Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dress Code

In case you missed the memo. The dress code is goggles and rain boots.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

California St

Heading down California Street in San Francisco.

Bomb Sniffing Dogs

I've noticed that there is frequently a german shepherd in BART that
is sniffing for bombs.

I asked the policeman handling the dog about it and all he would
whisper is that he is a bomb sniffing dog.

I've also seen more of them at the airports like the one photoed
below. I snapped his picture at the Ontario Airport last night.

I've always enjoyed seeing animals work. Only if the Iphone had a
video camera, then I could have captured this one on the job.

It's a Boy!

After two girls, I heard somewhere that it is an 80 percent chance
that third baby is girl as well. It looks like we bucked the odds.
It's a boy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When Can You Charge for Listings

This is continuation on classifieds. In order to charge for listings
the site has to have one of two compoments - that are really one
thing. Buyers.

People pay to list on eBay, even though there are a zillion free
places to post because eBay has an enormous community of buyers and
the likelyhood of selling your item is good. With the exception of
craigslist, there are few places that offer this.

So, if your sites new or lacks an established traffic flow of buyers,
then it's nearly impossible to sell listings. Unless the listing fee
is used to attract buyers.

If I was going to try and start a paid classified website, I'd try and
build a community first. Microsoft tried to launch a free classified
website on the strength of its funnel. I doubt that this service has
the stregth to take on craigslist. However, Facebook launched a
classified site on top of its community. I think this has a good
chance of becoming the dominant classified site.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Craigslist turned local classifieds for newspapers upside down.
Cutting prices to the low cost of free for most types of listings.
This has caused a serious financial issue for newspapers.

Today I learned that a large piece of the online ad spend growth is
expected to come from online classifieds in four big categories. Jobs,
autos, misc and real estate.

eBay has been succesful with the pay per listing model, but I'm not
sure that this market isn't headed towards free.

Also, the trend is heading for decentralization of the listings. Sort
of like YouTube for classifieds.

The killer solution seems like an API that accepts listings and a
service that pushes it everywhere you would like it to be posted. For
example, I want to fill out one form, post it to ebay craigslist etc,
have an option to post it to PPC search engines and gives me a widget
to post it anywhere.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pets on Muni

I don't know if pets are allowed on Muni in San Francisco, but I see a
lot more of them these days. Yesterday, there was a giant lizard, but
I couldn't get a picture.

This little dog joined us for the morning commute.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Messaging on a website is communicating benefits, highlighting a new
feature, providing help and alerting a person to other important

The key to messaging is providing it at the right time. As products
add features the messaging becomes increasingly complex which makes
delivering the right message more difficult.

The interesting thing is its hard to find a website that consistently
delivers messaging across the site that is effective. On HubPages we
have used a right hand nav that highlights as you change boxes. We
have placed the answers to the top customer support issues in the
boxes. However, it hasn't cut down the inquiries. I wonder if the
best messaging is simply a big button with a phone number that is
answered quickly and answers questions accurately.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fundamentals and Innovation

If the 80/20 rule holds for creating a viral website I'd say it's 80
percent fundamentals and 20 percent innovation.

Fundamentals are the core skills of running a site like customer
support, and making the app scale. Don't underestimate fundamentals.

Innovation is what makes your site standout. It differentiates you
from the noise. And its what people talk about when they describe
your site.

My advice is to innovate, but remember that successful innovations are
built on top of fundamentals. If Magic Johnson couldn't two hand chest
pass, he'd never be able to throw a 92 ft no look behind the back
bounce pass through a defenders legs and over the next persons head
for a perfect alley-oop

Beating Costco

I drove by this tire shop in Mountain View yesterday and there's this
BIG sign that says we "We Beat Costco."

What I didn't get in the picture is a we're hiring for $10/hr sign
right next to it.

See, Costco pays higher wages and that attracts talent that is
knowledgable about tires. Plus they have the best return policy around.

It takes a lot more than cheap prices to beat Costco.