Why FriendFeed will go mainstream (Part II)

In the first part of this two-post series you read my ideas on why FriendFeed won’t go mainstream. In this part I get to answer why it will go mainstream.

First, something funny: Thomas Hawk just posted this to FriendFeed: ““Things in life that are addictive: digital photography, Flickr, Tommy’s cheeseburgers, those tangy sea salt and vinegar blue chips in the blue bag, coffee, Red Bull, and friendfeed.”” Of course that started a conversation.

So, why is FriendFeed going to go mainstream:

1. The team. Among the seven people who are currently working on FriendFeed is the guy who gave Google it’s “don’t be evil” tag and who wrote Gmail. Another guy on the team did Google Maps. Yet other people on the team did impressive things. This team will be unhappy with themselves if they just get me and Thomas Hawk and Louis Gray to use it. They are building something from the bottom up to be used by millions of people.

2. Them who owns a unique database will be able to build value. FriendFeed knows every item that’s been commented on and is building a database of interesting other stuff too.

3. By aggregating all social software sites together they are getting a database that’ll let them build a search service that’ll be very interesting (and already is to me — I already go there at least 20% of the time I want to find something or someone).

4. Their UI sucks and is brilliant at the same time. In the old post you read how it sucks. In this post look at what’s brilliant about it. First, it’s always fast. You gotta watch this video with Kevin Fox, interaction designer at FriendFeed, to get his philosophy behind building UIs. Think he doesn’t know crap about design? Go read his resume (PDF), he designed Gmail 1.0, Google Calendar 1.0, and Google Reader 2.0.

5. It is freaking fast and much more reliable than Twitter. Today I’ve been putting dozens of Tweets into Twitter and they show up in FriendFeed BEFORE I can refresh the page. It is amazingly fast at gathering new stuff from Twitter. I have not found any other service as reliably fast.

6. It’s very flexible. For instance, check out these links:

  1. Everyone who has shared an item on Google Reader.
  2. Everyone who has shared a song on Last.fm. or on iLike.
  3. Everyone who has Tweeted on Twitter (do a test and see how fast yours shows up there).
  4. Everyone who has shared a video on YouTube.
  5. Everyone who has written a blog post.
  6. Everyone who has put, or favorited, a photo on Flickr. On SmugMug. On Picasa.
  7. Everyone who has posted something on FriendFeed itself (link or a note).
  8. Everyone who has shared an event on Upcoming.
  9. Everyone who has bookmarked an item on Del.icio.us.

Those are just a sample of the things you can search on. Just visit the advanced search and select the servce you want

7. FriendFeed is a place where you can study people’s gestures and signals. Huh? Well, when I “like” something in FriendFeed it means I found it to be interesting and not just pure noise. When I comment on something it means I found it important enough to engage with. You can see items I’ve commented on, items I’ve liked, and both of them added together. You can also do that for everyone on FriendFeed.

8. If you want to watch everything your kids are doing, you’ve got to follow them around multiple services. That takes too much time. It’s far easier for your kids to just say “follow me on FriendFeed.”

9. The most interesting early adopters and smart people have already signed up so you can track them. Here’s just a small sample:

  1. Singer Samantha Murphy.
  2. Presidential candidate Barack Obama.
  3. Open source developer (did bleeding edge work at BBC, now doing projects at MySpace) Ben Metcalfe.
  4. Venture Capitalist Brad Feld (guy behind NewsGator and others).
  5. Google exec Bradley Horowitz (while at Yahoo he spearheaded purchase of Flickr, Delicious, and others).
  6. Dave Morin, head of Facebook’s application platform.
  7. Gary Vaynerchuk, owns a wine store in New Jersey that sells $50 million a year and does WineLibrary.tv
  8. Joi Ito, head of Creative Commons.
  9. Joshua Schacter, founder of Delicious.

I could keep going, but gotta run to catch a plane to New York.

So, which way are you heading? Is FriendFeed going to be an epic fail? Or the best thing since Facebook?

