Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zen Truths

I am working on some new projects I would love to share with you, so please stay tune.

But for now - here is a list of Zen Truths I recently received and would like to share with you:

  1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me. Just leave me the &*%$ alone.
  2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
  3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
  4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
  5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.
  6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
  7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
  8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and they're barefoot.
  9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer.
  11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
  13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.
  14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
  15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
  16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the Universe together.
  18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.
  19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.
  20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
  21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
    Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

E.T.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Zend.com

The updated Zend.com site launched yesterday.







Zend = The PHP company, build their site using PHP, and it is 'powered' by Zend Core, Zend Framework, Zend Platform and Smarty.

Additional information is available in the "behind-the-site" section.

Congratulations and good luck!


E.T.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally : Graphic Personal Homepage & Directory

Until recently I was using a 'blank' page as my browsers homepage.
I kept testing all kind of 'personal homepage' and portals for a long time.
I always returned to my clean, empty page.
I think the main reason is that I am a person who need visual stimulation as well as information. Most of the 'personal homepage' offerings are 'text oriented' and try to present you with the most relevant information for you (or in other words - push you things you may/want).
It is hard enough to start the day with a list of unread eMails - do I really want it on my browser as well? (the answer is No).

There are some interaction design concepts which try to predict the user needs and to provide it with minimum effort / clicks / discovery steps / etc. Trying to minimize the 'clicks' needed to perform a task.

Well, you know what, sometime the 'extra' click is a good thing.
I can protect myself from the stream of information if I have an extra click as a buffer.

+ I need colors. These 'clean', 'white space' pages are just too clean for me.

Then I found Symbaloo.com.

This site is different. It is colorful and easy to customized.
There are two main interactions. One is the 'icon desk'


The other is a 'news/image desk'


Adding a desktop is easy.


As well as creating new 'blocks', select there color, position and content.
You can create work-oriented desks as well as personal.
You can share them with your friends as well.



General settings are


Finally, a Graphic Personal Homepage & Directory I like to use.

E.T.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Congratulations to the Yedda team


I just spoke with Yaniv Golan, the CTO of Yedda to congratulate him and the team on the deal with AOL.

He seems very excited, as he should!

Well done!

As I wrote earlier today, Yedda took part of the last Israel Web Tour event - So one more reason for you to participate.

E.T.

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Calendar Vs. Tetris

Recently I got a the feeling my calendar is playing with me...





Do you know what I mean?

E.T.

Announcing the 2008 Israel Web Tour



The California Israel Chamber of Commerce has just announced the return of their highly successful IsraelWebTour competition and roadshow. Current returning sponsors include Google, Yahoo and Adobe.

The Tour will kick off on February 4th, 2008 when fifteen chosen CEOs from Israel’s most exciting startups will arrive in Silicon Valley for a week of activities. The companies will meet with investors, strategic partners, customers, entrepreneurs and industry leaders in a mix of private one-on-one meetings, roundtable discussions and ad-hoc networking events .

The highlight of the week will be a public showcase on Wednesday, February 5th where each start-up will present their business to the industry and press . The Tour will end with a closing night party in San Francisco on Thursday February 7th.



The CICC is now soliciting applications for participating companies and sponsors. If you want to participate in this year’s IsraelWebTour, submit an application to CICC by Monday, December 3rd at 5:00 PM PST. Conference organizers & Steering Committee will select 15 companies to participate in the tour.

Highlights From Last Year’s Israel Web Tour:
- A series of private tours and meetings at Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Adobe, Ebay
- A week of panels and roundtable sessions were held with the following industry leaders:

  • Mike Moritz, General Partner, Sequoia Capital
  • Alex Kazim, President, Skype
  • Michael Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch
  • Caterina Fake, Co-Founder, Flickr
  • Gokul Rajaram, Director, AdSense
  • Keith Rabois, VP Business Development, LinkedIn
  • Sundaresan Neel - Director, eBay Research Labs
  • Amir Ashkenazi, CTO and Founder, Shopping.com
  • David Tenenhause, VP of Platform Strategy, Amazon
  • Geoff Yang, Founding Partner, Redpoint Ventures
  • Jeff Crowe, General Partner, Norwest Venture Partners
  • Michael Sippey, Vice President Product, Six Apart

The Bottom line
- Five of the 15 companies who participated in 2006 IsraelWebTour raised venture funds from US and Israeli VCs.
- One company was acquired.
- Four companies launched their US operations within 9 months of the tour.




