New Twhirl Twitter Client adds real-time-web integration

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Last night Twhirl (one of my favorite Twitter clients) introduced a new version. Here’s Loic Le Meur, CEO, showing off what’s new in Twhirl.

Biggest new features? Ping.fm integration and Seesmic video integration.

Loic has a blog post explaining how to get it and he talks about lots of other new features. Highly recommended.

The world-wide-talk-show host: Loic Le Meur

Now that the real-time web is upon us (and very addicting, as we’ve discovered) there is a need for new services, new events, new leaders who will take us through the rapids.

Loic Le Meur is one of those.

He’s an entrepreneur who has purchased Twhirl, a popular Twitter and social networking client, and is in the middle of a major rearchitecting and redesign of that. He, and his team, developed Seesmic which lets you communicate on the web with video, either at the home site or via video comments on tons of sites (TechCrunch, for instance, lets you video comment). He also started, and runs, the LeWeb conference in Paris, France, which has become the most international of all the conferences I attend.

So I wanted to sit down with him and get an update. I have three videos with him:

1. Our “pro” video that was shot on two HD camcorders and edited. 27 minutes (this was way edited down, by the way, our original conversation was about an hour). We talk about the real-time web and what he’s focusing on now.
2. His update on Twhirl. 4.55 minutes. And how it’ll compete with the new TweetDeck, which is releasing a new version, according to Louis Gray.
3. Loic demonstrating Seesmic’s new features to Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons. 7:32 minutes.

Some things he said in the first video?

  • That Twitter brought Seesmic the most traffic when they rolled out new features last week.
  • How Seesmic might make money.
  • Why “paid” accounts seem more serious and show one way to make revenues.
  • Discussion of European startups.
  • Seesmic will turn from being a video only service to being one that also lets you talk with friends via text.
  • Wrapup of controversy at LeWeb.

Watch these and you’ll see why I call Loic “the world-wide-talk-show host.” Follow his blogs, tweets, videos, and more on FriendFeed.

The Well Funded Layoff

Today Seesmic laid off seven staff members, after laying off three other members a couple of weeks ago.

They have millions of dollars in the bank and are well funded. Why would they do that?

Well, I went over and hung out with the remaining staff and CEO Loic Le Meur this afternoon to learn more and to try to discern the advice that Le Meur got and how many other startups are about to do the same thing. Here’s what I learned.

First, Le Meur has a really deep set of advisors. People like Pierre Omidyar , the founder of eBay and Martin Varsavsky founder of Fon.

They are telling him that the downturn will be deep and will be multi quarter. They told him it was a good idea to conserve cash and bunker down.

Translation: Le Meur isn’t the only one getting this advice. Sequoia Capital told its companies the same thing.

The thing is Le Meur is better connected around the world than most of us. He’s been seeing this downturn coming for months and has been tracking it, so he’s one of the first who is mentally ready to move. He told me that he predicts other CEOs will do the same thing over the next couple of weeks. Those who don’t, he told me, will be told by their boards over the next few months to take the same actions if the CEOs don’t make the hard decisions to do this today.

“But what if the economy turns back up in the next month?”

Well, Le Meur told me he just cut jobs that aren’t core to the mission of Seesmic. Designers. Marketers. PR. He told me all those functions are outsourceable and aren’t core to what they do. The folks sitting around the table were developers, people who kept servers running, who were directly responsible for keeping customers happy.

This is a smart strategy. First, it keeps people who are core to the mission happy because they know the CEO took steps to protect their jobs even if the world goes to hell. CEOs who wait until their hand is forced won’t see the same morale saving effect that Le Meur will see here. Second, it saves capital for potential acquisitions after other companies run out of cash and are forced to beg to be purchased the way my old company was (PodTech sold for a few hundred thousand dollars after having millions in capital pumped into it). Third, it saves capital for later when the storm clears and they will want to expand. Fourth, it gives them more time to find a business model since advertising is going to be a tough sell for a company like Seesmic right now.

But, Le Meur didn’t come to this decision easily. He literally teared up with me today. Being a leader and making really tough choices isn’t easy and this market isn’t easy to navigate for anyone.

My thoughts are with the workers who are laid off. How can we help you find jobs? Let’s have some innovative thinking about that too.

Who is next?

Celebrity tipping point on Seesmic

As go celebrities, so go other things in our culture.

Today Seesmic got a HUGE win. The Indiana Jones crew, including famous movie stars and movie directors, are on Seesmic. Here, check them out:

http://seesmic.com/cate

http://seesmic.com/georgelucas

http://seesmic.com/harrison

http://seesmic.com/steven

http://seesmic.com/karen

There’s a lot more on this over on TechMeme this morning. These celebrities are so well known in our culture that I don’t even think I need to put their full names in my post. Ever heard of Harrison Ford? Steven Spielberg?

It’s interesting, CEO Loic Le Meur bristled when I told him that FriendFeed was the World Wide Talk Show. He said he was going to turn Seesmic into that and this shows that he’s probably right. Funny, though, that I first learned of this on FriendFeed. If you look at everyone this morning talking about Seesmic, you’ll see there’s a TON of new conversation happening thanks to these celebrities showing up on Seesmic.

How important is this?

MySpace’s CTO once told me that getting celebrities to use its service was key in getting hundreds of millions of people to use its service.

Congrats to the Seesmic crew!

Seesmic & Disqus add up to video comments and more

If you aren’t a blogger you probably haven’t noticed this company named Disqus unless you really are paying attention when you leave a comment. But head over to Dave Winer’s blog, click on the comments, and if you leave a comment there, like I just did, you aren’t actually leaving it on Dave Winer’s blog. You’re using Disqus‘s commenting service.

“So what?” you’re probably asking.

Well, there’s a few things that Disqus does.

1. It hooks into FriendFeed. Why does that matter? Well, if you register your Disqus account (like I have) all of your comments left on blogs that use Disqus’s service, will show up on FriendFeed. Look at my FriendFeed stream. You’ll already see my Seesmic video comments that I left on some other blogs.
2. In the past hour they just turned on video comments thanks to a partnership with Seesmic. Go here to see my first video comment left on Dave Winer’s blog.
3. There’s an identity system. I don’t have to sign into comment on anyone’s blog who also has Disqus implemented. For instance, when I went over to costpernews.com and left another video comment there, I didn’t need to sign in. Plus my comments have my picture on them, which makes it less likely that someone will steal my identity.
4. Disqus comments are spam resistant. Because they use a robust identity system across blogs they can kick people off who misbehave.
5. Disqus comments are threaded.

Sam Harrelson was the first one to report the Seesmic/Disqus news on his CostPerNews blog.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is because the video commenting system is quite nice. Easy to use and easy to watch.

This is yet another piece in connecting us all together in the real time system I call “the World Wide Talk Show.”

Here’s some sites that have the Disqus/Seesmic commenting feature turned on:

http://loiclemeur.com/
http://louisgray.com/
http://shegeeks.net/
http://winextra.com/
http://avc.blogs.com/
http://howardlindzon.com/
http://scripting.com

More will almost certainly come soon. I’m looking at this technology too. I’ve been talking with Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic (the folks who run my blog) and they are looking at a raft of things to do to make commenting better for WordPress.com users.

So, let the commenting wars begin!

If you are a blog owner, what do you think about Disqus? Like it? Recommend it to other people?