Feature Friday: Tech Circle and Editorial Assistant

Some of you noticed that Zemanta Tech Circle did not make the cut in the new AVC redesign. That’s sort of true and sort of not true.

Zemanta’s oldest product, the one that got me to invest in the company, is a compose window assistant that they now call Editorial Assistant.

On Typepad, I used a broswer plugin to get Editorial Assistant. On WordPress.org, it’s available as a WordPress plugin.

So the way I am bringing back tech circles as a default feed in my Editorial Assistant. You will see thumbnails at the end of the post with related links.

Most of the time, they will be tech circles bloggers with related content. Occasionally I will mix in other bloggers if their related content is highly relevant.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. JamesHRH

    Didn’t take very long for you to start to undermine all the good work!In 6 months, the redesign will look like your desk.

    1. William Mougayar

      Did you see the last pic on Tumblr? Fred’s desk was pretty organized.

    2. fredwilson

      i don’t like the visual feel of this eitheri’m working with the zemanta folks to see if i can improve itif not, i may stop inserting these

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Is there a text-only option? Perhaps show them in rows, inside of columns, too.

  2. pointsnfigures

    I added that plug in when I found out about it here. I don’t know if it adds or detracts from the blog. Never got any feedback from it positive or negative.

    1. awaldstein

      I want it to work but I’m not clear.Sure, when one of my posts ends up here, traffic flows. Anymore than a link that someone besides myself puts in a comment, not clear.

  3. Brad Dickason

    Fred, I’m a fan of the curated zemanta links and probably click on one of them ~30% of the time.One note: I just tried clicking on the Hunter Walk piece with your new layout and each of the links just opens up an empty browser tab in iOS7/Chrome.The link being generated looks correct to me, but clicking it does not work as expected: http://hunterwalk.com/2013/

  4. JimHirshfield

    Editorial Assistant is like magic. I have a fond attachment to that product.

  5. William Mougayar

    So, you’re back to hand curation instead of lottery curation, which is fine, but how are “Unbundling AOL” or “The Best Way to Suck at Marketing” related to this post?Also, there’s a formatting issue with titles over 4 lines that are encroaching on the lines below that section.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, the visual layout of this is not great.i’m working with the zemanta folks to fix itthis post really did not have a lot of contextual relevancy to deliver good linksso i went with bloggers i know and likea longer meaty post would produce much better links

      1. William Mougayar

        I see. Maybe 6 is overkill? The # seems out of balance, given that you’ve shortened the USV widget to 3 articles. Maybe even it at 4 or 5 each?But, other than that, the site’s responsiveness to mobile is impeccable. I can narrow the browser’s window to 3.5 in, and everything gets re-aligned nicely. That’s a big +.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          They’re also a distraction. They should be text, if anything. You read the text article – and exposed to very clean site otherwise – and immediately after reading get hit with big thumbnails that completely change the flow of reading / consuming.

      2. ShanaC

        yup. need more text gives whatever the algorithm more to analyze

  6. Russell

    Hi Fred, I bumped into you in November as I was walking to a Matt Mullenweg talk at google. Glad to see you’ve migrated to WordPress and thought you’d like this data set:Historical quarterly trends in the usage of content management systems for websites http://w3techs.com/technolo…It measures WP as powering (CMS system) of 21% of all websites! Not only is this the only system that has double digit share of market, it is still growing, up from 17 percent at the close of 2012 and 14.9 percent in 2011.Plugins ad huge value for publishers and the ecosystem, so not surprised to see your portfolio playing in this sandbox, and am sure we’ll see more of it.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I don’t think of WP as a CMS. It’s really just a blogging platform that a lot of people use to build DIY websites. While WP is an excellent choice for what AVC is, WP is often a misguided choice for many businesses. As a consultant I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten called to help a company “fix” their website because someone chose WP because it was cheap and easy to get up and running but was a really terrible fit for what the business expected to accomplish.However, those numbers are really interesting. To me the WP numbers indicate — at least qualitatively — growth in small business and/or small projects at the grassroots level. That’s hopeful for tech and the economy. Some of those businesses will grow larger and shift over to a custom-built system or a true CMS like Drupal, CMSMS or Joomla.

      1. Russell

        Agree that most people think of WP as a blogging platform, but fundamentally disagree that it isn’t a CMS. Could you cite examples of clients who shouldn’t be on WordPress – as opposed to badly conceived WP structure/implementation?

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Sure. Any client that has deep navigational structure that also intends to build out navigation over time. This would be any small business or organization that is growing or any mid-size organization that has deep vertical areas where there are constant additions and needs for content to be organized/tagged categorically. Stability for many of these organizations trumps the value of constantly changing third party plug-ins that are often untested and/or unstable across various platforms and OSs.With a stable, databased CMS I can confidently guarantee that the system will work and that staff — in some cases older secretaries who aren’t very savvy with computers — can easily add a page, publication, news item, or calendar event through a standardized interface that serves the organization extremely well. I have never seen any WP implementation that can rival Drupal or CMSMS in ease of use for everyday, non-tech people.In particular, regional and local quasi-municipals and non-profits can do more, without a hassle, with Drupal or CMSMS than they ever could with WP. WP is very difficult for non-tech users to handle.It’s also far easier and more cost effective to implement a CMS like Drupal or CMSMS for organizations that have thousands of databased publications. Some examples of organizations that benefit from a CMS are: Regional Councils of Government, Regional Public Transit, Regional Health Boards, etc… These organizations are required by law to publish hundreds (and even thousands) of PDF documents each year for the public. It would be complete chaos to do this with WP.

