Sunday, November 30, 2008

Facebook Connect brings web businesses from Android to Droids

Enter Facebook Connect! Now Businesses can move from offering Androids (remember data from startrek) with their personalization engines to Droids that can really talk to us!

Executed with steady precision, with a hunger to listen to the market true startup style, architected to make it so simple to adapt, one story at a time - bringing user controlled dynamic privacy, with our real identities, with our real world social graph to our favorite web sites with choice at every stage to let us decide which web actions are shared with our facebook friends!

update: everyone is talking about it - tc looks as it as single signon on the web, carrying your data w you!

Web businesses are beginning to see the power of the real user telling them what they are ready to share with their social network about their brands, about every step of their purchase behaviors. They can grow and scale in each site in beta using facebook connect to build vast repository of data, much more elegant than the works of the web 1.0 personalization engines which always reminded me of Data from Startrek.

With Web2.0 came social media - voice of the consumer everywhere with user generated content. Facebook revolutionized the social network bringing our real social graphs online where we can set our own levels of privacy and share our thoughts, pictures, videos, and comment,send tons of virtual goodies from pokes, cupcakes to vampires and friends for sale.

The old web is stuck with massive sites trying to personalize and customize our experience to reach us as individuals to market just what we want when we want it.

We don't stop to think of the web, we are fatigued signing up for each site, we prefer socializing with our friends, who influence our purchase cycles with our total trust be it that beautiful outfit our cool friend was wearing, or the travel we are planning or the big screen tv we watch the game together, introducing us to new music, telling us about what movie is worth watching.

Show me the money!

Wed businesses can now monetize my presence 10 folds more with perfectly targeted ads, build products to recommend just what I want and use my social network to influence my purchase, all with my permission.

They can bring the power of what Amazon did with "people who bought this also looked at this". If its a gift purchase I can say "no thanks", else send feed to facebook -
tap into the power of whats made facebook apps successful - show my coolness factor to my friends, share naturally for purchases of movies, songs, and all digital downloads and opinions about brands.

Sites can layer and build complete suite of facebook apps as services on top of their current offering as part of their social marketing mix.

Power to the web sites who allow me to login with my real identity from facebook and by getting my trust because of the privacy control, now it is not the merchant selling me stuff, they are giving me just what I want when I want - that beautiful fine line between ads that appear intrusive and those that provide the right deal for the right product that we might just need.

A dream example -

I goto citysearch and it shows me "a Grinchmas at Universal Studio Hollywood ad". Not relevant to me and wasted opportunity to sell me stuff I came looking for and have the need and desire to buy in the near future.

Their beta allows me to login with facebook connect, I log into facebook and they get instant access to the "real me" - age, sex, location and my profile preferences. That takes them 1 step closer to serve relevant ads. I like that better.

But imagine! If they could layer a facebook app right on top of citysearch in their site using facebook connect and could learn what I am upto this moment, and with my permission.

If I am planning to goto Boston for the holidays and want to find local gifts and restaurants to meet my friends, they could facilitate that discussion with my friends (who are on facebook and maybe on citysearch)if they let it happen using facebook connect on citysearch. They could offer a facebook app layered on top of citysearch that allows me to let citysearch know I am looking for a restaurant to go with these particular friends and know our preference (past ratings/reviews by me and my friends on citysearch), and use the power of facebook feeds to facilitate conversations about our current travel and party plans and tie it to citysearch options to facilitate the purchase/recommendations as ads.

Now we have to wait and watch this scale all over the web!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mashup Camp - The Unconference for the uncomputer today

I am here at MashupCamp today for little while.

Many cool valley geeks here,some from across the country.

Met Gregory Cypes, OPENAIM evangelist.

Nickels are worth a lot here!
You can vote for the coolest technology with a nickel they give you.

Zembly, Yahoo, Google,AOL Dev Network, wetpaint, are all here!

There are barcamp style talks scheduled in 10 parallel sessions.

Kevin Marks is talking Opensocial Mashups and Christopher Peri is talking about iphone Jailbreak, Yahoo on YOS and many cool mashup ideas.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

CodeCamp - Scaling Platform w Bebo, Sun and Yahoo

CodeCamp was an unconference for 1300 developers in Foothill College on Sat and Sun Oct 8/9 and it ROCKED!!!

