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  • John Erik 1:32 pm on June 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Aneesh Chopra, America’s CTO, talks to Stanford — has an aside on immigration which I really like 

    As America’s first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra talks about what America is doing from within the White House to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

    At 16:00 Aneesh talks about America’s broken immigration system. Though it’s just an aside in his talk, I’m impressed he addresses the issue head on, lists associated problems accurately and follows with potential solutions that are being discussed.

    They are good solutions too, including giving a green card to those who complete a masters or phd (in specific fields) at a US school and the startup visa program (raise money, hire Americans, get a visa).

    He also said Obama called a discussion on the topic recently. Because Aneesh seems to be at least saying the right things about immigration (and from the rest of his talk so far seems like a very bright guy) that might also mean that the president and the other people in that discussion might actually be considering the things Aneesh is talking about—which would be great.

    Update: More on immigration reform at 48:20

    I haven’t finished listening to the talk, gonna get back to it and maybe add more if anything gets me excited.

    Thanks to Mathias for reminding me of these podcasts.

    –John at 2:27am in bed on iPhone in mong kok, hong kong

    Update: @23:00 he’s talking about Value-Based Healthcare (as opposed to Volume Based, explained around 20:30) and how (open) data can/will/should, for example, help doctors decide who they should see that day based on need and not on potential for income. Imagine data aiding with that decision making. He’s saying the government is offering incentives or bonuses for keeping people healthy, thus encouraging this “value-based” care as opposed to “volume-based.”

    Addressing healthcare (or energy or education for that matter) with a startup is so awesome and I love that Aneesh is on a roadshow to talk about it and promote it. This type of thing is why I love what Aza and crew are doing with

    38:30: Awesome examples of people/startups working on these things using government data, etc

    • Andy 10:22 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Dear John,
      We are an other group buying company in HK, we do more than just group buying, hope you like us. have a nice day!

      Best Regards

    • Johnc203 12:25 am on August 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

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    • ghulam 7:04 pm on September 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Sunny Leone porn

  • John Erik 8:51 am on April 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Visage One 

    Sitting at Visage One, single person barber shop by day little known eclectic music venue by night, and remembering the beauty of live music. Something I realize I took for granted living in Austin for so many years. In Austin I love so much places like Swan Dive, The Elephant Room and wherever the Spazmatics play. Slowly I think we are finding great places to enjoy live music here in Hong Kong. So far, Visage One is definitely top of the list.

    • Nate 1:51 am on May 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’d be interested to hear more updates about good live music venues in Hong Kong (if you are taking requests, that is). I spent a few weeks there recently and noticed that there wasn’t much of a live music scene, at least on the surface. Like you, I’ve also lived in Austin, where it difficult NOT to see a band, so it was a strange experience.

      I found your site (great site btw) while researching the Hong Kong taxi licensing system. Do you happen to know how the $650 per day fee is broken down? Car rental, license rental, etc?

  • John Erik 5:15 am on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Leanspa: acai weight loss scam ads 

    I was reading this article about my friend Scot who created a solar stove to combat indoor air pollution in rural China, when suddenly I was struck by the image and verbiage of an ad. Here it is:

    I’m sure this is a compelling ad for many. I think it’s actually clever. I thought it was funny how they used the copy “one 1 weird old tip.” I like copy that reads like the person is speaking, but this reads more like a YouTube comment. This ad is like the politician that tells you, “I’m just like you, brother. I come from a middle class …”. They really know how to speak your language, you know.

    So I clicked on the ad, which I often do because I love advertising, and it took me to this ridiculous landing page:

    The page is setup to look like the website of a real news agency, “Health News Channel 9.” It’s amazing. Most of the links on the page don’t actually work, but there are weather maps, youtube videos, the logos of all the major news networks. Check out the page source for another good laugh.

    Click any of the links and you will likely be taken to one of two other landing pages where pictures of models in oversized jeans may convince you to buy, er, get a free sample of their product.

    Today I tweeted about AppSumo‘s latest offer (which is free btw if you tweet), the “Hacker Monthly Startup Marketing Bundle”, most of the products in the bundle are related to A/B testing, creating good landing pages, and metrics. I look at these services and pray that the people using them are actually using them on their startups and not to convince less than savvy internet patrons to buy crap that, in all likelihood, is just a sugar pill.

