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Showing posts from August, 2007

So what's it like earning a living again?

Good. Except having real stuff to do, seems to be negatively correlated to my blogging frequency....grrr!

So what's it like working at Google? So far..pretty awesome!!

Why?
Ridiculously, ridiculously open. I was shocked by how much info everyone has access to, and even more surprised at how incredibly people still respect product secrecy. I found myself saying "I can't talk about that." to a good friend a week after starting.....even when the question was "So how's work?". :)
Of course I'll mention the usual stuff: gym, massage chair, free food, good free food....there's a free DDR machine in the building next door that I must now go to more often (I played it for the first time yesterday..didn't go well!)
The little stuff matters to me too...the other day I had a Powerpoint deck to make; it made all the difference that I could go out, sit with my legs up on a picnic table taking in the California sun while finishing it up rather than sitting ind…

The BarCampBlock experience!

I'd been hearing about BarCamp for a while, and decided it'd be really cool to go and check one out. A big one (BarCampBlock) was taking place a couple of minutes from where I live, so I registered last week and drove back early from the Sacramento suburbs last night to check one out. You've got to love the idea, as I did when I first heard about it! Basically, its a conference "of the people, by the people, for the people." There isn't a fixed agenda or known speakers. People show up, sign up on a big open board for sessions they'd like to lead or help out with, other people show up to listen em and a discussions/presentations take place. The agenda can be tweaked through the day and sessions can be just a few people chatting or larger lectures. It works really well and the topics are wide-ranging: from geeky to super-geeky to wannabe-geeky. The same applies to the participants.:)

I really enjoyed my first BarCamp and I might actually head back tomorrow …

Monetizing Internet Traffic...

.. is hard. I've had trouble explaining (and even understanding!) how Internet traffic is monetizied (a word, which if you believe answers.com, seems to be incorrectly used by almost everyone:)).

This explanation of the categorization and monetization of Internet search traffic at the Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog, is the most coherent and clear explanation I've read in a while. Excerpt below. Numbers based on Netscape.com data.

"In fact, around 20% of searches are “navigational” in nature - users looking for a particular website. Another 50% of searches are “informational” in nature (e.g. “capital of Taiwan”, “top social networks”) and the remaining 30% are “transactional” in nature (e.g. “cheap flights to Orlando”, “flat screen TV”.......It is relatively difficult to monetize navigational and informational searches. "

Quick review: Bourne, Stardust, Chak De and Maus

The Bourne Ultimatum: Really, really good, but so overrated! I liked the movie a lot, but still don't understand why everyone raves about it so much. And I agree with this dude: "Someone get the director a steadicam!" :)
Unconventional choice of a marketing partnership too.



Stardust: Its kinda sweet. I liked it. If you enjoyed the Princess Bride, you might be a candidate for liking this one. After the moview was done, I was reminded of this interview with the screenwriter/author, Neil Gaiman in Time. The comment: "It's not like a comedy like Shrek that's making fun of the thing," Gaiman says. "It's the thing itself."
I'd remember reading this before somewhere else as well. Most fairy tale-ish movies that make it to the theatres now are irreverent towards the fairy tale genre, which I prefer as an adult, but what about the kids?

Chak De India: Increases the count of decent Hindi sports movies in the last 20 years (in my opinion) to 3 (maybe…

The future of blogs....

Wow! I've been lazier than usual. Mid-way through August and hardly any posts. On the flip side, I've found a place, a car, a Internet and TV connection and am now raring to return to the ranks of the gainfully employed this coming Monday.

Anyway, Chris' post, in response to my earlier post, in response to his post, while surprising me (someone actually reads my blog!) reminded me of a discussion I'd followed earlier, and something that had me thinking for quite a while.

It was a while ago, so unfortunately I wasn't able to find the sources (in the twenty seconds that I alloted to the task.) The discussion was about the future of blogs, and more specifically the evolution (or necessity of the evolution) of blogging platforms.

A summary of what I came away with follows.

