Evolution of Content Discovery Tools

In the beginning, there were a handful of sites where you would go to to seek information (CNN, ESPN, WeatherChannel etc.) As the amount of information grew, companies were developed to help categorize and sort information (Yahoo), then came search engines.

Today, we’ve had a massive shift in the way we consume content. We no longer have to pull or seek out content. The majority of content we consume now is pushed to us via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

As the number of friends and follows grow on the social platforms, the amount of information gushing through multiplies and we’ll need another tool to help sift through all that content.

New Year’s Resolution - keep this blog alive and kicking


I’ve attempted to blog several times, but it always fell off my plate. So I’m going to make it my New Year’s Resolution to keep at it.

Stay tuned as I make lots of random statements, share what I’m reading, and just blab.

Fitocracy Blog: Getting Fitocracy Back Online


Like many other startups, we use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run Fitocracy’s website and iPhone app. Our main stack consists of half a dozen Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) web instances, an EC2 Redis instance, and an Relational Database Service (RDS) instance that are all located in us-east-1…

Brian K Balfour: Achieving The Network Effect: Solving The Chicken Or The Egg


One of the most defensible positions for a startup is if you can achieve the network effect. The network effect is so strong that it has kept large companies in business for a long time, despite bad products and numerous competitors. Craigslist is a perfect example. It is only recently that a…

The Naive Optimist: I'm tired of the opportunists and their hackathons


The billion dollar tech startup valuations and acquisitions are starting to attract a lot of opportunist to the industry. A lot of these people are not technical and they know they need a CTO to get to get to MVP.

I don’t have any problem with non-technical founders teaming up with…

Posted on May 20, 2012

Reblogged from: The Naive Optimist

Notes: 49 notes

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Strong Opinions @marksbirch: Twitter Discovery Tab Fail


I tried out Twitter’s newly rolled out Discovery tab to see if it could do as good a job as Knowaboutit or News.me (two social media automated curation / content discovery newsletters that I had been recently using). This is what “filtered” to the top:

Really Twitter? While I love Japanese…

Posted on May 2, 2012

Reblogged from: Strong Opinions @marksbirch

Source: falicon

Notes: 6 notes

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Setting up your machine for Ruby on Rails development

So you want to learn how to be a programmer. And so you log onto CodeAcademy, crack open a book, or attend a Ruby On Rails class. What most courses fail to do is to help set up your computer for programming.

It’s one thing to write some code into a console and get a response. It’s another thing to view a live site in your browser.

I recently set up my MacBook Air for development. I configured my development environment for Ruby On Rails with PostgreSQL as the database and GIT as the version control.

1. Install Ruby on Rails and component parts.

The best resource was the book, Ruby on Rails Tutorial as it walks through the install steps.

Follow the instructions in Chapter 1 carefully and you should be all set on the Ruby on Rails part.

2. Host your Git repository

You can use GitHub to host your repository, but private projects are not free.

I’m using Dropbox to host my Git repository. I like the Dropbox solution because I can access the repository from any machine I have dropbox installed on without having to worry about any other outside providers.

Follow the instructions by Bradley White

3. Install PostgreSQL

I choose install PostgreSQL because I’m deploying to Heroku and want to develop against the same database that I would eventually deploy to.

Follow this screencast to install and setup.

That should be all. Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy coding.


Google is launching a new product to make it easy to run consumer survey-based research.  This short video explains the product concisely.

It’s now cheaper and faster than ever to test your startup ideas before you over-commit to a half-baked idea. 

For example, if you’re building a new music player to compete with the iPod, run a quick survey to figure out what brand of music players your target demographic already owns.  You don’t need too many participants to make statistically significant extrapolations, so you can get your answer for five bucks. 

I previously used Mechanical Turk to get this kind of instant feedback on theses I was forming (for example, I used MTurk in due diligence on a Smart TV platform), but I think going forward I’ll use this Google product instead.  My problem with MTurk is that I didn’t like the sample pool… i felt like all my answers were coming from random computer farms in third-world countries.

If you do use Google’s Consumer Survey product, let me know what you think.

Posted on April 10, 2012

Reblogged from: The Gong Show

Notes: 12 notes

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Actually, this picture is not quite right.  Amazon would be the mall, Google would be the crappy billboards posted around town, and eBay would be a flea market…

Why is the internet getting so messy?

Call me old fashioned, but I like clean lines, white space and nice typography. But recently, Pinterest’s success has spawned a new layout for images.

I like this from Flickr.com. It’s easy to scan and take in the content without getting lost.

It works great for Svpply.com

I’m just overwhelmed by Pinterest. My eyes are all over the place trying to view each image and they’re getting tired.

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