The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, Dan Farber, and Loic LeMeur — talk Twitter with John Borthwick and Laura Fitton. Recorded live Thursday, October 8, 2009.
Full transcript below the video, courtesy of Simulscribe.
Mr. STEVE GILLMOR (Host): Hi. This is Steve Gillmor. This is the Gillmor Gang and we got a full house today, including, in no particular order so, I’ll start with the lady, Laura Fitton – otherwise known as Pistachio and evidently, having some interesting talks with one of our favorite micro-messaging services. But she’s not going to admit that. Also, on the call, one of…
Ms. LAURA FITTON (Founder, Oneforty.com): Sure, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: Our favorite micro-messaging services partners in a number of ways and probably the most prolific. I don’t know, I guess you aren’t a venture capitalist, but we’ll find out what you are. John Borthwick of Beta Works. Welcome, John.
Mr. JOHN BORTHWICK (CEO, Beta Works): Hey, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: Our regulars, Robert Scoble, coming to us from Half Moon Bay. There’s somebody behind him who’s got the keys to his ankle bracelet. And Kevin Marks.
Mr. KEVIN MARKS (Weblog Author, Epeus Epigone ): Hi, there.
Mr. GILLMOR: Welcome, Kevin. And Dan Farber on the phone from New York, CBS News Online. Welcome, Dan.
Mr. DAN FARBER (Editor-in-Chief, CBS Interactive News): Hi. Good to be here.
Mr. GILLMOR: Thanks for joining us. And last but certainly not the least, representing all things European, the fabulous, Loic Le Meur.
Mr. LOIC LE MEUR (Founder, Seesmic Web): Hi, everyone. Just not European, I hope, but hi.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well…
Ms. FITTON: I don’t think raccoons are European.
Mr. GILLMOR: We’ll get into that argument later in the year. We’ll see what Arrington has to say about that. So in any case, I wanted to continue the unraveling of the “RSS is Dead” theme some more. Over the past few weeks, we had some very interesting discussions with people from PubSubHubbub, Bret Taylor from Facebook/FriendFeed, and just – it seems like that the RSS and real-time space have collided now and we’re on our way toward actually seeing what parts of these various old systems and new systems are going to be able to work together. And I want to start by asking John Borthwick. John, what’s your take on the emergence of what I would – I guess you could call a bridge between the old word of RSS and the new world of micro-messaging? How do you think that’s going? Do you think it’s important, et cetera?
Mr. BORTHWICK: So I think it’s very important because I think that the infrastructure of sort of open – the messaging box has been opened up beyond the proprietary networks that, you know, formed a lot of the early stage innovation and so I think it’s really important. It’s – how is it going? I think it’s going pretty much as you would expect and there’s a bunch of innovation happening. There’s some efforts right now to standardize some of that. Most of it is moving in a sort of coherent, similar direction and I think it’s all good.
Mr. GILLMOR: Robert Scoble, what’s your take on where we are in terms of integrating RSS with the real-time?
Mr. ROBERT SCOBLE (Technical Evangelist and American Blogger, Scobleizer): I think there’s been a lot of innovation in the last two months, you know, with the RSS Cloud and the PubSubHubbub, but I’m still waiting to see a real move toward a decentralized style of Twitter.
Mr. GILLMOR: Laura, do you believe there’s such a thing as a decentralized Twitter? And how do you see the real-time environment shaping up at the moment?
Ms. FITTON: Do I believe there will ever be such a thing as decentralized Twitter? You know, as much as I’m obviously a raving fan of the service and pretty deeply steeped in it, it’s hard to imagine it resisting all market forces to open up. I think interoperability and some form of federation will come in to play at some time and certainly the way – I mean, RSS offers one interesting standard and the way – obviously, I’ve been very, very focused on tools in the real-time web because of one for the – the way RSS is being used as the proxy for pulling all those together and aggregating them, it’s definitely interesting and emergent.
Mr. GILLMOR: Loic, you have with Seesmic Web and – I’m not sure about whether Twhirl is still an existing product or whether it’s been folded into the larger Seesmic family. But you’ve got an aggregator that moves across a number of these different services. What’s your take on decentralization and are you a part of that?
Mr. LE MEUR: Well, the way we see it is where you get as many services as possible in it on different screens, as you said. Desktop right now, with 2.5 million downloads of Seesmic desktop and the web, which is growing very, very fast, we’re very happy about it. And we have a number of mobile platforms coming and yeah, I think this is all converging and definitely needs RSS in there, so we’re definitely working on how to integrate RSS in it as well. I still read blogs and not only who links to me(ph) on Twitter and Facebook. So I think it’s needed, but there’s a lot to do. If you think about just following up with what Twitter and Facebook are building, if you think the retweet idea with your localization API on Twitter – Facebook just launched Dimensions. So that’s a lot, you know, for small companies like us. So just following that is really interesting.
Mr. GILLMOR: Kevin Marks, you’ve been at Google. Now, you’re at British Telecom, you got an interesting play there in Ribbit that I hope you’ll start to talk about at some point. Do you see these services as starting to inter-operate in some sort of – if not federated way, you know, an ad hoc federation of services that will – describe how you see that as actually happening as opposed to theoretically happening.
Mr. MARKS: Well, I’m seeing it happening already. I mean, you know, Twitter was down most of this morning, but FriendFeed was up and working because it was calling the APIs and routing stuff it was routing round and routing through. So those of us who were using FriendFeed can still talk to each other and see things in real time, but it was being fed out to Twitter and pulling back again. So that’s one example where that’s working. And what we’re seeing is that we’re starting to standardize on ways of expressing these messages and moving in between the services and the activity streams effort is part of that or PubSubHubbub couples with that and so on. So there’s a lot of stuff that’s joining this together because as people start building these things, people start, you know, wiring off and putting them together. Not all of them are exactly the same as Twitter, but you know, the feeds are how we couple them together at the moment and building on that is the easier way to do it, too.
Mr. GILLMOR: Dan Farber, you’ve been – you sort of moved over to the main stream media, but I know you do continue to follow some of the emerging technologies. What’s CBS Online’s take on micro-messaging, Twitter, et cetera? Are you using this? Are you going to use it more efficiently in the future?
Mr. FARBER: You know, we’re very avid users of the social media. You know, for CBS News, it’s just kind of a – for any news organization, it’s kind of part of the recipe these days, which is you need that kind of hyper distribution for your content and you need it to help connect with the community and to try to – not just try to bring people to your site, but to bring your site to other people through friends and through this mechanism, so it’s critically important especially if you look at the younger generation. The numbers we see that – you know, television viewing, for example, is not declining in general, but what we’re seeing is internet usage is rapidly increasing especially among, you know, 18 to 29 – 18 to 39. So you know, as any kind of business organization, you want to intersect with people and make sure that you’re mimicking the way that they’re using the tools. So, definitely.
