Back home from MySpace

MySpace tour

What an awesome treatment Rocky and I got at MySpace. We had full access to their executive team for hours today.

We just got home after driving for seven hours, so will try to get a post up tomorrow sometime (although we have a busy schedule tomorrow, too, starting at 8 a.m. at Cisco). This set of interviews and tours inside MySpace will definitely be part of our launch package on March 3.

Chris DeWolfe, MySpace CEO, in his office

Just wanted to say thank you to Dani Dudeck, who arranged a world-class tour and set of interviews (it was the best access I’ve had to a company since leaving Microsoft — starting with a fun interview with Chris DeWolfe, CEO/Founder, pictured here).

First impression? I have way underestimated MySpace. They have some serious tools to use in the fight for developers. Heck, the posters on almost every wall which documented some cool secret concert somewhere is a good demonstration of the coolness this company can call upon to engage with developers (and some of the developers hinted that they have a few surprises under their sleeves). One other advantage? MySpace is already available in 25 countries and has a passionate and loyal audience (my son’s friends, for instance, won’t switch to Facebook, and neither will my brother, who advertises his Virginia bar on MySpace).

A board I found on one MySpace'ers desk

And what’s up with this guy? He’s Tom Anderson and he wants to be everyone’s friend. I thought I had a lot of friends until I compared to Tom: he has more than 100 million friends on MySpace. Of course he’s automatically added to everyone’s profile, which you’ll hear in the videos, is a competitive advantage for MySpace. Yes, they did point out that they don’t have any technical limitations on the numbers of friends one person could have on their system.

Tom Anderson makes another friend

When you see the videos you’ll see that MySpace has a philosophy. One that says that users should be free to express themselves in pretty much whatever way they want. If that means yellow text on a blinking purple background, so be it.

Steven Pearman, runs product development for MySpace

Who’s the keeper of that philosophy? Steve Pearman (seen here). He demonstrated something that I wish more corporate types would demonstrate (including me). He pointed out several times in our interview that he doesn’t have any claim on knowing the right way to do something. He said that even if he were pretty correct, say, that 95% of MySpace’s users agreed with him, that’d mean that millions of people would still disagree with his decision.

Imagine that kind of pressure to get it absolutely right. He came up with an interesting answer, which we’ll save for the video on March 3.

Anyway, gotta get some sleep so I can be ready to talk with Cisco executives in the morning.

Oh, and as always, all of my photos are completely in the public domain so you can use them for whatever you’d like without giving me credit or anything in return. That’s a gift from me and Fast Company Magazine.

Comments

  1. Myspace has an immature image to get over. There’s potential there but it’s a spamfest of the highest order and seems aimed at teenagers rather than budding individuals, which is a shame.

    One day a platform will find the comfortable reach of livejournal and combine it with the “trendy” set for everyone to have their own little space.

  2. Myspace has an immature image to get over. There’s potential there but it’s a spamfest of the highest order and seems aimed at teenagers rather than budding individuals, which is a shame.

    One day a platform will find the comfortable reach of livejournal and combine it with the “trendy” set for everyone to have their own little space.

  3. Oh noes. Start the MySpace loving cycle on Scobleizer.com

    Expect you to flip and become a MySpace hater in about 3 months :)

  4. Oh noes. Start the MySpace loving cycle on Scobleizer.com

    Expect you to flip and become a MySpace hater in about 3 months :)

  5. Scoble – the problem isn’t that you CAN put purple on yellow or add blinking and scrolling Flash, it’s that you don’t know it’s coming and you can’t turn it off.

    You can unknowingly load a page that has 1.5 MB of embedded “THANKS 4 THE ADD DOOOD” photobucket images, a flux of inane comments, and flash that triggers a cacaphony of noise and blinking. And that’s obnoxious. And that’s why so many people hate it, because it’s not only ugly, it can flat out hijack your browser.

    If I could turn off this embedding without adding plugins or custom CSS to my browser, I might not be boycotting MySpace.

  6. Scoble – the problem isn’t that you CAN put purple on yellow or add blinking and scrolling Flash, it’s that you don’t know it’s coming and you can’t turn it off.

