Presentation Zen offered up a great collection of visuals today I thought were worth pointing to here including this stunning use of typography running in parallel with Samuel L. Jackson’s briefcase interrogation in Pulp Fiction (not exactly work safe…turn down the volume):
I had the pleasure of joining Rex Hammock for drinks last night in Potrero Hill while he was here for Macworld Expo.
Rex is tuned in to some interesting aspects of the online world, particularly through his site SmallBusiness.com which is becoming a useful and increasingly powerful wiki. I was amazed to hear that the contributions are no longer coming from his team. The community is making the site work and building it into a resource that matters.
We also talked about RSS and start pages. Rex shares my frustration that start pages are so dependent on custom configurations that the majority of the world will never do. Machine learning and recommendations technology is not new, and it seems like such an obvious direction for the start page to go…
Show me what the world looks like through a global lens, my networks' lenses and my own personal lens. Learn from both my explicit and implicit behaviors and then adjust.
Amazon knows how to use my shopping behavior to create compelling shopping experiences. Why can’t my news reading behavior be interpreted to create a better start page experience?
The Onion understands this, too:
Pamela Meyers said that her husband, whose gift choices have never reflected any outward recognition of her desire to learn Spanish, nor of the fact that she looks terrible in orange, rarely, if ever, communicates with Meyers while away on any of his frequent business trips.
“I was having some tea from that Nebraska Cornhuskers mug Dean got me for Valentine’s Day, when a little emai from Amazon popped up out of the blue,” Meyer said. “Just completely out of the blue.”
“It was nice to know that on my birthday, someone or something was out there thinking about me, and what boxsed sets I wanted.”
Alright, why not. Thanks, John.
1.) I made my little brother throw deviled eggs into a crowd of people dancing to Emmylou Harris at Steve Wozniak’s wedding to our next door neighbor Candi Clark. He was about 5 and I was about 10. We got kicked out. He should have known better.
2.) I took the SATs twice just so that I could beat my older brother’s score. As older brothers do, he told me after the fact that I beat his score the first time.
3.) I listen to Gordon Lightfoot sometimes. I like it on train journeys for some reason.
4.) I was a nationally ranked water polo player in high school. I dropped out of the sport in college to pursue more important games like foosball, tetris and boat races.
5.) I have no big toe nail on my right foot. It was removed after an injury and the toe basically looks like a stump now. It effectively attracts the pointiest and heaviest parts of people’s shoes right when I’m not looking.
In the spirit of my recent obsession with abstraction, I’ll take a meta approach to the annual Top 10 list:
10. Starting with a strong one, the top 10 tips for growing old gracefully. I can imagine some funny variations on this, but this common sense stuff is always worth keeping in mind.
8. Again, the common sense stuff makes for great lists. Here are the 10 business improvement recommendations.
7. Design geeks will enjoy the top 10 newspaper typefaces from 37Signals.
6. Similarly, for those of us watching MySpace mostly from the outside, here’s a nice insight. The top 10 MySpace page layout designs.
5. A sleepy one but definitely interesting to track year over year…the top 10 brands according to BusinessWeek.
4. Now we get into the good stuff. The top 10 sexiest geeks.
3. Green Wombat, the Business 2.0 blog from Todd Woody, is getting good. He recently posted The Top 10 Climate Change Influencers of 2006.
2. A tough call on whether this is number 1 or number 2, but either way, I love the Top 10 Rules for Top 10 Lists:
1. And the winner is…wait, we have a tie… Using rule #2 from the Top 10 Rules for Top 10 Lists which says “Start strong, end strong.”… At number one we have both the Top 10 Best Internet Acquisitions which was inspired by the Top 10 Internet Flops.
I’m not much for browsing the web for the sake of browsing, but the recent coverage of StumbleUpon inspired me to try it again. It paid off immediately. My second click took me to this site.
