Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"My Web 2.0" vs. blinklist.com social bookmarking engine

Since only the paranoid survive, I have been playing around with the new MyWeb2.0 from Yahoo! and I have to say that overall I am underwhelmed. Their site is neither fun nor easy to use. I can see that they incorporated a couple of features from blinklist and then also tried to take it to the next level by adding social networking.

However, I don't think they have really nailed the concept. At the end of the day, the users are going to decide but I am confident that we have a good chance to keep innovating to make blinklist more fun and exciting. Of course this is a gigantic task and just with its size alone Yahoo! can pile on many more users in a day than us.

Overtime, however, I am confident that blinklist will continue to grow via word of mouth by providing an excellent product to our users and turning them into evangelists for our service. I know, blinklist is not yet there, but we are getting closer to releasing our next update with some exciting improvements.

Mike

"My Web 2.0"
MyWeb 2.0
Yahoo! MyWeb
blinklist
social bookmarking
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Yahoo! launches MyWeb 2.0, social bookmarking and search

Well, it looks like Yahoo! has just launched a new social bookmarking and search competitor. I am personally not that surprised. The area of personalized search, bookmarking, and social networking has been heating up tremendously.

So, it was to be expected that the big boys are moving in. My first initial assessment is that Yahoo! has done a couple of things really well and a a couple of things quite poorly. I personally think that the user experience on Yahoo! is inferior to the user experience on blinklist, especially once we roll out the new features we have planned in the pipeline.

However, we cannot underestimate these guys. They have a TON of distribution so it will be that much more challenging to move ahead. If we succeed in building a great product it will spread and will just have to keep iterating and innovating faster than our friends at Yahoo!

Here is the link to the new yahoo social search engine.

Enjoy (blinklist) that is! :-)

Mike
Blink It

Monday, June 27, 2005

How to add blinklist to your live bookmarks in FireFox

How to access your blinklist sites directly from your browser?

One of the most requested features and questions that we receive is how to access all of your links directly from your browser. Fortunately, using RSS and the live bookmarking tool in FireFox, that is already possible.

Here is the link to the temporary help file that we have put up.

blinklist from your browser

We will add this shortly to the help sections on blinklist. However, we did not want to keep any of you waiting. :-)

Mike
Blink It

Friday, June 24, 2005

Del.icio.us follows blinklist and adds autosuggestion script

Well, I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just stumbled upon a blog that was complimenting del.icio.us on the implementation of its new autosuggestion script in its bookmarklet tool. Well, we have had that on blinklist for two months.

I guess we are still tiny and so we have not yet gotten any credit for our innovations or for moving the bookmarking and social bookmarking field forward. Such is the life if you just get started and are much smaller than the Goliath of social bookmarking.

I really do find it a useful improvement and I am always happy to see innovation on the net. Hopefully we can inspire each other to continue taking our applications to the next level for the benefit of all of our users and the for the users that have yet to discover the fun of using sites like blinklist for bookmarking and finding cool new sites on the web.

delicious, blinklist, startpage, bookmarklet, bookmarking, social bookmarking, autosuggestion
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

blinklist upgrade - edit tags via ajax and cool fade in fade out implementation

We just added a cool little new feature to blinklist. We added the ability to edit tags. Yeah, I know, this is pretty obvious. People might mis-type their tag and so this is not really a revolutionary feature.

However, what I find remarkable is that our engineer figured out how to make something so simple really sexy. If you go and checkout your blinklist page and click on edit tag, you will know what we are talking about.

1) It looks super cool
2) It works super fast and does not require a page reload because it is based on ajax.

Overall, this is pretty cool. I love it. I just really appreciate it when people spend the attention on every detail and work hard to make it perfect. Sure, we have lots more work to do to clean up the UI, but we are going to get there one step at a time. Hopefully, we will continue to improve our start page and social bookmarking discovery engine day by day.

Mike

start page, social bookmarking, ajax, del.icio.us
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Little Anton is born

Denis and Masha, two very good friends of mine just had a baby! His name is Anton and he is the cutes little boy in the world! I am very happy for them and cannot believe that Masha delivered an 8lb 14 ounces big baby!

Yeah! I am super excited and happy for them and I am a little sad that I will not be able to see little Anton very much this year since I am moving out to Kuala Lumpur shortly.

