Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘facebook applications’ Category

Happy Float, Facebook

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Happy IPO day, Facebook.

I’m not an “insider” of any sorts, so I won’t be gaining from any of the early Facebook IPO action.  I’m on the fence as to whether or not I might try to buy some “FB” shares on the open market through my Schwab account…not because I’m not interested in owning any Facebook stock, but because like a lot of investors, I want it to be a conscious, responsible investment, and one never knows what’s going to happen on IPO days.

But know this: I’m very bullish on Facebook, both its past and its future.  I’ve never seen an Internet property bring so many people together from so many different places in the world, across economic and social strata, and keep them coming back.

If you’re as bullish, but not ready to gamble on IPO day, you might give some thought to investing in the Facebook “pick and shovel” plays.

Stand back, look at the Facebook ecosystem, and rather than place all your bets on the Facebook IPO “come” line, instead spread some bets across the board and benefit from all the other players who stand to benefit from Facebook’s continued growth and adoption around the world.

The Zyngas, whose gaming ecosystem helped the Facebook tribe spread around the world.  The Dachis Corps and Buddy Medias, which are helping make the Facebook platform work well for marketers (and focusing well beyond the social graph ads that GM announced it would abandon earlier this week).

And, to be sure, hundreds of others.

Regardless of whether or not you’re a Facebook fan, and heaven knows sentiment about them can run to the extremes, if you’re a good Western capitalist, you have to be excited.

This is the classic American success story, where young kid has great idea, develops that idea in his dorm room and later small house in Silicon Valley, and eventually changes the world.

And make no mistake about that: Facebook has forever changed the world.

Just ask the folks in Egypt, or Tunisia, or Russia, or any other locale or organization that has benefited from the lower center of gravity Facebook has created that makes organizing in mass quantities as simple as a few clicks.

There is a good reason that Facebook is NOT available in China — fear of transparency and open communications.

If it were available, China would be a very different place than it is today, and it makes me thankful that the kind of open innovation and entrepreneurialism we have here in the U.S. is still alive and well.

And that, in the end, may well be the most important reason for celebrating Facebook’s entry into the public markets.

Big ideas can still have big impacts, and Silicon Valley (and, more broadly, the United States) is one of those places in the world that you can find the capital, the talent, and the political and regulatory playing field  to make those big ideas a reality.

Happy IPO day, Facebook.

If I Die…Please Leave A Message

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File this one under the “Things To Do Before I Die” category.

If I Die, the new Facebook app for when you're prepared to send the very best -- and the very last.

There’s a new website where you can leave a message that will only be published after you die.


“If I die” is the name of it, and no, I didn’t find out about it because someone who was dead left me a message.

This is just one of those Web phenomena where you can’t decide A) Why didn’t I think of that? or B) What WERE they thinking?!

Here’s how it works: You install the “if I die” Facebook app on Facebook, with all the concordant permissions to use your data (including, presumably, longgg after you’re gone).

Then, you create a video or text message (I’m thinking video.  If you’re going to have to deal with me after I’m dead, I want you to see my once living visage live and in the flesh!).

Then, you must choose three trustees among your friends, who also presumably will confirm A) That you kicked the bucket and B) Will validate your “if I die” message so it can be made public.

But the best part of the Web site was the campaign they ran to get people to sign up for the App. Apparently, the hesitancy wasn’t that people were worried about their privacy after they were gone (although it’s inevitable Facebook will change their privacy policy AGAIN long after I’m gone).

No, it’s that nobody wants to believe or think about the fact that someday, when they least expect it, they’re going to die.

So the campaign used the API of popular location-based services like foursquare and Gowalla to identify still real, living breathing humans when they checked into a place, and then called to the place of the check-in to ask if they could speak to the person who checked in so they could explain that someday they were going to die, and that they really ought to think about leaving a message well in advance of said inevitable demise using this nifty new Facebook app.

Wow, who would have thought that the campaign to drive adopters of the app could be any creepier than the app itself??  Is there some kind of new “Do Not Die” list so I can be spared such interruptions when I’m simply trying to get a Double Latte at the Starbucks?!?

