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 want to briefly explain my belief on the future of search.

    I believe we must granulate and organize content in viewable trees. And we will need better tree and multi-dim spreadsheet software to do such, which I’m working on. Algorithms will assist us, if not do a bulk of the work. But the data will be open, so anybody can sort it, not just private algorithms. Also I posted a video about tagging and search on youtube at davidnode

    Peacz

  2. I want to briefly explain my belief on the future of search.

    I believe we must granulate and organize content in viewable trees. And we will need better tree and multi-dim spreadsheet software to do such, which I’m working on. Algorithms will assist us, if not do a bulk of the work. But the data will be open, so anybody can sort it, not just private algorithms. Also I posted a video about tagging and search on youtube at davidnode

    Peacz

  3. I want to briefly explain my belief on the future of search.

    I believe we must granulate and organize content in viewable trees. And we will need better tree and multi-dim spreadsheet software to do such, which I’m working on. Algorithms will assist us, if not do a bulk of the work. But the data will be open, so anybody can sort it, not just private algorithms. Also I posted a video about tagging and search on youtube at davidnode

    Peacz

  4. @52 “Byron: I’m glad I’m not associated with you in business”

    Well,I’m not sure what you are tyring to say there. I was simply tyring to say that I think you would be much better off disassociating yourself, careerwise, with Podtech.

  5. @52 “Byron: I’m glad I’m not associated with you in business”

    Well,I’m not sure what you are tyring to say there. I was simply tyring to say that I think you would be much better off disassociating yourself, careerwise, with Podtech.

  6. @52 “Byron: I’m glad I’m not associated with you in business”

    Well,I’m not sure what you are tyring to say there. I was simply tyring to say that I think you would be much better off disassociating yourself, careerwise, with Podtech.

  7. “Dan: do you really know what you’re going to want to be doing in 2009?”

    Yes.

    “Do you sign exclusive employment contracts that long into the future?”

    Yes. A lot of people do: it’s called enlisting.

    2009 is barely more than 15 months away; I would have expected you to at least sign to be there for the next year, if not the entirety of 2008.

  8. “Dan: do you really know what you’re going to want to be doing in 2009?”

    Yes.

    “Do you sign exclusive employment contracts that long into the future?”

    Yes. A lot of people do: it’s called enlisting.

    2009 is barely more than 15 months away; I would have expected you to at least sign to be there for the next year, if not the entirety of 2008.

  9. “Dan: do you really know what you’re going to want to be doing in 2009?”

    Yes.

    “Do you sign exclusive employment contracts that long into the future?”

    Yes. A lot of people do: it’s called enlisting.

    2009 is barely more than 15 months away; I would have expected you to at least sign to be there for the next year, if not the entirety of 2008.

  10. The psychologists and brain scientists are on your side. My view is that we have only just touched on the potential and power of social networks and as they evolve (assuming that the control freaks don’t have too much sway) the commons ‘recommendation, evaluate and publish’ capability will be cut a swathe in the need for search.

  11. The psychologists and brain scientists are on your side. My view is that we have only just touched on the potential and power of social networks and as they evolve (assuming that the control freaks don’t have too much sway) the commons ‘recommendation, evaluate and publish’ capability will be cut a swathe in the need for search.

  12. The psychologists and brain scientists are on your side. My view is that we have only just touched on the potential and power of social networks and as they evolve (assuming that the control freaks don’t have too much sway) the commons ‘recommendation, evaluate and publish’ capability will be cut a swathe in the need for search.

  13. hi robert,

    i think search engines are going to evolve into answer, facts and recommendation engines. I talk a little about it here:
    http://www.michaelhoover.org/mike/2007/08/delicious-is-th.html

    You’ll still have pure search, of course…but that functionality will be commoditized over time(first steps are nutch and the internet archive tools). Once you have a vast majority of the webs url’s in a database, you can apply a ranking algorithm in context: pagerank, peoplerank, authority, raw inbound link count, etc. It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible.

  14. hi robert,

    i think search engines are going to evolve into answer, facts and recommendation engines. I talk a little about it here:
    http://www.michaelhoover.org/mike/2007/08/delicious-is-th.html

    You’ll still have pure search, of course…but that functionality will be commoditized over time(first steps are nutch and the internet archive tools). Once you have a vast majority of the webs url’s in a database, you can apply a ranking algorithm in context: pagerank, peoplerank, authority, raw inbound link count, etc. It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible.

  15. hi robert,

    i think search engines are going to evolve into answer, facts and recommendation engines. I talk a little about it here:
    http://www.michaelhoover.org/mike/2007/08/delicious-is-th.html

    You’ll still have pure search, of course…but that functionality will be commoditized over time(first steps are nutch and the internet archive tools). Once you have a vast majority of the webs url’s in a database, you can apply a ranking algorithm in context: pagerank, peoplerank, authority, raw inbound link count, etc. It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible.

