Monthly Archives: July 2005

Logoworks – Mixed review

We are launching several new little web applications and needed quick, down and dirty logos for each. I had previously posted about Logoworks raising VC money. We paid for four logos and one of them really turned out great. The other three? Well one was an absolute throw away and the other two are ‘good enough’.

I mentioned this before, but I cannot resist doing it again: Logoworks – I would pay for the premium logo design service and redo your logo – it is the WORST! I have also noticed that the turn around on the logos is slowing down. They used to turn the logos in a day or so – now they are using all of the available time.

Dallas Web2.0 Forum

I propose that we start the Dallas Web2.0 Forum:

Frequency of meetings: once per month (same day each month)
Duration of meetings: two hours (5-7PM)
Location of meetings: our conference room (1950 Stemmons Frwy, Suite 2013)
Format of meetings: YPO/YEO style (5 min updates, 1 presentation)
Founding members: Amit Malhotra, Stuart Watson, Mike Orren, Brian Oberkirch, and Alexander Muse.
Maximum membership: 12

Instead of confidential or secret aka YPO/YEO style we would make the meetings open (potential podcast of meeting, each of us would blog on the presentation, maybe a wiki – and so on).

Thoughts? If you are in, email me.

Google – Do No Evil?

So I was reminded about the ten things Google found to be true. Number six is “You can make money without doing evil.” I wonder if they still believe this one. If you are reading the scores of articles regarding the alleged Google patent of RSS advertising you might just start to wonder too.

Let me back up. On Friday I was having lunch with Stuart Watson and Amit Malhotra (Amit is a really smart Dallas guy who is focused on RSS/OPML technologies – his startup is called Watercooler). Amit made a great point, lots of companies start out ‘cool’ and as they grow they are perceived as evil. His best example was Microsoft – some of you may recall that in the 80s Bill and Microsoft were ‘cool’ and now they are seen as the evil empire. He suggested that as Google grows more and more of us will see them as the evil empire as well.

The Froogle incident.

Perhaps Google did NOT try to patent advertising in RSS feeds.

Interesting post from Brad Hill from the unofficial google weblog about the current buzz associated with the recent patent application for placing ad in RSS feeds. He notes that Google is not actually the applicant: “The listed inventor is Nelson Minar, whose online bio identifies him as a Google engineer. The word “Googleâ€? appears only twice in the entire application document: once as a figure reference, and once in passing. “

Fred Wilson should read this post (tips for avid blog readers)

In a previous post I revealed that Fred Wilson had abandoned his newsreader. I had a few suggestions, but I think this recent post from To-Done! Working to live might be more helpful. If you are an avid reader of blogs check it out – Fred – you check it out too!

OPML files – have you ever lost yours?

This afternoon I spent an hour cleaning up my newsreader. I started to think about the number of hours I have spent adding RSS feeds and organizing those feeds in my newsreader (I use netnewswire). What if I lost my OPML file (the file that lists all of my RSS feeds and their groupings in my reader)?

I wondered how many people have lost their OPML files either through corruption, crashes, loss or failure of an aggregator? To find out I searched Technorati and found the following stories:

Geek Noise (lost database), NoahBrier (Bloglines failure), PF HYPER (Bloglines failure), Tech Observer (Bloglines failure), Winky Wanker (Bloglines failure), PCIN (Newsgator failure), Michael Parekh (Yahoo OPML backup failure) just to name a few.

Hm… Maybe another project for the elves at Weblogs Works – a free OMPL backup service that allows users to upload their OPML file and share it if they would like. Maybe Bloglines could have users automatically backup of their OPML file with a click of a button. Give the guys a week and I am sure we will have something up. If you have any suggestions just email them to me at amuse@m-ven.com.

The Internet is amazing…

This evening I engaged in a few simultaneous instant messaging conversations with our people and I was struck by how amazing the Internet is.

My first IM session was with our coder in Sweden (Daniz), the second IM session was with our template designer in Argentina (Rodrigo), the third IM session was with our server admin in Manila (Chris), and the fourth was with our network engineer in Dallas (Jason).

These conversations would not be possible without Internet and as I think more about it – they would not be necessary were it not for the Internet. The Internet is and will change our world forever. (for those of you who already knew this, please disregard)

Quiet venture deals and the emergence of Business Week’s blog

Business Week has some of the best blog content available on the internet. If you have not had a chance to subscribe to their content you should take some time and do so immediately. For those of you who are not regular readers Justin Hibbard reported on the ‘Quiet Deals of Q2‘ in the Business Week blog:

Topixa Inc. – 3 month old Palo Alto startup focused on social search and web sharing (tagging focus).

Pufco Inc. – 7 month old Menlo Park startup focused on security chips (Vinod Khosla $1MM Series A).

Mi5 Network, Inc. - 8 month old Sunnyvale startup focused on anti-spyware software for inside corporations. Self funded.

Mu Security Inc.
– 4 month old startup focused on the discovery of security flaws in software. Funded in June with a $750K covertible note from Accel.

LucidPort Technology Inc. - 9 month old San Jose startup focused on the development of semiconductor design software. Funded by Draper Richards – $2.1MM series A in June.

Verdi Timing Solutions Inc. – 3 month old San Jose startup focused on electronic design automation (timing focus). $500K series A in June.

Adapt Technologies Inc.
- 9 month old Pasadena startup focused on paid search. $9.8MM series A in June from Mohr Davidow.

Mind of a Manager, Soul of a Leader (am I going mad?)

This evening I was reading Matt Blumberg’s OnlyOnce blog and it caused me to think about an indicent I had at Architel this morning. Matt reviews Craig Hickman’s Mind of a Manager, Soul of a Leader. Craig’s thesis is that the ideal organization is balanced and integrated between the two extremes. Matt suggests that the job of the entrepreneur CEO is to be both. What if you feel like you cannot do either?

Architel, our little outsourced IT company, was having phone problems this morning and I was sitting next to our help desk manager and suggested that he pick up his cell phone to make a few calls until the phone system was back up and running. To my utter shock he said, “I am not going to use my personal phone for business calls.” I almost flipped out. It was likely that the phones would be on in ten minutes so the maximum exposure would have been around .60 cents (I am sure his manager would have approved the expense on his expense report). He simply refused.

Craig talks about how a manager should be ‘practical, reasonable, and decisive’ and a leader should be ‘visionary, empathetic, and flexible.’ Working together they can create the ideal organization. Matt suggests that entrepreneurs should both wield authority and apply influence. I was having trouble simply keeping my cool. How many times had the help desk manager asked for an afternoon off to watch his child? How many smoking breaks does he take each day? How many personal calls does he accept at work? What would you do?

Great cross-platform widget workshop – Konfabulator! – bought by Yahoo!

Yahoo announced the acquisition of Konfabulator today.

[link]