I guess I have my own little baby and new project for now. It's called blinklist and right now I am also super excited to see how it will grow and develop over time. So far, we have heard great customer reviews and the whole team is fired up.

We hope to be delivering new features soon! Stay tuned. :-)

Mike
Blink It

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Blinklist upgrade - better social bookmarking and stat page

Today we made some exciting improvements and changes to blinklist. I would list them all here but since my hand hurts from too much typing, I will just have to say go and check it out. I hope you will not be disappointed.

blinklist

Mike

social bookmarking start page delicious
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Friday, June 17, 2005

Reboot 7 - Audio Files for Saturday Hall A

If you are looking for the audio files for Reboot, I found a link to all the presentations (audio files) from Saturday. I put them on blinklist here:

Reboot 7 Audio Files

If you find the audio files for Sunday, please add them to blinklist. Would be great to get links to all the audios in one place.

reboot
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Google to enter Payments to compete with PayPal

Very interesting. I just found an article that confirmed that Google is working on developing an online payments solution. Obviously, they are looking for new growth and also to diversify their growth.

However, there are a few reasons why going into Payments makes perfect sense for Google. First and foremost, they need to be able to better track conversion rates so that they can help their customers better track the ROI of their ad spend.

So, that is a compelling strategic rationale. However, what is also interesting is that what Google is doing is nothing unique. They are simply following down the path that Yahoo! and MSN took a long time ago.

Step 1: Search (Google, Froogle, Google Local, etc.)
Step 2: Communication (Gmail)
Step 3: Payments

Yahoo! and MSN did the same thing. They started with search, then went to communications and then went into payments. Yahoo! (PayDirect) and MSN (Passport) both failed in payments. What will be Google's faith?

It depends on the path they take. If they want to directly compete with PayPal it will be tough. If they start via a simple merchant account solution they will do fine and can grow from there. However, if one thing is clear is that they are now in direct competition with PayPal and eBay. This is going to be an interesting fight!

Google
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Steve Jobs gives inspiring speech "Stay Young! Stay Foolish!"

Highlights:
- An incredibly inspiring commencment speech by Steve Jobs
- Ask yourself everyday, what would youd do if you are going to die?
- Stay hungry, stay foolish

I love to save great speeches and have already added this to a new list on blinklist under great speeches.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Steve Jobs
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Blinklist making rapid progress as all star team grows

I am happy to say that we got another all star programmer to join the MindValley family this week. I am super excited now that we can start to significantly increase our momentum. We have a ton of ideas on how to innovate on our social bookmarking platform and will continue to roll out improvements at a rapid pace so come back often to see the changes and enhancements to blinklist.

Mike
Blink It

Friday, June 10, 2005

How-To: Podcasting (aka How to get Podcasts and also make your own)

If you like to read blogs, you have probably heard of podcasting. In fact, right now "podcasting" is the #1 search term on technorati and I stumbled upon a couple of really great websites on podcasting and have started to collect them on blinklist.

You can find them under the tag "podcasting" or just follow this link:
blinklist.com/op/tag/podcasting

My favorite link on podcasting was the "How to guide"

I also highly recommend the new beta site from technorati. It makes browsing, finding, and discovering new blogs much more fun. Here is the link:
Technorati beta page
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

What the heck is blinklist? A leading bookmarking service

Ok, so creating a site that is super simple and easy to use is no easy task. So far, this is the feedback we have received on blinklist.

"This is by far the best social bookmarking engine."
"I love it, I am starting to bookmark and save links just for fun."
"I cannot imagine living without blinklist."

So far so good. In fact, this is astounding feedback given that we have just launched with our bare bones site. I personally have to thank our outstanding team!

We are all ver excited about the long-term potential of blinklist. However, not all is well. It turns out that initially users don't get it. That is we fail in clearly articulating what blinklist is, and why it makes using the web far more fun to use.

This is a challenge we will need to overcome and something we are now working hard on improving. Very soon we will have a completely revamped home page and a greatly enhanced help section to guide users through the process of getting started with blinklist.

In fact, you can take a look at some of the new content that will be on our help page here:
new help page

Stay tuned for our next revision of our site. We are also working on several new features that should further improve blinklist. I can hardly wait until we can make those announcements.

