Friday, June 30, 2006

Gnomedex: John Edwards, Where are we, where are we going w/people's participatory technology?

Some one asks about "The Wisdom of Crowds" -- can we all make better decisions, by better informing the crowds in a democracy via technology.

Marc Canter identifies himself as a third generation "red-diaper baby" and asks Edwards why the democrats have no balls. John Edwards talks to that, says democrats DO need to stand up and show some spine.

Question by a blogger about why politicians can't talk like real people with real voices. Edwards says it's tough, with media all over you, if you are off-the-cuff and say something spontaneous which can be misinterpreted, you can get in trouble. He says that it forces politicians to be a little plastic and YES, he agrees, that ruins a real dialogue.

Questions are coming at him thick and fast ... about NSA spying ... about paper-receipt voting machines, similar to ATM transactions ... about the "next big thing" technology for a political campaign, blogs, text? ... I'll leave it alone and just give a summary. Feel free to watch the podcast for the specifics.

Summary: No question he was genuinely interesting in understanding how technology can help grassroots political organizing and debate. Edwards rightly agrees with an audience member that creating political engagement and "bottom-up" political conversation, as opposed to "talking at you" politicians canned speeches is the way to go ... but HOW?

Over lunch Werner Vogels of Amazon (he's Dutch) and I were talking about European politics and the political apathy in the US which is a big contrast. He was telling me how in Italy for instance, the Communist party was always "on the ground" and "in people's lives" helping them do things on a very local level. Politicians are part of Europeans daily lives and what they do and how Europeans vote are connected. I think the typical American is not at politically involved, does not participate in democracy, except in the most casual and interrmittent fashion. It's a dangerous lack of engagement we indulge in.

Edwards mentioned how many more people watch something like American Idol than participate in politics. Actually there was some shocking data about how many people actually voted for an American Idol candidate than voted in our political elections.

Gnomedex: Dave Dederer and The Presidents of the United States of America

More on this later ... was out of the room for part of it. Will link to other folks' coverage. Everyone raved about this presentation about music and mashed up tunes and record companies and marketing music and how radically it's changed and continues to change ... etc.

Gnomedex: Arrington -- Who's Gonna Make The Leap?

Mike Arrington's leading a great conversation about how some of the Web 2.0 startups are making a big leap into the big time. He mentions Digg and YouTube and MySpace (obviously already big).

Steve Rubel suggests the advertising isn't there to support it, Mike disagrees with that. Advertising is booming.

Mitch Radcliffe says he thinks many of them will fail, but raises the issue Buzz Bruggeman has already raised about Net Neutrality.

I ask about whether these new apps are really in search of the right platform -- mobile phones, ipods, video ipods, etc -- not sure we KNOW where these apps will succeed.

Arrington talks about Digg being so big so fast. Another speaker says something he disagrees with , but Mike politely says "that's a bad opinion to have" ... a perfect way to say, "YOU'RE WRONG!"

Kathy Gill, U of Washingon, 1. micromarkets are not like 2. geeks shouldn't name things -- network neutrality should be called network discriimination.

Scott Rafer calls out, "let's talk about the echo chamber ..." Those two go at each other. Arrington says as a leader in this space Rafer should not be dissing Web 2.0.

Someone asks, "define success" Arrington, it makes money AND it makes the internet a better place to hang out.

"What's the difference between this time and 1999?" Arrington says it's very diff, "People are not going public ... this is a different environment. Edgeio for instance, we spent very little on it and we would have spent much more if it had been done in the 90s."

Arrington talks about Swaptree, similar to eBay and ... missed the details. Mike says he wasn't impressed with Swaptree at first but changed his mind.

What about "network effects" - Bob Wyman says that they have failed, that network effect-based companies mostly failed. Meanwhile, he asks Bob to name one and says "Netscape".

Gnomedex: Opening Remarks

Chris Pirillo is inspiring ... you gotta admit. And he welcomes us all royally to participate and take away something life changing, something innovative, something new. Very cool.

