frank's blog

Festival of Ideas for the New City, May 4-8

Posted in architecture, art, conference, design, ideas by aldorf on April 29, 2011

The Festival of Ideas for the New City, May 4-8, 2011, is a major new collaborative initiative in New York involving scores of Downtown organizations, from universities to arts institutions and community groups, working together to affect change.

Video by m ss ng p eces
Music by Hess is More (Mikkel Hess, I always wanted to work with him, great guy, great talent, hopefully one day…)

A Crowdsourced ‘Timeline for the World’

Posted in Media, photography, web by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Thanks Angela Maiers for your comment on my recent post around crowdsourcing tools. You recommended vineme.com as a very useful tool. For almost one year  Josh FlemingTony Muse and Chris Taulborg have been hard at work building Des Moines’ newest startup, VineMe. VineMe is billed as a “social platform that allows the world to crowdsource content by time, tags, places and people.” (public launch March 31, 2011). Here is what Josh Fleming says about this new crowdsourcing venture:

“We want to curate life through visual content. I always enjoy discovering content in new ways. It’s why people flocked to the internet. It’s why Google quickly became a verb. It’s why apps are so popular. The combination of discovery and ease of use is what is driving technology today. We think VineMe offers both.”

What Do Customers Want or Need ? Great Talk by Steve Portigal at Lift11

Posted in conference, design, innovation by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Most interesting to me the part Participatory Design that starts at 08:22

Steve Portigal is Principal of Portigal Consulting in Pacifica, CA

Great Art Installation – Burma Political Prisoners Art and Photo Installation

Posted in ideas, Media by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Entrepreneurship – Do You Have What It Takes?

Posted in blog, inspiration, quality, your take on... by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Well put Chris Dixon (Co-founder of hunch.com, and other venture)

There Are Two Kinds Of People In The World

You’ve either started a company or you haven’t.  ”Started” doesn’t mean joining as an early employee, or investing or advising or helping out.  It means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friends and family), and building an organization from a borrowed cubicle with credit card debt and nowhere to sleep except the office. It almost invariably means being dismissed by arrogant investors who show up a half hour late, totally unprepared and then instead of saying “no” give you non-committal rejections like “we invest at later stage companies.” It means looking prospective employees in the eyes and convincing them to leave safe jobs, quit everything and throw their lot in with you.  It means having pundits in the press and blogs who’ve never built anything criticize you and armchair quarterback your every mistake. It means lying awake at night worrying about running out of cash and having a constant knot in your stomach during the day fearing you’ll disappoint the few people who believed in you and validate your smug doubters.

I don’t care if you succeed or fail, if you are Bill Gates or an unknown entrepreneur who gave everything to make it work but didn’t manage to pull through. The important distinction is whether you risked everything, put your life on the line, made commitments to investors, employees, customers and friends, and tried – against all the forces in the world that try to keep new ideas down – to make something new.

20 Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Posted in blog, ideas, innovation, inspiration, quality by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Starting your own company is one of the hardest things you can do in business — so it’s invaluable to get advice from other people who have done it, too. Fortunately, the blogosphere is packed with entrepreneurs, investors, and business gurus dying to share their knowledge. Unfortunately, it can be a real pain trying to figure out which ones are worth your time.

Here’s the complete list:

via businessinsider.com

Paid Apps vs. Free Apps – Intriguing Insights by Marco Arment (Instapaper)

Posted in blog, Media, quality by aldorf on April 29, 2011

First of all, kudos to Marco for creating with Instapaper a useful and one of my favorite tools out there. This is a great blog post about an experiment he started last fall.

Last fall, I conducted an experiment: I quietly removed Instapaper Free from the App Store for three days, leaving only the full, $4.99 Instapaper app. Not only did sales increase incrementally, but nobody seemed to notice.

On March 12, knowing I was heading into very strong sales from the iPad 2’s launch, I pulled Free again, this time for a month. Again, nobody noticed, and sales increased (although it’s hard to say which portion of the increase, if any, is attributable to Free’s absence, since most of it is from the iPad 2’s launch).

This break went so well that I pushed the return date back by another month. I may keep it out indefinitely, effectively discontinuing Instapaper Free.

Here’s why: …read full blog post (recommended)

A couple of his insights

Customer reviews: Instapaper Free always had worse reviews in iTunes than the paid app. Part of this is that the paid app was better, of course, but a lot of the Free reviews were completely unreasonable…

Product design: If you have a free version of your app, that will be the only version many people will ever see. So, for the Free users, that app — that extremely limited app that lacks almost all of Instapaper’s best features — is what they think Instapaper is.…

Demand: Maybe you think there aren’t enough people willing to pay $5 for an app with no free version. I used to think that, too. But I was wrong.

Why Amazon Keeps Spending Billions On Amazon R&D

Posted in innovation, internet, Media, pioneers by aldorf on April 29, 2011

In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains why his company continues to re-invest in technology.

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture.

Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you’ll find few patterns that we don’t apply at Amazon. We use high-performance transactions systems, complex rendering and object caching, workflow and queuing systems, business intelligence and data analytics, machine learning and pattern recognition, neural networks and probabilistic decision making, and a wide variety of other techniques. And while many of our systems are based on the latest in computer science research, this often hasn’t been sufficient: our architects and engineers have had to advance research in directions that no academic had yet taken. Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we — happily — invent new approaches…Read full article.

All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.

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