Posts from April 2007

Whencraft is Nowcraft

  When Craft? 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

I wrote a post two months ago calling the new ‘wichcraft around the corner from our office Whencraft because it seemed like it would never open.

Well the vaporware days are over. Apparently the new ‘wichcraft opened last week while I was away. Like I’ve been doing for the past four months, I walked around the corner at lunchtime yesterday hoping it was open. Andrew was with me and to my surprise and joy, the new ‘whichcraft is open for business.

I had the pulled pork with jalapenos and Andrew had the new steak sandwich. Mine was as good as always and Andrew must have liked his because he said, "this is the new shake shack". I wouldn’t go that far, but we’ve got ‘wichcraft back in the ‘hood and happy days are here again.


I Can't Believe They Actually Think This Is A Good Idea

Brad Stone of The New York Times has a front page story on Tim O’Reilly and Jimmy Wales’ proposals to bring civility to the world of blogs. I have a ton of respect for both of these guys which is why I am sort of shocked that they are making these proposals.

Sure I hate it when assholes leave anonymous hurtful comments on this blog. Yes, I was annoyed at the thrashing that Katy Sierra got several weeks ago.

But I do not want to see the world of blogging become more politically correct. Blogging is so great because we get to see people’s opinions without moderation and editing. We get to see people the way they are.

I’ve often thought about deleting all anonymous comments on this blog. But I won’t do it. It would take some of the color out of this blog. And it’s not worth it.

Blogs are the epitome of free speech. Let’s not take an iota of freedom away from them.

UPDATE: I posted this before taking a trip around my blogroll to see what others are saying.

I knew I could rely on Jarvis to take the right side of this one. His is a predictably long but juicy post. And Valleywag comes out against it too. I left a comment on Valleywag because I enjoyed the comments there so much.

#VC & Technology

My DoTube

  My DoTube 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

I’ve been wanting to get the web on our home entertainment systems for a while now, but inertia got in the way.

When we moved last month, I took the opportunity to overhaul a bunch of things and I plan on posting about some of them shortly.

The thing I am most excited about is that we now have the web on our TVs. I put a cheap Mac Mini in both of our media cabinets and now we have the web (plus iTunes, iPhoto, and the rest of the iLife suite) on our TVs.

This is a photo of running on a large plasma. The video window is about as large as our family’s TV when I was growing up.

That’s pretty acceptable TV to me and now I can do something with it too.


Counting UVs To Political Websites

Those of us who have been working in the web business for the past 12 years have become obsessed with page views and unique visitors (UVs). Building a large and growing web audience has been the single most important metric for value creation.

In the political world, the metric seems to be money. We learned last week that Hillary raised $25mm, Obama raised $20mm, and so did Mitt Romney. John McCain only raised $12.5mm and apaprently is in trouble.

But if I was running a campaign I’d be paying close attention to my web audience. As Howard Dean showed last time around, you can raise a lot of money from the rank and file supporters if you have a strong web strategy.

And so I found these numbers from comScore interesting:


I wondered why comScore only published numbers for Hillary and Barack. Then I did some more research and found out that the leading Republican candidates’ websites have smaller audiences than this blog:

For those of you who are Edwards fans, his web audience according to Compete is about 100k UVs, larger than any of the Republicans, but much smaller than Hillary and Barack’s.

Two months don’t tell a particularly interesting story, but it’s clear that Obama is holding his own against Hillary on the web as well as the fundraising front.

And based on my experience with both candidate’s web sites, I’d say Obama has a much stronger web presence. It’s real, authentic, social, and involving. Hillary’s is like her campaign, solid, professional, and unengaging.

comScore published some more data that’s interesting.




Hillary’s web audience is older and wealthier. Obama’s is younger and less affluent. I suppose that bodes well for Hillary because her audience is more likely to contribute, organize, and vote.

But as I said earlier in this post, two months don’t tell much of a story. These are baseline numbers to watch. What’s important is how this changes over time. What if Barack’s web audience becomes wealthier and whiter? What if his web audience continues to grow while the other candidates’ websites flatten out?

I’d like to see comScore start tracking all of the six major candidates’ websites even though only two of them meet their traffic/audience cutoffs. The web is the most powerful information service out there because everything people do on it is so measurable. This is important data and I’d like to see it reporterd at least every month for the remainder of the 2008 presidential race.

#Politics#VC & Technology

My Visit To Jib Jab

‘s starting to do some interesting work for me. The guys from Jib Jab saw on my blog yesterday morning that I was in Venice, California. They emailed me and invited me over to visit their offices. Jessica wanted to go to Santa Monica to hang out with her friends for an hour so I dropped her off and went over to Jib Jab.

Jib Jab is one of those companies that’s been focused on web entertainment since the first bubble and survived. I’d put and a few others in that category. It’s not a large group and those that survived did it with a combination of chutzpah and great content.

