Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

Nsyght- Social Search Bookmark Drive

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The guys over at Nsyght have asked that I help spread the word about their “bookmark drive”:

Nsyght is building what we hope to be a new type of social search, a search that is directly driven and personalized by your bookmarks. What does that mean? It means we only search what you tell us to by the bookmarks you submit. The more bookmarks, the more pages and sites we crawl.

While we are just an alpha, our technology already does just that. But in order to grow and show more general searches (ie a search that does not match any pages in your bookmark list) we need more bookmarks to be populated in our system. Now if you have a delicious or magnolia account, we make this rather easy. Just tell us your username details and we will do the rest.

If you have any friends or buddies in your social network that has a lot of bookmarks, ask them to stop on by to help us out. The more bookmarks we get, the better and more custom Nsyght’s search will be.

I signed up when they took the wrappers off in September and I’ve “donated” 1,500 bookmarks since then. So, sign up, dive in and help out- your search results will thank you.

And while you’re there, add me as a “friend” so that our search results get better as well…

Filed under: Search

Microsoft invests in Facebook at $15 billion

The Wall Street Journal has a good overview and recap of the negotiation process.

Facebook is reported to have circa $150 million in revenue currently (and are launching their own advertising platform shortly). As a point of reference, Facebook’s revenue is worth 7.1x more on a price/sales basis than Google.

Looking back at the last round of venture funding, Accel participated in the $25 million round at a whopping $500 million pre-money. This was before the site was adding 200,000 users per day. Not a bad paper return given the price they bought in at… Now, how long until Facebook a) implodes or b) goes public?

Filed under: Other, Venture Capital

Tumblr Funding

Union Square Ventures announced blogged their investment in Tumblr yesterday.

I set up a Tumblr account in early summer and it’s been silently collecting all my posts from TechBytes, my posts from Twitter, delicious links and Flickr public photos. It does give a good “global” snapshot of my online activity- which is a good thing.

I’ve been grappling with posting something on Twitter and posting on TechBytes- but Tumblr captures both. Blogs are about conversations- microblogs are about communicating and community. I have to admit, Tumblr gets pretty close to blog nirvana- but;

I haven’t figured out if you can configure private messages and posts (for friends) alongside public info. Also if they can roll cocomment style comment tracking into the mix, they’re really off to the races…

Filed under: Software, Venture Capital

iPhone Apps

Wakoopa_iphone_screenshot A cool European company I met at the Future of Web apps, Wakoopa, have introduced an iPhone version of their site that helps you track iPhone (web)applications. That should help tide you over until the SDK gets released early next year…

Filed under: iPhone

Symbian Smartphoneshow

I heard from DoCoMo, Vodafone and Nokia this morning (but Sling Media stole the show in the early afternoon).

I wanted to highlight a few key points that jumped out at me:

Smartphones represent LESS than 10% of the market in every western country except Italy

Smartphones are primarily used by males, over 35 earning circa six figures (except Italy).

Smartphone use is going from “snacks” to “utilities” (no mention of Italy)

Wow.

The smartphone show as really packed- and they’re all rushing for sub 10% market? Obviously, this is going to grow and obviously more services are going to become available, but today’s conference has really reinforced how risky it is to be making early stage investments in the mobile application space (unless there’s a solid web tie-in?). You definitely want to be selling the shovels, not digging for the gold…

Some of Tim O’Reilly’s Address Book 2.0 thoughts came out, but on balance, I was pretty disapointed with what I heard… hopefully FOM will be much better.

Filed under: Events, Conferences and Panels, Mobile

How to make your customers very unhappy

Radiohead have taken their fate into their own hands- they’ve refused to sell their new album through iTunes (and apparently other online stores as well). I don’t think you can buy physical CDs either.

Normally, I would cheer them on, but…

The problem is, YOU CAN’T DOWNLOAD THE MUSIC. I put their release date in my calendar (I’m a pretty big radiohead fan). Went to the site on the 10th of October. The site was crashed. Went back this weekend. Site not working. (I did manage to read something about the new album, but almost went BLIND trying to read their website.)

Do I go back and try to download the album again? Or should I now boycott Radiohead until they release their music on iTunes where it’s convenient for me?

Steve Jobs had a good point- most people would prefer to pay $9.99 for an album rather than “work for minimum wage” to download an album for free (or even £1). I happily bought Thom Yorke’s Eraser on iTunes. One click an it was on my iPod.

I’ve actually spent more time trying to get the new Radiohead album than its taken to write this rant (which is far, far to long). Maybe someone will be kind enough to download the music, burn it on a CD and give it to me for my birthday.

Filed under: Music, Other

Busy Week

The Alarm Clock reported on our follow on investment into Mirriad last week and also picked up my recent post on RSS- highlighting one of our other portfolio companies- Magpie.

Tomorrow, I’ve been asked to join a panel at Mashup Demo. Magpie are demoing their latest version of Brandwatch- hopefully there will be some prospective portfolio companies in the mix as well.

After that, it’s off to the Blognation launch party. Then Wednesday/Thursday it’s the London Edition of FOWA.

And if you don’t have enough on your plate this week, go visit Mahalo’s site. They’re delivering some great content- on everything from Amazon’s MP3 Store debut to Halo 3.

Filed under: Events, Conferences and Panels, Search, Venture Capital

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