Sunday, February 24, 2008

WeekendApps Sunday Nite Cool Demos

Waleed and Tyler were impressed by "Stanford Apps Launch Nite" and got inspired to start Weekend Apps and have done an amazing job.

Bunch of people got together and built many Facebook Apps from friday nite to launch now on Sunday @ 8pm. You can goto @ to vote for the winner tonite., another winner is the App that gets max number of users in 1 week.

Today I gave a brief presentation about Facebook App Monetization followed by a panel discussion on micropayments. (my talk is below, I'll try and get the panel video online soon). There was also a cool presentation by Lee Lorenson who was a sponsor of this event. (I hope someone captured that talk, I was busy listening).

I am blogging live demo of Apps built this weekend now!

1. Deface a Baby - Tyler and Shawn, the name says it.

Cool tech piece is they added a "Share on facebook" which adds a bookmarket.

2. Tyler launched "Lessig for Congress" on friday.

3. Pikipages by Tony Zuccarino, Juan Pinzon, Paul Acevedo, Murray Low - A Drag and Drop Wall for Facebook, can drag and drop from web (say Flickr) or from anywhere on Facebook, resize, arrange creatively, add background, embed any media, allow friends to edit this and it shows on your profile.

Its super cool, but what I like best is that its open and can be viewed by friends who are not on facebook, or who have added this app., thats truly letting the users decide how cool it is without forcing a viral play on them.

4. Matchastic - Jeff Roberts , started on friday and coded all weekend in Cool matchmaking app, flirt in realtime, with stalkers, cool feature loaded.

5. OH SNAP! - Team of 10 guys, all met at weekend Apps. Real success story of this weekend App concept! Its about managing your facebook photo albums, keeping it fresh in photo page, with built in viral tagging and newsfeeds.

6. Peace Quiz by Standford Persuasive Technology Lab led by B.J Fogg learnt to use platform and use this as a template for future.

7. Hitchhiker Hookup - Bill, Jake, Tony, Ellie and Andy. Came together on friday, way to meet new people from social graph. Go from point A to B and meet people, cash in points for real vacation. I voted for this one, very promising.

8. ASPECTS by the cool team of Suling Yee, Aihui Ong, Nick Urban, James Ream. This app shows the world the different aspects of your life, your skills and your interests. This app allows people to add icons to their profile to show their hobbies, skills and interests. (updated feb 29 thanks Aihui Ong :))

9. Spring Break - Andy and friend John (from San Diego), App lets you meet new friends and gives you a relaxation for the week with a virtual spring week. I like this App.

10. Send Artist - Paint me a Picture request to friends by David Amusin. Can buy a poster of the combined work on an affiliate's web site

11. Blogs I Read - by Waleed Abdulla's App, cool to show what blogs we ready, sorted by blogs so you can discover new blogs that your friends read or common blog interests you share with friends. I am going to add this blog, so if you are on facebook and a regular to this blog, do add it and rate it, ok? I love mybloglog on the web, I can see myself using this one.

Bay Area Facebook Meetup Feb08 @ Google Summary

Wow Folks, Thank You for taking the time to make our Feb Meetup @ Google such a huge success.

Its high time I summarize the meeting as I promised with all the videos for those who could not make it within the 170 people limit. Next time I need some volunteers to help with the videos, please let me know if you can help.

Date: Feb 13, 6.30 to 9.30pm Location: Google (Thank You Elizabeth for the food, and all the professional logistics) Logistics: John Lin and Hiren Patel, the event ran smoothly only because of your help, thanks Guys!

Pictures from the event are on facebook here, please tag yourself and your friends.


We started with OpenSocial Update from Patrick Chanezon, his slides are here.
Google would love to get your feedback about this event so take a survey here.

  • Dave McClure announced App Nite @ Graphing Social Pattern, you get 50% off if you signup for these awards as a developer. Check it out!
  • Mitch Levy shared marketing meetup info where Jason Alba, author of "I am on Facebook, What Next" was presenting. Cool Book, worth your time.
  • Waleed and Alexander announced Weekend Apps, its not too late, come tonite to see the launch of new apps that were created this weekend.

