Abstracting the blogosphere

Abpost .n. Abstract of a post

Archive for September, 2006

Impact of Massive Multiplayer On-line gaming (MMOG) on social networks

Posted by suntzu on September 29, 2006

The author starts by categorizing the places where social networking takes place. First is your home and second is your work place. He (actually Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame) identifies another space which is besides your home and work. He further analysed why Massive Multiplayer Online gaming is going to occupy the third place since MMOG satisfy the following parameter

  • Neutral Ground: players are not obligated to play; joins and quits are not significant events i.e. total freedom
  • Leveler: Social status is irrelevent
  • Conversation is Main Activity
  • Accessibility & Accommodation: Activity occurs 24*7*365
  • The Regulars or Loyal gamers: Regulars or so called devottes (or loyal gamers) are those who give the place its character, and attract new individuals.
  • A Low Profile: The population of online games follow a parabolic curve. I.e. the loyal gamers/devottes remain while many move on to higher profile games.
  • The Mood is Playful: Playful and witty attracts crowd. Rarely are players overly serious which make an ideal evironment for social gathering
  • A Home Away from Home. MMOG possess a homely atmosphere, spiritual regeneration, feelings of being at ease and wormth

Over all an interesting post. worth a read

Posted in People, social netwo, social networking | 1 Comment »

What’s Hot at Demo @ techcrunch.com

Posted by suntzu on September 28, 2006

Author gives an interesting peek into what all has been happening in DEMO conference. Around 67 exclusively selected companies are showcasing their products in this conference. Author has shortlisted his favorites falling under various categories. The abstracts for each individual companies are so exciting, that the author leaves you with no choice but to explore that individual company further.

Some of his favorites are:

  • Pluggd is demonstrating a new technology called HearHere, which uses speech recognition and semantic analysis to let users search inside audio files for key words and related terms that are displayed on a heat map for skipping to relevant parts of a podcast.
  • Pixsense uses a patent pending compression algorithm to compress multimedia files up to 85%
  • Adaptive Blue offers an interesting Firefox extension for social bookmarking.
  • NanoLearning is an easy way to make educational games or training modules in Flash.
  • JaJah is mobile product that lets users make very low cost VOIP calls through their mobile phones

And the list continues……

An informative post worth reading from start till end. 🙂

Posted in conferences, Startup | Leave a Comment »

How Rotten Tomatoes Survived @ Startup-review.com

Posted by suntzu on September 27, 2006

Author does a case study for a Web2.0 start-up called Rotten Tomatoes that deals in movie reviews.

Author suggests following factors were responsible for its survival of dot com bust:

  • Idea of movie review was quite new when it launched. It was innovative and hence attracted good traffic because of it.
  • Founders soon realize that SEO is the key to get traffic. Loyal users are not enough. They re-devised their site to dedicate a mini-site for each movie review. This helped boost natural search ranking.
  • Though many people suggested founders to diversify into other but connected areas, founders decided to just one thing i.e. movie reviews.They decided not to loose focus rather keep the focus of quality of site and quality of user experience.

Nothing interesting in the original post. Skip the post. Save on time 🙂

Posted in Startup, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Why Some Startups Stumble And Others Succeed @ businesslogs.com

Posted by suntzu on September 26, 2006

The author tries to use the famous Utility Theory of Economics to judge why some Web2.0 startups succeed and others fail. It says for each X unit of time/creativity/effort spent in creating content on a particular site, an individual should get nX units of pleasure/entertainment/satisfaction in return. This multiplier ‘n’, if quantifiable, will define the success of a web 2.0 site. The author takes Myspace, Digg, YouTube as case studies for successful web 2.0 companies and presents his take on value of ‘n’ that these popular sites provide. All these companies have high return multipliers. In Nutshell, the success mantra for web 2.0 companies is to ask for little from the user and promise a lot of entertainment or utility in return. This ensures a high comeback rate and regular upload of content.

Good practical application of the old economics theory to web 2.0 companies. A good-to-read post.

Posted in Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Why Top Employees Quit – by dumblittleman.blogspot.com

Posted by suntzu on September 25, 2006

Author collected data from employees who decided to quit and were among the top performers. Following were the main findings:

  • Money: 46% had rated this as their primary concern.

Remember, star employees know their value. May be they are compensated well below their market value. Or star employees don’t see any growth potential within organization hierarchy. You sure, you aren’t top heavy?

  • No challenge: 23% gave this a #1 reason.

Same job. Same function. And for last few years. – Blame managers here. It is seriously important that as a manager you know what your star employees think. Go talk to them. Its that simple.

  • Too Challenged: 21% gave this as #1 reason.

You ask your star guys to complete a tough job but give them inferior tools and personnel when having better tool or personnel was in clear reach.- Dont mess with quality of infrastructure or tools or people or bandwidth etc.

  • Dead Company: Again – 21% gave this as #1 reason.

Yours is a dead atmosphere. Your own attitude sucks. Yours a only work but no play type environment. – Evolve fun culture. Bring some energy.

Author ponders over a must-think aspect for many growing companies. Average post. Skip it unless you need more explanations.

