“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Archive for July, 2007

More coverage from Crissy Kite Days

Posted by direwolff on July 29, 2007

The Kiteboarder Magazine had some good coverage from the first two days of course racing here.


Posted in Kiteboarding Articles & Links, Kitesurfing & Extreme Sports | 1 Comment »

Widget platforms, a throwback to Affiliate Program platforms

Posted by direwolff on July 29, 2007

Spent some time today checking out Widgetbox and Clearspring, two platforms for widget developers.  It only took me two minutes to realize that these two differentiate themselves much in the same way that Linkshare differentiated itself from BeFree.  From the beginning, Linkshare believed in a network model, one where they would bring together both merchants wanting to roll out affiliate networks, and affiliates interested in joining these programs.  They also realized that there was value in enabling the cross fertilization of this ecosystem by facilitating affiliates of one program to quickly find other programs to join.  This created some really nice network effects.  BeFree on the other hand, only saw itself as a service provider to merchants wanting to set-up affiliate networks, and didn’t expose affiliates to any other offering beyond the single merchant’s program that they came to view.  Though I believe they evolved out of this later on, they held fast and hard to this rule for a while, much to their detriment.

Well, it looks like it’s happening again, though this time it’s in the widget space.  Widgetbox has created an environment that not only allows companies desiring widgets for their applications and content to find a platform for making this happen, but they also attract those publishers, bloggers, and individuals on social networks wanting to find widgets for their respective sites, to choose from a wide array of these.  Talk about network effects.  It’s great to be able to come get a widget for a particular provider and be exposed to hundreds of other widgets that might also be of interest.  On the other side of the spectrum, Clearspring appears to be taking the BeFree approach and only provides a developer site for those wanting to develop their own widgets.  What a waste of an opportunity.  Oh well, in this battle among the widget platforms, I’m not sure where these two will end up, but any way you slice it I’d give the advantage to Widgetbox over Clearspring, though there’s a whole other class of players amongst the start page providers like Pageflakes and Netvibes that may yet have a word or two to add to this space.

Posted in Online-Offline Media, Technology | 1 Comment »

Nice pic, but weak coverage of the U.S. Nationals Kitesurfing event at Crissy Field

Posted by direwolff on July 27, 2007

The SF Chronicle passed up a nice chance to add some decent coverage to this first U.S. Nationals Kitesurfing event even with this action shot

This is a pretty exciting race that brought riders from all over the country to participate.  I’ll provide links as they emerge on this and Big Air WindJam event.

Posted in Kiteboarding Articles & Links, Kitesurfing & Extreme Sports | Leave a Comment »

Wireless Net Neutrality Decks May Be Less Stacked ;)

Posted by direwolff on July 10, 2007

Well, on the heels of my post on the difficult situation being posed in the net neutrality debate comes news that the new wireless spectrum coming up for auction may have open access provisions attached.  Yee-ha!!!  This should usher in some interesting innovation opportunities for both old and new start-ups.  Apparently, both Google and eBay’s Skype stand to benefit tremendously from this, so it looks like things should get very interesting in 2009 when it’s made available for access.

Posted in network access, telecommunications, wireless | Leave a Comment »

PodTech:LunchMeet: Tracking Memes with Tailrank

Posted by direwolff on July 10, 2007

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Just found this interview with Kevin Burton and Jonathan Moore off of Kevin’s blog and thought I’d repost it here as it provides a great description of how Spinn3r came to be, and how Tailrank works. As some of you may know, I’ve been a very big fan of Kevin’s and what he’s been up to here and have also lent a hand where possible to get some deals nailed down for him. He and Jonathan are doing a great job scaling the platform and providing real value that will become more and more apparent as they approach the 10M blog URL index they’re shooting for.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, search & categorization | 1 Comment »

Big Air Windjam & Kiteboarding Nationals, coming to the SF Bay

Posted by direwolff on July 9, 2007

How sweet are the five days from Wednesday July 25th through Sunday July 29th gonna be?…VERY SWEET!!!