When it's time for questions from the audience, someone asks if we can have a big screen TV for watching the World Cup -- boy, I agree with that and step up, offering to have my company, Top Ten Sources cover that cost, especially since we love the sport and feature it today and I know you didn't miss our Soccer Hotties site last week!


Well, we're off and running ... and weirdly we have Rev. Dave Winer reading The State of Washington Proclamation ... where the governor has proclaimed June 30-July 1, 2006 RSS DAYS ... okay, I am not making it up.

MySpace MySecret

Being a parent these days is so difficult. Check this nightmarish scenario out from Yahoo! News this morning.
Prosecutors on Thursday agreed to withdraw a petition calling for court supervision for a 17-year-old who flew to the Middle East to be with a man she met on
And yes, maybe the two crazy kids are just in love, but what happened to the good old days where your 16 year-old daughter had a crush on the local lifeguard ... those days are gone.
Her secret was uncovered earlier this month, when she slipped out of her mother's home in rural Michigan and made it as far as Amman, Jordan, before being sent home by U.S. authorities. Authorities don't think any local or state laws were broken but the FBI continues to investigate.

MySpace, a social networking Web site popular with teenagers, has raised concerns among U.S. authorities, with scattered accounts of sexual predators targeting minors on the site.

Lester is now living with her father, Terry, near Flint. In an interview last week on ABC's "Good Morning America," she declared her love for Abdullah Jimzawi, a 20-year-old Palestinian who works in his father's business delivering goods to minimarkets. She said she still wants to marry him.

Jimzawi, in a recent interview with the AP, said he met Lester online about eight months ago and was devastated when he learned they would not meet face-to-face. Jimzawi's mother, Sana, said Lester intended to sign a marriage contract in Jericho.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Why We Love Stylefeeder

Of course, we love Stylefeeder because it's fun. You go to just about any shopping site, you use the Stylefeeder bookmarklet to click on stuff you want to buy (you can buy it, or just save it in your wish list) and then little pix of the stuff appear both on Stylefeeder, but also on your blog if you have the widget set up as I do on my blog.

I've been trying to stylefeed Scoble's house which is for sale here.


Top Ten Sources has bought Stylefeeder. It's a cool application and I hope everyone signs up to try it out. Here's the official press release going out today:
Top 10 Sources Acquires StyleFeeder

StyleFeeder Brings Bottom-Up Style Sharing and E-Commerce Service to Online Shoppers

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – June 28, 2006 – Top 10 Sources (, the pioneer of human-assisted online search for consumer generated media, today announced the acquisition of StyleFeeder (, a community shopping and style-sharing resource that allows users to discover, share and purchase new and interesting items on the web.

“StyleFeeder is a cool, fun and simple way to share stylish things you like,” said John Palfrey, co-founder of Top Ten Media, Inc. “As we all create digital identities online, Stylefeeder fills in another key piece of the puzzle: your sense of style. Better yet, never again will your relatives have an excuse for giving you something that's not your style.”

The addition of StyleFeeder to Top 10 Sources’ simplified online discovery platform furthers the company’s mission to make the power of Web 2.0 relevant and meaningful to consumers in their every day lives both on and off the Web.

“At Top 10 Sources, it’s our goal to make it easier for people to find the best Web content, information and entertainment they’re looking for,” said Halley Suitt, co-founder of Top Ten Media, Inc. “With our acquisition of StyleFeeder, people now have a fun, fast way to find and share purchasable items without having to sift through dozens of sites.”

StyleFeeder also lets users browse shopping lists by creator or keyword to find people and items with the “right style,” even identifying their own online personal shoppers who become trusted, go-to sources for style choices.

“Top 10 Sources’ work in human-assisted search combined with StyleFeeder’s innovative style-sharing features creates a compelling offering,” said Philip Jacob, founder of StyleFeeder. “We have a common goal of building the next generation of information discovery tools for consumers, and together we can bring new features and tools to our users faster. We also give consumers a bottom-up way of connecting with retailers outside of the traditional advertising model.”

