My blog has been a little quiet of late, mostly because my team has been heads down on building out three new products. You’ll hear more about the others (one is code named freeagle) in the coming weeks, but today is Y! Kickstart’s day.

Y! Kickstart is a professional network with a specific purpose: to connect college students, recent grads, alums and professionals to find jobs, internships and career advice.

We started with a simple focus: college students are about to go through a major life transition, finding their first job & career. For them, submitting resumes to job sites or companies seems like a black hole. College students are amazingly well networked on Facebook, but that network is about connecting with friends and is more appropriate for fun – in fact many students we talked to expressed frustration that “old folks” were coming onto facebook and forcing them to lock down their profiles or worse yet – clean up their act. Lastly, unlike someone like me who already has an established social network, these folks are just beginning to build their network.

So, enter Kickstart. It’s based on the premise that everyone does have a network: the school you went to, the frat/sorority you were in, the professional/interest group you are in, the companies you interned or worked at. Kickstart makes it easy to create and browse that kind of network. While we started with a focus on college students, I’ve already found it a useful networking tool for me to catch up with old coworkers and fellow alums.

Anyway, I could type for hours. The best thing for you to do is signup and give it a whirl. And when you do, search for me and add me as a connection.

Right now we’re in our “preview” release and we’re mostly focused on getting alumni and professionals to join. And, to give you more incentive: the US college with the most alumni signed up on Kickstart will get a $25,000 donation to their alumni program. So take a moment and reach out to all your fellow alums, you’ll be helping us out, I think you’ll find it a fun way to connect with former coworkers and alums, and heck you might even win the $25k for your school.

UPDATE 1: I neglected to mention, that like most all things from my group, this is a very early stage product. We know that it’s missing a lot, and that’s ok. I’d rather get feedback and suggestions and improve it on the fly than wait for months and months to launch – what fun is that?

I like to have one-on-one meetings in more casual settings, and anyone who works with me has probably heard me say “let’s take a walk and get coffee” (meaning a walk to the local barista for a cappuchino).

Dave and I often do walks around South Park for our meetings. In our Sunnyvale office, I’ve done a few meetings walking along the top of the old garbage dump (it’s now a nice hill with a running path). Thanks Caterina!

Today though, I had the topper. Bradley and I met while sitting on the swings in South Park. I swear there was a four year old giving us dirty looks for using the playground for business purposes.

Where’s the wierdest places you’ve had meetings?

My team in Berkeley just launched a new version of ZoneTag for Nokia 3rd Edition phones. So, that means if you’ve got a fancy N90, N70 or whatever, your phone can now seamlessly upload geo-tagged photos to flickr.

If you don’t know about ZoneTag, you should. On its surface, it is a great mobile photo uploader for flickr. You set it up, and everytime you take a photo, it asks you, then uploads it to flickr. It’s a great way to get those photos off of your phone – and it does it in realtime. But it doesn’t stop there. It automatically geo-tags your photos based on the cell phone tower you are connected to AND it suggests tags for your photo based on what other people in that location have tagged their photos. So take a picture at the Sears Tower in Chicago, it’ll suggest all sorts of skyscraper tags. Take one here at our office, it’ll suggest Yahoo! It really uses the power of people to help make your photos more relevant on flickr.

After a year or two of “social network fatigue”, a new network is spreading virally again: Facebook. Everyone’s talking about how Facebook is spreading (again) like wildfire. A couple of years ago, it spread through colleges around the US and a staggering majority of college students now have a facebook.

Now, the old people are arriving, and more specifically, everyone in my LinkedIn network is asking to be my facebook friend. (yes, I just called all of you old).

This has made me pause and ask “What do I want my Facebook network to be?”. I’m on a lot of services and I actually have different groupings of friends on each. I use one service for my long lost NYC friends. I use LinkedIn for my professional network, and what do I use facebook for?