You can watch the video below to learn more.  Me, I’m off to start my death preparations in a more old school manner: making out my ‘bucket list!’

Written by turbotodd

January 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Office In The Sun

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Happy New Year!

That seems to be especially the case for Facebook, which according to Dealbook, has raised $500M in additional funding from Goldman Sachs and Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies, a sum which would now value Facebook at $50 billion.

Of course, if it’s true that Facebook is about to move into Sun Microsystems’ old 150,000 square foot office space in Palo Alto, Zuckerberg’s going to need as much new scratch as he can get to remodel the place and bring back that new IPO smell once so prevalent in Silicon Valley, but which has been eroded these past eight years with the taxing shadow of Sarbanes-Oxley.

What Zuckerberg won’t need is any overhauling of the privacy mantra still haunting the hallways of the old Sun.

Remember, it was former Sun CEO Scott McNealy who informed us “You have zero privacy. Get over it.”

It seems, perhaps, he was right.

And prescient, considering he said that way back in the Jurassic age of the Dot Com boom.  I wonder if his soothsaying also envisioned a 26 year-old kid taking over his campus someday??

Nahh, probably not.

While the Facebookers have been busy raising their valuation, Bloomberg is reporting that tech takeovers could pick up bigtime this year as firms like Intel, HP, and yes, even Big Blue, set off in a race to “harness surging demand for cloud computing and security services.”

That same said story has Gartner estimating global IT spend this year at around $3.4 trillion, a 3.5 increase from last year.

Me, I’m just hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the cool stuff being released at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

Though my New Year’s resolution is still in the process of being resolved, one thing I did promise this year was not to go out and buy every new new thing the first week it’s available.

That, instead, I would demonstrate some resolve…and wait at least until the second week.

Written by turbotodd

January 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Turn Out The Lights

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Been a busy no-blogging Monday, but it’s towards the end of the day and I wanted to stop by and check in so I don’t get “blogstipated” at the start of the week.

First, another sad goodbye, this time to “Dandy” Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and “Monday Night Football” announcer.

Meredith passed away at the age of 72 this past weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and for those of us who remember his Southern wit from “Monday Night Football,” it’s sad to think that the lights this time were turned out on Meredith.

He was not only the groundbreaking quarter for Dallas, but also a groundbreaker in bringing sports coverage to primetime when MNF debuted in 1970.

Referring to turning out the lights, Meredith used to start singing Willie Nelson’s “Turn Out the Lights…the Party’s Over” when he saw no hope for a fledgling Monday night team.

He also paved the way for no end of celebrity sports endorsements, when he early on pitched for Lipton Tea in a series of TV spots.

Meredith was from Mount Vernon, Texas, the same vicinity of East Texas where much of my family hails from.  Our thoughts certainly go out to his.

Otherwise on the sports front, it was exciting to see Tiger Woods almost win his first tournament of 2010.

Ironically, it was his last chance, but Irishman Graham MacDowell took the Chevron trophy away from Tiger in a nail-biting playoff after an even more nerve-wracking several holes of the final round.

This weekend witnesses “The Shark Shootout” in Tiburon, and then the end-of-year lull before the 2011 golf season commences in Kapalua.

Completely changing subjects, anybody see the interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last night on “60 Minutes?”

Leslie Stahl gave him a pretty good grilling, but compared to his abysmal first interview there three years ago, Zuckerberg passed this Q&A with flying colors and introduced a new Facebook release that began rolling out today.

Inside Facebook tells us it’s all a “natural way to get users to share more.”  What, you mean they didn’t already know everything about me?

You can see what a new and revised profile looks like here.

Brilliant a ploy though it is to elicit more information from us all, I like the design and (mostly) had no trouble making the updates.

Feel free to comment and tell us about your own experiences making the update (should you decide to accept that particular mission).

Written by turbotodd

December 6, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Social Network Analysis: Getting to Know You

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I don’t do Mafia Wars on Facebook.


