Feature Friday: People Tagging

I remember when I first met Joshua Schachter. It was in our first office back in early 2005 and he was still working at Morgan Stanley and running Delicious out of a server in his closet. I was immediately struck by the way Joshua looked for lightweight simple ways to do things. He told me that reduction was the key to getting something right.

Delicious was so simple to use. It didn't do much. But what it did do, it did well. I once asked Joshua why he didn't let users rate links. He said "we do. if they post it to Delicious they are ranking it as interesting. if they don't post it to Delicious, they are ranking it as not interesting". That's classic Joshua.

Skills.to is also classic Joshua. For those who haven't seen it, skills.to is a super simple lightweight way to tag people. It currently leverages the Twitter name space to find people, tag them, and tweet out the tags. You can also tweet out to your followers that you'd like them to come tag you. That's about it. Delicious for people.

There's a chrome extension that allows you to see people's tags in line in Twitter. I just installed that so I haven't had much experience with it yet. But I like the idea of a super lightweight people tagging system that is transportable across the web. I hope this takes off. Joshua is the right person to build it.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Full disclosure. USV is an investor in Tasty Labs which has built Jig and Skills.to.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    This has been popping up everywhere. A bit spammy on my Twitter stream as the network gets primed.I like the idea, believe that simple gestures are like eye contact and body language in the real world.And that simple gestures with context with meaning are one of the next frontiers for an emotive language on the web.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I felt it was spammy too – though that did make me check it out.

    2. William Mougayar

      Great point Arnold. There is a fine line between Viral and Spammy. It’s a very thin line, actually.Name me a service that is viral without being spammy on social.

      1. awaldstein

        I’ll answer a different question.If you collect an early community that is tolerant and part of the process, these distinctions fade.If you want to build a community from the broad open market, good luck.Find the community that cares and will work with it. Discover the simple behavior that connects like Pinterest or FB early and that gesture will bind regardless of the annoyance.First rule of marketing….bring those who matter and are the most critical into the fold and part of the process.First rule of community…create an environment that collects discussion and interaction. If you have that you have tolerance and a group.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I honestly wish I could hear you reading out these comments.. you should make an audiobook! It would be filled with gold, pure gold.

        2. Mark Essel

          excellent response, and yet there’s no formulaic path to identifying that core community.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            That’s simple! Just become fully engaged with all aspects of the community. ūüôā

          2. awaldstein

            Hi Mark…I miss having you here to chat with.I don’t believe there will ever be one formula (or platform).Your comment last week about the gap between communities bolting on commerce and marketplaces bolting on community has stuck with me.It’s easier to find hints of formula or building blocks around transactional systems initially as the focus is more crystalized.But eventually I think that the POS system, the transaction and in some ways the marketplace, will be wherever you are.

        3. William Mougayar

          This is going a bit over my head…it must be still early or the smoothie’s effect. It had a green/purple color ūüôā

          1. awaldstein

            Funny….Just discovered this! (@disqus Beta is running late on email notifications.)Moving from green smoothie buzz to the real work of deciding what to bring to drink at Seder this evening. This is my idea of wonderful labor;)

          2. ShanaC

            as long as it is red and tasty

          3. awaldstein

            HmmmThinking of some rich organic pinot noir based champagne to start. Either a Bio-D Gruner from Austria or something interesting in white from Portugal and then an amazing, traditional Rioja blend.I’m going accessible and luscious to please the crowd this year. All natural but quaffable.

          4. ShanaC

            We had, among other things, a kosher wine that only 3000 bottles were released, I think from california. Amazing Merlot.That and I got to use my new hagaddah – The New American one. Amazing layouts, though I am afraid it will become dated in 20ish years. And Lemony snicket as a commentary writer is probably among the most lighthearted commentary writers I’ve read, with a twist of seriousness. ‘Twas interesting.

          5. William Mougayar

            Have a good Seder dinner.

          6. ShanaC

            what smoothie, where

          7. awaldstein

            Stay tuned.Within weeks (fingers crossed), Lianna’s green smoothies, raw puddings, ice creams and deserts will be purchasable.

          8. ShanaC

            I’m really interested in trying that smoothing. That and getting a juicer.

          9. William Mougayar

            At home….put dandelions in it.

