Posts from November 2007

Deauthorize All on iTunes?

I can’t figure out what five computers I’ve authorized my iTunes account on. I suspect some of them are long gone from our household. I’d like to deauthorize all and then reauthorize the five macs I we use in our house to play music on.

Anyone know how to "deauthorize all" accounts?

#VC & Technology

The Social Graph In The Second Inning

The social graph can do way more than it’s doing for me right now. I’ve said that on many occasions in the past but I was reminded of that in our "messaging brainstorming discussion" earlier this week. Myspace and Facebook, and Friendster and Six Degrees before them, showed us how great a service can be when it knows who your friends are. But the current social graphs know so little about who my friends really are.

I told a friend at breakfast yesterday about how I went about building an invite list to our holiday party this year. We are expanding our party, doing it outside our home, and thus wanted to extend the invitation list beyond the one we’ve been using in past years. I went to Xobni (which is a plug-in to outlook) and asked it who my top 100 friends are. The list it spit back at me was based on who I email with most frequently and it was ordered from 1 to 100. I didn’t really have to think very long. Almost everyone on that list got an invite.

Facebook can’t do that for me. I have 239 friends on Facebook, all with the same ranking (with the exception of my "top friends"), and maybe 10 or 20 are coming to our holiday party. I realize this is a generational thing and that my kids use Facebook to do all of their party invites. But the social graph inside of my email address book is way more relevant to my life than the one on Facebook. And it can rank who is important to me and who is not.

That’s not the only social graph in my life that is underutilized. How about the phone book on my blackberry curve? When I click on the phone button on my blackberry I am shown the most recent calls I’ve made or received. Many of the names on that list never change. The Gotham Gal rules that list, followed by my kids. That is my most important social network right there. My family. Imagine if Xobni ran on my blackberry. I’d be really interested in the list from 1 to 100 on my phone too.

What about Twitter? Who do I follow? Who do I reply to? Who do I favorite? What about my blogroll? What about what blogs I comment on? What about the people who comment most frequently on my blog?

What I want is a single aggregated social graph that I control that has all of this data in it. That "meta social graph" can then be applied by ME to the interface I want on top off all my messaging systems.

This is going to happen. It has to. And that’s why we are in the second inning of this social graph thing. I think Facebook is going to be a big winner, possibly the Google of the social graph movement, but there’s a lot of baseball to play before this game is over.

#VC & Technology



What do you get when you combine a record label and a blog?


They sign artists a song at a time, put the songs on the blog along with posts and stuff like tour info, and monetize with ads from the likes of Puma and Nikon.

I love the model. The site is still in "figuring it out" mode.

But the genius behind this is Peter Rojas of Engadget fame. So this one bears watching for sure.

#My Music#VC & Technology

Messaging, not email

Coming out of our ‘smtp is dead, long live smtp’ brainstorming session I am thinking that we need to be talking about messaging, not email.

Email is a subset of a much larger messaging market. What we’ve seen over the past 10 years is that internet messaging (primarily text but let’s not make that distinction) has evolved from predominantly email to a host of other systems;

Instant Messaging
Blogging (each post is a message)
Skyping (text+voice)
Voice Mail Transcription (voice to text)
Twittering/FB status update
Web mail
Web site messaging (FB messages)
Comments on social media
Social gestures (actions in the news feed)
Text messaging (sms)

Its protocol soup. smtp, rss, http, udp, http, sms and stuff beyond that which is also beyond me. The protocol matters in terms of how the messaging system works but at the level of the end user, its immaterial.

Messaging is messaging and we all do it in different ways. But the massive evolution of messaging services is creating a big opportunity to rationalize it.

None of the peopele who attended our little messaging session thinks that unified messaging is the answer. But open messaging platforms and new messaging interfaces which can sit on top of those open platforms is.

So I’d like to see every messaging system that I mentioned and all the ones I left out of my list open up their systems via APIs or other techniques and let new platforms/interfaces sit on top of them.

Next up – how the social graph fits into all of this.

#VC & Technology

Facebook Ads - I Got Some Clicks


What’s interesting is that my ad for the Union Square Ventures weblog is getting more impressions and the only clicks (if you show enough ads ………). And yet they have the exact same targeting and bid price. Hmm?

#VC & Technology

SMTP is dead, long live SMTP

Several weeks ago my friend Tom Evslin sent me an email with the headline SMTP Is Dead. Since Tom was the guy at Microsoft that foisted exchange and outlook on us years ago, I pay attention to emails like that from him. I read it, thought about it, and replied "SMTP is dead, long live SMTP". Tom copied a number of friends on that email exchange (one of the great things about email) and there ensued a long email conversation about the future of email (one of the really bad things about email). We put an end to that by agreeing to meet in my office this morning and hash it out.

Tom blogged about the preparation for the meeting so I won’t repeat the details of who came and what perspective each brought. As always, my blog posts for the next week or two will be heavily influenced by what was said and what I learned in the meeting.

And in proof of the fact that none of this is happening in a vacuum, I just logged onto Techmeme to find a story from Slate on the same topic. My favorite quote from that article is now headlining my tumblog.

#VC & Technology

Portfolio Summit and Annual Meeting

From noon on Tuesday to noon yesterday, I got to spend all my waking hours with our portfolio companies and our investors. It was such a treat and I am still buzzing from the experience.

We hosted our entire portfolio for an afternoon of shared experiences on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a lovely dinner at Tabla for both our companies and our investors. And then yesterday morning, we did our third annual meeting and managed to pull off presentations from every active portfolio company. We did it "speed dating" style, 3 slides or 3 screens and 3 questions. It was great.

Here is the portfolio slide from our Annual Meeting presentation.


We are incredibly fortunate to have such a great portfolio and I got such a kick out of being able to spend time with all of them together for a day. I want to thank each and every portfolio company for taking the time out of their hectic schedules to make time for us and our investors.

#VC & Technology

The Biggest Social Graphs

It’s easy to have Facebook on the brain with its mojo over the past year, but Saul Hansell’s post on Inbox 2.0 made me think a bit about where the largest social graphs are.

Here are worldwide UV numbers from Comscore:


I couldn’t figure out how to get comscore numbers on certain services like Yahoo Mail, gmail, and AIM and ICQ, all of which have huge databases of users and the people they know.

Wikipedia says that AIM had 63 million users worldwide in the middle of 2006. I suspect that number has gone up.

And Mike Arrington published this chart in November of 2006:


So, here’s a back of the envelope guess at the largest social graphs on a worldwide basis:

Yahoo Mail – 250mm

Microsoft Hotmail – 200mm

mySpace – 107mm

Facebook – 75mm

AIM – 70mm

gmail – 60mm

AOL Mail – 40mm

These are just guesses and not based on much other than a few numbers I quickly put together and some gut instincts.

The opportunity is certainly there for Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, and AOL to turn their mail and instant messaging services into social nets. But they have to get moving.


#VC & Technology

Best Blog Integration App For Our Union Square Ventures Facebook Page?

Our Union Square Ventures facebook page is kind of empty. We have 252 fans but nothing to do there.

I’d like to import the Union Square Ventures blog posts onto the page and also notify our fans in their mini-feed when we put up a new post.

It’s too bad that Facebook doesn’t offer a service that does this on their commercial pages. They do let me import my personal blog posts as notes in my personal profile.

Fortunately, Facebook is an open platform and I can add any one of a number of third party apps to our Union Square Ventures page.

I am thinking of going with FlogBlog but before I do, I was wondering if anyone had suggestions. I am looking for reliability, good presentation, ease of use, and news feed integration.

#VC & Technology