Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

A Frame Changer?

I remember being introduced to the concept of framing by a friend a couple of years ago when discussing the US presidential elections of 2004.

The New York Times depicted similar intensity among Republicans:

In one recent memo, titled ‘The 14 Words Never to Use,’ [Frank] Luntz urged conservatives to restrict themselves to phrases from what he calls … the ‘New American Lexicon.’ Thus, a smart Republican, in Luntz’s view, never advocates ‘drilling for oil’; he prefers ‘exploring for energy.’ He should never criticize the ‘government,’ which cleans our streets and pays our firemen; he should attack ‘Washington,’ with its ceaseless thirst for taxes and regulations. ‘We should never use the word outsourcing,’ Luntz wrote, ‘because we will then be asked to defend or end the practice of allowing companies to ship American jobs overseas.’

I hadn’t been planning to write anything about OpenSocial and facebook. But as fate would have it, two of my regular podcast listens touched on the subject of developing for facebook. Having the concepts explained again in a manner that assumed no prior knowledge was refreshing and after a period of reflection, I thought I’d give my johnny come lately views.

It is easy to forget just how far social networking has come in the past year, it’s easy to forget that MySpace were tired of companies piggybacking off them, it’s easy to forget that no one had a platform that developers could use to integrate their applications into a network less than a year ago.

It was facebook that changed the game, but it is OpenSocial that is changing  the frame.

In the blogosphere, it’s been argued that OpenSocial is a facebook killer, that facebook will be forced to join OpenSocial, that developers will desert facebook based on numbers.
I think users might need a bit more convincing. In social networking, users are king and their network is facebook’s castle.

Beer and Nappies

Many have warned about the power of supermarkets, in particular citing market basket analysis and the urban legend regarding beer and nappies. All joking aside, Tesco (Britain’s largest retailer) is getting very good at mining for gold in their data, Orwellian almost. My Wife and I use our club card at every opportunity – it’s worth a penny for every pound at Tesco or up to four pence if you use it on special offers.

As I paid for a small number of groceries the till printed out an extra voucher for me. Previously, I’ve been handed vouchers for extra points when buying bread or milk by a friendly cashier. I didn’t really think much of it. But this voucher was different, this time it struck me that Tesco are mining information about me.

Vodafone Voucher

The voucher offered me 150 points (£1.50 -> £6.00) if we purchase a £10 Top-Up for my Wife’s pay as you go mobile phone. Back-story: my Wife used to get her Vodafone top-up vouchers from Tesco before an unfortunate incident where the self serve machine didn’t print out her voucher and the store refused a refund. Since then, we’ve always made a point of getting them from somewhere else.

From a system’s perspective, Tesco obviously know that we’ve spent a fair amount of money on vouchers for Vodafone network in the past and that we’ve bought at a certain rate. We’ve stopped buying it at Tesco and they’ve worked out how much it’s worth to them to get our custom back once with the hope that we’ll stay. This voucher carries more to us than most of you reading. You’ve probably got a contract phone, or you live outside the UK or you use a different network. Don’t worry though, Tesco probably have a promotion relevant to you ready for the next time you checkout.

Battle of the StartUpWeekends…

So Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta duked it out in the battle of StartUpWeekends… well not really. First, Birimingham isn’t affiliated with StartUpWeekend and in reality both sets of participants were focused on building a startup and taking a whole lot away from their experiences.

I’ve not had the time to follow both groups closely – I’ve had a poke at both applications and my first impressions are that Birimingham’s site is a bit rough around the edges. I’m a little unclear on the financial side of things, but clearly there is an audience that perhaps isn’t being catered too.

I don’t think I fully grasp Skribit – mainly because in my humble opinion the problem doesn’t exist. It does look very polished though.

Reading the Birmingham blog and the code for equity debate, I have a greater appreciation of where Andrew Hyde is coming from, weekends do need standards and for me Code for No equity isn’t where I’d like it to be. But, it’s Birmingham’s weekend so it is their choice and everybody seems to have got a lot out of it.

As founding principles I believe most of the Founders Bill of Rights are great. As I previously blogged, I don’t like the fact that StartUpWeekend is a company and while it’s clear and transparent, I don’t like the fact Andrew takes 5% of the company founded over the weekend.

I found it interesting that both Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and David Cohen of TechStars have focused on the community of StartUpWeekend. But I’m confused? This is a company, but it is a community? I’ve already shared my thoughts on this, but ultimately they don’t really matter… Most of the participants at these weekends seem to come away with a lot from the experience, it’s clearer to me that many see that as being the real value of the weekend.

If you book them, they will come…

– Who are you?
– I’m Jim Morrison.
(Wayne’s World 2)

I was going to write a long post about my thoughts on Google’s Open Social anouncement. But I thought this article by