.blogspot.com.

I sense he’s just trying to be rebellious. First an iPod. Now he’s using a Google blog tool. I gotta straighten him out. He’s only 11. Imagine how rebellious he’ll be when he’s 14!!

By the way, I didn’t help him at all. He says that “without any readers my blog will fail.” I’d answer: write anyway. But the readers certainly make life much better.

Oh, what else did I tell him? “I’m at standing in line at a Google party.” Then I got into a car for one of the most incredible rides of my life. Who was sitting next to me? James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. Read his bio. Oh. My. Gawd. This guy is incredible. He runs the #1 library in the world. Think about that. I ask him how Microsoft could help him out. He pitches me on a way to change how everyone in the world will use libraries. Over the Web. Says it’ll cost only about $25 million.

He then goes on about the world’s treasures that are located in the Library of Congress. The rare books. The international collections. I’ve been pinching myself ever since.

Oh, and Maryam, he told me all about his trip to Iran. Says I have to go. Says the people there are smart, educated, interesting, and nice. I said “I know, that describes Maryam, my wife, to a T.”

Gates ‘not afraid’ of Google

Heh, Bill is giving me lots of stuff to talk about tonight at a certain party at a certain Mountain View, CA location that I’m not allowed to blog about. Sorry, not my rules.

Larry and Sergey (the two main Google guys) tell me that the competition between Google and its competitors are way overexaggerated, by the way. I agree and yes, I just did break the blog quotation rules here. :-). It’s all about who does the best job for people. I’ve been meeting with execs from all over the world (only a small percentage of them are from Google) all day long and I see total untapped opportunity. I mean, freaking, big, untapped opportunity. The kind where people who run major media companies walk up to you and say “can you help us?” Google and MSN and Yahoo all put together haven’t even tapped a small percentage of the potential opportunity. We’re all leaving money on the table.

So, the challenge for all of our companies is to go after the untapped markets. If you’re a gold miner, are you gonna get rich by mining where other people and companies have mined already? Maybe, but it’s a lot harder work. Why not look at the vein that’s totally being ignored.

No one has nailed time-based search. No one has really nailed people-based search. No one has nailed metrics (can I go to any search engine and see a list of everyone I’ve ever linked to and how many times I’ve linked — or the other way, how many people have linked to me and how many times they’ve linked to me?)

Has anyone figured out really how to put blogs and photos on maps? Has anyone figured out how to mix professional news and amateur news in a way that demonstrates the correctness/authority/reputation of the article itself and the author in aggregate?

Has anyone figured out how to make advertising fun? Has anyone figured out how to report back to the search engines which people have actually bought anything after clicking on an ad and which ones just looked?

Has anyone figured out how to really translate from Farsi to Chinese to Japanese to English and back?

Has anyone figured out how to put a search engine onto an iPod?

Shall I go on? There’s lots of work in this industry for hundreds of companies to do without stepping on each other’s toes. When all the Internet challenges get done then we can worry about fighting.