Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Facebook Developer Garage Seattle

Mohit, Tosh, and I attended the Facebook Developer Garage meeting tonight. It's amazing how much buzz has been created around building Facebook applications. Seattle-based iLike is one of the biggest applications on Facebook. The meeting was organized by Adam Loving, who has built a social currency application called Zuckerbucks. About 150 of us were packed into the Capital Hill Arts Center (fire code violation?). Facebook sent four representatives us to Seattle to meet with us. Presenting were Dave Morin and Meagan Marks (user id=7051). Some of the tidbits they tossed out at the meeting:
  • Facebook is now at 33 million active users, adding 100,000 users PER DAY and generates 80 million page views PER DAY.
  • The largest 3rd party Facebook application has 10 million users (30% penetration!) - iLike?
  • There are 80,000 developers signed up to build applications (there are currently 2,200 active applications on Facebook).
  • By the end of the year, they project 75% of the user base will be out of college (they just passed the 50% mark).
We're, of course, looking at creating a version of Blue Dot for Facebook. It would be great to offer the Blue Dot features (tagging, searching, aggregated view of friends Dots, Buzz) to Facebook users since they would get all the benefits of having a pre-built community of friends, without having to recreate that just to use Blue Dot. We still have some technical details to work out; in particular, we'd like NOT to partition the community into Facebook vs. Blue Dot Classic user pools. But Facebook's terms of service do not permit exposing a user's friends outside of the Facebook application. So, it may require that users do some sort of dual account creation; which would not be great. We certainly want to be able to import any current Blue Dot user's dots into their Facebook application. If you're on Facebook now, you can actually use the feed feature of the Notes application to expose Dots in your mini-feed on your profile. Join our Blue Dot Users on Facebook group to find out more (and let us know you're there).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Naked Truth in Seattle

I went to The Naked Truth panel discussion last night. Targeted at Seattle technology startup entrepreneurs, the event was hosted by Madrona and RedFin and featured 5 members of the press on a Q&A panel:
  • Rebecca Buckman, The Wall Street Journal
  • Freg Vogelstein, Wired Magazine
  • Michael Arrington, TechCrunch
  • John Cook, Seattle PI (blog post)
  • Tricia Duryee, Seattle Times
There were about 250 people who attended, and the guest list filled up very quickly (it was all opt-in via Wiki edits on a wetpaint site!). To show how a fairly large event can be done creatively, and on the cheap, this thing was actually held in the parking lot of the Havana Social Club. Madrona and RedFin popped for drinks and Armadillo Barbeque. The weather was gorgeous too, so it didn't feel like a cheap event - it was really very nice. Gregg Gottesman from Madrona had a bunch of prepared questions - which were generally quite good, though I would have preferred that the audience would have had more time to ask questions directly. You do get the feeling that a lot of these entrepreneurs are really nervous about getting good press and PR. Are these folks really as powerful as we make them out to be? Granted, it can be a very effective way to reach a lot of potential customers (partners, and investors) by getting good press coverage. But it seems that the tail is wagging the dog the way many people seem to put so much stake in what these folks will write about them. I did get to talk to Michael Arrington and John Cook, both of whom have written about Blue Dot over the last year; it was great to meet them in person - and their coverage has been a big help to us in getting the word out. I also really enjoyed chatting with some of my fellow entrepreneurs at the after party, and sharing stories about the things we're working on and how things are going: It's great to see a vibrant startup community in Seattle - not everything is dominated by Microsoft/Google/Amazon/Real.