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Rick Kenney Archive
As Facebook users continue to grumble over privacy violations and leave the site piecemeal, Diaspora may be proving that when you launch is just as important as what you launch.
Diaspora aims to produce an open source application that will allow people to not only share data with friends, but to control what information is shared. There are two planned methods, the first being self-hosted, the second is a hosted service by Diaspora.
Matt Asay of CNET was quick to point out that Diaspora’s, “approach has the potential to limit the service’s appeal by introducing complexity,” but it also has the real possibility of making the project incredibly popular. As pointed out on ReadWriteWeb, Diaspora’s approach is very similar to WordPress’, one of the most dominant blogging platforms. If Diaspora is able to succeed in emulating the success of WordPress, its four founders could find Diaspora both popular and profitable.
While other open source offerings like Identi.ca have failed to usurp their mainstream competitors, Diaspora’s inception has the advantage of coming as Facebook continues to draw flak from its users over privacy issues.
The idea behind Diaspora isn’t a new one, in fact OneSocialWeb has been working on a Facebook alternative since January, but what they’ve lacked is the kind of public support Diaspora is generating, not just in terms of eyeballs, but in dollars.
Despite the proliferation of social news sites like Reddit which aggregate popular content and social bookmarking sites like Delicious that archive it, social browsing still remains a largely open market. It’s in this market that Y Combinator-backed startup Socialbrowse seeks to make its niche.
Socialbrowse combines in page icons and the ubiquitous activity feed to add value to pages by emphasizing content shared by friends, and pushing content to the user they’re likely to find interesting.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the features available today as Socialbrowse leaves its 3 month private beta and goes public.
Sidebar – Users can use tabs in the sidebar to filter which types of feed items they wish to view, or to display them all at once. There’s also a "hot" tab that lets you track which content was most popular among your friends recently. The hot tab scores each feed item according to how many of your friends shared or discussed the link, then decrements the score over time to keep it fresh.
Site – Socialbrowse seeks to emphasize the most important content, providing separate tabs for each type of content each person has shared. This allows you to easily toggle between each user’s shared links, their comments, their messages, or to see them all at once. The search feature lets you recover any link or comment for each user (or yourself). The side menu shows user’s social points, their personal information, the users they are following, and their fans.
Enhanced, embedded icons (embed_and_hover.png) – Socialbrowse’s bread-and-butter feature is the in-page embedded icons, showing you what content your friends liked and how many of them liked it. Hovering over this icon shows a menu detailing which user(s) shared that link, and some of their other recent activity.
In-page commenting – The in-page commenting allows for users to toggle comments open and close in the top corner of the page, letting you quickly view all comments or submit your own.
Categories – In tandem with Socialbrowse’s filtering technology, categories allow you to set the categories you wish to receive or ignore.
Having used Socialbrowse for over a month, I’ve found that sharing content while browsing comes naturally, the conversations are more stimulating and varied than on sites like Digg where groupthink prevails, and the discovery aspect inherent to using the application is a great way to not just find interesting content, but to connect with interesting people.
Socialbrowse has gone a long way towards living up to Co-Founder Zachary Garbow’s stated goal of bringing "a novel, social aspect to every day web use," it’s going to take adoption for Socialbrowse to really live up to its full potential.
Rick Kenney is a sometimes contributor to CenterNetworks. You can find him online on Twitter.
Marketing guru and Web-celeb. Guy Kawasaki has recently added another accolade to his growing list of Alltop superlatives, browser homepage.
In honor of Earth Day, Flock recently launched a special edition of their popular browser with an unprecedented promise, to donate 10% of revenue generated from the niche browser’s searches to charity; and after winning an award for community at SXSW, the charity will be selected by none other than the Flock community itself.
So what does this have to do with Alltop? Well, rather than trying to aggregate "Green" content on their own, the folks at Flock made a smart move and brokered a deal with Guy to use Green.Alltop.com as the special edition’s homepage.
In the end, Flock increases distribution and continues to improve their rep., Alltop.com gets turnkey traffic, and some lucky charity will hopefully get a bunch of money. Sounds like a good Earth Day to me.
You can download the Eco-Edition of Flock here and if you feel like extending your browsing good even further, add the Effortless Good extension. In addition to your searches generating money for charity, any time you shop at Amazon, a portion of your purchase will split among 4 non-profits.
Editor’s note: Flock is a current CN sponsor.
After reading Benjamin Yoskovitz’ post, "6 Tips for Hiring Top Talent at Startups" it occurred to me that while informative, the vast majority of people out there are more likely to work for a startup than to found one.
That being the case, I’ve put together list of tips for kick starting a startup career.
1. Know where to look. While sites like VentureLoop and StartUpers are a great place to begin, most startups have the cash to advertise their vacancies. The best place to look for a startup job is usually on the site of one. Like Tumblr? Check out Davidville’s site. Another great place to look for startup jobs are on the pages of the companies that fund them. Ex. Both Sequoia Capital and The Mayfield Fund have job boards set up.
2. Work connections. The first thing I do when I come across a job or someone sends me an RFP is to check LinkedIn to see if I’ve got a foot in the door already. Your social network is probably your single greatest asset when it comes to getting the scope (and sometimes hookup) on a job. Use it!
3. Don’t burn bridges. This one should be obvious yet I find myself continually amazed at the number of people who choose to leave a company on bad terms. A job you can’t get a reference for is one you may as well never had. A little class can go a long way but a good reference can go even further.
4. Send an email first. While most places will tell you to just send a cover letter and CV, don’t. Find someone within the company (preferably the person in charge), and drop them a line. Making contact with an actual human being (regardless of the size of the company) is the best first step and increases the chances of your resume actually being looked at exponentially.
5. Do your homework before throwing your name into the hat. Applying for a job you’re not qualified for with a company you know nothing about is not only a waste of that company’s time, but a black mark on your professional reputation.
6. Write your resume for the job. If you’re submitting the same resume to every job you’re interested in, you’re selling yourself short. Most vacancy announcements list a set of criteria and requirements for candidates which a company is looking for. Your resume should be tailored to highlight how your experience meets the company’s needs.
7. Don’t be the only one answering questions in the interview. Several months ago I had the pleasure of talking to the CEO of a niche wiki company after inquiring about a vacancy he had advertised (see #4). While the position he’d advertised for wasn’t anywhere near up my alley, his pitch was compelling enough that I still wanted to talk to him. After almost two hours on the phone I didn’t have a job, but I did have a great new business connection. To get interest, show interest.
8. Get paid. While it’s generally considered taboo to broach the subject of money with an employer, IMO it’s a little different when dealing with a startup. While I’m a relatively young guy, I’ve had two separate experiences where I’ve signed on to work with a startup only to get stiffed on payment after a full month’s work. The first time I stayed on only to get stiffed again, the second I jumped ship immediately. Don’t sacrifice your own financial security for someone else’s dream.
Choosing the startup life isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. The hours are long, the stress is high, and as one of only a handful of people who both success and failure can be attributed to, the spotlight’s always on. Yet, for all that pressure, the rewards that come with the variety of work, creative latitude, and sense of personal accomplishment are indescribable. Good luck and happy exit.