Hate my iPhone and Facebook yammering?

Fred Vogelstein

OK, I keep seeing notes from people who are tired of my iPhone and Facebook yammering.

So, it’s time to put up or shut up.

What is more important happening right now? I’m looking at TechMeme and other feeds. I just met with a ton of VCs, execs, journalists like Wired’s Fred Vogelstein, etc (that’s him in the photo on this post) and there’s nothing that excites/generates conversation like Facebook and iPhone. Nothing.

If you got something that is exciting you more, I’d sure like to hear about it.

Oh, don’t take Fred’s picture as an anti-Facebook statement. He’s working on an article for Wired about Facebook.

Kara Swisher, tech columnist for the Wall Street Journal, told me at dinner (and I see she told everyone on her blog) that today she met with Facebook’s “money guy” and that she came away impressed.

Translation: Expect to hear a lot more Facebook news. Unless you got something more interesting for us all to pay attention to. Microsoft? Google? Yahoo? Helllllllloooooooo.

UPDATE: Dave McClure has a good post about all that’s happening in Facebook land.

Something’s up at Yahoo

I have a personal policy of not investing in companies in the tech industry (I own some Microsoft stock, but that’s just cause I’m too lazy to sell it) but if I did I’d be buying some Yahoo tonight.

I met several employees, including Jeff Weiner, executive vice president, and they were more upbeat about the company’s prospects than I’ve seen from Yahooians in years.

Now, you might say that’s their job, but I’ve been around the block a few times and I think it’s all due to one thing: Jerry Yang is back.

In fact, a few of them whispered that big things are getting done and that it’s nice to have a founder who’s a CEO again.

Let me translate that to what they wouldn’t say: the place was run by consensus before and now has a guy who can get s**t done back in charge.

It might not translate into anything that Wall Street will like this quarter or next, but I like the new attitude. Will it translate into products and services we all like? Or an advertising platform that makes tons of money and has advertisers happy?

That we’ll keep a watch on for.

And, yes, I know they didn’t report very spectacular earnings today. But we expected that, didn’t we? After all, a CEO doesn’t leave if the trains are all running on time.

Larry Dignan, over on ZDNet, has a report about how Jerry Yang is promising a strategic plan in the next 100 days.

Yahoo’s “accidental” genius

The guy who bought Flickr, Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo

Tonight I was honored to be able to shake the hands of the guy who bought Flickr (and del.icio.us and upcoming.org, among other things) for Yahoo. Bradley Horowitz, VP of Technology Development at Yahoo.

He told me that it wasn’t due to any real brilliance on his part. He worked on computer vision and graphics at MIT and knew that it’d be really tough to get any useful data out of the images themselves. So, when Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr along with Caterina Fake, showed him how they were getting users to add metadata by making it fun to do so he said “that’s brilliant” and worked to buy the company. The way he told the story Yahoo got very lucky in getting Flickr. He learned later that a VC firm was about to put a sizable investment into the company. I told him that I told Bill Gates to buy the company about three weeks before the deal was done, but that wasn’t successful.

He told me, and also wrote on his blog that he “will forever be either hero or goat to [Caterina and Stewart] depending on how things go.” Why a goat? Because he knows that if Flickr had stayed private for a couple more years that it would have ended up selling for about half a billion.

He also said that the final story on Flickr hadn’t been written and that growth is going off the charts and told me to “stay tuned.”

Definitely a guy to watch. I wonder what the team he’s a part of will do next.

UPDATE: One thing I love about blogging is that it’s two-way. So here Bradley added onto my post with his own thoughts, which I’m putting in the post so it might get through to some RSS readers:

Gulp… … For the record, truly huge amounts of luck involved, but even more than luck… truly huge teams of people talented, clueful, uncredited people involved. I was lucky enough to help bring in Flickr (who first came to my attention courtesy of an Engineer in Bangalore), but it was actually Flickr (specifically Stewart) who helped bring in upcoming.org, and Eckart Walther (a guy who actually deserves the word genius) who brought del.icio.us to Yahoo… Hack Day was all about Chad Dickerson, Brickhouse was all about Caterina Fake, Pipes was Pasha, etc. It sounds cliche, but surrounding myself with great people and getting out of their way has been a pretty good recipe for goodness… Especially when my own bosses (Jeff Weiner, Ash Patel) also subscribe to this strategy and clear all the roadblocks on my behalf.

Dave, I do expect that my team is going to flourish under the new regime… Jerry and Sue have pretty much been the exec champions for everything I’ve wanted to do…

iCult trading cards, collect the whole set

I was at the Web 2.0 Summit party tonight where there were a bunch of geeks. It seemed like everyone I met had an iPhone. Of course not Robert Sears, Chief Architect of Multimedia Experiences at Nokia. I proudly showed him I hadn’t yet joined the iCult, even if the rest of my family had. Whew, dodged that one. I came real close to buying an iPhone tonight before the party.