  • Facebook Entrepreneurs, cool Demos and Experiences (video pending for first 3 demos, will update, I have a huge video of all 3 demos which Google video is unable to upload)
    1. Frengo - Mobile API for Facebook:

    Mahi De Silva showed Flirtable App and presented "Frengo", a new Mobile API for Facebook Apps which is in use at RockYou and Slide (will get video soon as soon I can upload or break it into smaller ones)

    2. Social Mints - a new micro payment system for facebook Apps.

    I launched my new Facebook App Social Mints and demoed it with my partner Sumit Gupta. We showed Puzzle Bee, which is one of 26 apps of Thebroth network of Apps and King of Vegas, from SocialGears. Both Apps use Social Mints to allow 1 click purchase of points @ $1 or 100 mints.

    3. Listmania - Subbu Subramanim did an engaging presentation sharing his experience of building and launching a Facebook App. Is it a myth that you can scale users easily using Facebook Apps, what are the lessons for new developers.

    4. Intelligentsia - Raymond Rouf (video) presented a new IQ App for Facebook. Very cool! See how smart you are compared to your friends with enjoyable puzzle questions. He uses SocialMints to allow users to use mints to get the correct answer.

    5. IMO.IM - video pending, a cool Social IM App demo. This was an impromptu demo by Ralph Harik and Praveen Krishnamurthy.

    6. Social.IM - Building an App outside of Facebook
    Yanda Erlich presented (video) a cool software to chat with your facebook friends and manage all your facebook alerts like wall posts, messages etc. What was cool about this presentation was that Yanda shared his experience in calling Facebook from outside of Facebook and how he tackled those problems creatively.

    7. Skiwithme -
    Vikas Gupa of Jambool (video) amazed us with his demo and sharing his experience of building user generated content using facebook Apps. He has an authentic list of ski resorts better than any place on the web, created by his users.

    His slides are here.

    Wow Folks, this is hard to capture, but we finished all presentations by 8.40pm and hung in there till 10pm when Google security had to herd us out. This part was fun to meet 170 people, learn about stealth mode projects, brainstorm with Dave about the future Social Media on the web ....

    Next Meeting: Its mid Mar, 19th Mar (tentative date to be confirmed shortly) @ AOL, Mountainview. Please join our Facebook Group and Meetup site to stay in touch.

    If you would like to demo your app, please ping me on facebook. See you all!
    Please use Flickr tag: bayareafbmeetup for your pictures or just share on facebook and tag everyone.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Facebook Hype or Optimism? Just look in the right place

Robert Scoble wrote today "Is facebook doomed? following a blog post from Rory Cellan-Jones

Robert has two complaints, one that he cannot add new friends because he has reached the max of 4999 users. We all saw it happen so quickly and Robert had a ball with his notifications and blog posts and Posted Items Shared.

You have an easy solution, Robert, unfriend some friends who you just don't remember who they are and those you will not remember if you see them in person, that should free up more friending option! You can always add them later if you meet them again and realize you care to keep them as friends.

As for Facebook stopping too much messaging, let the complaining user's friend create a group and share his actual grievance and see if his friends on facebook support him. Facebook is a democratic place and they have checks and balance to respect our privacy and stopping spam.

Now to the Nay sayers!!!

1. Facebook is still fun and growing, for students and for older crowd who is joining daily.

2. Its common to see new people who hear about the facebook hype signup and fumble around with poke, wall, tons of App request and look for something tangible and useful to do. These people take a while to figure out how to change their preference to the privacy setting they want, turn off emails from facebook Apps and groups and try to spam notifications on all their friends by trying out everything all too quickly.

But most of them settle down and appreciate the beauty of "just being you online", connecting with old friends, finding simple ways to nudge an old connection or even learn more about friends they already have. They figure out the right way to enjoy facebook by making it a part of their online access points to their real world without spending all day on facebook.

If the hype is dying from Media, maybe it will help all newcomers to come and enjoy this settling process more elegantly.