The 2008 IsraelWebTour Steering Committee
:
  • Dr. Yossi Vardi, Chairman, International Technologies
  • Gil Ben-Artzi, Corporate Development, Yahoo!
  • Jacques Benkoski, USVP
  • Daniel Cohen, Partner, Gemini Israel Funds
  • Etay Gafni, Sr. Director, User Experience and Web 2.0, SAP Labs
  • Jason Harinstein, Corporate Development, Google
  • Eyal Keren, VP, Business Development, The Pudding Inc.
  • Ido Sarig, Partner, Tomas Weisel Partners
  • Deborah Schultz, Social Software Strategist, P&G Global Advisor
  • Yaniv Vakrat, Director of Corporate Development, Adobe
  • Jeff Pulver, Technology anthropoligist, Pulver.com
Related Links:
Application Form
Facebook Group: IsraelWebTour

It is going to be a great event.
Please forward this information to your friends and hope you see you all soon!

E.T.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Meeting Fake Steve Jobs and Real friends

Last night I had the pleasure to be part of an after-party for the release of the new
Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody book
Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody
, by fake steve, at the British Bankers Club in Menlo Park.

The meeting was organized by Paul from Coghead, using Facebook event manager.

Many people showed up, a great mix of people, with interesting backgrounds and jobs.

But the best part of the party, from my perspective was meeting an old friend, which I did not see for 15 (!!) years... (we were roommates in Tel Aviv back in 92). Now he is working with his friend Gabe Rivera (http://www.techmeme.com/).
Lots of laughs and memories.

E.T.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

SCEA 2007 Annual Meeting - Web Trend: Today and Tomorrow

On Saturday I attended the SCEA 2007 Annual Meeting and participated in the panel discussion on "Web Trend: Today and Tomorrow". The panelists were:


  • Paul McNamara: CEO at Coghead

  • Ismael Ghalimi: Chief Executive Officer at Intalio

  • Sridhar Vembu: CEO at AdventNet/ZOHO

  • Etay Gafni: Sr. Director, User Experiences and Web2.0, SAP
  • Andy Lee: Managing Director of Berksford
We discussed many topics around these guidelines:
  • Future trends and how can we notice them now?
  • Office 2.0 - future mainstream or current bubble
  • Future mash-ups and "do-it-yourself" applications
  • Future Platforms - The power of Facebook and Social network
  • Thoughts about Enterprise 2.0
  • Cross culture and multi languages sites and examples
  • Mobile Web
  • Distribute development of Web products and services
I could not capture the whole discussion, so here are some points:

Sridhar was asked about the competition from Microsoft and Google in office 2.0 space. I liked his answer: "The competition does not kill you, you kill you". He then explained that he believe that as long as you keep your focus on your customers, your company execution and technology, you will do well. And there is a place for more than one solution.

Ismael told the story of how he started the idea of running a business using only hosted/online solutions; while he was in Japan and tried to keep working, but had only a Japanese laptop he borrowed from a friend.
Ismael also called for action and help with the great project of the Redux Model 1 (an experimental device built for the Office 2.0 Conference).



Paul provided and explanation about the evolution of business applications and focused on the capability we have now (and which Coghead provide) to compose the application that its your business. I added that working as a community allowing us to be able to reuse ideas and applications and collaborate to define new best practices and to build the relevant applications to support them.

Additional discussion was around the capability to use new Web Platforms to develop and distribute products and services.
Ismael made a valid point that it is not enough to get famous on Facebook or TechCrunch, you must build a real business and gave example of salesforce marketing and businss model.