Top 10 is positioned to become the engine for human-assisted search and the preferred, topic-oriented source management system for consumer generated media. The company’s technology integrated platform enables consumers to both participate and find high-quality consumer-generated content, while playing a key role in solving RSS industry copyright clearance issues. The result is a leading destination to find great, fresh content by topic of interest and a trusted means of getting fast, reliable search results.

Added Top 10’s Halley Suitt: “I liked StyleFeeder the minute Phil showed me how easily I could put it up on my weblog, to show off all the cool stuff I was shopping for, or just wishing for. The way Phil defines style is right on. He shows us it’s more than fashion. It might be the cool camping equipment and easy, lightweight, waterproof tent one person’s StyleFeeder list contains. It might be another’s designer handbag and favorite home furnishings. It might be my Stylefeeder list of everything from a pink road bike to a llama. StyleFeeder’s about what makes us tick -- an all-inclusive universal wish list and shopping app that real people will really love.”

About Top 10 Sources
Top 10 Sources ( provides the next generation of “search” for the syndicated web: human-assisted search. Leveraging a technology platform built and protected through IP filings over the past 18 months, Top 10 staff, along with community members and celebrity editors, search Web 2.0 (blogs, podcasts, wikis, news) by hand to create topical pages with the best consumer-generated content. The core service identifies and publishes the Top 10 sources for popular topics ranging from the NFL to Wine to The Simpsons.

About StyleFeeder
StyleFeeder ( is an online service that allows users to share and organize the great stylish things that they find online. StyleFeeder was developed by founder Philip Jacob in his quest to find a better way to shop by using the power of the Internet and social networks. StyleFeeder's active and dedicated user base share their style lists with friends on blogs and websites, creating a bottom-up, word of mouth shopping experience that is outside the bounds of traditional advertising

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Know That You Like My Style ...

Have you seen my Stylefeeder links down there on the left. Aren't they cool? Check it out and add it to your blog.

Sunny Weather?

Surely this must be a mistake. After the rainiest ever Seattle-like month of rain, it's hard to get used to a sunny day. Most strange ...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Older and Wiser

Been looking over a bunch of the pictures of bloggers at conferences in the past few weeks. We sure look older and wiser. I guess I mean ... we sure look older. I'm not sure we're wiser.

In fact, it feels like things are about to go in a totally different direction and that this year is a bit of a flop-about as people start to redirect. Some of us will be left behind ... like when talkies came to Hollywood and people with squeaky voices were "outed" and then found themselves out of the game.

The direction is clearly VIDEO and I think this will favor the young. The power players will change. Think Amanda Congdon. Think many Amanda Congdons, many many many. And that will be all for the best.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Confessional: Soccer Hotties

Whoever is marketing the FIFA World Cup is missing the boat. I watched the World Cup this week a number of times with mostly WOMEN. And we were loving it.

These guys are so hot -- just like our editor Natasha pointed out on her great Soccer Hotties Top Ten List -- soccer should probably ONLY be marketed to women.

I can tell you, thanks to my anecdotal evidence, that WORLD CUP SOCCER COULD BE VERY POPULAR WITH AMERICAN WOMEN. Now if they could get real advertisers like Chanel, OPI Nail Polish, Victoria's Secret, Crate & Barrel and other products women love to buy -- they'd have a real sports marketing program.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I was offline and off-cell and off in the woods all weekend in Maine. I swam in a lake where there was nothing but lots of water, a few fish, no noise, just water lapping the dock, very few people ... about 3 ... for a few miles, in a private bowl of dark green pine trees, shooting skyward.

At night, there was a total darkness. A darkness so dark ... the kind of darkness I haven't seen in a long time. Very dark.

At dawn, a few noisy birds. I saw a loon. I saw a hawk.

It was hot and sunny ... beautiful really.

I really sloweddddddddddddddddddddddddddd down.

I really rested, first time in a long time.

I saw a bunch of moose ... mooses, whatever.

I ate great food.

I slept. I napped. I read a book from start to finish.

Identity Mashup Conference

Here at the ID Mashup Conference at the Berkman Center in Cambridge ... and can't help wondering if during this awesome three-day conference they will actually serve mashed potatoes.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Scoble Leaving, Gates Crestfallen!