What did I miss on either side of this argument?

UPDATE: the conversation is already underway on FriendFeed here.

86 thoughts on “Why FriendFeed will go mainstream (Part II)

  1. @Earle

    You can’t really compare the situation two years ago with what is happening now with the site. Since being bought by Google, Jaiku is effectively dead – so it is no wonder why you are having problems.

  2. @Earle

    You can’t really compare the situation two years ago with what is happening now with the site. Since being bought by Google, Jaiku is effectively dead – so it is no wonder why you are having problems.

  3. @Jamie: “Pretty much the entire feature set of FriendFeed was available in Jaiku two years ago, plus more.”

    I tried signing up to Jaiku recently. The process failed with a system error before I had even finished. Two years of development for that?

  4. @Jamie: “Pretty much the entire feature set of FriendFeed was available in Jaiku two years ago, plus more.”

    I tried signing up to Jaiku recently. The process failed with a system error before I had even finished. Two years of development for that?

  5. As Riley says in his post, it’s inevitable that, following the Google model (natch), the content and the conversation that goes with it will move to the shiny new platform of the moment. The question, for bloggers anyway, is how much value they will get from this — loss of conversation control vs. increased exposure to their ideas. How do you maintain your online “brand” in a fractured media market? Time will tell.

  6. As Riley says in his post, it’s inevitable that, following the Google model (natch), the content and the conversation that goes with it will move to the shiny new platform of the moment. The question, for bloggers anyway, is how much value they will get from this — loss of conversation control vs. increased exposure to their ideas. How do you maintain your online “brand” in a fractured media market? Time will tell.

  7. I want to be Robert Scoble. He gets it!

    Bret Taylor is smarter than Mark Zuckerberg, and Zuckerberg is a f—— genius.

    Paul B. is the real deal also (I don’t know the others in Friendfeed).

    With the social network space evolving and morphing so rapidly (every major company playing continual catch up with every other) I agree with Robert’s implication that the best teams will win.

    Training at Google for the Friendfeed founders — and what these individuals produced there — an extremely good harbinger.

    I also like Robert’s mention about the database as a competitive advantage. Threaded conversations do not only provide value to users, which they definately do. They also become a data mining bonanza.

    Friendfeed potentially has the best minable inforation (Facebook not bad either) but they have to show they can leverage it in a way that is simple, intuitive and useful for users. Robert indicates (I think) that they are working to do this.

    Robert does this also himself by detailing clearly above the compelling arguments (and data links to support and illustrate) of why Friendfeed is – already! – ahead of the game.

    The fact that some influential early adopters don’t even realize this fact yet, however, illustrates also how far Friendfeed also has to go. They haven’t even been sold as a better option (Twitter still ahead in that realm) with the majority of key early adopters. But they are a company moving in that direction pretty quickly.

  8. I want to be Robert Scoble. He gets it!

    Bret Taylor is smarter than Mark Zuckerberg, and Zuckerberg is a f—— genius.

    Paul B. is the real deal also (I don’t know the others in Friendfeed).

    With the social network space evolving and morphing so rapidly (every major company playing continual catch up with every other) I agree with Robert’s implication that the best teams will win.

    Training at Google for the Friendfeed founders — and what these individuals produced there — an extremely good harbinger.

    I also like Robert’s mention about the database as a competitive advantage. Threaded conversations do not only provide value to users, which they definately do. They also become a data mining bonanza.

    Friendfeed potentially has the best minable inforation (Facebook not bad either) but they have to show they can leverage it in a way that is simple, intuitive and useful for users. Robert indicates (I think) that they are working to do this.

    Robert does this also himself by detailing clearly above the compelling arguments (and data links to support and illustrate) of why Friendfeed is – already! – ahead of the game.

    The fact that some influential early adopters don’t even realize this fact yet, however, illustrates also how far Friendfeed also has to go. They haven’t even been sold as a better option (Twitter still ahead in that realm) with the majority of key early adopters. But they are a company moving in that direction pretty quickly.

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