Sunday, July 31, 2005

Blogher - Final User Comments

I have to admit that I was a little sceptical when I first heard about the Blogher conference but it sounds like an amazing event and one where we can learn a lot from.

Here are some inspring user comments that were left:
____________________________________

Some readers said, this conference is a dumb idea. Bloggers are bloggers. Why DO we need these events. Blogging as a pracxtice, as a form, is a form of freedom. I wrote on my blog, a weblog is a First Amendment Machine. After hanging out with you I understand that a lot more. It is an exttension of free speech and press to the people. Not a press on their behalf. They do it themsefs. IF blogging is a practice of freedom, it is completely inadequate unless it is a whole practice and to be that it must have women.

****************************

I went to the brown bloggers session, because I have become aware that the list of blogs I read is all people who look like me, except without the red hair. I would challenge everyone in this room to find 5 blogs by people who don’t look like you. People tend to read things they are comfortable with. You might not get the cultural references or vocab. Read it for a few months. Get the hang of it. Learn something about other people.

___________________________________

To read more, here is an excellent blog of a lot more user comments:

http://www.fullcirc.com/weblog/onfacblog.htm



Blink It

Saturday, July 30, 2005

AJAX is sweet

If you are into web development and have not heard about AJAX, I would highly recommend that you start doing so right away. It is one of the coolest new framworks used for web development. The things you can do with Ajax are pretty sweet.

We are using it on BlinkList for many different features to improve the usability of our site.

Like most things these days, I would recommend getting started on Wikipedia to learn more. Just click here


Blink It

Friday, July 29, 2005

The future of the web - we are all creators!

I found a great blog post that makes me even more excited about the future of the web. This is great stuff! I have a big grin on my face right now that is how exciting I think this it. The web is turning into the ultimate medium of self expression, turning all of us into creators! That is wonderful and the beginning of something new and profound!

2015
The Web continues to evolve from a world ruled by mass media and mass audiences to one ruled by messy media and messy participation. How far can this frenzy of creativity go? Encouraged by Web-enabled sales, 175,000 books were published and more than 30,000 music albums were released in the US last year. At the same time, 14 million blogs launched worldwide. All these numbers are escalating. A simple extrapolation suggests that in the near future, everyone alive will (on average) write a song, author a book, make a video, craft a weblog, and code a program. This idea is less outrageous than the notion 150 years ago that someday everyone would write a letter or take a photograph.

To participate in the discussion check out the blog where this thread was posted
click here

Mike

Blink It

Thursday, July 28, 2005

It is a great time to be an entrepreneur

There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one. Come on! Take the jump and start living the dream!

Here is a good blog post on how the costs of entrepreneurship are dramatically lower today than just 5 to 10 years ago.

"Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000."
continue reading

If you are adventurous enough to outsource yourself to a lovely country like Malaysia, then you can cut your startup costs by another huge factor! :-)

MindValley took two guys and a credit card to start and now we are self funded and have the money to re-invest in growing our business with a world class team of brilliant young, energetic, and passionate people that believe they can change the world!

Mike

Blink It

My AOL launch disappoints - where is the innovation?

Lately there has been a lot of noise regarding:
- MyYahoo
- MyGoogle
- Start.com (Microsoft's start page)
- MyAOL

It looks like the launch / latest release of all these sites has been celebrated and every blogger and paper is writing about them. They are obviously going after RSS and news aggregators in a major way so that part is newsworthy. However, what I see is actually a lack of originality. While all of these sites are now offering RSS and give users the ability to customize their feeds and even move boxes around with some fancy click and drag javascript, I don't think this is all that exciting.

Ok, they are big improvements from the way things have been in the past. However, it begs two questions. First, why did it take so long to get here and second, why are all of these players just copying each other and not innovating further? I see little that is new, fun, and exciting.

Well, in any case, I think that is great news, because will just have to see if we can spice things up a little! Are we crazy enough to try to innovate in this space that is dominated and controlled by the titants! You better believe it. Will it go anywhere? We have no idea but passion goes a long way and why not have a little fun. :-) We have some ideas that we are working on so stay tuned. Will be sharing that with you shortly!

Mike

Blink It

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

We're Hiring Again

We're happy to say, we're looking for an accountant/customer happiness manager and another programming wiz kid. Visitors to almost all our sites are up and it looks like we're going to have to start hiring again.