    You can unknowingly load a page that has 1.5 MB of embedded “THANKS 4 THE ADD DOOOD” photobucket images, a flux of inane comments, and flash that triggers a cacaphony of noise and blinking. And that’s obnoxious. And that’s why so many people hate it, because it’s not only ugly, it can flat out hijack your browser.

    If I could turn off this embedding without adding plugins or custom CSS to my browser, I might not be boycotting MySpace.

  7. My Space will gain ascendancy if they embrace opensocial AND data portability

    on the first front – it gives them access to open source apps
    that will – given the size of the camp – eclipse FB

    on the second front – smart social networks will come to understand the wisdom of the ‘if you love them set them free’ philosophy that many espouse but few put into practise.

    And adopting a Plaxo approach to identity/content management

    anyhow
    exciting times
    Billions at stake
    Social media reminds me of the Russian saying
    “Tovarich – we are all equal – its just that some of us are more equal than others”

    Pass the popcorn
    Miro
    http://miroslodki.wordpress.com
    http://www.canadianmarketingblog.com/contributors/miro-slodki/

  8. My Space will gain ascendancy if they embrace opensocial AND data portability

    on the first front – it gives them access to open source apps
    that will – given the size of the camp – eclipse FB

    on the second front – smart social networks will come to understand the wisdom of the ‘if you love them set them free’ philosophy that many espouse but few put into practise.

    And adopting a Plaxo approach to identity/content management

    anyhow
    exciting times
    Billions at stake
    Social media reminds me of the Russian saying
    “Tovarich – we are all equal – its just that some of us are more equal than others”

    Pass the popcorn
    Miro
    http://miroslodki.wordpress.com
    http://www.canadianmarketingblog.com/contributors/miro-slodki/

  9. I would prefer if everyone would just get a wordpress.org or wordpress.com blog! It would make life a lot better for everyone. That said, I use Facebook mostly for my international friends (UK,AU,NZ,CA,etc) and I use myspace for…uhhhhhh….well not much, but I have a page. There are a few people that I can only get in touch with on myspace so if I need to contact them I log in.

  10. I would prefer if everyone would just get a wordpress.org or wordpress.com blog! It would make life a lot better for everyone. That said, I use Facebook mostly for my international friends (UK,AU,NZ,CA,etc) and I use myspace for…uhhhhhh….well not much, but I have a page. There are a few people that I can only get in touch with on myspace so if I need to contact them I log in.

  11. I stopped using MySpace after all of my text links broke and for some reason became unrepairable. I just don’t believe in its reliability.

  12. I stopped using MySpace after all of my text links broke and for some reason became unrepairable. I just don’t believe in its reliability.

  13. I completely agree with Adam. Myspace lets the owner of the individual page do whatever they want, but whoever is visiting it has no control over what they see, hear, or how long it takes for the page to load. That’s why I think they’re on the way out.

  14. I completely agree with Adam. Myspace lets the owner of the individual page do whatever they want, but whoever is visiting it has no control over what they see, hear, or how long it takes for the page to load. That’s why I think they’re on the way out.

  15. I stopped using MySpace when 4 out of 5 invites were to join some whore’s group of friends.

    I want my online activity to be real and not loaded with the kind of spam that makes normal folks hate the internet.

  16. I stopped using MySpace when 4 out of 5 invites were to join some whore’s group of friends.

    I want my online activity to be real and not loaded with the kind of spam that makes normal folks hate the internet.

  17. HTML circa 1996, spam-opt-in posing as a “social network”, fake gerbil-like online “friends” activity, celebrity and band advertising the height of the intellectual reach, crude and insane comments (posters that even make Digg and YouTube commenters look good), filled to brim with online sociopaths, all with no real application for anyone over 21.

    In a perfect world, MySpace wouldn’t exist, but then I have tons of email “friends” that STILL do inane FWD jokes from late 90′s, suckers a second. But only a matter of time, (one can hope) until all get jaded and cynical.