Is the BBC kidding with this sad sack picture of Bill Gates looking desperate over Robert Scoble leaving Microsoft!?!

I love you Robert, but I'm sure your departure hasn't brought Gate's world crashing down around him. I mean, come on!

Friday, June 09, 2006

John Tropea's Cool Top 10

Great list John Tropea's put up here. Check it out!

And read how John keeps up-to-date with his top ten RSS feeds -- they arrive by IM:
These blogs are important to my daily reading so I have these feeds going through Rasasa (RSS to IM or email or SMS). Everytime one of these blogs publish a post, bam! a new IM appears on my desktop…it’s in my face, there is no way I’m going to miss the boat…on some days I don’t have time to get to my RSS Reader…so this is my sure method of keeping updated.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Andrew Shue, We Love You!

Hey, thanks so much Andrew for doing your Top Ten List today. I get the feeling you love SOCCER and MOMS and probably ... Soccer Moms too?

Here's the great picture with you and Dooce, when we all met up to talk about ClubMom in January.

Now how do I get her to do a list!?!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Nice Gnomedexer

Someone who's planning to attend Gnomedex in Seattle dropped me a note saying, "Looking forward to seeing you there!" and I'd honestly forgotten it was so SOON and I still haven't bought a ticket. Need to get on that.

Being Old, You Forget

Some days, I feel so so so so old. I feel a bit like Methuselah, who, if you recall, lived 900 years. Being old, you forget sometimes what it's like to be young. You just don't get it.

I feel old when I talk to people who are something like 18 or 23 or 36 and they are all caught up in stupid stuff that doesn't matter and once you're a little aged like me, you want to tell them ... "but, that thing, ... that thing you're worrying about, ... see, you don't get it yet, ... but that doesn't matter. Just doesn't matter at all."

Of course it would be rude and annoying to say that kind of comment, so you keep it to yourself.

So the good part of being old is knowing what really doesn't matter. And that what does matter, you can count on the fingers of one hand. You know they would have given us hands with 17 fingers if all that stupid stuff counted.

There really are only about five things that matter:

Thumb: You love someone.

Pointer: Someone loves you.

Middle Finger: Your work: you have the bravery to do what you love and really become yourself and screw what anyone else thinks about it.

Ring Finger: Connection to people, family, friends

Pinky: Eat, drink, be merry.

My Little Blue Dinghy

It's a little after 5:00am and I'm in my little blue dinghy trawling for words, pulling in the nets to see what I've snagged. Some are keepers, some I catch and release.

Okay, I'm not really in a little boat bobbing around in the ocean, I'm in Boston on shore, on land, terra firma, but for what it's worth I might as well be out there in the middle of the Atlantic somewhere, since I am in some weird time zone where people wake up at 3:00am and feel like it's 6:00am. I'm not really a citizen of EST, Eastern Standard Time is too lazy for me. I need a time zone that's EST minus 3.

I've always been a radically early riser. I feel like the day's already over, if not stale by 8:00am -- when all the other annoying people wake up. There's nothing I like better than getting up 3:00ish or 4:00ish, writing, making a cup of tea, padding around my place in old socks, pj's, just seems perfect.

No one talking to me.

No one to talk to.

No one interrupting me, or my thoughts.

No sounds, mostly, ... sometimes a few birds.

Sea birds whirling above over head and they make joking noises, teasing me.

Yes, there's more noise out here than I remember. It's a veritable cacophony.

The ocean's roaring this morning, churning full of words.

Yes, I can hear it loud and clear now.

Three Days of Spring

Living in Boston is just plain strange in one respect. This orderly notion of winter, spring, summer, fall doesn't really ever happen here.

You have about ten months of winter.

Then you have about three days of spring.

Then it's hot again ... humid ... pretty gross, call that summer.

And then fall which is beautiful for one week in October, then suddenly it feels like the bleakest, boldest, barest-trees November wind-howling nightmare imaginable.

Don't be fooled into any lovely calendar depiction of the four seasons -- it doesn't exist.

I already miss the spring, all three days of it.