Release 4.0

Thursday, January 22, 2004

change of EDdress
heartfelt thanks to the team at, who helped me set up my first blog (blush), but I have now moved the blog to my own site:

(please be patient, you will be redirected automatically).

Happy New Year!

posted by Esther 12:50 PM

Thursday, December 11, 2003

some comments about LinkedIn
I'm trying out the social network platforms, and of all of them LinkedIn suits me best. SO this comment is rendered in the spirit of "I like you so much I want you to be better!"

I am getting a lot of invitations from people I don't know. It would be great to have a button that says "See inviter's profile" that links directly from the confirm-or decline-invitation page.

Also, on the invitations page, the service should include some advice: "Do not invite people who do not know you. If you are not sure, at least give them a hint of who you are ... how you met, etc. If you are not sure or that effort is too much work for a particular person, perhaps you do not know that person well enough."

My sense is that people are starting to invite everyone in their address book. That may goose statistics, but the key is the signal, not the noise. ANd, of course, too much noise will drown out the signal...
posted by Esther 4:30 AM

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Khodorkovski - gotta say this (no tech content)
Now that I'm back in the US and thinking slightly longer-term, I can't ignore the topic of Khodorkovski. (note to tech readers; this is about Russian politics, not the Internet....but remember when we thought politics in the US didn't matter to us either??) It gives me the feeling of familiar despair: "Uncle is drinking again!" We thought maybe he was cured, but he's not.

THe Russian government is showing its worst side, going after one man (Khodorkovski) and his company for the (alleged) kind of crimes that virtually every non-software Russian business has been involved in. (Software companies created things out of their heads, and did not generally "buy" assets from the state for amazing prices.) That means, long run, that most Russian businesses are vulnerable. WHen you create a situation where almost everyone is guilty (viz. our drug laws), you create disrespect for the law and a climate where everyone is vulnerable to misuse of government power masquerading as the force of law.

One American I encountered during the past week said to the Russians (paraphrase): "You have Yukos; we have Enron." but that is precisely wrong. Enron broke specific laws (that most but certainly not all other companies did not break), and was not singled out for political reasons.

The RUssian business community is upset but vulnerable; the US business community and government should be taking a stand in favor of the things we believe in: transparency, rule of law, etc., instead of turning a blind eye.
posted by Esther 3:33 AM

Saturday, November 01, 2003

and now from the Budapest airport
I love providing tech support in airport lounges; it makes me feel so smart! I'm here in the Budapest airport lounge using properly workig WiFi after two days of frustrations with various half-working systems, including the most annoying hotel system I have ever used at the Budapest SOfitel. (When it was a Hyatt they had WIFi that worked perfectly; now they have some godforsaken system that - says a friend - detects you are not French and makes it tough for you. You have to reboot to start it, and then again each time you close your browser, (inadvertently) pull out the cable, put it on standby...

Meanwhile, my own mail server is down and I can't get into my friend Eric's hotmail account (can't blame the Sofitel for that!?!), so I've been sending meeting follow-up e-mails by using my new LinkedIn account and inviting in the people I partlcularly liked. I'm using LinkedIn both because I'm hoping it will be useful, *and* because I want to write about it for Release 1.0. It's interesting to observe my own behavior...but my flight is now boarding. SO please, anyone with experience with any of these platforms - LinkedIn, Spoke , Contact Network, let me know. I hope to be up again soon at Bon voygage!
posted by Esther 5:17 AM

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I'm sitting here in a conference room on the second floor of the Marriott Grand in Moscow, enjoying the hotspot... And I'm realizing how hard it is to maintain a blog without frequent connectivity. I have WiFi in the apartment I'm staying in too, but by the time I get home I'm exhausted. Better to do it sitting on the sidelines at a meeting, near to the power outlet...

The meeting I'm at is for Luxoft, an outsourcing company pitching itself to the press, both US and Russian. "You're telling us business is great here and sucks [paraphrase] in the West, so why are you selling in the West?" asks one journalist. good question!

but the answer, of course, is that hard times make customers smarter buyers...and therefore they will buy from Luxoft.... [disclosure: I'm on the board of Luxoft's parent company, IBS Group.]