    Facebook to Scoble-hate took less than 2 weeks. MySpace, I predict, would take 2 days. Anytime the Scoble hype hits high-gear, just give it 2 weeks or so…as a 180 right around the corner.

  18. HTML circa 1996, spam-opt-in posing as a “social network”, fake gerbil-like online “friends” activity, celebrity and band advertising the height of the intellectual reach, crude and insane comments (posters that even make Digg and YouTube commenters look good), filled to brim with online sociopaths, all with no real application for anyone over 21.

    In a perfect world, MySpace wouldn’t exist, but then I have tons of email “friends” that STILL do inane FWD jokes from late 90′s, suckers a second. But only a matter of time, (one can hope) until all get jaded and cynical.

    Facebook to Scoble-hate took less than 2 weeks. MySpace, I predict, would take 2 days. Anytime the Scoble hype hits high-gear, just give it 2 weeks or so…as a 180 right around the corner.

  19. The problem with the freedom they give users is that most people have something equally as bad as yellow text on a blinking purple background.

  20. The problem with the freedom they give users is that most people have something equally as bad as yellow text on a blinking purple background.

  21. I would rather have my eyes gouged out and my ears ripped off than use MySpace.

    Which is actually rather like the experience of using MySpace. It’s horrific. Sure, it gives you powerful tools to reshape your profile page, problem is as with any tools it’s far easier to produce something ugly than something beautiful, so the vast majority of MySpace pages are a brutal assualt on the senses.

    It’s just dire. There may be hundreds of millions of people on it, or whatever, but in the long run Facebook is going to eat it alive.

  22. I would rather have my eyes gouged out and my ears ripped off than use MySpace.

    Which is actually rather like the experience of using MySpace. It’s horrific. Sure, it gives you powerful tools to reshape your profile page, problem is as with any tools it’s far easier to produce something ugly than something beautiful, so the vast majority of MySpace pages are a brutal assualt on the senses.

    It’s just dire. There may be hundreds of millions of people on it, or whatever, but in the long run Facebook is going to eat it alive.

  23. It’s amazing how polarizing MySpace continues to be.

    For the record, I hate it — for the specific “how the fark can you allow automagic-playing crappy music to assault me” type of reason.

    Everyone I know TAKES TIME TO TURN DOWN THE VOLUME BEFORE THEY GO TO A MYSPACE PAGE.

    I can NOT believe how this has not been fixed. It is a one-time, easy, across the board, what-do-you-lose fix.

    Well, I guess that’s why MySpace is not Facebook.

    Facebook seems to be aspiring to be the next MySpace though.

    The word is ex-fad. Ch-ch-ch-chia.

  24. It’s amazing how polarizing MySpace continues to be.

    For the record, I hate it — for the specific “how the fark can you allow automagic-playing crappy music to assault me” type of reason.

    Everyone I know TAKES TIME TO TURN DOWN THE VOLUME BEFORE THEY GO TO A MYSPACE PAGE.

    I can NOT believe how this has not been fixed. It is a one-time, easy, across the board, what-do-you-lose fix.

    Well, I guess that’s why MySpace is not Facebook.

    Facebook seems to be aspiring to be the next MySpace though.

    The word is ex-fad. Ch-ch-ch-chia.

  25. Robert, let me reiterate my points from the short-lived discussion we had months ago.

    I think nothing, not a single motherfarking Iota has.

    - Where is the money?
    - What good does the platform do?
    - No, really, you obviously don’t ask yourself this: What good does the platform do?
    - My old saw, from the previous: how are you better, cheaper or easier than existing services? I think you need 2. Where’s Facebook?
    - Again; saturation is truly becoming saturation. Those that don’t know truly don’t care. They know about Google, if you’re lucky. Getting that kind of penetration is INSANE.

    For now, that’ll have to do :-)

  26. Robert, let me reiterate my points from the short-lived discussion we had months ago.

    I think nothing, not a single motherfarking Iota has.