Posted in Companies | 2 Comments »

How Zappos turned profitable by Startup-review.com

Posted by suntzu on September 22, 2006

Following reasons:

  • They recognized that people buy shoe by brand. They knew they were not going to build zappos shoe brand so they didn’t bother to spend on it. They chose to spend on SEM i.e. Search Engine Marketing.
  • They were aware that they don’t have to educate consumers. The consumers knew their product well. Money saved is spent on SEM i.e. Search Engine Marketing again.
  • Shoes are sold with around 50% margin. This again gives lot of money to spend on SEM campaigns.
  • They understood that customers wouldn’t mind buying shoe online as long as they could easily return it. Zappos followed free return shipping up-to 365 days on defective or unworn shoes.
  • They understood that they are competing with offline retailers who makes it possible to buy a shoe in less than an hour. They brought down 4-5 days road shipping to next day air shipping. This had HUGE impact.
  • Excellent customer service. All customer reps were properly trained and directed to remain helpful and generous towards customer.
  • They started with small number of brands. This avoided building inventory.
  • They avoided drop shipping as it leads to less fulfillment to consumers.

Author provides good insight about Zappos turnaround. At the end of the post are links to some good referenced articles. Skip the full post.

Posted in Companies, Startup | Leave a Comment »

Competing for Attention by Kathy Sierra

Posted by suntzu on September 15, 2006

Author suggests following ways to get attention from members, guests, students, potential customers, kids, co-workers etc.

  • The idea is that You need to be interesting than anything else in their environment. ie. You need to be proactive and there isn’t clear formula to be proactive. However, following are worth trying:
  • Be more visual. i.e. Use stimulating pictures or exciting charts so to say.
  • Break expectations. i.e. As long as you work are everybody else, its difficult to get attention.
  • Break patterns regularly. i.e. Keep finding somethings and keep changing them e.g. website, tutorial, forum design, color section etc.
  • Develop curiosity i.e. Brains are naturally addictive to questions or are curious. Use this feature.
  • Pose Challenge i.e. Ask questions that look interesting and difficult to answer.
  • Put some fun. Brain love fun.
  • Give your user higher experience. If your users are already good learners and if you can show that you would add to their expertise, they would listen.
  • Seduce you audience. This doesn’t mean sexual, by the way. Be seductive in what you do.

Author plays well with brain vs mind connection. Gives some practical examples. A nice to read post.

Posted in People, Productivity | Leave a Comment »

Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things by Guy Kawasaki

Posted by suntzu on September 15, 2006

Because of the following reasons:

  • You may have smart people that can tackle your problems. They may be useful probably but when consensus starts to build among them, it becomes harder to change it even when you know its not gonna work.
  • Out of consensus grows conviction. And if it is being made for the wrong thing, you would know only when wrong has happened or can be avoided only with huge cost.
  • When your people, rather than sticking to their arguments or thoughts, adjust their thoughts in the faith that CEO is right.
  • You got consultants who are supposed experts of their domain. Its good to have them but remember they aren’t good at accepting whats not in their comfort zone.
  • You crave for good news. And crave is so grave that you don’t want to hear bad news at all.
  • Lofty goals. E.g. you think profit is the key and you utilize all means to achieve it even keeping company ethics at bay. You just don’t care.
  • Greed. That is when your company wants it all leaving aside rules, regulations etc.

Author has also suggested his thoughts as to how to avoid doing dumb things by companies. Kind of ok post. Not a must read.

Posted in Companies | Leave a Comment »

Why Friendster failed and MySpace ruled by Startup-review.com

Posted by suntzu on September 13, 2006

  • MySpace gave more control to users while friendster believed in predefined templates as the only way users could do so called ‘self-expression’.
  • MySpace was quick to add PhotoSharing feature while friendster could never get hold of it.
  • MySpace had quick development and rollout cycle and it was in sync with users ‘needs’ while friendster didnt consider users pain a pain.
  • MySpace added blogs, IM, message boards long before friendster could.
  • MySpace rolled out features that wouldn’t impact site performance [e.g. ‘friend chain’ is intensive operation which friendster had but myspace didn’t].
  • MySpace focussed initially [till they achieved critical mass] on US market and only US market because thats the market where branded ad market is more matured than it is in Asia and is a revenue generating market. It helped keep MySpace performance up and up while friendster expanded into all markets but didn’t make its site/servers capable enough to handle all the traffic which in turn lead to degraded performance for its US based users.

Author makes a good analysis. A nice to read post.

Posted in Startup | Leave a Comment »

Where does power lie

Posted by suntzu on September 8, 2006

In his blog “Where does power lies“, Matt McCall talks about the misconception of power control between VCs and enterpreneurs. Most entrepreneurs focus on maintaining 51% or more of the voting stock to maintain power control. On the contrary, the power control rests on the need for capital. Even if the VC’s own 5% of the company, this need for capital is the source of their leverage. Entrepreneurs that can get their companies to break even, or that have alternative funding sources, have a much stronger control.

He also discussed about what diffrentiates a good VC from the crowd. Good VC’s will give an entrepreneur significant room to operate, give advice based on past experience and brings resources when required. They layout core principles which are important to them as well as define, with the company, critical milestones. Control is not determined by legal clauses or purse strings but by mutual, earned respect between them and the CEO.

Author reiterates that it is a mistake for VCs to enforce unilateral control on a business since it poisons the relationship going forward. Read the full post here

Posted in Startup | Comments Off on Where does power lie