Mr. GILLMOR: I’d like to get a little cross talk going here. I’ve sort of thrown these sort of soft balls out at everybody, but let’s start with John Borthwick. You know, where would you like to go in terms of this conversation? What do you think is interesting about this space? You know, tell us all about the things that you’re going to do to make lots of money and you know, seriously, what – you know, at the real-time conference, you and Ron Conway were really kind of defined I think a move, a general move toward filtering that we all anticipate is going to become significant. Where are we in that? And everybody else, just feel free to – you know, we’ll have to sort of catch up to you sometimes in terms of video, but let’s just try and have a conversation here. John…
Mr. BORTHWICK: Sure. So, OK. So let me just pick up where we – where you started is that – you know, from a starting point, I mean, I think that there’s, you know, there’s relative stages of openness that we’ve seen to market as they emerge online and I think that what we’re seeing today is more open an environment from a business standpoint, meaning that there are businesses who are driving this into market than we’ve seen to date on the internet. I think we’ve seen a bunch of protocols being driven to market that have been more open than this by businesses, but not businesses actually being driven to market. So I see that what’s happening today is that you’ve got – Twitter has defined a degree of openness that a set of the real-time sharing platforms are now trying to match and so the streams are colliding, being rematched, being reintegrated. That, in turn, is picking up the velocity of stuff within the streams, which in turn is picking up the need for filtering. And so I think that what you see today is you see – you know, in the last week, we’ve had, you know, quite a bit of stuff going on with the Twitter list functionality, which I think we’re going to see more of that in the next week or two. You know, on our side, TweetDeck is one of our companies and we’re doing a lot of work on that site. You know, we were the first guys I think to do groups and we pushed out a group directory maybe three weeks ago, four weeks ago on TweetDeck and so that’s going to evolve now that Twitter is going to have a list of APIs. So what you see is that you see these tools and lists as an example of it just because it’s a functional equivalent to, you know, a filtering mechanism namely by groups and then being able to share and syndicate those groups. You’re going to see all these stuff, you know, in the next six months, at least. You’re going to see an explosion of data coming to the stream. Last point is that I think you’ll also see a lot of data coming into the stream programmatically. So, another one of our companies is Twitterfeed. The MySpace guys enabled syncing into Twitter you know, 10 days ago, two weeks ago. You could see the volume of traffic that’s coming in now for MySpace. That traffic is coming in now in a programmatic fashion. So it’s people on MySpace who sync up their accounts and so they type things on MySpace like, I’m happy, which they put on their profile page. It syncs into Twitter and push out a tweet, which says, I’m happy, with a link back into My Space. It’s not clear that it’s an entirely, you know, beneficial user experience yet, but these programmatic – people are pushing programmatic content into the stream and that’s also going to push out the need for filtering.
Mr. GILLMOR: Laura, do you agree?
Ms. FITTON: I’m having actually a really, really hard time hearing. I’m getting pretty bad echo.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. Let’s see what we can do with that. Let’s just take a break. What is it that you’re – are you coming in on your headphones?
Ms. FITTON: OK. Now, I’ve got it fixed now. Sorry about that.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK.
Ms. FITTON: How about someone else take a turn and I’ll jump back in when I have something good to say.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. Loic, what do you think?
Mr. LE MEUR: Do you have a specific question or you…
Mr. GILLMOR: No. We’re you listening to what John said?
Mr. LE MEUR: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: I can see a couple of openings you could drive a truck through, but you know, you can do it.
Mr. LE MEUR: I have no – I think what John does is great.
Mr. GILLMOR: Are you doing anything to compete with some of his properties?
Mr. LE MEUR: You know, I think, of course, we compete. But I think it’s space which has a lot of empty space and it’s been…
Ms. FITTON: Yes.
Mr. LE MEUR: You can see it, right? We started with Twhirl almost two years ago as one of the very first Twitter client. And now with Seesmic, it’s going very nicely and well, many players. As we were just, you know, discussing with Scoble before the show, there is a number of applications which are on one screen. So Tweetie, for example, is fantastic on the iPhone and he’s also on the Mac. And our aim is to be on as many screens as possible, so we already have the web, which goes on many screens already. On desktop, we see (unintelligible) and we have mobile coming in. So I think what’s going to be interesting is to provide a way for the users to have a continuity in the experience. So if I leave my Mac, I like to find exactly the same content on my iPhone and that is going to take much more resources than building an app for one screen. And that’s definitely what we’re building right now and I think the next six months will be very interesting. We’ll be launching a few new products before the end of the year.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. Laura, now it’s your turn.
Ms. FITTON: I think that kind of, you know, “follow someone’s lifestyle” continuity between interfaces and apps is actually really important. I think people were hearing pretty disjointed when they have to interact one way on their phone and a whole different way on their desktop and a whole different way in their browser. The other thing I think and you know, this is a bit of a maybe naive view. Everybody is kind of looking for who’s going to be the winner, who’s going to be the big mass, who’s going to be the leading application. And I see this is going pretty niched as this goes main stream. I’m very fascinated by – what are the trends that will make Twitter truly catch on main stream? What will make the whole real-time web truly catch on main stream? And I think a lot of it is comfort level and familiarity, relevance to your particular life, and solving the types of problems you know you have. And I actually don’t think it’s going to go the way more mass forms of media have where there’s a few giant gorillas in the room that really sop up all the audience. I’m always – I love both John and Loic very much and when I see a…
Mr. LE MEUR: I love you, too, Laura.
Ms. FITTON: (unintelligible) of TweetDeck versus Seesmic, I laugh and go why don’t you guys turn back to back and go find niches within the market and yeah, niches in fact create a business strategy, but find the different unfilled space. I was very glad to hear you say that today, Loic – to focus on the unfilled space and solving the problems individuals have.
Mr. SCOBLE: One unfilled space, Steve…
Mr. BORTHWICK: I think that…
Mr. GILLMOR: Go ahead, John.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Sorry. Just to respond to both Loic and Laura, I mean, I think that one of the things that’s fascinating about this is that – and this is why we built and designed Beta Works in the first place. There’s an ecosystem emerging, right? It’s easy to set up and it’s always fun to do the sports, you know, game of one client versus another. TweetDeck is part of the Beta Works network. It’s doing great. It definitely competes along with Loic. The TweetDeck team think about that every day. Bit.ly, on the other hand – TweetDeck uses bit.ly, so does Loic. Loic actually integrated bit.ly in a manner – maybe eight to 10 weeks before TweetDeck did, the integrated user accounts. And so reviewing this, yeah, I see that there’s an active ecosystem that’s emerging. There’s a lot of competition on the client side. As Loic said, there’s a real push towards the server and syncing preferences and filters on the server, which in turn is pushing up investment costs and development costs. I think it’s going to distinguish a handful of players. I mean, in TweetDeck, we acquired a company in London maybe nine months ago expressly because of that SyncServer expertise. And so, you know, this – I think that is going to change the profile of the company. What you’re seeing is you’re seeing a lot of competition and you’re seeing a lot of cooperation.
Mr. GILLMOR: Robert, go ahead.
Mr. SCOBLE: The area I was going to say that’s still open is curation. The apps now are getting so rich. I have Brizzly on the screen, I have TweetDeck, I have Seesmic, I have on my iPhone, Tweetie, and Simply Tweet. And the apps are getting so rich and so built out that now I’m looking at how do I take the stream of stuff coming toward me, make some sense of it for my friends and spit it back out to something that looks like Tumblr or Posterous and I haven’t yet seen anybody who’s done that from a client perspectives particularly on the iPhone because…
Mr. LE MEUR: Robert, first, you know, we could not do it for you anyway because you were following about 90,000 people. So now that you’ve just realized that you need to follow fewer people to make it relevant, we can walk with you.
Mr. SCOBLE: OK. Joking aside, because I was using FriendFeed for a long time while you guys were playing around with Twitter to focus on a small group of people, I don’t have that yet. You know, I’m on all these clients. I don’t have the ability to really curate and add some value to the stream that’s going by.
Mr. BORTHWICK: So when you say curate, can you unpack that a little bit? Because you know…
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah. So I’m watching 35,000 people come to me and I pick – out of that river going by, I pick a couple of tweets every hour that is really good stuff. And I want to put underneath that tweet almost like a blog post or a video or I even might want to turn on a community like a Google Wave or a FriendFeed community chat room like what we’re talking about, that’s on my screen right now. And I want to send that back out to my friends who are listening to me. I am sort of doing that today with Twitter’s favorite feature, but the favorite feature doesn’t let me add any value on to each of those tweets and doesn’t really let me retweet it back. The retweeting isn’t satisfying for what I’m looking for and blogging isn’t satisfying because it’s so hard to get a really nice graphical representation of a tweet into my WordPress blog and then blog underneath it. And a blog is not – it’s sort of real time now. Thanks to the RSS Cloud and the PubSubHubbub infrastructure. But you can’t really subscribe back to a curated blog into Twitter and so I’d really like to see a complete system that does all that.