  2. RichardF

    isn’t this just one of the features of fluidinfo.com

    1. fredwilson

      Thats my point about simplicity. Dont try to do too much

      1. Mark Essel

        A single product should do only what is essential

        1. JimHirshfield

          yup. mvp. lean start-up. test. measure…

          1. Emily Merkle

            I strongly believe and have won doing this – ask them – ask everyone – AND observe / measure

  3. Simon de la Rouviere

    Twitter already does implicit tagging through lists. I wonder how similar the results would be between the skills.to db and Twitter’s lists.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Essentially skills.to is creating a profile page for those tags, whereas I don’t believe Twitter has something similar – at least they don’t have anything that makes me think of a profile page?

      1. Simon de la Rouviere

        Not really no. But the data is there. I ran preliminary tests a year ago and it is quite a great indicator of what a user is about. I even coined a lame term for it: matterdata. I’ll eventually get to it and build a proper directory.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Love that name. You should register the .com if you didn’t already.

          1. John Rorick

            I just did. Squatters rights…Simon can have it for a small, but tidy sum.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I’m going to outbid him! Muahaha.. hehe

          3. Dale Allyn

            I hope you’re kidding. Not about securing it, but about charging Simon a premium for it if he wanted it (and soon). Anyone else, sure, but…

        2. ShanaC

          I like the term..

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. falicon

            sulia ¬†and listorious started as services like this…I think both have shifted into other areas since, but prob. worth checking out as well…

        4. Emily Merkle

          ¬†agree – I am bumbling through it now. at the end of the day though – we each assign the proverbial tags – no matter what profiles/lists/comrades label. Skills.to provides another data point(s)…and source.

      2. ShanaC

        But why do I need to tag myself or have others do so for that to happen?

    2. William Mougayar

      But is it visible? I’ve never seen that implicit tagging through lists. Can you elaborate? Thx

      1. Simon de la Rouviere

        People put other people in lists based on various definitions so they can control their own stream. ie, I have two location based lists (South African, Stellenbosch) and one interest-based list (music). The people in these lists have been implicitly ‘tagged’ as that.



  4. Saurabh Sahni

    Nicely done! This reminds me of MyBlogLog people tags:¬†http://mybloglogb.typepad.c…

  5. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Simple is always beautiful. There is this advertisement for an carrier comes in this part of the world and the punch line is …”Keep it simple silly”.My boss used to always say … “Boil it down to the bits”.

    1. awaldstein

      Simple isn’t beautiful if it misses the behavior.That’s why ads are always a hit or miss. One nudge at connection.For product design though simplicity holds another purpose. If you have too much going on its impossible to tell what is working, what is connecting with the user. Fewer moving pieces lets you discover the ones that resonate.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        Hit or miss …. no¬†grey¬†that is the beauty of simple :-).Agree with you on … it cannot be generalized to everything but covers 1-sigma population.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Agreed. It’s noise vs. usefulness.Design space is limited, and so is a user’s attention span.Less distraction = faster time to engaging or access to useful information.

        1. awaldstein

          Easy to talk about. Difficult and disciplined to do.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Indeed, though I see the speed of this quality transition happening faster and faster. It takes time to figure out.Edit: Tools are getting better, cheaper, and more people are learning of sound design.

          2. awaldstein

            The balance between selling the value you believe in and adjusting to users behavior is a dance with a lot of twists.I believe in selling a new value. I believe in learning by observing. I don’t believe at all in the process of asking your customersMix those up and you get a wild drink )

          3. Matt A. Myers

            “The balance between selling the value you believe in and adjusting to users behavior is a dance with a lot of twists.”I feel this could be a frustration point, though time will tell if a feature isn’t being well-received due to its presentation or lack of exposure time, or if there just isn’t interest in it due to too strong of a competing behaviour pattern; I’ll try my best to convince them “my way is better” though!”I don’t believe at all in the process of asking your customers”I fully agree – it just creates noise. I feel anything I plan to implement has been a need or problem in function or lack thereof that I’ve discovered, by observing.I’ve been an observer my whole life, and only really just started getting good at executing over the past few years.

