Posts Tagged ‘John Battelle’

Everybody is Lying to Me and I Don’t Care

February 17th, 2012 02:45 admin View Comments

privacy_150_erase.jpgWhy do I feel like everybody is lying to me all the time? I cannot get around the idea that every technology company with a major platform is doing everything it possibly can to get as much data from me as it possibly can through any means necessary. No barriers go un-trampled in the quest to track me, cookie me and use my personal information to obtain the greatest level of profit … from me.

Google gets a lot of blame for its tracking behaviors in relation to advertising and cookies. I stopped trying to hide data from Google a long time ago because I am not sure it is even feasible anymore. I am a denizen of the Internet, therefore Google knows everything about me. The undisputed king of tech, Apple, often gets a pass on privacy concerns because we all love our damned iPhone and iPads so much. Apple should get no such pass. It wants your data as badly as all the other tech companies and it does not want to share. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon? Yeah, you are in this discussion too. At some point I just throw up my hands and say, “you know what? Screw all of you.”

Thumbnail image for shutterstock_smartphone_privacy.jpgI am not generally opposed to tech companies tracking my activities and data. Most of the time I believe that the general purpose is to provide me a better experience. I do not set any of my browsers for private browsing by default and only use “safe browsing” techniques on mobile devices to keep me away from spam and botnets. I use an HTTPS connection whenever possible to make sure my user name and passwords are not being intercepted by nefarious third-party entities.

What I am sick of is that every time one of these privacy stories breaks, it is nobody’s fault. The script is the same: “we’re sorry, we didn’t mean to do it, we will shut it down right away.” You know what? It is everybody’s fault.

For instance, the most recent blow up is that Google and three other advertising networks were violating Apple’s Safari guidelines for third party cookies. Google issued a statement to Ars Technica saying that the tracking was completely unintentional and was a product of tying the “+1″ button to Safari to determine if a user was signed into his/her Google account. Apparently, the third-party advertising cookie running through also accidentally made it through too.



Apple allows cookies in Safari across all of its devices. That can be first-party cookies from the homepage of a domain or certain social third-party cookies, like the ability to like something through Safari on Facebook. Cookies are used for important things, like remembering logins and password credentials. They are also used for delivering important outside information, like location-aware messages and advertising.

Apple wants this information as much as Google does. The more Apple knows about you, the more it can tailor your experience and keep you coming back to Apple for devices and services. Blocking third-party cookies in Safari is not some altruistic motive by Apple. It is a marketing gimmick and a way to shut out other services from accessing data that would be available elsewhere on the Web without Apple’s intervention.

Google wants the Web to be as open as possible to serve its purposes. Apple wants the Web to be as controlled as possible, providing a funnel about everything you do and everywhere you go back to Apple and/or its developer partners. To many, this has become a war against the “open” Web. Facebook has also been accused of this very same practice with its closed platform. Microsoft has long known everything you do through its Windows and Internet Explorer platform. Amazon wants to track you so it can provide better shopping data.

Thumbnail image for shutterstock_online_privacy.jpgJohn Battelle sums up the nature of Safari in regards to his iPhone nicely when reacting to the Google tracking story:

Or perhaps it’s because Apple considers anyone using iOS, even if they’re browsing the web, as “Apple’s customer,” and wants to throttle potential competitors, insuring that it’s impossible to access to “Apple’s” audiences using iOS in any sophisticated fashion? Might it be possible that Apple is using data as its weapon, dressed up in the PR friendly clothing of “privacy protection” for users?

That’s at least a credible idea, I’d argue.

This is why I throw my hands up and say, “you know, screw it.” Every one of the tech companies has an agenda and each of them wants your personal data. Whether that is Path, Twitter, Foursquare or others uploading your contacts list without your consent or Google tracking your cookies or Apple tracking your location. Each is going to push the boundaries of what is perceived to be acceptable and when they get caught they are going to say “sorry, we’ll stop now.”

I am also a firm believer that the technology and the Web is not free. The foundation of the Web was built off of user data. User data keeps the Web gassed up and moving down the information super highway (as we used to call it in the 1990s). I do not mind giving up my cookies and a certain bit of my privacy for a better experience. Take Path for instance. After Path allegedly deleted all of the contacts it had automatically uploaded, it prompted me if I wanted to upload my contacts. I said yes. Because without doing that, Path would be a barren place to me and I would have no way of finding my friends on the platform.

privacyicons1.jpgWhat I am really trying to figure out when it comes to privacy decisions by technology companies is whether or not harm is being done. Is this going to hurt me now? Will it in the future? Will it hurt my friends and family? My greatest fear is that I am framed for a crime and all of my data on the Internet will be used against me. Or that someone will cause harm to me or my family financially or physically. Will the government take my data and make my life difficult? These are all legitimate fears.