So I just started doing the unimaginable, I’m turning down invitations from people I know well. I’m clicking “REJECT” to those professional contacts. I want my facebook to be my closest friends (professional and personal). I want it to be a fun place, I want to know what music they are listening to, what they are doing, restaurants, fun stuff. I’ll use a professional network for those professional contacts. I want to keep facebook fun! LinkedIN CEO Bill Nye unsurprisingly agrees.

Since I do want to be friends with you (I like you, trust you and want to keep in touch), I’ll kindly invite you to LinkedIn instead. So don’t be surprised to get a REJECT from Facebook and a INVITE from linked in.

I wonder if other people are feeling the same. What do you use Facebook for vs. linkedIN??

Related Reading:

  • Facebook friendships
  • It’s amazing to me to note how much Valleywag has become a “must-read”. Almost everyone I know reads Valleywag on a daily basis and even those that won’t admit it later give themselves away with a “I heard that…” quote that came right off of the Valley’s gossip rag. Even more amazing is how often the rumors are right. Now that we all read it, I guess that means many more tipsters and people to correct the mistakes.

    While I’ve been thinking about the Valleywag phenomenon lately, I got an up close and personal reminder on my drive home yesterday. I was driving 280 north and a Silver Mercedes SL 55 passed me. I’m a fan of that car (actually, I lust after it), so I paid attention. Then I noticed the license plate was missing and in its place was a bar code. Hey, I read about that on Valleywag – everyone was stealing Steve Jobs plates, so they put a bar code on instead. Was that Steve Jobs? Well traffic changed and I was able to pass him and it was indeed Steve Jobs. If it wasn’t for valleywag, I probably wouldn’t have taken a second look, but well, Nick Denton has turned me into a valley-star-stalker.

    P.S. SL 55’s must be the standard issue for valley execs, at least 4 high level execs at Yahoo drive them. Maybe one day…

    Dear Mark,

    I watch the Today show nearly every day, and I saw you on the Today Show today. A coup I’m sure to get onto America’s #1 morning show being interviewed by Meredith Viera. You even brought your mom and sister in tow. So kudos to your PR team for getting that setup.

    But it stopped there. Why? Valleyspeak. It was clear that your PR team coached you in how to talk to the press, you got your “key messages” across. You brushed off the Yahoo acquisition rumors with aplomb. But it was all in that doublespeak that you only hear here in the valley (hell, I speak that way too). This wasn’t the business press you were talking to, this was a mass consumer audience. They don’t care about technology, or the technical challenges, or the “focus on your users”.

    They want to hear why they should care. You were sandwiched between a segment on plush toys for 6 year old girls and a martha stewart segment. You needed to talk about the fun things people do on facebook. Examples of chance encounters, long lost friends meeting, how a group got someone a job and another saved a life. You needed to talk about the profound impact that Facebook has had on you as a user. You needed to answer Meredith’s most important question “Why would I use Facebook”. She ended your segment saying, “well I still don’t know why I’d use this thing”.

    That’s your PR rep’s fault. They should have prepped you. When Good Morning America calls you next week, make sure they do.


    P.S. It is obviously easier for me to comment as a viewer and I know how hard it is to deal with consumer press. But Facebook has a real opportunity, just take it and run!

    When Google first acquired MeasureMap (and hired Jeffrey Veen), I wrote this post called: Really? Measure Map + Google.

    Google hasn’t had a great history digesting acquisitions (neither has my company) and I was concerned that Google would screw this up. Also, while I saw potential in MeasureMap, I didn’t think it met the expectations that they set for themselves.

    Well, I am happy to have been wrong. The new Google Analytics is truly a case of 1+1 > 2. Jeffrey Veen and the whole Analytics + MeasureMap team really came together and created a beautiful, functional, and useful analytics package.

    I’ve long used Mint on my site, but I’ve recently started using GA along side it and I am fast becoming a fan. There is tons of info, tons of ways to slice and dice but yet it feels incredibly simple. One issue (but this was there with Urchin) is that there are still too many features, but they have done an amazing job of hiding the complexity from the average joe (or Scott).