3. Facebook is not going to become dull as long hundreds of thousands of developers love it and believe in it and are busy chugging along expensing their creativity to learn what works and make new Apps with lots of hopes an dreams. Its like Google Ads where a whole SEO industry was created and everyone who did not get results went wondering how to get smarter than the other guy who seems to get the users.

If you really want to understand if Facebook users continue to love it, you need to be at Weekend apps this weekend at Santa Clara. There are a whole bunch of new developers trying to come up with new facebook apps, old timers sharing their experience of what works and what doesn't, instant reviews of viral plays for new apps that are going to go live today!

Its startup energy, theres optimism, and it is going to create fresh content for facebook and lets sit back, relax and enjoy the new apps notifications, viral invites and more spam (if you wan to call it that by not setting your preference right) to shower upon us in the next week or so.

You never know, the killer App for facebook is still waiting to happen!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Silicon Valley Events coming up rest of Feb 2008

I've been meaning to blog about various events in the valley from my experience in the past year in the web2.0/Social spaces. Thats gotto wait, as its too big a project!

Let me share my excitement about upcoming events in the next week which will be worth your time.

Jason Alba, co-author of "I am on Facebook, What's Next" is visiting the valley this week. He speaks about Facebook in some events and also about linkedin based on his prior book on that topic in some event.

Here is his speaking calendar for the week.

I love the SNAP Summit and SNAP Chats, image having Jason Alba in a SNAP Chat. Thats what is waiting for you on Monday 18th in SFO . Details here!

On Feb 22nd, theres a cool event called "WeekendApps", where you meetup on friday nite and come back Sat and Sunday and are guided to build a facebook App within the week, pretty Cool, eh? Its a free event. Details are at

Eweek at Stanford starts on Feb 22nd and you can find interesting speakers and really learn if you are into entrepreneurship (not just facebook topics). Details here!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Search SIG: Using the Social Graph / Social Platform

I am blogging live from the Search SIG at Yahoo! Sunnyvale. I expect an interesting evening, my high expectation are set because its moderated by Dave McClure

Food and Networking: Thanks to Y! for Lasanga. Huge audience including Jeff Clavier.
(I haven't see him for a while since I blogged his event last yr, guess I am more into Facebook events these days than general web.20 events.


Panelists are:
Kevin Marks, Google
- Orkut, Opensocial, Social Graph API are 3 products from Google in social space.

Aditya Agarwal, Dir of Engg, Facebook
- works closely with Facebook search team, cool thing in social space are Friendfi and facebook.

Kent Brewster, Yahoo
- works on the developer network, and social updates using mybloglog.

Eve Phillips, Chirp
- Chirp pulls content discover what your friends are doing.

Dave McClure
- Welcomed everyone to Social Graphing Pattern conference and what he thinks cool are - photoplow - virtual chat w flickr

Dave: Whats special about Social Search or Discovery, is it evolutionary or Revolutionary
Google personalized search from Google, not hugely sucessful - DM

Adithya - Surprised everyone saying its evolutionary.
There was huge data on internet google came w ways to find relevance. Facebook data is around a particular use to apply as next step.

Chirp - Social content, using friend graph to filer thru all that as two parts.
First part is a search problem. Answer comes from second part. Eve is smart, her perpectives have been deep and very articulate.

Dave: Seredipitious discovery like stumbleupon, other I know what I am looking for
How does social data play into it, how does it monetize it, which is easier.

Kevin says search with intent is direct and easier to monetize.
Adithya - both are similar data, news feed has lot of data. In future, huge amount of data around social graph coming up. Yes, its clear monetization strategy when theres intent.
But brand ad is larger thats where the facebook potential lies.

Eve - Difference is similar to the difference in experience between sitting in front of TV/Radio and Computer.
Social context - you don't just get a coupon for P&G product, but you get familiar with the brand.

Dave: Whats assets does Y! have to bring to discovery?
Mybloglog - integrates users diff profile on diff New in API, you can sya who user is at this point of time (Check

Dave: what parts of search engine and social graph are important?
Dave listed feeds, developer API to build upon the social graph, and brought my favorite - email and IM data.

