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Showing posts from February, 2008

Best movie pick...

...as I watch the Oscars (Jon Stewart is not as funny this year), I figured I could join the party and pick my best movie for 2007.

I surprised myself and have stayed away from both No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Mainly because every weekend when I try to go over and catch them, I just end up deciding that I need to see something a little more cheerful. Anyway, the coming weekend....one of em...definitely!
So my pick for best English language movie I saw last year is Juno. The story, the acting, the characters, and especially the dialog made this a really great one to watch. I remember just feeling good while leaving the theatre.

But the best movie I saw last year, was without a doubt, Taare Zameen Par. I had to fight to keep the tears away right through the movie, the story really resonated, the kid was brilliant in the movie, and I never thought that the most exhilaration I'd feel at the movies in years would be at a children's art competition.

Should I just drag all my friends into my social graph?

I may have to re-consider how I use the social networks I'm active on.

The benefits of the network effects can be summed up by that well-worn cliche: "the value of the network increases exponentially with the number of nodes in it."
The fact that "value" here applies to the entire network was pretty obvious to me, but a recent personal event reminded me that it applies to the individual nodes as well, and the value increases exponentially and gets particularly high as it reaches near completeness for the node.

Let me explain the reason for the gibberish above.

I got engaged recently, and wanted to let people know. I did it exactly the wrong way!
I happened to switch my status on Facebook (and a little later on Orkut) and was immediately inundated by messages, Wall posts and Scraps. I shot a couple of emails off to people that I knew though it was based more email address accessibility than thoroughness. I then just dealt with the numerous responses from the above. …

Did SNL just endorse Hillary?

I think it did....At least Tina Fey did. It can be a little risky putting a stake in the ground on any divisive issue, even when trying to slip it under the covers of comedy. It needs to be done really well, so that you make your point without alienating people who disagree with you. I'm still trying to decide how it fared....


Web Advertising your way to Commander-in-Chief..

I spent a little time day before, and some today on this site, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I want to start developing a more nuanced understanding of web advertising (Jeez, I work at Google! ) and finding time to read stuff like this is a small start.

Obama's campaign spent the most on display advertising in January, mostly using it to call citizens already for him to donate, while McCain's campaign focused on video ads which seemed to suggest he was trying to convince people to come to his side....and then donate. Yahoo is the leading source of those ad impressions.

A few good internet video ads

Two hilarious series of ads, that I caught over the NBA All-Star break telecast. These are great examples of good internet video ads, if you believe that effective Internet video ads are also effective standalone Internet videos. I could watch these as a pre-roll ads, or post-roll ads, and be thankful for it! They're funny; they're brief (and can be easily edited to be shorter), and there can be many versions for the web. Perfect!











Also, in my opinion, there were actually three products being advertised herethe movie
either product
and the NBA itself (because of the placement.)
The brand associations are ones that all parties benefit from, and can be comfortable with. Its rare that this works so well.

On a somewhat related note regarding brand associations, I noticed the ads below on the YouTube site, yesterday and today (Note: despite working there, I know almost nothing about the details of these thing.)


Its an interesting brand association attempt: Toyota and Pepto Bismol try to s…

Virtual goods..now I'm a believer!

Virtual gifts, and virtual goods in general, have been hot...for a while. The case of gold farmers was the first time I recognized the "real" value of virtual goods, and of course more than an year ago there was the case of the first Second-Life millionaire, (and the infamous press conference that followed.)

But anyway, this incredibly thoughtful and thorough post from Jeremy Liew covers the different use-cases for virtual goods. Why do I suddenly believe though the data to confirm this has been around for a while? Cos I was finally tempted to buy one on Facebook the other day. :)

As far as monetizing virtual gifts (as opposed to virtual goods in general) , Facebook is the most successful that I've heard of (to the tune of $15m according to Liew's analysis.)
What's even more impressive? Despite the existence of numerous completely free gift applications, which Facebook doesn't seem to be making explicit efforts to inhibit, their own paid gift app (which admitted…

Busy with Buzzwords: Responsiblity

Continuing my current fascination with writing, hopefully succinctly, on ideas that I like for work: Responsibility, or rather figuring out ways to take it.

