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Saturday, May 17, 2008


Dan Khan

Hi Dave,

Man this is the most refreshing and insightful tech read I've had for a long time!

Reminds me of some of the work I saw in the initial xobni outlook plugin beta in the way they aggregated and extracted info from email in similar ways.


this is a good read email isn't over but like everything it has a life span it will morph into something diffrent kids of the future will laugh about email

Jan Horna


the great post! But still, I believe we can go much deeper in these thoughts. We just need to go to the roots which is the structure (format) of data. The internet turns from a rich application medium into a rich-data place = becomes semantic.

Imagine you send a message and the related data flowing through mail servers have already known exactly how it is going to be displayed in your email/web based client according to your personal preferences.

We just need a better prioritizing system for electronic communication.

Jason Devitt


We've built this for cell phone data. I'd love to show you. (We're still in private beta.)


Joseph Hunkins

Dave you data sharing boot knocker!

This is brilliant and to the point. I'm inclined to think ubiquitous and interconnected website social widgets, perhaps seeded with out email data (!) will usher in the new era you be talking about, Willis. I'm guessing phase one will be lots of pestering and weeding out of those of our "friends" who are ... not. (yikes - that part could take Scoble 10 years!)

Rob Goldman

Some interesting thoughts in there.

My take is that the "short-list" algorithms will be hard to write and will often fail given the great diversity of services and wide variations in email behavior.

My bet is that the open access will be used to add social context to existing off-network sites way before they will be used to prioritize invites.

Dave Hodson

If you add IM into your stats:

>1. Yahoo (~400-500M email users
>2. Microsoft (~300-400M email users
>3. AOL (~100-150M email users
>4. Google (~100-150M email users

Positions 1 & 2 flip (and AOL possibly moves to #2 with AIM)

dave mcclure

whether or not it's email or IM, the same logic & same platforms apply. the leading IM providers are also the leading email providers (Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL). both types of services provide the same targeting opportunities.

and while my # of contacts may be outside the mainstream, the same problems apply with just 100-200 contacts (which is well within mainstream).

whether or not you think email is "over" (i disagree vehemently), the ability to use email and/or other messaging systems to target & filters users remains quite valuable.

and yet, we still await a service offering to provide this functionality.

hopefully someone wakes up & smells the coffee soon...

email?  2000+ friends?  how are these realistic problems?

I would tend to disagree with the whole email thing you're pushing. I don't think I've emailed any friends of mine in a long time. It's all just IMs.

Most "kids" (13-24) these days don't bother with email anymore with an exception for professional use. It's too formal for friends.

So who has the most information about friend connections? Meebo acquisition anybody?:)

That being said, many of the issues you've brought up don't apply to the majority of people. I think that you're not exactly the mainstream audience. Most Facebook users do not have 2000+ contacts, most of which they do not actually know. In fact, quite a number of Facebook users actually will not accept friend requests from strangers (knowing that if they do, their personal photos, contact info, and address information will be revealed, and that they will be spammed by every action that user ever takes...).

I guess that's why many niche companies that focus on solving these problems can't get mass market appeal. It just isn't really a problem to more than 99.9999% of users (that's right, right? ~130,000,000 users, and probably less than 10,000 silicon valley techie types with 2000+ non-friend connections...) or perhaps a more quantitative estimate would be that the average number of friends a facebook user has is ~150, so a person with 2000+ would be ... 10x+ standard deviations from the mean? Statistically speaking, that's like getting hit by lightning while winning the lottery.

I do agree about viral distribution on the non-social web. Friend Connect would have helped with that, but already the boys aren't playing nice.

Nathan Ketsdever

Great post. I'm looking forward to the next generation of social media aggregators like Friend Feed to allow you to focus on:

a) Intensity of connection to individuals in your social graph. So you can hear the personal stuff and tweets by them and focus on the content area(s) they like that you also happen overlap with. (and you don't have to hear personal tweets you could consider noise, spam, etc--especially those you have less of a connection/affinity/relationship with)

b) Intensity of interest in category (aka tag) According to last weeks digital townhall, Digg is moving in the direction of intensity in their subcategories--so that you could customize to only get certain feeds if they had a particular # of diggs (ie you only like world news a little--so you only get those posts with 100 diggs in that subcategory in your feed). I hope others follow this model--before its implemented at Digg, which could be 6-12 months off.

Dave Ambrose

Dave, this is ridiculously insightful and refreshing to read with all of the current fanfare.


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