We really love the Apple credo "Think Different" - so when it came to recruting we wanted to offer prospective employees something different from many other companies. Here's a preliminary draft of what we came up with...

Top 10 Reasons to Work for MindValley

1. Freedom: We understand that brilliant people hate rules and shackles and desire the freedom to do their work, in their way.


2. Thinking BIG!: We're not aiming to create an email software, we're aiming to create the biggest revolution in email since Gmail. We're not content with creating blogging tools, we aim to create the World's first "intelligent" blog. When we build an e-commerce site, we aim to put it in the top 1% of sites for performance rates. We aim to be as influential in improving people's lives through technology as Yahoo, Google or Apple. We love Big, Scary, Audacious Goals.


3. Profitability: We're fully profitable, and continue to see our profits grow by at least 10% month-to-month.


4. Great People: We hire only the best. For a typical position we shift through 100 resumes and interview at least 10 people. Make it in, and you'll be working with some of the best minds in the business. We understand that "A" people attract "A" people.


5. Treats: We treat our employees well. This includes rent-subsidization, occasional concert tickets, Starbucks coffee, dinners and drinks. Our founders have worked at Microsoft and eBay and believe in the Silicon Valley model of spoiling employees.


6. Creativity: Your typical work week is 45 hours. Of this time, we allow you to spend 5 hours a week working on your own projects or inventions. If your project is successful, we'll help you launch it. We've modeled this after Google and 3M's style of nurturing creativity within the organization.


7. Stability: We've never taken a drop of investment and so have no investors to pull the plug on us. Our business also spans multiple industries such as internet marketing, product development, publishing and coding. This protects us from short term market trends in any one industry.


8. Fun: We put the "Fun" in "Business Fundamentals". Don't get us wrong - we're a disciplined, well-oiled engine of growth. But we believe that business should be fun and people should look forward to going to work each day.


9. Idealism: 100% of our employees have spent significant time volunteering or working for non-profits. We started this business to change the world. Profits come second. As a result, we will devote our time and attention to causes that may not bring in short term profits, but may result in positive social change.


10. Entrepreneurship. We understand that great people dream of starting their own companies. We help you attain this dream. We provide training and mentorship to help you grow. We do not require any employees to sign a bonding contract. Simply, put, you're free to learn from us and then move on when you're ready and start your own business. We respect entreprenuership.


If our work mentality appeals to you - check out the available jobs here:
http://www.mindvalley.com/jobs/

~ Vishen
Blink It

Monday, July 25, 2005

Social bookmarking site BlinkList releases major improvements

Ask and you shall receive! We are happy to announce several major improvements to BlinkList that our dedicated community of users asked for and several improvements that you did not ask for but are already starting to embrace!

Here is the list of new features rolled out this Monday:

1) Importing of bookmarks

You can now import all of your bookmarks from FireFox or Internet Explorer. So, now you really have no excuse not to be using BlinkList. :-)

2) New auto-suggest script

We have developed and added a new autosuggest script that makes finding your personal and public tags even easier. The new "suggestions" are better sorted and the new underlining feature helps you move along even faster!

3) Improved sharing - contact list + auto-suggest

We have greatly improved the ability to share great links that you find with friends. Going forward, you only have to enter your friends email once. It is then stored in your BlinkList database and the next time you want to share a link we will automatically suggest the appropriate email address for you. It does not get much easier! This is now the single best way to blink articles, podcasts, or any other treasure you find online to your friends, even those that are not on BlinkList.

4) Blinklist live bookmarks for FireFox

You can now synch your blinklist account to your favorites in FireFox by using the live bookmarking feature. All you have to do is go to your personal account and click on whatever tag you want to synch in FireFox. Now click on the live bookmarks symbol at the bottom right of your browser to just synch the feed (tag) that you want. Voila, anytime you blink a new site for that given feed it will automatically show up in your (live) bookmarks in FireFox. In other words, your favorites get updated automatially! Sweet!

5) An easier new user guide

Finally we updated the new user welcome system so all new users will see their tag manager autofilled with some useful links on BlinkList help and tips. Hopefully this will make the system easier to use for newbies. Hopefully they will now get up to speed in the blink of an eye. :-)

Personally, there are soooo many more ways to use BlinkList but we don't want to overwhelm new users and want to just keep it simple and give users a chance to explore and discover new features as they get more and more drawn into the BlinkList community.