          1. Russell

            Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I work in publishing (print & online) and have been impressed that several large groups including the Wall St Journal, CNN and qz.com have moved partially to wordpress. I want to find out more about it.http://vip.wordpress.com/20

      2. Matt Zagaja

        WordPress makes it easy for lots of non-tech people to create little web design shops that can make websites but don’t know enough to do things like optimize PageSpeed.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Oh, Absolutely. Great tool for getting off the ground.

          1. awaldstein

            I don’ think of it that way.Certainly, WP is not the right choice for everything, but if you are building around a blog based structure, with the expertise out there and plug ins you can go a long way.Something like Shopify is simply waterwings for business. You hit the wall fast and hard. It is limited by design.

          2. LE

            with the expertise out thereKey point. Rule of ubiquity.The best choice is often not the product that is “best” in terms of features, price and the usual metrics but instead the product that has a lot of shit going on so there is labor that can clean up any messes.Back in the book buying days I would make decisions based on how many books were in Barnes and Noble on a particular topic. “Is it popular enough that there are a dozen books? Ok it’s mature and widely used and will be around long enough…”One of the mistakes I made when buying servers in the 90’s was to go with SGI which was better performance vs. Sun but had nowhere near (with IRIX) the amount of community (and tech guys) and software that you had with Solaris. Or spare parts. Or used equipment. Or affordable service contracts.Much earlier, when I was in the printing business though (and knew nothing) I automatically went with the equipment that was most widely used and as a result had a much easier time getting machine operators that could walk right up and just demo their skills or do the actual work without any explanation or practice.

      3. LE

        WP is often a misguided choice for many businessesAgree. Not only that but it’s slow on many hosting platforms and has way to much granularity for what a typical small business user actually needs to do. And it’s not intuitive to do simple things.or a true CMS like Drupal, CMSMS or JoomlaNever heard of cmscms so I checked it out. It may well be a good product (I’m assuming that you have used it and are happy) but I generally wouldn’t go with a product like this that is still essentially rev 1.0. and almost certainly has security issues that haven’t popped up (because of the lack of widespread popularity) as only one reason. The other obvious one is how long it will be around and continued to be developed.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          CMSMS is less popular in the U.S. but is widely used in the EU. Don’t let the 1.X deceive you; it’s been around for about eight years and is updated often. I’ve never experienced a security issue with CMSMS and do update the system when a security patch does come out. I’d say CMSMS has just about the easiest, most intuitive interface I’ve ever seen in a CMS. Drupal, in recent versions, is finally getting around to being more intuitive. I use both, depending on the needs of the client. Personally I find Joomla too difficult an interface to train everyday users on so rarely use it.

  7. jason wright

    “is a compose window assistant that they now call Editorial Assistant.”a what?

    1. Laurent Boncenne

      as far as I rembember,Zemanta lets you as a blogger pick related articles by scanning the blog post you’re writing and other fancy stuff.It’s present at the time you write a blog post if I recall correctly. then it adds the “related articles” box under the post

      1. jason wright

        thanks 🙂

    2. Matt A. Myers

      A mouthful

  8. William Mougayar

    How about that Canadian Women Hockey Gold Medal win vs. the US yesterday at Sochi? That was Fun Thursday 🙂

    1. JLM

      .Congratulations!Just one more reason why Canada and the USA should merge.We would win everything.JLM.

      1. jason wright


        1. JLM

          .Thanks, I needed that.Last night the Tar Heels crushed the Dukies.I expect the economy to rebound and to become an ardent supporter of President Obama — well, at least one of those things anyway.I am not responsible for my actions for at least the next week or so or until the next clash over at Cameron Indoor Center.I have been a Carolina fan since before birth. Beating the #5 Dukies is like having dated Catherine Deneuve in high school.There is a reason why God made the sky Carolina blue and last night it was vindicated again. Thank you, God.JLM.

          1. pointsnfigures

            I don’t understand why they rushed the court. I “get” the rivalry. But, NC has been there before. They ought to act like it. Did you see the Bill Murray bit where he truthfully explained to the homeless guy how the refs robbed the Illini of a national championship in 2005?

          2. JLM

            .This bunch of Heels has played through some real adversity. Losing PJ Hairston was a kick in the……well.There is no reason on paper why the Heels beat Duke but they did.Overcome with emotion.Plus the Dukies and the Heels are screwing with each other with the court rushing.The Illini were robbed. Plain and simple.The addition of Syracuse to the ACC has really spiced up the conference.The next Carolina v Duke game at Cameron will be a hoot.JLM.