Mr. BORTHWICK: So what I would argue, Robert, is that – I mean, I think this is emerging. It’s emerging sort of fitfully and I think in my opinion, too slowly. But I think that it’s emerging in the way that a market emerges because speaking – you know, looking at TweetDeck, even Twitterfeed, even bit.ly, everything has to – all the data that we flow back into the stream has to conform to the platform. And so the metadata that we insert in the stream like TweetDeck, you know started as a manner to be able to use the regesture. And yeah, the regesture is not a gesture that is being sort of broadly adopted by the community yet. And so what happens is that – I think this is gradual and organic process where innovation is happening on the edges. It then scales off and then the platform provider has to embrace pieces of it. This is what’s happening with the retweet functionality – is that it moves sort of into the infrastructure.
Mr. GILLMOR: What was the thing that you said was not being broadly adopted?
Mr. BORTHWICK: The refunctionality.
Mr. GILLMOR: You mean, retweet?
Mr. BORTHWICK: No. Re, R-E.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. In other words, threaded conversation? I’m not sure I understand you.
Mr. BORTHWICK: So if you – yeah, it’s a gesture which – and we help set up a thing called Microsyntax (unintelligible) to actually, you know, throw some – sort of conform and throw some – bring together the community on some of these gestures, but the regesture essentially means reference to a URL to something without having to retweet the whole thing. So if I look at my stream right now, I’m seeing somebody who said…
Mr. MARKS: Isn’t that based into the – app responses? I mean, it’s in API. It’s just that Twitter doesn’t service it very well. So if you add someone, then it knows which it’s in response so. It’s just that Tweeter itself is bearing that.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yes, correct. But that’s the…
Mr. MARKS: (unintelligible) to do that better, right?
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yeah. But you need the platform provider to actually embrace this and to integrate it in so that you can actually – I mean, conversations. This tension where – on the client side, you know, people could add threaded conversations into TweetDeck, but then those conversations, if those don’t go back into the Twitter stream, if they’re not searchable within the Twitter stream, is that then a positive thing or not? So it’s – you know, I think that you’re getting sort of competition coming in and pushing innovation, and then the platform is gradually adopting those things, but it’s just – it is taking…
Mr. MARKS: The platform is backing that a bit.
Ms. FITTON: There’s also a lot of tension and latency between what can be done and what actually is done. I mean, the users have to also pick this up and make it go mass and that takes a long time. I mean, people still don’t really understand how app replies work and that’s been out there as prior art.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, another way of putting this…
Ms. FITTON: I’ve been three years on Twitter and you can argue for years before Twitter on other platforms.
Mr. GILLMOR: I mean, app replies don’t work.
Mr. MARKS: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: That’s what isn’t understood.
Mr. MARKS: Well, I think they added the ability to know which post you’re replying to. That’s in the API. It’s in the data structures, but…
Ms. FITTON: If you used the (unintelligible).
Mr. GILLMOR: If you use – yes, correct.
Ms. FITTON: If you used the (unintelligible) rather than typing.
Mr. MARKS: Yeah, yeah.
Ms. FITTON: You know, I mean, we can design all we want. We can design these elaborate systems for how we want people to do this. But my everyday life is at the edge of people who are just starting to start and you know, I’m excited about the possibility and I’m also very weary about complexity of getting into a very sophisticated – you know, I love what Stowe is doing. It’s important, but I also recognize that from the time we figured out we needed Hashtags to the time they really started to get powerful was two years.
Mr. GILLMOR: The other problem with Hashtags and I think also what, you know, Stowe or anybody who’s trying to develop a separate ontology and then sort of graph it back on to behavior is that nobody really yet knows what it is that they’re doing with this entire space. You know, people have discovered that Twitter is fun, they’ve discovered that micro-messages can, in some cases, replace other functionality particularly email, and to some extent, IM. But they haven’t yet figured out – and I don’t know that they ever will figure out that there’s some sort of structure to overlay in order to do this. I mean, you know. Kevin, you’ve been involved in microformats from the beginning. We all know about the success of microformats or at least, supposedly. What’s the downside of trying to push these kinds of standards, you know, into the environment?
Mr. MARKS: The work is you’ve got to do it after people have already done the practices, as Laura was saying. You need people to start doing these things and evolving it and then you standardize and draw it in, in the same way as Twitter has been responding to the users and drawing it into the UX. It’s something you draw in into the specs and standards as well. I think I’m disappointed about the reply to stuff because I’ve been seeing that drop away. You know, I retweeted that very well a year ago and the previous Twitter search, before they bought it, actually showed you the threaded conversations quite nicely. And I know that the, you know, both these guide tools, when you do reply using their tool rather than using the website, they actually make the threading stuff work properly. So these pieces are all there, yet somehow, it’s not something that Twitter is paying attention to making more useful and so it’s sort of sitting there in the data stream without actually being, you know, fully implemented because Twitter itself doesn’t show what the things are in reply to except in that tiny link in the bottom that, you know, doesn’t display very well. So that’s an opportunity, but that part is to do more than they have and I’ve seen some – you know, we’ve seen tools that do more of that. I expect we will see more of that and I expect we’ll see more augmentation elsewhere as we have done with FriendFeed. But FriendFeed – you know, FriendFeed does a fairly – again, does a fairly good job of – if I reply to something on FriendFeed, it will send that back to Twitter and wire it up properly, but it doesn’t always pick up the ones from Twitter and feed it back in the stream as well. So you end up with this sort of tangled set of things that aren’t very well coupled.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, Laura, what’s your take on FriendFeed? I know that you’re much more of a Twitter person.
Ms. FITTON: Well, so this is where my radical honesty comes in handy. I’m actually quite dumb with software UIs. I need them to be very simple. I stayed with Twitter.com almost exclusively for a very long time. I still use Twhirl as my primary source of “my follow only” account. So I like a lot of simplicity and frankly, FriendFeed was a little more complex than I care to dive into because at the time it was coming up, there was sort of a large base out there that had a perception of being interesting in what I was doing, so it was hard to connect to a specific group, so it was hard for me to get started on it, but you know, on the same way with Facebook. So I’m an advert. I’m not a good one to go by.
Mr. GILLMOR: John, obviously, you’re a partner with Twitter. What can you say good about FriendFeed?
Mr. BORTHWICK: What can I say good about FriendFeed? I mean, I use FriendFeed some. I mean, I found – so Laura said it very politely. I always found the UI very difficult in FriendFeed. I don’t know why, but there was some sort of – it didn’t click for me. But you asked me to say something good about FriendFeed. You know, I watched FriendFeed and participated in FriendFeed. I watch all of you using FriendFeed a lot because I think FriendFeed broke sort of really important new ground in terms of tracking and sharing the gestures, which then in turn become the metadata, which then in turn become the filters. So I was fascinated by that. I was fascinated by some of the implementations they did around search. But for me, it was the gestures and the integration of gestures that was most interesting in FriendFeed and I want to see, you know, what happens, what…
Mr. GILLMOR: Do you see that in any way being usable over on the Twitter side? It doesn’t sound like there’s much uptake here. I think perhaps Facebook’s acquisition will drive more attention for being paid to some of the FriendFeed internals, but it is obvious from the (unintelligible) silos that sort of look past each other.
Mr. BORTHWICK: You mean, FriendFeed and Twitter or Friend…
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah. Basically, or Facebook and Twitter.
Mr. BORTHWICK: No, I think – look, I think that there’s – No, I think that these streams are going to connect. I think the streams are fundamentally different. I mean, I think it’s sort of when very much at the early stage of evolution of these things we’re looking at sort of a plankton-like life form and trying to – you know, trying to extrapolate from this emergence syntax as emerging behavior what the next – what the things are going to look like and, you know, that’s always hard to do. So, I think predicting how these things are going to evolve is hard. I do think that these streams are fairly different. I think the FriendFeed stream and the Twitter stream were closer to being alike than the Twitter stream and the Facebook stream. I think that the asymmetrical friend nature in Facebook makes it pretty fundamentally different. I think that on the – So, yeah, so that’s – I’ll shut up, that’s some – you know, I think I said some nice things about FriendFeed along the way.
