Saturday, May 16, 2009

If you're doing a startup, don't miss this

If you're in or thinking of starting a new company, or even a new product category in a large company, these are essential to maximizing the chances of success. I've been in many companies big and small and the correlation between success and following the principles discussed in these classes has been 100%. Steve Blank is an experienced entrepreneur that teaches at Berkeley.

http://venturehacks.com/articles/customer-development-3-and-4

http://venturehacks.com/articles/customer-development-class-5

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tagging the real world

Maybe I just missed it, but this seems to have gotten much less coverage than it deserves. The demo opens up a huge set of possibilities around making the physical world searchable and interactive, just like the web. I know little about what technologies tochidot is using, but I've been exposed to several companies, two of which I worked for, that have developed components of making such a system possible.

Basically you need
  • text recognition on low-rez camerphones: snaptell.com
  • image recognition and comparison to like images: searchartgalleries.com
  • geolocation data
  • a smart phone with a big screen (Apple, Google Phone, ..)
  • a backend that matches incoming images and geolocation data to historical data such as tags, reviews, user comments, etc.
My head is swimming with the possibilities.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Announcing use_uuid and acts_as_distributed

I've open sourced two Rails plugins that facilitate building distributed Rails applications. Use_uuid integrates UUIDs and schema less attributes into rails models. Acts_as_distributed replicates state changes to model objects to a queue so they can be distributed to other databases and applications. Both of these plugins are currently in production in newsforwhatyoudo, and are tested with Rails 2.2.2

Rails is a great framework, but its not simple building a distributed application. These are two small steps towards making it easier. I'll be talking at the SF Ruby Meetup about how we use these plugins on May 13 - see the meetup link here. It would be great to collaborate with other developers on building out a collection of plugins that enabled all the key portions of distributing applications in an integrated way.