      3. ShanaC

        Real simplicity is hiding those moving pieces until they are needed….it’s the difference between a white canvas and a white canvas painted white

        1. awaldstein

          Well said Shana…UX design is up there with community management that top my lists of rock stars that are key building block to any success.

          1. ShanaC

            At least I mastered one skill on that list…

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          white canvas painted white … classic.

          1. ShanaC

            Been a discussion point on aesthetics since the 19teens period in terms of how minimalism and color theory work.Eg is this Ryman piece: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/

        3. Emily Merkle

          Simplicity .. Also efficiency / if you pick your battles, tend to fight fewer but those you do, you are all in.Let users drive their experience. Listen more than you talk. We have philosophy of ops. Really of life. Pretty basic. Like @joshu’s approach or so I sense.

  6. William Mougayar

    Joshua has a knack for picking the best names and domains! I saw it pop-up a few days and was intrigued. I signed-up this morning and have been adding skills and waiting for the votes. It’s well implemented and has the potential to spread. Viral is bolted in it.Is this a pivot in the making for Jig?

    1. JimHirshfield

      Pivot? My guess is that Tasty Labs is experimenting with various ideas. Just Ship It. MVP. Iterate. Etc. You know the drill.Was Draw Something a pivot? Nope. So, like a gaming company, keeping shipping different things until something takes off like a rocket.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Agreed, ‘Labs’ gives away the experimentation aspect.

      2. Mark Essel

        Draw Something is an interesting case. How long will it endure? Wow, has it exploded quickly. All served up by couchbase going from one to millions of users (record breaking growth).http://blog.couchbase.com/h

      3. fredwilson


      4. Luke Chamberlin

        Also like a gaming company realize that what’s hot today will not be hot tomorrow. So you build a platform and cross-promote your other apps to retain your audience.

  7. William Mougayar

    They sure are living up to their name “Labs” for this and Jig. As Joshua, said “development in public”.

  8. markslater

    aghh simplicity.¬†i used uber for the first time last week.¬†i was firmly in the “your solution is not my problem” camp.¬†now i am in the “WOW i did not know that i had pain until someone showed me how it can be done better” camp. Uber is simple, and well awesome.simplicity is the leading currency in this analogy above.

    1. William Mougayar

      There is a difference between an App that is simple, elegant and continues to be that way forever (e.g. UBER), and starting-up with “the thin edge of wedge” which is simple to start with, but could develop into something more complex, but more valuable over time.The trick is to stay simple as you add more features/value below the simplicity line.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        One thing that I remember Fred said was that you don’t need to show users all of the features right away, don’t have to show all of the value of your product right away.You can let them discover deeper features, while primarily showcasing the core value that will have use to 80% of the larger target audience.Skills.to definitely has an MVP which has extension possibilities, figuratively and literally as Fred mentioned.

        1. William Mougayar


    2. fredwilson

      Uber is great in Boston and SF. Not so great in Manhattan

      1. William Mougayar

        Why? Is it availability/reliability or other factors?

  9. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Ideas are worth dime a dozen.Throw all the dozens in the sea and watch which one floats. Fish the floating dimes.Not a bad theory to start with…¬†evolution¬†theory.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Yup. Just need to first reverse engineer why different ideas float better than others, remove all of the maladaptive traits, and you’ll have a winner.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        I am not a fan of that theory on¬†entrepreneurship¬†though. It is one of the dumpest theory of nature ūüôā … but alas it is the best what we got from nature.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Darwin’s Theory of Evolution?What do you believe then?I believe Darwin’s theory has some subtleties / nuances missing, though I think he did a pretty good job of taking into account biological processes he observed.I know one of Darwin’s direct descendants! She lives in San Francisco now I believe – she’s really nice! ūüôā

  10. kidmercury

    simplicity has a lot of value, but i think it is often overvalued. that is my problem with so many web and mobile apps — probably the vast majority of them. by focusing so much on simplicity, you are implicitly being dependent upon others. twitter is the ultimate example here. 140 character simplicity got them a ton of users, set of a growth trajectory with network effects galore. there are obviously lots of upsides here. but because all they offer is 140 characters, they have to give away other opportunities to do great stuff. facebook on the other hand doesn’t have this issue. they give you the whole suite. it’s nowhere near as simple as twitter or tasty labs stuff, but the flip side is that it offers the company some business model and user experience freedom.¬†in the new world order of platform governance i favor bringing the suite. the top dogs — apple, google, amazon, facebook — do this. in addition to creating governance challenges, simplicity is often a bet on getting acquired. in our current economic times, i prefer to see businesses that can stand on their own. amazon is the ultimate example here and why i’m such a patriot of their ecosystem, it is going to take a lot more than a weak stock market to bring that company down. ¬† ¬†

