Sunday, February 18, 2007

This Looks Very Interesting

The Right Connections
As told to Darren Dahl
From, via Yahoo!

Imagine surfing the Web and being able to see not only where your friends are hanging out online in real-time, but also where they've been before. And the more you surf, the smarter your browser gets at recommending new sites for you and your friends to visit.
Whether you consider this dream a Web 2.0 breakthrough or the dawn of Big Brother, this next-generation online tool is now a reality thanks to Me.dium, the social networking software maker in Boulder, Colo. The company tabbed Kimbal Musk, a storied veteran of the early dot-com days, as CEO in January 2006.

Though Me.dium is only available today as a plug-in to Mozilla's Firefox, an Internet Explorer version will debut later this year. [...]

[Kimbal sez:] "After college, my brother and I moved to California. We got jobs at an early Internet startup that provided online maps and directions. We then decided to start our own company that would sell address information. We founded Zip2 in 1995 and, four years later, we had evolved into a content-management aggregator for companies like the New York Times and Knight Ridder. We were able to tie information about classified ads down to local street data. We were acquired by Compaq, which owned AltaVista at the time, in 1999.

"After the sale, I moved to New York City to work for a company called FunkyTalk, which was supposed to be an early online community, like a precursor to MySpace. Then everything crashed in April 2000 and we decided to shelve the business plan. I did have a big break in that I was an early angel investor in PayPal, which worked out OK.

"But I decided I was done with software. I went to cooking school instead. and after graduating, I moved to Boulder, where I opened a restaurant called The Kitchen. [...]

"[But in January of 2006 I had a chance to] look at the Me.dium prototype. What I saw was so fundamentally interesting and core to what was missing on the Internet, I was blown away. It was a real 'a-ha' moment for me.

"The idea behind the product is to take your blinders off while you surf the Web and actually interact with other people. Using the Internet is the loneliest thing you can do. In real life, your interactions with other people when you walk down the street influence your decisions. What Me.dium does is match you with people like yourself by using real-time and historical information about how you browse to steer you toward other people like you. [...]

"[B]rowsing along with other people [is] a right-hand turn to what people are used to, and will change people's entire way of thinking about the Internet. We're revealing the hidden world of activity behind your browser."

This is what it does.

I'm going to check this out. It may enhance the experience of being on-line, or it might just be annoying.

But half of what I do on-line is purely social, anyhow, so for me it might be a good fit. And hey, how good is their timing, with Time mag naming the type of person that "Me".dium's hoping to convert to users as the latest "Person of the Year" ?


I happened to run across mention of Kimbal's brother, who looks like he's having fun too:

Elon Musk
Age: 33

Company: PayPal, an online payment service based in San Jose
Founded: Early 1999
Sold to: eBay for $1.5 billion in stock in June 2002. Musk owned 11%.
Big Post-Sale Splurge: A $250,000 L39, the fighter plane trainer used by the Soviet bloc during the Cold War

Explanation: This isn't Musk's first success. After dropping out of Stanford, he founded a newspaper software company, Zip2, and sold it to Compaq for $300 million in 1999. He then bought a McLaren F1, the fastest car on the road (and one of the most expensive, with a $1.2 million price tag).

"A fighter jet sounds expensive, but it's really just a fun little thing," says Musk of his latest toy, which can pull up to 8Gs. His main investment has been $50 million in his new company, SpaceX, which develops rockets to launch satellites and -- someday -- people into space.

For now, Musk, who lives in Bel Air, Calif., is keeping himself closer to earth, despite occasional L39 acrobatics. "I'm going to curtail that sort of activity," he says, citing his wife and two kids. "It does have an ejection seat, though."


Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Isn't the non-real time aspect of this interaction one of the key benefits?

The one social interaction thing I have seen that I liked (which, of course, seems to have disappeared without a trace) was a website that let you put notes on third party web pages that your "friends" could also see. Imagine being able to have our own, private, post-Judd annotations on posts at BrosJudd. That, my friend, would be the cool.

February 18, 2007 2:03 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

Yes, part of the appeal of blogs over chat rooms, for me, is the ability to form complete and complex positions, and to have a discussion over several days or even weeks.

But Me.dium isn't just chat, although it appears to support that function.

February 18, 2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger EVadvocate said...


Along those lines here is an interesting website:

It groups websites into "channels" of similar genres. It allows for more focused surfing.

February 21, 2007 8:44 AM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

Thanks, EV

February 22, 2007 7:27 AM  

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