Posts from October 5, 2004

Web 2.0: Mark Cuban

Web 2.0: Mark Cuban

: Mark Cuban is now being interviewed.

At least he admits that the first episode of his show sucked.

Somebody in the audience is going after him for the Mavs. He says he has heard an entire stadium booing while seeing his face on the big screen, but he has never been heckled at an industry conference.

Cuban’s business rule — and explanation of why he went after HDTV — is that he likes “death wars.” My table wonders: What the hell is a death war? And how does it relate to HDTV? And Saddam. (Sorry, I thought I was still watching the debate….)

It remains amazing to me that we are listening — hell, paying to listen — to a guy who made too much money selling a company for too much money to a company that was stupid enough to buy it and then kill it. And he has a TV show, too.

And they make fun of people for being egotistical enough to have a blog.

I understand why the world pays attention to Paris Hilton. I don’t understand why the world pays attention to Mark Cuban.

: Heilemann does a word association. Donald Trump? “Role model for how to fail in business,” says Cuban.

Kobe Bryant: “What an idiot.”

He continues to say that the Bryant case was good for the NBA because the rape story brought game highlights.

: Cory Doctorow stands up to talk HDTV. He says that we all have HDTVs in our laptops. HD tvs, he says, are just dumb laptops that are hard to carry around.

: UPDATE: Jason Calacanis collared me this morning saying he was going to flame me for saying that Cuban said rape was good for the NBA. I looked it up; I said he said the case was good because it brought TV time. Anyway, Cuban did make a point of saying that he did not thing that rape was good for the NBA and so I’ll make that clear. OK?



: I’m now in a room watching the debate with Micah Sifry, Scott Kurnit, Dan Gillmor, Mitch Kapor, Zack Rosen, and other lumiaries. I think I’ll enjoy the peanut gallery more than the action on stage. (Out of 600 people here, 25 are watching the debate.)

While I’m on insubstantial issues, I can already see that sitting is better than standing. I want sitting debates.

: Cheney repeats what both candidates said the other night: that our biggest threat is a terrorist having a nuke. I’m not sure I buy that. And i sure hope I’m not right.

: Edwards sure comes out shooting: “Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people.” The rules said there were to be no opening statements. Ha!

Now I understand why politicians go to law school. Nothing about making laws. Everything about rhetorical attack.

: Paul Bremer gave Edwards his straight line yesterday, saying there weren’t enough troops.

And Cheney is on the defensive.

: Edwards, too, gets Saddam and bin Laden confused. It’s catching.

: When Cheney says Edwards has his facts wrong and he has not connected Iraq to 9/11, this room breaks out in a guffaw.

: Cheney says we are four days away from a democratic election in Afghanistan. Let’s not forget that, my friends. That is progress in the world.

Too bad Iraq ain’t Afghanistan, eh?

Edwards won’t allow that to be good news. “They are now providing 75 percent of the world’s opium.” I say that’s a mistake to find the dark center to every cloud. At least celebrate the spread of democracy, guys. That’s the vision I expect from both administrations.

: Edwards spins the “global test” quote. He says they will go over terrorists and they “will never give veto power” to another country. I’ll wager that Bush will step up the global test advertising. I smell the coming of French cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

The moderator says she’s going to come back to the global test and Edward says “yes, ma’am.” Polite southerners.

She asks: “What is a global test if it’s not a global veto.”

Right question. This is the most upsetting single thing about Kerry to me. The French f’ed us along with Old Europe and we cannot depend on these alleged allies. It is very much the right question.

He says these nations need to trust us, that we are credible. “They will not follow us without that.” They won’t follow us anyway. They’ve said they will not go into Iraq. That dog don’t hunt truffles.

: Cheney makes a big mistake answering Edwards, going after challenging facts (“the 90 percent figure is dead wrong”). No, he should be speaking in a French accent.

: Cheney says that Edwards and Kerry “voted against the troops.” That was his first contact blow.

: CNN is leaving up the Chyron for many, many minutes: “Would it be dangerous to elect Kerry President?” What the hell is wrong?

: At :27, we have the first Halliburton mention. Micah Sifry follows the rules of the drinking game: Down goes the merlot.

: Good for you Gwen: She pushes the question of whether the efforts to internatinalize the effort in Iraq are “naive” given that the French and Germans have told us to F off.

Edwards: “We have a plan for success.”

Bullshit meets bullshit.

: Wonkette almost live blogs:

8:58PM: They have just completed the essay portion of the debate. 9:10PM: Cheney: “I have never said there was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.” Yes! And watch these monkeys fly out of my ass!”

: Edwards’ eyebrows. That’s what it’s all about: Edwards’ eyebrows. When Kerry hit Bush, his lips got thin and he lost. When Cheney tries to attack Edwards, he raises his eyebrows: ‘What the F?’ it says.