    If you know people who might fall for this type of advertising, please ask them to just check with you first before they buy something. Then tell to visit this site and that they should not trust any that looks similar — long, lots of text, and trying to sell something = scam. If you are friends with people who are involved with making these types of sites or selling this type of thing, please tell them they are making you look bad.

  • John Erik 12:38 am on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    ubuyibuy’s Facebook page restored, quite quickly too. Sabotage? 

    Oh the drama of group buying in Hong Kong…

    They are back up, all 139,000 fans.

    Danny from ubuyibuy left a comment on my last post including the letter they received from Facebook.

    He also said in another comment that the new ubuyibuy Facebook page I talked about was not created by them.

    So, is someone trying to sabotage them by reporting their fan page, then creating a new page?

  • John Erik 11:02 am on November 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , groupon clones,   

    All group buying sites in Hong Kong 

    I can’t believe how many of these there are…


    Does anyone know of more? How about Macau?

    • Gary 12:29 am on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m Gary from Gobuya. Thanks for mentioning us!

    • Kenneth Kwok 2:31 am on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      John, You should try to get the list for China :)

    • Chief 4:24 am on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      U missed valuup and gigonzone

    • Michael 12:05 pm on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      For Macau, Twangoo is open there. But I dunno any Macau based group buying website. There is also an aggregator which gather all the deals:


    • Sandra 11:02 pm on November 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for the list, very useful. I only knew beecrazy, ubuyibuy and valuup so far.

    • Michelle 4:21 am on December 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Got pitched from another group buying site

    • Alexander 5:08 am on December 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi John Erik,
      thanks for the list. I arrive in Hong Kong Thuesday, flying in from Germany. Hope I can find a deal that fits for me ;)
      I will be in Hong Kong some weeks to meet interesting people interested in Startups and Ruby on Rails, so if you are interested, iwould love to meetup for a drink or so. Just send me an email.

      All the best for you,

    • Eric 11:28 am on January 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi! Can you make a similar list for group sites in Manila, Philippines? Thanks!

      • John Erik 10:14 am on January 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        That would be awesome! We’re working on stuff like this actually.

        Are you in the Philippines? Why Are you interested??

        • Eric 10:27 am on January 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Haha, yeah, I shuttle back and forth between Manila and HK. =)

          • John Erik 4:27 am on January 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

            ahh interesting. teaching ESL, or is this just some random gmail address. :)

            • Eric 4:43 am on February 10, 2011 Permalink

              Nope! Definitely not random. Took it during the early days of gmail. =)

    • da 12:01 pm on February 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      a new group buying website:

    • Kaysee 10:14 pm on March 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Vespera its funny bc I find some of their deals are overpriced when I check on the website. its not ethical for consumers

    • Emily 11:49 pm on April 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    • Vanessa 8:34 pm on May 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Just when I thought I’d be missing all those crazy deals because there are too many of them to screen, someone has come up with a great idea of compiling them into a single list! Brilliant! Thanks for the effort, keep up the good work!

    • Cruise 10:44 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply is a very good Hong Kong group buying site that offers excellent services..

    • Cruise 11:13 pm on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      You left this one out… very popular site in Hong Kong

    • Tang 10:58 am on July 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      u miss this

    • henry 8:10 am on July 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      • henry 8:11 am on July 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        it is new… it just started couple days ago.

    • Sico 10:39 pm on August 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      It’s the first charity groupbuy site in HongKong! :)

      • Bubba 3:46 am on August 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Shop for Better is the first and only charity group buy site. We donate 33% or more of our net profit to charities. The current beneficiary is Chi Heng Foundation Hong Kong which is supporting the education for more than 10,000 orphans and children impacted by HIV/AIDS infected by blood selling at various villages in China.

        I admire your dedication to charities, but 33%? I wish you luck staying in business in this market. Or, you simply pay out huge salaries to your bosses to ensure minimal profit. I’m afraid, ultimately this business model will not ensure you success in this space.

    • Shop For Better Groupbuy hk 8:34 am on August 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      They are the first charity groupbuy site. Have a look at their info & deals.

      Thanks! ^^

    • Jason McKenzie 1:19 pm on September 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hello Everyone.

