Tuesday, September 30, 2003

From: Cynthia Typaldos [mailto:cynthia@typaldos.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 12:14 PM
To: dkirkpatrick@fortunemail.com
Subject: FOAF can be done for free!


I enjoyed your article...
    FAST FORWARD (article is below this email)
    I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends of Friends of Friends
    Ties created by social-networking sites have people excited.
    Sep 30 2003
    By David Kirkpatrick

...however, 95% of what these proprietary FOAF (friend of a friend) services provide can be done for free, using open web-based services such as Blogger, Google, Yahoo Groups, etc. And proprietary systems just aren't good enough anymore for two key reasons:
  • most smart people don't work in one company, therefore it's better to tap into the vast resources of the open source movement, and it's certainly less expensive;
  • in many areas, in particular in the job/career space, members will feel very strongly that they must OWN their data.

For example, my professional guild has created a searchable member database without writing a single line of code, buying any software, or procuring any hosting service. We simply cobbled together the services of Blogger, Google, and Yahoo Groups. Our ResumeBlog(TM) service is in beta now, you can create your own in 5 minutes (go to www.resumeblog.com) and look at mine www.cynthia-typaldos.blogspot.com. We have a whole list of features that we will be adding in the next few months, including basic FOAF links* again using totally free tools/services and volunteer labor.

* We call them connections/validations. Members (2 or a team) describe how and when they worked together, and validations of their accomplishments can be made by others. This all feeds into a reputation system. We have a specification and a working prototype of this feature.

The other 5% of what the proprietary FOAF services offer that we cannot do without writing code is just plain silly. Here's an example from one of these systems. My organization did an early beta test of the Namewithheld Software so I am still in their system. Recently, a senior executive at a Fortune 15 company contacted me thru the system asking for an introduction to a senior manager in a start-up. I would have been happy to make the introduction -- except I didn't know either person! What kind of value-add is that? The reality is unless the people involved are within 2 degrees of separation maximum, or a harbor a contagious viral disease, the FOAF concept doesn't add any value. More on this topic is in my blog and on my website:
Links and Nodes in Social Networks: http://typaldos.com/word.documents/profguilds/nodes/
More on FOAF a.k.a. nodes in Social Networking Software: http://www.typaldos.blogspot.com/#moreonnodes

Social Networks have value, but not in and of themselves, but rather as part of a greater whole. In the job/career realm, we see social networks as one of the many mechanisms that connect members of a professional guild. These professional guilds are built out in other ways too such as member-supplied content, member-member work history, member presentations, member bartering etc.
The Present of Professional Guilds, by me
Retreat of the Firm and the Rise of Guilds: The Employment Relationship in an Age of Virtual Business by Robert Laubacher and Thomas W. Malone, MIT
The Era of Open Innovation, by Henry W. Chesbrough formerly at Harvard now at U.C. Berkeley

I hope this piques your curiosity and is helpful information. Of course, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends of Friends of Friends
Ties created by social-networking sites have people excited.
Sep 30 2003
By David Kirkpatrick

Joichi Ito, a venture capitalist in Tokyo, knows just about everybody in tech. That's good for business, but it also means others are constantly approaching him to broker connections around the world. Though the superkinetic Ito likes to help, he has trouble finding the time. "I need to throttle back my interactions with people," he says. "I need to get fewer requests from higher-quality sources." So this summer Ito joined a website called Linkedin, one of about 15 so-called social-networking companies or sites formed in the past year. These businesses, all part of the hottest online trend, act as intricate friendship flow charts, showing who is friends or partners with whom. The best-known site, called Friendster, launched in May and is already hosting almost two million users, most of whom--unlike the businesspeople using Linkedin--are looking for dates, love, or sex.

I know about Ito's network because a few weeks ago he invited me to join--adding my name to his 444 direct connections. (Not everyone is as dedicated; Ito is Linkedin's most wired guy). Now I have indirect personal access to 10,100 people on the site. What makes this different than just being able to rifle through his Outlook contacts is that any mail I send to a Linkedin connection of Ito's has to be approved by Ito. If someone I sign up wants to reach that same person, his e-mail has to go through both me and Ito. Today's social networks typically give you access to friends of friends out to four degrees of separation. Everybody you meet on such a site is thus connected to you by a traceable network of acquaintance. Not surprisingly, Ito hopes to use Linkedin to use his time more efficiently: "I can imagine eventually telling people, 'If you want to reach me, do it through Linkedin.' That way everyone would come with references."