Kudos to Van and Peter and all the volunteers for excellent organization! They had lined up sponsors for food, coffee etc and ran on time.

Charged crowd, many volunteered and were excellent audience with tons of Q&A

I moderated a panel on Sat Scaling Platform - panel with Bebo, Sun and Yahoo

My job was so easy, CodeCamp had this cool Confett chat room so audience kept asking me questions and chatting live. ok! I admit it made me look like a total geek with my laptop onstage!

Steve Cohen of Bebo presented Lightspeed mVC framwork, charged the room about Bebo's scale story. 400Mil pageviews daily on 120 servers, using Resin and single Java container! Wow!

Tom of Y! talking presented YOS. He spoke about YQL for normalized data via web services. Discussion is about silo of data.

Marina Fisher of Sun presented Sun technologies Opensolaris and Glassfish.

Scaling Platform Panel from CodeCamp - Sun from sujam on Vimeo.

The panel discussion:

It was a very lively discussion.

Steve has fun Java stories! Yes bebo is build using Java.

OpenWeb Awards Junkies' top 10 to-do list

Mashable is hosting its 2nd annual open web awards.

Last year the Open Web Awards was a true success of Web2.0 with user's voting 250,000 votes to award winners Facebook, Digg, Google, Meetup, Twitter, Netvibes, woot!, and Mahalo.

The first five in there are technologies I user daily and sun cannot shine on a day without any of them, though twitter is extra special and can go up and down and we will still wakeup to go see their funny downtime messages.

This year the nominations are open till today November 16th 2008. The voting rounds will be held from November 19th till December 15th.

Make your vote count, speak up and pick the winners of this year!

What I enjoy about the awards process is to checkout cool technologies and finding how much my friends agree or disagree with the same votes. But also it is a test to true social media marketing as every technology company leashes out its evangelists to find creative ways to get the word out to their base to get their votes up.

As a tech startup you can do old fashioned email to your customers to vote for you. Real winners are those whose customers volunteer on their own to spread the joy of particular technologies they love. Here are some ways:

Level One - Social Media Savvy Happy Customer:

1. First go vote for your favorite technology.

2. Show your excitement with a blog post on why that company is cool.

3. Do a tweet on twitter (w the blog post as a tinyurl or your 140 words of wisdom)

4. Change your facebook status to show the link for your favorite technology voting url.

Level 2: Super crazy unpaid evangelist for your favorite technology

5. Make a facebook group or friendfeed room or twitter bundle for your favorite technology and share links about how cool your technology is and the vote url.

6. Create an event to vote for your favorite technology and invite all your friends to join.

7. Visit all related meetups and pitch to everyone to vote for your favorite technology.

8. Make a video to show your love for your favorite technology, preferably something funky and blast it out to all video sites and tag friends on facebook. Make sure your video sites are all tied to your tweets and friendfeed so your followers get double feeds of everything.

9. Especially if you are in SF, throw a party to celebrate this technology's vote and drink with fellow lovers of your technology.

10. Done? Go get a life!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BeboDevNite Rocked tonite!!!

BeboDevNite has been my labor of love and it totally rocked tonite!!!

120+ developers all charged, got excited about bebo.

The best part of organizing BeboDevNite has been the bebo team. See them get ready for the event @AOL

We had a series of presentations and some cool announcements.

Cool Presentations:

Blake Commagere (Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie app network famous) presented migration to bebo from facebook, and said it took him only 4 hrs to port 4 apps to bebo.

Bebo Dev Night on 2008.11.11 from Abbas Zaidi on Vimeo.

Sun's announcement - Free Hosting on OpenSolaris for Bebo Apps

Sun announced 1 yr free hosting for bebo app developers.

Bebo Dev Night 02 from Abbas Zaidi on Vimeo.

The Opensolaris hosting is actually on Joyent, and Joyent CEO Rob Boothby was there alongside Sun's Emerging Business Unit leaders Sanjay Sharma and Rajesh Ramchandani!
Sun got a partner Livescribe to demo their smartpen and raffled one which was won by Deepika Bajaj from the audience.

Bebo Demos - We had a lot of Bebo love from a series of presentations by bebo app developers, each focusing on engagement, monetization or scaling apps with their stories - Water Cooler, Make a baby, Smart Change,Knighthood and Zoosk.