      Visit us at:

      To celebrate the opening launch of “Catch the Deal”. We are giving away an Apple Ipad 2 and a trip for two to Boracay with accommodation included.
      All you have to do is “Like our Facebook Page” and “Register” on the website ( Its that easy and its free….

      Good Luck to Everyone.

      Thank you from the Catch the Deal team…

    • Topaz 3:45 am on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Jigocity does a lot of Macau deals as well as Hong Kong deals, there is a link but I’m not sure what it is.

    • The Swiss Expat 4:33 pm on January 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Which ones have the best deals? Especially for hotels?

    • Andy 10:26 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Dear John,
      Yes we are another one,, Hope you can put us in your list is well, have a nice day!

      Best Regards

    • Brian 2:45 am on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi John,

      Just to add onto your list there (if you don’t mind):

      We are an aggregator/database site that brings together all of the other daily deals & group-buying sites in Hong Kong. We also have other value-added services such as Reviews and a resell Marketplace for unused and unwanted vouchers.

      Happy deal hunting!

  • John Erik 3:54 am on November 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Is ubuyibuy buying Likes? Do others do this as well? 

    Now that ubuyibuy’s Facebook page (which had 130,000+ Likes) is down, they’ve created another one: … now at 19 fans.

    I clicked one of the people who liked ubuyibuy’s new page. They live in Pennsylvania. Ok, possible. But they also have liked 1147 pages. Who likes that many pages? I’m pretty active on facebook, and pretty keen to like things I actually, um, like. I’m at 189 likes.

    So, is there an underground liking-ring that I don’t know about?

    (More …)

    • Danny Yeung 1:23 am on November 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dear John,

      This is not uBuyiBuy’s page. I also left a comment on the page to advise people not to like the page. This is definitely a competitor trying to sabotage us and impersonate us. We are working on the issue and hope to have it resolved shortly. Thank you

      Danny Yeung

    • Danny Yeung 7:41 pm on November 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dear John,

      We had brought the attention of our fake facebook page to facebook which they immediately shut down. Also, we had figured out the reason via response from facebook on why our facebook fans page was inadvertently disabled for the weekend. It was due to our profile name not matching with a real person, I wish facebook would of at least given us a warning about this. I do have to say Facebook was very quick to restore the account as they restored it once it was USA working hours. It was a very minor thing and glad it was resolved so quickly. In case anyone is interested, the email is from facebook.

      Hi ,

      We noticed that the profile held under this email address is being used to maintain a Facebook presence for a brand, business, group, or organization. Facebook profiles are intended to represent individuals only, and it is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to use Profiles to represent any other entities.

      If you do not have a personal Facebook account, please sign up for a new one at and add yourself as an admin for all your Facebook Pages. This profile must be an authentic representation of yourself but not of your company.

      Be assured that the people who connect with your Pages will not be able to see or access to your personal profile. Any actions that you take as a Page administrator on your Page will show the Page’s name as the actor and not your personal name.

      After that, please deactivate or delete the current account that is in violation of our policy.

      Complete these steps within the coming week. Please be aware that we enforce the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities appropriately when we encounter violations on the site or receive reports of violations. If accounts like this currently exist on the site, it is only because they have not yet been reported and removed.

      If you have additional questions regarding Facebook products and features, feel free to visit our Help Center at the following address:

      Thanks for your understanding,

      User Operations

    • Judy Ng 10:42 pm on January 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Danny,
      I got some questions for you, would you please kindly send me an email?

      John- sorry for the spam. I love reading your blog.

      • John Erik 10:47 pm on January 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        No worries, Judy. But Danny won’t be able to email you unless you post your email address.

  • John Erik 3:23 am on November 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Where did ubuyibuy’s 130,000 Facebook fans go? 

    Update: they didn’t go anywhere. And in fact they are already up to 140k (nov 10). ubuyibuy’s CEO explains more in the comments

    (More …)

    • Danny Yeung 1:15 am on November 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dear John,

      This is Danny Yeung with uBuyiBuy, I had previously written on your blog. Yes, it is a fact that we do have over 130,000 fans on facebook. There was nothing sketchy we did on facebook. As group buying has taken off quite fast in Hong Kong and we have been offering great deals to Hong Kong citizens, it became viral very fast in which friends of friends just kept adding us. Certainly, we also promoted ourselves via facebook ads along with our two ambassadors of Van Ness Wu and MC Jin which promoted us early on as well.