It's a pleasure to see the development in this country...even as the political tides continue to go in and out... I remember when it was a challenge to make a phone call here, and now I'm using WiFI...!!

Two days ago I went to see Yandex, Russia's answer to Google... THey are doing interesting things, and see the social-network aspect of links clearly... (And like Google, they are discreet about their technology!) Meanwhile, Russian radio is reporting Google's imminent IPO - small world!

posted by Esther 2:09 AM

Sunday, October 05, 2003

the attention divide - Bloggercon
I managed to attend only two panels at Bloggercon yesterday (plus social hours), but they were great… And I know it’s politically incorrect to blog so late after the fact, but the wireless was spotty.

In retrospect, despite all the inconclusive discussion about Utopia or dystopia, the issue I liked best was the campaign bloggers’ dilemma over control. There’s nothing more accountable than a campaign: If things go wrong, no matter whose fault, you lose... So campaign managers are traditionally loath to give up control of anything. The candidate must stay on message, and everything around him must be cheery – except for descriptions of the ills attributable to the incumbent or the other candidates.

Yet the essence of blogging is power to the people. Will the various campaigns allow feedback? Host bloggers? Etc. etc. What if we give up control and something bad happens? Of course, the answer is let the bloggers control one another. If someone says something stupid, someone else will reply. (Don’t dignify the idiots by having the candidate respond…)

And there are increasingly interesting tools to use. Why not something like Slashdot? Or Microsoft’s Netscan? A bow to Jeff Ubois, who is writing about Netscan for the next issue of Release 1.0. Think of when you walk into a party – the Bloggercon reception last night, for example. Some people are in the middle of crowds hanging eagerly on to a single person’s every word – Dave Winer, for example. In other groups, two people are debating, and others are listening – Doc Searls and Dave Weinberger, perhaps. Or one is asking and the other is talking: Chris Lydon and name-your-luminary. In other clumps, everyone is shouting. There are two-person exchanges where one is talking and the other is looking over his shoulder. On the periphery, Rageboy is muttering to other peripherors. A couple of people are near the food, silent. You can tell a lot without knowing anyone at all, and without hearing a word. The structure within any blog-circle is similarly telling: who is posting? And who is listening and commenting? Whose comments are inciting replies, and whose are ignored? There are tools that can show us that show us the community regulating itself, and that can help the community to do it better by making the structure visible. For example, Technorati, Feedster, Lafayette Project…

….or will they make us follow the crowd and ignore the peripherors, just as network tv does?

Then the second challenge. The first magic of blogging, of course, is that everyone can self-publish. Everyone has a voice. The tools makes that possible. But the next magic, much harder to achieve, is that everyone wants to be listened to.

What?!? the candidates don’t read every word the earnest bloggers post? Don’t they care? Won’t he (or occasionally she, though not at Bloggercon) reply to at least one question a day? After all, he spends quality time with “regular” reporters.

Amy Wohl made the interesting point of how long she has been giving speeches, but it wasn’t till she started blogging that she began to get all kinds of interesting feedback. But then she’s Amy Wohl; people listen to her, and want her attention back. Many other people may start to feel that they are publishing into a vacuum, especially each of the 2200-odd people that post to Dean blogs in a typical day (if I have my numbers right).

In the blogosphere, there’s no shortage of airtime, but there’s still a shortage of attention.

That is, there’s an attention divide: the candidates who get too much and give too little….. and the rest, who even en masse don’t have enough to give to satisfy all the world’s publishers, marketers and would-be stars, and who crave just a little for themselves.

[speaking of which, I know I should enable feedback and get more integrated into the blogosphere myself. Coming soon. Meanwhile, I’m at]

posted by Esther 7:39 AM

Friday, October 03, 2003

Congratulations ICANN!
Glad to see ICANN is talking tough, and VeriSign is capitulating. About time!!
posted by Esther 4:47 PM

Powered by Blogger


Esther's travelogue