Cool Bebo Announcement:
Jessica Alter of bebo announced engagement metrics and Javascript support (in beta)for bebo platform followed by breakout session w bebo engineers. She announced the B.E.S.T contest for developers.

Dave McClure, Jesse Stay and Frank Gruber are the judges and the contest is open till Jan09 first week.

First B.E.S.T Contest Contestant
The highlight of the evening was that Waleed Abdulla, a facebook developer in the audience announced by the end of the presentations that he just signed up for bebo and had ported his app "hello gift" to bebo within 30 minutes as he watched a panel of bebo apps by several developers! Simply made our day!

Let me know if you have an event or blog where you can partner to promote this cool contest.

Send me your app invite as you build a new bebo app and join the contest!

I love the valley, and it feels like a big thanksgiving gathering each meetup seeing a subset of the same group of people, and coming home tired, full (of pizza) and loaded w the latest greatest in the valley tech scene.

Good Nite Folks!

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Facebook Connects Social and Enterprise - another step in the right direction

Today Facebook announced a partnership with to bring Facebook Connect to the enterprise using making it easier to build social friendly enterprise apps hosted upon cloud! (see my wishlist of enterprise apps at the end of this blog post)

Facebook still operates like a startup and has gotten Salesforce to adopt Facebook Connect as a channel into the enterprise. Look at the launch of the partnership - facebook style - honest, humorous presentation by Dave Morin.

I've been super excited about Facebook Economy because I see it extending the web into a whole social platform where I can use technology more seamlessly intertwined with the "real me"

Facebook has been successful in building the platform and getting developer excitement going, theres no doubt about that one!

Many pundits argue (read Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher) that social is real and but the big question is whether it will be on facebook or on a bunch of technologies that all becomes social.

For social to become ubiquitous, it has to go past consumers (who don't make it super easy to monetize it) to the enterprise. For example Google is a consumer company but makes all its money from businesses.

I think enterprise + social has to be lot more than apps on linkedin.

We as consumers get used to status udpates, and comments from friends and sharing apps to expecting some of it in our business life but the real value comes when it improves efficiency for the business.

Linkedin is back with positive pr as a social platform because of its now open app platform. I think it has more to do with very low expectations we have on linkedin and I'll give lot of credit for opening the platform to Linkedin advisor Dave McClure aka Mr.Social Network.

Heres my dream and its all possible with on Facebook

  • Communication and Collaboration: Why can't we break the barrier of friends circles inside companies that helps engine the corporate fiction in all our decisions to get real work done across organizations?
  • Marketing and supply-chain improvements: Why can't business build relationship with customer and build social technologies that integrates their business processes.
  • Product Development and inventory management: Why can't we as consumers interact with each other and our favorite brands to help them build just what we want at the right price when and where we need it.
If you are a facebook developer you have an advantage over the enterprise developer in that you know facebook platform and viral scaling of your app, now you just have to build it upon on Facebook!

Meet enterprise social media evangelists on Facebook makes me wonder what is needed for Enterprise +Social to be successful.

Going by my past life of evangelizing the web in large companies where I worked - Fidelity Investments, BMC Corporation and GTE Internetworking(now Verizon) and Harcourt (now Reed Elsevier), I believe that we need cool technology championed by real social architects evangelizing each enterprise from inside, one group at a time, to bring the excitement focused on real business goals to build grassroots teams one at a time!

Corporate Evangelists - My Casestudies

Here I showcase 3 of them from my recent acquaintances.

1 Intuit:

Intuit hosted a Marketing Summit on Oct 28th in Hilton SF, where I was at a panel called "social influencer marketing" with a cool set of people and got a taste of Intuit's commitment to use social to build true customer relationships.

The drivers inside Intuit are kira, Heather and Michael.

2. Dell

Natalie Davis of Dell has built out a centralized Social media group inside Dell.

3. Cisco - LaSandra Brill

Today they all use twitter, blogs, facebook apps inside facebook, and customer forums, where will they go with Facebook Connect for the Enterprise?

Ping me if you have a story of social media marketing or social media experiments in your world!

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update: Marta strickland is a social architect who truly gets Social Media and its vision in shaping the future of the web. I met Marta at Web3.0 Conference at an interesting panel.