Profile of Fritz NelsonVice President, Editorial Director InformationWeek Business Technology Network
News & Commentary Posts: 492
Fritz Nelson is a former senior VP and editorial director of the InformationWeek Business Technology Network.
Articles by Fritz Nelson
posted in March 2008
At Startup Camp in London, I met Nick Halstead, the erstwhile founder behind fav.or.it, a new blog aggregation site that's been widely discussed in the, um, blogosphere (there's a dog chasing its tail somewhere in that statement).
When we held Startup Camp in London, WatZatSong was one of the more intriguing new ventures. Raphael Arbuz' project lets the community help you figure out songs that you know some lyrics to, or a tune stuck in your head.
How can you lose with someone named Fabio at the helm, talking about how his company, Veedow.com, will do for shopping what Pandora does for music? Veedow will customize a recommendation-based social shopping site based on the items and styles that appeal specifically to you.
Traditionally, Ruby On Rails developers have had difficulty taking applications from their development systems to deployment (difficulties not experienced developing with PHP, ASP, or Java). But Brightbox, a U.K.-based startup showing off its wares at Startup Camp in London recently, specializes in Rails hosting.
RPPtv sounds a little too good to be true: A Web-based uploading, sequencing, editing, and output program for consumers and broadcasters. It's also free, available any day from RPPtv's site or as a Facebook application.
You may have heard about bands discovering a fan base (or vice versa) on MySpace or YouTube; or about the launch of some new Web TV show on YouTube which makes its way onto regular television because of its popularity (to some degree, South Park is a great example). Now, thanks to fun startup WebCanvas, artists can have the same opportunity. The WebCanvas presentation at Startup Camp last week in London was impressive in its creativity. But these guys, who fini
The monumental imperative to save our planet requires launching ourselves over what seems an insurmountable hurdle involving the orchestration of global agreement and policy combined with individual actions that manifest themselves as a nebulous series of micro decisions. So good luck with all of that and call me when the polar bears and penguins are tanning themselves on Fire Island. Or maybe we should completely re-examine our own lives like Saul Griffith, MIT PhD, chief scientist at Makani Po
I have a friend who does everything in Excel. I mean EVERYthing. If he were ever to write a novel, I am convinced he would do it in Excel. He obsesses about balancing his books at home on Excel; organizing trips in Excel. So when we went to Italy a couple of years ago and shared expenses, he built us a handy spreadsheet. There was nothing complicated about it, but its elegance and logic just made everything tidy -- well, except the part where I owed him money. Now I don't need the spreadsheet, t
There's nothing more charming than a humble entrepreneur like MySQL co-founder David Axmark. Zero ego, maximum success, achieved from a place of pure personal passion and the observation of need rather than blatant commercialization. Axmark made it clear to the Startup Camp audience in London this past weekend that while most companies start up with a business plan that includes an exit strategy, Axmark and his partner Monty Widenius started simply to create, to fill a need, because it was fun.
My colleague, David Berlind, held Startup Camp in London Friday and Saturday, for an eager crowd of hotshot startup companies interested in sharing experiences, getting feedback, or maybe just looking for that gentle pat on the back to keep them going through 18 hour workdays and family sacrifices. Startup Camp is but one in a series of what Berlind calls "unconferences" whe
One of the most exciting concepts demonstrated during ETech was a data visualization concept, a phenomenally attractive and useful way to find information so quickly and thoughtfully, it seems at once elegant, clever, and obvious. The company: Stamen, a design studio in San Francisco. The application: Like anything in the visual world, it's easier if you just see it, but it involves a series of sliders that make underlying data come to life as you stretch the boundaries of the information you're
When wildly successful startup companies review history, it can often seem instead like a revisionist history; as if success ever happens according to a perfectly mapped out vision. There are two key distinctions when it comes to Salesforce.com: first, many of its early employees came from Oracle or Siebel or both, so the templates for success (in some cases for better or worse) had been somewhat molded and embedded; second, regardless of any contrived formula, there are phenomenal lessons other
Nearly every company these days is racing to that next big thing to ensure their product or service is being seen by the masses. Portals and search engines have been, and will continue to be prominent. But there has been a stampede toward social networks as companies figure out how best to traverse that world, how to be visible without tarnishing the social environments sites like Facebook and Bebo and MySpace have tried to create. MixerCast has taken an interesting stab at helping big brands ef
It was hard to tell if there were more social network platforms at O'Reilly's ETech/Graphing Social Patterns (GSP) than there were companies looking to fund them. The parade of ideas gets a little bit weary, the eyes blur when trying to distinguish between one or the other, the amount of data required by each is a bit staggering, and it's often hard to tell a friend from an acquaintance, a widget from an midlet (if you combined them would they be a midget?), a twitter from a clatter. So here's a
Some companies here at ETech are so new they don't even have business cards yet. Jing Chen flew in a mere hour before she was expected to demo K-Factor Media's Developer Analytics at AppNite in San Diego, and it turned out to be one of the more compelling early success stories. In the not too distant future, she won't have to be giving out slips of paper with her e-mail address instead of business cards.
Recommendation sites, like Yelp, have been great, successful experiments in building sustainable social networking communities. Hungry Machine, one of the ETech AppNite presenters, has tied a series of vertical recommendation ideas to the existing social communities, like Facebook. There are a few key differences, however.
The AppNite demo presentation that drew the biggest collective "ah's" and head nods at O'Reilly's ETech was Underlying's Dipity, described as a Wikipedia for timelines -- a way to organize the Web using time. Many companies are experimenting with timeline concepts, including Google, because it's a new way to give information more context. In the case of Dipity, timelines become a way to bring communities together.
O'Reilly's ETech (Emerging Technology) Conference features a smaller conference called Graphing Social Patterns (GSP) which dives deeply into the social networking phenomenon. GSP runs straight through to AppNite, a demo contest for developers. AppNite featured both educational and silly games, but a few gems emerged, both on the purely personal side and the business side.