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Twitter and Facebook provide a different core feature – apples and oranges IMHO.You mention Facebook receiving the benefit of ‘business model and user experience freedom’ – though I would argue that as a negative.Facebook has no focus. They want to do / be it all. They’re trying to create a controlled ecosystem to maintain this, and this is what will kill them. Meanwhile everyone else are creating high-quality products, pieces of the whole, and discovering the nuanced pieces that will allow them to win by being the better product.The above is why Google+ exists and has a chance to succeed, if they’re open to the right strategic partnerships, if they don’t try to fully control the ecosystem and are willing to share.I agree that simplicity is often a bet on getting acquired, mostly because simplicity allows for duplicating to happen relatively easily (see yesterday’s post..). First to market does have its advantage sometimes, whereby you might lose the the initial viral fanfare and reaction to an ideas novelty.I agree too with you that Amazon’s on solid ground, though they do have strengthening competition.

    2. Elia Freedman

      I think there is also a difference between simple presentation and simple functionality. Facebook, for instance, offers a relatively simple presentation — a box to say how you are doing and a list if what your friends are doing. But there is a lot of functionality going on there that is really complex.



    3. fredwilson

      Complexity is an anchor. When you start sinking it pulls you down



        1. kidmercury

          lol oh i see you made the point already about simple vs simpler! i just replied to your comment with that same point, looks like we’re on the same page. apparently dino and conspiracy minds think alike!

        2. fredwilson

          you aren’t making sense today grim. twitter is making a lot of money. get your facts straight

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. testtest

            as in, net income (the bottom-line), fred? not revenue. any fool can make one dollar revenue by spending two.even if it does lose money, it doesn’t exclude the¬†potential of large future flows of capital!

          3. fredwilson

            all this discussion of twitter’s income statement reminds me so much of the same discussion of facebook’s in 2009 and 2010. next we will be talking about pinterest or tumlr or instagram the same way. then it will be someone else. the tech blogs must need a whipping boy all the time.

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. testtest

            agreed. there’s a difference between ‘making money’ (fairly abstract) and making a profit, though.the¬†misunderstanding creates opportunity for investors. let them talk and be wrong.¬†

          6. fredwilson

            of all people you should know better than to believe what you read on the internet

          7. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          8. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          9. LE

            “DROP TWEETS, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.”Yeah I remember the original Arrington beefs about twitter way back from the start. Anyway I’ve figured out what your problem is (because it’s the same thing I’ve suffered from.) My analysis is covered by all health plans by the way.Know to much.¬†Worry to much.¬†You have to learn to think like the people who ship something without a critical feature (like Steve[1] did) and be able to sleep at night. ¬†Young people are more able to do that because of lack of life, business and programing experiences. Haven’t had major security issues in any projects they’ve done. Don’t know what can happen in the operating room. How the nurses and doctors fuck up. You get the point.Take disqus as an example. According to my old way of thinking I would have never launched without the ability to have comments indexed by search engines. It would be a show stopper to me. ¬†But yet they got funded and are on their way?Of course on the other hand ¬†you could look at this as probabilities. That a million people iterating many ideas will result in success for just a few that will defy odds (oh shit there I go again..)[1] Apple lack of features that caused people to say iphone/ipad would flop.

          10. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          11. LE

            “THAT BIG PROBLEM. IT BROKEN FOR MONTHS NOW.”Look I ¬†don’t disagree.”IT MEAN YOU HAVE MASSIVE VULNERABILITY TO NEW COMPETITOR BUILD BETTER THING WITHOUT SAME FLAWS.”As I’ve always said business and life can be a total crapshoot and about managing the various risks. If what you say happens people will jump all over that. The critics, the bloggers, the mainstream press. Everyone will say it was obvious. And if it doesn’t everybody will think you (where “you” is anyone who takes your view) was obviously wrong. ¬†Which of course isn’t the case as you know. Because you can walk across the street and not look both ways and not get hit. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look when walking across the street.



