Sign Of The Times

Another data point/observation on the current state of things, courtesy of Jason Calacanis' latest [Jason] post (email only, sorry no link)

We're interviewing for sales people in Los Angeles right now andI'm shocked at the quality level of folks on the market. Tyler interview 30 folks and I got to sit down with the top 12. Of those 12 I would say 10 were hires. Of those ten half of them were the kind of folks that just don't normally come on the market (you know, the folks that are recruited from job to job). It was totally shocking for me. In 15 years of being an entrepreneur I've never such a dense pool of such of talented people--something is VERY wrong with out economy. Also, the last two trips/four times I've been in the airport it's been a ghost town. Very strange to go from long lines and packed flights to short lines and people laying across the aisle sleeping.

2002 was something like this - lots of high quality people available. The contrarian in me says this might be a good time to start a business.

Here's hoping to 2010 is better ...

Facebook Revs FBJS

Facebook has announced they are releasing a “major update” to FBJS (Facebook JavaScript) named FBJS2. The current version uses a number of non-standard modifications to the languages that increase the learning curve (and debugging) unnecessarily.

For example, setting the height and width of a graphic element currently works something like this:

this.setStyle({width:90px, height: 20px});

 

 

 

 

FBJS2 will allow more standard nomenclature, such as this:

this.style.width=90px;
this.style.height=20px;

Much easier to read/write/debug.

Top3Clicks – New Features

Bacon has a new post up about the features we’ve added over the last few weeks to top3Clicks.

Our main goal has been to increase site utilization – we’ve been tracking this closely and recently added a “Top 15” suggestion list that has been doing really well.

Microsoft Startup Zone – MessageCast Creates Broadcast Messaging Systems

I ran into an article from the Microsoft Startup Zone website about MessageCast that I hadn’t seen previously. It was published before the acquisition by Microsoft, but brought back some good memories.

Great quote from Heidi Roizen

“The Microsoft partnership gave MessageCast a powerful technology platform and an incredibly deep sales channel,” says Heidi Roizen, Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital. “From an investment perspective, this is an ideal partnership.”

top3Clicks on Facebook – New/Improved/Simpler UI

Mike has a new post up on the recent UI changes we made to top3Clicks.

Following the “Startup Metrics for Pirates” model from Dave McClure (“aarrr”, or Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue), our current area of focus is on Retention.

Using Facebook ads, we are able to acquire customers, who by and large, are having a “happy” first experience. The UI changes we made recently are designed to work on user engagement with the site (i.e. getting users to return many times). As Mike details, we have made a number of changes to streamline the UI and improve the overall experience. Based on the next round of ads, we will be able to ascertain if the changes improved our Retention metric.

The overall cycle we’ve been following:

* add a feature 
* test user response via FB ads
* tweak/repeat.

Based on prior experiences (iPrint, MessageCast), the cost of all this is relatively inexpensive and a great way to evolve the application.

MySocial24x7: Version 0.51 Available

After fixing a bug (unable to post to FriendFeed) in the 0.5 version of MySocial24x7, I wanted to fix a few more issues:

  • Twitter authorization fails
  • Unable to install on Firefox 3.0.x
  • Posts, "like", etc to FriendFeed fail

A new .xpi install (calling it version 0.51) is available for download here.

I emailed Sandosh to see if he would either host the new installation or allow others to submit changes to the application. (Haven't heard back yet)

In the meantime, if you have feature requests/bugs, feel free to post them on the MySocial site and I'll see what I can tackle

MySocial 24x7 Firefox Plug-in Broken/Fixed

The MySocial 24x7 Firefox plug-in for FriendFeed is easily my most utilized Firefox app.

I can post, reply, "like", etc with all comments threaded - just fantastic. Unfortunately the developer, sandosh, decided a few months back to stop supporting the project. Once Firefox 3.0.x came out, the application wouldn't work out of the box anymore. (To resolve the 3.0.x issue, I set the option "extensions.checkCompatibility" to false as documented here.)

Recently, Friendfeed made a change to their API, requiring all API POSTs to use the friendfeed.com domain and rejected (with an HTTP 405 response code) any POST using the IP address of friendfeed.com. I opened up a bug with Friendfeed and supplied a netmon trace of a sample "like" POST. Gary Burd jumped on it and quickly figured out the problem.

As sandosh is no longer working on the project, I took a crack at making this change as follows:

1. Grab mysocial24x7.jar from <yourFirefoxProfile>/extensions/ffbar@sandosh/chrome

2. Unzip, edit ffbar.js, search/replace "64.13.142.66" with "friendfeed.com".

3. Update the jar with this file (zip -u mysocial24x7.jar content/scripts/*)

4. Restart Firefox.

You can also grab the modified .jar here

I noticed that the Twitter login functionality is now broken as well. Let me know if there is a fix out there for this.

Facebook Scales Even Larger with Memcached

Great post on how Facebook continues to scale large with the help of memcached.

Since we’ve made all these changes, we have been able to scale memcached to handle 200,000 UDP requests per second with an average latency of 173 microseconds. The total throughput achieved is 300,000 UDP requests/s, but the latency at that request rate is too high to be useful in our system. This is an amazing increase from 50,000 UDP requests/s using the stock version of Linux and memcached.


We’re hoping to get our changes integrated into the official memcached repository soon, but until that happens, we’ve decided to release all our changes to memcached on github.

Good analysis in this post at HighScalability.com also.

top3Clicks Hits a Triple

We knew it was just a matter of time and sure enough, it happened.

We've been steadily increasing our advertising presence on Facebook for the BaconMarathon top3Clicks application. Mike has been busy creating some killer ads that we're tracking metrics on like crazy. Running a new, particularly inspired ad campaign with "Dark Knight", we encountered the much sought-after "triple loop":

* User 'a' clicks on the "Dark Knight" Facebook ad and adds the top3Clicks application

* User 'a' invites User 'b' to try out the application via our "TellaFriend" link   

* User 'b' tries out the application and User 'c' seeing this in their News Feed, adds the application.

One ad, one cpc, 3 users: friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend.