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How to Build Amazing Web Apps


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Blaine Cook - FOWA Dublin 2009

Blaine Cook - FOWA Dublin 2009

Published in: Technology, News & Politics

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  • i'm blaine, started out in the internet backwater of vancouver, migrated to sf to work on odeo, that morphed into twitter then blew up, and after hanging out at fire eagle, now i work for bt/osmosoft and live in northern ireland.

  • so before i go to far, i want to talk a bit about what the talk isn't about. first, it's not about pygmy slow lorises, even though they're awesome. there are a whole bunch of things that i could talk about that i learned at twitter-and-similar
  • people infinitely smarter than me have talked a lot about simplicity as it relates to fields infinitely more complex than mine. I guess all I can say is that working on twitter really emphasized how important keeping things simple is.
  • openness made twitter. seriously. i remember when it was just starting out, I was the first person to hate twitter. The reason: it only worked over SMS, and I only had pre-paid, which meant it cost me $0.15 to receive a message. Twitter would have cost me $3000 a year to use. Twitter got interesting when anyone could use it, and more importantly when they could mould it to any shape they wanted.
  • twitter isn't new - irc, upoc, sms, blogs. it's a slight genetic variation from all the things that came before it.
  • scaling - go read/listen to joe's presentations

  • this talk is about stuff that matters to me
  • and why (i think) it matters to you
  • I don't have answers for a lot of the stuff that matters to me (or I wouldn't be working on it!) but I do have some leads you can follow up if you're interested and want to take action.

  • ... and imagine a room, full of people. you're looking around, and over there's your mom! then you notice your boss, a couple of guys from your football team (i mean, ruby meetup group), then a couple of people who you think you were in high school with. Your wife's there, and, not too far away, your ex-girlfriend. Looking around, it looks like *everyone* in the room is someone you know or knew. you should now be afraid.
  • open your eyes. what you've just imagined is facebook. thankfully, you never have to face this situation in real life, but on facebook, that's just what it is - your cousin getting engaged, your friend changing jobs, and your boss wanting you to go over those TPS reports, while you're trying to superpoke a dozen people and checking out the events for tonight.
  • if I were giving this talk three days ago, I would talk about how you have different contexts for your life; it's important to keep these things apart, because we act differently based on the context. but facebook is way ahead of me. They're smart.

  • natural social networks. what happens when we move beyond friendster \"OMG I can add friends online\"? We get genuinely novel sites that are based around real-world interactions.
  • there is a downside, though. we lose the network effect when we're compartmentalized.

  • openid and facebook connect are great for what they do. but allowing people to share content isn't what they do. friendfeed is a great way to aggregate your stuff, but it's too much information, and it strongly blurs the context lines. these things are great if you're a media/net junkie, but if all you're trying to do is share photos with your friends and hang out, they're incredible overkill
  • urls are the thing.
  • addressing is important

  • don't be a sharecropper. facebook and myspace and any opensocial container own your users, and have ultimate say in what happens.
  • small sites can't compete on their own with facebook, but together we can create a viable economy around collective sites
  • laser focus. this is why you care - focus on your users, on features, not on growing your user base to infinity and beyond.

  • the flickr pandas. play with them. see:
  • Transcript

    • 1. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 2. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 3. simplicity Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 4. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 5. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 6. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 7. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 8. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 9. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 10. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 11. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 12. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 13. take action Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 14. close your eyes Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 15. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 16. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 17. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 18. 500,000,000 users Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 19. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 20. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 21. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 22. What's your photo address? Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 23. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 24. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 25. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 26. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 27. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 28. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 29. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 30. times-newswire-api/ Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 31. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 32. Thursday, March 26, 2009
    • 33. Thursday, March 26, 2009