      1. kidmercury

        yes i think that is a good way of putting it……it reminds me of what some famous person, maybe einstein, once said about how the goal of innovation should be to make things as simple as possible without being simpler.¬†

      2. falicon

        Metal stick in the right hands still *way* more powerful than sword in the wrong hands…the weapon is merely an extension of the person who wields it…

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  11. John Rorick

    Interesting resource, possibly for people in my field, it adds another skill profile to the hunting license for talent…in some ways could be better than LI profile saving and the 6 degrees of linkedin that our team utilizes when seeking talent. The categories/skills are in some ways a better talent directory than the buckets and keywords that pros put under their own linkedin profile. Hmmm.Also, the indeed.com post the other week prompted some replies from “Talent Community” proponents; in my opinion they are not a great fit for many company recruiting efforts given the large req loads and bandwidth constraints. This is a much lighter, cleaner (less in depth you could argue) version of that. As it grows its value should grow.¬†

  12. ShanaC

    I’m confused. I feel odd about being tagged – I want to be seen as a complex person, not a collection of labels…

    1. Cam MacRae

      Confuzzled here too. A bunch of smart people seem to think it’s a really great idea, but I’m not so sure…Btw, your complexity is already captured quite nicely under a single label: ShanaC

      1. LE

        One issue I see is the fact that there is no governor on how many skills someone has been tagged with.So there is the tendency to tag either yourself or someone else with the kitchen sink. There is no weight put on any individual tag. Fred could be tagged with “music” and so could (a) Billy Joel.Since there is no friction (or cost) in creating tags it suffers the same way SEO spamming does. ¬†Take this as an example of friction (money) as increasing quality:One of the reasons the Yellow Pages worked is that there was a cost to listing yourself in any given category and/or running a display ad. So the theory (which by the way tended to be correct) is that if someone paid to have a big ad under “kitchen renovation” that tended to be an area that they had experience in (because they put their money where their mouth was). ¬†Same with direct mail.Of course in what I am saying I am making an assumption on what the intended use skills.to is..

        1. ShanaC

          Actually, this model would need to be more complicated. My view of you is not the same as your kids. The tagging set and weights for those sets should be different for each person who knows you.

        2. kidmercury

          authority models always develop……if one person tags fred “VC” that might not mean much…..how about if 100 people do it……how about if 100 people do it and 25 of those people have the VC tag themselves…..if this is a play at creating a vertical search engine, i.e. people search, i think it could be fine and less subject to the spam problem than the mega search engines that try to capture everything.¬†

          1. LE

            .if one person tags fred “VC” that might not mean much…..how about if 100 people do it……how about if 100 people do it and 25 of those people have the VC tag themselvesAha! I knew someone would say what you just said.Then this develops into the same beauty contest that all those lawyer and doctors ratings suffer from.Could be the “buddy voting for me” issue (happens with both of those professions) the tendency to tag (or vote) for someone that you’ve heard of or that you like, -or- reciprocally.Or more commonly 100 people mentioning that¬†@awaldstein:disqus¬†is all about wine – and they know that because of his tag line.¬†How do we know he doesn’t have Thunderbird in his wine cellar?

          2. kidmercury

            i hear what you are saying, though i think limiting the scope of the data set is the key. so, if you are like google and trying to create a search engine for everything — one little search box for any conceivable search — that is a huge engineering problem, and as the web gets bigger, i don’t think anyone will be able to do it that way — not even almighty google. the more you limit the data set, the more i think an entirely automated approach works. so if skills.to is about creating a search engine focused just on people, i think that is much more viable.¬†fred’s portfolio company duckduckgo has a similar idea of connecting a whole bunch of vertical search engines. i favor connecting a bunch of niche knowledge repositories curated by subject matter experts (a significant distinction), but in any event, the “connect a bunch of niches” is somehow going be an important part of the future of search, in my opinion, and perhaps how google loses is throne.¬†

          3. awaldstein

            Network of niches for search and commerce is my view of tomorrow as well.

