Is the boss around?

Came across this job site – called workosaur.com. It’s USP being, it has the most 7 figure salary jobs. Good but no great shakes. Another job site I thought.

But then I saw a link on the top corner which said, “Boss is Around? Look Busy”. When clicked lead to a page full of graphs and charts.

This minor thing made me look again at the site. It tells me that this is a startup where people love their work. That they understand their niche audience. So it tells me to take them seriously. Kudos for the sense of humor.
Earlier posts on sense of humor:here

Media type and the Social network

What is a media type in context to the internet? I would say images, video, text, would be the basic ones. Now say someone wants to create a web application which supports uploading and display of images. On top of that also wants to create a social network which helps the uploader share and comment on images.

Now this is not a  new idea and many people have done this. The formost 3 which come to mind are Flickr, Picasa and jpgMag. All three support uploading of images. All three have support for comments on images. And in all three users have the ability to share with friends and other users. Then what makes them different? The basic mediatype is same and the basic features are also same.

Mediatype and basic features are the skeleton, what differentiates these applications are the outer details. And especially here the GOD is in the details.

If you compare the upload restrictions in flickr and in picasa(for the free version):flickr – 100MB per month , picasa – a nerdy 1024MB (which makes it exactly one GB). Now people with digital cameras and who shoot even on and off if they upload regularly will cross the 1024 Mb limit in picasa soon. Then they would either have to delete some images or stop using it. While in flickr theres a continues flow of fresh images even for a free user. That keeps a users page continously fresh. What I have personally seen is people use picasa to upload 200 pics from one trip, all the images to it. While in Flickr they might only upload the better ones, so that they don’t cross the 100 MB per month mark. This difference in itself changes the quality of the pictures in both the sites.

jpgMAg caters to an even niche audience. They have a voting feature which they use to select some pictures and then print them to make a magazine. So here the submissions are mostly based the the current running theme which they declare. And needless to say such serious business brings in the experts. The satisfaction (and the money) which the selection of your picture for print brings increases the quality of pictures manyfold. And their upload restriction is “only 10 a day” which makes the pages even fresher. So these and plenty more features determine what kind of social network these sites have.

The whole point of this post was that only a mediatype doesn’t make a web application. I have seen people saying kwippy, plurk, twitter in the same breath. As for kwippy just give it some time to work on those outer details :) which would set it apart.

Geography?

I like nike sites. Though they are made in flash, which takes away some things I am quiet used to nowadays like permalinks. They have this emotional quality to their site which makes me feel to get up and go running. So I guess they have partially succeeded. Full success would have meant me running to their showroom and getting their sneakers.

One thing I absolutely hate about them is as soon as you type “nike.com” you get a splash page which asks which language you want to see the site. Which is okay for a site in multiple languages. When I click English. It shows me a list of countries. Now India (where I live) is’nt there. Also there is’nt anything called “Others” or “Other countries”. What do I do know? Why are they treating me so partially? Isn’t India worth their attention?

I have written earlier about sites in multiple languages here.

I realize that they might not support online purchases in India. And thats the only valid reason I can think of. But why can’t they at least have a “Other countries” where the less fortunate of people come and just window shop?

PirateBay

People love them not just for the torrents, but for their attitude as well. There are a vast number of other torrent trackers around, but Piratebay makes news most often. On their home page their is a link called Legal Threats on which they post the legal notices/emails they get. This one was really funny, in reply to an email from Linotype. They have composed the entire email with different pirated fonts of Linotype.

Based in Sweden they have somehow bypassed the copyright laws till now. Piratebay’s legal advisor Viborg claims. “Until the law is changed so that it is clear that the trackers are illegal, or until the Swedish Supreme Court rules that current Swedish copyright law actually outlaws trackers, we’ll continue our activities. Relentlessly,”

Whatever their legal stand maybe, I love the way they use the anarchist dissension to grow more popular.

kwippy !!

What is kwippy? – a micro/nanoblogging webapp + IM status logger + social network

Why another microblogging app when there are already plenty out there? – There is twitter, pownce, jaiku, and 10 other similar ones. Though all of these promote small posts, each has a different kind of social network.

On twitter you mostly meet strangers. By strangers I mean people you don’t know in the real world. It’s like barcamp, or a conference where you go partly to network. You meet fellow bloggers, marketeers, and people from your field. Yes friendships may grow among them, but mostly there are subtle motives behind the tweets. From promoting your blog, selling your product, showing your expertise, etc.

Pownce is geared more towards file sharing, sharing media (youtube, mp3s) etc. And it has an AIR instant messenger kind of software which makes it a little closer to an Instant Messeger.

In kwippy, the whole focus is on the Instant Messenger. The friends list on the instant messenger is the most intimate friends list you can find, of all social networks. It gives the people in the list immediate access to your attention. People share their joys (i got a raise), sorrows (i flunked my english papers), their favorite links, and thousand other things through their status messages. And all these people also have a list of their closest friends on their list. And like in the real world when a real friend introduces you to another person, the chances that you hit it off are greater. There’s this trust thing which is automatic.