I would, but if I did, I’d probably never do anything else.  But it seems like a whole bunch of you DO do Mafia Wars.

Let me know how that goes, I hope you don’t get yourself whacked.

What I did do last night was the Friend Facts application.

I did that one not because everybody’s doing it (although I noticed several of my FB friends doing it right after I did it, and I’d done it right after one of my friends had done it, and that’s how a Facebook phenomenon is made).

No, I did Friend Facts because I thought I might learn something interesting about myself and my friends.  And I did.

I learned that 44% of my FB friends are female, and 56% are male (definitely gonna have to work on equalizing that ratio).

I learned that 43% of them are single, and 57% are taken.

I learned that 80% of them are Democrats, and 20% are Republicans.

I have FB friends in 12 countries and 25 states, and the most common zodiac sign among my friends is Virgo (47 friends!).

Our collective favorite band is U2, and our collective favorite TV show is “Lost.”

And, EVERYBODY loves “Pulp Fiction.”

But while everybody is listening to all this rock and roll from U2, and catching up on all those episodes of “Lost,” everybody also seems to maintain that their favorite activity is “Reading.”

Uh, huh.

So let me recap: In Turbo’s FB circles, the males can take the females, but just barely.  The significantly attached can take the singles.  The Dems can take the Repubs.  And they can all do it while listening to U2, watching the latest episode of “Lost,” and while reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Turbos’ friends’ favorite book).

Rock on.

Turbo Friend Facts Facebook Application Results

Turbo Friend Facts Facebook Application Results

Though this is a most simplistic example of social network analysis via Facebook, I think the actual potentiality of such research is extraordinary.

And, to be frank, it’s quite terrifying at the same time.

Who we are friends with, who we associate with, who we work with, who we connect to…all are increasingly, good or bad, reflections of who we are.  Or, as the case may be, who we are not.

And the inferences that can be made through such social network alliances might ought be…well…quite frankly, none of your business.

Take “Project Gaydar” at MIT, where two students banded together to better understand what social networks were unwittingly revealing to the Facebook world and beyond.

What could, in fact, the most basic transactions reveal via Facebook.

As it turns out, a lot.  They found that simply by looking at a person’s online friends, they could predict whether an individual was likely to be gay.

According to a Boston Globe article on the effort, the researchers did this with a software program that looked at the gender and sexuality of a person’s friends and, using statistical analysis, made a prediction.  And more often than not, they were right.

In another example cited in the same story, Murat Kantarcioglu, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas found he could make solid predictions about a person’s political affiliation by analyzing 167K profiles and 3 million links between people from the DFW network.

They used three methods to predict a person’s political views: One prediction model using only profile details.  Another using only friendship links.  And the third a combination of the two.

Care to guess which one worked best?  Uh, yeah, the third.

The implications of even these two simple but revealing examples of social network analysis are profound.

Essentially, you can reveal only the most basic, seemingly non-intimate details of yourself online via a social network, and through a fairly simple analytical routine, suddenly find yourself standing in the spotlight with company you may not wish the world you know to keep.

Or, as former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said once upon a time during the late 1990s, “You have zero privacy…get over it.”

For the longest time, I didn’t want to believe him, but I’m starting to think he was right.

So what’s a gregarious social networker seeking just a little privacy to do?

Well, remember everybody’s favorite TV show?  You could join Jack and Kate and the “Lost” gang out in the South Pacific somewhere, as I’m pretty sure that countdown computer never revealed a Facebook screen.

Or, you can just decide not to ever go online again, but even then, you’ve left a lot of online digital footprints that will be carved in the Google cache in perpetuity.

Probably the best thing to do is be proud of however you are, whoever you are, wherever you are.

You may, in fact, be like Howard Beale from the original “Network,” the one that appeared on movie screens in 1976 and exclaimed: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!”

Well, yes, in fact, you will take it, and everybody in your network’s gonna know about it, whether you come right out and say it or not.

Written by turbotodd

October 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

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