          3. Elia Freedman

            Act like you’ve been there… like every guy (but Jim Brown) that ever scored a touchdown?

          4. pointsnfigures

            Or Wally Payton…

          5. Mac

            We’re all grateful Big Red Car got out of Detroit just in time, but given the choice, I suspect BRC would have preferred Raquel.

          6. JLM

            .You are, of course, completely right, Mac.The Big Red Car prefers domestic brands — bit jingoistic really — while I may from time to time favor an import.Who really knows?JLM.

      2. William Mougayar

        Wait til the Men win, then we’ll brag even more.If not, we’ll call it even 🙂

        1. JLM

          .That will be a good contest.Let the game begin.Should we lose, I think Obama plans to level Toronto — could be wrong. But he did mention a RED LINE.JLM.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Team with the most Chicago BlackHawks Wins

          2. JLM

            .Under the Democratic immigration plan, once you play for a US team, you automatically become a mandatory citizen.Seems fair.JLM.

          3. William Mougayar

            🙂 they give the players special work visas I think.

          4. William Mougayar

            Hey, the Raptors aren’t doing too bad this year (finally, after 19 years). Maybe it will be Toronto-Chicago for the semi-finals.

          5. William Mougayar

            You can’t say Canada discriminates. We’re an equal opportunity winner.

      3. Elia Freedman

        Everything but speed skating, apparently.

          1. Elia Freedman


          2. JamesHRH

            Short track guys may have to leave Quebec. Really tough go for them.Have you heard about this – http://www.theglobeandmail….Very Olympic ethos moment.

          3. Elia Freedman

            Wow! That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. (I wonder if they talked about that on NBC here in the States.)

      4. sigmaalgebra

        “The French they are a funny race,Parlez vous” — Québec would nevergo along! Food, wine, girls, terrific!Otherwise, hmm ….

    2. PhilipSugar

      I got sucked in on the last of that game. I will do the same for lunch today for the Men’s. That was a great win or heartbreaking lost depending on which side you were on.

      1. William Mougayar

        All of Canada stopped working for 5 mins during the shoot out part. I was visiting a big office, and literally, they had the big screen TV and screaming.

        1. PhilipSugar

          It was an sudden death overtime goal, not a shoot out. I have been in Canada so much this year I’ve been rooting for Canada except when they play the U.S.

          1. William Mougayar

            yes. sudden death goal.

    3. JimHirshfield

      That was painful to watch. But congratulations.

      1. William Mougayar

        Sorry. It was painful for Canada when they were down 0-2. thx.

  9. JLM

    .I like my AVC unvarnished and elegantly simple. I don’t care a whit about related articles. I want a pure dose of Mr Fred Wilson and the community. The rest of it is of no value to me.But., then, I can be a butthead sometimes.JLM.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Define “sometimes” :-O

      1. JLM

        .Dividend and divisor are not the same number?JLM.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Is there a story behind that one?

    2. Russell

      Cautiously agree, although I think portfolio companies should be flagged on avc as well as USV.

  10. Valerie Welte

    Big deal

  11. sigmaalgebra

    The new ‘design’ does ‘look better’. Both the oldand new designs are plenty ‘functional’, but, still,the new design does look better. You or someoneworking on the new design has a good sense ofsuch design issues.The old design looked a little like a ‘catch-all’while the new one looks like there is a morefocused and serious purpose for the site. For a wildly overblown analogy, the difference is between a $1 general store and a Steuben glass shop, maybe between a current Sears and Tiffany’s, between a rock band and aviolin recital.

  12. Zaid

    I prefer the Zemanta Tech Circle to the Related articles, mostly because of the formatting. See attached. Related articles looks squished where as Tech Circle is easier to read and well spaced out.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      It helps by keeping with the same flow of reading – left to right, not column by column.

    2. ShanaC

      i prefer the way it is now

  13. dineshn72

    Just an FYI – your old blog link (which was bookmarked by me) avc.blogs.com which used to redirect to avc.com is no longer doing that properly – last post on that page with the old format is the Sidecar post. I’m updating my bookmark but suspect there are other readers who might run into the same issue.(And disqus login seems to be broken for Google Chrome/MacOS; posting this via Safari)

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, avc.blogs.com is my old typepad blogwe can’t redirect that because typepad controls blogs.com

      1. daryn

        Fred/Nathan – a couple hackarounds for this:1. put up a reminder post telling people to come to avc.com2. put meta-refresh (old-school, i know) and/or javascript redirects in the typepad template sending people to the right page on avc.com3. put link rel=canonical links on the old blog pointing to the corresponding avc.com pages to encourage google to only reference the new site.

  14. Eddie Wharton

    Excellent to see a version of this make a comeback

  15. Prokofy

    I didn’t like the Zemanta articles pitched to me on my Typepad blog at first, but I grew to accept them. I wish that I could stick in my own though instead of being at the mercy of algorithms. You just never know what the thing might come up with. Sometimes relevant, sometimes not.