August 21 – 27
I spent most of this week in Palo Alto working on Archimedes Ventures projects. I was able to post about most of the companies I met at Bar Camp (with one notable exception, which is to come). Lots of interesting Web 2.0 news to report from the week as well.
Richard MacManus continues to lead the small but growing group of blogs defining Web 2.0 thinking. Our respective weekly summaries are very different and rarely overlap. Reading his blog is necessary to getting an overall picture of what’s going on. I read every word he writes, and it is time well spent (I actually also subscribe to his delicious links).
There are a few other blogs that I have recently added to my reader and that I highly recommend. The Mobile Technology Weblog, written by Oliver Starr, is an extremely popular blog that touches on many new technologies affecting the Web 2.0 space. Check it out.
I also recommend Horse Pig Cow, written by Tara Hunt (who recently moved to San Francisco to work at a new Web 2.0 company called Ojos) and Amber Mac, a blog written by Amber MacArthur in Toronto. If anyone is interested in getting my entire opml file for my RSS reader, just send me a note and I’ll send you the link.
Here’s this week’s summary:
1. TechCrunch Profiles This Week
2. 10 Steps to a Hugely Successful Web 2.0 Company
“Charlie”, an analyst for Union Square Ventures (Fred Wilson’s firm), wrote a post with the above title, giving good advice on starting a successful Web 2.0 company. Advice includes such wisdoms as ” Launch. Now. Tomorrow. Every day.”, “” Solve the smallest possible problem”, and “Get a responsive and chatty audience using the product.”
3. Adam Marsh on Microformats
For those of you new to the idea of microformats, I recommend reading Adam’s essay on the subject. He lists some of the more popular efforts in the area, and also opines on the value of disaggregating “content” from applications.
My focus here is on the economic value of stuff about stuff, and one example of that is that as a user on the internet, a lot of value is resident in the data about you, or the data that you create. If microformats help to separate this data from applications, it becomes easier to put it and its value under the control of the user, where I think it belongs.
4. Brad Feld wraps up his Term Sheet series
Brad Feld has been posting on aspects of venture capital term sheets for the last few months. He completed the series last week and linked to previous posts on the subject. It’s a total of 20 posts and in my opinion, they should pdf it and sell it. Bookmark this link for future use.
5. More On Venture Capital
Jeff Clavier gave one of the better presentations at Bar Camp last weekend. Sound advice on the venture capital process from someone who’s been in the business for years. See his post here and download his presentation here.
If you are a young Web 2.0 company who needs solid advice, try to work with Jeff. He only works with 4-5 companies at a time, and they tend to be winners.
6. Blogging in China
If you are interested in China (we are), you’ll want to read this Business Week interview with Hu Zhiguang (See Stephen Baker as well). He is the founder of Blogcn, one of the leading blog service providers in China. Chilling stuff:
Q: But, as you say, the political environment in China means there’s a lot that people can’t express in their blogs.
A: Sometimes there are people who write about Taiwanese independence and the Falun Gong.
Q: And what happens when they try to do that?
A: We set up keywords for our programs, like “Falun Gong,” and when you type in those keywords, you cannot post them. It just shows up as stars. Everybody has that.
Q: People can avoid using those words, though.
A: The problem exists, but it’s not a big one. We can immediately fix it, and it’s not a problem. Maybe there are some words that aren’t in the keywords, but if they’re published, they don’t fit the content. Then the Internet police will call us, and we will delete it within 24 hours. If it lasts on the site too long, then maybe it will make some trouble. Maybe I will have to go to the police station.
Q: How often have you had to do that?
A: That has never happened. The phone calls seldom happen -â€“ only four or five times in two years. We have a specialist who takes care of this. These people [who post the forbidden things] are not real bloggers. They know it will be deleted.
Q: There has been a lot of talk in the past few months about the Chinese government requiring bloggers who don’t use sites like yours to register their real names and contacts if they want to keep on blogging. How difficult is it for Blogcn users to set up their blogs?
A: To set up a blog you have to give your password, e-mail address, blogger name, and choose a template. It’s very easy. We don’t need their phone number, their address, their ID number. [The environment] is much better than before. Step by step, it’s getting more open.
7. 9Rules Blog Network
Two of my favorite bloggers joined Paul Scrivens’ 9Rules Network last week. Looks like 9Rules is aggresively expanding beyond their core topic of web design. A complete list of their current blogs is at the bottom of this page. Congratulations to Richard and Brian.
8. New Blogging Study from Jupiter Research
Jupiter Research published a report detailing the average consumer of blogs. See eweek, Steve Rubel and MarketingLoop for summaries of the report. In general, those of us into blogs and related stuff are male, rich and young. Since rich and young are subjective, I can safely say that I am at least one of the three. From Steve (summarizing from eweek):
* â€œThe average consumer of blogs, RSS/XML feeds and Podcasts is male, earns big bucks and, in the case of podcasts, is a youngsterï¿½?
* â€œIn a June survey of some 4,000 Internet users, Jupiter found that over the past year, only 11 percent had read a blog monthly or more frequently. While that’s a small percentage, it does show healthy growth; in 2004, for example, only 6 percent of those surveyed regularly read blogs.”
* â€œThose who are hooked into Podcasts are an even smaller group, with only 7 percent of those surveyed having downloaded or listened to a Podcast regularly in the past year. RSS or XML feed junkies are the most elite group, with only 3 percent of respondents reporting that they regularly receive information through these channels”
* â€œOf RSS/XML users surveyed, 89 percent said they regularly buy stuff online. Of regular blog consumers surveyed, 77 percent purchase goods and services online, while 69 percent of Podcast aficionados regularly buy online. That compares with 62 percent of the total online population who do so.”
* â€œAt this point, 30 percent of companies with $50 million or more in annual revenue have deployed RSS feeds, according to the report, while another 28 percent have indicated they intend to offer RSS feeds this year.”
9. Geek Blogging Pronounced Dead
10. The Web 2.0 Drinking Game
Justinsomnia writes about a Web 2.0 drinking game:
When someone saysâ€¦
* Web 2.0 – take a drink
* Long Tail – finish your drink
* Open Source Stack – take a shot
* Monetizing – take a drink
* Productizing – take a drink
* Business Models (plural) – take a shot
* Ruby on Rails – everyone trade drinks
* Ajax/AJAX – pour out half your drink (for your homies)