Web 2.0 the Unifying Theory of the Web?

The Web 2.0 rhetoric is enjoyable to watch and the Web itself makes a perfect voyeuristic petri dish for the show.

So, someone (obviously O’Reilly and he has the trademark to prove it) coins the unifying theory of the “new” Web business models, the antidote to the down cycle of the dot.com bust, the panacea of pent up venture capital and the sheep charge in, the pocket books open, and the nay-sayers start preaching the apocalypse of another technology bubble.

Simple fact is that it is one of a number of normal business cycles that exist with in individual companies, sectors, industries, and economies. It will rise and it will fall the key to success is building strong business and investment fundamentals that will take you through good and bad. Not trying to time the wave that is for journalist.

Teaching Kids to Program

My 9 year old is showing an interest in learning to program. I am not sure where to start. I have been poking around, but I am not finding a lot of good starting points.

I started with Basic and moved to Pascal. I am sure there are better options now.

Any suggestions?


I found a great solution to this challenge. I reviewed various traditional languages like Ruby on Rails, Python, QBasic, and VB, but I felt like they were too painful to progress a child’s attention span from fundamentals to producing something they felt was cool.

So, I found a solution that met my criteria:

  1. Simple and intuitive programming environment
  2. Helped structure and organize child’ programming
  3. Guided the child’s logical thinking
  4. Allowed them to produce something cool in 30 minutes or less
  5. Cheap (or free)

Bingo! Gamemaker 6.1 (www.gamemaker.nl). This is great in that it lets the child sit down in 30 minutes and produce simple 2D games. Nothing gets a child interested in programming like a video game.

My son is now programming nearly everyday and coming up with increasingly creative and complex games. He is even taking compiled (yep, you can turn them into .exe files and burn them to CD like a real software game) Windows games into show-and-tell at school. Talk about other kids thinking you are cool–show them that you are a game programmer!

I am now starting an after-school club at his elementary school (at the school’s request) to teach programming on this software.

Thanks to everyone that helped with recommendations and pointers to various options.

Algorithms as Rockstars

Bingo! Troy has hit it right on the nose.

This is something Jeff Bell and I learned and practiced at DeepGreen Bank and emphasized and perfected very early on at Kaleidico.

Getting the customer to close a transaction is all about matching their usage patterns to the usuage patterns of the sales person or automated process. Having that intelligent matching in a lead management tool, like icoSales is worth millions to our clients and thus this algorithm is worth millions to Kaleidico. Ed, Thanks for the pointer:

Troy Angrignon on Algorithms as Rockstars: “

I missed Troy Angrignon’s notes from Gnomedex a few days ago, but I just saw them this morning and this jumped out at me:

Attention trust and attention data portability and value: (I also refer to this as usage pattern data) is worth more than the content that people bring to the site… The reality is that what people do on your site and how they interact with it is key to: product development, increased revenues, increased profitability, and increased customer retention. Amazon does this extremely well inside their algorithm. There is a phrase called ‘algorithms as rockstars’ which means in plain English, the algorithm that Amazon employs is worth 10X more than the really bad (and very simple) algorithm that Barnes and Noble uses to decide where to place other products and recommendations. This has been known for a while. Much of the value in that algorithm is derived from usage pattern data.

(AKA attention data.) When talking about attention, I tend to emphasize the potential value of this data to the individual, given AttentionTrust’s founding principles, but language like Troy’s, focusing on the current value of attention being realized by publishers, can be helpful in enabling people to understand just why all this matters so much.

(Via AttentionTrust.org blogs.)

Adaptive Optimization for Sale Conversion

Jeff Bell discusses the use of evolutionary algorithms to create learning systems. Systems that continually adapt and optimize your lead conversion methodologies. This is a radical enhancement to the typical “round robin” allocation of leads or even the static prioritization of leads (i.e., product and service requests).

This is very exciting in that is evolves direct response marketing into a two-way transaction: (1) customers asking for exactly what they want and (2) point of sale responses that are precisely the experience/service they expected. Quite a juxtaposition to the traditional approach of a customer being very specific about what they want and then the random point of sale reply is whatever they think they are good at selling.

(Via Bell’s Blog.)

Innovating on the Economic Tendency to Overbuild

I think the remnants of the last boom and the maturation of software is what the Web 2.0 buzz is really about.

This is a real opportunity for entrepreneurs, but probably a tempting drug to investors (i.e., cheap prototype, easy proof of concept, lots of buzzing gadgeteers, and rapid flame-out). With sites like ning.com you can mash-up an invention and let the Web give it a whirl in a matter of moments. Handled carefully I think there are real opportunities.

Secure RSS for Financial Services

Ask and you shall receive.

A couple of days ago as the MicroPersuasion Blog talked about AOL charging a fee to ensure email delivery to their clients and Dave Winer and Fred Wilson talked about making RSS simple enough to become mainstream–I pondered if this was an answer to a major problem I run into with Financial Service clients:

Email is one of the primary means that financial service companies communicate with their clients. However, terms like mortgage, loans, bank, dollar amounts, and other important terms that banks and mortgage companies need to use in email are red flags for most spam blockers. So, often the clients get bad communication experiences because of their spam box catches these emails.

My though was if we could devise a way to secure and personalize these individual RSS feeds it would a great way to tune into your financial status–it seems someone is working on it.

Wouldn’t it be great to get real-time feed on transactions from your checking accounts and credit cards, reminders to pay your mortgage online, alerts when you CD is due to roll-over, or daily quotes on your 401K, or other stock, bond, and/or mutual fund portfolio. How about a feed from your credit report!

An added benefit, this would complete obliterate identity theft!

The Last Bubble makes it Cheaper to Disrupt than Migrate

The last bubble and aggressive consumer adoption of the Internet channel for retail transactions are going to create opportunities for disruptive innovation. Wired highlights why we are in a market where it is cheaper to innovate than to carefully migrate to the Internet.

Wired 14.02: The New Boom

First, technology adoption has continued at a torrid pace (and even accelerated at times) despite the bust. The dotcom business models of the 1990s may have been based on wild projections of broadband, advertising, and ecommerce trends. But the funny thing is, even after the bubble burst, those trends continued. These days, it’s hard to find a technology-adoption projection from 1999 that hasn’t come true.

The second reason that this boom is so different from the last is that the sunk costs of the dotcom era make the economics of entrepreneurship more favorable. In the bad old days, companies bankrupted themselves building out their fiber-optic networks. Bad for investors, good for everyone else: We’re now enjoying supercheap bandwidth. So, too, for storage, screens, and a host of other technologies that are benefiting from profligate ’90s-era investment and research.