Mr. GILLMOR: Very good. Yeah, you got a gold star. Loic, you’ve been working a lot with Facebook. What do you see is the differences in the potential integration opportunities between the two platforms?
Mr. LE MEUR: We won’t also integrate FriendFeed in Twhirl like the very, very early days. So, I’ve been a fan of FriendFeed very early. I don’t see – I mean, everything I hear from my antennas, which may be limited sometimes, is that it’s going to – that they are not looking on FriendFeed at all anymore, maybe someone can correct me further information. So, we will not integrate FriendFeed in Seesmic just because I think when you’re on FriendFeed, you will be on Facebook. And, yeah, we are working very closely with Twitter and Facebook and also our social software. And I think it’s very, very – it’s going in a way which is converging. You see, you have now Twitter and Facebook going closer and closer to each other, as I was saying, you have the re-tweets on one side on Twitter and you have a likes on Facebook, it’s very similar. You have the ad replies with the in reply to on Twitter and you have the thread already on Facebook. And these are on host(ph) too, but then you have Yahoo Meme coming. You have MySpace which has its feed. You have LinkedIn which has status of dates even though people won’t use it yet enough or not much. And I’m waiting for the news from Google that maybe getting them talk to us about it. My personal take is that it’s not at all Google Wave but that there will be some kind of a status of date on Google and Gmail and so on very soon. So, the question I think long term if we look more than six months like next year is how will these look like. Will that be that we abate all of those and then we get it all and these are all many duplicates? Will there be a clearing house of all the status of dates? Will they be converging pretty much like IM when we add – and that’s still kind of different but AIM and, you know, GTalk and so on. It varies a lot. It’s very, very new, very new sites, so.
Mr. MARKS: Well, I’m – you know, we’ll try to make them converge. That’s what the activity stream stuff is about. And that’s, you know, that’s one of those people sitting here and discussing how to label things which isn’t very interesting to watch, but the results end up working reasonably well. We’ve got MySpace and Facebook generating activity streams and feeds already. And we’ve got…
Mr. GILLMOR: But the other company, MySpace, I’m not familiar with that.
Mr. MARKS: Well, you know, we don’t all look through the world in the same way. NetFlix is going (unintelligible) of them. They are generating activity streams too. And the point is to converge – converge this stuff and express it in a common way and to bring this into the OpenSocial realm as well so the sites that are built on it in such a way were to generate this in a common way. That’s part of the discussion that’s going on, so that would mean that the Google stuff on OpenSocial and Hi5 and the other sites that are built on that would be able to do that, too.
Mr. LE MEUR: When will Google launch its own Twitter like in Gmail? That’s a question I’d like to ask?
Mr. MARKS: That is a question. I can’t answer it. I can’t answer and (unintelligible) yes or no. There’s bits of it there. There’s stuff there on iGoogle already. There’s bits of it in other places. You can see sort of bits of it poking out. There’s some of it inside Latitude and so on. So, you know, the infrastructure underneath is activity stream-like and there’s bits of that leading up to the different bits of Google over time.
Mr. GILLMOR: You know, this is so reminiscent. Dan Farber, are you still there?
Mr. FARBER: Yes, I am.
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah, this always strikes me as so reminiscent of the Y2K time frame when Microsoft had Exchange and Outlook and Lotus and IBM had Notes. And then Netscape came along and bought up a bunch of open source and, you know, different smaller players to try and cobble together a collaboration league(ph). You know, it seems like Google has got, you know, as Kevin puts it, a lot of bits that they are trying to stitch together or maybe trying to stitch together, it’s not hard to tell. And we all know what actually happened or I think we all know what happened in the Y2K run up and basically the market got split between Microsoft and IBM.
Mr. FARBER: The market for what?
Mr. GILLMOR: For collaboration. There are always stages of collaboration. Isn’t this what we’re seeing here as the next face of collaboration technology?
Mr. FARBER: Well, I think, you know, you’re talking about the fact that, you know, they go through these epics or these stages in which, you know, some large companies – and in that case, there was a period in which it was about business usage(ph). Now, we’re talking about planetary usage and it’s much more of a free for all, though obviously there are very large players that we’ve got here. You know, it’s still so early in the game that you know, that you could have a Google or a Microsoft and a Twitter can come out of nowhere. And yet, you know, while we’re talking about when is Google going to have it or when is Google Wave going to appear and when are they going to get all these features and yet Twitter still seems to have traction. So it’s very hard to predict. I think all we know is that this period of foment is really good because that’s where the innovation is going to come from and it doesn’t come from working in some laboratory in secret for years and years but by putting it out there and letting people play with it and see how people want to use it and how they deal with each rivers(ph) and how they deal with who is going to really solve the filtering problem and all the other issues.
Mr. GILLMOR: Somebody jump in.
Ms. FITTON: First of all, I – You’ve got what you asked for right there, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah, well, it’s a real time stream.
Mr. FITTON: I love what Dan said about putting things out there and seeing what people do with them because ultimately it’s not what the software does, it’s what the user does, to quote Hugh MacLeod’s cartoon that I’ve had as my business card for like four years now.
Mr. BORTHWICK: I think the other thing that’s different here is that this is, you know, dimension that the majority of what happened before us in the enterprise base is that – I think the public showing aspect of this just makes it fundamentally different because the streams are now searchable, navigable and that there’s a lot of data going in but there’s also lot of data coming out. And so, I think it’s – I think what was seen here is different to what happened in the early stages of collaboration. It’s still collaboration. It’s still, you know, the mixing of communications and media and a whole bunch of some collaborative sharing. But I think it’s different now that it’s searchable.
Mr. GILLMOR: Right. Well, I mean, there’s definitely – I mean, if people are looking at some sort of historical reference about, as I think somebody mentioned, about the IM streams coming together, well, that just didn’t happen. And I think maybe what you’re suggesting, John, is that there’s the possibility now because of the public nature of the stream that there’s going to be an ad hoc coming together regardless of what the individual strategies of the (unintelligible) are about.
Mr. BORTHWICK: But it’s happening. It is happening…
Mr. LE MEUR: No, I’m sorry, John, go ahead. It’s only right. On Facebook, it’s not public, we can’t search it right now. We can’t put it on clients and it’s the same on other social software. So, I would say that Facebook is still much bigger, so the majority of it unfortunately is not public yet and it’s great that Twitter is opening it. But I agree that’s what makes it very interesting, but we really need the Facebook search and…
Mr. MARKS: But there was a mixture of public and private. I think that’s part of the point. And yes, Twitter default public but you can be private on Twitter, too. I know several people who are. The other thing is bringing Microsoft in. I think that entry you posted with Ryosi(ph) today or last night, Steve, was very interesting on that. And that the fact that the live team at Microsoft, Rob Dolin(ph) and (unintelligible) and those guys are actually very focused on these streams that they’ve been building a front end to this. And yeah, they’re not fashionable and cool, but they’re actually hooking up to this stuff and making it work. I definitely asked them today with Lily and John(ph) being given a team to put together on that is very interesting because Lily is very smart and is very switched on to this stuff. And I’m excited by that, so I think, they seem to be picking up the border.
Mr. GILLMOR: And for a long time, Microsoft was probably playing more open than any of the other players. I mean, I think they still are, but there was a time when…
Mr. MARKS: In some ways, they are. I mean…
Mr. GILLMOR: There was a time basically when it was Google and Microsoft at the engineering level that were really focused on API access to these core fundamentals.
Mr. MARKS: Sure. You know, the Microsoft guys have been a big part of the activity stream stuff. They’ve involved with the Open Web Foundation things. They’ve been into many all of this stuff and places, you know. There does seem to be some kind of (unintelligible) change there. And yeah, it’s against the culture, that core because the cultural core of Windows and Office is not openness. But the development side of Microsoft is about getting developers working. And, you know, I’m seeing that they are picking up the need to interoperate with people much more strongly. That’s an encouraging sign. You just muted yourself, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: John, did you – you were jumping at some point? What were you going to say?