: Edwards is the prosecutor. Cheney is the witness. Hostile witness. If it keeps going like this, he’ll be playing the role of the defendant.

Cheney gets wrapped up in specifics and doesn’t give the big-picture view Edwards is giving.

: Edwards could go overboard: Cheney, Haliburton, Ken Lay, and Enron in the same sentence. and Edwards is the definition of smug.

Cheney pushes Server immediately hammered.

And let’s factcheck the reference. It’s actually

It’s a veeplanche!

: Cheney, president of the Senate, goes on an odd attack, saying that Kerry doesn’t come to work often enough. “The first time I met you was on stage tonight.”

: Edwards is getting cocky. With reason.

: I come to think that Kerry chose Edwards only to defeat Cheney at this debate.

: Amazing that Cheney acts as if he’s talking to the moderator while Edwards knows he’s talking to the nation.

: UPDATE: Aftewards, I asked the room their score. I thought Edwards won. Micah Sifry thought it was a draw. The room voted more for draw. Some for Edwards. None for Cheney.

And how do you feel about that?

And how do you feel about that?

: Ev Williams, a founder of Pyra/Blogger, just announced that he’s leaving the company, now owned by Google. Time for the next thing. I saw him here at Web. 2.0 and made fun of him for one aspect of his announcement: His therapist told him to take time off.

Ev did many amazing things — not just helping create Blogger but also stubbornly keeping it alive and with it this wonderful world of ours. We should all be grateful to him for that amazing grit. As some of you know, I got our company to invest in Pyra (along with O’Reilly, by the way). It wasn’t much money. The company never had much money, until the end. It suffered through traffic and complaints about how that traffic brought the service down and Ev kept pushing on, like a pioneer heading west in a blizzard.

It’s one thing to have a great idea. It’s another to actually start it. It’s quite another to have the courage to keep it alive until it is successful. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what made America great. And blogs, too.

I’ll be eager to see what he does next.

Web 2.0: John Doerr

Web 2.0: John Doerr

: John Doerr is interviewed by John Heilemann, who asks about Google, of course. I’m not hearing much fascinating yet. Will blog it if I hear it.

… It’s 20 minutes later now. I haven’t found anything to quote amid parrying over Google without saying anything and some hooha about string theory and parallel universes online….

But he just held up his Treo and I’m probably crazy but it didn’t look the same. Does John Doerr have a Treo 650? I’m not at all sure. But that’s what I want to know.

Web 2.0: comScore

Web 2.0: comScore

: Gian Fulgoni of comScore is going to run through a lot of new data fast; I’ll get the leave-behind and add data later.

Total users on Internet well over 160 million; growth is abating but broadband growth continues unabated. Some cities are over 50 percent.

Spending on sites will easy top $100 billion in 2004. Growth remains rapid. With travel and auction, is over $150 billion.

Broadband and tenure both increase spending. Broadband by 50 percent.

Categories benefitting: apparel, music, consumer packaged goods, online services. People are spending a lot on high-ticket items.Expensive items can be sold online.

Content spending is increasing, at a rate of $1 billion a year (including personals).

Consumers are getting over their security concerns; online banking and bill paying are growing.

Bandwidth consumption over the year shows an interesting trend: P2P consumption is going down (50 percent of all bandwidth a year ago to 15-20 percent today).

28 percent of searchers account for 68 percent of searches. As searching grows, online buying grows. They looked at brandshare among searches. Heavy searches look at Walmart, Overstock, Cosco, Amazon. The low-cost leaders are on top, they say. (I also see greater breadth of merchandise among these than with Barnes and Noble,, or LandsEnd.)

They find a direct relationship between web activity and buying activity offline. “Online advertising should be getting a greater share,” he says. Amen.

He also looks at the activity at job sites to predict the government’s employment number.

Web 2.0: Bill Gross

Web 2.0: Bill Gross

: Bill Gross of Idealab is going to introduce a new company.

He says he has been passionate about search because of how powerful, useful, and technically challenging it is. He says there were three big breakthroughs in search: The audacious notion to index the entire web, then using price, then link as relevance tools.

When you get the page back “that’s when the search really begins,” he says. “We looked at what we could add value to in that part of the search.”

Three keys:

: User control

: User feedback – take what other users have done nad their post-click actions.

: Transparency – exposing every action and transaction to help the user avoid dead ends.

The new service is called Snap. He types in a search for “jaguar.” The search has columns for popularity, satisfaction, web popularity, web satisfaction, domain.

He modifies the search live. He types on “os” and it reduces the results to just jaguar OS immediately, before our very eyes.

“Camera” brings up many more columns of choices: zoom, storage, resolution, etc. So the search knows these are factors and allows you to specify what you want. So go to the resolution column and type in 4 and it gives you just cameras that have more than 4 megapixels.

That is user control.