All I can say is WOW! I am very impressed with our development team and in particular with Jiangti. Anyone that knows me, knows that I expect the best and Jiangti continues to amaze us. Nicely done and thanks for the hard work Jiangti!

To the rest of you, please keep those suggestions coming! As you can see, we listen and try to move quickly to give our community what it wants and needs to make saving, sharing, and discovering new sites more fun and easier to do.

Happy blinking!

Mike

Blink It

Thank you craigslist and Skype!

I just wanted to send out another quick thank you note to craig giving us, and I mean all of us, one of the single best websites online!

I am currently selling just about everything I own to get ready for my move to KL, and selling things on craigslist has been a breeze. I especially love combining Skype with craigslist. I recently became a SkypeIn customer (I now have a 415 number that rings on my computer) and listed my Skype number instead of my regular phone number on my craigslist listings.

Well, now I am officially even more hooked! What are the advantages of taking calls on a computer vs. a regular phone?

1) Having a GUI for your phone calls is wonderful. When you have lots of listings (I had over 10 at a time) you get a ton of calls. Well, on Skype you can listen to any voicemail message you want (vs. listening to them in order).

2) You can return calls by just clicking on one button. I mean talk about easy

Plus, if Skype were integrated with craigslist things would get even better.

1) People could just start a live chat with me. No more emails of "is this item still available."

2) Incoming calls could be tied to a specific listing. That way you know what listings drive what leads. This would be valuable information for any business.

3) If both parties would be talking PC-to-PC, then it is easy to open a chat window and just IM them a link of the address / location for example or additional pictures.

I think PayPer call and online presence is going to be a big deal. Not sure if for craigslist, but I am now hooked on making calls on the phone. Having a headset on is even better than holding a stupid old phone. You still have both of your hands free so you can continue surfing the web while you chat. :-)

Ahh... just love both of these sites.

Mike

Blink It

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Web 2.0 - Social learning in the 'blink' of an eye

Today I stumbled upon the single best review we have received to date of BlinkList. This was not only a stunning review because it was super positive, it was stunning because it was full of insights into the huge potential of "social software" and into how a site like BlinkList might help transform "social learning" and "social knowledge sharing."

Here are a few paragraphs from the review:
__________________________________________

The passionate crew over at MindValley have joined the social software party with a new web-based rapid bookmarking and knowledge-sharing tool named BlinkList. A curious name that accurately describes how quickly and easily you can manage, add, share, tag, or syndicate your links in—well…in the blink of an eye!

Knowledge tags:
- MindValley has come up with a slick way to help you to maintain tagging consistency.

Tag management:
- The ingenious Tag Manager provides users with multiple ways to organize and view their BlinkList.

The social web:
- Just a simple click of the "BlinkRSS" button allows users syndicate tag content to a classroom blog, student portfolio, school website, aggregator--or any other site for that matter! BlinkList even provides the HTML snippet for you to pop into your website.

MindValley vs. THE GIANTS:
- The MindValley folks are clearly on the verge of something big with BlinkList. And while they are more than aware of the fight ahead of them, their infectious enthusiasm (in conjunction with their terrific product) is sure to propel them to the front of the pack.
__________________________________________


I hope you are right that our passion and enthusiasm will be contagious and hope to win more users like you! Thanks for taking the time to write about BlinkList. To check out the full review click here

I honestly have never been more proud or excited about what our team is working on. This is going to be a fun ride! If you have not already, I hope you will give BlinkList a try!

Mike

Blink It

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Web 2.0 Defined: The future of the social web

Here is an article you HAVE to read! It is by the MIT Technology Review and it is an article about web 2.0 and the future of the social web. Click here to read the article

Here are a few sections from the article:

_________________________________________________________

The third trend nudging us into a new era of computing is probably the most important and the least expected. It is the emergence of the Web as a platform for personal publishing and social software. The examples are as diverse as informational sites such as blogs, craigslist, and Wikipedia and services such as Gmail, LinkedIn, Flickr, and Delicious [and BlinkList of course! :-)].