Mr. BORTHWICK: Can you hear me now?
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah, I can. It was my fault.
Mr. BORTHWICK: OK. So, I mean, I think that the – I think it’s the evolution of the marketing right now where essentially new plans were coming in and defining these streams is driving a lot of healthy innovation, now whether that’s the Twitter level or Facebook or LinkedIn or to the TweetDeck or the Seesmic or Twhirl, whatever level. I think that the – you know, I was fascinated on the discussion that you guys did last week on Sidewiki, because I think that once Microsoft and Google stop playing here, which, you know, everybody sort of sits back and waits for it to happen. I don’t know whether it will happen or what it would look like. I mean, I’ll be hearing for a year and a half that Google is going to do something with Gmail or with, you know, some status integration and it hasn’t come yet. But I think that when those guys – their first move into the space is going to be really important because as providers of platforms like search, like browsers, they have a – like all poignant(ph) systems, they have a stake in this which is different to a lot of the edge based innovation that’s probably not. And so, you know, the Sidewiki conversation, to me, the thing that concerned me about Sidewiki is Chrome. And, you know, I saw it is a feature which is coming into the toolbar, but if it becomes successful, then it moves into Chrome and then that sort of – that makes me feel uneasy for a bunch of reasons.
Mr. GILLMOR: But why? Why would, you know, Chrome adoption isn’t going to go to, you know, more than say 30 percent in the next few years? I mean, what would the implications be of that? If people started to use the Sidewiki-like products, I mean, effectively, FriendFeed is a Sidewiki-like product that we use to tie on Building43, to tie these two streams together. I mean, this isn’t – it’s not a rocket science nor the problems of any individual lender.
Mr. MARKS: Yeah, I think there’s this, you know, the highlander mistake that there can only be one, which we, you know, is (unintelligible) in this that actually…
Mr. BORTHWICK: I’m sorry, Kevin, can you say that again?
Mr. MARKS: There’s – sorry. That’s what I call a highlander mistake. There can be only one – one winner. Actually, what we’re seeing is this stuff is very mountain model. We do experience these things in lots of different ways. We read them as feeds, we read them in yoga’s class, read them on our phones and we switch back and forth between most to communicate with each other. And even – you know, Laura was saying she’s (unintelligible) doesn’t use these things, but she is switching between devices and doing that as well, because the primary mental connection is with the people and then we’re used to interacting with people through these different means and then we get better at navigating those. So, the assumption that Google can do something in the browser and take over everything or Microsoft can do something in the OS and take over everything, I don’t think is right. I think that they need to tap into the interactions that we’re having and help us do them – they had all the things that they could do in browser OS site to make some of those sort of blocking in and security stuff work better. So, we’re not always talking in prospect(ph) but there’s a bunch of stuff that that way they could do.
Mr. GILLMOR: So now that we have disagreed with you, John, what were you trying to say that you are afraid of?
Mr. BORTHWICK: So my concern is – I mean, if you look at Sidewiki today and the potential for the integration of things like Sidewiki into Chrome, my concern is that you’re essentially balkanizing(ph) the data set. And, you know, when I got – when I listened to your call, I think, last Saturday, the first thing I did afterwards was I went and checked that there were actually links to comments which were made in Sidewiki . Is it searchable? Is it navigable? Was it in a completely close environment? I mean, I think somebody on your call last week what a medium which was a toolbar, a Firefox plug-in that did some stuff similar to Sidewiki and that was fairly close. It’s – the balkanization of data and these data sets and these data silos – you know, Loic, was saying before how important it is for Facebook to make that stream searchable, is that this stuff has to be accessible, I think, by the open web, by the streams because then the velocity of interactions, the velocity of innovation is going to continue apace. And I think that the – we’ve seen sort of these ebbs and flows where we move from sort of centralization to decentralization and I don’t want to go back to sort of a rain man world, if you remember that thing.
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah. It’s something about underwear. Robert, you have to go?
Mr. SCOBLE: Yeah, I have to run. I have a chat on Nashville(ph) in a couple of seconds. But, interesting conversations, right?
Mr. GILLMOR: Thanks for sharing that.
Mr. SCOBLE: This is – back to the FriendFeed stuff, the reason that FriendFeed has such a complex UI is we’re not in control of who I get to share with my audience there. And people have said this over and over again to me that they come in and it’s so noisy and I get the same feeling when I go to Google Wave now. That’s what I want the curation tool for it and it will have a community component of that, right? I will want to turn on a Google Wave on my – underneath a blog post on curating or telling you something about because I want to talk to everybody but I want to be in control of that and have it…
Mr. GILLMOR: Clearly you weren’t listening last week. I mean, you don’t have control.
Mr. SCOBLE: Well, sorry. I want it. So when I do get it, I will – we’ll all recognize we have something special. Twitter gives me control. I have control of who I see and who sees me. There you go.
Mr. GILLMOR: So in other words…
Mr. MARKS: You don’t have control over who sees you.
Mr. SCOBLE: Absolutely I do. Steve Gillmor has blocked me this week. I can’t see him anymore.
Ms. FITTON: You can totally log out and log in and look at this…
Mr. SCOBLE: Of course, but in my stream, that I do several times, I get to see only the people who would let me see them.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK, well. I’m looking forward to the day a mass delusion(ph) becomes a common place.
Mr. SCOBLE: See you later.
Mr. GILLMOR: But I don’t think it’s going to happen. Laura, what do you mean by you can just log out? On Twitter, you can just log out? I don’t know how that works.
Ms. FITTON: Yeah, unless you have a private feed, if you look at a public feed in a logged out state, you can see it whether the person has blocked you or not.
Mr. GILLMOR: And isn’t RSS – and remember RSS? Isn’t RSS – doesn’t that run counter to – for example, I’ve been blocked by a couple of people that – for quite a long time and yet through their RSS feed, I can just sign on to them and create an artificial identity or whatever it is it’s called on FriendFeed and I can monitor what they are saying to my heart’s content. Evidently, it doesn’t matter, I’m not logging in through FriendFeed through my Twitter identity because if I did, I would get a blocked visual. So, isn’t there a kind of an impedance mismatch between the old model and whatever the new one is going to be?
Ms. FITTON: Well, I don’t know if that’s sort of an impedance mismatch but I would think of the block function or the flagging function. You’re saying the old technology did let you block? I mean, what…
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, you know, RSS, you know, syndicates this information and it doesn’t really have any kind of, you know, social graph attached to it.
Ms. FITTON: Right.
Mr. GILLMOR: So, it’s a simple (unintelligible) around this.
Ms. FITTON: It’s very permissive.
Mr. MARKS: Right, well. RSS is like Twitter. It started out default public and adding permissions to that afterwards takes work. I mean, you could do it if you can use – I will have to decide who gets to see feeds which is, you know, the Facebook model. Facebook started the other way around which is you only see things if you are allowed to see them, and that the argument I made very strongly for a long time was we can’t let you draw the data right out of our site because our users are going to be able to delete it and put it down in their personal memory hole in the future. And they seem to be stepping away from that now a little, but that’s still an issue because, you know, people are nervous. You know, people naturally want to retail their own stories over time. They want to be able to have the illusion of control that Robert wants of being able to say, oh, I didn’t hear you say that, and tell a better story about themselves, and part of the issue of being – talking about yourself in public is it actually makes you examine what you have said rather than what you thought you had said.
Mr. GILLMOR: That’s not always true either, but somehow I don’t think that we’re going to see any kind of re-working of the RSS Fundamentals around OAuth or any other standard.
Mr. MARKS: Sure.
Mr. GILLMOR: To be able to – you think that’s going to happen?
Mr. MARKS: What about RSS, you know? I’m talking about these feeds in general. RSS is…
Mr. GILLMOR: (Unintelligible), you know, Adam, RSS something.
