free html hit counter July 2005 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Travelin'

By - July 29, 2005

On the road, postin’ will be light. Next week I will start posting excerpts of the book every so often…

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Judge to Google: Hands Off Dr. Lee For Now

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Lee-1From MediaPost:

A JUDGE IN SEATTLE HAS temporarily prohibited computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee from working at Google. Lee had worked at Microsoft until earlier this month, when he gave notice that he would join Google to lead its China office. “The equities dictate that a temporary restraining order … should be entered,” wrote Judge Steven Gonzalez. He also ordered Microsoft to post $1 million by Tuesday, which could be used to compensate Google and Lee if Gonzalez or another judge later decides that Microsoft wasn’t entitled to the injunction.

MSFT still has a page up for Dr. Lee.

Google Patenting Ads in Syndicated Feeds?

By - July 28, 2005

Apparently Google has filed for a patent in “Incorporating targeted ads into information in a syndicated, e.g., RSS, presentation format in an automated manner.”

Uh Oh. TechDirt reports on this disturbing idea. After all, many folks have been doing this for some time…

Patent here.

Update: Gary points out to me that Google filed for this 18 months ago. Still and all, I recall Feedburner doing this 18 months ago, and others. I hope this will not be an issue…

Good Lord

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McKinsey sure can take a good idea and turn it into meaningless corporatespeak drivel. I was reading through CNET and saw this headline:

From Push to Pull: The Next Frontier of Innovation (from partner McKinsey)

That sounded familiar, I had written a post called “From Push to Point“, and so I figured, hey, let’s see what they have to say. Here’s the “teaser”:

* Most companies now mobilize resources by deploying push systems, in the mistaken belief that they promote efficiency.

* Push systems—characterized by top-down, centralized, and rigid programs of previously specified tasks and behavior—hinder participation in the distributed networks that are now indispensable to competitive advantage.

* More versatile and far-reaching pull systems—characterized by modularly designed, decentralized platforms connecting a diverse array of participants—are now starting to emerge in a variety of arenas.

* As pull systems reach center stage, executives will have to reassess almost all aspects of the corporation.

Oh. My. God. No way am I reading another word….

Book Excerpt: The Birth of Google

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Cover13 08Wired is running an excerpt of my forthcoming book in the August issue, and it’s online starting today.

I’m of two minds about the excerpt – the book has much more to it than the history of Google – but on the other hand, I’m deeply pleased that the magazine I helped start is, 13 years later, excerpting my first book. It’s part of a cover package on the ten year anniversary of Web 1.0 (the Netscape IPO in August 1995 being the starting gun).

As with the entire book, I very much hope that any errors, omissions, or plain stupidity that is apparent in this work will be pointed out by you, the reader, and that I can address them here and in any future printings.

While you are on Wired’s site, you must read Kevin Kelly’s wonderful piece called “We are the Web.” He nails what we all missed in Web 1.0, what we are striving toward in Web 2.0, and then journeys into the world of Web 10.0….as only Kevin can.

It’s great fun to have two of Wired’s three founding editors (Kevin was the founding Executive Editor) in the same issue at the same time.

On The LA Times, Kinsley, and the Wikitorial

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LatimesThe LA Times (caveat, I spent a glorious three months there as an indentured servant before leaving to join the founders at Wired) recently attempted to push their own boundaries online by rolling out a “wikitorial” – in which the paper allowed its readers to comment upon and edit the Times’ editorials.

It was a good idea, but poorly executed. The site attracted trolls and showoffs, and was quickly shut down. Dan Gillmor has a good overview of why it didn’t work here, and adds his thoughts on what they could have done better.

But when I read about this, I instantly recognized a core problem with the approach: it was top down community, rather than bottom up. Michael Kinsley, who created the site for the Times, was attempting to force a considered, editorial structure onto a set of readers who had yet to identify themselves or their own interests in any kind of structured way. It was doomed to fail, because communities can’t be created by editorial structures – editorial structures must be created by communities.

This is a classic failing of old school media thinking. Sure, folks could build on top of the Times’ editorials, but then again, why would they? The reason folks build stuff is to build it together, and to do that, they have to know one another, have a shared set of mores, have a conversation that is already going.

A far better approach would have been to create a platform for readers to create their own communities. Leaders will emerge, voices will break out, and conversations will get started. Then the community itself will have a sense of ownership of the media, and begin to moderate out the trolls. It’s one thing for the LA Times to kill the trolls – that feels like censorship. It’s another for the community itself to do it.