      We have been trying to get in contact with facebook so that our page is back up and the new page which you mentioned is NOT our company fan page. I suspect it is one of our competitors which hired a bunch of people to report our original page as spam, and have it know another one of our page just happened to pop up. We are also reporting the new page as not ours and hopefully that can be taken down very shortly. It is a shame when one company has to go to these depths to try to gain an advantage as in the long run, these tactics will never prove to be worthwhile. Thank you


      • Jorne Digweed 3:01 am on November 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Honestly I think you’re lying considering that even GROUPON itself, combining all the big cities on the first page when you search Groupon including NY and LA + Groupon’s main fanpage of 64,000 doesn’t even equal to as many likes as your company’s facebook page in just Hong Kong.

    • John Erik 3:09 am on November 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Haha, that’s was my thinking too and why I originally posted this stuff. Also I knew other people faking their numbers. I don’t know though. People in Hong Kong seem to Like things much more that other places (like America). … I think I read somewhere that more people per capita in HK use Facebook than anywhere else.

    • Danny Yeung 5:21 am on November 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad we can all have a good conversation here on this topic and rather provide facts and figures on this topic so we can all make a decision. Yes, Groupon if you look at even their biggest cities does not reach the numbers we have. This is due to a variety of reasons, Groupon’s main delivery message to it’s database is not through facebook but rather through their EDM database. They put a very strong emphasis on email and analyzing email bahavior. Another reason is that you have to remember the USA is so spread out that it is hard to have a huge concentration of fans in one particular city. The advantage in Hong Kong is that it is so dense and everyone seems to know everyone else. Once a product or anything is popular, it really spreads like wildfire. Additionally, as John had mentioned, Facebook is extremely popular in Hong Kong with almost 3 million facebook users in which you have a total HK population of over 7 million. Due to this staggering fact of almost 43% of population on facebook, facebook in Hong Kong is a much more widely used medium even instead of email. Now this is just my personal take on facebook versus email for Hong Kong. I believe it is opposite in the USA in which I have spent a quite deal of time as well. Below is the link which shows the # of Hong Kong facebook users.

      If you look at our current 140k fans on facebook, it is very small compared to actual facebook users in Hong Kong. We have studied and tried to best maximize our marketing and brand awareness on Facebook, it is not overnight but through a series of trial and error and discussing with some top experts on facebook. Facebook is also very strict on their TOS so we would never do anything not adhering to meeting the standards as why risk getting your page shut down when we know it is one of our main communication channels to our valued fans. I also do believe in the most fair practice in business for everyone, not just us. It is never right to bad mouth anyone, including any competitors just for the sake of the opportunity. As long as everyone is focused on the core business, good outcomes will occur.

      Thank You


      • Jorne Digweed 10:18 pm on November 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t doubt the that Hong Kong has alot of facebook users in a dense area. However, the other fact is that it is also very true many companies in Hong Kong and China tend to cheat in business. I’ve talked to many people who work in even the biggest companies in Hong Kong about inside activity that isn’t fair practice like fixing their accounting numbers. I won’t name names of course, but this isn’t anything new in Hong Kong. China is known to copy others and Hong Kong is no exception. If you were the originator of this group buy idea, I would shut up, but it’s hard to believe what you’re saying from a person who took the complete layout of, changed a few things and called it UBuyIBuy. Then you have (another HK company) which looks exactly the same except it’s flipped. It’s hard to believe for instance like to have 74,000 fans and barely have any advertising. So what makes your company the exception? Besides giving very general statistics of HK and saying Groupon doesn’t concentrates more on emails doesn’t say enough for such a staggering fanbase difference. UBuyIBuy is popular, but Groupon is the most popular worldwide they’ve been out for 2 years and you’ve been out…4 months? So what solid proof do you have that can show that you didn’t buy your fans?