The discussions and interactions with many people continued during the brakes.
Overall - I had fun and I think it was a very interesting event.
Plus - I got this:



E.T.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Mom's Song

I am a full time dad, while I am working (mainly worrying) and especially while I am not working...

My wife sent me this clip, and it seems that the lyrics are so true and the performance is great - so I had to share.



E.T.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Babylon 7

Working in a multi-culture environment has its challenges, which 'understanding' other languages is one of the major ones...

:-)

Knowing a 'language' is not as 'understanding' it.

I am using Babylon for many years now. It not just offers text translation in 17 languages and Wikipedia results in 13 languages, all in a single click, but also allow you to create your own dictionaries and helps you to understand phrases.

For example, there are many dictionaries about SAP terms, and in the past I was using it to package context-sensitive help and learning content.

Babylon just released a new great version - lucky # 7.



Some key features:

  • Single Click Activation - Simple and intuitive
  • Full text translation in a single click
  • Spell check for Hotmail, Gmail, Blogs...
  • Smart Dictionary - Get translations to and from any language
  • Wikipedia content in a single click
  • Babylon Premium Content- results from Oxford, Britannica, and other leading publishers in a single click
  • Auto Completion
I do wish they will develop a Mac version soon...

E.T.


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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

SAP TechEd 2007 - Interview with Tim O'Reilly

An interview with Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, who coined the phrase "Web 2.0," and who was guest keynote speaker at SAP TechEd.


video
Source: SDN

E.T.


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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (8/8)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.



Buy, Sell, Hold? - Yes, You Have Mo' to Think About
You've grown your company. You're making money. What's next? IPO, acquisition, or just keep walking. In this session, hear about the exit strategies that momentum companies have to think about, and plan for, today.

TSX - Ungad Chadda, Vice-President and COO
Thumbplay - Are Traasdahl, CEO & Founder
Microsoft - Marc Brown, Director of Corporate Development
IMVU - Eric Ries, CTO

(no links, sorry, Blogger really needs to improve linking and adding image capabilities...)

The panel agreed the focus should be on building a real business.
They disagree on what does it mean...

Nice quote: "companies do not fail due to lack of technology - they fail due to lack of customers..."

Building a dream-team is the key step in building a real business.

First hires for technical or product driven companies - should be in the marketing area - as you need to generate lead and to make the market ready for your branding and product.
(???)

Executive team of a start up changes with the phases of the company.
The role of the executives changes as well.

The transition from 'traffic' or # of users to monetization is not trivial (duh...).
Partnership with a market leader or a company the complete your value offering is a logic step.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Done.

It was a long & good fun day...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (7/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.




Ones to Watch


Adify - Larry Braitman, Co-founder and Chairman


Tumri - Hari Menon, CEO


Turn - Jim Barnett


Again - 6 minutes per presenter - too fast for me to Blog about at real time...However -

Turn has an interesting model (as well as a good presentation) to enables advertisers and publishers to buy and sell online advertising in an advanced market that automates targeting. Turn eliminates the need for manual targeting and provides bidded CPA, CPC and CPM pricing for graphical and text ads. Through its revolutionary targeting and innovative pricing models, Turn simultaneously delivers amazing simplicity, dramatically better relevance, and maximum revenue for advertisers and publishers.

From Turn site:

  • Automatic targeting. Traditional manual targeting is time consuming, frequently ineffective, and not scalable. Turn eliminates the complexity of manual targeting and managing keywords with technology that automatically selects the best graphical or text ads for any placement. By automating the process, Turn can find subtle patterns of performance that manual targeting would otherwise miss and respond much more quickly to changes in performance.
  • Blended targeting. Turn uses sophisticated algorithms to blend more than 60 relevance variables rather than just one or two, the common practice of most networks. This is critical because relevance and advertiser performance require targeting beyond just text on the page. Targeting must combine elements of category targeting, audience and user behaviors, and innovative new targeting methods in order to optimize performance.
  • Bidded CPA pricing model. Turn has revolutionized the traditional CPA model by utilizing a bidded market. By offering CPA, CPC, and CPM to the advertiser and using effective CPM (eCPM) ranking on behalf of the publisher, Turn aligns the business goals of the advertiser, publisher, and ad network.
Automatic targeting is an interesting approach.
I think it is powerful model, however as it is 'automated', it is based on parameters and assumptions. It would be interesting to learn how flexible and 'self learning' this system really is.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To be continued...Maybe...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (6/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

