Joho the BlogJune 2006 - Page 3 of 9 - Joho the Blog

June 24, 2006

Supernova video interviews

The video interviews I did at Supernova are coming on line. Up now are three pages worth:

1. Jan Jannick of imeem; Kevin Marks on Net neutrality; Mitch Ratclliffe on the real costs of building communities; Craig Newmark of CraigsList on goodness.

2. Hans Peter Bordmo of Plum; Lili Cheng, the usability honcho for Microsoft Vista on social computing and the new operating system; Esme Vos, muniwifi activist; Rohit Khare and Tantek Çelik on the first birthday of microformats. (Someday soon we’re going to get Rohit’s name spelled correctly on the page. Sorry, Rohit!)

3. Kapenda Thomas of jookster; Linda Stanford of IBM on innovation; Philip Rosedale of Linden Labs and Second Life; JP Rangaswami of Dresdner and Kleinwort on why a financial services company is being so progressive about social software.

More are on the way… [Tags: ]

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Drinks on a plane

Least important question of the day:

On my flight out to San Francisco, the woman next to me ordered bloody mary mix and added vodka from a little airline bottle that she’d brought with her. The attendant not so nicely told her that she’s not allowed to bring her own alcohol onto the plane.

Can the airlies really do that? Is that legal of them? I say this as someone who’s been known to smuggle a box of candy into a movie theater. (And if that turns out to be the reason I burn in Hell for all eternity, I will really kick myself.)


June 23, 2006

[supernova] Michael Copps

Michael Copps of the FCC has two messages: All is not well in Washington, and we “need to do a lot more about that.”

Access to the Internet could reasonably be considered a civil right, he says. The Net is crucial, yet the US is falling in terms of per capita access to broadband. And the FCC counts 200kb as broadband. And if there’s a single person with broadband in a zip code, the FCC counts the entire zip code as having access to broadband. He says we’re the only industrialized country that has no national strategy for getting the country connected. He suggests that other countries have better competition policies or incentives.

“Let’s get the facts, do the research, do the analysis, consider our options” and implement.

“Decentralized end user control is increasingly at risk.” “The concentrated providers have the ability to build networks with traffic policies that restrict how you and I use the Internet.” Although they say they’re not going to do that, but history shows that concerns with the ability and the incentive frequently give it a try, he says.

What’s the FCC doing about it? Mixed bag. The FCC has reclassified broadband to information services, not telecommunications. Telecom is supposed to be non-discriminatory, but not info services. Thanks to Copps, the FCC issued a four-point statement of principles for Net users: You can see what you want, use the devices you want, etc. [Yeah, but the new commissioner added footnotes vitiating them. See Isenberg on this.] The providers would invert the architecture, making a smart pipe for dumb users, rather than keeping the architecture open and dumb so smart users can innovate.

Copps talks about the FCC’s current deliberations about allowing yet more media consolidation. He wants the deliberations to be opened. The Internet will not halt media consolidation, he says, because it could be heading down the very same road. “The only way you win is to make sure it’s not a business as usual process.” We should take our story not only to capitol hill but all across America.

I ask him about partnerships and alliances we haven’t formed that we should. He responds by talking about coming up with ways of talking about the issue that shows the importance of the issue to all Americans.

(I interviewed Commissioner Copps; it’ll be posted on the Supernova vlog site tonight or tomorrow.) [Tags: ]

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[supernova] My video blogs

A bunch of the interviews I did at Supernova are posted on the site, including (in random order): Kevin Marks on Net neutrality, hans Peter Brondmo of Plum, Jann Jennick of imeem, Rohit Kahre and Tantek Ccedil;elik on microformats … and there seems to be a problem with the page at the moment. More will be posted soon. [Tags:]


June 22, 2006

[supernova] Join in

The Supernova webcast, podcast, and etcCast are all here.

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[supernova] Craig Newmark

Go, Craig!

He begins by saying that he doesn’t have the capacity to think in terms of “user generated content.” [Did I mention: “Go Craig!”?]

He says CraigsList is a flea market. People go there to buy and sell but also to talk with other people. The only only way the site can run is by counting on people policing the site as much as possible themselves. “People are overwhelmingly trustworthy.” As a result of counting on self-policing, trust develops.

He contrasts this with corporations that don’t trust their customers. “I work with too many cops now that want me to be feisty. I’d rather have a nap.”

“I count on doing customer support only for the rest of my life. After that, it’s over.

The wisdom of the crowds works. “We do suffer from the problems of any kind of democracy.” The site gets spam, worst being political disinformation. In fact, Craig says he was just “swiftboated.”

By way of hope, he points to Dan Gillmor’s Center working on understanding citizen journalism and projects such as Congresspedia, a wiki about’s who’s buying Congress and what’s written on the price tag.

He says that in his little world, one of the thing’s that’s worked is remembering what it’s like to be left out, and then include people. [Go, Craig. My hero.] [Tags: ]

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[supernova] Jonathan Schwartz

[supernova] Jonathan Schwartz

The new CEO of Sun says that some workloads are not outpacing Moore’s Law — SAP, CRM, for example — and Sun is not going to chase those applications. Sun wants to find the apps that need more hw. He says 100% of companies want the tech that will let them connect with their customers. So Sun has to pick and choose. The companies that look at IT as a cost center are not as important to Sun as companies that look at IT as a way of growing their business. [Don’t tell Nicholas Carr!]

He lists commodity companies: Exxon, Citi Group, Google. Commodities are ok business, if you’re able to leverage R&D. [I wish our Net providers would understand the commodity markets can be profitable.]

