Microsoft may buy part of Facebook

Wow, I go to lunch with my parents and the entire world shifts due to a Wall Street Journal report that Microsoft may buy part of Facebook which would value Facebook at $10 billion or so.

Too bad that Microsoft’s management didn’t listen to Jeff Sandquist and others two years ago.

Funny, you know Dave Morin? He works at Facebook on the app platform now but used to work at Apple. He told me that he tried to get Apple to pay attention too. But got frustrated with Apple’s inability to get Facebook. So, he left to join Facebook.

What’s funny, he told me, is now a good percentage of Apple employees are on Facebook. At the latest Apple press conference I noticed that Steve Jobs even showed off the iPhone Facebook app on stage.

Here's the FeedHub videos

As talked about earlier, here’s the FeedHub videos.


[podtech content= &totalTime=1319000&breadcrumb=e6fd5373fef847a687cf5f7aec2754f9]


[podtech content= &totalTime=530000&breadcrumb=f70171739f0246cf8bf61fac2699acd9]

Demofall 2007 — companies to watch

Read/WriteWeb has a good preview of companies to watch at DEMOfall 2007, which starts today in San Diego, CA. Here’s the full list of all the presenters coming this week.

I think they missed one that’s worthy of including, though: SceneCaster. Mashable has a writeup of SceneCaster. I’ll have a video of them up soon.

Why? SceneCaster is aimed at Second Life. But it gets rid of some of the real negatives that Second Life has. What are those negatives?

1. You can’t get more than about 80 people into any one space. This makes it very tough to use Second Life for commercial experiences. SceneCaster doesn’t have those limitations.
2. You can’t embed Second Life onto Web pages or Facebook profiles. SceneCaster lets you do just that, which makes it far easier to navigate around for novices.
3. SecondLife isn’t well integrated into other Web stores of 3D objects. SceneCaster integrates Google’s 3D Warehouse.
4. Kids are kept out of the main grid in Second Life where on SceneCaster each scene is controlled by the owner. So my scenes will allow kids in and others might have different rules.
5. Because each scene is embeded into a Web page we can link to scenes a lot easier than we can link to them on Second Life.

What doesn’t it do that Second Life will? It isn’t a complete world the way Second Life is, although that world gets people lost which causes high churn rates of people who try it for a while and get bored and leave before discovering that there’s a world that might keep their attention.

Downside? Windows only right now (they are working on a Mac version).

Any other Demo companies that we should pay attention to?

Let’s do what we did with TechCrunch 40 last week. I’ll pick SceneCaster as my favorite company that I’ve seen so far.

Anyone want to pick the company that’ll get the most hype coming out of Demo?

Oh, and there’s a TON of news coming through the feeds this morning due to Demo. I’ve put the best stuff on my link blog.

Another cool thing that Read/WriteWeb didn’t mention? YourTrumanShow, which now will be called “VideoMap.” Mashable wrote that up too.

My weird life…

First of all, Jim Long is an NBC camera dude who is on Twitter. That alone is weird enough. But his Tweet tonight?

“thanks new dad!!! how’s the sleep?? hey White House press secretary Scott Stanzel had nice things to say bout you!!

Whoa? Who the heck?

I remember Scott Stanzel from Microsoft. It hadn’t registered that this was the same Scott. Wikipedia reports that Scott left Microsoft in October to join the White House.

Wild! I told Jim “Scott’s a great guy for a Republican.”

Maybe it’s time for a tour of the White House? Jim also told me that Scott is a big social media advocate.

Oh, and I’m getting some sleep, just at random times. πŸ™‚

Is FeedHub the answer to information overload?

I’ve been playing with mSpoke’s FeedHub, releasing today at the Demo Conference. I’ll have a video up later today demonstrating the product.

Dan Farber has a review and info up on his ZDNet blog.

I’ve been interested i this topic for some time. Right now I’m reading 848 feeds for my link blog in Google Reader. I’m way overloaded with feeds. Now, imagine I only had 10 minutes a day to catch up on my feeds, how would I do that?

Well, the answer up to now was TechMeme or one of its sisters.

TechMeme actually works great. Tracks thousands of news feeds and every few minutes it remeasures which ones are most important. Problem is that TechMeme only covers tech news. Its sister sites cover gossip, or regular news/politics, or baseball.

But what about 800 custom feeds that you hand picked?

Well, that’s what FeedHub is aimed at.

You put your feeds into it and FeedHub will pick the best stuff to show you out of those feeds.

One problem: for me it doesn’t work. It doesn’t pick the stuff I’d really like to read from my feeds. Almost none of the items match my link blog, for instance.

Now, keep in mind that you’re not supposed to judge FeedHub by its first results. You’re supposed to train it. By using the feed items and clicking on the ones you like, and voting up certain topics, over time it will start bringing ou a lot more stuff that matches your interests.

That’s cool, but I haven’t gotten to that level of commitment with it yet to find out if it really works that well.

I really want to believe in it, though, because I think something like this holds some major keys to information overload and giving us a “custom TechMeme.”

I’ll keep playing with this and see if I can get it to work well for me.