          4. awaldstein

            Hopefully I’m about more than wine…although I”m all about it;)Thunderbird!!!!This is the sort for tonight’s seder:http://awaldstein.tumblr.co

          5. LE

            I love the “near final” page title and the “May do another sort and switch out some.”

          6. awaldstein

            Thanks….I pinged my network of Euro wine geeks early today on this.I would say 10+ super educated enthusiastic wine geeks from 6 countries have actually looked at the inventory of my local shops and sent me recommendations on what to buy and pair with what.The power of the social web and community inspires me often.

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. ShanaC

        why thank you, umm I think. (I’m assuming its a complement).Either way, labels have power. I start to embody labels that others give me. I kind of don’t want that – what if secretly (or not so secretly) you give me a label than ends up being limiting to my actual skill set (has happened, will happen again)? I’m wary of the labeling thing.

        1. Anne Libby

          Agree, and even think that “positive” labels can be traps.I’ve been talking with a lot of people about the A/B/C “player” performance label, which I don’t actually buy. Yes, good people attract other good people — and yet someone who shines in one environment can fall flat in another. And vice versa.(Good article on this one, research by Wharton’s Matthew Bidwell: http://knowledge.wharton.up

          1. ShanaC

            totally. our identities are fluid and change over time, labeling systems tend to ignore that.

    2. andyswan

      tagged as “confused”

      1. ShanaC

        technically speaking, it’s the way I feel,not what I am

      2. Tereza

        That’s actually a great example of why I’d want the flex to remove that.

        1. andyswan

          Yes but IF this gets critical mass enough to matter, only the most frequent tags on your profile will matter. Nonsense washes away, truth bubbles higher.

          1. Tereza

            So…I tagged you for Pappy. Will that stand the test of time, if this thing takes off like a rocket ship?

          2. andyswan

            Depends how high on the list of tags for me it is.Let’s hope it sticks!

    3. Wendyhuthut18

      Why on earth do you think being tagged as one specific thing would make anyone cease to think that you don’t embody a million other traits and are not a complex person?

      1. ShanaC

        I don’t – I’m afraid it will be overweighted as something about me.EG: it’ss come up here time to time that I enjoy food (like many other people). It’s never come up before this that I have my own challah recipe. There are some people who know me as the girl with the really amazing 100% whole wheat challah. I’m not either really though. Or both.

        1. K_Berger

          Side question.¬† Do you share the ‘really amazing 100% whole wheat challah’ recipe?¬† Maybe not this week, though.¬† ūüôā

          1. ShanaC

            Yes, I do! shoot my an email, unless Fred decides next week is recipe sharing friday!

        2. karen_e


        3. Emily Merkle

          per the Skilz site, you can remove any tags that do not reflect your inner challah goddessness…I am a Tasty Labs fan; dig Jig. Skills is fluid still, and as I see it is a simple, clear opportunity to define/describe the things done by those that do them in a public forum – I see it as potentially super helpful to figure out / connect with who does what where how etc. … can help us all be on fire hotterandmoretogether maybe.discover diamonds in rough perhaps; meet new rockstars.

    4. LE

      Seems like you are analog and not digital. A collection of 1000 labels could be quite complex.I agree with you though in one way. I know much about you as a result of what you write that I don’t feel could be accurately described with tags. It’s an analog feeling based upon nuance gained over time.

      1. ShanaC

        right, which I think is a more accurate view of me. And I am a 100x times that feeling in person. And I rather be known to you as that – which is a different set of feelings than say my best friend has about me.

    5. Dave W Baldwin

      Haven’t had time to check it out, but if we look at the concept of “being tagged” and moving forward:1)¬† Your complexity is yours no matter what labels.¬† It is okay for some to enjoy some of your more simple corners of mind.2)¬†¬†Using analogy- to¬†enable the more fluid synapse connecting neurons allowing transmission of quick thought/obersvation to other neurons we have to achieve the working map enabling this.¬† Philosophically, you know what I mean.3)¬† As progress moves forward and AI is able to sort/send/search/recieve, we will become more anonymous which isn’t all bad.¬† We still control/curate and those that need more namesake for whatever will get it.¬† And just like 10, 100 or 1,000 years ago, there will be the many who don’t get credit.¬† But if allow those thousands to interchange thoughts/interests, progress accelerates.