They licensed data about what users did after their search. So when people searched for “walmart” they now know how often they wanted to buy something or wanted a stock quote. Thus popularity. That is feedback.

Type in cars and you get four basic categories: buy, research, loan, insurance.

As to transparency, they are allowing people to see the conversion rate for sales because that is valuable data to consumers. He’s opening up the stats for the site, even his revenues, what people are paying for ads, and so on.

He said they hadn’t planned to open that up as an API but after hearing Bezos, he will.

Try it here.

(Battelle says it kills him he’s not blogging this right now on his Searchblog.)

Web 2.0: Jeff Bezos

Web 2.0: Jeff Bezos

: Jeff Bezos shows Web 0.0: the original gray-and-blue Amazon page with no search box on the home page, nothing dynamic, nothing personal. Web 1.0 is Amazon today, he says. Humans create the content but computers place it all, allowing the whole site to be customized. Web 1.0 was making the “interface better for humans,” he says. Web 2.0 “is about making the Internet useful for computers.” He says we’ll see a lot of APIs opened up to do more sophisticated things. He shows Amazon Web Services, now used by 65k developers.

They also just announced in beta Alexa web services. (If only they could get it placed on enough users’ sites to make the data more valuable and reliable.)

He shows off things created with Amazon web servces., from France, allows you to search a favorite band and see the relationships. Try it.

This is “clustering.” See earlier post and quote from Esther Dyson on “clustering.” This is the 2.0 future. It’s about trust and authority and organization….

Another: Scoutpal allows you to scan a bar code of a book so you can see whether it’s cheaper on Amazon. He charges $10 a month for the service. “If this was something somebody at thought of”… they’d have to hire a developer and let it compete in priorities and who knows how long it would take.

Instead, let the people create.

Next: A9 plug. New and not yet “exposed” is a sophisticated history service that lets you search your search and site history. I wish someone would let me search my existing browser — not a9 — bookmarks, too.) What’s most cool is that in searching from multiple sources of information, you can mix web results with results from Amazon’s full-text book searches.

Bezos says it’s Web 2.0 but it’s still Day One.

O’Reilly asks where we will hit the point of tripping over each other with ripping, mixing, and burning all this content and people will complain that their businesses are being hurt. Bezos says there have to be business models for these things.

O’Reilly says that he and Bezos first met when they were butting heads over the 1-Click patent. He suggests that it should be opened up to similar Web Services development since he has millions of customers in a trusted relationship.

Bezos says the wallet is also open. Is it?

[We haven’t heard the patented Bezos laugh once yet. I’m in the room when it happens. It’s like Mt. Saint Helens erupting. I guess it’s a more serious time.]

Bezos says he has a strong incentive to keep inventing because his customers will be loyal to him only until someone offers them a better service.

O’Reilly says the search got worse when full-text books were added. Bezos says they can tell whether they’ve hurt search because they see immediately whether they’ve hurt sales.

O’Reilly mentions Rutan’s space effort and asks whether Bezos plans to go up in space himself. “Absolutely,” he replies.

Bezos says searching inside the book is all about sampling at the point of sale. If you give a sample of ice cream at the store, it’s that. If you give it away at a park, it’s branding.

The guy who designed the effects in Matrix says to Bezos that he’s good at thinking in 10-year chunks. So he asks Bezos what’s coming in massive multiplayer gaming. Bezos says we may be in such a universe right now.

Web 2.0: The big time

Web 2.0: The big time

: We’re out of the intimate workshops and into the big room with the big names. John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly are kicking it off with their view of the web as the new operating system with an internet application stack.

Hell, the web is the new operating system of life, no?

They say that profit is migrating down to data suppliers and up to companies that can take advantage of network effects.

They like the architecture of participation with companies that grow as your customers build your business for you: Google, Flikr, eBay, Amazon, Blogger, Linux, Apache.

O’Reilly says Amazon is amazing because it overlayed network effect on an old, only OK business.

Yes, the advantage of this is that the people bring you (a) content but also (b) marketing and (c) valuable data.

“Data is the Intel Inside,” says the slide. O’Reilly says Microsoft won the browser war but couldn’t turn that into money; it gained them no leverage.

Next: “Innovation in assembly.” (Don’t you just hate overly abstracted PowerPoint headlines? Hey, in the news business we learned that headlines must inform.) O’Reilly explains as an example his new company that allows users to deconstruct and reconstruct text books.

“Lightweight business models” is the nirvanna of today, the cure for the ’90s.

O’Reilly says we come to the end of the software upgrade cycle. So innovations are introduced a small bit at a time instead of a ton at a time. Amazon, eBay, Google add innovations that way; Microsoft takes a half-a-decade to come up with a new OS.

Software “above the level of a single device” is another trend they see…. e.g., the iPod.

Next they emphasize the “power of the tail.” See Chris Anderson’s story in Wired, which just went up online today.

Those are the themes of the confab, they say.