Looks like my choice to use WordPress.org on my own servers for my personal blog was a good one. Typepad has been down since 1:50pm. Unfortunately that means both Geojoey and Linebuzz corporate blogs are down.
Dear TypePad member,
The TypePad service is currently unavailable due to power issues at
our co-location facility. This means that the TypePad application and
your TypePad blog are not reachable at this time. This began at
approximately 1:50 pm Pacific Daylight Time today, Tuesday July 24
We are working closely with our hosting partner to bring TypePad back
online as soon as possible. We sincerely apologize for the
inconvenience this is causing, and we appreciate your patience. We
will send another email update with more information as soon as
The TypePad team
UPDATE: This article generated over 5,000 page views in under 24 hours, so I’ve posted a follow-up interview with Tony Wright, RescueTime’s Founder & CEO.
I’m participating in a closed Beta of Rescuetime.com and installed the software on Sunday. Yesterday sat down at my desk for 10 hours and then hit the site. Here are the results:
All I can say is, I was floored that after 10 hours I’d used less than half my time effectively.
Rescuetime lets you tag apps, so the graph above is a graph of apps that I’ve tagged as work, personalblog, etc. The rest of the time is distributed among random websites, apps and other distractions.
Here’s the breakdown of my top apps and websites:
I got into a flamewar with someone on news.ycombinator.com which blew away more than an hour of my day. Most of my work is in an SSH session using an app called PuTTY. I hack my hosts file when I code and use our corporate blog for testing, so blog.linebuzz.com and linebuzz.com are also tagged as work sites and grouped into the ‘work’ graph above. The time spent on markmaunder.com was writing personal blog entries. I’m a huge fan of Brad Feld’s blog, hence the time on feld.com.
So I’ve canceled two meetings this morning and have severely limited my personal blogging time today to try and get at least 7 continuous hours of REAL work in before I head to the naked truth panel and party tonight at 5pm.
I think Tony Wright and the guys at Rescuetime are on to something potentially huge. I’m watching these stats as obsessively as I watch my Google Analytics stats.
Rob Malda (aka cmdrtaco), the founder of Slashdot.org has written a rather schizophrenic piece on Slashdot about Alexa. He spends most of the article beating up Alexa, but is sure to include 5 links to the website in the article – two of them specifically asking people to install the Alexa toolbar.
A while ago Digg passed Slashdot in traffic. (I’ve written about this before) An article covering the phenomenon got Dugg and thousands of Digg users clicked the link to Alexa and installed the Alexa toolbar. Notice the weird spike where the graphs meet. That skewed the Alexa results even further in Digg’s favor.
So now Slashdot looks even worse to journalists – most of whom are writing about Digg and calling Rob for background. Which is why Rob can’t help asking you to pretty please install the Alexa toolbar to make slashdot look good to journalists again.
Starting a software business? Looking for a software engineering process? You can spend a month getting your head around one of these:
Agile software development
Lean software development
Rational Unified Process
Or.. 2 seconds learning the Nike method:
Don Dodge from Microsoft’s emerging business team summarizes the Patent Reform Act of 2007 that just passed the House Judiciary Committee.
Damages are limited to the value added over existing technology. This bill would require the courts to look at the “free market” value of the patent if it were licensed in an “arms length” transaction. A very small win for the little guy – now instead of paying $600 Million to settle a patent lawsuit, you only pay the value added over existing technology – say $50 Million? Even $2 Million is enough to crush most startups.
A review board will allow parties to challenge issued patents and present prior art to mediate disputes outside of the courts. Another small win. It has the potential to reduce legal costs when challenging an issued patent – assuming you have the stones to step into the ring with someone like Amazon or Microsoft. The reverse may be a bigger win for small business if this forces big companies to mediate with you when challenging your issued patent. I don’t know enough about patent litigation to know if this is a possibility – any lawyers reading this please comment.
A really smart development is peertopatent.org. It’s a bit like Digg.com for patents.