All of these are examples of what software developers and Internet pundits have begun to call "Web 2.0": the transformation of the original Web of static documents into a collection of pages that still look like documents but are actually interfaces to full-fledged computing platforms. These Web-based services are proliferating so fast because they can be built using shared, standardized programming tools and languages developed, for the most part, by the open-source-software community.

The most radical ideas in Web-based software, however, are flourishing in an area that might be called "social knowledge management," represented in part by sites like Friendster, LinkedIn, and Ryze [and hopefully in the future "blink*" sites! :-)].

Such social-networking sites generated a wave of venture investment and new users in 2004. At their best, they are like human search engines: they exploit the "six degrees of separation" concept to help people make connections with friends of friends of friends who may share similar interests or business goals.

_________________________________________________________

As I said, this is a must read article! Pretty eye opening and right on the mark. They are really identifying some of the biggest shifts that are taking place online. The most interesting part of it all is that "community," "sharing," "reputation," and "social networking" are the cornerstones of this trend. Does this mean eBay will/should start looking in this direction as well?

Mike
Blink It

Please stop using sitemeter! Here is something better

Today I received a great little comment on my blog that said:

"I think Blinklist is a genious service and I love your simple implementation and your candid blog."

So far so good! I am already dancing with a big smile on my face. We have been doing that a lot at work lately. Laughing and smiling, don't forget. See, you are already feeling better just because you smiled. :-)

However, then the comment continued and said:

"However, you guys are using Sitemeter to track your blog? Sitemeter is the appitomy of poorly-designed money-grubby cheap websites. Use tracksy.com instead."

Hmm... I thought I was cool but to be honest, the ugly sitemeter button has been bugging me. I wish all things were this easy to fix!

Tracksy looks much better both on the blog and their reporting is pretty solid too!. It's good to be cool and hip again!

Thanks for the tip! :-)

Mike

Blink It

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A valuable lesson in user adoption and migration

Here is a great article that was shared with me via BlinkList today. It pointed out a key learning that helped FireFox gain traction:

"It wasn`t until we implemented a very capable migration system in Firefox, which carried over the user`s IE favourites, cookies, history, passwords, etc, that regular people started moving over in serious numbers -- and staying (and bringing others over)."

It if funny how after posting and pondering about "defining the problem" Jiangti shared and article with me on BlinkList that helps us define what the key challenge / problem is we are currently facing. The funny thing is that Jiangti and I never talked about this.

I guess one could say this was a lucky coincident but do coincidents really exist or does one create them unconciously? I guess this could quickly get philosophical so lets just drop it for now.

The short answer is I don't know, but this is sure timely advice and there is a lot we can learn from this!

I think I know what we are going to be focusing on next! :-)

Mike

Blink It

Monday, July 18, 2005

Product development insight - lets remember what Einstein said

Here is a great quote that I stumbled upon again over the weekend. It is a famous quote by Einstein and reads:

"If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it."

I think I am going to post this quote on my monitor because it is so relevant to what we are currently working on. Ever since launching BlinkList, the suggestions to improve the tagging, bookmarking, RSS syndication, etc. on our sites keep pouring in. I guess one could say the floodgates have been opened.

First of all, that is fantastic! We keep very good track of all the suggestions that we get from our community. However, at the same time we are big fans and believers of:

1) KISS (keep it simple stupid) and
2) Less is more

So, initially I started to struggle and wonder how to find the right trade offs. How do we listen and follow the community while at the same time staying true to our operating principles?

I think Einstein had the answer all along. For the most part, the community members have all identified some features and improvements to help them solve a problem! Obviously, even if there is only one problem that needs solving, if you ask 100 people, you can get dozens of suggestions on features, tweaks, etc.

Implementing all or even just many of these features would be crazy. We would come to a grinding halt, our developers would be overwhelmed, the product would become incredibly complex overtime, and that might just be the end of it.

Instead, lets take a step back, and identify the core problems and customer pains points that we are trying to solve. Just that simple approach, to take a step back can be so valuable and it really hit me when I stumbled upon Einstein's quote.

I am going to have to reserve a special place for that and go back to it often because it is so valuable. One can easily loose the forrest for the trees and his insights will hopefully help us along the way.

