Friday, September 25, 2009

Will Twitter win me over?

I had a talk with Ray Valdes about my skepticism around the twitter business model. Don't get me wrong, I think Twitter has huge value. I just question the grandiose valuation of 15 Billion dollars. Why? Well for one, I don't see a legitimate way to advertise directly to users without pushing them away. The indirect approach isn't yet earning them dollars. And while there is a lot of potential up-sell opportunities, one would think, they would be in motion by now. There is a lot of money to be made by doing analytics over the data and selling it as research, but Twitter's openness makes me believe that anyone can do this. Perhaps I haven't read all the fine print.

Regardless, even if I haven't bought into the price tag yet, I still question it's value to me. As someone who was involved in the social internet from day one, I have been a very tentative user of the system. I registered with them early in the first year of their existence. But I never really enjoyed the short blast to the ether. And since then, even with all of the research I have been doing, I never find myself using it as a source. Simply put, I have always found the @ and # to simply be too much noise. Sifting through basketball, football, and what I ate for lunch info from people I'm not close too, doesn't add any value to my life. I much prefer the tidbits from my social network, once MySpace, now Facebook. And when I look at some of the folks like Scoble who seems to tweet more than write anymore. I must say, I still prefer his more well thought out rants to his tweets.

Sure if I was at a conference and wanted to know what I was missing in other sessions, I may just plug in. But other than that....

Hmm, but maybe I have been using the tool incorrectly. Maybe I am simply following too few people and not a broad enough sample or perhaps focused sample. Really, what I need is to get a broader perspective and do some analysis on what the conversation of the day is.

Why would I care about this? I have always seen the value of getting the news before the news hits the wire, and if I were responsible for PR at any company, I would be all over Twitter. But outside of work, in my day to day life, why would knowing the news a day before it is published be valuable? Day Trading!

So my experiment begins. Can knowing the temperature of the tweetosphere lead me to know what the news will be about a day later and thus know how a stock will move?

Let's see if Twitter can finally win me over.

Tools I'm in love with on the Mac

Okay, so a couple of years ago I bought a Mac and felt some level of remorse. Yes, remorse. While there were moments of being overjoyed e.g. seeing my photographs with more vivid colors, iMovie editing, iChat, and a unix based OS. For the most part, I felt less productive. And my #1 frustration was lack of synchronization with my SmartPhone.

Why? Well, the reality was that some of my applications just weren't either a) as good or b) available. So I went back to the PC for a year.

Recently I decided it was time to upgrade my PC. I was very frustrated one day when I was trying to leave the house but Internet Explorer took an hour to upgrade only to find it wasn't as good as Chrome and ultimately looked like a rip off of FireFox. This drove me to go buy a new Powerbook for my personal computer.

With my new PowerBook, I can honestly say, I don't feel any remorse... YET. In fact, my only remorse was that I did not buy a larger hard drive because I am installing so much goodness.

Here are some of the awesome tools I have found:

  • Think or Swim (Up to you how much money you make or lose ;) My day trading app is on the Mac, I thought for sure I would have to keep my PC for this one.
  • Dupin ($15) - Yes, finally something to get rid of my duplicate songs in iTunes
  • TinkerTools (free)- Opens up the hidden controls on the Mac
  • Chmox (free) - Helps me read online books with .chm extensions
  • Stuffit Expander (free)
  • Senuti ($18) - To pull my songs off my iPod and onto my new computer
  • Vuze - For Bittorrents
  • Little Snitch ($29.95 - works for 3 hours in demo mode) - to tell me what my network is up to and block communication I don't want. This has been awesome when you are on sites that have a lot of callbacks to advertising firms etc. Also this a great tool to identify a potential worm or virus.
  • TextMate ($59) - Simple text editor for code
  • Site Sucker (Donation) - To help me in my consultancy work. I can easily archive a client's old web-site for later reference. Also it is great when I am trying to learn. I can easily look at someone's web code
  • VLC (free) - Media player
If you have any other great tools like these, let me know about them. I would love something as good as TextMate for cheaper.