I then ask myself when these “scandals” take place, who is being harmed? The media loves a big “my god, they did what?!” story. If we put it in perspective, this Google tracking Safari story is no big deal. They then shame the offending company until it apologizes and gets on with its life. The fact of the matter is that it does not really matter to the user to share in this shame and outrage because in the long run nothing is going to fundamentally change. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, Amazon, Path and all the rest are going to use our personal data however they want. We may cry privacy violations and they may apologize again. And again. And again.

That is why I say screw it. Screw the companies for setting up the system that perpetuates this mess, screw the media for making it a scandal every time, screw the users who let it happen. Everybody is to blame.

Use my data. I wash my hands of you and it. Just make for damn sure that no harm comes of it.

Because then, we would really have problems.

Source: Everybody is Lying to Me and I Don’t Care

Google Accused of Bypassing Safari’s Privacy Controls

February 17th, 2012 02:11 admin View Comments


DJRumpy points out an article (based on a possibly paywalled WSJ report) describing how Google and other ad networks wrote code that would bypass the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari web browser. ‘The default settings of Safari block cookies “from third parties and advertisers,” a setting that is supposed to only allow sites that the user is directly interacting with to save a cookie (client side data that remote web servers can later access in subsequent visits). … The report notes that “Google added coding to some of its ads that made Safari think that a person was submitting an invisible form to Google. Safari would then let Google install a cookie on the phone or computer.’ Google says this mischaracterizes what the code does, claiming it simply enables ‘features for signed-in Google users on Safari who had opted to see personalized ads and other content — such as the ability to “+1” things that interest them.’ Google adds that the data transferred between Safari and Google’s servers was anonymized. John Battelle writes that the WSJ’s story is sensationalist, but that it raises good questions about the practices of ad networks as well as Apple’s efforts to stymie industry-standard practices.

Source: Google Accused of Bypassing Safari’s Privacy Controls

It’s Not Wrong for Google to Focus on Its Own Users

January 23rd, 2012 01:33 admin View Comments

newgoogleplusicon150.pngWhen Google shipped its Search, plus Your World update earlier this month, it turned out better than expected. Google left users the ability to click back and forth between personal and global modes or opt out altogether. Google’s personal search draws in the user’s Google+ relationships to tailor the results. When it launched, Google took the position that other social networks were welcome to participate, they just had to make a deal.

Google does make some effort to identify content from other networks. But some SPYW features only highlight Google+ material, even when other services are more relevant. If Google favors its own product over a better result, users get the short end of the stick. Some engineers from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace have built a browser extension called Focus on the User to prove the point. But what about Google+ users? For them, Google+ results are the better result. Arguably, Google should cater to them, as users of its service.


Google’s Choice: Help Google+ Users Or Help Others

When a large-scale Web service puts an opt-out switch on a new feature, it’s because its designers believe users will like the feature. If the Google+ comments on our stories are any indication, Google+ users like this personalized search just fine.

But Google and its fans have two other use cases to consider. People who would rather have their personal website, Twitter or Facebook profile appear above Google+ are not well-served by Google anymore, nor are people whose social graphs exist on networks other than Google+.

Google has no obligation to these users. It can arrange its services however it wants. They’re free, after all, as the underpinnings of Google’s ad business. But Google itself has enough information to determine when a Facebook profile would be more relevant than a Google+ profile in its “People and Pages” box. It can tell when a Facebook profile has more subscribers and activity than a Google+ page.

The “People and Pages” box has hard-coded instructions to display Google+ instead. That might make Google less useful to people who don’t use Google+, but it’s more useful for those who do.

The effects of the Focus on the User plug-in


Focus On The User, Not The Service

The people who built Focus on the User used Google’s own search signals to route around the Google+ integration when other results are more relevant. Larry Page returns a Google+ result, but Mark Zuckerberg returns a Facebook result. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land extensively tested the Focus on the User plug-in, and it worked like a charm; the profiles with the most activity and information came up first, whether they’re from Google+ or not.