Mike

Blink It

Friday, July 15, 2005

BlinkList incorporates best of Gmail and Flickr

We got some additional fan mail today that I wanted to share! This one was too good to pass up. This is what gets us fired up and keeps us motivated to stay at it even while the big guys like Yahoo! are now moving into this market. Perhaps we are crazy but we are just too passionate about all of our blink ideas!

Here is the customer letter:
___________________________________

I signed up and perused BlinkList. I think the idea is very promising, especially as a potential acquisition by Google or Yahoo who are working on similar work but with a different approach and with far less additional functionality.

There are some wonderful features on your site that remind me of Gmail and Flickr which work perfectly for leveraging collective intelligence/experience. The RSS feature and "Interesting Ways People use Blinklist" both really excite me. I have been using Flickr's badge feature a lot on my own personal websites, but I think you really have something with being able to feed people's blogs with the host of information all users pull together around thematic tags.

All in all, the clean site design, the bookmarklet integration, and the potential for growth make this an exciting venture in my mind. I smell acquisition, but perhaps there is a lot more to it that you are slowly rolling out. [He has no idea!] Kudos to you and your development team in Malaysia.
______________________________

Thanks for taking the time to write to us! We love to hear from our early customers. Keep the suggestions and feedback coming!

Mike

Blink It

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

CustomerPassion.com - Featured Blinklist customer

Customer Passion, the customer experience management company has started to use BlinkList to syndicate all of their "customer experience articles" on their site.

This is another great example of how an easy bookmarking tool, combined with RSS, and feed to javascript syndication and quickly turn any customer and any website into an aggregator of high quality content and information on the web.

If you want to find the best articles on customer experience management you can either go to customerpassion.com or go to our website and and check out all the articles customerpassion is keeping track of at:

http://www.blinklist.com/CustomerPassion.com/



Mike

Blink It

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Disintermediation is overrated.

I just came across a piece of writing by John Battelle that I just had to post given all the talk about disintermediation that I have been involved with at eBay over the past two years.

Here it is:

By John Battelle

Disintermediation is overrated.

Those who fear disintermediation should in fact be afraid of irrelevance -- disintermediation is just another way of saying that you’ve become irrelevant to your customers. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a customer, or middlemen of some sort who service that customer, or that the core proposition of your business has disappeared. It just means you’re in a bit of a rut, and as much as you might pine for the past, it’s probably time to rethink things before it’s too late.

Put another way, disintermediation happens for a reason. Rather than staring at its result (and shaking our fists at Google and TiVo), let’s start at the beginning. What’s really going on here?

Mike

Blink It

BlinkList adds cool new features using Ajax

We added a couple of features using Ajax to BlinkList overnight.

1) Check out the new BlinkList bookmarklet tool. If you are already a BlinkList customer, please install the tool again into your browser. The new tool enables a cool feature that lots of customers have asked for.

When you are surfing on a page you want to BlinkList, you can now highlight any text on the page and once you click on "blink this site" the text that you were highlighting will be automatically added to your descriptions. How neat is that? It is a huge timesaver and makes blinklist even more fun to use.
Blink It

Monday, July 11, 2005

Yahoo MyWeb 2.0 vs. del.icio.us

I found a great post and review of MyWeb 2.0 from Yahoo! vs. del.icio.us. If you want to get up to speed on personal and social bookmarking services this is a good place to start. Of course I have to throw blinklist in the mix there and say that if you are going to check out MyWeb 2.0 from Yahoo! then definitely check out blinklist.

Perhaps not as rich in features (yet) but hopefully more fun to use! :-)

Here is the review:
Yahoo! MyWeb vs. del.icio.us


Mike

Blink It

My favorite search engines

Most people think that Google is the king of search. This is true. However, there are plenty of specialty search engines that I love and just wanted to share in case you have not yet discovered them.

1) Technorati.com - find out what is hot in the blogging world
2) Findory - great personalized news search engine
3) Google maps - Ok, I guess Google does deserve to be on this list. :-)
4) SimplyHired - great if you are looking for a job
5) Kayak and SideStep - best for online ticket search

One day I hope when other people blog about their favorite search engines blinklist will make the list. :-)

Mike
Blink It

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Best of craigslist (unofficial) via community tagging and social bookmarking

Just wanted to share another interesting site where we are trying to demonstrate the concept and power of RSS, tagging, and social bookmarking.

