Have You Flung Poop At Your Friends Lately? (in Facebook)

The Poo Fight Facebook App - One of the most active in Facebook *sigh*

If you ever wondered, why I act so jaded about Facebook, I present the above screen shot as one reason.

A Facebook application called Poo Fight has become one of the applications with the most activity.   Now you may ask, what does Poo Fight do?  Well the name really says it all.  It allows you to send imaginary poop to your friends through Facebook.  *shakes head*

Poo Fight typifies my Facebook application platform user experience.  I know there are some good ones.  I was at Facebook Dev Garage DC tonight and saw some being demo’d but unfortunately they aren’t what everyone is using.

Seriously… someone please tell me about how Facebook the network itself or an app in the network has changed your life by allowing you to stay in touch with your friends in some new deep meaningful way.

If you’re a Facebook app developer, contact me and tell me how your app is going to change my life.  If it’s good, i’ll tell everyone I know about it.

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The Number of Active Users Is Different Than The Number of Accounts Created

More and more when I talk with application developers and people who run startups, they throw around numbers like I’ve gotten 400,000 people who’ve created an account with my application or 100,000 people who’ve added my applications on Facebook.

These numbers are really decieving.  While it may sound like getting 100,000 people to add your application on Facebook is really good, if you dig deeper,  you’ll find out that they only have 3,000 active uers.

Is a 3% return rate good enough?  It wouldn’t be for me…  I’d start questioning the long term success of my product.

You don’t judge a new brick and mortar store by how many people show up on grand opening day.  You go three months later and see if people still care.  Is it still serving a need when all the buzz has warn off?

Almost 10 million people have been like, hey Second Life sounds cool (which is AWESOME).  They’re going to give that a try.  Only around a million have decided to stick around and login in the last 30 days.  Thats a 10% return rate.  I’m not going to run around and just tell people the approx. 10 million signups number.  I’m going to also tell them about the number of active users.

I dunno… it just seems like we need to become more knowledgeable about the metrics that we throw around and hold accountable the people who use them irresponsibly.

Listen to Podcast of me on KPFA’s Pushing Limits

So Friday was another first for me, I was a guest on the  KPFA radio show Pushing Limits in Berkeley, California. The show is about disability life.

That episode was covering Web accessibility.  We had a really great discussion about things like Flash accessibility, CAPTCHA, and practical guidance for people making Web sites.  It was a TON of fun.

Well… if you’re interested,  you can now listen to the podcast of the show on their Web site.  Let me know your thoughts.    I think it went really well for me first time on the radio professionally.

Random Thoughts Over Coffee at Port City Java

Today’s set of random thoughts are brought to you while sipping a coffee and sitting outside at Port City Java cafe in Eastern Market in Washington, DC.

  1. I’m realizing the importance of having Web sites which can come up quickly. You click that link or type in that URL and you want it to be there. You shouldn’t have to wait. There are so many things which you can do to improve your site’s performance.
  2. I’m really excited to get my hands on Steve Sounders’s new book “High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers. It’s supposed to give really good guidance on how you can improve your site’s speed through tweaking your HTML & CSS. Apparently, it’s done a ton of great work for Yahoo (where Sounders works).
  3. The guidance Sounders has worked so well that Yahoo has developed a tool around it. YSlow is a Firebug plug-in that you can use to test web sites. It’s amazing how poorly a lot of really popular Web sites do. I wanna write about this soon.
  4. One of the Web sites which is the fastest to load is Google. I know speed and performance is a big thing for them.
  5. Something that’s funny is when you try the Mahalo Challenge, which allows you to pit Mahalo’s search engine against Google, Mahalo loads so slowly that I’ve usually clicked on my result in Google before the Mahalo page has even loaded yet.
  6. I’m constantly giving Facebook a hard time but there is one thing I have to say… It’s awesome the level of success that CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg has reached at such a young age…. he’s like a month older then me. He’s created a company that’s potentially worth $10 billion dollars. That’s crazy.

Random Thoughts Over Leffe Blonde Ale

Taking a page of from Jason Calacanis’s book,  here are some random thoughts I had while drinking a Leffe Blonde Ale.

  1. Good customer service and customer experience is such an important aspect of a good business.  Recently, I’ve had these various experiences with companies like AT&T, Zip Car, and American Express.   I leave feeling so good about the companies.  I feel so good that I wanna tell my friends about it.  I quickly become an evangelist for the companies and for the people behind the businesses.
  2. It’s one thing to have a great and innovative idea but its an entirely different thing to have an innovative idea that non early adopters are able to wrap their heads around.    It’s so important to be using a metaphor that works well with everyone.
  3. When you’re running an online community, you have to set the example.  You have to be the party organizer.  You have to talk to everyone and greet everyone.
  4. I’m starting to use Digg some more.  I’m not really sure what’s been different about it.  Maybe my expectations have changed.  The site has changed quite a bit.  It has matured a little bit.
  5. I kind of agree with Steve Ballmer.  I think that Facebook is a fad.   BUT BUT BUT… i don’t think social networking is a fad.
  6. I don’t think cable tv is done yet.  I wanted to think it was.  I spent a year without Cable TV.  Watching TV on the computer is just not the same.  I now have Cable TV again.  I think with rev 2 or rev 3 of the Apple TV everything could change.  First, the price needs to come down and it needs to be compatible with standard def tv’s.
  7. To continue on the future of tv, if Joost were to do a deal with Tivo and put Joost on Tivos that could be HOT.

Facebook Developer Garage Comes to Washington, DC

I continue to be amazed by how the DC tech community is really starting to take off.  The latest twist is that there’s going to be a Facebook Developer Garage in Washington DC.  It’s on Wednesday, October 10th at 6pm at Edelman.

As you all know, I’m continually fascinated by Facebook.  I know this is going to be a great opportunity to get some of my questions answered.  It will be a great opportunity to dive deeper into the Facebook platform.

Hopefully see all of you there.