John Battelle has had some interesting chats with Facebook’s Director of Product, Blake Ross, one of the developers of Focus on the User. The tool has gone through several phases, the first of which was just to remove all references to Google+. The tool released today is more thoughtful than that, as Battelle points out. It produces the most relevant result as measured by links, references from many other networks, and overall activity. You can read the code right on the website to see how it works.

Google+ Users Want Google+ Results

googleplusgood5.jpgAccording to the Focus on the User developers, Google search should provide the most relevant result without assuming anything about the user’s preferred social network. That way, the result that best represents the person or topic being searched for will be at the top. By this definition, “Search, plus Your World” should represent the world most accurately.

But does that focus on the Google+ user? For those who want Google+ to be their social network, the best result for their “world” might be the Google+ page, even if the owner barely uses it or just re-posts things from Facebook or Twitter. The Google+ user wants Google+ results. Shouldn’t Google focus on the user of its own service?

The best solution to social search would be one that lets the search user decide what network(s) to prefer. To the extent that a social search engine doesn’t prefer the user’s own networks, it’s not social search; it’s just search. Maybe those results are more relevant, and maybe social search creates a filter bubble. But for those who want Google+ to be their “world,” Google’s social search works.

If Google+ social search is not for you, try Focus on the User and let us know how it goes.

Do you want personalized search results? How would social search work best for you? Sound off in the comments.

Source: It’s Not Wrong for Google to Focus on Its Own Users

New Google Users Now Forced to Join Google+

January 20th, 2012 01:28 admin View Comments

newgoogleplusicon150.pngNew users who sign up for a Google account now have no choice but to join Google+. The sign-up form now requires a first and last name and a gender (‘other’ is allowed). It also asks for a phone number. At the bottom of the sign-in form, there’s a checkbox allowing Google to use +1s to personalize content on non-Google websites. It’s checked by default.

“Your Google Account is more than just Search,” the first box on the sign-up page now says. No kidding. When you click to the next page, you are instructed that you have joined Google+. Yesterday, Google trumpeted that it has 90 million Google+ users, but it made clear that it can count basically anyone with a Google account. Google has been saying it all along, but now we’d better believe it: Google is Google+ now.


More Than Just Search

Earlier this month, Google revealed Search, plus Your World. Before that day, public Google+ content was smushed into all logged-in searches, occasionally to the detriment of our Web searches. But SPYW split search in two, offering one side that was personalized with Google+ content and another that was “global.” Furthermore, users could turn off personalization for good in their preferences. I thought we dodged a bullet there.

I even gave Google’s social search results the benefit of the doubt. It looked like Google would try to pull in other identities from blogs, even Twitter and Facebook, if they could make a deal. That seemed okay. It seemed like Google’s “plus Your World” didn’t have to mean Google+ if we went out of our way to turn G+ off.

But then John Battelle made a point that unsettled me (in a good way). Google is not about search anymore, he wrote. “It’s about deals.” That’s not an open Web. That’s a cartel.


The Only Game In Town

No matter how many outside services I added to my Google profile, Google+ was still the only game in town on the social side of Google search. My network isn’t really on Google+ – except for the ways in which they haven’t yet opted out – so I don’t find what I’m looking for. I opted out. My instincts about Google+ social search messing up the Web were true in practice. But at least I could opt out.

But now, as the unofficial Google Operating System blog discovered today, new users have to wait to opt out until they’ve opted in. Once you’ve gotten the whole “Google is more than search” spiel and seen the “Welcome to Google+!” messages, you can dig into your settings and delete it all.

You’re All Set

googleforce3.jpgAnd in the meantime, do you count as one of the 90 million so-called Google+ users? Do you count as one of the 60% who “engage daily?” Why is Google so shady about Google+ activity numbers? If it was going well, they would be straightforward about it, right? I gave Google credit for letting users opt out of services they don’t want, but it’s getting harder and harder to do.

For the really sneaky, Google Operating System points out that you can still access the old sign-up form if you know the URL. Let’s see how long that lasts.

What do you think of Google’s new personalization features? Do you use Google+? Tell us how you use the new Google in the comments.