        • Jorne Digweed 10:20 pm on November 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          sorry i meant concentrates more on emails*

    • Danny Yeung 4:02 am on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Jorne,

      Thanks for your response. I’m not going to comment on the practices of other companies in this space as even if I did know any unfair practices, I would not comment on it. I’m focused on making our company grow and by providing the best deals to our fans. Social Media will not happen overnight, it takes lots of trials and errors and I do believe our staff has done everything to maximize our Social Media online. In fact, Paypal and our company had a e-Commerce seminar in which we talked about these exact same subjects and one of the key things is that we would not look for short term gains and would not risk our company future to engage in anything which is deemed not appropriate. Certainly, not all companies think this way but it is the way we and our staff believe in. One thing that you can look at is how our voucher sales have been increasing over the past few months, if these fans were not real fans, our numbers would not have increased so drastically. Additionally, as I previously mentioned, we do spend money on facebook advertising which I’m sure all of the group buying websites including Groupon and Livingsocial do, this is one of the most effective ways of gaining facebook fans. It just depends on the budgets of different companies on what each company can spend on a monthly basis. Thanks!


    • Bono 1:14 am on December 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      all these sites miraculously pop up out of nowhere with 30,000 fans… ubuyibuy included…

      • John Erik 3:08 am on December 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I think they are real. People in HK are just crazy about Liking things. I heard Gobuya ran a contest giving away an a couple iPads to people who Liked their page, they posted about it in a forum and then someone from a radion channel read about it and gave them so airtime to call in and announce the offer. In two days they had 10,000 new fans. ubuyibuy has used for creating sweepstakes on facebook.

  • John Erik 8:52 am on October 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Hong Kong Taxi Driver Economics 

    • Cost to have a Hong Kong taxi license (per car): HKD$1.5M, usually held by corporation, not individual drivers
    • Cost to driver to rent taxi: HKD$650 for 24 hours (drivers usually work 12 hours per day – sometimes illegally letting a friend use their taxi while they sleep)
    • Drivers take home everything above the $650, usually about HKD$350-400 on weekdays (that’s ~USD$50) and up to HKD$1,000 on weekends (~USD$120)
    • Drivers generally work 6 days a week (Ours had two kids. Hong Kong is not a cheap city.)

  • John Erik 9:00 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Location of photo files on iPhone 

    Directory: /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM/100APPLE use

  • John Erik 9:30 pm on October 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Quick Idea: Google Alerts to RSS to About-Me Page 

    I’ve always liked the idea of “On your claimID page, you can create a profile of all the sites that comprise your identity.” Michelle Greer puts it’s nicely on her page, “ClaimID lets me show you who I am and what I’ve done versus just telling you. That’s why I like it.”

    Michelle’s page for example has links to posts related to marketing campaigns she’s worked on, articles she’s been quoted in, articles that talk about her specifically, etc.

    ClaimID never took off. Michelle could be doing the same thing on her blog with just a page and some bulleted lists.

    There are lots of nifty things that ClaimID does that I won’t get into. I’ve never used the service much because it doesn’t solve any real pain points for me. Externally the site is just a place for users to have bulleted lists.

    ClaimID got me thinking about this several years ago; and some recent work has brought it up again.

    Not sure if the mock-up is legible. The key is: track things (in this case about yourself), then as they come in, toss them into buckets, display some on a claimID style page, burry others or mark them as not relevant.

    • John Roescher 11:12 pm on October 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You could do this pretty easily with WordPress and a plugin called WP-O-Matic.
      I could think of more complicated ways to do it but going this route you could also be archiving these items.

  • John Erik 2:19 am on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Hong Kong’s First Coworking Space – Boot.HK 


  • John Erik 11:21 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    No startup costs, just connections. Twenty percent of hire’s salary for a year. Spend time getting to know people.

    • Robin 11:31 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      It’s not as easy as you think. :)

      • John Erik 5:05 am on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        You’re probably right. I was just talking to a friend about it.

  • John Erik 12:33 pm on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Gross, TweetUp,   

    The future of advertising – TweetUp from my perspective 

    Okay, so what are these two things? Well, the first one is something I mocked up in mid ’09*, and the other is a screenshot of TweetUp which appears in the TechCrunch sidebar, and perhaps many other blogs (actually I’ve never seen it anywhere else). I took the screenshot about 5th months ago when it first came out. I’m not posting this to say that I came up with the idea of TweetUp. This layout has always existed, in fact I used something that used to appear in Mashable’s sidebar as my basic template. (Oh, and I know Nova’s Twitter bio doesn’t actually say that. That’s my bio. I was just using it as filler.)

