I just finished watching "The Art of the Game" (embedded below), a documentary about the evolution of digital games as the dominant media format.
Me and computer games go back a long way. I got my first PC at the age of 7, a Commodore 64, with a briefcase of game cassettes. You would wait sometimes up to 20 minutes to load one game, which puts some things in perspective. It also came with a version of BASIC, which was my first exposure to programming.
3 years later I got my first IBM-Compatible computer, a venerable XT with a monochrome display. Again, my main use for it was gaming and occasionally fiddling with BASIC (mostly to run Snake, which was sample program included). My memory from that period includes games such as the original Civilization, X-Com: UFO defense and lesser known classics such as Another World and Alley Cat.
Continue reading How videogames shaped my path in life
Last week, my co-founder, Adam, and I, traveled to Japan. The official reason was being invited to the b-dash camp conference in Osaka by our Japanese investor, Tak Miyata of Scrum Ventures, and we piggy-backed on the opportunity to visit a country we both wanted to go to for a long time.
My history with Japan
I've been a fan of Japanese culture and entertainment for quite some time now. Japanese society has a lot of rules and preconceived notions, but once they break through that, they have no limit on their imagination.
Continue reading Travelogue: Japan
Most people are used to their smartphone lasting less than a full day. They plug it in at night and disconnect it in the morning. It might seem like a technical limitation of current batteries, but as it turns out, software plays a huge part.
I use a Samsung Galaxy S2 T989 (T-mobile version). It's almost 2 years old, but can last over 4 days on one charge. Here's how I did it:
Continue reading 4 days charge on an Android? Yes.
Today Robert Scoble came to visit our batch at the 500startups offices. He did some 1-on-1 sessions and later gave a free-form talk, mostly about Google Glass (not surprisingly), but also about reaching out to tech media. Here are a few bullet points from the talk -
- Know what every tech blogger likes to write about and approach them with stuff they care about. Robert is infatuated with Google Glass right now, so even if you have the shittiest Google Glass app (his own words) he would be interested, but if you have the most amazing WinXP app he will probably not.
- Get tons of traction and people will write about you (a given). Get everyone in your batch to say you're the "hot" company of the lot.
- Get intros from insiders and trusted people in the blogger's network. If Dave McClure gives a personal guarantee about your startup, Robert will likely write about it.
- Build something in a hot market. Everybody loves mobile and mobile is the future. Nobody cares about desktop. So build mobile - you'll get more love from bloggers.
This looks an awful lot like advice for fund raising. Robert has put himself and other prominent bloggers / tech blogs on the same level as investors as far as getting their attention is concerned. Is this a reasonable positioning for tech media?
Continue reading The awkward relationship of tech bloggers and startups
I've been watching from afar the outcry over the shutting down of Google Reader. Previously a heavy gReader user, I've gradually moved away from the service, the move coinciding very much with the emergence of Twitter as an effective content curation platform. Nowadays, when I find an interesting post / blog, I usually try to find the author's Twitter account and follow it. This way I not only get updates on new blog posts in realtime, I also get additional content via regular tweets that might be of interest.
The asymmetric Twitter following model really supports this behavior - for a long time I used Twitter almost exclusively as a content curation service. While my Google Reader account was getting out of hand with the guilt inducing +1000 unread items, with Twitter I never felt pressured to chase "Inbox zero" on my read count. I might miss some good content, but in most cases if it's interesting enough it will float up again and I'll catch it anyway.
With the deprecation announcement of Google Reader, many new RSS subscription services popped up / gained popularity, and I wonder whether they're catering to an inferior content publication approach. If you look at the Google Trends chart Andrew Chen put in a recent post, the downwards trajectory correlates well to the launch of Twitter (Mar. 2006).
My 2 main sources now for new + interesting content are Twitter and HackerNews. HackerNews pushes to the top the really popular items (so it's basically my actual "news" source), while with Twitter I can personalize my stream to suite my interests and preferences by managing the people I follow. I get introduced to new content via RTs and mentions, so my content stream is always expanding.
While I think RSS failed mostly on marketing and usage penetration for the average user, I also think it had problems scaling as your subscription inventory grew. I (and probably most people) don't have time to read everything interesting that crosses our way, and in that sense Twitter has become the content subscription service I actually needed.