Source: New Google Users Now Forced to Join Google+

Suddenly, Google Is Winning the Online Identity Race

January 10th, 2012 01:05 admin View Comments

newgoogleplusicon150.pngGoogle shipped some major changes to search today. The announcement was called “Search, plus Your World.” It was the inevitable launch of the integration between Google’s core product, Web search, and its new identity service, Google+. There are now two modes of search on Google, personal and global. Personal search shows users stuff from their Google+ circles, and global search is good old Google search, albeit with public Google+ posts included.

Before today, Google+ was shoved into Web search in uncomfortable ways. Public Google+ posts interfered with natural search when users were logged in. It looked like Google was going to force its social product into its users’ lives. But that’s not how it turned out. Today’s updates put Google users’ identities into their own hands.

We’re still testing whether public Google+ posts are getting undue influence in global search mode. It is possible that Google is still giving preference to its own services. It has been known to do that in other categories, such as place results and videos. But today’s updates to search changed one thing profoundly: Google’s users do not have to use Google+ anymore.


As 4chan’s Chris Poole so eloquently said last year, Google was moving toward a monolithic identity like the one Facebook offers. It seemed as though the only “you” that would matter on Google would be your Google+ profile. Last week, I couldn’t take it anymore. I said Google+ was going to mess up the Internet by causing us to all rearrange our online identities around our Google+ profiles. I feared it would be the only way to matter in Google search.

To my surprise, Vic Gundotra himself saw where I was coming from. “Honestly, Jon has a few good points,” he wrote. “We are working to address.”


Little did I know, a huge overhaul of Google’s search interface was less than a week away. When Google Fellow Ben Gomes showed me around, I was astonished by the extent to which users could control the experience. For those who want no part in this social search business, there’s a total opt-out switch in search settings. If you stick with social search, as I plan to try to do, there’s a toggle button to switch between personal and global modes.

That was enough for me to give the feature a chance. It’s not evil if you can turn it off. But today, as I’ve been playing around with the new Google, I observed one of the new features in action, and I’m even more intrigued now.


I don’t have the new personal search available yet, but some of the underlying new features are already working. When I searched for “everything is ablaze,” the name of my personal WordPress blog, I was presented with a new set of options. Right inside the search result, it asked whether this was my blog. I hadn’t added this to my Google+ profile yet, because it’s for crazy, personal stuff, and I use my Google+ profile for work.

I indicated that yes, this is me. It then asked me a second question: Did I want to add Everything is ablaze! to my public Google profile? I said ‘no,’ and that was that. If I understood what happened correctly, people connected to me in personal search will now find my blog because it is by me, but I’m still free to keep that invisible in my profile.

That’s the way I want it. My online identity is bigger than Google+. It includes a bunch of blogs, a podcast and a Twitter account, which is my main presence. That Twitter account is already listed in my Google+ profile. So will my tweets surface in Google’s social searches for me? I’ve been led to believe so.

Google’s Definition of “Your World”

John Battelle posted his reservations about today’s update, lamenting the fact that Google’s personal search would lean so heavily on Google+ and Picasa content but not include Facebook’s, for example. I agree with that complaint; we should be able to express our online identities however we want on whatever services we choose.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land asked Amit Singhal about this, and here’s what he said:

“Facebook and Twitter and other services, basically, their terms of service don’t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service. … Of course, going forward, if others were willing to change, we’d look at designing things to see how it would work.”

MG Siegler doesn’t believe it will happen. It’s healthy to remain skeptical about that. But even before I got social search, Google indicated to me that it’s looking for me on other services. It let me indicate that my WordPress blog is me. That’s a social signal that will affect personal search, and it doesn’t come from Google+.

It’s true that Google’s personal search will present Google-hosted content more attractively and with more features. I can’t retweet a Twitter result from right inside Google search. But my Google profile associates my Twitter account with me. Yes, Twitter and Google’s relationship is on ice. But tweets are ultimately Web pages, Google sees them, and it asks whether that Twitter account is you. The implementation might not live up to the ideal, but at least Google is trying to let our other Web identities be a part of us.

Facebook? Twitter? Your thoughts?

Source: Suddenly, Google Is Winning the Online Identity Race

Have Walled Gardens Killed the Personal Computer?

December 4th, 2011 12:33 admin View Comments


theodp writes “Harvard Law School Prof Jonathan Zittrain explains in The Personal Computer is Dead why you should be afraid — very afraid — of the snowballing replicability of the App Store Model. ‘If we allow ourselves to be lulled into satisfaction with walled gardens,’ warns Zittrain, ‘we’ll miss out on innovations to which the gardeners object, and we’ll set ourselves up for censorship of code and content that was previously impossible. We need some angry nerds.’ Searchblog’s John Battelle, who’s also solidly in the tear-down-this-walled-garden camp, adds: ‘I’m not a nerd, quite, but I’m sure angry.’”