  16. TDavid:

    1) Speed to produce. It’s the fastest to produce video technology out there. Far faster than YouTube or anything else I’ve used.
    2) Chat. The chat lets you upload video, audio, text.
    3) Distribution. It’s on Facebook and Nokia mobile phones and lets me upload video and audio from my Nokia phone.

  17. TDavid:

    1) Speed to produce. It’s the fastest to produce video technology out there. Far faster than YouTube or anything else I’ve used.
    2) Chat. The chat lets you upload video, audio, text.
    3) Distribution. It’s on Facebook and Nokia mobile phones and lets me upload video and audio from my Nokia phone.

  18. TDavid:

    1) Speed to produce. It’s the fastest to produce video technology out there. Far faster than YouTube or anything else I’ve used.
    2) Chat. The chat lets you upload video, audio, text.
    3) Distribution. It’s on Facebook and Nokia mobile phones and lets me upload video and audio from my Nokia phone.

  19. Robert – maybe I’ve missed the post, but why did you choose Kyte.tv over other offerings? The reason I ask isn’t to criticize but out of curiosity. I’m wondering if I missed something special about Kyte.tv (?)

  20. Robert – maybe I’ve missed the post, but why did you choose Kyte.tv over other offerings? The reason I ask isn’t to criticize but out of curiosity. I’m wondering if I missed something special about Kyte.tv (?)

  21. Robert – maybe I’ve missed the post, but why did you choose Kyte.tv over other offerings? The reason I ask isn’t to criticize but out of curiosity. I’m wondering if I missed something special about Kyte.tv (?)

  22. Dan: do you really know what you’re going to want to be doing in 2009? Do you sign exclusive employment contracts that long into the future? I might if I were Barry Bonds and had millions of dollars on the table, but that isn’t the case.

    Silicon Valley moves way too fast to take such a long-term approach with your career.

    Byron: I’m glad I’m not associated with you in business.

  23. Dan: do you really know what you’re going to want to be doing in 2009? Do you sign exclusive employment contracts that long into the future? I might if I were Barry Bonds and had millions of dollars on the table, but that isn’t the case.

    Silicon Valley moves way too fast to take such a long-term approach with your career.

    Byron: I’m glad I’m not associated with you in business.

  24. Dan: do you really know what you’re going to want to be doing in 2009? Do you sign exclusive employment contracts that long into the future? I might if I were Barry Bonds and had millions of dollars on the table, but that isn’t the case.

    Silicon Valley moves way too fast to take such a long-term approach with your career.

    Byron: I’m glad I’m not associated with you in business.

  25. “I just signed a contract with PodTech for Q1, 2008″

    That’s not really that long. Why only Q1? Why not an exclusive contract through 2009?

  26. “I just signed a contract with PodTech for Q1, 2008″

    That’s not really that long. Why only Q1? Why not an exclusive contract through 2009?

  27. “I just signed a contract with PodTech for Q1, 2008″

    That’s not really that long. Why only Q1? Why not an exclusive contract through 2009?

  28. you know as I read through this blog the following thoughts ran through my head
    1- the NYT has a corrections page, but it doesn’t really get much notice.
    2- I recently read an article about a guy turning soft after he had a kid. Are you turning soft before having another?
    3- a lawyer once taught me the greatest lesson of all: never apologize! ….the others will do it for you. (<- literally)

  29. you know as I read through this blog the following thoughts ran through my head
    1- the NYT has a corrections page, but it doesn’t really get much notice.
    2- I recently read an article about a guy turning soft after he had a kid. Are you turning soft before having another?
    3- a lawyer once taught me the greatest lesson of all: never apologize! ….the others will do it for you. (<- literally)

  30. you know as I read through this blog the following thoughts ran through my head
    1- the NYT has a corrections page, but it doesn’t really get much notice.
    2- I recently read an article about a guy turning soft after he had a kid. Are you turning soft before having another?
    3- a lawyer once taught me the greatest lesson of all: never apologize! ….the others will do it for you. (<- literally)

  31. @32 “For Valleywag: I just signed a contract with PodTech for Q1, 2008, so am not going anywhere. Nice guessing, though!”

    It appears you are no fan of Valleywag, but is it really worth committing career suicide to prove them wrong? You can do better than PodTech.

  32. @32 “For Valleywag: I just signed a contract with PodTech for Q1, 2008, so am not going anywhere. Nice guessing, though!”

    It appears you are no fan of Valleywag, but is it really worth committing career suicide to prove them wrong? You can do better than PodTech.

  33. @32 “For Valleywag: I just signed a contract with PodTech for Q1, 2008, so am not going anywhere. Nice guessing, though!”