What Advertisers Want, What Businesses Need
The online advertising game as we know it is changing. Established players are scrambling to determine methods and metrics - how do widgets and time spents stack up against pageviews and eyeballs? Innovators are moving quickly and land-grabbing on their own. Since many consumer-facing companies depend on advertising for their revenues, and big-budget brand advertisers employ media buyers, the lack of agreed-upon standards could be a big problem. Are shortcomings leaving ad money on the table?


Google - Brett Crosby, Senior Manager, Google Analytics


VideoEgg - Adam Klein, President


Aggregate Knowledge - Paul Martino, CEO


Real Branding - Mark Silva, Principal & Founder


ComScore - Nick Tabbal, Senior Vice President

Still there are too many different definitions and ways to measure activities, effectiveness and other subjective parameters.

One of the logical comment that was (finally) made was that business owners (the ad publishers) are interested to understand how the online activity (and their investment) actually effect their business.
How to provide them with this data and contect (or at least make them comfortable with the data) is still debatable...

"Actional-analytics": the concept of modify the site/service on-the-fly based on activities of the users. Example such as Amazon's "People who bought this also bought these items...", may be the next generation - shorting the time from feedback/data/analysis to action.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To be continued...Maybe...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (5/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Thinking Outside the "Bubble"
So you have the Big Mo' - now what? A good company can rest on it's laurels, but the truly great companies are those who strategize to grow, expand, adapt and reach that next level. Momentum companies have to think beyond the bubble of Silicon Valley to Main Street USA and even out to the roads of Ulan Bator. Hear from experts about what it takes be great outside the Silicon Valley bubble.


Hi5 - Ramu Yalamanchi, CEO



Bebo - Xochi Birch, CO-founder & President



Best Buy - Martin Nyman


ThinkLondon - David Riches, Director, North America


Topix - Chris Tolles, CEO


During a long discussion about success and Tipping Points, the following parameters mentioned:

    1. Luck
    2. Mix of available capabilities allow the company to leverage luck.
    3. Industry readiness
    4. Market readiness
    5. Luck
    6. More luck (and then some...)
If you know what your user do and need, you can understand what will they need in the future (maybe...) and build something they will want and need in the future. If you are a head of the curve - you may be able to create a tipping point in customer engagement - driving success.

Statistics are very important to be able to measure health of the communities as well as status versus the competition. (It seems every company has a internal numbers and KPI as well as external numbers to through at the PR team...)

Stay relevant (and being paranoid really help).
Embrace change, be agile, be ready to trash things you have and love, based on what your users and future users needs and want.

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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (4/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Partnerships - Relying on the Kindness of Strangers
Small companies pursue big companies for partnerships -- they need credibility, access to markets and channels, and the means to scale. Whether for distribution, marketing, development, monetization strategy, or just leveraging existing APIs, teaming with a giant is the strongest route to building an empire. Learn from those who've negotiated on both sides of the table what it takes to get a deal done and how to make it work for you.


Meebo - Seth Sternberg, CEO


Kayak - Drew Patterson, VP Marketing


Photobucket - Peter Pham, Vice President, Business Development


SAP - Jens Weitzel, Sr. Director, Business Development Global Ecosystem & Partner Group


The discussion provided some (basis for) partnerships examples and points of views:

  • Value swap - offer cross traffic, (missing) features, etc.
  • Build together - instead of buying technology - work with the technology providers as partners to create the capability, needed by both.
  • Have a mentality of "everyone is not a competitor" - build honest relationship early on with other companies - including other start ups. Find areas where others may have better value proposition (tools, experiences) to your users and work with them.
  • Partner with companies that 'will be around' in the future.
  • People - integrity, trust and personal connection is important - as you will work with these people closely. Do not partner with someone you do not feel comfortable closing a deal with a handshake (as a first step...).
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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (3/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Ones to Watch