Mr. MARKS: Adam – yeah, it’s a separate layer. OAuth was a separate layer. It’s at the HTML layer – HTP layer where you say, I’d like to get to see this feed. Can I see it now or not? And different people see different things. Now, we’ve had that on the web for a long time. We were logging to Twitter, on the second(ph) page, you’ll see something different (unintelligible) and OAuth is just extending that so that the web services can do it as well, so that we can draw our stuff out of Twitter and each of us will see what we see from that rather than, you know, with the permissions built into the feed while they’re having a public feed and that’s all there is. So, it’s there, it’s built, it’s working within the social networks.
Mr. GILLMOR: Right. What’s the market for this that’s going to actually adopt that strategy? I don’t see it. I think that, as you pointed out, Facebook’s moving away from that kind of control toward something which gives the control to the user.
Mr. MARKS: I think we’re going to have to end up having more than one control model because there’s a difference between what a Quizzat(ph) means to see about me and my friends and what we’ve done and what a client like these guys build, what weak(ph) links to see about it. There will be different modes that make sense. And we are sort of moving towards that now. You know, we have that issue with the Twitter OAuth stuff. You log in to Laura’s site with Twitter and OAuth knows who you are and that’s a great benefit. It says you only can set up yet another account. But they ask the permission to post stuff back and some people would say, why do you want to post stuff back, it’s because there were places on the site that sent Twitter and that makes life easier. But it’s hard – there isn’t any easy way of expressing – this thing can just see a little bit. This thing can see a lot. This thing can pretend to be me at the moment. And if you look at the way you have to log in to Facebook from Seesmic, you have to go through that $5 book, sister(ph), actually say no. Actually, I really do want it to be my client at the moment because their model for explaining that doesn’t fit very well.
Mr. GILLMOR: Loic?
Mr. LE MEUR: Dude, I really – Kevin (unintelligible) is still too complicated, and if you think this is reading but posting is the same when you post. If you think about Facebook, you have a lot of control now on how you post. You can post private, you can post to your friends, you can post to your group, you can post to – in public, you can post to a page which makes it even more complicated. You can post to several pages, and if you think about it from the user perspective, it’s getting more and more complicated and I think that’s also why…
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, not really. Yeah, I mean, people will opt out of – I mean, that’s why I don’t use Google Reader anymore. It’s not because it isn’t useful, it’s just not as useful as other things which are faster and have some sort of social filtering that, you know, offloads the decision making from me and puts it on the people that I think are smart and might have a better look at what’s going on at any given time.
Mr. LE MEUR: Yeah, I think that’s what Robert is describing as in his curation(ph) and I think we’ll need to scratch the surface here because when you look at trending, for example, which we have not talked about, for me, it must be – it’s not very relevant most of the time and now the Twitter trending is also getting super spanned. It’s – if you see trending topics very often, it’s just, you know, people very smart and, you know, either doing a game that they can – you know, if you’re to win, you have to Hashtag something with something. And so this is just the beginning. I’d like to see what’s trending among my friends, for example, and so nobody is doing that. I’d like to, you know, I think we’ve…
Ms. FITTON: So, yeah, that’s come out. That’s been built…
Mr. LE MEUR: Right, at the platform level.
Mr. GILLMOR: Could you say that again, Laura? I couldn’t hear you.
Ms. FITTON: I have seen one or two apps that are starting because that’s something I’ve been fascinated about. I mean, think how valuable it is for a company to be able to track focus groups and then see what trends among those. Unfortunately, out of the 1,800 apps I’ve looked at in the last few weeks, I can’t remember the names of which ones, but I will try and track them down.
Mr. LE MEUR: Well, if you don’t remember, then…
Mr. FARBER: (Unintelligible) 140.
Mr. MARKS: Yeah.
Ms. FITTON: Well, Steve, that’s exactly what I’m shooting at and I want to plug my company. I thought that would be brazen.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, let me ask…
Mr. MARKS: So, Tune In is one. That’s – if you’ve seen Tune In, that’s one that a bunch of my old colleagues at Technorati are building, which takes your Twitter feed and then averages it and gives you out, here are the links your friends are Tweeting the most, and that’s what’s interesting…
Mr. LE MEUR: Well, there’s Tweeting to, right, which does that, it tells you how your content is spreading and being retweeted.
Mr. MARKS: That is the other way around. This is what are your friends reading and there’s…
Ms. FITTON: If you’re following a hundred people, what’s trending amongst those hundred people as opposed to trending among all Twitter, right?
Mr. GILLMOR: John, is that the other way around or are these technologies moving in the same direction even though they look different?
Mr. BORTHWICK: I’m trying to understand your question, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well…
Mr. BORTHWICK: I was going to respond to what they were saying. I wish I could do, but then I’ll try…
Mr. GILLMOR: MG Siegler pointed out, I think, that some of the analytic features that are on TweetMeme that were just discussed or released a couple days ago are some of the things that we’re starting to see from bit.ly , you know.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: Is that true? Are we going to be seeing some analytics from bit.ly that go beyond, you know, the original intent of the program?
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yes, I mean, that’s assuming that you know the original intent. I mean, it’s – this thing is being under construction for quite awhile and I think that, you know, now that as the services get to scale, the data becomes a lot more interesting. I mean, you know, there’s many, many ways to filter that – I mean, there’s a new version of TweetDeck that you’ll see in the next two weeks. It has a column which – it sounds really simple that I love which gives you new followers. So for a particular account, you could look at a column of people who have just started to follow you. So as we’ve been going through this call, well, I’ve been watching people who’ve been adding me and following me and it’s – you know, that’s a very simple filter, but a lot of – Loic, you’ve got to get to work on this. It’s an – there’s a 101 ways to cutting this data, so specifically, Steve, you asked on the bit.ly site, I mean, you know, there were – in September, there were billion and a half bit.ly links that would click on web wide, and I would – that’s about, you know, yesterday it was about 65 million. Most of those are happening within the real time stream, many of them and most of them within the sort of Twitter ecosystem and then some outside of that. And, you know, watching the feed of that on an aggregate level, apply an (unintelligible) extraction to it and so that we can pull out topics and (unintelligible) you could see it on a vertical level, you know, for a particular topic, and then, slamming that against your social graph so that you can then filter it by your social graph is, you know, that data is starting to get really interesting.
Mr. GILLMOR: So, what I was asking before was being discussed as some sort of social graph filter to, you know, trending topics around your friends. At what point do these two models intersect?
Mr. BORTHWICK: The two models. One model being the social graph and the other one being…
Mr. GILLMOR: Being the, you know, sort of mass data – I forgot the terminology. It was only a minute ago.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yes, I think that they’re starting to intersect now. I mean, you pointed explicitly to the TweetMeme service that Nick launched in the last week which is a premium analytic service, and a lot of the data that we’re showing in that premium analytic service is from the bit.ly API. So it’s in the API and getting click counts. And then, wrapping that up into his analytic service. He’s also adding into that a lot of the data that he’s servicing from his retweet network from, you know, the bottom which he’s got around a whole bunch of publishers, a ton of publishers that is feeding a set of signals in that relates to retweets. So he’s mixing those two stream top because they’re fairly open. I don’t believe the Nick has access to Firehose and so, he’s not – he doesn’t have the mechanism and he may not even have the service to be able to slam that up against the Firehose (unintelligible) and actually resolve it against a full Friend Graph. So, I think it is – it’s happening, it’s happening sort of in bits and pieces but I think that, you know, what’s most interesting is these services that are large consumers of the API, of the Twitter API, many of them are starting to actually spit off out the back end.
Mr. GILLMOR: And it also sounds like they’re starting to interoperate with each other. I mean …
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yeah.
Mr. GILLMOR: These companies are all companies that you’re involved with. There’s no special access that you’re providing to each other or is there?
Mr. BORTHWICK: There’s so, you know, we have, I mean, we’ve opted and all the Beta Works companies have opted to have an open API and to – we’re driving connections between these companies. TweetMeme is not part of the Beta Works network of companies, yet we do a whole bunch of things with them. You know, I think that over the next six months, 12 months, you’re going to start to see all these stuff get a lot more sophisticated, a lot more meshed-up, and you’re also going to get to see some rules of the road which will emerge in terms of data usage. So, you know, you’re reminding me that I’ve got to give Nick a shout because the fact that, you know, bit.ly’s API, you know, the terms of service of bit.ly’s API says you can use it in a 101 ways but the moment you start making money from it, you should come chat with us. So he starts to make money from that we should have a conversation.