    - Where is the money?
    - What good does the platform do?
    - No, really, you obviously don’t ask yourself this: What good does the platform do?
    - My old saw, from the previous: how are you better, cheaper or easier than existing services? I think you need 2. Where’s Facebook?
    - Again; saturation is truly becoming saturation. Those that don’t know truly don’t care. They know about Google, if you’re lucky. Getting that kind of penetration is INSANE.

    For now, that’ll have to do :-)

  27. Boy, but you seem to get a lot of hot comments on your posts :) I wonder why people read this blog if they think everything they wrote here about you and your opinions.
    As to Myspace: 1. it’s still way ahead of facebook (users etc). 2. I guess it’s (statisticaly) more popular than FB outside US. 3. It get’s free promotion in music industry (feature FB doesn’t have). I don’t know anything about cash-flow of either, but judging on the numbers Myspace should do a lot better. 4. Anderson adding himself as anyones friend is plain stupid (just my opinion).

    And if they have some cool ideas – I don’t see a reason to bury them just because they come from myspace.

  28. Boy, but you seem to get a lot of hot comments on your posts :) I wonder why people read this blog if they think everything they wrote here about you and your opinions.
    As to Myspace: 1. it’s still way ahead of facebook (users etc). 2. I guess it’s (statisticaly) more popular than FB outside US. 3. It get’s free promotion in music industry (feature FB doesn’t have). I don’t know anything about cash-flow of either, but judging on the numbers Myspace should do a lot better. 4. Anderson adding himself as anyones friend is plain stupid (just my opinion).

    And if they have some cool ideas – I don’t see a reason to bury them just because they come from myspace.

  29. I gotta agree with Adam S and the other detractors.

    True, MySpace has a reach unlike any other, and it has become the de facto advertising platform for the teen generation (hence all those posts from cool concerts).

    But I gotta disagree about the “freedom” it gives its users. Ever try to put in a properly formatted CSS document into a MySpace page? You can’t because their backwards defenses against people hacking their pages prohibit you from addressing elements by ID. Or how about posting content from certain sites? Nope, blocked: http://www.news.com/MySpace-blocks-Photobucket-videos-and-slide-shows/2100-1026_3-6175272.html

    As for the unlimited user thing? What’s the point of that when half of your 100 million friends are nothing but spam bots schilling for some adult website?

    Until the typical MySpace page isn’t fugly (I’ll take readable over yellow+purple any day) and doesn’t blast my ears the instant I visit it, I’ll take Facebook over MySpace any day (as a disclaimer, I do have a MySpace and a Facebook).

  30. I gotta agree with Adam S and the other detractors.

    True, MySpace has a reach unlike any other, and it has become the de facto advertising platform for the teen generation (hence all those posts from cool concerts).

    But I gotta disagree about the “freedom” it gives its users. Ever try to put in a properly formatted CSS document into a MySpace page? You can’t because their backwards defenses against people hacking their pages prohibit you from addressing elements by ID. Or how about posting content from certain sites? Nope, blocked: http://www.news.com/MySpace-blocks-Photobucket-videos-and-slide-shows/2100-1026_3-6175272.html

    As for the unlimited user thing? What’s the point of that when half of your 100 million friends are nothing but spam bots schilling for some adult website?

    Until the typical MySpace page isn’t fugly (I’ll take readable over yellow+purple any day) and doesn’t blast my ears the instant I visit it, I’ll take Facebook over MySpace any day (as a disclaimer, I do have a MySpace and a Facebook).

  31. Dudek looks a lot like … what’s his name… the Indiana Jones-type character from the original Jurassic Park.

    Pretty cool that you got to check out and actually be social with MySpace (as opposed to only in the virtual world). Looking forward to the follow-ups.

    Wanted to let you know about a newsreader out there that exists that bases it’s content on what the user actually WANTS to see. It’s called ‘Sprout’. Very intuitive, quickly learns what you like to read and what doesn’t interest you. There’s a free trial on now. You can find it here: http://www.yoursprout.ca.

  32. Dudek looks a lot like … what’s his name… the Indiana Jones-type character from the original Jurassic Park.

    Pretty cool that you got to check out and actually be social with MySpace (as opposed to only in the virtual world). Looking forward to the follow-ups.