Some other concerns:

1. How big a market is there for a “custom TechMeme?” Not too many people I know are trying to read hundreds of feeds. Certainly not many busy executives who are looking for alternatives.
2. How will they make money? Advertising in the feed items? That’ll make reusing them far less popular and, even, could add its own new noise that’d offset the time savings.
3. What will they do with the attention information they are collecting? Let’s assume that they’ll get everyone who reads feeds to use it, well, then they’ll know more about us and our behavior than even Google does today.

How about you? Any of you playing with this? Are you looking for ways to subscribe to new feeds and get a custom Techmeme?

Oh, one more caveat. It takes up to a day to start working. So if you just try it for a few minutes you’ll have a totally unsatisfactory experience.

UPDATE: Got the videos up here.

Dawn takes on TechCrunch

Dawn Douglass of MyFridj

That’s Dawn Douglass, in her booth at TechCrunch 40.

She takes on TechCrunch in a scathing post.

Writes “But I think TechCrunch is vulnerable as a company. Why? Because Arrington is abusing that power.”

Among other things.

She also notes “As a startup, isn’t it shooting yourself in the foot to openly, much less publicly, criticize the one who can create positive or negative buzz about something that you have poured your heart, soul and financial security into? ”

I know both Dawn and Mike. Dawn is the softest person you might imagine. I find her a breath of fresh air when it comes to entrepreneurs who are trying to get people to pay attention to their efforts. But now I know she speaks softly and carries a big stick!

As to the DemoPit. There was one thing I really hated about the DemoPit: The signage totally sucked. I walked around and couldn’t tell what any company did. That meant I’d need to go up to them and ask. Which guaranteed a four-minute pitch. Most of the time when I did that it was with companies I really didn’t care about. Please, Mike and Jason, next time you do that include a sign that has a sentence about what the company does. That’ll greatly increase the number of vendors I’ll go up to and engage with.

What do you think?

UPDATE: in defense of Jason and Mike, doing a 1.0 conference on the scale of TechCrunch 40 is really pretty awesome. Most of our industry conferences have had quite a few years to get to the place that TechCrunch got on the first one. Back in the 1990s I used to help plan conferences and they aren’t easy to do and rarely do they go completely how you plan. I remember seeing Mike a few days before TechCrunch 40 and he hadn’t slept, obviously was pouring his entire being into this. That’s something to be defended as well.

The 10 rules of Twitter (and how I break every one)

If you follow the talk over on Twitter you’ll see that there are some unwritten “rules” and that I am breaking lots of those rules and pissing lots of people off.

I break the rules so you don’t have to. πŸ™‚

So, what are they?

1. Never send more than 140 characters. I break this rule all the time because what I have to say simply doesn’t fit into 140 characters. So, why not just say it on my blog? Easy. I’m reacting to something someone said to me on Twitter. What happens on Twitter should stay in Twitter.
2. Never Tweet more than five times a day. First, a “Tweet” is a Twitter message. So, why no more than five times a day? Because if you post more than that you are in danger of pushing other people’s messages off of the home page of your follower’s Twitter. Last night one guy complained that all he saw on his Twitter account was my messages.
3. Never follow more than 300 people. Why is this a rule? Because if you follow 5,700 people, like I do, then you’ll be tempted to answer lots of those Tweets, which will put you in danger of breaking #2. See next rule.
4. Never follow anyone who isn’t your “real” friend. This will help you keep your friends’ list down to less than 300, which will keep you from breaking rule #2.
5. Don’t assume other people are having the same experience you are. My experience with Twitter? I get 20 new Tweets inbound EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. It’s like a 24/7 chat room for me. But for you? Most of you only follow 30 people, so to you it’s more akin to instant messaging with just your friends. If you subscribe to a noisy jerk, like me, you’ll get overrun. Me? I just tell my friends who complain that they don’t have enough friends. πŸ™‚
6. Don’t post thoughts across multiple Tweets (see #1). I do this often and it pisses people off. They think that the 140 character limit was there for a reason. The real reason is that SMS can’t handle more than 140 characters.
7. The Twitter question is “what are we doing?” It’s NOT “what do you think about XXXX?” I break this rule all the time cause, well, I have opinions and Twitter is my way of sharing short opinions with the world. Sue me.
8. Follow one person for every 10 who follows you. Me? I follow EVERY person who follows me, as Dave Winer points out. Why? Cause I believe that anyone who follows me is a friend and is someone I should listen to. Other people think it’s just a publishing mechanism for posting their URLs and other stuff to the world.
9. If other people are telling you you’re spamming, you should listen to them. Me? I tell them to screw off. Why? Because if I’m being too noisy then there’s a little button called “unfollow.” Why should I change my behavior to suit others? Many other people tell me they like my noisy behavior. One thing I like about Twitter is that you don’t need to follow people you think are jerks.
10. Don’t put things into Twitter that aren’t designed for Twitter like photos, audio, etc. Me? I use TwitterGram and am playing with Flickr embeds too. Why not push it around?

Anyway, are there other rules I don’t know about? I’d like to break those, too.