      1. ShanaC

        I need a little more anonymity in my life. And one of those hard lines that I have is others shaping my identity online.I’m fine with having people attached to simpler corners of my life/mind.And I don’t understand 2

      2. Emily Merkle

        ¬†my thought I think only really well put ! coming from a “nobody” I feel like I am closer to anonymous than not.it does not mean I am not a person with something to say etc. It just means there may be less extraneous info about me known that is nonessential to what we are here trying to do – learn, beonfire, get some work done, connect – for real.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          I used the word anonymous related to fears of outsiders knowing your every move. Actually it is levels of anon and you are not as anonymous as you think… And not as many people listen to the divas as they think. I, for one, have always appreciated you straight forwardness…

          1. Emily Merkle

            I have no idea but then again none of us know who we touch….I know I have been impacted by so many….I do not know anyone here but I learn, I listen, I try to respect, and I aspire to walk the walk and be honest with myself and all who wish to open minds and hearts. It is all any human can do. I want to do so much good because I know we can. I am hopeful and I know my heart is true. And I am on fire ūüôā

          2. Emily Merkle

            eek your words here are making a whole new level of sense. Epiphany – done.

          3. Dave W Baldwin


        2. Emily Merkle

          We cannot control every perception others have of us-we can only do the best we can when we can . I have often squandered opportunities to “impress” but I have learned over time what matters – really matters – and those are non-negotiables. No question. Be honest, treat others as you wish to be treated, do not give up. The rest is gravy. I think our President & our business leaders – some more publicly than others – can and do walk the walk. We can all encourage it & expect it. We know what is just ego and power grabs … And we know what counts. We just need to – myself included- be consistent about rewarding what matters – vote with our every action and word if and when it matters.

  13. Guest

    What always makes me wonder is why we¬†should view these small one function sites as a business? It’s kinda’ like saying MS should have¬†one business for Word, another business for Excel, another for WordPad, etc.It seems that “one” company should have a hundred of these one/two function systems to truely be a business. That’s not to say they aren’t technically a business, especially if there is an LLC¬†wrapped around¬†each one. But, how can you plan to hire hundreds of people and make millions in revenue with a one/two function offering?Well, it’s something to ponder…



      1. Guest


    2. Luke Chamberlin

      These sorts of businesses aren’t about selling products but about attracting audiences. An engaged audience is what makes them valuable. If one simple feature can attract a big audience you have a business.Of course the taste of the masses is mercurial and I don’t think there is much stability to these products, which is why they need to adapt or be a part of a bigger portfolio of apps.

  14. leigh

    ha ¬†@tereza:disqus¬†¬†was a tagging mad woman last week and so i tried it. ¬†I like the idea of it. ¬†And of course, Tereza and I tagged each other as kickass :)ps. speaking of tagging what’s going on with¬†@disqus:disqus¬†? ¬†i can’t get the twitter tagging to work for over a week now. ¬†it won’t let me select it. ¬†argh!

    1. leigh

      aw i see¬†@wmoug:disqus¬† tagged me as kickass now too. ¬†ūüôā

        1. leigh

          hey sorry – was out all day – your link isn’t working — and i can’t find you on it ūüôā

          1. William Mougayar

            It was a great day to be out! The countryside is waking-up slowly to the spring. It’s probably that Disqus truncates links if you clicked on the email. My user name is wmougayar, so it’s http://www.skills.to/user/ then add wmougayar to it. You can also click on my user name from your profile, because I tagged you already.

    2. Tereza

      Yep. A few of us got P.O.’ed when zero women were included on the original influencers distribution for Skills.to. A club of the ‘in crowd boys’. This matters because people coming to Skills.to would naturally then conclude, “Oh, there are no influential women.” Of course the Earlies have a big advantage in tagging. So amplifies an already bad ratio. A bunch of us observed this — were like, “Why weren’t we invited??” and concluded — it’s important to demonstrate that we’re here, we’re listening, we’re watching. And we have Skills, goddammit. Folks — word to the wise — include women when you pilot stuff and start communities. If you don’t have us as Earlies, you’re less likely to have us as Laters. Now, I invested evening time in this — which is mildly competitive to my own company donor questionable business value to moi — because I felt it a worthwhile experiment and an important point to make. Watch how signals reinforce the boys club. You might be leaving real growth when you don’t include women. /soapboxrant

    3. fredwilson

      They are slowly rolling out the new stuff.

