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February 2008

Is the Internet About to get Faster?


I hope so. Read this promising story from Japan.

The rocket carrying the WINDS satellite — a joint project of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — lifted off its pad at 5:55 p.m. (0855 GMT).

If the technology proves successful, subscribers with small dishes will connect to the Internet at speeds many times faster than what is now available over residential cable or DSL services.

This raises a couple of questions. First Why isn’t NASA working on this?

Second who else remembers when moving from Dial up to DSL felt like going from riding in a horse and buggy to a formula one car?


Bummer. Within minutes of writing this post Fractals of Change burst my bubble:

The satellite’ll be good for email; it’s a good backup to oceanic fiber that seems to be getting cut lately.  It will NOT do what the Japanese Agency’s press release says

these satellites won’t be good for interactive gaming (as Slashdot points out) and that they’ll be terrible for VoIP; they also won’t work well for web browsing. That matters! 

latency is very often MORE important than bandwidth in determining the quality of Internet experience. Anyone who thinks geostationary satellites are an acceptable way to bring broadband to rural areas doesn’t understand how the modern web works.

If you would like to learn something about how the web works read the whole thing.


Read Fred Wilson’s explanation why Techmeme is so important.

DSL reports finds some possible uses for this new satellite technology.

The Most Diverse Conference in the Blogosphere


This post was inspired by a Lena West post over at Lip-Sticking. Lena approached me after the Mark Cuban keynote this year and asked about speaking in 2008. (I haven’t forgotten you Lena). In the post Lena ask:

Really, where are all the female web 2.0 rock stars?

Well a lot of them were on the stage at last year’s BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

I couldn’t help taking the opportunity to tout our record on involving women and minority speakers at our inaugural event.

I must give Dave Taylor who served as our Education Director full credit for bringing this to my attention. Early on in planning the event he told me we needed to make a concerted effort to involve female speakers. Until that point it just wasn’t on my mind but as soon as he said it I knew he was right. If we really wanted to be attract the most diverse group of bloggers the world has ever seen, then we needed to consciously reach out and include women in the same way we were reaching out to dozens of communities like milbloggers, political bloggers, godbloggers, sportsbloggers, etc.

Like Lena and so many of you I have seen the same old boys club of speakers over and over again. Many of them are great, but hearing the same talk, or the same message from the same folks every couple of months gets old.

With that said, here is a list of great women who spoke at the first BlogWorld & New Media Expo last November:

Stephanie Agresta
Paula Berg
Toby Bloomberg
Sue Bohle
Butterfly Wife
Jennifer Cisney
Anna Creech
Jory Des Jardins
Maggie Koran Fox
Vanessa Fox –
Amy Gahran
Mary Katherine Ham
Lynne d Johnson
Rachelle Jones
Marjorie Kase
Kathie Legg
Carla Lois
Charlotte-Anne Lucas
Mary Jo Manzanares
Taylor Marsh
Jeralyn Merritt
Dawn Olsen
Wendy Piersal
Daniel Phung
Robyn Tippins
Denise Wakeman
Debbie Weil
Leora Zellman

Charline Li was originally on the schedule but had to bow out due to a conflict and was replaced by her colleague Jeremiah Owyang. Leesa Barnes had a last minute conflict and was replaced by Jason Van Orden. Arianna Huffington was scheduled to give our second keynote but had a conflict.

You can add to that list at least a dozen other women that we approached to speak but were unable to attend for one reason or another. It turns out about 30% of our speakers were women. We didn’t have a particular number in mind just that we needed to make a concerted effort to include great female speakers.

I would argue there is no other event that even comes close to attracting the diversity of bloggers that we were able to draw to the first BlogWorld.

I remember reading an issue of Wired shortly before the show where they had this pull out map of the “blogosphere” with major bloggers from different communities being the planets and similar popular blogs in those communities depicted as moons.

I knew we had achieved our goal when I saw most of blogs in their blogosphere were attending or speaking at our show.

Our goal for 2008?…

reach even further and get even more communities to participate, hold their own meet ups during the event and draw an even more diverse group both as speakers and attendees. To that end if you know a great blogger / speaker who you would like to see but who never seems to get their moment in the spotlight, please let me know rick@blogworldexpo.com.

Fast Company launches Social Journalism Network


Ed Sussman president of Mansueto Digital (publisher of Fast Company Magazine) first publicly announced Fast Company was working on this super secret project during the opening keynote at last years BlogWorld & New Media Expo.  When Ed told my partner Dave Cynkin and I about the project Dave quickly chimed in that he had been a member of the “Company of Friends Network” years ago and how much he loved it.

This morning Ed announced the site has officially launched. What is it?

In Ed’s own words:

We are, however, an open forum.

Write an interesting blog post and you’ll find yourself featured on the homepage of FastCompany.com alongside Scoble, McGirt and Fishman.

Respond to one of our articles and you may find yourself in an exchange with the author. Or perhaps you’ll add the author to your contact list so you can keep talking about related issues.

Suggest an interesting Fast Talk question for the community to debate and you’ll find not only fellow readers mixing it up but our writers and editors as well.

Contribute a provocative video and tens of thousands of our million monthly visitors might take a look.

Join a group centered around a Fast Company core topic and engage other experts in your field.

Fast Company is about eight core topics: innovation, technology, leadership, management, design, social responsibility, careers, and work/life balance.

When you contribute content to the site, you can tag the content according to one of these topics and add your own free-form tags. We’ll automatically tag certain content, too (if, for instance, you’re responding to something, like an article about technology, that’s been previously tagged).

Sounds very cool!

I have been saying for a long time that new media and traditional media are merging. This is by far the most thorough integration of the two and hints at how powerful we can be together.

Chris Brogan loves the idea.

I’m all for it. I hope other magazines follow suit. How sick would a Wired network with all the right bells and whistles be? What other publications would make great social networks? WSJ anyone?

Social Media Explorer calls the new launch a home run:

I think the future of media outlets is bright if they follow Fast Company’s lead and build branded microcommunities for their readers instead of boring information sources.

Adam Kalsey is happy to see the site is build on the Drupal open source platform.

Erick Shconfeld gives a cautiously positive review at TechCrunch and sees a similar future as I do:

mainstream media and the blogosphere will become harder and harder to tell apart. It will just all become part of the bigger conversation.

It is worth reading the comments under Erick’s post as well which are very positive.

Stan Schroeder from Mashable doesn’t pan the launch but is has the least enthusiastic post I have seen so far:

Translated, this pretty much means it’s a lightweight version of LinkedIn, consisting mostly of a personal blog and professional recommendations.

Check out Ed Sussman’s reply in the comment section.

Shel Israel’s (now a Fast Company employee) take here:

As always stay tuned to Techmeme for more feedback from the tech blogosphere. What do you think about the launch?

Now I’m off to play with my Fast Company profile.

Should your business be blogging?


If you are a business owner, or work for a company that is thinking about blogging then read this excellent post by notable blogging guru and all around smart guy Dave Taylor:

Finally, your bonus question is when to start blogging for your business, and I would say that the best answer is start writing your business blog entries immediately. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve been in business for six months or aren’t opening the doors for another eight weeks: your blog is a way to get noticed, to gain visibility, to engage your current and future customers and to participate in the ongoing discussion in your industry. If you’re trying to gain visibility for both yourself and your business, why wouldn’t you get started as soon as possible?

You really should read the whole thing.

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