I've come to agree that possibly the most useless, and potentially career-inhibiting, thing to do is to look for excuses when things go bad. Even when its not really "your fault", taking mental responsibility seems to be the most constructive thing to do going forward. I'm separating mental responsibility, from claiming public responsibility here.:)

I need an example to explain this.

Let's say a project you were working on is in peril because of any situation, say Mr. Y's incompetence, a very natural thing to do is to remind yourself repeatedly that Mr. Y is a @#$@% and just stay in that mindset cursing your bad luck. The alternative is to immediately take responsibility and ask
what could I have done to avoid this? could I have made it so that Mr. Y didn't screw up? could I have anticipated this?
ok fine.…

Yet more proof that we all suck at predicting product success

Yet more proofthat the Sony-promoted Blu-ray format is winning over HD-DVD.

I love seeing stuff like this, mainly because how wrong it proves "consensus." When the DVD format wars started a few years ago, almost everyone I knew was so confident while saying that Sony was going to lose this war, and that Blu-ray was Betamax repeated.

I didn't know enough about the area to have a strong opinion one way or the other, but figured that all the blogs, magazines, B-School case studies, etc. couldn't be wrong.

But as a friend of mine recently said, "....ecosystems are so complicated, value-chains so complex and different companies execute at such different level and with so much variance that its stupid to be confident in your predictions."

I mean even up to a 4 years ago, I heard enough people say: "Its stupid to try to make money from web applications with advertising as the only strategy." Yeah! :)

Busy with Buzzwords: Decisions

Making Decisions: I remember my Dad telling me a long, long time ago how much he preferred bosses/executives that took quick decisions, versus ones that dithered.

Over the years, I've found that idea drilled into my head repeatedly by managers, professors and from personal observation. It especially resonates now.
The most successful organizations are those that are likely to empower the most people to make decisions, and hire people that want to make them.
In general, the more decisions that are made the better (i.e. 100 quick decisions made with 90 good ones and 10 bad ones are better than just 10 good carefully thought-out good decisions.)Making a lot of decisions is only good, if people are willing to admit that they will sometimes make bad ones and leave room to correct those.

Big Nate

...one of my favorite current comic strips, and this one is a perfect example why.

Busy with Buzzwords: Over-communicate

I figured that as I try to navigate my way through the business/management/engineering world, a regular-ish series on what I think works and what doesn't would be interesting....probably more for me to write, than for you to read. :) Hence, installment one of "Busy with Buzzwords"

Over-Communicate: This word was mentioned more than a couple of times last week, and a few incidents at work made me realize its value, and its definitely something I need to do more of. I think of it as
sharing information, accomplishments and credit with more people than just the strictly necessaryinviting feedback and scrutiny from everyone who you think might be able to help (even if you know it'll slow you down)
never naturally assuming that people have read either emails you sent out, documents your wrote or presentations you gave, but subtly confirming it.Its a tough line to tread. There's definitely such a thing as over-over-communicating. Overdoing it can actually result in a neg…

Just when I thought that we were done with questionable mergers for the week...

....this comes out.


I should've got the message by now. Any sports teams that I grow fond of will find ways to make me bang my head against the wall.:)

MicroYahoo?

Wow, just wow.

Why on earth does anyone (except for the investment bankers involved) think this will end well? I really, really feel for Yahoo. I've always thought that it was a pretty great company (great doesn't imply at revenue-generation btw :)), and would've always been seen as such if it weren't compared to Google.

I interviewed at both companies at different points, and somehow I just have a hard time imagining a merger working well culturally, and on the strategy aspect of this....don't even get me started! Yikes!

Update: I'd published this a couple of seconds after I heard the news, but took it down when it seemed liked the prudent thing for any Googler to do. Putting it back after being told no one could take anything I said vaguely seriously.