Leverage Software
- Mike Walsh, CEO and co-founder



Moola.com
- Arlen Ritchie, President and CEO



mShopper
- David Gould, CEO



Multiply
- David Hersh, VP of Business Development

6 minutes per presenter - too fast for me to Blog about at real time...
Interesting...
I may have another look into it later on.
Especially on Multiply. As the feedback from the panel clearly showed that they miss the value proposition of Multiply, except Martin Nyman (Best Buy) - who made some comments about multi-generation challenges.

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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (2/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

Freelancer/author Sarah Lacy chats with Tina Sharkey, Chairman, Babycenter.com

  • Communities are about looking for solutions for needs (current, long term), sharing interests and about human connection.
  • The audience is growing and change all the time - do not expect to have a winning formula that could last long...
  • Find out where your audience live and serve them there - eMails, online, RSS, newsletter, etc... Fine tune the messages based on 1-to-1 marketing concepts.
  • Be true to your core.
  • Statistics: 8M unique users in 10 counties. Revenue from eCommerce (larger) and media business (profitable).
  • The company is part of Jonson & Jonson. It was bought from eToys when eToys declared bankruptcy in 2001.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Imeem - Steve Jang, VP, Marketing and Business Development
Sugar Publishing - Brian Sugar, Founder, Publisher and CEO
Slide - Keith Rabois, VP, Business Development
Babycenter.com - Tina Sharkey, SVP Instant Messaging & Social Media
RockYou - Ro Choy, Vice President of Business Development

  • In a discussion on users loyalty - both Slide and RockYou agreed (and it did not happen a lot) that the main challenge was to get the 'first time' users, as users are not switching to much after they invested in creating content and learning a system.
  • It is important to know the demographics of your service - as advertiser require depends on it.
  • People are going where other people (friends) are. The features are secondary.
  • The debate between reach or niche went on... It was claimed that "viral engagement" allows you to go for a wide reach, while building engagement with focusing on niche (using a dedicated application). FaceBook was mentioned many times as the platform allow you to achieve this.

Overall - after over an hour of 'buzzwords exchange' it seems everyone are still looking for ways to put some logic into their success as well as define the next steps and trends.

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To be continued...


E.T.

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Notes from Momentum Growth Conference (1/...)

Notes from Momentum Growth Conference.

How I Got Mo' - Momentum Company of the Year
Ellen McGirt / Paul English (Co-Founder & CTO of KAYAK).


  • Building a service around technology and most important - customer service.
  • A team of 30 engineers and 9 Biz are supporting 20M transactions per month.
  • Every inquiry is answered by a person.
  • The development policy is that a developer can develop a new feature only when there are no open issues with the the current features/codes this developer is responsible for.
  • Spending a lot of time on usability testing - as the technology is allowing to modify the experience very rapidly and cheaply.
  • Facebook is a great social platform which brings a lot of value and power to small companies to start with.
  • Ways to create customers momentum - Google ads, affiliate programs, word of mouth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Business Models That Drive Momentum
Find a high-paying job. Find a telephone listing (for free). Make a coffee table quality book yourself. The internet has enabled a number of niche businesses to flourish quickly. These momentum companies have found a need and are serving it well. What were their secrets of success and how do they plan to keep the momentum?

Blurb - Robin Goldberg, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development
TheLadders.com - Robert Turtledove, CMO
Gaia Online - Craig Sherman, CEO
Jingle Networks - Lyn Chitow Oakes, SVP Marketing
  • Great businesses are based on passion and on personal pain...
  • Business models emerge from feedbacks and conversation with the user's community. The users will let you know what they need and for what they are willing to pay for it.
  • When a business offers a great service and provide proofs, the users are willing to use and pay part of the service - marked as 'premium'.
  • Raising capital has to based the market, real needs and expectations , shared by the founder and the investors.
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To be continued...


E.T.

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