The site is called "Best of craigslist (unoffical)"

It is interesting because it gives the community and the craigslist users another avenue to share their favorite craigslist postings. If you have never checked out the best of craigslist links, they are hillarious! A true gem of entertainment and part of what makes the web and craigslist so special.

However, until today, users had no chance to aggregate and share their own favorite craigslist listings. The current best of craigslist posting is all based on what the craigstlist team decides to add to the list. In other words, they pic the listings that users have voted on the most, but not all listings and not all the time.

Now on this new site anyone can start to contribute listings right away. All you have to do is the following. When you find a cool listing on craigslist, just blink the site and tag it with "best of craigslist."

The newest listings will automatically be syndicated to the new site. Lets see if this site and tool will be adopted by the craigslist community.

To check out the site click here: "Best of Craigslist"

Mike

Blink It

Web 2.0 - RSS, tagging, and social bookmarking will change the web forever

Web 2.0 is going to change the web as we know it. What do you end up with when you give users the ability to annotate, organize, and syndicate the web in anyway they see fit?

This is even more powerful than what Tivo did to the TV. Instead of just watching what you like, you can also re-mix the whole web and syndicate it and experience it just the way you want it.

For example, I was just looking around for videos on "physical exercise." Well, I started with Yahoo!'s video search but only a few of the videos that I found were interesting and there was a lot of "crap."

However, I then discovered a blog that was focused on just one thing: aggregating the best physical excercise videos on the web. Hannu loves health and wellness and excercise videos and so he has started to blinklist the best videos he finds. In addition, he has now also created a website on physical exercise videos. The website is powered by blogger and the content is syndicated from blinklist via RSS.

You can take a look at his blog here:

"Online videos for Physical Exercises"

In the future, I would not be surprised if people create thousands of mini-portals that will rival some of the most successful websites of today. There will be tons of people with a passion about a particular topic and the web has now given them the tools to basically create their own channels. Think of millions of people creating radio shows, TV shows, etc. It looks like RSS and social bookmarking services could be powerful enablers of such a trend.

Mike

Blink It

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Featured blinklist social bookmarking customer - tagging best of videos

Today we found a blogger who is talking about the benefits of using blinklist and social bookmarking engines to find, store, and access high quality content on the web.

Hannu points out that while he loves to use Yahoo! Video search to find great videos, he then loves blinklist even more to get a community of users to help him aggregate the best vidoes in his domain (martial arts) that he is interested in.

I think this is a perfect example of the power of enabling social bookmarking online. Check out Hannu's blog. The voice of a customer is always much more authentic.

Just click here

Mike

Blink It

Friday, July 08, 2005

BlinkList adds multiple keyword and tag search filter

We added another improvement to BlinkList today. You can now filter your search results to narrow down your options. For example, if you are interested in all the sites that have been tagged under "funny" and "humor" you can now quickly filter your search results.

This is especially powerful because as soon as you start drilling into a given tag on blinklist we show you all of the related tags. Using the search filter, you can then quickly find exactly the type of information that you are looking for.

For example, say you are doing research on "Ajax." You can type Ajax into blinklist and it will show you the top 50 related tags. One of them is "pagination." So, if you want to find out how you can use and apply "Ajax" to "pagination" just filter your search results to get exactly the type of pages you need.

There are two ways to filter your search results.

1) Drill down. Start with one tag, then see what the related tags are and use the check box to further filter and refine your search.

2) You can also enter multiple tags into the quick tag access by using the "+" sign between the tags.

Either way, I hope you see how this can be far more powerful than Yahoo!'s directory. The related tags will always show you the top 50 most related tags defined by other users like you and not by some experts. This means that blinklist is far more scalable and relevant especially for new topics where there are no expert classification systems.

Hope you enjoy this new feature and please let us know your thoughts.

Mike

Blink It

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Blinklist adds new RSS to Javascript Feed Importer



Blinklist today released a really cool new tool. This was the most wanted request that we have received from many bloggers and RSS fans out on the web.

Now you can: Syndicate Your Blinklist Links into Your Webpage

We heard repeatedly, that one of the things users want to be able to do is to syndicate their content across the web. In addition, many bloggers are keeping a long list of links on their blogs to exchange links with other bloggers.