Source: Have Walled Gardens Killed the Personal Computer?

Ballmer: We’re Lucky Microsoft Didn’t Buy Yahoo

October 19th, 2011 10:17 admin View Comments


alphadogg writes (quoting Networkworld): “Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer feels intensely fortunate that his company’s $44 billion bid for Yahoo back in 2008 never materialized. ‘Sometimes you’re lucky,’ he said with a smile at Web 2.0 Summit, responding to a question from conference co-chair John Battelle. Careful not to offend his search market partner, Ballmer put his comment in context, saying that any CEO would feel grateful for not making a major acquisition in the months prior to the global financial collapse that started in the second half of 2008.”

Source: Ballmer: We’re Lucky Microsoft Didn’t Buy Yahoo

LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman Personally Thanks First Million Members For Being Early Adopters

March 25th, 2011 03:30 admin View Comments

As you may have heard, professional social network LinkedIn passed 100 million members this past week. Amid an upcoming IPO, this was a pretty significant milestone for the social network. And today, LinkedIn co-founder and chairman Reid Hoffman has sent the first million members an email, personally thanking them for joining the network in its early days.

TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld received a note (he is member #261,186), which we’ve embedded in the post. The note reads: I want to personally thank you because you were one of LinkedIn’s first million members (member number [ ] in fact!*). In any technology adoption lifecycle, there are the early adopters, those who help lead the way. That was you.

For the few users who were one of the first 100,000 members, LinkedIn sent a similar note thanking them for being “innovators” (Federated Media founder John Battelle was member #74,282).

LinkedIn, which launched in 2003, says that it is now being used in over 200 countries, with more than half of its users originating from outside the U.S. To be exact, the U.S. has 44 million LinkedIn members, and there are 56 million members outside of the U.S.

While the note itself isn’t monumental news, a somewhat personalized congratulatory note from the founder and chairman of LinkedIn is a nice touch for the network’s users.

Source: LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman Personally Thanks First Million Members For Being Early Adopters

Things about the Endless Facebook Speculation that Have to Be Said

January 5th, 2011 01:03 admin View Comments

I’ve avoided writing something about the Goldman Sachs- Facebook deal, because God knows the rest of the blogosphere has been doing enough speculation for the entire world. But four things I’ve read in the last 24-hours need a serious rebuttal.

1. Facebook is still not “essentially” a public company. I don’t care if it reaches 500 indirect individual shareholders through the Goldman transaction, a public company is one where the general public is able to invest and existing shareholders are able to sell shares, without approval from the company first. That isn’t happening.

Deals like these have indeed been Facebook’s way of avoiding the pressures that would force a company to go public for some time now, so there are IPO-like ramifications from these deals. But that doesn’t change the fact that a tiny fraction of people are able to buy and sell shares. That’s a huge fundamental difference that affects everything about the way a company operates. Anyone who has run, worked at or covered a public company and a private company for any period of time knows that. Beyond that, it’s just an argument of semantics.

2. Some people are drawing a comparison between Google’s let’s-empower-the-users IPO by dutch auction and Facebook’s selling of shares to Goldman’s richest clients as if it’s an indication of some Robin Hood vs. Sheriff of Nottingham moral battlefield. These two deals are not apples-to-apples comparisons, by any means. For one thing, this isn’t an IPO no matter how badly some members of the tech press want it to be. (See point #1) To my knowledge, Google never let its users or everyday people buy pre-IPO shares.

But beyond that, the comparison misses a fundamental difference in the relationship between Silicon Valley and Wall Street from the days when Google was founded and today. This difference has been widely documented, is far broader than just Facebook, and has been brewing for more than ten years. It’s part of a continuum that started with the excesses of the dot com bubble, culminated with huge changes on Wall Street that hurt the ability for smaller companies to go public and the desire for entrepreneurs to take them public, and has been rippling through several trends like partial liquidations, secondary exchanges and buyouts. This is about an industry as a whole looking for other ways to get liquidity that don’t sacrifice price and independence. That’s the reason deals like these aren’t confined to Facebook.

