What I learned

So, last post was about me hitting back at all the personal insults and the inbalance of the blogosphere. As Len Edgerly said in my comments last night we like our junk food more than we like our broccoli, even if the broccoli is better for us.

Dave Winer this morning sent me a clear message: admit you made a mistake and move on.

Danny Sullivan continues the conversation.

First, to Dave Winer. Of COURSE I made a mistake. Anytime you open yourself up to personal attacks the kinds of which have been made on me the past few days that’s explicit evidence that I made a mistake in some kind of judgment. Even I get that. Especially punctuated when you get really smart people like Danny or you to attack.

But Dave’s right. Time to make an accounting of the mistakes and things I have learned.

The reason I’ve been quiet is to figure out what my mistakes were, and to glean some personal learning about it.

Here’s the mistakes I can see I made. I’m sure there’s at least 20 others, most of which have been pointed out in excruciating detail on the blogs I linked to on Monday:

1. Hooking my thesis to a technology that doesn’t have an obvious tie to search. TechMeme.
2. Hooking my thesis to a company that doesn’t yet have a good track record: Mahalo.
3. Attacking SEOs needlessly, which caused all sorts of people, including Danny Sullivan to get their hairs up in a fighting stance.
4. Doing too simplistic an analysis of how Google actually works.
5. Misjudging Google’s speed today. It took literally minutes for it to show up on searches.
6. Misjudging TechMeme’s ability to point at a short post and at video. Turns out if you get enough conversation going it probably will link to a one-word post. Gotta try that someday! :-)
7. Jumping into a battlefront (SEO’s vs. Google) without really understanding how that warfront will go.
8. Not making it clear that I was making some BIG assumptions. Like that Google won’t adopt and that Facebook will open up enough to make it possible to build a new kind of search engine in public on top.
9. Using the form of video, which makes it a lot harder for some people to consume. But, then, I’m doing R&D and am going to continue to use new technologies like Kyte to see what’s good and bad about them.
10. Hooking my thesis to a guy, Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, who has been pushing his stuff so hard lately that lots of people have turned him off. Or worse.

That’s a lot of mistakes for a 20-minute video on a Sunday morning.

But, as Tom Rolander, one of the guys who has made an even bigger mistake in his life and lived to see another day, says “every story has to have 10% fruit juice to be believed.”

So, what’s the fruit juice in my story?

1. Google is getting noisier and isn’t improving as fast as we’d like it. So, anyone who has an idea of how search is going to improve will get listened to. I think this is why Powerset and Spock got so much hype.
2. A lot of people have discovered social networks and services in the past six months. Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, Plaxo, not to mention Upcoming, Yelp, Flickr, Del.icio.us, Digg, etc. And we’re just starting to learn about how those are potentially going to change our life and the services we expect. So, anyone who can see a new pattern in how these will be used will get paid attention to.
3. Anything with a halfway interesting story about how an upstart like Facebook will beat Google will get listened to if for no other reason than to argue about it.
4. There’s a LOT of personal animosity against “a-listers” and anytime an a-lister gives everyone a chance to get that animosity out of their system it will be used.
5. Kyte.tv, the technology I used, is a lightening rod of its own. People either hated it or loved it. Many of you came by the chat room over the last three days and told us that. If you use a new technology to tell an interesting story that’ll increase the chances you’ll get listened to.
6. RSS has such a strong place now in how many of us consume information that when you mess with that reading behavior you’ll increase your chance of getting noticed.

So, to wrap this up. Did I learn my lessons? Are there others that I should have learned that I didn’t pay enough attention to?

172 thoughts on “What I learned

  1. I’ll preparing a presentation for Facebook Camp Montreal on how Facebook could compete/hit at Google. And MSN could steal huge search share now they’ve got a deal to serve Facebook’s text ads. Interested in the video/transscript, Mr. Scoble?

  2. I’ll preparing a presentation for Facebook Camp Montreal on how Facebook could compete/hit at Google. And MSN could steal huge search share now they’ve got a deal to serve Facebook’s text ads. Interested in the video/transscript, Mr. Scoble?

  3. I’ll preparing a presentation for Facebook Camp Montreal on how Facebook could compete/hit at Google. And MSN could steal huge search share now they’ve got a deal to serve Facebook’s text ads. Interested in the video/transscript, Mr. Scoble?

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  5. “7. Jumping into a battlefront (SEO’s vs. Google) without really understanding how that warfront will go.”

    Seriously?
    C’mon Robert, there is no war between SEO’s and Google. By putting the statement in those words, you are still implying that ALL seo’s are evil.

    It comes across like a snide attack on SEO’s, only four points after:
    “3. Attacking SEOs needlessly…”

    You might want to clarify that.

  6. “7. Jumping into a battlefront (SEO’s vs. Google) without really understanding how that warfront will go.”

    Seriously?
    C’mon Robert, there is no war between SEO’s and Google. By putting the statement in those words, you are still implying that ALL seo’s are evil.

    It comes across like a snide attack on SEO’s, only four points after:
    “3. Attacking SEOs needlessly…”

    You might want to clarify that.

  7. “7. Jumping into a battlefront (SEO’s vs. Google) without really understanding how that warfront will go.”

    Seriously?
    C’mon Robert, there is no war between SEO’s and Google. By putting the statement in those words, you are still implying that ALL seo’s are evil.

    It comes across like a snide attack on SEO’s, only four points after:
    “3. Attacking SEOs needlessly…”

    You might want to clarify that.

  8. In the world of surgery, there is a saying that if you do not have any complications it means you haven’t operated enough

    It’s all publicity and as long as you are willing to share so we can all learn from eah other’s mistakes, don’t sweat it

  9. In the world of surgery, there is a saying that if you do not have any complications it means you haven’t operated enough

    It’s all publicity and as long as you are willing to share so we can all learn from eah other’s mistakes, don’t sweat it

  10. In the world of surgery, there is a saying that if you do not have any complications it means you haven’t operated enough

    It’s all publicity and as long as you are willing to share so we can all learn from eah other’s mistakes, don’t sweat it

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  12. I watched your video where you showed that Mahalo is better than Google at searching for “HDTV” and I thought I’d try it with my current research interest, “composting toilets”. Well, Mahalo has nothing at all about “composting toilets” and google has plenty, with no SEO problems. I think “HDTV” is a bit of a special case — it’s a topic that tech bloggers write a lot about and that SEOs fight over. But “composting toilets” is at the other extreme — nothing at all from the tech bloggers and no SEOs are messing with it.

  13. I watched your video where you showed that Mahalo is better than Google at searching for “HDTV” and I thought I’d try it with my current research interest, “composting toilets”. Well, Mahalo has nothing at all about “composting toilets” and google has plenty, with no SEO problems. I think “HDTV” is a bit of a special case — it’s a topic that tech bloggers write a lot about and that SEOs fight over. But “composting toilets” is at the other extreme — nothing at all from the tech bloggers and no SEOs are messing with it.

  14. I watched your video where you showed that Mahalo is better than Google at searching for “HDTV” and I thought I’d try it with my current research interest, “composting toilets”. Well, Mahalo has nothing at all about “composting toilets” and google has plenty, with no SEO problems. I think “HDTV” is a bit of a special case — it’s a topic that tech bloggers write a lot about and that SEOs fight over. But “composting toilets” is at the other extreme — nothing at all from the tech bloggers and no SEOs are messing with it.

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