Anyway Sears smiled when I asked him if Nokia had an answer to the iPhone. Ahhh, I love the smell of cell phone competition in the evening, don’t you?

Well, to the point of this post I got some famous geeks showing off their new iPhones.

Matt Cutts, famous Google blogger:

Matt Cutts, famous Google blogger

Tom Hale, Adobe senior vice president of Adobe’s Knowledge Worker Solutions Business Unit (he told me to ask Apple if Flash would be coming on the iPhone too):

Tom Hale, Adobe

Kara Swisher, technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal and co-founder of the famous “D” conference (the only one where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates appeared together on stage).

Kara Swisher, technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal

Danny Kolke, CEO of Etelos, makers of CRM for Google, among other cool Web services:

Danny Kolke, CEO of Etelos

More iCult photos coming as I catch famous geeks with their iPhones.

Sears will be happy to know that all of these photos were shot with a Nokia N95.

Why Microsoft doesn’t deserve Facebook

First of all, think I’m the only one going gung-ho about Facebook? You’re nuts.

ReadWriteWeb is doing a week of nothing but Facebook.

I added a few more apps to my Facebook profile in the past day. My favorite application continues to be that Google Reader Shared Items one. It demonstrates the best value add that’s out there. It does something that could only be done on Facebook and with Facebook’s platform. Plus he’s been adding a new feature every day or so. Today he added groups to that app and it already is beating TechMeme on speed. I knew that when you study people’s reading behaviors that a new Digg or a new TechMeme is not only possible, but will bring something new to the table.

Anyway, back to my thesis. One of the things I found on the Google Reader facebook application was this post by Fred Wilson, A VC in NYC. In that post he tells why he believes Facebook won’t sell to anyone and if it did it’d get screwed up.

Now I used to advocate for all sorts of companies selling to Microsoft. Why? Well, for one, I thought it was smart for Microsoft to do. It would keep Microsoft part of the new Internet conversation and would bring some badly-needed fresh stream of ideas to its search team.

Now that I’m a Facebook nut case I am starting to care about what happens to Facebook and where it goes long term. I keep hearing that Microsoft is going to buy Facebook. That thought is starting to bum me out. Why? Microsoft doesn’t deserve Facebook.

Why do I say that? Well, Microsoft has remained on the sidelines in the new social services space for far too long. They haven’t bought best-of-breed anything in social software. Not in blogging. Not in photosharing. Not in bookmarking. Not in wiki’ing. Not in live search. Nothing. Not one best-of-breed company purchased.

So, they have no track record that would demonstrate that someone at Microsoft in leadership there “gets it.”

I’m sure they have lots of money to start throwing around, if they wanted to. It’s pretty obvious to me and most of the smart people in the tech industry that Facebook has value. You can argue about whether it’s $2 billion or $10 billion, but it clearly has value that lots of companies would love to have inhouse.

I personally hope it goes somewhere that the leadership will CARE about owning it, feeding it, and taking care of it. To me that means going someplace that has bought other social services. My top choice? Yahoo. Then Google. Yahoo has made a few mistakes with Flickr and its other services, for instance, but they are minor ones. For the most part they haven’t messed with those services after they bought them.

Microsoft has NO track record of buying best of breed social services on the Web and leaving them alone to mature.

The problem is that Microsoft has the money. They can outbid anyone. But I don’t think they deserve Facebook.

I vote for IPO since Yahoo isn’t able to put enough money on the table to close the deal. Readers over on Fred’s blog post say that Facebook should stay private.

What would you do if you ran Facebook?

Rick Smolan, iCult member, Facebooker, and famous photographer

Rick Smolan, famous photgrapher, did "Day in the Life" and "American 24/7" series of books

Rick Smolan just dropped by. He’s the photographer behind a series of hugely successful coffee-table books. Day in the Life. American 24/7. He has another project cooking for September 17th. Why is everything cool going to happen that day? TechCrunch 20. My son is due. Now yet another thing coming from Rick that you’ll want to be part of. More on that when he gives me permission to talk about it.

Anyway, he is a member of the iCult and is a Facebook friend. In fact, I just dropped a video onto my Facebook profile that we did here in University Coffee in Palo Alto (you have to add me as a Facebook friend to see the video). We’ll soon do a photowalking together too.

Why the iPhone makes us happy

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/07/PID_011912/Podtech_Apple_iPhoneDevCamp.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/3600/talking-emotional-software-design-in-games-and-iphone &totalTime=604000&breadcrumb=87952b9e250f456681142f3e395b886c]

Nicole Lazzaro is founder of XEODesign, which helps game companies make their games better (she’s been running that for 14 years). I met her at the iPhoneDevCamp where she gave me a lecture about why the iPhone is fun that just got put up on ScobleShow.