Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Video: f8 keynote from Facebook

I am sharing this video for two reasons:

  • For all, there’s a pretty good anecdote at ‘37:45 of the video.  What gives you the “kick” to do what you do?
  • For technical folks, I think the Open Graph/Graph feature is an important step.  Maybe this is another way of approaching the semantic web that Tim Berners-Lee envisioned.
Watch live streaming video from f8conference at livestream.com

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Article: Sean Parker: Agent of Disruption (from Forbes.com)

A great article with a more realistic view about the former President of Facebook – so we’re not stuck with the theatrical view from the movie The Social Network.

Thanks Albert for sharing this article.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Video: Interview of Siddhartha Mukherjee by Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose interviews the author of the book 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer'.  Mukherjee brings forth some little known stories behind cancer and treatment discoveries and his optimism for the disease.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Interview: Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs (Feb 1, 1985)

Once in a while you come across a very insightful piece that changes your perception in an area.  This article did that for me, in more than one area.  It’s my favourite piece on Jobs to date.  (Thanks for sharing, Ben)

In this thorough interview Jobs touched on the state of the computer industry then, its future (GUI, internet, etc…), and advice on life, just to name a few.  I gained a new appreciation for the machine I take for granted and learned a few things about life, too. 


Monday, 5 September 2011

Documentary: Guns, Germs, and Steel by National Geographic

This fascinating documentary is based on the Pulitzer prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Professor Jared Diamond.  Professor Diamond did the research to answer the question of “why are certain groups of people (say Europeans) so much more materially wealthy than others (say New Guineans)”.

To Diamond, a large part of the answer comes from geography.  It turns out that how your area is home to a small set of animal species fit for domestication and how gifted it is in producing certain plants can transform food production, social structure, knowledge/material trade, and helped certain groups of people (like the Europeans) to acquire guns, germs, and steel.  These major forces then shaped the world we know today through war fares, diseases, and technology.

This documentary is a good introduction to the book.  For a complete picture though, the book is the way to go.


Book: The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

Score: 4 / 5

I read this book because Facebook had reached 500 million users globally by 2010 and I wanted to understand what social networks mean and how Facebook “did it”.  Though the book was a bit long for me, it provided good insights into the question.

This book is a detailed history of Facebook up to 2010 – its inception, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, investor relations, privacy, social impact, and possible future.

I had found the following things about Facebook interesting:

  • it started at Harvard as a universal online Facebook to consolidate the “silo” paper facebooks from the Harvard houses
  • It was the first major social network based on real identity, which allowed for significantly more granular and accurate targeted advertising.
  • Its large scale use of social network as a mechanism for automatically distributing information helps to advertise brands and generate demand for them (seeing what your friends bought through News Feed might nudge you to buy them, too), whereas Google’s search advertising is for showing you things you know you already want.
  • A big part of Facebook’s initial success lies in it being exclusively available to university and college students, where people are most “socially connected” to each other.
  • Facebook focused relentlessly on performance of the site and simplicity of features, contrary to some major social sites at the time.
  • Mark had wanted to build Facebook as a platform from the start.  Facebook’s application is now viewed as a training tool for what adding a social layer to sites would mean.  In the future, Facebook’s focus will be more around providing the social data services to various sites on the web to build up the social platform.  Facebook Connect is first such steps.

My favourite parts of the book are anecdotes around Mark’s personality.  Here is one of them.

Mark had just brought in Sheryl Sandberg, an ex-Googler, as his second-in-command.  They had just gotten out of a meeting where Sandberg proposed something Mark didn’t totally agree on.  And…

Zuckerberg walked out alongside Sandberg.

   “I’m really sorry,” he said

   “For what?”

   “Well, I rolled my eyes.”

   “I didn’t even notice.”

   “Well,” Zuckerberg said, “I’m bringing you in here and I know I need to empower you and make sure everyone knows I believe in you, and I shouldn’t be rolling my eyes.”

She was impressed Zuckerberg would call himself out for such a minor infraction.  “I said to myself, ‘This is going to work,’” she recalls.

Enjoy!  :)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Videos: Steve Jobs at the D conference through the years

This page has links to the past D conferences when Steve attended.  My favourite is the interview with both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as they impart insight into the various chapters of the PC and post-PC era.