Maintaining and updating these lists of links used to be hard. Now it has become as easy as child's play. For example, on this very blog I am pointing links to some of my favorite bloggers. How do I maintain this list?

I use my personal blinklist account and anytime I find a blogger that I really like, I simply blinklist his blog and tag it with "blinkroll." I could tag it with any name I want but that is what I am currently using.

On blinklist, I then clicked on the blink RSS button for my "blinkroll" tag and it automatically gave me the javascript code that I needed to copy and paste into my blog. It was as easy as that. Now, on the rigth column you can see all the bloggers I have listed under "blinkroll."

This is 100 times easier to do and to maintain than what www.blogrolling.com has to offer. After all, the links you exchange on your blog are just a subset of your personal links and bookmarks. In addition, updating your links on blogrolling takes time. On blinklist, anytime you blinklist a new blogger with the tag you have chosen (in this case "blinkroll") the new link automatically shows up on your blog.

Now, if that was not easy, tell me what is?

Of course, we just released the feature and I am sure there are ways to make it better. Please let us know your comments.

Mike

Blink It

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

BlinkList - personal and social bookmarking engine upgrades

Our development team has made tremendous progress over the past week releasing many new features and enhancements to BlinkList. I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the overwhelming positive feedback and suggestions for improvements that we have been receiving.

It is great to see that our early adopters and users love blinklist! We repeately hear that this is one of the coolest and funnest sites on the net, and that makes all of us very proud and eager to please and keep making the product simpler, faster, and more slick.

Some of the new improvements include:
- Password reminder in case you forgot your password
- Related tag cloud when you are discovering new links and sites on blinklist. This really enhances the joy of discovery.
- Improved UI, look and feel and usability

As you have probably noticed, we are currently rolling out improvements to the site almost on a daily basis. We have a couple of major improvements in the pipeline that will take us a few more weaks to develop but I have the feeling that you are going to love them.

After all, you have been asking for them!

Mike

Blink It

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The how to wiki directory! As good as Wikipedia!

If you are a big fan of user generated content like the Wikipedia (I love that site), then you are going to love wikihow. The vision of this site was originally to offer how to guides for sale. That is how www.eHow.com got started.

However, since that model did not scale (not enough fresh content and not enough buyers per article) they have turned the model upside down and have now just become a free directory with user generated and contributed content. Ever since making the shift the site has started to gain real traction and is now apparently entering hyper growth.

This is fantastic. What an excellent guide! I wonder what other user generated content sites will emerge. I guess the age of sharing is truly upon us and it is not just independent bloggers but people contributing content all over the place.

Mike
Blink It

The future of search = community - so who should play? eBay or Google?

The Internet is rapidly changing and one of the major trends unfolding is that we are entering a period of increased sharing. Initially, online communities used to be centered around commerce (eBay, craigslist) and entertainment (Online games, etc.).

However, this is rapidly changing. Users are increasingly overwhelmed with too much information, and even search engines like Google are having a hard time helping people find what they are looking for.

For example, if you are looking to read up on a new technology like "Ajax" would you rather search on Google or search on a website where people like you have already aggregated and annotated the most relevant information pertaining to "Ajax"?

The answer today is probably both. If you search for "Ajax" on blinklist today you can find some great content that you would not find if you searched for "Ajax" on Google.

Going forward, this shift will dramatically accelerate as new users embrace what is called "social search" which is just another fancy word for user annotated content and knowledge sharing.

These "social" engines help you 1) annotate and store information and b) help you find information from people like you. These people will either be part of your social network (explicit connections) or people that you share an affinity with (part of the same communities, you expressed interest in similar content, etc.).

This problem of finding relevant information is not limited to websites alone. As more and more content gets produces (think about blogs, podcasts, video blogs, music, games, etc.) people will increasingly rely on their network and social connections to help them identify what they want. This is not really surprising because people have always relied heavily on word-of-mouth to find what they want.

The key implication of this, however, is that in the future, search will be much more social and community driven than in the past.

So, why should eBay care?

Well, that depends on what you think eBay is all about. Is eBay primarily an eCommerce company or a C2C community company?

If you say that it is primarily about eCommerce, then perhaps these trends are less important. If you say that eBay is primarily a C2C community company, then this poses both a much bigger opportunity and much bigger potential threat.

After all, will people confine their communities to specific domains?