    It appears you are no fan of Valleywag, but is it really worth committing career suicide to prove them wrong? You can do better than PodTech.

  34. Monkey Boy, no internet? No mobile signal? In the UK?? You must live in a stone cottage on a tiny islet in a far-flung corner of the Outer Hebrides…

  35. Monkey Boy, no internet? No mobile signal? In the UK?? You must live in a stone cottage on a tiny islet in a far-flung corner of the Outer Hebrides…

  36. Monkey Boy, no internet? No mobile signal? In the UK?? You must live in a stone cottage on a tiny islet in a far-flung corner of the Outer Hebrides…

  37. Robert,

    I think what you did with your videos was trying to put in words what you felt intuitively in the Web zeitgeist. You learn by experience and you try to share those intuitions with us. I think you ruffled some cartesian feathers when you tried to support you theory but it does not matter. You contributed to making all of us think more about how social media & social search could impact our ecosystem. People will build on these ideas and improve them.

  38. Robert,

    I think what you did with your videos was trying to put in words what you felt intuitively in the Web zeitgeist. You learn by experience and you try to share those intuitions with us. I think you ruffled some cartesian feathers when you tried to support you theory but it does not matter. You contributed to making all of us think more about how social media & social search could impact our ecosystem. People will build on these ideas and improve them.

  39. Robert,

    I think what you did with your videos was trying to put in words what you felt intuitively in the Web zeitgeist. You learn by experience and you try to share those intuitions with us. I think you ruffled some cartesian feathers when you tried to support you theory but it does not matter. You contributed to making all of us think more about how social media & social search could impact our ecosystem. People will build on these ideas and improve them.

  40. I call it the “Scoble God Curve”, Scoble starts off at the bottom of the curve, slowly going up the slope of ‘I am humble’, then to ‘I know all’ up up up to ‘My posts are more important than Gods’ until he gets a bit too excited and posts something with far to much excitement and no real content. Then crash. The curve drops back to normal. Then slowly start building up again :-)

    It is a kind of saw tooth, shark tooth, wave shape. Slowly up the slope, peak, then crash. I like it when he’s up near the God status. The comments come flooding in. The trolls start their engines. Big media start taking an interest…

    haha…

    Like it?

    BTW SEO is important. How can I get the word out about my amazing, FREE, OPEN SOURCE, flash charts ( http://teethgrinder.co.uk/open-flash-chart/ ) without SEO? :-) :-P

    SEO helps tell people the my charts are GPL and LGPL so can be included in commercial web sites – no problem! :-D

    I wish I had an iPhone. We don’t even have a land line at home, no internet :-( No mobile phone signal… hahaha welcome to the UK

    monk.e.boy

  41. I call it the “Scoble God Curve”, Scoble starts off at the bottom of the curve, slowly going up the slope of ‘I am humble’, then to ‘I know all’ up up up to ‘My posts are more important than Gods’ until he gets a bit too excited and posts something with far to much excitement and no real content. Then crash. The curve drops back to normal. Then slowly start building up again :-)

    It is a kind of saw tooth, shark tooth, wave shape. Slowly up the slope, peak, then crash. I like it when he’s up near the God status. The comments come flooding in. The trolls start their engines. Big media start taking an interest…

    haha…

    Like it?

    BTW SEO is important. How can I get the word out about my amazing, FREE, OPEN SOURCE, flash charts ( http://teethgrinder.co.uk/open-flash-chart/ ) without SEO? :-) :-P

    SEO helps tell people the my charts are GPL and LGPL so can be included in commercial web sites – no problem! :-D

    I wish I had an iPhone. We don’t even have a land line at home, no internet :-( No mobile phone signal… hahaha welcome to the UK

    monk.e.boy

  42. I call it the “Scoble God Curve”, Scoble starts off at the bottom of the curve, slowly going up the slope of ‘I am humble’, then to ‘I know all’ up up up to ‘My posts are more important than Gods’ until he gets a bit too excited and posts something with far to much excitement and no real content. Then crash. The curve drops back to normal. Then slowly start building up again :-)

    It is a kind of saw tooth, shark tooth, wave shape. Slowly up the slope, peak, then crash. I like it when he’s up near the God status. The comments come flooding in. The trolls start their engines. Big media start taking an interest…

    haha…

    Like it?

    BTW SEO is important. How can I get the word out about my amazing, FREE, OPEN SOURCE, flash charts ( http://teethgrinder.co.uk/open-flash-chart/ ) without SEO? :-) :-P

    SEO helps tell people the my charts are GPL and LGPL so can be included in commercial web sites – no problem! :-D

    I wish I had an iPhone. We don’t even have a land line at home, no internet :-( No mobile phone signal… hahaha welcome to the UK

    monk.e.boy

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