Kevin - Says privacy issues of friends hidden in email as compared to open friends declared publicaly by the user.
Adithya - All facebook measures to encourage people to show their accurate social graph.
Adding tags as family member was not highly motivational so it was not hugely successful. We want user to express the entire content.
Needs feeds content is built on friends list and also knowing about a person whether they like video stories more etc. Dave said Facebook should be infering a person's real social graph by the frequency of communication etc and Adithya didn't accept or refute it. This is fascinating, guess thats how they prioritize what they show in feeds.

Dave: Yahoo, do they have everything needed to tap into a user's social graph, what about email.

Kent says who is being followed on twitter vs who is following on twitter is different. He says email list is not good to follow, can't spam people based on their email interactions. He says why social networks don't use email.

Well, I disagree here. Email data is different, I agree people will not appreciate the spam message but there maybe a different way to overlay services on top of email based on the knowledge of the email social graph.

Dave: Upcoming became more interesting after Dave added his friends. So what do you see as assets you would like to share to make it better by being open (this is my understanding of the question):

Kevin - Opensocial allows the App developer to take the social graph in their network and do interesting things. We all see the world from our view, Kevin learnt a lot of interesting thing about social graphs of different social networks involved in Opensocial.

Dave follows us asking explicitly what assets of Google will they be bringing out as open.

Adithya - About platform and interacting with other networks
Opensocial allows App within separate small networks. Facebook opened API to allow more cool Apps, because we need active users first.

About Javascript API of Facebook API - Adithya says its the first iteration of Facebook platform, allowing user to take their graph to their web site. Its an interesting new beginningm I wish I could learn more on the impact of this one. Guess, this is Search SIG, this is not the place for it.

Lets focus back on social search.

Dave: Dave Acordian in is audience who is a huge proponent of - Privacy and Portability - how important are these?

Kevin - email is private but doesn't give any info about user, social site shows who is the person but doesn't allow communication.

Adithya - Privacy is at the core of everything we do.
Kent - There can never be a privacy surprise. Also runs a Bulletin Board for writers for 10yrs. Its not portable if you cannot remove it.

Dave: Question to audience - Privacy, portability or password more important.

Demos now:

1. Blogjuice by Kent: I am a huge mybloglog fan from start. They have something called blogjuice allowing mybloglog user to share their social profiles that can be discovered live for any sites's reader. Cool.
2. Chirp by Eve: Integrates content (in this demo) photos from facebook, flickr etc shows as screen saver, whats interesting is you can comment on a picture from chirp and it will show up on facebook.
Interesting, I didn't realize any external program could input data into facebook.

Anyone know of more examples of being able to write into facebook from the web, thats a step towards making an open web?
3. Social Graph API from Google by Kevin.

Audience question: Demos from Y! and Google and Chirp are about discovering what user is doing, maybe embarassing serendipitous search. Concerned about leaving consumer out without engaging them.

Adithya raises a set of questions of what all user concerns maybe and Facebook's thinking on where to ask user to show user' data to friends. Bottomline These are difficult questions so Facebook is committed to portability but slow because they are comitted to privacy and want to do it right.

Nice finish for this talk.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Open Social Graph

Cross posted from my digitalmusings blog which I've tried to fold into this blog recently where I blogged this live!

My biggest motivation of Graphing Social Pattern07 conference was this topic of OpenFaced, takes me back to the dreams of web1.0 with XML and microformats and creating an interconnected web built on open standards of different sites.

Dave McClure set the stage and said if Yahoo and Google were serious about the Open Social Graph, they need to participate in such panels. Brad Fitzpatrick co-author of the "Thoughts on Social Graph" has joined Google, setting expectation of Google opening into the Open Social Graph

Live Blogging from the Panel here:

OpenFaced panel: Opening Up the Social Graph
- Tantek Celik (moderator), David Recordon SixApart, Chamath Palihapitiya Facebook, Joseph Smarr Plaxo, Ted Grubb Satisfaction Unlimited

Joseph Smarr Plaxo:
Online Identity Consolidator find the same person's account across twitter, flickr,, pownce and everywhere else on the web , all without compromising the privacy if the user. - lists a bill of rights to build out an openweb.

