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Recent blog posts Tagged 'internet-startup'

Short history of Facebook


If You haven't seen or did not follow how world most popular social network changed over lat couple of years just take a break and spend next 4 minutes watching movie below. And wow, just look at those numbers! RESPECT to Mark Zuckerberg! After that I feel like an ant in today's world. I also recommend visiting web site: CheckFacebook. Where you can get some up to date stats about popularity and growth of Facebook user's all over the world. Here is a simple screen shoot: checkfacebook user's in cyprus It looks like it is pretty popular in Cyprus as well  - third of population....

Tags: [checkfacebook] [facebook] [internet startup] [web] [web development]

Making internet start-up… Advices from Kevin Rose... and me


Have You ever heard about Kevin Rose? No? He is known for his internet start-ups, like: Revision3 - internet television network, micro-blogging platform Pownce, and probably most known - social bookmarking Digg. Some of you might recognize project, especially If You are heavy twitter users. I have just watched his excellent presentation at FOWA (The Future of Web Apps London) - found on the Carsonified's Blog. He shares some ideas how to "take your site from one to one million users".  Some of You will definitely find this useful. Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo. What Do You think? To be honest - I really, really liked it. Maybe It wasn't something fresh, something that we were not aware of, but something that allows web start-up creators to take another look at things they currently do or plan to do in the nearest future. And by the way, Kevin Rose is a good speaker and was able to present his ideas clearly, with some well chosen examples. Let me comment on few of his thoughts. 1. Ego (Give a reward for user's contributing to my system) This is mainly concern for all of You thinking about web 2.0 start-up - web site that will gather community. Idea is pretty simple - give a reward for what people are doing, how they contribute to system. Just look at the Facebook - how people are proud how many friends they have. Or Twitter - how users (or celebrities) compete to have more and more followers. To be honest - I am glad to have spam users following me - it doesn't matter as long as my counter increases :) Or take a look at StackOverflow - programmers care so much about their reputations and badges in the system. One of Kevin's new projects ( is just a twitter's leader board, no more... Whole project just about that. It was mentioned at the very end of the presentation (during "questions" time) that user's should not be punished for their improper behavior. I couldn't agree more. Before you punish someone (by banning user or deleting reputation) make sure that he/she fully understands how web site works... Probably punished user means lost user. 2. Simplicity and Analysis Some of top community portals are simple and they focus on their certain functionality. Digg is about Digging links, Twitter about Twitting, Google about Googling :) Everyone knows that. So, stop building new Facebook, it will take ages. Focus on your core features. And remember - if you think building even simple features like twitter or digg have, does not take days or weeks if you really want user friendly experience.
Stop thinking you understand your users. Don't assume that users do what you think they do.
Stop building new features that will take ages to finish, just because you think user's may like it. Don't spend time on features none cares about. Do investigation first. Allow user's to provide feedback at your website, do it yourself or make use of existing projects for collecting user's opinion, like: UserVoice or Get Satisfaction. Analyze your pages - use Google Analytics - it is for free and can bring a huge value to your knowledge about your customers, visitors. Analyze it - check how they show up on your website, what are they doing, when, from where they live (exit pages). 3. Marketing Run your own blog, run your project's blog. Talk to other bloggers about Your project - make them write about your project. Don't use force!  :) Use Google Alerts - it will help you to respond to articles, entries where they mention your start-up.  Show Your project at conferences, make a demo to visualize your ideas.  Just think about the fact that Digg is where it is without a penny spend on keyword campaigns in internet. Ugh... I am not really good at that. That makes me nervous every time i think about it. I like to think about myself as one to get job done. I am developer - marketing is fu! 4. Advisors No matter what You think and how clever you are, there are people smarter than you, more experienced than you - especially if it concerns specialized areas (marketing, recruitment, business model, fund raising). 5. At the end Most (90%) of web projects collapse. Extinct. It's not the case with you. But one smart guy once said that:
The only truly failed project is the one where you didn't learn anything along the way.
Uh... so true...

Tags: [carson] [digg] [internet startup] [kevin rose] [pownce] [startup] [web development] [wefollow]

Making internet start-up… Part 2: Choosing tools


It has been a while since my last entry in this series. In previous one i made decision: what i would like to make and why. To sum up, I want to make something simple, something about travelling, for travellers, something that may follow idea of websites like: Yahoo Answers or StackOverflow. The next step is to choose appropriate tools, that will help me to build start-up.

1. Choosing technology

Choosing the right technology for web development is crucial. What I believe, is that MVC pattern suits web and simply - it just the best for the web. So before choosing technology I need to consider if  there is a way to use MVC pattern with it. Python Django, RubyOnRails, PHP Zend, ASP.NET MVC. Taking look at populurity of them gives: compare frameworks On the graph, generated with Google Trends it is clearly visible that python django and php zend framework are gaining a increasing interest since middle of 2005. Slightly opposite things happen to "Ruby on Rails". ASP.NET MVC is relatively new in the group, but it is constantly gaining more and more interest. Before making decision I need to consider couple more factors. That is going to be a tough decision. Up to now I had very little experience with framworks beside ASP.NET. It so tempting for me to choose Django framework - not only it is so far the most popular framework following MVC patters - which tells something about community, it is nicely documented as well. It has a brilliant administration panel, and build-in ORM.  Moreover I love to learn, I love to play with something new. But on the other side - let's face the truth. It would take far longer to make new web site. I had experience with python during my studies - but assuming some things have changed during last years, it will take some time for me to adjust - to make full advantage of it's features. Moreover, there are some environments for python django that i am not really familiar with - like eclipse. Overall, after a lot of brain storms i decided to stick with ASP.NET MVC (wit Visual Studio 2008). I know it, I work with it. Also it looks like this project is under constant development - notice that after few months since ASP.NET 1.0 was released we already have APS.NET 2.0 preview. Decision: ASP.NET MVC (but would like to play with Django... :) Maybe next time...