Everyone’s familiar with This Land and probably a bunch more of Jib Jab’s viral videos. They also have their own user generated funny video service called Jokebox.

We talked about how they are moving from a one way "broadcast" model which got them through the lean years to a "DoTube" model where everyone can participate in a Jib Jab video. They’ve got some neat ideas which I won’t blog about, but you’ll see roll out in the next several months.

Here’s their latest, called What We Call The News.

#VC & Technology

The Other Victims Of The Vonage Ruling

Vonage (VG) has been a disaster of a public stock. It came public at $17 and has traded down to $3.37 on business woes and a nasty patent dispute with Verizon. Today a judge ruled that Vonage must stop acquiring new customers until the patent dispute is resolved. I wonder what that will do to the stock when the market opens on Monday.

But there are other victims of this ruling. Vonage is one of the largest advertisers on the Internet. I would guess they are in the top 10 for sure. [CoryS says in the comments that they are #12 and spent $7mm online in January]

I assume that they will have to stop their advertising in light of this suit. How much lost revenue does that mean for Yahoo! (YHOO), AOL/, MSN, and others?

Probably not enough to make a dent in their stocks, but certainly enough to get them scrambling to make it up somewhere else.

#VC & Technology

Indie 103.1

What a great radio station this is. You can stream it here.

I drove from Venice to Pasadena and back yesterday and had the dial on 103.1 for both rides. I loved every minute of it.

I particularly like Jonesy’s Jukebox which runs from noon to 2pm every day (LA time). That’s 5pm to 7pm NY time.

I’ve also really liked the music TK played on his show.

Bottom line is I’ll be adding 103.1 to my Sonos as soon as I get back to NYC.

#My Music

More Twittering

I went through the typical Twitter experience. I tried it, sent a few messages, connected with a few friends, and then turned it off on my phone as I was getting killed with text messages.

I think the best way for me to use Twitter is text my updates in and use the web to display them to all of you. I’ve put a twitter badge on my right sidebar and have set up the system to nudge me for an update once a day.

I realize that updating once a day sort of defeats the instant gratification aspects of the system. Maybe I am just too old to communicate that way. Or maybe if I start doing it once a day, then I’ll gradually start doing it more often.

I was sitting with Jason Calacanis the other day in his office and he posted to Twitter that we were having coffee. I would not have thought to do that. Maybe in time I will.

But regardless of how I use Twitter, I do see a lot of benefits of a communication system like this. Dave Winer has written thoughtfully about what Twitter might turn into over time. And this Technology Review piece suggests that developers are already building on top of the Twitter API:

But at least a few independent Web developers are still enamored with
Twitter, and they’re using the programming interfaces provided by
Obvious to build mashups that give messages more context.

I think there’s a lot of merit to the idea that Twitter can be a part of the Internet infrastructure like Google Maps or FeedBurner. And so I intend to keep trying to use it.

#VC & Technology

What Is A Social Browser?

  Originally uploaded by k.james.

I’ve been trying to digest the news that Firefox is going to add social functionality into their browser via a project called The Coop.

My initial reaction was "this is going to be great. Now I don’t have to maintain all these social networks, Firefox will do it all for me". But alas, it’s not that simple.

As I understand it, initially the functionality will be limited to creating a profile in the browser, allowing others to see when you are online (like AIM and Skype), being able to share URLs and publish feeds (like Flickr, Facebook, delicious, etc) to others.

That’s a pretty nice set of features but it doesn’t really address the fact that I’ve got all these profiles all over the web that in their totality represent me and I’d love to have one single profile that aggregates all of this activity and presents it in one single place.

Since I use Firefox almost exclusively, it’s in a great position to do this for me. It can see all of my activity, capture all of it, and present it. But there’s one obvious problem; not everyone uses Firefox. So unless all of the browsers adopted an open profile standard and all of them built social networking into the browser, the only people who will be able to participate in my social web are others who use Firefox.

It’s probably easier to build this meta social profile as a web service and there are a host of companies trying to do just that. That approach requires that the social networks all cooperate with each other and share data. Given that the dominant social nets like MySpace and Facebook aren’t exactly jumping up and down to do this, I am not sure the web services approach will happen so easily either.

It’s client versus server. Client software benefits from its ability to see everything I do, but suffers from the fact that not everyone uses the same software I do. Server based software can’t see everything I do as easily, but can achieve ubiquity (or get a lot closer to ubiquity).

Even though the social browser Firefox is building isn’t exactly what I want, I am excited to get social features in my browser and it’s telling that Firefox is going to get their first again.

#VC & Technology

Comic Life

My brother in law Jerry turned me onto this software that comes with all new Macs called Comic Life. I’ve had it on my laptop for six months and had no idea.

It lets you take your photo libraries and turn them into comics. We’ve been playing with it all morning.

Here’s the photo of me and John MacFarlane that I posted yesterday, dressed up in Comic Life.


I think I’ll use this quite a bit on this blog to spice things up.

#VC & Technology