Posts from March 2008

Some Data On MySpace Apps Almost One Week After Launch

Our portfolio company Zynga has launched a number of apps on MySpace’s new open app platform which is clearly inspired by the Facebook platform. The MySpace platform launched last Thursday and we are now five days into it. So what’s going on?

Zynga cobbled together a dashboard so they could see what is going on and it’s available for anyone at Here’s a screen shot of the top ten apps so far.


There’s a bunch of interesting data points from this.

First, it seems like myspace apps are not taking off in quite the same velocity that facebook apps did. That is probably because there are no viral channels for myspace apps at this time. You can’t invite via myspace, you can’t notify via myspace. So these apps are spreading by less effective means than the Facebook apps did. This may well be an attempt by MySpace to avoid the "app spam" that became a problem with the Facebook platform and has been largely eliminated with the new rules that Facebook has implemented.

The second point worth noting is that the composition of the top twenty apps on MySpace is pretty different than the top twenty apps on Facebook shown below:


It’s not clear to me exactly why that is. It could be that many of the top Facebook apps aren’t making MySpace a priority yet. Or it could be that the kind of app that will work in MySpace is different than what will work in Facebook. Or it could be that it’s just too soon to make any conclusions.

I think MySpace remains an important social network and that it’s effort to develop an open application network should not be ignored. I think, over time, some sizable audiences will be built for apps on MySpace and those who build them will be rewarded.

#VC & Technology

A Hotel Wifi Hack

For those who haven’t been following me on twitter or my tumblog or friendfeed, I am on vacation with my family in Hawaii.

Our hotel offers wifi, but no ethernet option, in the rooms. It’s $11/day for seven days, or a total of $77 for hotel wifi for the week we are here. Not terrible, but what about the fact that all five of us have laptops and want to use them this week? $385 for the week for internet for the family is not an option.

So I came up with this cool hack that I though I’d share with all of you who might find yourself in the same situation. We signed up the Gotham Gal’s macbook to the hotel wifi. Then we shared that connection via ethernet using the sharing feature in system preferences. Here’s a sreen shot of my laptop’s sharing options:


You can share a lot of resources on a mac, but in this case, you only need to share Internet and you need to share it via Ethernet.

Then I pulled out our trusty Airport Express which you can buy for $99. I never travel without it. It has come in handy so many times.

I connected the Gotham Gal’s macbook ethernet port to the AIrport Express’ ethernet port and we now have open wifi for everyone on our two hotel rooms.

It works great. The only thing is we can’t disconnect Gotham Gal’s laptop or turn it off or put it to sleep. Everyone is happy. Which is a good thing on a family vacation.

#Blogging On The Road

Looking For A Great Interaction Designer

Our portfolio company Adaptive Blue is looking for a great interaction designer to join their team.

Here are the specific skills they are looking for:

* 5+ years of experience: from system-wide interactive interfaces to the smallest of production graphics

* Ability to translate strategic, user-experience, and technical
project requirements into information architecture and schematics, and
then translate those into design

* An appreciation of usability, functionality, innovation, and elegant solutions, with a great sense of typography

* An interest in semantic technologies and the evolution of social networks

* Ability to translate strategic, user-experience and technical
project requirements into both information architecture and design

* Basic knowledge of CSS/XHTML/HTML, as well as how to work with
and improve upon the technical issues associated with cutting edge
interactive development

Here’s their craigslist ad in case you fit the bill and want to learn more.

I can tell you this, the Adaptive Blue team is a lot of fun to work with and they are doing some pretty amazing things trying to make the semantic web a reality.

#Listings#VC & Technology

Bloomberg For President

I am full circle back to where I started on the Presidency.

We need someone who isn’t hostage to either political party. We need someone who deeply understands markets and global economics. We need someone who has actually governed a large group of people.

McCain is allright but he doesn’t show any inkling that he understands economics. Hillary might be the best of the three but her own party has deep reservations about her. And Obama, as inspiring as he is, is looking more and more like the politician that he is.

I realize its not going to happen. Bloomberg has stated definitively that he’s not running.

But if you think about our country’s problems, our weakening balance sheet, our red ink stained P&L, our gridlock in washington, our quagmire in the middle east, and our decline in geopolitical standing, who would you choose out of the four of them to lead us out of the mess?

It’s no contest in my mind.


In Times Like These Read The Blogs

I wrote a short post yesterday wondering what was in store for the financial markets in the wake of the Fed and JP Morgan bailing out Bear Stearns. This is what’s been on my mind the past week for the most part. Sure, we’ve been thinking a lot about what’s now possible with all the new platforms that are emerging (iPhone SDK, YouTube, myspace, etc), and there are plenty of interesting things going on in techland and in our portfolio. But we’ve got a full blown financial panic playing out on Wall Street and doing venture capital from NYC somehow makes us more cognizant of what’s going on. We’ve got friends working at places like Bear, we’ve got friends working at hedge funds that are trying to stay afloat. It’s brutal on wall street right now.

I read the twin articles on the mess on the front page of the NY Times today, but honestly, I am finding way better stuff in the blogs.

Here’s Roger Ehrenberg on why Bear is toast and who’s likely to end up picking up the pieces. That’s good stuff. I am going to surf around the financial blogs this weekend and I’ll post again with other interesting views that turn up. Please feel free to leave links on the comments.


Stickered My iPod


It’s too bad they don’t make iPod classics in all the cool colors that they make iPod nanos. We have so many iPods around the house that I have to figure out some way to tell them all apart.

#VC & Technology

Scandals In The Age Of Social Networking

I was reading the NY Times online this morning and came across this article about the Spitzer mess. It turns out the woman who he had the now infamous trick with in DC has a myspace page. Of course she does.

So the TImes just took a bunch of stuff from her myspace page and turned it into an article. They could have saved themselves the trouble since they linked to her page from their piece.

I suspect myspace’s page views will be up big today.

#VC & Technology

Alchemy Is Back!

My favorite feature of Etsy, the online marketplace for all things handmade and a Union Square Ventures portfolio company, is Alchemy. The first thing I ever bought on Etsy was via Alchemy.

What is Alchemy? It’s a request for proposal system. Let’s say your mom gave you a beautiful bracelet that you loved but it was damaged, or lost, or stolen. Let’s say you have a photo of it. Post the photo on Alchemy and let Etsy’s jewelry makers send you proposals to remake it. If you like the jewler and the price, you can say yes and have it remade for you.

That’s one use case, but there are plenty of them. Anything you can conceive of being handmade, you can submit via Alchemy and get bids back. It’s rent a coder for handmade stuff.

When Etsy rolled out V2 back in the fall of 2006, they had to scrap Alchemy. And it’s been gone from Etsy for about 18 months. Everyone wanted it back, most of all the Etsy team.

It’s back as of today. Yay.

Go check it out.

#VC & Technology