The Things I Care About

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

One of the important distinctions that we often have to make for Touchstone is that a personal relevancy engine is very different to a recommendation engine. It does forma part of the puzzle, but we feel that there is enough recommendation engines out there, but not enough engines which filter down the noise, based on many of the same principals.

Let me share a brief story with you:

Touchstone shares its office with another development team (a start-up doing other…stuff). We all get along very well and the teams work play nicely together. Today I started conversation based on an alert I got from Touchstone. During the conversation (about a possible cure for AIDS) someone asked:

“Where do you get all your medical news? Because I’ve got my Tech news covered, but I am interested in Medical Science, but don’t ever get exposed to it.”.

And I honestly had no idea.

I had no clue, because it was actually Touchstone that told me, and like many other’s when Touchstone is doing its job (which is infrequently because I am always running the least stable and most experimental version available) I couldn’t care less about the “source”. I don’t feel I NEED to know. I replied “I don’t know, umm, prolly Reuters?”

This got me thinking. Does the source matter? How and more importantly should Touchstone suggest new sources of information to you over time? Where does Touchstone stop being a personal relevancy engine and start being a personal recommendation system? Should it start tracking new sources with or without your permission?

The Googlefly Effect (or Google Farts and the World Pays Attention)

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Disparity seems to be trailing Google like bad smell these days. I’m not sure if it’s just “tall poppy syndrome” and the recent acts by Google are mere coincidence, but I am not so sure anymore.

As Google has grown comfortable as the powerhouse of Bubble 2.0 throwing away the mantra of early 21st century corporate-political philosophy of: Trust me, I’m [Google] [the president] [your local utility company]; replacing it with a form of commemorative inscription where they have to specifically remind themselves to be nice! Are they succumbing to the weak-ass corruption at the top of the service industry “food chain”?

I personally am tired of how much clout they have, and while I do recognise their place in the IT world, it’s getting tiring, that every time Google Farts it’s a headline!

As a founder of a start-up, and knowing many other people with their own start-ups, it means it’s even harder to get traction and cut through the noise. Breaking down the two biggest barriers for young [self-funded] startups, Mr. Apathy and Mrs. Ignorance. This wouldn’t be so bad on its own, save the latest piles of crap to leave the [Google] Campus, like Google Talk, Google Video, Google Docs & Spreadsheets to name a few. In fact, I would go so far as to say the only good things (outside search and ad networking) Google owns have been outside acquisitions. Overall their latest products have been sub-standard, uninspiring and have diminished the effect of others doing a same (and probably better) job.

I guess all this “Google Bashing” could be a good thing though, it was getting old hating Microsoft all the time 😉