Kevin: Where do you prioritize your R&D?
Jonathan: For one thing, on making our systems energy and space efficient. Security and provisioning. They are not going to build end-user products. They’re going to drive standards. “I’m not worried about demand. I’m worried about intercepting demand.”

Kevin: Web 2.0?
Jonathan: It’s no longer a read-only Web. [And it never was.] All client devices will be functionally equivalent, distinguished by form factor. Companies can no longer design products from on high. We’re putting consumer reviews of our products on our site even if they criticize because I’d rather have them do it in front of us…

Kevin: Last year you said every CEO should have a blog. Not a lot do. Why not?
Jonathan: Five years ago, most CEOs had their admins print out their email. The job of a leader is to communicate.

What’s the core R&D for Sun? “The era of custom hardware is on its way out.” Make sure that every device that connects to the network can interact with it. [Tags: ]

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Democrats, GOP spar over Iraq war timeline

by Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Months before congressional elections, Republicans and Democrats maneuvered for political advantage Wednesday as the Senate debated the Iraq war and the future of 132,000 U.S. troops in the war zone.

What a cynical way to open an article, dismissing all concerns, on all sides, as mere political maneuvering.

Is this reporting?


Dan Rather ought to start a blog faster than a five-legged mule rollin’ downhill.

Esme Vos, one of the people who just may save the Net, blogs about why the media keeps writing the same damn story about muni wifi.

USA Today has a feature that wonders whether Adam Sandler will be accepted in a role where he doesn’t play a “moron.” “Will the fanboys buy Sandler in a role where he has to deliver dramatic monologues and even tear up a little? They haven’t in the past.” The article then points to the box office failure of Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love.

Interesting premise. Unfortunately, the accompanying filmography that lists both the “juvenile humor factor” and box office receipts shows pretty much the opposite. Billy Madison (according to the article) gets a 4 out of 4 on the juvenile scale but only made $25.6M. Little Nicky is the other full 4 and it made only $39.5M. Happy Gilmore scored 3 out of 4 and only made $38.8M. Anger Management, 50 First Dates and Big Daddy each got only 2 on the juvenile scale but made $135.6, $120.9, and $163.5 million. Even the “failed” Spanglish, which gets 0 on the moron scale, made $42.7M, which is more than his full moron movies.

So, the USA hypothesis is robustly proven, in the sense that the opposite of it is true.

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June 21, 2006

[supernova] Engaged market conversations

Tara Hunt moderates. We have four speakers who in fact will be workshop leaders: Christopher Carfi (Cerado), Francois Gossieux (Corante), Brett Hurt (BazaarVoice) and Robert Scoble (

We break into four groups to work through different issues in a sort of case study way. The group I went into wondered how a smaller company could use social media to survive the announcement by a Microsoft or Yahoo of a product with similar functionality. It was an interesting conversation that veered from social media pretty quickly. We could have divided into Shirts and Skins, with most participants thinking of marketing in terms of consumers as targets and the rest hoping that goodness will also be good marketing. In response to some comments about authenticity, I found myself saying that “authenticity” is a term that means less and less the more you think about it, but the companies we think of as authentic frequently are companies that are clearly on our side.

Anyway, it was an interesting discussion. We’d need another few hours to get to enough common ground, though. And it was generous of Tara to step away from the front of the room so that we could talk amongst ourselves. [Tags: ]

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[supernova] Wharton West Workshops

I’m at the workshop day of Supernova. The conference-y conference starts tomorrow. The IRC, currently up, is irc:// The “media center” aggregates the feeds, etc., from the conference; I suspect it will be in full swing tomorrow.

The Wharton day starts with a session on “the personal infosphere.”

Dalton Caldwell of Imeem gives a demonstration; it integrates IM and social networking. It does tags, but does not (yet) take in tags from other sites, so you hvae to make your Personal Infosphere investment in Imeem.

eSnips, an Israeli company gives you a gig to snip ‘n’ share Web content. I’s a social site and, as the slide ways, “The only social site where mainstream people are … and teens aren’t!” It’s focused on the content, not the people, says Yael Elish. (Here’s a folder of optical illusions I stumbled upon.) You can control who can see content. Anything you upload is given its own Web site. It’s tagalicious. It’s intended as a “pure consumer brand,” not an enterprise tool.

Ben Golub of Plaxo begins by giving a history of computing that claims that the Web wasn’t about people connecting to people until web 2.0 Aarrrggghh! I hate that meme! Anyway, he goes on to talk about how many people are connecting to other people. Lots. Plaxo is “the industry’s first smart address book.” It lets you “leverage your address book.” [I don’t know. I’d still rather see a distributed solution. FOAF and Plaxo should meet and have babies.]

Tariq Krim of Netvibes is an aggregator. I’ve played with it for a few minutes and the UI is very very easy. Cool even. He says that Netvibes is being designed by users and that it’s trying to be completely open.

Hans Peter Brondmo of Plum says it gives you a persistent way to aggregate all sorts of content in one place so you can share it or not. You can save deliberately or you can set it to save every site you go to. It indexes everyting. It will be tagalectable.

In the discussion, they agree that standards are good.

Mitch Ratcliffe asks a killer question about whether the motive for hosting content rather than managing it in a distributed fashion is in fact to give the hosting company an asset.

They discuss whether enterprise software is going to become indistinguishable from mass end-user software. Because these are non-enterprise sw folks, they push against the idea.

Do these services create new silos? Stated answer: Nah! Real answer: Yeah, probably.

By the way, for now I’m going to tag posts as “supernova” and not “supernova2006” on the grounds that the systems that sort through tags should be able to sort by date. Could be a tragic error on my part. [Tags:]

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