    Wanted to let you know about a newsreader out there that exists that bases it’s content on what the user actually WANTS to see. It’s called ‘Sprout’. Very intuitive, quickly learns what you like to read and what doesn’t interest you. There’s a free trial on now. You can find it here: http://www.yoursprout.ca.

  33. Some Friday Heh

    The Curative Power Of The Rickroll:

    Suggested dessert course: I Rick Roll My Senior English Class – I love the awkwardness as the shooter is the only one in the entire room laughing, but he lets the Rick clip go on and on. Even his “Rick Rol…

  34. Stop complaining about SPAM on MySpace. Go to your account settings and set the appropriate SPAM settings and there will be no more SPAM…

    Give it a shot! :)

  35. Stop complaining about SPAM on MySpace. Go to your account settings and set the appropriate SPAM settings and there will be no more SPAM…

    Give it a shot! :)

  36. Yes, myspace has done an excellent job at building out some technology to help their users eliminate spam! Please turn it on, and watch all of those pesky lame (but very hott) women stop friend requesting you.

  37. Yes, myspace has done an excellent job at building out some technology to help their users eliminate spam! Please turn it on, and watch all of those pesky lame (but very hott) women stop friend requesting you.

  38. Myspace has problems, yes, but its not nearly as annoying as facebook.

    First off, if you want to do anything on facebook you have to “install an application”. and you must let that application access your information, otherwise you cannot use it.

    Thats scary. What kind of information are they accessing? Are they saving it at some off-site data center? To be used against me someday?

    Secondly, you get so many random useless invites every day “Be a Ninja!” “Be a Pirate!” “Pet a Bear!” or whatever inane crap that they can think of.

    Facebook is definitely aspiring to be the next myspace. With every update myspace adds (top friends, friend updates, etc) Facebook emulates (poorly).

    At least with myspace i can use all of its functions without installing anything.

    I’ll admit that even though i have just bagged on facebook, i do prefer it to myspace.

    because since both are so bogged down with useless fluff, the only thing i can use to choose one over the other is the user interface.

    and that cup goes to facebook.

    in my opinion, i get more satisfaction from social interaction from MMOs or email than i do from these bland attempts at a social interaction system.

    i think the networking site that will win out in the end is one that gives you full control over everything you see and do. but skips past all the formatting bullshit that myspace requires.
    html is great but when you have 20 odd million teenagers who only know how to make the cliche yellow text with flashing purple background, it really cheapens the experience.

    i think you should have to do a html certification test before you could use it on myspace.

    not that it would change a whole lot. but it would certainly change a whole little.

    and every little bit counts.

  39. Myspace has problems, yes, but its not nearly as annoying as facebook.

    First off, if you want to do anything on facebook you have to “install an application”. and you must let that application access your information, otherwise you cannot use it.

    Thats scary. What kind of information are they accessing? Are they saving it at some off-site data center? To be used against me someday?

    Secondly, you get so many random useless invites every day “Be a Ninja!” “Be a Pirate!” “Pet a Bear!” or whatever inane crap that they can think of.

    Facebook is definitely aspiring to be the next myspace. With every update myspace adds (top friends, friend updates, etc) Facebook emulates (poorly).

    At least with myspace i can use all of its functions without installing anything.

    I’ll admit that even though i have just bagged on facebook, i do prefer it to myspace.

    because since both are so bogged down with useless fluff, the only thing i can use to choose one over the other is the user interface.

    and that cup goes to facebook.

    in my opinion, i get more satisfaction from social interaction from MMOs or email than i do from these bland attempts at a social interaction system.

    i think the networking site that will win out in the end is one that gives you full control over everything you see and do. but skips past all the formatting bullshit that myspace requires.
    html is great but when you have 20 odd million teenagers who only know how to make the cliche yellow text with flashing purple background, it really cheapens the experience.

    i think you should have to do a html certification test before you could use it on myspace.

    not that it would change a whole lot. but it would certainly change a whole little.

    and every little bit counts.