    I thought of mocking this up after reading the following from John Battelle:

    What I do know is that Google is testing a Twitter-related ad product through its AdSense network. That one you can take to the bank.  It’s not particularly innovative* – it lets brands run a Twitter feed through their Adsense buy, from what I’ve heard, but at least it shows Google sees Twitter as worthy of grokking.

    This made so much sense to me I made this mockup and sent it to my friend Dusty who had just started a site called I was so excited about this idea. So excited. There was, and still is, a story around it.

    If I was CEO of TweetUp, if I was Bill Gross, I would do a campaign about the future of advertising, the future of interacting with brands. More and more we will Follow and Like the brands we associate with, so long as they continue to know how to speak to us. TweetUp should be saying: This is the future. The future is in connecting directly with brands you like, adding them to your profile. Perhaps being more public about the way the brands and people we follow makeup who we are. Before it was only information known by a few big data mining company, now we voluntarily share. Target me. No problem. Maybe I do want to buy what you are selling. I would position my company as being there to help people find the brands or individuals they associate with. Now on Twitter and later on other services, wherever that might be.

    Back to reality. TweetUp still isn’t distinguishing between sponsored and regular results. I wonder why?

    Let’s relate the value of TweetUp in another way, pain points: I’m reading content that I’m engaged with, say a blog post about the semantic web. I determine I want to continue my learning, my following of the growth of the semantic web. I realize this after reading an article and at that point want make sure that there will be some info about the semantic web coming my way. In the old day (not really) perhaps I would signup for a newsletter, add a blog to my Google Reader, etc., now I just click follow. Liking is different that Following. Liking adds it to your list, but it doesn’t mean that the brand can now contact you. It’s doesn’t have much depth. At this point. (Btw, I’m not talking about Liking and Following only as they relate to Facebook and Twitter, though they are leading their respective actions/buttons, I’m talking on a conceptual level of what Like or Follow mean when you see them on any social site.)

    Now, the product has to be good at two things. 1.) helping to solve this pain point by creating a search engine–a la Google–where the best Twitter accounts (be it brands, blogs, people, whatever) related to what I’m reading show up in an accessible way. So you need a PageRank type system to elevate quality and a way to analyze what the user is reading or looking at so you can feed your PageRank-type system the most accurate information. It seems the PageRank system for Twitter would have to involve verified profiles. Say we apply a high value rank to them, then the people they follow get some of that juice, etc. etc. If you are followed by several verified profiles perhaps your quality could even excede that of a verified user. From there it’s about analyzing their  Tweets to get a sense of what they actually talk about. Also if you know who they actually are, their real names, etc., then you can buy/connect to other sources of information to make things more accurate. Anyhow, ProfileRank and content analysis those would be your goals. Like a recommendation engine, just recommending to follow. But think of the value of that as a brand or as a person. You get to talk to people who genuinely have an interest in you and you get to do it all day long because they are subscribed to you. If people stop following you, then you can look at collective data about them, what commonalities they might share (based on an analysis of their Twitter stream, etc.). Perhaps they were people you wanted to alianate, perhaps they weren’t and you need to look at the story and the culture you are expressing via these channels.

    The 2nd to be good at: Connecting. Say for example, there are lots of people who are experts in their field, but maybe they are late to get on to Twitter or only a small faction know about them, etc. Same goes for brands. Well, now you can give them the opportunity to connect with people who are reading, searching, whatever, for what they are an expert in, what they are selling, etc. This is the Google AdSense model that Battelle was talking about.

    This is just a little thing, but to me it is a sign of what is to come. Society’s collective mindset, specifically that of the Millennials in the West, and how business reacts to it and shapes to it.

    Update: Looks like TweetUp just changed their name to PostUp. Funny that there was a post about TweetUp while I was writing about them. Smart move not to just rely on Twitter. Really I think it should be a product of another larger company that can talk about a larger vision. On other thing I wanted to mention was why I originally thought of this today. I was looking at how many people follow (Hong Kong most popular group buying site) on Facebook: over 100,000 thousand. That’s more than TechCrunch. I think it’s a sign of how people will interact with media in the future. That or the guys promoting uBuyiBuy are just really good and mixed with that is the fact that Hong Kong has the most Facebook users per-capita (don’t quote me on that).