“This process allows anyone to submit “prior art” for consideration by the US Patent Office. Users vote on the most relevant and compelling prior art examples. The top ten submissions get forwarded to the USPTO for consideration before granting the patent. This is a pilot project being tested on 250 patent applications. If successful, the project could be applied to broader patent areas.”
I love the idea, but my first thought is “users vote”? Digg gets gamed all the time and there’s nothing they can do about it. If you’ve got 100 votes from 100 different geographically distributed IP addresses and 100 separate user accounts that were registered with a captcha, it still doesn’t guarantee they’re real. When you consider that Microsoft (according to Dodge) spend over $100 Million on patent litigation every year, the incentive to game this is huge. The registration looks pretty standard. I think it’s a brilliant idea – but they need to use SSN’s or have some way to guarantee every registered user is a real person. If they solve this problem then online political voting becomes a reality.
Stats since reviving my dusty old blog last week. Still no SE traffic – in fact I’m still getting traffic for pages from my old blog that don’t exist anymore. What really surprises me is the avg time on site. But I guess that’s how long I spend on most blogs – I like to think I’m a fast reader but I’m not.
This little guy quietly spun this masterpiece while I was snoozing on the couch below him last night – and he got me thinking about The Web and what the word really means these days. Perhaps I’ve been in the entrepreneurial game for too long now, but it’s beginning to mean:
- User interfaces
- Competitive analysis
- Bounce rates,
- Return rates,
- Content optimization
…when it really means one thing:
Whether it’s buyers communicating with sellers or mining the worlds collective knowledge via search or blog trackbacks or inline comments – it’s all just new ways for us all to communicate. Communication is the web’s raison d’être. It’s really that simple.
I’m not a copyright nazi and I’m all for sharing. But it really pisses me off when I see people plagiarize my blog entries verbatim without even giving a link back to the source and without adding so much as a single sentence of their own content.
Add a couple of sentences of your own and you can call it a mashup or use two sources and you can call it research.
Om Malik also had a run-in with content thieves a while ago.
UPDATE: Seems there was no bad intent on Brad’s part and he sounds like a pretty cool guy actually. Check out this awesome ad video he posted recently titled ‘the wind’.
I just put my wallet through the wash. AAAAAAAH!!
UPDATE: Changed the title after realizing I’m referring to a niche within startups.
John Cook, one of my favorite Seattleites, has a post on his blog about yet another home office no money startup that got bought out for a few million. There is a growing realization that getting early funding if you’re a developer building a consumer web application is a very bad idea.
- You don’t need the money (hosting is cheap, your time is free, etc…)
- You don’t need the pat on the back (You’re a genius, OK? Now JUST DO IT!)
- You don’t need to be writing reports every month for a bunch of suits around a table
- You don’t need a business plan (Even Guy Kawasaki agrees it’s just a checkbox)
- You don’t need a big team to create a web app (If Markus Frind, Craig Newmark, James Hong and Scott Rafer can do it then so can you!)
- You don’t need to worry about a bigger company getting more funding and stealing your idea because as James Hong says “taking a zero off the budget is the best thing you can do for creativity”.
The more money a startup raises, the more vulnerable they become to little guys like you:
- Their target market sometimes becomes their investors and not their customer
- Every time they raise money they feel like they’ve achieved something and throw a big party – and work stops for a while
- They need to take huge risks to keep their investor happy because the investor wants to see a home run and $10 million in revenue doesn’t mean anything to them.
- Once they have committed to a business plan and sold it to investors, it becomes very difficult to change direction. You don’t need to have a board meeting or convince anyone. If you want to change direction you can do it in 24 hours.
- They hire people as a reflex action after raising money and more people in a dev team can actually slow things down instead of increase productivity.
So stop doubting yourself, stop having coffee with friends and talking about whether you’re going to go the Angel or VC route. Just sit down at your lonely little desk at home, grab some paper from your printer and sketch out your idea with a pencil. Then go visit serverbeach.com and buy a server for $79/month and start writing code.