Blogs are means of communication as well as expression, but they are in some sense egotistical (as they should be!) On my blog (or a company's/group's blog) you get to hear what I/we think. Other…

Quick reviews: Snow Crash, Simpsons movie.

I just realized that I hadn't done any quick reviews in a while....and naturally the world is sooo much poorer for it.:)

Snow Crash: I'd heard about this Neal Stephenson novel for a while and it was referenced by quite a few interesting sources. It was fun. Stephenson's imagining of a dystopia, of the future of software programming, an imaginitive (but realistic) virtual world and a central plot where religion is a virus (both biological and computer) is really pretty cool. Its even more impressive when you keep in mind he did this in 1992, and quite frankly, this future seems less improbable now than it did back then. The book is funny in parts, instructive in others, and the research weaves into fiction really well. I guess the problem was that thanks to the recommendations I'd read, I was expecting a life-altering tale, and it wasn't one.:) Highly recommended as a yarn though. Also how can you not like a book where the hero/protagonist is a half-black, half-Jap…

Bloggers as Opinion?

One of the few economicsy blogs I read occasinally, was/is the Freaknomics blog. A funny thing happened to it earlier today. As Dubner explains, they moved over to the NY Times opinion page. I've seen examples of newspaper columnists becoming bloggers or just maintaining blogs on the side. This is the first example I've seen of a newspaper basically buying up a website address and bringing famous bloggers into their real estate.

With the state of the newspapers in the US, as they struggle to stay relevant and develop better business models to adapt to consumers preferring the Internet as a news source, this method to acquire talent may be one way to go.

Ah...Valleyfreude.:)

Once works starts, I'll really need to watch the Google-referencing blog posts just in case, though I'm obviously pretty bull-ish on the company by default.:) So here's one that I meant to post three-ish weeks ago when Google announced their Q2 earnings, which weren't spectacular enough for Wall Street. A few people asked me what I thought (apparently an offer letter from the company qualifies me to have an opinion. :)) Well, I don't know. My one course in Financial Statement Analysis though allows me to appreciate how insightful, Kevin Kelleher's commentary over at GigaOm is, and he seems a little worried. Time will tell if he's right to be concerned. Either way, its a really exciting time to start work there.

Interesting sidenote: you can't seem to buy a car or rent a house in the Bay Area without getting a Google reference just randomly thrown in. For example
"BTW, we have a lot of Google employees live here."
"The G…

Powerpointless

Pickedthis up from Chris' blog last week: Apparently, the Chicago GSB has introduced a compulsory 4-slide Powerpoint presentation as part of the application. Chris thinks its a good idea. So apparently does this person.Seth Godin is not unimpressed either. So naturally, in the finest Chicago tradition of challenging everything, I'll say I think they're missing an important point. I'm not thrilled about this at all. In fact, I'll go as far as to say I think this might prove to be a terrible idea. I could be completely wrong....yet again:)...though time will tell.

The main argument for this move seems to be that it will allow applicants to showcase their "creativity." Because clearly, Powerpoint as a form of creative expression is unparalleled in our times! This post and the comments go on to make the "creativity needs constraints" argument. I'm not disputing either of these points. Creativity is possible using Powerpoint, but (since we're…

A week of Customer Experience(s)

I should feel sorry for not blogging for a while, but if I did I'd end up feeling sorry for too often. So I just won't.:)

Amidst all the last-minute packing (throwing stuff into a box counts as packing as long as the box is going to be shipped) and rush to get rid of accumulated furniture, I ended up experiencing (and hence thinking a bit about) customer service and the effect that it can have on you. I ended up realizing again how fragile a customer's experience is: a little thing can swing it from "great" to terrible and the worst part is you'd never even know about it.

Here's a list of a few companies that I've ended up interacting with over the last week.


Southwest




I'm being a little harsh with the down arrow, cos they pulled it back a bit, but on this trip of mine Southwest came pretty close to losing me as a customer for good. A dangerous thing for any airline to do, given the economics of the business and the state of the industry.
Here's …