What’s more, Facebook and companies like it are actually following in Google’s footsteps, in many respects. Compared to its generation, Google waited an extraordinarily long period of time to go public and did so very much on its own terms, so that it could protect its ability to be nimble and above the whims of activist, short-term hedge funds and traders. For all of its marketing, you could argue Google’s IPO was anti-the-little-guy, because it pioneered the modern use of a dual class of voting and the company refused to give earnings estimates or play other annoying Wall Street games. The company boldly drew a line in the sand and essentially said, “You want to own shares in us? Here’s the deal.” And for its generation, Google initially offered a pretty small float of shares, which was one reason the price soared.

If you look at the reasons behind why Facebook is doing what it’s doing, I’d say Mark Zuckerberg is following the spirit of the Google playbook, not going against it.

3. Being a public company isn’t a way to force Facebook to be “good.” I have a lot of respect for John Battelle, but I just don’t get this argument that Facebook trading on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange means the company is a more responsible steward of our data. This is more of the hangover from that Google “do no evil” nonsense.

For-profit companies are financially motivated not morally motivated, and nothing makes you more financially motivated than being publicly traded and having to produce quarterly results to please Wall Street. Look at what happened to daily newspapers once they were owned by publicly traded companies who cared more about seeing 10% growth year-over-year than being stewards of local news.

Battelle raises a good point about the risk of Facebook using all it knows about us for selfish gains, but I don’t see how reporting quarterly numbers suddenly makes that go away. Does anyone feel like they know everything Google is doing with our data by reading its SEC filings or listening to a scripted conference call? I don’t. And frankly, I’m more worried about the things Google knows about me. The information about me on Facebook is what I have volunteered to share with people. Google has information on everything I’ve ever searched in the privacy of my own home and the content of my inbox. That’s a hell of a lot scarier if used for its own gain.

But as a user, I still trust Google with all of this, because it’s ultimately in its best interest as a company not to abuse that public trust for short term gains. Same goes for Facebook whether I can buy a share of it or not. Going public doesn’t force a company to be good, anymore than a wedding ring forces a man to be faithful. (See Enron.)

4. The SEC forcing Facebook to disclose financials will not “force” the company to go public. The reason entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, and countless others who opted to sell their companies in the last few years do not want to go public has nothing to do with disclosing quarterly numbers. It has to do with the brain drain of employees leaving for the next hot, pre-IPO company. It has to do with a CEO’s job becoming more about managing Wall Street and the press than building the business. Being public brings with it an almost inevitable shorter-term focus. And most important for someone like Zuckerberg, it means the CEO can’t spend his time obsessing on product, which is mostly what he cares about.

I remember discussing this with Zuckerberg back in 2007, as he was anticipating passing the 500-shareholding-employee mark. This was reportedly one of the things that pushed Google to go public in 2005, and this conversation was well-before Facebook came to a settlement with the SEC that allowed the company to skirt the rule about reporting numbers if a company has more than 500 individual shareholders. I asked Zuckerberg if it would be a trigger to go public, and he said no and added, “disclosing information is the least of the issues I have with being a public company.”

Now, two things are obvious: A lot has changed since those early days, and Facebook will go public one day. That has always been the plan. No one has argued otherwise. And by virtue of time, growth and continued outside investment that date is a lot closer now than it was then. None of us really know for sure if it’ll happen sooner or later, but based on everything I know about Zuckerberg, disclosing financials isn’t going to make a bit of a difference on the timing.

Like Google in its pre-IPO days, Facebook is operating from the ultimate position of strength. Even if the Goldman deal hadn’t happened, the company wouldn’t hurt for cash. No one is going to force this company to go public before it is ready, and all the steps it’s taken in the secondary market make it less likely to happen any time soon, not more likely because they are addressing the very reasons companies used to go public.

Source: Things about the Endless Facebook Speculation that Have to Be Said

Nominate Outstanding Innovators Now For The 2010 TechFellow Awards

November 24th, 2010 11:00 admin View Comments

Last year TechCrunch partnered with Founders Fund on an innovative awards program called the TechFellow Awards to recognize top high-tech entrepreneurs. The 2009 TechFellow Awards recognized 22 inaugural innovators across four categories: Engineering Leadership, Product Design and Marketing, General Management, and Disruptive Innovation.

