• Business,  Event

    Less is More

    The most recent SF Beta this week was very popular. In fact, it was so popular that the venue was packed to the gills and made it quite difficult to move around or talk to anyone. Apparently, lots of people complained to Christian Perry, the organizer, and he sent a very nice email apologizing for the situation (see below). In it he generously offers those who were inconvenienced free admission to the next SF Beta for them and a guest. It’s a nice gesture, but I don’t see how offering TWO admissions for every one previous attendee is going to solve overcrowding! Attendance caps obviously help, but free tickets will…

  • Design

    Clipper Card Website and Autoload Fail

    Leave it to the government to take an otherwise brilliant idea and disfigure it so badly that it makes you want to just put it out of its misery. If it’s true that a camel is a horse designed by committee, then the Clipper Card is the three-legged, syphilitic camel of public transportation payment systems. Clipper Card is the three-legged, syphilitic camel of public transportation payment systems. If the agencies that birthed this malnourished horror of a baby bothered to consult a product designer, that designer should be publicly flogged for crimes against the citizens of the SF Bay Area. I recently switched to the new Clipper Card system which is supposed to unify…

  • Business,  Marketing

    Tell Me Where You Spend Your Time, And I’ll Predict Your Next Purchase

    Om Malik wrote an interesting piece yesterday on where he sees the future of social commerce moving. In a nutshell, he says that the first phase of e-commerce was fairly utilitarian and started with staples (Diapers.com, Amazon.com, etc.). E-commerce then moved to recreational shopping (Gilt Groupe, Groupon, etc.), which made it more fun and social. The next phase, he maintains, will leverage people’s interest graphs. He specifically mentions Hunch’s prediction engine, Apple’s “Ping” platform for social music sharing and discovery, and Facebook’s social graph as potential predictors of interests and spending habits. I think Om’s on the right track, but I’d take it a step further. I believe that the…

  • Business,  Marketing,  software

    Paying Real Money for Branded Virtual Goods

    I was having an interesting conversation the other day with a friend who’s creating a platform for game developers to add brands to a game. They’re building some really cool tech around the idea, not unlike AdWords/AdSense for virtual goods or in-game achievements, both for social and more traditional console games. I think it’s quite clever on their part, and it feels like a natural evolution of the gaming ecosystem as advertisement starts to creep into the gaming experience. Social gaming has already seen some partnerships with large brands, like the Farmer’s Insurance blimp in Zynga’s Farmville, or deals with charities whereby they reap the benefits of virtual goods sold…

  • Internet,  mobile

    Tethered Thunderbolt Faster Than My Office DSL

    I love my new Thunderbolt Android phone on Verizon’s network. It’s a battery hog, but I’ve managed to tease out almost a full day’s usage with judicious battery management. The best thing, though, is Verizon’s 4G LTE network, which kicks ass. I just moved into new office space in downtown SF, and we have AT&T’s DSL here. We’ll probably get a new provider soon, though, because the Internet speeds suck. As an experiment I’m tethering my Thunderbolt to my laptop today, and after a quick speed test it’s clear that my tethered Thunderbolt kicks my office DSL’s ass: Office Internet Speed This is actually much better than average, maybe because…

  • Business,  Marketing

    Freemium vs. Paid Models – How to know which one makes sense

    Very good article about a formula that actually lets you determine whether a freemium or paid model is right for your business. With this in mind, Mullany’s equation for freemium businesses looks like this: Price Paid by Premium User – Cost of Proving the Service to the Premium User – [ (1/Ratio of Premium:Free Users) * (Cost of Free Service Per User + Cost of Marketing to get a Free User) ] = Profit Per Premium User Check out the full article over here.

  • Business,  Internet

    The Never-ending Twitter Ordeal

    As you might guess from the fact that I’m @peter on Twitter, I was a pretty early adopter. In fact, I signed up almost immediately after the service went live. For the past three years I’ve enjoyed using the service, and it’s been fascinating to see its evolution. Imagine my surprise, then, when nine days ago I woke up to discover that Twitter had suspended my account. I received no notice from them, and there was no apparent reason for the suspension. I’ve only ever evangelized Twitter to all my friends, and I’ve never done anything shady, so I figured the suspension must have been an accident. Now, I know…