Blink It

Monday, June 06, 2005

Quick tag access enables great discovery of social bookmarks

I am a big fan of social bookmarking because I think that it makes browsing the net quite fun. However, one of the key shortcomings at least so far is that the finding experience and sense of discovery have not been very satisfying.

We are working hard at blinklist to make discovery and finding simple, and easy. Why should searching social bookmarks be any more difficult than using a general search engine?

At blinklist we figured it does not have to be, which is why we have given users both a search box to enter keyword queries to discover tags as well as adding an auto-suggestion script that will help you to quickly identify the most appropriate tags. This is similar to what Google Suggest offers. Since browsing through the public links on blinklist is a social experience, we thought that seamlessly direction users to the most relevant tags could greatly enhance the fun and utility of blinklist.

We look forward to hearing your comments and feedback.
Blink It

Google Sitemaps new beta product

I found a new tool today that Google is developing for webmasters. The new tool is called Google sitemaps. Google has developed a sitemap generator that allows webmasters to create a sitemap of their domain and then submit it to Google.

This could be a big improvement from the past where all you could do is submit the index page of any website. By sumbitting the entire sitemap in a way that is optimized for Google's crawlers (via the sitemap generator) Google may be able to crawl and update pages more frequently. This could be great for both webmasters and for Google.

You can access Google Sitemaps here

Mike
Blink It

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blinklist.com offers a new approach vs. del.icio.us (delicious)

I discovered a great post today on taxonomy, one of my favorite blogs about tagging. The post talks about one of the key differences between blinklist.com and del.icio.us.

The biggest difference is that the blinklist user interface is designed to support users regardless of how many tags and links they keep on adding. By organizing tags into favourite, popular, and recent tags and by integrating a quick tag access search engine, blinklist can support users with theoretically, tens of thousands of tags and hundreds of thousands of links.

In a way, blinklist creates a new approach and user interface that allows the use of tags for both filing AND annotating. We hope that it presents the best of both worlds by allowing users to store the information any way they see fit while still making it easily accessible and retrievable.

Check out blinklist to give it a try. I know, it is still very confusing for new users. We are going to re-design the home page and flesh out the help section to do a better job of explaining what blinklist is all about.
Blink It

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

MindValley launches blinklist

We are glad to announce that we have launched blinklist.com in beta mode today.

What is blinklist?

- blinklist is the single best way to manage your personal bookmarks

blinklist allows you to rapidly bookmark, label and comment on any web page on the Internet. Your sites are organized intuitively using a new filing system. Our new filing system leverages many new approaches that make saving, accessing, and sharing your lists a true joy.

Why use blinklist instead of your bookmark manager in your browser?
- We use a new file system called tagging that allows you to categorize links under multiple keywords
- blinklist will automatically suggest keywords to you to store your links based on your personal history
- blinklist sorts your links by favorites, most popular, and most recent so that you can access your links faster. Just like Gmail, you can star your favorite categories to get immediate access to your top links.
- We have a bookmarking tool so that you can still save links directly from your browser

blinklist is also a social bookmarking engine.

What is a social bookmarking engine?
- you can discover the links that other people are storing
- if you start researching a new topic such as "ajax" you can see what new links other users are saving under "ajax" as well as view the most popular ajax links.

This makes discovering and finding on the net very addictive and fun.

What do you use blinklist for?
- It is fantastic for doing research and bookmarking new links. Whether you are researching new recipies or working on a school project, blinklist is for you.
- It's the #1 way to start on the internet by having immediate access to all the links that matter to you
- It's a great way to build an online radio station (simply bookmark the source URL) and now launch your favorite stations with just one click. For a music buff like me that loves to listen to European radio stations, this is sweet!
- Its a great way to discover new hot sites on the net
- Its a great way to share your treasures cool sites with friends and the blinklist community

Well, blinklist gets more fun the longer you use it. I have not had this much fun on the net for a long time and I hope lots of other people will find blinklist fun, simple, and useful.

Plus, this is just the beta. We are working on many new and exciting features that we hope to introduce to the blinklist community over the next weeks and month to make blinklist ever more useful, fun, while keeping it simple, and easy to use.

Blink It
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