2. Database and ORM

I had experience with both SQL Server and MySql. Like both of them. But since decision concerning main technology/framework was made on advantage of microsoft technologies i decided to choose MS SQL Server for this task as well. Second choise is for object relational mapper. Here, knowing we are going to stick to .net we can choose among: NHibernate, SubSonic, Entity Framework, Linq to SQL. Lets play with Google trends again.... orms in google trends As expected NHibernate is a leader. It is no surprise as NHibernate is a quite mature - especially in IT world (5 years , wow, that's a lot!). Another interesting ORM is Entity Framework - as according to some Microsoft officials this is going to be a main line in the future. For me is no much difference. There is some buzz recently concerning new release of Entity Framework - version 4 - should be released together with .net 4.0 and visual studio 2010. There will be a "model first" approach and POCO classes. I'm excited. VS 2010 + .NET 4.0 is about to come in few months so i guess i will play with 1.0 version of EF and then immediately switch to newer one as soon as it is ready... Decision: Entity Framework

3. JavaScript framework

Here, answer is the pretty simple. Comparing some of popular JavaScript frameworks... javascript_frameworks No doubts this time. jQuery is the most popular one. Plus you can use Google's CDN. Plus it ships with Visual Studio on MIT licence.  Plus - it is just brilliant and has thousands of plugins.... Decision: jQuery

4. Rich JavaScript text editor

I want to enable heavy posting, answering, commenting on the web site. For that i need some rich text editor. There are generally two types of rich text editors: WYSIWYG (What You Sea Is What You Get) and WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean).  From development point of view WYSIWYM editors are an obvious choice.  Why? Simply because most of WYSIWYG editors produce code of really poor quality, not to cal it sh**y. But for majority of users - WYSIWYG editors are more natural - simply because most of them are familiar with MS Word.   And it is a user that we really care about making internet web site. And I plan to make an application for all. Including my grandmas... How would i explain them how to use markup editors?  There are some mature WYSIWYG products, like  tinyMCE and CKEditor (previously known as FCKeditor). The only problem with them is that they are so heavy (above 100KB). That is way too much. Especially when I don't need new MS Word. I just need few basic actions: bold, italic, list, link. That's it. Nothing more. Why would i need some advanced features for posting questions or leaving comments? Since i already decided that jQuery will be my JavaScript framework I took a look at some plugins that can serve editor's functionality.  I have managed to find some: jwysiwyg, jquery RTE, jhtmlarea, RTE light. I have no bloody idea which one to choose. I will start jwysiwyg, play with it a little. If i am not happy, i will try other one. Let me just give it a try. I read somewhere that JQuery UI team is working on text editor... might consider that in the future.... Now, the tricky part with WYSIWYG editors is that you might get a poor html code. Moreover, this code might differ depending on user browser - as most of previously mentioned editors make use of some browser's build-in features. Making library that will help me to parse and "fix" user code - to change it info semantic html is very, very difficult and tricky. So note for everyone - don't do it yourself.  There is a library that might help you with that: HtmlAgilityPack, and it will definitely help me! Hey, check - after few quite years there is a fresh release of 1.4 beta. Decision: jwysiwyg for now. Changing that shouldn't be a problem...

5. Summary

This article is not a comparison of technologies. Remember, that i do not compare with python, mvc with django. I just choose tools to work with. Having Google Trends as a way to help me make a decision is a tiny add-on. Just to make sure some technology/framework/library - thus community - is not dead already. As i need help, like most of the developers. Life is brutal - although i would like to play with some alternatives i need to face the truth and i choose those that i feel most comfortable with and will enable me to deliver app in certain period of time. Uh, long post. time for ice-creams ... :)

Tags: [internet startup] [web development]

Making internet start-up... Part 1: What to make?


Recently I have more free time so I decided that It is a good time to start small internet start-up. Why small? First of all It is just me that is going to work on it. For now :) Until it will get super successful... Secondly I really like simple and small solutions. I tried to make something advanced, not trivial few times during recent years always ending up somewhere at the begging, giving up, realizing that project I was working on is not for single person, and I do not want to spend next few years working on sth that may never success. From that moment I know that as long as It is just me working on sth I need to come up with simple, 2-3 months projects. Ok, so far I know that I would like to make sth simple, sth that won't take me few months... But what to do? It may sound trivial but I really belive that whatever You do It can succeed only If You are really passionate about it. It is just like with the job - You can be really good at something only if You really care about it (okay, there are exceptions). I never mention that but I am a big fan of traveling - I dream that some day I can somehow join programming with exploring new places and cultures. I am always frustrated when I think that there are at most 2 weeks each year (holidays!) one can spend on traveling. I would like my start-up to be connected with my other (beside programming) passions. I was thinking about project that can help people that are planning their trips - no matter if it is an Amazonian expedition or family holidays. I would like foreigners, or people that "just landed" in new country, territory to find useful information via this web site. I was in the same situation some time ago when I first came in Cyprus in order to find job. I was fighting with plenty of obstacles at the begging. I really consider knowledge that I gained during that time as invaluable, and It is kind of an experience that cannot be gained from any guide or government papers. I am not planning to make sth super popular. Probably I would start with some sort of forum that can serve local community - here in Cyprus. I would count on selectivity of information. I am going to count on people's experience and their will to share it. I will take inspiration from web sites like: tripadvisor, travbuddy and merge it with portals that work like "Question and Answers": wikianswers, Yahoo! Answers, stackoverflow. I am open to any suggestions and ideas concerning my project so feel free to send it on email at mike at, or simply leave comment. Thanks in advance

Tags: [internet startup] [web development]

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