There’s going to be some pretty amazing kiteboard racing and big air action happening over on Crissy Field on those days. Check out the Big Air Windjam site for all of the details. It’s nice to see one of our local boys in Jeff Kafka of WindOverWater, among the invitees for the event, but I expect that several others will be signing up for these competitions as the Bay Area has some top riders that won’t hesitate to come out and show us their stuff. If you’ve ever had an interest in kitesurfing, this set of events should seal the deal on whether it’s something you’ll want to try or not.

Posted in Kitesurfing & Extreme Sports | Leave a Comment »

Two Kitesurfing Races In One…Ouch!!!

Posted by direwolff on July 3, 2007

This coming weekend, July 7th and 8th, is the Long Board SF Bay Classic/Ultra Nectar Challenge two-for race. In other words, the Classic consists partly of an upwind race from Crissy Field up to the Golden Gate Bridge, going around several markers followed by a long down-winder to Berkeley. From this point the Ultra Nectar challenge race begins. That’s right, the upwind leg from Berkeley back to the St. Francis Yacht Club is the second race.

This race is similar to the Ronstan Bay Challenge (you can see some pics here) which took place on June 9th & 10th, except that where the initial leg of that race was an up-winder to approximately a third of the way between Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge with basically no markers to worry about but one, followed by the down-winder to Berkeley and back, the Classic leg of this weekend’s race will push the riders a lot more before the down-wind to Berkeley and up-wind from there, components of the race. While I participated in the race last month, this one is much more serious in terms of the mental and physical commitment. Good thing Lil’ Pinot roped me into going to a friend of her’s birthday party in L.A. this weekend ;)

Johnny Gomes, race chair, posted the following about this weekend’s race:

Please join us for the Long Board Classic/UN Challenge this weekend, July 7th and 8th.

Sailing instructions will be posted Thursday, July 5th on the St. Francis Yacht Club website.

Race committee volunteers are needed to make this a safe and successful event. Please contact the race office at 415-563-6363

if you are interested in helping out on the water or the race deck.

(7/7/07 Update: Only 5 or 6 kiters managed to get to the upwind mark to start the race and only 3 finished as the poor winds and the strong flood tide conspired to make this a more difficult race than could have been imagined).

Posted in Kitesurfing & Extreme Sports | Leave a Comment »

Good Advice From Andreessen to Entrepreneurs

Posted by direwolff on July 3, 2007

Marc Andreessen is on a roll as far as I’m concerned. His blog has quickly become a must read one for me and with every post I can’t wait to read it. He always provides solid insights and is never condescending to the reader, but always writes with an earnestness and directness that can only be welcomed. To call him a straight shooter would be an understatement, especially considering the tag line he uses, “Often wrong, never in doubt”. You gotta love that.

Anyway, it’s with this introduction that I’d strongly recommend to any entrepreneurs out there that they read his latest post (part 6) from his The Pmarca Guide to Startups series, titled “How much funding is too little? Too much?“.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, VC | Leave a Comment »

Net Neutrality Issue Shows How Stacked The Deck Is

Posted by direwolff on July 3, 2007

Well, the Net Neutrality proponents have some crying to do as of yesterday, as it appears that the Federal Trade Commission will stay out of regulating the issue.  While the rationale of letting the market sort things out doesn’t bother me too much in the spirit of libertarianism, what does bother me is that there’s heavy regulation around allowing new types of carriers from emerging.  Hence, this lack of regulation on top of existing regulation simply protects incumbent monopolies and will hurt both consumers whose choice of dependable service to all web sites and services will be affected by companies’ ability to pay what will certainly be hefty rents to have favorable access to their web sites granted.  It’s less about the affect on the Googles of the world, and more about whether I can get acceptable access to a service like WordPress for my blogging activities.

By contrast, where innovation and alternatives may be emerging through the wireless infrastructure, these are not being supported by our various federal agencies, and so on the one hand they undermine the protection of our existing infrastructure and on the other they undermine the ability to support innovation and growth beyond the choices we have today.  If this isn’t a loose-loose scenario I don’t what is.

Ram Shriram wrote an interesting piece about the opening up of the spectrum issue back in April of this year, raising some solid points on why it would be a good thing for all.  It’s worth reading through.   At this point, all we can hope for is that as a new administration comes to office soon, perhaps we will see a sea change in the perspectives by which many of these issues will reviewed and decided.

Posted in Public Policy | Leave a Comment »