A New Kind of Socially-biased Search Engine: Blekko

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A new kind of socially-biased search engine: Blekko.

This idea of a simple query language that actually is geared towards normal people is interesting.  SQL was supposed to be that way back when, but no one today would ever claim that a search engine that exposed SQL to users would be better for the masses.  But a simpler version could have some really awesome broad impact in other areas.  As people become more comfortable using semi-structured queries we can use them in our own web apps without extensive education or making them “advanced features”.  I don’t know if Blekko can succeed, but if they can I think the web will benefit in some interesting ways.

The Data-Driven Life -

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The Data-Driven Life –

This sort of data collection and information extraction is becoming easier and more accessible.  I’ve personally used tools like RescueTime and with some benefit.  I can see this becoming more prevalent and also the quality of information (as opposed to data) going up.  I’ve been trying to track my migraines and workouts, but don’t really know what I’m looking for and it is difficult to maintain.  One thing I love about tools like Kissmetrics is that they allow you to throw data at them and then build funnels after the fact with that data.  That sort of post processing seems ideal for life tracking like the article talks about.  Along the same line of reasoning, being able to combine multiple life streams that may individually include different pieces of data about you in to a single system would simplify collection as well.  If my Twitter stream, RescueTime log, Gowalla checkins, and happiness reports were all pulled in and correlated together I imagine I could get a much clearer picture of what things impact my mood and productivity.

DataSift - Tuning the Social Web

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DataSift – Tuning the Social Web.

Wow, this is really interesting.  I’d love to see what kinds of tracking you could do with something like this.  If it can actually do what they claim it can do this would really expose the aggregate data that is living in twitter.  Heck, the fact that they have a sentiment analysis filter they are making part of this is exciting on its own.

Great Hackers

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Great Hackers.

This is an old article, but I finally got around to reading it from my Instapaper queue.  Very well reasoned descriptions about a number of topics.  The main goal of the article is to describe what companies can do to inspire both the hiring and continued working of great software developers.  I completely agree with what he has to say here and I hope I can create the kind of environment he describes for the developers on my team.

Create an environment that promotes inspiration and focus and discourages boredom and distraction.

The Future of Startup Funding

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The Future of Startup Funding.

Paul Graham makes some interesting points about the trends that are starting to emerge in the investing space.  I will be the first to admit that my experience with investors and investment rounds is pretty limited and largely theoretical; I’ve seen the process from afar.

Since joining ProFounder and getting a much broader view of the fundraising landscape I tend to agree with the points in the article.  Moreover, I’m excited that we are addressing a number of the points made specifically around speed and traction.  ProFounder puts the raise on a timeline with clear milestones along the way.  There also isn’t a notion of a “lead investor”.  The investors are recruited by the business owner explicitly which puts the most motivated person in control of the investor flow.

Google Wave: Why We Didn’t Use It

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Google Wave: why we didn’t use it.

I really am disappointed that Google Wave has failed.  I think the Ars article does a good job of summarizing why it didn’t really take off despite the best press you could ask for not to mention Google backing it.

I’m still hopeful that the underlaying protocol can still be salvaged in some alternate clients.  It really would be interesting to see it reanimated in a different form by someone else.  Even if it were just added as a new account type in or iChat and literally only provided feature parity with that tool initially, that might be a more logical progression to introducing what should be a more powerful and flexible communication protocol.  This will also give users a better understood starting point and we can more gradually figure out what people what to be able to do and how they want to do it along the way.  The fully baked solution the Google’s implementation provided really didn’t enjoy much user feedback to influence its development until way too late in the process.