    My favorites:

    • Beautiful graphs with comparison features (compare this period with some other period of time)
    • World map shows where your visitors come from
    • Click on any data point to drill down (Feedburner stats does this well too)
    • Navigation Summary shows entry points and where users clicked next – a complex concept well executed.

    So, Google, and Jeffrey, I take back my doubt. Acquisitions are good for companies when they produce these kind of results. Now, lets hope for DoubleClick’s, and Aquantive’s and Right Media’s sake that this turns into a trend.

    Last week at Web 2.0, Yahoo hosted a dinner at LuLu’s and invited about 50 people (yahoos and people from around the industry). I enjoy these things, they are always a good way to meet new people, hear different persectives on the industry and get the word out about what we are up to here. And this night was no exception.

    My favorite (and most eye-opening) part of the night happened very early on. A fellow Yahoo and I were chatting with Noah Kagan and my colleague said something to the affect of “you know Yahoo is a big company, so…” and talked about how you have to navigate the org to get things done. My colleague was right, it’s an art working the company to get things moving the right way.

    But, ever the astute one, Noah asked “Why do you people always say that? You never hear people at Google say how big Google has gotten–even though it has–but people from Yahoo always say that.” His point: if you keep saying you are a big company, then you will be one. He’s right and he’s right to have called us out on that. I say it often too, and I’m particularly good at navigating the company, but still I shouldn’t have to and I shouldn’t just let it be. And, when I think of it, there are lots of positive things to focus on about Yahoo, why don’t I say those first: “you know Yahoo has a great platform so its easy to scale” or “we’ve got tons of traffic, we just need to decide where to send them”, etc.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the “postive mental attitude” cult or those “The Secret” guys, but in this case, Noah’s right. So starting today, I’m gonna stop saying “You know Yahoo is a big company”. If you hear me say those words, please call me on it. You know from my other posts that I’m committed to positive change, now I just have to speak like it.

    I’ve just returned from my vacation in France and can finally catch up on blogging again. We had a long layover in London, so we took the Express train into Paddington Station and on the way back, I saw an amazing ad. I had read about these before, but had never seen it.

    I looked out the side window of the train and saw an animation. The ad was basically a “flipbook” affixed to the wall of the train tunnel. As the train passed, the images seemed to be animated (it felt like it was timed perfectly to the train’s speed), like watching a flash animation or a TV commercial. This ad was for Microsoft Vista, so you could see Vista’s expose-like feature show a bunch of windows on your desktop.

    It caught my attention and even delighted me a bit (maybe I’m wierd). The thing that fascinates me about this ad is that it is high tech become low tech again.

    The concept of motion photography was pioneered by Eadweard Muybridge.

    Muybridge’s photos in motion

    He set out to prove that, during a gallop, a horse’s four hooves were all off of the ground at the same time. He took multiple individual images to answer the question, in essence creating the basis for motion photogaphy. Flip these images and you get a running horse.

    Now, in the name of advertising, we are taking an animated image and converting it back to individual frames. I couldn’t find the exact ad I saw online, but here’s a video taken of an even better one from Japan (sorry I couldn’t figure out how to easily embed quicktime).

    I’m a little sad that I now have to see more ads, but I actually like these and appreciate the creativeness. Congrats to the folks that are turning this into a business.

    P.S. I just noticed while searching around that CNET just ran an article about these.

    Bradley attended Berkeley’s startup school last weekend and mentioned that he enjoyed Paul Graham’s talk about what it takes to start your own startup.

    Paul wrote up notes from that talk (and another similar one) into one of his essays. His essays are usually a good read but really long and this one is no exception.

    I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few of Paul’s Ycombinator-funded companies and have been impressed by the founders’ enthusiasm. They are usually really young and they always come in pairs (Paul requires two founders). And they always feel that they CAN do it.

    Paul takes aim at all the reasons why we say we CAN’T do a startup. It’s a fun read. Why to Not Not Start a Startup.