So there – kwippy has a social network which gets real friends, friends you could meet. And it stores all your status messages, which become your emotional timeline.

We have been working on it since some time, and now it is in testing. If you would like to check it out, and give your invaluable suggestions for improvement, either go to kwippy.com, or comment here.

Paper airplanes and Virality

Can you make a paper airplane?

paper airplane

I can, and I have seen only a very few who cannot. I at different stages of my life have made lots of different origami/papercraft. But the only two or three things which I still remember are the paper airplance and the paper boat.

But unlike the paper frogs and other such things, I did not learn how to make a paper airplane from teachers. I don’t even remember who taught me that. From what I can recall from my own experience and from what I have seen, the source of this knowledge is either a peer(friend, classmate,etc) or an elder (big brother,uncle). Now if you think you agree read on, or the rest will not make much sense. Now why do these two groups of people teach you something as trivial(?) as a paper plane.

Friends: Often the friend is just showing to show of his newly acquired skills. Getting the “ooh he can make such a nice plane” from others. Then one of his close friends would ask him (or request him) to teach him too. Or someone just grabs a plane and reverse engineers it (very unlikely though).

Elders: I definitely believe that every elder has a child sleeping inside. When a elder wants to impress a kid he loves (the typical uncle), he would make one.

What is the difference between the two? I think “making an impression” is there in both cases. In the second case it might be a little less, it could also be the self gratification of making a toy for a kid.

Who could be the first person who invented/discovered it? How did a few designs travel time(generations) and space (countries and cultures). We can learn a lesson or two in virality from paper planes. Would be very useful in making useful social applications.

Where the application designer does not impose the “invite your friends”.

Where people would search for such a functionality and if it is not there demand it.

By the people or For the people

There are different types of web applications out there. Some are based on content. Youtube and Flickr will fall into a content sharing site with a social network built in. People upload videos and pics and then share it with there online and real world friends using its different features. If we neglect small differences in features it’s about the same. One big difference though, Youtube is google searchable while Flickr is not.

What does this imply?

That considerable hits from youtube would come from google search. Now there is a high possibility that those who searched for a term and then came through google to a youtube video page, either:

  1. did not know about youtube
  2. did know about youtube, but did not think it would have what they needed.

In any case once they reach a youtube video page, there are two further possibilities:

  1. they find what they were looking for
  2. though close they need more precise result
  3. they don’t like the result and go out of youtube

In both 1 & 2 if the video is surrounded by more related things, the chances of the user staying there longer increases. Now a video in youtube is surrounded by different things. Below it is what the registered users can do with it, favorite it, send it to friends, etc. On the right is the metadata, details of the video. Below that is the related videos. In 1024 resolution I can only see two of the related videos above the fold.

The question is if the percentage of users from google users is really great, should the related videos get more limelight?

The overall bigger question here is while some sites say Twitter or Pownce would have (my opinion, i have no data) less people coming from google. So the design should be optimised more for the registered users or for the people who know what the service is about. While other sites where data is more generic say Scribd, SlideShare or Youtube (in parts, ads, music videos and such) can expect a lot of traffic from google and should optimise for such users.

In short is your web app by the people or for the people?

Embeds are Octopusy

When I first came across embeds, namely youtube type video embeds, I thought them strategically stupid. If you could view the whole video, why would anyone go to the site. Some would, but many wouldn’t. Though they have made the whole embed (except the controls) a link to that page on their site. But that relies on users mistakenly clicking on it.

They could have put in the first 20% then show some text which says, “To view the remaining video please go to this page”. There could have been many ways in which more people could be diverted to their site. And currently the site is where the advertising money is. Is their another reason they decided to put the whole video in the embed?

Recently I saw the related and more videos inside the embeds, in youtube. Also users can customize their embeds with playlists. Now this is even more amazing. Earlier with just one video, some people would still like to go the site to view the related videos, but now even that has come to the embed. This clearly proves that there definitely is some thought behind this. Now what could that be?

I found this video in Mashup, it is a recorded sighting of an ad inside a youtube embed.

Companies like Revlayer (not active right now), have come up, offering solutions for embed ads.And I think this is just the beginning. Initially the embeds may have seemed a very philanthropic venture.

Now people are changing there embed codes into DIVs. Which means we could start seeing even google adsense ads in the embeds. Also sites can use that space for flashing news, announcements, etc. And why can’t they start doing registrations from embeds too?

If I could use a little exaggerated analogy, while embeds started of on a parallel to a TV network. Each embed was a channel with just one program. Now it has changed to each channel having many programs (the related videos). In the long run, I guess it will change into a multi-headed vacuum cleaner sucking in eyeballs.

And so gradually these sites will start monetizing the billion square pixels real estate on so many embeds.

Editted on 24th jan 2008

Revver has started showing text ads over their video player. See the image. revver.jpg