Mr. GILLMOR: So that you can pay yourself a better – I’m not sure I understand that.
Mr. GILLMOR: So, what I’m really asking is, can – if Loic wanted to, basically walk up to one of your services in the same way that some of your services are walking up to each other, there would be no problem with that, right?
Mr .BORTHWICK: There’s no problem at all. I mean, I think that, you know, I mentioned before that Loic used part of the bit.ly API which led to (unintelligible) authenticated access into bit.ly, you know, eight to 10 weeks before TweetDeck did. And so, you know, the principles under which we’re operating amongst the Beta Works companies that we’re driving these services into market and were driving interoperability between the data streams but we’re doing it in an open fashion. Why we’re doing it in an open fashion, because it accelerates the growth of all of the above. And so as an open network, it is driving far more connectivity and far more sort of remeshing and then reintegration of the data than it would in a closed environment. So Loic and I, we do not have a (unintelligible) contract between us. Loic uses a lot of Twitter data, use a lot of bit.ly data, use a lot of TwitterFeed data. I mean, there’s a lot integration. In turn Loic has integrated it in some ways with TweetMeme and with all these other people and it’s, you know, so this – there’s an integrated sort of embedded web of data sharing that is – I think, characterizes part of the real-time stream.
Mr. LE MEUR: Yeah, it’s very interesting that you’re mentioning that you look like (unintelligible) said that someone is starting to monetize data coming from bit.ly while you’re actually also using it from Twitter, right and I’m not taking sides here. I just said we’re very integrated with bit.ly and we’ve been including before TweetDeck absolutely. And we’re happy about it, happy to help bit.ly. But the question here is, those companies, I don’t know about your portfolio, but we’ll have monetize one day or we will all, you know, disappear. So, it’s interesting that when you stop monetizing, I would be – because you’re also taking the data from Twitter that doesn’t sell it to you, right? So…
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yeah, we use …
Mr. LE MEUR: So, how do you see monetization?
Mr. BORTHWICK: So, I think that’s a great point. I mean, I think that as, I mean, I said this before, but one of the things that we need to – sort of the rules of the road and understanding exactly how all these individual pieces will monetize most importantly the platforms at the center is vitally important to the evolution of the streams. I think that, you know, I didn’t say I was upset at Nick, I said that – when I – I should have a conversation with him about it. I agree with you. I mean, I said to our friends at Twitter is that, you know, if they – if a tweet is composed on TweetDeck, if it then goes to – obviously, the Twitter network, if it’s then consumed on Seesmic and then maybe it’s republished into Facebook, you know, the rights and ownership that relate to the activity in the link that was in that tweet is a very complex question. I mean, I think that …
Mr. LE MEUR: Right.
Mr. BORTHWICK: I think that bit.ly has, you know, what I refer to as proxy rights to that data. I think that Twitter has rights to that data. I think that the clients likely who interacted with it have proxy rights to the data and then last but not least, most importantly, I think the user has rights to that data. And so, I think it’s – yet, it’s very complicated and I think that the rules of the road of how monetization happens, it’s still very early days.
Ms. FITTON: But it is a huge blank because the data is among the most valuable thing that is floating around and when people come up to me again and again and again, say, oh, but Twitter has no business model, I shake my head in disbelief because certainly Google has proven the model of a rich stream of data script quite a lot. So it’s good to be interested, to see how that happens.
Mr. GILLMOR: So Laura, that – you just handed me an opening here.
Ms. FITTON: Uh, uh.
Mr. GILLMOR: Nice.
Mr. GILLMOR: I’m sure you won’t answer this but, I’m going to ask it anyway because this is TV so we get to see your expression.
Ms. FITTON: This is TV? I have no poker face whatsoever. So, I’m just going to …
Mr. GILLMOR: All right. If you think that Twitter has a business model, what would the business model be for acquiring OneForty?
Ms. FITTON: Well, I mean, I have not been secretive at all about the fact that one of the ways I thought of OneForty was trying to think, well, how could Twitter make money? Who is making money on Twitter? I knew as a consultant I was getting all my clients from Twitter. I knew plenty of business people who were building their networks and transacting and actually doing business with one another because of Twitter. So my thought was you build a market place and you enable those transactions you make them easier. You serve that community and I mean genuinely serve, not lip-service-serve. And if you make those transactions more frictionless and more valuable to everyone involved, you deserve to have a share of that.
Mr. GILLMOR: So, how soon do you think that we’ll be able to understand what if anything is going to be happening between you and Twitter?
Ms. FITTON: I don’t think people should be that concerned about what if anything is happening between us and Twitter. I think we have an interesting model. I think we have a ton to learn. We’re putting it out there very publicly, very fast so we can learn what the community needs and whether we become part of another company and Twitter is not the only company by far that we can easily become a part of. We have a pretty important company to build ourselves so we’re not getting distracted by all that hype.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, I don’t think – I think a lot of the interest about this is, it comes from the fact that as a very public facing product that you’re delivering, that’s good news for people who consider the importance of Twitter learning how to grow into the ecosystem that it has been created(ph) in and be more open in terms of its strategies and you know, on ramps and off ramps to the Twitter streams. So, I think that people are excited about this possibility because you’ve been so, you know, open in terms of the way that you’ve approached the idea of, you know, a Twitter app store. I mean, basically, do you think there’s going to be a Facebook app store in the near future? Do you think that your model is going to be cloned just like so many of these other systems have emerged?
Ms. FITTON: There is something on CNN.com today about the proliferation of app stores. I mean, didn’t Facebook try and build its own app store, which is having that centralized application platform? I meant to say, what’s holding Facebook back from a genuine app stores that most of the apps in Facebook are pretty formulaic and similar and maybe the platform isn’t open enough to allow the kind of innovation that we see in the Twitter system.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. I think we’ll wrap it up. Kevin, any last thoughts?
Mr. MARKS: I’m, so …
Mr. FITTON: And thank you by the way, Steve.
Mr. GILLMOR: Oh, please stick around just so that I can actually formally say goodbye and thank you for being here but …
Mr. MARKS: So, I’m going to back up what Laura is saying a bit. Obviously, I’m a big fan of OneForty and have been advising her on it. So, I have an interest in this – in that – but I want it to succeed because I think what she’s doing is very important. She’s going out and gathering this sort of vast ecosystem of applications, giving them a place to be talked about and spoken about. And you know, I joked that what OneForty can do is just put a little shopping list tag on each applications saying, here’s what it would cost Twitter to buy this app and incorporate it. There’s lots of little possibilities you can do with this once you start being able to find these things because – and it’s different from the sort of the iTunes app store model of – no, you have to sort of work hard and please us to be in it. It’s much more of a gathering together with all of the exciting stuff that’s going on and making a place people discuss and find out. And I found that – and that’s really interesting.
Mr. FITTON: And I know John, Loic and Kevin, you all know how adamant I’ve been that, you know, this has to be open. This has to be as impartial as it possibly can be.
Mr. LE MEUR: Right. So, how do you write(ph) the apps on popularity? I’m very curious about that. I believe she speaks…
Ms. FITTON: Oh, man.
Mr. LE MEUR: I know it’s one of the most popular products. And surprisingly, it’s not out there.
Ms. FIITON: I can comment that it is (unintelligible) up medical. We do have kind of a concept to Page Rank. It’s strictly mathematical. It is embryonic. It has lots for fast (unintelligible) that could get worked into the average.
Mr. LE MEUR: So you’re saying Seesmic is not in the top 15 mathematically most popular apps.