  15. Kevin Prentiss

    Seems similar in concept to wefollow.com which spiked initially (and was also spammy), but then became a pretty static phonebook – no real reason to stay engaged.

    1. William Mougayar

      That’s exactly who I thought of actually. It was hot then static. It should be interesting to see how Skills.to becomes more dynamic over time. Curious to hear Joshua’s vision.

  16. andyswan

    I think it’s interesting. I don’t like that I can remove the tags that others have put on me. Destroys the credibility.Tag me on there, I’ll leave them no matter what they are. There should be a badge for that.

    1. William Mougayar

      Tags are not tattoos ūüôā

    2. Tereza

      You can. Hover to the left of the check and it appears. Not great UX but it’ll probs change.For example I tagged one friend as “Hot” and she removed it because it didn’t have the gravitas she felt appropriate.

      1. andyswan

        Reread my comment. Thats exactly what I dont like.



      1. andyswan

        Me say if skills.to can’t dev algo, skills.to is worthless

        1. falicon

          sort of agree…I love the concept of tagging, but I’m *so* much more a believer in auto-tagging and the untapped potential for it (disclaimer, auto-tagging is a huge part of the turfd.com system I’m slowing building up)

      2. fredwilson

        i’ve already been trolled on skills.toall kinds of body parts combined with fred and suchi thought it was hilarious

  17. Otto

    Delicious was overrated, but has uses. That said, Pearl Trees > Delicious especially for iPad. Tagging people? I’ll pass, but I’m sure it will do well now that it’s mentioned here and one year from now Fred will tell everyone they “have to be on it”. Now that said, isn’t FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., basically the “tagging” of people already? On the surface this seems more like a clever copycat than something disruptive.And why are developers now building platforms that showcase people who don’t create content, e.g. 4square, Pininterest, etc? Tagging people seems like just another non-creative time suck.

  18. Wendyhuthut18

    Why on earth do you think being tagged as one specific thing would make anyone cease to think that you don’t embody a million other traits and are not a complex person?

  19. jamesgould72

    For product design though simplicity holds another purpose. If you have too much going on its impossible to tell what is working, what is connecting with the user. Fewer moving pieces lets you discover the ones that resonate.http://goo.gl/urqzK

  20. DanielHorowitz

    It’s really good. I’m a big fan. Lots of potential.¬†

  21. laurie kalmanson

    i’m in.it feels like that moment when people looked at twitter, and said, “what’s this for?”

  22. Carl Stronso

    Oh Great. Just what I always wanted. A way for other people to label me on the internet.



    1. fredwilson

      on that i disagree 100%



  24. Guest

    Looks like a solution looking for a problem!

  25. William Mougayar

    I thought it was Good Friday ūüôā

  26. testtest

    i think powerful simplicity comes from the ability of people to use the simple product in ways above which the simplicity implies. such as twitter and the morse code machine. they are simple on the outside, but can be *learned* to be used in ways which are more complex. that’s verses a simple product that has a singular function: such as a spoon or a hammer.simple products, that are learned by the user, also leaves scope for emergent behaviour. they are, in a sense,¬†liberating. it’s almost¬†obnoxiousness to tell a person how they should be using a product. whilst obnoxiousness products can be useful and guiding for¬†specialist tasks — try eating a steak with a spoon — the exact problem must already be clear.often we see a problem solved, and then refined over time: we start with a cup of coffee, then add a lid, then add a hole to drink through on the lid, then add a device to plug up the hole. a tighter circle of innovation occurs as¬†specifications¬†can be more clearly defined.it would seem logical that most value is created from the initial innovation. pre-tight-specifications.

  27. << Work at home, $60/h, link

     The wise man avoids evil by anticipating it.

  28. Ciaran

    Could someone explain how this is really any different from Wefollow? Or is a problem that needs solving?I have to say that after first reading this post I didn’t really understand what the product was trying to do – it seems to lack that elevator pitch your mother could understand.