In other words, if "social search" really develops, then will the place where people search and transact be part of the same community? At least as long as people start with search, eBay might become more and more marginalized.

At the same time, if eBay is really a P2P community company, then could these trends pose a new opportunity for eBay? After all, community is eBay's heritage.

What is clear is that search is going to become more social, more collaborative and more about user generated and annotated content and sharing than it has in the past. That means that search is not only an onramp to the net, it is also turning into an online community.

I just wonder whether eBay or Google see this coming and who will go and capture this opportunity. It seems that Yahoo! has already seen the light. They just launched MyWeb 2.0, the first social search engine very similar to blinklist. Too bad they have already identified this opportunity (for me and other entrepreneurs) but it validates that this trend is coming perhaps faster than I anticipated.

There is another excellent post I discovered about the next evolution of search (i.e. search communities). You can read it here: Act III - search communities

Mike
Blink It

Pre-filters vs. post-filters - social bookmarking for the long tail

I found an interesting blog on the long-tail and how we are entering a new stage of production. In an environment where it becomes cheaper and easier to produce lots of content the emphasis will shift from deciding what gets produced in the first place to helping people to find and identify the content they are most interested in.

I think social bookmarking and sharing of information between people you have an affinity to (either by friendship or due to a shared interest) will become far more important in the future. Blinklist is a great example, because it fascilitates the sharing and recommendation of things that you have discovered online that you believe are noteworthy.

Here is the link to the blog of you want to read more: Pre-filters vs. post-filters.

Mike

long tail
social bookmarking
recommendation engines
Blink It

Technorati tag generator - this is a great tool!

I found a new tool today that I wanted to share. This one is very useful if you are posting a lot on your blog and want to increase the findability of your blog.

I am talking about a new tag generator for technorati tags. This is extremely useful and very fast, simple, and easy to use.

Click here to go to the tag generator.

It does not yet appear to work for keyword phrases but hopefully they will fix this soon.

Mike

Blink It

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Craigslist - the worlds best website! I love craigslist

I am really excited about moving out to KL to join our excellent team in Malaysia. However, what I was not looking forward to was having to sell all of my stuff. I thought it was going to be a major pain in the butt.

However, this weekend I took my digital camera, started taking pictures of everything that I need to sell and posted them on craigslist on Saturday night. Low and behold, I have already sold half of my stuff and today is Sunday night!

Wow! Yeah! I love you craig! This is one of the single best user experiences I have ever had. I thought craigslist was good and I suspected that it was great but this is out of this world!

I cannot believe that I have already had many successful transactions in less than 24 hours. In fact, I listed another wireless netgear router tonight. I was ready to throw it away but then I thougth someone might find it useful and since things are so easy to list, I figured why not? Bam, only 30 minutes later I get an email with someone living only a few blocks away that wanted to come and pick it up for $10 bucks.

This is incredible. Another successful transaction. No shipping and handling. No fees. I worked for eBay for many years and I love eBay too but when it comes to ease of use for the casual seller you simply cannot beat it. I guess for finding bargains it is a screaming deal too because I am not looking for the best price. I am happy to give others a break.

Thank you craigslist for providing such a wonderful experience for your customers. This is fabulous. While eBay has to look out for it's shareholders, I love the fact that on craigslist the customer always comes first!

Mike

craigslist
Blink It

Friday, July 01, 2005

First offical blinklist review - "rapid bookmarks and unique kick ass feature!"

We received one of our first reviews today by the library clips blog. This site is deep into tagging, folksonomies, and social bookmarking and we are super excited that they loved what blinklist has to offer!

Here is a little blurb from their review:

The unique (kick ass!) feature is breaking up your feeds by having them listed in 3 channels:

* recent

this is at the user level
* popular

this is at the user level
* favourite

as it sounds, favourite, are feeds you add a star to, used for quick access…similar to using gmail


To read the full review click here


blinklist
social bookmarking
tagging
tags
folksonomy
Blink It

The 7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking

I found a good little 2 page primer on social bookmarking that I wanted to share with anyone that is just getting up to speed on this new craze. While I don't like the fact that they use del.icio.us vs. blinklist as an example it is still a good introduction. :-)

Here is the link:
social bookmarking primer

blinklist
del.icio.us
social bookmarking
tagging
Blink It
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