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Ch-ch-changes November 8, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in technology.
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I just got spammed by Glue, looks like maybe their notifications engine had a little freakout and sent me a bunch of messages I had already received. Which is fine. Part of playing in this new space (both as a producer and a consumer) is sometimes things go awry. Software (i.e. anything on a screen) is in flux, it is not right – just least wrong. And it gets less wrong as people find ways to improve it.

Seeing those messages suddenly arrive though, I’m wondering about the tolerance people have for that. Nobody expected those to arrive (least of all the developers I imagine), and if it had been a major brand, then it would have been annoying. But it came from a service trying to do something good – connect people.

They’re a start-up and still getting things figured out, and that is fine. Last year people were fond of droning on and on about Twitter having scaling issues. You know what? They’re supposed to!! That is part of building a popular service!! They had scaling issues because they focused on building something people wanted – their server going down on a regular basis meant they were doing their God-damn jobs. In turn you got a service you love for free.

Give. Me. Strength.

Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

I am fond of banging on and on about my mate Tim saying “If you want to understand change you have to be part of it.” And part of that, particularly when playing with services like Glue or FourSquare or whatever it will be tomorrow, is an understanding that this shit is in flux. And it will get better and it will get worse and that is the contract you sign when you join.

It is called the bleeding edge for a reason, things get broken.

And thank God they do.

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I just called…to say… August 26, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in social networks, technology.
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I have Skype running pretty much constantly on my computer due to being a long way from home. I like being able to talk for free to any of my friends back home, or indeed any friends in other part sof the world, and I look forward to a day when ubiquitous Internet access makes ridiculous carrier plans a thing of the past and blows the communications space wide open, with access for all.

Until that day however, we make do with what we have. And as I was doing this last night a message came in over Twitter from my dad back in Australia. We went back and forth and then I asked him why I never saw him on Skype. He responded with this:

dad-twitter

Now, you can argue Skype provides an entirely different service to the above or you can argue that it crosses over in a few really key places. It isn’t hard to imagine Facebook implementing its own video chat service, and this was heavily rumoured back in May. Add to this ongoing concerns about the future of Skype’s underlying technology, and what we have left is a legacy of arguably Europe’s biggest VC success story (in 2005 eBay ponied up ~US$3.3 billion) winding up in the hands of a company that had no idea what to do with it (and may soon go the way of Pets.com).

The ultimate take-away is, for me, about sticking to what you do.

Or put another way, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

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Saddle up your horses, we got a trail to blaze May 27, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
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Over at Mashable I caught site of a service called RT2Buy (from company Twitpay) which is hooked into Twitter and PayPal, allowing purchasing and money transfer over the space of 140 characters. In exposing platform upon which people could build services early on, Twitter made a very savvy move which puts it head to head with the likes of Facebook, Microsoft etc. in more ways than one.

While people continue to duke it out at a site level, I’m super-bullish on the browser-as-platform. Instead of waiting for traffic to reach a site before it is meaningful, the experience remains with you regardless of where you travel to online.

I commented over at AVC acknowledging the barrier to entry that exists for browser extensions, and said perhaps application developers for Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will find interesting ways to extend the experience into the browser.

My thinking is a popular game on Facebook could potentially be extended into the browser and played when not actually on the site. Yes it is the long way around, but I think the fix will arrive via a combination of it being relatively easy to do AND having it heavily incentivised. Games, photo-sharings apps etc. already with a large audience on Facebook seem to be like the most direct path at this point.

This ties back to my whole thing about seeking out great digital work that is uniquely digital; that is to say, taking advantage of the things you can do with digital platforms that you can’t do with any other. There are ways we can open the browsing experience up that will appeal to a mass audience.

Whoever figures that one out is going to have a handle on a wide open space that leapfrogs everyone.

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Image courtesy of Eduardo Amorim with thanks to