Tag Archives: Community

Looking for people fanatical about the Internet (& first high res videos from my Canon)

Building 43 at Google

Rocky Barbanica and I are getting around the Valley doing research for our upcoming Building43 community (which is for people fanatical about the Internet and, more specifically, people fanatical about building the Internet). Just in the past week we’ve gotten to SmugMug, Google, Facebook, and a few other places. We’ve also met with people at tons of businesses like Zappos, Tiny Pictures, and other places.

We’re listening to what people are trying to build next on the Internet. We’re also checking out tons of new technologies that we might want to build into Building43.com (we’re aiming at a May release). Do we go with a forum from Ning, or one from friendfeed, or both? Do we go with a video widget from Kyte or YouTube or something else? Do we use 12seconds.tv or Seesmic to get you to contribute videos to Building43. Etc. Etc. We’d love your feedback here about what you’d love to see.

One thing we’re playing around with having much more of on Building43 is how-to videos, in addition to the usual interviews I do with CEOs and innovators — do you think there’s a need for that? I do, particularly as I look at most business sites and see how few are using the latest technologies. Yesterday I did one with Kevin Marks who is a developer advocate at Google for Open Social and other stuff, like Google’s FriendConnect. He showed me how to put FriendConnect onto my blog (I’m working with a separate team at Rackspace on my blog and will have the ability to do some cool new stuff soon here).

One little trick on Blip.tv that I’ve discovered is that they hide the original source file into a link. These source files are far higher resolution than the Flash versions that get played if you just visit Blip with your browser. For instance, take a look at this MPEG4 file of Kevin Marks. If it plays on your computer it is stunningly high resolution (I shot it on my Canon 5D MK II in 1080P, downsampled it in Apple’s iMovie, and uploaded it to Blip via TubeMogul. Damn, the quality looks pretty close to my original file). Thank you Blip for exposing these files in a way that we all can get to them. Here’s the high res video of SmugMug’s Don MacAskill (I shot this one on Canon’s “low res” mode of 640×480, which makes file sizes a lot smaller so I can fit more video onto one memory card. Even this video, though, took about 1 GB on my 32GB memory card in my Canon 5D MKII camera).

Anyway, this is a long way to say that if you are fanatical about building the Internet I’d like to meet with you and see what you’re doing.

In the meantime, you might check out these videos — I’m learning how to use the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR to make videos, so sorry for the clicking noises as I manually focus, Rocky’s working on fixing that for us today since these cameras let us do a new kind of video. We’re also building a live TV studio so we can join in Leo Laporte’s growing network with high quality late-night video.

Here’s Kevin Marks at Google showing you in a few minutes how to make your blog more social.

Here’s Don MacAskill, CEO of SmugMug, showing off how they are making large multi-gigapixel photos and introduces us to the first SmugMug user group.

UPDATE: People are asking me what lens and camera I used. I’m using a Canon 5D Mark II camera. Costs about $3,000. Along with a 24 F 2.8 fixed length lens (we call them “primes”). I did not use any steadying device. The microphone? It’s the one built into the camera. Nothing special. Just used automatic mode. In future I’ll do manual white balance and exposure locks and I’ll get better at focusing. Plus we’re playing around with microphones that are isolated away from the camera so you won’t hear the clicking noises as I manually focus lenses and such.

PR-less launch kicks off a stack overflow of praise

This is the way I love to learn about a company.

No, not from a PR firm.

No, not from a CEO (or anyone else from the company) calling me up or writing me email.

No, not on some junket.

No, not on stage at Techcrunch 50 or Demo or Under the Radar or some other conference.

No, not by reading Mashable.

No, not on Twitter. Or FriendFeed. Or Facebook. Or MySpace. (I really hate direct messages, by the way).

No, not in an advertisement.

“OK, Scoble, knock it off, how did you learn about it?”

A beta tester (a developer I know and trust) came up to me today and said “this is the coolest thing I’ve used in a long time.”

He then gave me a peek at his screen. I agreed after seeing what was on his screen.

But instead of letting the world that, I asked Twitter and FriendFeed if anyone had heard anything about the service yet.

They had. And how.

So, what is it?

It’s StackOverflow. A community knowledge exchange, for programmers, that is being built by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood (both famous programmers).

It’s in a closed beta so far (you can sign up for the beta on the StackOverflow Blog), but look at the replies I received on Twitter:

Joel Gray: “@Scobleizer As a participant in StackOverflow, I have to say that it is great. Good community of folks so far, quite easy to get answers”

Levi Figueira: “@codinghorror Man, I’m loving stackoverflow!! Great resource and userbase!! Let’s hope it doesn’t get wild after it goes “public”… :)” and “@Scobleizer I’ve been following their podcast since #1 and am part of the beta!! It’s the best thing for developers ever! ”

Phil: “Impressed with StackOverflow. They’ve really thought through usability and trying to create a sticky experience.”

Michael Krakovskiy: “stackoverflow beta rocks!”

Chris Benard: “@Scobleizer Here are a couple of screenshots I just took for you: http://is.gd/1nul and http://is.gd/1nuo ” and “@Scobleizer It’s an experts-exchange for programmers, without all the annoyances. ”

schwarzwald “@Scobleizer furthermore, stack overflow is experts-exchange without blackhat SEO techniques (cloaking) and annoying superfluous graphics.”

If you are exciting your early users like this you will get found. I so wish more companies built their stuff this way. Go slowly. Built PR by building a great service and turn your users into your PR agents. Oh, yeah, and blog and podcast about it to get to this point (but look at how they built a community, they didn’t get all “pushy” about what they were doing — they just were informative and inclusive).

Keep in mind that this is only a few days into beta and they only have a few hundred beta testers, but this is going to get big pretty fast because it is a well-thought-out service that already is getting major praise from developers, who are very hard to get to hype anything.

Believe me, we all will hear about your product if it really does rock. There’s no reason to go crazy with a PR firm if you build something that people want. Atwood and Spolsky are proving that right in front of us.

This got me fired up about the tech industry again. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this kind of user passion.

UPDATE: Jeremy Toeman has a good rebuttal to this post (he’s the guy who first showed me Bug Labs and Sling Box).

The FriendFeed for the rest of us

Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix

Yeah, you are probably sick of the FriendFeed hype. Sorry about that. But I do look around to see if there’s any other choices out there. Today I found one.

125,000 comments per day. Heck, FriendFeed doesn’t even have that many people on it yet.

Here’s an interview with Topix’ CEO, Chris Tolles, having a conversation with me about the online community business. How is he doing it? He covers his advertising, his marketing, and other aspects of his business.

He also discusses the differences between “normal people” and people who read TechCrunch and hang out on FriendFeed.

Of course we’re discussing this video over on FriendFeed now. :-)

Oh, and note that this was done with an updated Qik client which gives a little better quality.