    *If you are still confused about what this is: It’s a blog plugin or java script that suggests Twitter users to follow based on what you are reading. In my example on the left you’re reading about the semantic web and it’s making recommendations, the people at the top paid the most in an auction to be there, a-la Google AdSense. There is a rev share with blogs who use the plugin.

  • John Erik 7:00 am on August 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Thinking differently about work, as a Millennial 

    I realize there is a difference between the way I think and the way, it seems, others think. This is specifically related to business relationships and personal brands. Is it generational? Perhaps it’s only really related to technological adoption? Regardless…

    People might say, Twitter and Facebook are toys people use to keep up with friends and family. Updating things like Facebook take too much time.

    To me, the people I work with should be my Facebook friends. If they use Twitter, I hope to follow them there too. I don’t see such a thick seperation between “life” and work.

    I have a personal brand that I maintain. I have a domain ( where things that shape that personal brand feed into. This includes quick, short updates about my life from Twitter and/or Facebook, my resume from LinkedIn, and long form thoughts/posts from my blog. I might also include links to my photos from Flickr or Facebook, or videos I’ve uploaded to YouTube (generally these have been captured with my phone).

    Regardless of the company I work for, I have my own personal vision, mission statement, and ethics. While they may not be as sculpted as a corporate mission statement, I’ve developed these and thought about these since college. I hope to have a personal brand that is so strong, and enough connections, or friends, that people will want to work with me even as an individual, should I become unemployed. To me, working for a corporation or firm means they are so good, that I will learn so much from working there, so much I could never learn on my own, that I commit completely and passionately to to that company. I expect a company to want and expect me to have a personal brand. A personal brand that I will humbly place under their larger brand. I expect to feel apart of that larger brand, a part of a larger team, working for a larger purpose. I expect the company I work for to use it’s size and strength to effect positive change or give back in some way to the world; and I expect the company to offer me opportunities to participate in their philanthropic efforts.

    My verbiage is often “the company I work with” as opposed to “…work for.”

    • Benjamin Hurt 9:34 am on October 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Right on. Keep it up. No doubt in my mind you are attracting the types of opportunities that come your way through this attitude and mindfulness.

  • John Erik 2:02 am on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , iPhone app   

    An iPhone app I want to make that helps people make sentences in Chinese 

    Several time per day I look up Chinese words using the app on my iPhone. Often my goal is a sentence. I look up several words at a time that I will need for saying or text-messaging a sentence in Chinese. I usually know the correct way to say it and all the small connecting words, it’s the nouns I forget. For sentences, tools like Google Translate are generally not accurate beyond the most simple phrase, also they require an internet connection which can be spotty or too slow to bother with in mainland China. Searching the dictionary one word at a time is not an efficient way to create a sentence either.

    So, I mocked this up. Write English words. Search. Select the proper characters/Chinese words to form your sentence. If words or phases are in the wrong order, drag up or down to correct them. Copy and paste, save, or just read aloud.

    Perhaps a later version would have some simple Chinese grammar structures the user could drag in and place words into.

    I’ll also say, Chinese dictionaries could benefit from cross referencing their search results with a Chinese character/word frequency lists such as: This way, when I lookup a word I don’t know, the most frequently used corresponding Chinese word appears at the top. (I know this would not work in all cases, but definitely most.) Since cross-referencing would likely decrease search speed, I suggest only showing the top 3 or 4 results and allow the user to press “show more” if need be. I’d also love to be able to mark words with tags, remove them from search results, and add example sentences. All this could even be synced back up to a main source or to help everyone.

    • John Erik 2:09 am on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I actually wrote this post and mocked this up last year… thus the slightly off translation.

    • Ian 2:19 am on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I could see how this would work, BUT the important step would be to recognize how to put the sentences in the proper order. Maybe divvi this into two apps, one for tourists that just need help to get around (so you could select pre-determined words like “Where” and “Bathroom”… etc), and then another more advanced app for students. Something that would recognize parts of speech and help put the parts in the right place. You should still have my email, discuss?

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