Ms. FITTON: I’ve got an email from Loic saying, but I am the number two app, how come I’m not in the number one slot? Loic. That’s what you said. But, no, it has to be open. Twitter has a tremendous open e-post. Twitter’s openness is wide. There is so much diversity in the applications and services being built. I think it’s fascinating how many just core pieces of software and websites and things that erstwhile had nothing to do with Twitter are now suddenly building Twitter integrations. And I thought I’ve a defined subset but that defined subset is exploding. You know with AIM coming out and everybody coming out saying, oh, and we also work off the Twitter API, taxonomy nightmare. Thanks a lot guys. But it’s really exciting.
Mr. LE MEUR: Laura. Laura. Seriously, it’s very exciting but how do you do your math?
Ms. FITTON: It is a mixture of offsite and onsite measures that would suggest quality and/or popularity. So, since it’s heavily based on onsite, yes it is, somewhat gameable if you get – obviously, it will be in our interest if you get tons of people coming to site and voting sort of the model that the – in words your friend John, your friend did with your words. I’m sure I can’t remember the name of. I apologize, I slept at the office last night.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Edo. Edo.
Ms. FITTON: Edo. No, no, the other one. They had the ceremony and everything. What was the name of that award ceremony?
Mr. BORTHWICK: The Shorty Awards?
Ms. FITTON: The Shorty Awards, right. That was truly purely (unintelligible).
Mr. BORTHWICK: (Unintelligible)
Ms. FITTON: And it was by intent completely gameable. So our metric is by intent, yeah, partly gameable and if you have a ton of traffic on your page. If you have a ton positive readers that kind of thing is going to affect it. We’re also working hard to identify third-party measures that suggest other people think the app is good and aren’t campaign based. And of course, I won’t comment specifically on what those are because then, they become campaign based.
Mr. BORTHWICK: So, Loic, I will help you with it.
Ms. FITTON: It’s embryonic now, Loic, but it should continue to improve and we will also divide up the content in many more different ways. We never imagined we’d have this big a user base this fast. So, luckily we have a fantastic engineering team rolling out features pretty fast.
Mr. GILLMOR: You’re going to help them, John?
Mr. BORTHWICK: Yeah, I was just going to help them. We got – I just looked at the most popular. We’ve got one, three and ten at Beta Works right now. So, if you were a Beta Works company you’d operating with me.
Mr. LE MEUR: Sure.
Mr. GILLMOR: Is that an offer?
Mr. LE MEUR: Is that some kind of offer, John? So no, yeah, I mean, Laura, I think you know how much of a supporter I’ve been but when I look at the 20 most popular apps that you’re prophesizing and we’re not in there. I, you know, you can debate about one thing like this but …
Ms. FITTON: No, no. Twhirl has frequently been in there. We’ve got …
Mr. LE MEUR: Yeah, Seesmic is bigger than Twhirl and it’s not in there. So, you know, anyway.
Ms. FITTON: Oh, I’ve seen studies looking at source tags that showed Twhirl much bigger in its market share that Seesmic. I mean, there’s a – nobody knows how to mess with this stuff yet. It’s an emerging science and lots of areas we can find.
Mr. LE MEUR: Laura, we have seen with Seesmic web direct access to data coming from Twitter so we have a pretty good idea of the market share as well.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well, let me say that if you do get …
Mr. BORTHWICK: I was going to ask him …
Mr. GILLMOR: …it’s just going to get even more intense, Laura.
Ms. FITTON: It totally will. I mean, I put myself into an impossible diplomatic situation considering how many friends I have in the ecosystem. I had to completely accuse myself about all decisions about whether or not CoTweet would be a featured app and everything because I’m an adviser. I disclosed the heck out of everything and trying to stay as reasonable as I can and that’s the best I can hope for. By the way, I did finally find the name of the apps that will show you trends among your friends, not to change the topic but, I don’t want to forget this. It’s GraphEdge. It’s one of the Boston lineup that was profiled in the Boston Globe this past Sunday. Unfortunately, it’s in closed beta so you can’t see it.
Mr. GILLMOR: The Boston Globe still publishing.
Ms. FITTON: Well, I think it’s also for sale. Maybe we should put a little tag how much it’s worth on OneForty as well, right. There are also a couple a really specific ones, iAte will show where you’re – what the trends in restaurants among your Twitter friends are. There is also Trendsmap that will show you specific friends among your group. So, I’m excited to see more innovation and one of the hopes with creating OneForty was to make more innovation possible because we could finally see if there was already an app for that and then build out on new ideas, new features, new innovations, compare notes, see what works, see what doesn’t.
Mr. LE MEUR: Laura, just one point here is that listening to Loic. I mean, I think that it’s – I think you should put clearly on OneForty the fact that this is generated algorithmically and it’s not editorial. Because I think that one of the things that will help the acceleration and the adoption of a lot of services is that if there’s just clear transparent – if we understand, we as users understand when something is an editorial pick versus when something is actually been surfaced by using data from the stream. And I think there was a huge issue with the SUL and other things which should have been out there, which should have been editorially driven. And I think that it’s – if this is algorithmic, then that’s, you know, it’s good. It’s good for the market because it’s actually an indicator of the market.
Ms. FITTON: Yes, yes and we do actually have some of these covered in our FAQs which I’m sure you’re all familiar, probably more familiar than I am with the need to (unintelligible) FAQs.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Absolutely.
MS. FITTON: And honestly, this is one of the reasons we haven’t rolled out a lot of the commercial stuff that’s in the pipeline because certainly paid placement is something we’ve gotten tons of demands for. Until our users understand our rubric and are literate in terms of what is editorial, what is mathematical, what is paid, we don’t want those lines blurring because if we’re coming out there in an advertorial stance and like pushing, pushing, pushing, and being super biased, we’re not serving the community. We failed.
Mr. GILLMOR: Well this has taken a little time to gain some momentum but now I can’t catch you guys up so, I’m just going to say, I want to thank – first of all, I want to thank our sponsors. This tricast was developed and produced with the aid of NewTek and their fabulous Tricaster and it’s sponsored by Rackspace. And I encourage you to take a look at what’s going on at Building43 as we start to build out what’s called the real-time network and that’s at building43.com/realtime. There will be a transcript to the show as soon as SimulScribe makes it available to us which will be posted along with the YouTube version of the show on gillmorgang.techcrunch.com and I want to thank John Borthwick.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Thank you.
Mr. GILLMOR: Thank you so much for showing up. I want to thank Pistachio a.k.a. Laura Fitton. You can now consider yourself to be one of the gang.
Ms. FITTON: Thank you so much. Oh, you’re very sweet.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. And Loic has been a member of the gang although owing to immigration policies, he hasn’t been allowed on the show from time to time.
Mr. LE MEUR: I’m working on my (unintelligible) green card. Thanks.
Mr. GILLMOR: Let me know how that goes. All right. Yeah, thank you for …
Mr. LE MEUR: Well you don’t know if you won’t be admitted in French Customs either. That’s my surprise when you go to the web.
Mr. GILLMOR: I’m hoping that’s the case. And Dan Farber, are you still with us?
Mr. FARBER: Yes I am.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. Well, I assume that since you’ve been listening and enjoying. Thanks so much and the next time that you’re on the show I’d like to see the CBS News run in the background. So, let’s try and make that on video, OK?
Mr. FARBER: All right.
Mr. GILLMOR: OK. Thank you and last – Scoble, you know, we all know how much we love Scoble and please don’t turn in to the show that he went and left us for. Kevin Marks, thank you, as always.
Mr. MARKS: Thank you. You know, it’s nice to be on it. Great conversation today.
Mr. GILLMOR: This is Steve Gillmor. This has been the Gillmor Gang. Oh, John, I thanked, John didn’t I?
Mr. MARKS: You did thank John.
Mr. BORTHWICK: You did. You did.
Mr. GILLMOR: Yeah, but I’ll thank you again.
Mr. BORTHWICK: Thank you.
Mr. GILLMOR: Thank you. OK. This is Steve Gillmor. This has been the Gillmor Gang. I want to thank everybody who showed up and especially those who didn’t. But there will be another show in the pipeline. Thank you so much. Bye-bye.