sakku

via etoy and bernhard comes word of a new messenger bag with solar panels. while not powerful enough to charge your laptop, it will do fine with your other gadgets.

what is especially interesting to me is that sakku is a swiss startup. i have outlined before why switzerland is going down the drain. in fact, i sometimes tell smug swiss people that i am an economic refugee. all the more uplifting if a startup is ignoring the naysayers and delivering a cool product.

an inconvenient truth

went to see the most important film of the year today. very well done, with a data-driven approach to hammer the reality of global warming home. the only nit i have is that the call to action comes too late in the movie (in the last five minutes, and in the credits). also, there was not enough coverage of solutions beyond vague calls to save energy. no advice how to short a basket of detroit companies and buy efficient cars with the proceeds, no talk of emissions trading, no call for new nuclear power plants. instead, we got the advice to pray

still, go see it even if you are familiar with all it’s points. longer playing times matter.

opensourcing the google os

it has long been argued that the google os, particularly MapReduce and GFS, is google’s real competitive strength. yahoo, meanwhile, is paying developers to develop clones of these. with seeming consolidation on a common computing platform, and ever-rising data center expenses, you gotta wonder how much sense it makes for the big three to duplicate all that CAPEX. they might be better off outsourcing their datacenters, and sharing some base datasets, such as a crawler cache (kinda like the feedmesh network).

the outsourced company, on the other hand, would end up running a grid with several million nodes and could optimize running costs overall, by using very low power servers, running on an opensourced processor architecture.

making linkedin a platform

recently, i have been spending some time on linkedin. of all the social networks out there, it has the most appeal to me: there is less nonsense on it, and people are motivated to use it for work. bergie had this link to an essay on linkedin as a platform play that i wanted to comment on.

full public profile

There’s still a tragically high barrier to entry: without logging in to LinkedIn, you can only view a summary of the profile. This is total crap: it doesn’t make it easy for me as a user to extend the reach of LinkedIn. I’d love send that URL as my resume to people, but if they have to create an account to log in to LinkedIn, I’m not going to do it.

my public linkedin profile is already in the top 20 google results for my name. making this more full-fledged would allow people to better take charge of their public image on the internets (something increasingly important)

show linkedin data elsewhere

For example, it’d be awesome if there was a JavaScript include that would list people’s endorsements of you. I’m sure people would love to put that in their blogs. And it’d be great for the coders out there if all the data in LinkedIn could be retrieved with simple REST calls that returned simple, XML formated data-documents.

linkedin has a lot of (currently dormant) currency it could use to become an important platform for user ratings. just like ebay has its seller / buyer ratings, the endorsements are quite valuable, but are locked into linkedin today. the system would need better ways to deal with people who game the system, but it is off to
a terrific start.

linkedin RSS feeds

It’s frankly shocking that there aren’t LinkedIn feeds for events that occur in your social network. When someone gets a new job, you get an endorsement, someone else gets an endorsement, someone adds a new contact…all those activities that people may want to respond to are locked up in the system.

we are all busy, and who remembers to always go check the linkedin homepage for new things happening? that’s so 1998.

company ratings

You could even imagine something like this: people can write in their experiences applying for jobs at different companies. When you ask LinkedIn to send you resume to a job, it could tell you people’s over-all feel for that company. That’s the kind of collective/emergant wisdom that only a hosted application like LinkedIn can do.

companies are people too :) (according to the law). why not make it possible to see how a company is viewed overall?

company drill-downs

Speaking of hosted applications, LinkedIn could become the org-chart application for companies everywhere. Most large companies I’ve worked at had that funky applet you could go to in the intranet and pan through the org-chart. LinkedIn already has a ton of data that people have agreed to put in the clear. Instead of those boring, information skinny org-charts you’re used, LinkedIn could provide a much richer, and fatter org chart. Want to see endorsements that people have given Jane in IT? Does the fact that Jack has no endorsements mean you should avoid giving him The Big Project?

i am sure a lot of people are already using linkedin to reverse engineer org charts from companies they do business with. why not make this easier? if you are concerned about headhunters, offer a more
competitive / attractive work environment.
is linkedin listening? i’d sure like to see these things implemented. what do you think?

customers with a clue

you have no idea how refreshing it is to work with customers with a clue. on tuesday, our second yellow pages project went live: local.ch, covering all of switzerland. local.ch was very gracious to let us have a geeky field day with nice urls, hcard support (view source), geo-aggregated blog posts per city (via geourl), for a start. given that local.ch is the answer of a staid media company to the competitive pressures of the internet, i find it quite refreshing to see their CEO blog (on a blog hosted by my former startup KAYWA, no less :), or post pictures of their ground troops (ie, sales) after a slam dunk on flickr.

meanwhile today, we spent all day in a very productive exchange with the goyellow team to talk about new features (more about those when we deliver on them..). their willingness to listen to my crazy ideas for 8 hours straight surprised even me 😉 they quickly took up blogging as a way to communicate with the german blogosphere, with good results.

and finally, we also launched housing search and hotel locator sites for homegate and hotelplan, respectively. quite the busy week :)

the analog tax

spending time with my parents affords me an opportunity to see what they use their computer for, and some of it is not pretty: take this whole world of “mail merge”, no matter whether in microsoft office or it’s retarded cousin openoffice, is a world of pain. the user interface is unspeakably bad, quite in tune with a process that is about as fun as a visit to the dentist in the first place. bringing this bloated world onto the web with the recent craze of ajax word processors is fundamentally misguided: why deal with label printing when there is email? similarly, when you are faced with the task to protect 2.5B in revenues per quarter, why screw around with new toolbars when your products don’t help squat to solve the real problem: outdated assumptions about a paper-based world.