Watch how I put together several audio snippets to write a 90-second speech for President Bush:
I was comparing my feed collection with Micah Laaker the other day, and I realized that the scope of my intake just keeps getting narrower and narrower. Looking at other user’s lists in the Share your OPML system, it seems I’m not alone.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about how I can possibly dive into big important topics like Israel or oil the way I want to knowing how much time and energy I put into understanding and acting on the extra-small-sized issues that are in my circle of influence.
It makes me think that the phrase “The more you know the more you don’t know,” was perhaps more pertinent when the universe of knowledge was less fluid. Jay Behr recently captured this problem articulately:
“The older we get the more esoteric our knowledge becomes until nobody understands what the hell we’re talking about anymore. I’m going to age into a mumbling idiot.”
I think everyone has had the experience of brainstorming a “great” dotcom business idea over drinks with friends. There were more than a few good and bad ideas thrown around the offices of The Industry Standard as the editors learned that the companies we were covering didn’t always deserve to make as much money as they did.
I had another one recently that was kind of interesting, though not really new in any way, so I thought I might just post it here and see if anything comes of it. I haven’t come up with a name for it, yet:
ProductX is a toy exchange network for parents of small children. It consists of a directory of toys available for members; a profile for each toy with ratings, comments, and user submitted videos; a queue for each member to track which toys will be shipped next; and a distribution system for receiving, storing and shipping toys. Anyone can become a member by contributing X toy(s) and paying a monthly fee. The toy contribution will be donated to charity. After joining, a member can select any 3 toys available from the directory. Members can only keep 3 toys at any one time and must return a toy to receive the next toy from this or her queue.
There was a variation on this theme that was also interesting that involved essentially ‘platformizing’ a swap system like this. That way you could focus member networks on specific types of products of similar value.
And just to put some perspective on my thinking here, these are some of the other ideas I’ve either heard, contributed to or invented myself (not telling which is which) and about when they were conceived:
- ThingThunk.com (2005). The ultimate product review directory. Inspired by Wikipedia, ThingThunk allows anyone to add a product, rate a product, comment, submit video, etc. It’s the ultimate shopping assistant where you can get advice from other people who have actually bought and used a particular product.
- Bioconomist.com (2005). The Industry Standard of the biotech industry. Insider analysis, heavy-hitting journalism, industry metrics, deal tracking and job listings.
- Makingamockery.com (2002). Jack Ass meets Gong Show online. People submit videos of themselves doing stupid things. Users vote for favorite stunts, but, more importantly, users can request stunts. Successfully performed requests win cash prizes and appear on the accompanying weekly TV show. (I’m now realizing as I type this that it’s more like Jack Ass meets Y! Answers.)
- PublishingPilot.com (2001). A UK-based CMS and hosting environment for small businesses to crank out web sites without having to know anything about anything. (I got some momentum behind this one including a somewhat high-powered board of directors before my personal bank account ran dry and MovableType appeared on the scene.)
- LargeLifeStyles.co.uk (2001). Fashion retailer for larger-sized women. (Actually, I pulled this one off using my father-in-law’s resources in textiles in London. We morphed it into a shoe retailer that performed mildly well for a few months until we stopped updating it with new product.)
- Sugarpimp.com (2000). Sponsored behavior modification. This idea arose out of my desire to keep a floater friend of mine unemployed and travelling so that I could continue to get his emails from strange places around the world. Then it hit me that you could create a market of sorts where you could get sponsors to fund all sorts of things. The obvious twist was that this would clearly turn into some kind of strange fetish/porn market.
And my personal favorite (courtesy of John Masterson)…
- MyBeltWithHooks (1999). An offline clothing personalization platform. The belt would be very expensive but any third-party developer could create hooks to attach to it. One example of a third-party hook is the real-world search engine, a small child or dog that would attach to your belt and go find things on command.
Lots of laughs this week over the advertisements for hemorrhoid remedies on my site. I don’t know what that says about my posts.
One person asked what that said about my audience. The poor click-throughs suggest people who actually visit this web site must have comfortable chairs.