Email as the new Social Network

The New York Times is summarizing some interesting plans from Google and Yahoo to turn their email systems into forms of social networking.    This idea could have a lot of potential, as the Yahoo’s Brad Garlinghouse points out in the article that Yahoo has a lot of information about an individual’s social relationships – for example who they email regularly – and this info is simply begging to be mined to help users navigate their increasingly complex online worlds. 

Scoble : More friends than he can click a mouse at

Robert’s got neat ideas about online “friends”, pointing out that the best definition for online friend is NOT the same as for offline “let’s have dinner” friends in real life.   But he’s complaining that Facebook is poorly engineered because it limits people to 5000 friends.   Over at Scoble’s blog several are correctly pointing out that he’s such an exception to normal use it’s not fair to expect Facebook to change for the few huge social networkers like Robert.

Uh-oh….I hope he doesn’t bump ME off his friends list now…

Dave Winer, meanwhile, is proclaiming that “Facebook Sucks”, noting that their image, video sharing, and some other features are inferior to the alternatives.   It’s an excellent point though Facebook may be opening up enough to allow integration with pretty much *all* other stuff, and if they do they deserve the praise now heaped upon them in almost nauseating fashion.   Thanks Dave for the reality check.    I wonder if anybody will heed it.

Madonna Rocks the Music

Madonna’s $120,000,000 deal ( Wall Street Journal story) with Live Nation signals a powerful shift in the music industry that hopefully will lead to a cutting out of the middlemen in favor of the best for the artists and for the music consumer.  I don’t follow this industry all that closely but my take on the coming trend is different than most of what I’ve been reading.  It seems to me that over the coming decades we will see music thankfully shifting to a less sensational and more “niche genre” focus.   We’ll see more emphasis on quality music, and perhaps on quality concerts because the human to human aspect of music will not go away anytime soon, and may even be enhanced as artists move to online communities where they can interact with thousands effectively and somewhat intimately.    We’ll see more independent artists who can make an “OK” living thanks to an online global fan base, and this will thankfully come at the expense of the Britney Spears and Madonnas who have been rather spectacular beneficiaries of the giant music marketing empires that made all stars what they are today.  

The idea that individuals are the key component in these things is absurd.  They matter in the big profit and entertainment equations but the key component is generally the huge support system that starts as a small gathering behind promising talent and then blossoms to a cast of hundreds as the promoters step in to “discover” the new talent. 

American Idol’s brilliant model created a huge fan base for the participants as the weeks went on, and many of the top 10 American Idol singers are now doing quite well as actors or singers.   This “social networking” approach will become increasingly important in a music world ruled by the fans and not the big players.

Fred Wilson at 30,000 feet – brilliant!

What a GREAT blog post from Fred Wilson as he flew to Portland!  He rapid fires 30 things including his thoughts on the bubble 2.0  (maybe about to pop, maybe not), and most importantly offers up this billion dollar company idea:

 15)    Why hasn’t anyone been able to aggregate all of my comment activity across the entire web and turn it into a feed that I can put into my lifestream on Tumblr? There are a bunch of companies working on it, but I don’t think anyone has nailed it yet. And I am not just talking about blog comments, I am talking about ratings and reviews on Amazon, Yelp, Menupages, Digg, etc, etc.

Fred, I don’t get this either because the technology is definitely in place and although I think this would take a pretty substantial server infrastructure – to cache and search a lot of content regularly – it seems like the payoff would be the best social networking environment out there. 

I’m saving up my money so, someday, I can be a cool VC guy like Fred and ride coach class even though I don’t *have* to ride in coach.  Kudos to him for that.   Frankly, I have a feeling the people back there are more interesting anyway.