What is this program all about then? The boss explains it far better than I could possibly do. But to summarize: we're gathering a bunch of "geeky athletes" (tip of the hat to Zach Bell for the term!) and trying to connect them with fans, the general audience and other athletes. They have a lot to say and we want to make sure their voices are heard.
How I solved the technical part of this project is part of part 2 of this two-part series.
So what will I be posting about here? The human side. The things I'm learning just by taking the quick looks I must take into this Athlete's blogs.
Athletes are a race apart, particularly amateurs. This people fight every single day of their lives to get better at what they do. Many times they have to struggle against very adverse training conditions, constrained budgets and the fears we all have (but not everybody faces).
All of that for single moments of glory or defeat every four years.
The sheer degree of self-consciousness and perfectionism required at this level is something not everyone can deal with. Take David Oliver's blog title: "David Oliver! Your Mission: 12.87" if that ain't a statement I don't know what is.
Reading Drew Ginn's thoughts on how to hold on efforts minute-by-minute are also quite inspiring:
During the last few days many times I have found myself using the idea of just hang on a minute just to see what else there is. Just to see if you can go a little further. A minute seems reasonable to consider. A minute is not never ending but rather a finite period to hang on for. The last bike ride I went on was a classic example where I had the feeling of tired and fatigue in my legs. To the point where I just kept thinking 'Hang On A Minute', a minute was fair. It felt ok to push on a little longer obviously to find that there was another still to come after that one. It was a long climb and each and every minute began with a simple task, HANG ON.
So, if people ask me what do I enjoy most about Olympic Web Marketing the answer is simple: learning from this athlete's life lessons.
When I heard about FriendFeed I jumped to it like the site was giving out money. The service is pretty good, the API (which I just looked at very briefly) looks sturdy, and the idea is amazing. The ability to aggregate all the different services I'm registered to as well as this blog (and other blogs, if I had them) is a must have for the average geek.
But that just scratches the surface of FriendFeed. There is a whole concept of community, sharing and commenting behind it that is very appealing. I will use it some more and probably write a short review sometime soon.
The thought that hit me when I saw all my online activities reflected on FriendFeed was: gosh, I no longer have any secrets. Then it hit me.
I don't happen to live on the safest place on earth, thus my natural thought was: what if someone used all or part of the information I disclose to their own advantage and against me or my family. Chances are slim, but I was surprised to find myself thinking in such terms.
I usually laugh at people who are scared of losing privacy to the net, but now I can relate a little bit more. I guess I'll try to keep on the safe side using common sense and posting only general stuff just in case. So don't expect me to tweet stuff such as "I'll be cashing a big chunk of money today at 3"
Who would want to read another post on the latest soap opera that stormed through the geek-world? Most people won't, but that is not going to prevent me from writing one.
Yahoo played the part of tough cookie. I'm surprised that Jerry Yang didn't go back to Balmer with a note saying "its not you, its me. I'm so confused, can't commit!". The whole thing has been too hormonal, too teenager. And Y! trying to make the School's ugly nerd (Microsoft) jealous by going with the quarterback (Google) was just hilarious. Hilarious on an uncomfortable-to-watch, I-really-should-not-be-laughing way.
That being said, I must admit I'm happy that the thing didn't kick off.
Why is it good? Because I truly believe Yahoo can do a better job in trying to innovate and cut the advantage Google has on its own rather than with Microsoft. If it had happened, Microhoo would most certainly lost a lot of users (who'd have nowhere to go but to Google).
I think Yahoo! thought they were too good to be true for far too long. Now they realize they are in a tough spot. That is the reason why they now have a new strategic plan to start moving their engines. What I dislike about their plan is that its implementation so far seems to have relied more on accquiring than on innovating from within.
Someone recently told me: "Yahoo is the place where good apps go to die". The transition from Garage startup to big corporation didn't suit Yahoo well. Google is undergoing that same process in which they no longer are a bunch of kids doing fun stuff but a corporation that makes business. I want to see how they handle the first time they have to sack a good chunk of their employees.
They have a good core of nice applications, and did some smart shopping (del.icio.us, flickr), but they need to start doing something to take stuff a step forward. Integrating logins is not integrating applications, and that is all they've done. Besides, can anyone tell me what serious never-seen-before innovations yahoo has come up with on any of the stuff they own and run for the past... 6 years?
Now, when I read Jerry's post on Yodel I know things are wrong:
We know the spotlight will probably stay on us for a while. That’s fine — we have a clear path ahead and momentum to build on. And thousands of dedicated Yahoos around the world who have held up well to scrutiny. It’s now up to us to show what we Yahoos can really do.
Dude, having the spotlight on you is not "fine". It is awesome. You should leverage that to motivate your people, inspire your engineers and get you out of that nowhere land where you've been so comfortably sleeping in and start build that "momentum" you talk about. You are on everybody's mouth and not because of a sex or drugs scandal, that can't be that bad.
I reserve the opinions on Microsoft's web applications for myself. But let's just say that if my yahoo mail started looking and working like the live.com one, I'd drop it quick. If it started working like their latest OS, I'd go hermit and never taouch a computer again in my life.
Bottom line is: If yahoo! gets its act together an Google starts behaving more and more like a "large corporation" (I see the signs already) there is still a chance. That chance wouldn't of existed if Microsoft got its hands on Yahoo!.
See, Mariano, told you I smelled a post coming.
I've ben using twitter for about a week now. This makes me nowhere near an expert, but gives me the insight that only brand new toys can provide, after all: first impressions count.
Here's the list of random observations:
- I wouldn't lasted a week if it wasn't for twhirl. The little tool is a must-have if you want to use twitter at all.
- There certainly is a very high noise ratio. That being said you can never know when a meaningless discussion can turn into an inspiring exchange of opinions. That is probably the one thing that might hook me permanently into twitter: the sheer randomness and expectation of the moment when a great thread might start.
- I don't know how some people can keep up with following 1000+ fellow twitters. Man, I don't know how Guy Kawasaki keeps up with 10k+!!! My own limit of people to follow will probably never go beyond 200. I'm at 68 at the time of writing this (and 43 followers).
- You get first-hand insights into breaking new technologies. More on that in a post soon to come.
- Once can easily get distracted and absorbed into twitter.
- I don't know how to measure anybody's success in twitter. Followers mean little (although people will follow other twitters who tend to say smart or previously unsaid things). The only way to know if someone is worth following is by reading a good bunch of their previous tweets. (note to self: my very own message history in twitter is worth nothing)
- I still don't know how twitter makes a living (suspect it has something to do with SMS text messages, but can't be sure).
- The platform needs stability and reliability Seriously.
- I know I'll regret posting this because spam follows me everywhere like a voodoo curse, but I haven't got a single piece of spam so far.
Bottom line: Is twitter worth something? yes. Will I keep using it? for the time being. More posts on this in the near future for sure.