David Recordon SixApart

Ted Grubb Satisfaction Unlimited allows import profiles from other services which support microformats.
Love the ability to create an address book, where is a friend should get a friends phone if I have his email.
Facebook does not allow data taken out of facebook using Facebook API to be stored for more than 24 hrs.

Chamath Palihapitiya Facebook:
  • Facebook pioneered open technologies like Memcache.
  • The service itself itself is conducive to people trusting facebook.
  • There is one social graph of 6Bil users in the world, we have captured 45Mil of it.
  • Here is one model of it, we acknowlege we need people to help us.
  • Everyone including facebook is at the starting point, we need to measure progress over coming years.
  • Its a delicate balance between being open on the web on one hand and trusted and private on the other side.
  • Should be done methodically and systematically not reactively.
  • Consumer choice leads in the end.
  • We need to provide more and more control to App developers and will open slowly and cautiously.

How about integrating Openid and symantic web?
How long will it take for developers to build to an open web across platforms instead of one facebook platform?
What is each panelist doing to share open social graph:

David: Implement Openid
Facebook : want as much information to flow across the graph and touch everyone in the world.( This is an ambitious and audacious goal, but does not seem to signal real open graph outside of facebook, or unless I missing the point here)

update- my followup thoughts: Facebook has done well in initiating an ecosystem of developers and VCs with the F8 platform.
Facebook is building a competitive advantage with this ecosystem and unless the ecosystem demands with clear competitive returns, it does not make business sense for them to open up.
From my own personal experience hanging around facebook developers and SF Bayarea facebook meetup I find facebook clearly aligned with developers and opening up slowly where it makes sense for the developers and facebook.
Chamath has articulated this eloquently and I believe facebook is here to stay and buildout its competitive lockin.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

When did I Endorse a Business on Facebook in their Ad?

I came across two Ads with friend's pictures on Facebook Sponsored Ads in the past 2 days.

Hmm, Sumit seems to have added Blackjack App, which appears like a notification, but actually its an ad for Scramble Facebook App.

Still its all in the realm of Facebook App world right?

Look, what I saw just now? Brett's picture for a Blockbuster signup as a notification of their Movie Clique App. Brett may approve of a notification of his app usage, does it mean he endorses Blockbuster as a brand and signing up for a paid membership, I am not sure?

Now this is getting interesting!!!

In the normal web world, no company would create an ad with your picture without your explicit permission for an ad of their product just because they found you using one of their products!

I am curious to learn more on the user's involvement in these cases, but want to learn of similar such campaigns by other businesses and user views.

The promise of social media marketing, particularly facebook is to allow user's adoption of a product as endorsement of the brand to their social graph. But there were people who objected to Facebook Beacon. Wonder who else is using the power of such user's implicit endorsements?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Facebook as Marketing Medium for Authors

I have always compared Facebook to the web and F8 to Netscape launch! No, I am not there where I would replace "Facebook" with "all Social Media Sites", Facebook is unique from the perspective of a business or anyone interesting in marketing anything!

I see businesses who were focused on SEO and SEM now expanding in Social Media Optimization with Facebook Apps and Facebook Ads.

Here is the first (my observation, I haven't seen other authors on Facebook) book author who is promoting his book release on Facebook with a Facebook Fan page.

I am on Facebook, now what? is the new book from Jason Alba and Jesse Stay with their own Facebook Fan Page.

It has just started and has 138 fans a I write this. They have smartly added their own blog as Notes to this Fan page. I am going to watch this as its a beautiful example of using the essence of Facebook to allow initial fans to tap into their social graph to invite more friends or friends hear about it from their friend's notifications.

I heard about this Fan Page from a notification from Dave McClure's feed notification. This is the start of the viral play, each of us sharing our supporting of this book brand!