Founders Fund is expanding the awards program this year and added New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as co-host. Together, Founders Fund and NEA will grant each TechFellow $100,000 to invest in a start-up of their choice, more than doubling last year’s award size. Additionally, a new fund structure will allow each TechFellow to share in the interest of all 2010 TechFellow companies. Last year’s TechFellows helped fund and found fFlick, Bidfire, Quora, Flipboard, HipChat and others. Check out last year’s winners.

We invite the tech community to nominate candidates for this year’s 5 award categories:

1. Engineering Leadership

  • Engineering Leadership candidates are people who have demonstrated technical excellence, built amazing technology infrastructure and products, or led teams that together built complex and elegant solutions that changed our lives. They are the uber geeks who calculate 10-digit squares in their heads, and write a thousand bug-free lines of code on the fly without skipping a beat.
  • 2009 TechFellows: Michael Abbott, Adam D’Angelo, Sandy Jen, Elaine Wherry, Eric Ries, Rich Skrenta

2. General Management

  • General Management candidates are people who have built the teams and organizations that create and deliver great technology and products to the world. They are company builders who provide foundations and processes for all the rest of the geeks and dreamers to make their dreams reality. They are the folks who wake up at 6am and open the doors, make the donuts, play reveille, and lead the charge to take the hill. They make it *happen*.
  • 2009 TechFellows: Scott Dietzen, Mike Jones, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, David Sprosty,
    Jason Rapp, Scott Weiss

3. Product Design

  • Product Design and Marketing candidates are people who have designed insanely great products, who have made technology beautiful, who have created the marketing campaign that blows you away and make you want to go out and buy ten of them for your whole family. These are the storytellers, the artists, the people who make our dreams come alive.
  • 2009 TechFellows: Michael Birch, Daniel Burka, Adam Goldberg, Zach Klein, Jeffrey Veen

4. Disruptive Innovation

  • This category is meant to highlight the visionaries, the starry-eyed fools who believe when no one else will. They are undaunted when told NO by stern parents, when told it WON’T WORK by a thousand dismissive VCs, when failure after failure would dash the hopes of lesser mortals. These are the men and women whose incredible ideas burst forth like Athena from their foreheads, and they know what it means to make Fire, the Wheel, and the Printing Press.
  • 2009 TechFellows: Scott Banister, Andrew Frame, Will Harvey, Blake Krikorian, Mike McCue

5. Life Science Innovation

  • New category for 2010 to recognize new leadership in the life sciences

To recommend an innovator for TechFellow consideration by the nominating commitee please fill out the form below. Nominates must be submitted by 6 pm PST on Monday, November 9.

The 2010 TechFellow Awards Nominating Committee members are:

  • Michael Arrington (Founder, TechCrunch)
  • Peter Barris (Managing General Partner, NEA)
  • John Battelle (Founder/Chairman/CEO, Federated Media)
  • Ron Conway (Managing Partner, SV Angel)
  • Esther Dyson (Chairman, EDventure)
  • Shawn Fanning (Founder, Napster, SNOCAP, Rupture)
  • Drew Houston (Founder/CEO, Dropbox)
  • Max Levchin (Founder/CEO, Slide; Co-Founder, PayPal)
  • Andrew Mason (Founder/CEO, Groupon)
  • Dave McClure (Founding Partner, 500 Startups; Former Director, Founders Fund II Angel Program)
  • John McKinley (Founder/CEO, OurParents)
  • Jonathan Miller (CEO Digital Media, News Corp)
  • Tim O’Reilly, (Founder, O’Reilly Media)
  • Sean Parker (Co-Founder, Napster, Plaxo, Causes; Founding President, Facebook; Managing Partner, Founders Fund)
  • Aaron Patzer (Founder/CEO,
  • John Pleasants (CEO, Playdom)
  • Geoff Ralston (CEO, LaLa; former Chief Product Officer, Yahoo!)
  • Terry Semel (Chariman/CEO, Windsor Media; Former Chairman/CEO, Yahoo!)
  • David Sacks (Founder/CEO, Yammer; COO, PayPal)
  • Scott Sandell (General Partner, NEA)
  • Peter Thiel (Managing Partner, Founders Fund; Chairman & Co-Founder, Palantir Technologies; Former Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, PayPal)
  • Michael Yanover (Business Development, Creative Artists Agency)

Final fellowship selections will be announced at trhe second annual awards ceremony to be held Thursday, December 2, in San Francisco.

Source: Nominate Outstanding Innovators Now For The 2010 TechFellow Awards