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Archive for January 28, 2006

How to be a Demo God

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Guy Kawasaki: “[Y]ou have about one minute to captivate your audience, so don’t try building to a crescendo. Start with “shock and awe?–the absolute coolest stuff that your product can do. The goal is to blow people’s minds.”

Categories: General

Joe Wikert on relationships in publishing

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Joe Wikert: “Before you sign with an agency, be sure to ask yourself whether you’d still want to write the book through the agency if your particular agent happens to leave. Also, before any of you agents out there start coming down on me for this observation, let me also say that every bit of this applies to your editor/publisher as well.”

I’ve worked with an agent on two projects, but my next project will likely be without one. It isn’t that I don’t see any value from an agent, it is just that I’ve decided that it is worth my time to work through the negotiation and contractual details on my own. I also have a good enough understanding of the publishing process that I can work directly with the publisher and I don’t need advice from an agent on how to approach these projects.

Before signing with an agent, make sure you know what it is that they do. Make sure that they really add something to the mix and can help you to be more successful- not just run interference.

Categories: Writing

What is Friendship?

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Dave Winer: “The world isn’t divided into two parts — friends and enemies. I choose to think of friend as a very strong word, representing a very close relationship. I think this may be in part due to what I do, because I need a good solid line separating my public life from my personal. A friend is a personal relationship. I like and admire many people who I don’t consider friends.”

This essay by Dave is a bit provacative, yet very interesting. I understand where he’s coming from- sometimes it is hard to know what friendship is. I say that because I know many people, and call them friends, but you never know what the level of relationship is until you’re in need and you call on someone. The important part of this discussion is that we can be good people and not necessarily connect as friends. Friendship is probably much more rare than we realize or admit. Having said that, if you think you’re a friend of mine, you probably are. It isn’t about exclusion- it is about connection.

Categories: Blogging

Evangelism at Amazon

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

This looks like a very interesting job opportunity with Amazon doing Web Services evangelism. [Via Jeffrey McManus]

Categories: Programming, Web

Listen Up Search Engines- I Want “Opt-Out” for Relevance

January 28, 2006 1 comment

I noticed today that the search terms synchronize blackberry yahoo calendar were bringing users to this site. I laughed, because this is clearly NOT the site that you’d want to visit if you want to use a Blackberry to synchronize a Yahoo calendaring service. First, I don’t even own a Blackberry (Windows Mobile rocks!). Second, I don’t use any Yahoo calendaring services. Exchange with ActiveSync over the air works awesome for me. I don’t adovate that people use a Blackberry to synchronize their Yahoo calendars and I don’t have any useful information for them on this topic.

I noticed this is another context as well. Robert Scoble has had several weblogs. To this date, Google still sees Robert’s old Radio weblog as the most relevant site when you search for scoble. Meanwhile, he has to manually create entries to point users to his newer and much more active blog (BTW- MSN Search gets this right). I have the same problem. I’ve had three blogs since I started blogging, and the oldest two of them get picked up first. Sure, I did blog since May of 2003 at what became MSDN blogs and then spent another year blogging at my own domain. This site hasn’t had nearly as many links, but it is clearly the most active of my blogs and in my mind the most relevant site if you’re searching for me.

What I want is some kind of tag that allows me to opt-out for certain search terms. I know what is relevant on my site, and I’d like to be able to tell the search engine what I think. I know that this is a very hard technical problem to solve without user intervention, so while we wait for search engines to improve their understanding of what content is most relevant for certain search terms, allow the users to give their input and help searchers and readers be more productive. The engines should obviously include me in their index, but they could allow users to filter search results based on this kind of “opt-out” for certain search terms. Since this is an “opt-out” model, there is very little chance that it can be abused in any way by spammers. I think the result would be far better search results for users. If this principle doesn’t make sense for a general purpose search application, it certainly makes sense for blog searches.

So, what do you think of “opt-out” for certain search terms and relevance for a given topic?

Categories: Blogging, Google, Microsoft, Web

Great Design

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Joel Spolsky: “Design, for my purposes, is about making tradeoffs.”

Categories: General

CTP vs. Beta and Windows Vista

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Mary Jo says that Microsoft is not going to be releasing a Vista “Beta 2″ but rather a series of CTP (Community Technology Preview) releases. I expect to see this become the trend across all products over time.

Categories: Microsoft, Vista
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