In the free-ranging world of the Internet, the ties created by social-networking sites have people excited. Some are calling it a social revolution. Much of the talk has focused on how well sites like Friendster aid dating. But social networking can be used for lots of other things--for example, at a later stage in life, finding a babysitter. You might find someone to play tennis with, or someone who likes the same kind of music you do and can suggest new artists. And if the best jobs come through connections, what better way to find work than through a giant online social network? In San Francisco, where unemployment is rampant and social networking is nearly an obsession for just about everyone under 35, it seems everybody looking for a job is using sites like Friendster, Linkedin, Tribe.net, or Ryze, all of which allow you to join only if you invite friends to join with you, or if you are yourself an invitee.

The phenomenon may be seen as offering people tools analogous to the most powerful ones being used in business. Writes Yong Su Kim, who maintains a blog on software trends at YSK.com: "It's almost like the CRM and ERP of peoples' professional and personal lives. Social-networking software is designed to help people look for new relationships (acquire customers), maximize existing relationships (sell to the installed base), and optimize their social interactions (order management, manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution)."

So far Friendster and most of its competitors are free, and all the excitement is making this feel a bit like 1999. Dozens of companies are frantically trying to figure out how to make such connections into a profitable business without ruining their viral appeal. Venture capitalists are circling. Says one, Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital: "Free e-mail like Hotmail had viral marketing but not increasing returns. I see both in this social-networking thing. As the network gets bigger and bigger, there's more value to incremental users." Translation: The more people there are on the network, the more likely you are to find a hot date or a good job.

But where's the money? Gurley is certain it's there. "If you can generate that many users or page views--and I know this sounds very 1997ish--there's value." Ads, for instance, can be keyed to people's interests or hobbies. These sites could also end up being sold to the biggest Net players, helping them lure users. Few doubt that AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and maybe even Google will want to incorporate social networking into their portal businesses. Meanwhile new companies like Contact Network, Socialtext, and Spoke Software are generating revenues by selling social-networking software to corporations. Typically such products work behind the corporate firewall to mine employees' contact lists and e-mail traffic patterns. They have various ways of ensuring that no employee's data are used without permission.

There may be a new kind of Internet emerging--one more about connecting people to people than people to websites. The blog phenomenon, where blogs link to blogs, is another aspect of this same trend. Mark Pincus, an investor in Friendster and founder of Tribe.net, calls this the early phases of the "peopleweb"--a user-controlled network of identities and relationships that transcends any one site or company. How that web will take shape remains murky, but in the explosive growth of social networking we are surely seeing the future, using the Net to connect people with bonds of trust and friendship--and maybe sex.


David Kirkpatrick is senior editor for Internet and technology.

Questions? Comments? E-mail them to me at dkirkpatrick@fortunemail.com.

Or to discuss this column with other readers, go to www.fortune.com/fastforward

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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

-----Original Message-----
From: Marty Silberstein [mailto:martyls2002@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 10:43 AM
To: cynthia@typaldos.com
Subject: Re: [new-sfwow] (off topic) % jobs posted to total jobs

Hi Cynthia,

Lots of conflicting stats out there. :-)

The conventional wisdom is that only 10%-20% of jobs are advertised anywhere (so old fashioned networking works well).

I haven't seen the breakdown between conventional vs. online postings, but ran across some interesting "factoids" for something I was working on.

The SHRM (Soc. for HR Mgmt.) claims 80% of HR pros use the Internet for job postings and to find candidates.

DBM claims only 6% of hires for mgmt-level jobs occur through any Internet sites (as opposed to 61% through networking).

Only 4% of US job seekers found employment from a site (Bernard Haldane, 1/03).

More hires are made through corporate web sites than through the major job boards. (CareerXRoads) Niche sites are effective.

Online help-wanted advertising is growing (from 15.1% of the entire US classified market in 2001 to 19.5% in
2005) (Morgan Stanley, Forrester - 11/02).

Hope that helps a little, Cynthia. I enjoy reading your posts and wish you every continued success with your business.


Marty Silberstein
Personal marketing & project management

--- Cynthia Typaldos wrote:

> I'd like to have a semi-reputable % of the number of jobs that are posted compared to the total number of jobs open.

More on FOAF a.k.a. nodes in Social Networking Software
linkname: moreonodes

This note is in response to the short article by Marc Cantor in AlwaysOn, "Social Networking as a Bubble".

For most social networking, once you are more than 1 degree away from a target, the whole thing gets pretty silly. That is, it makes sense for a colleague to introduce two people that s/he knows (you are A, your colleague is B, B knows colleague C and introduces A to C ), but little sense or A be introduced by C to colleague D (where D is a colleague of C but not of B or A).

There are 3 types of items that can be passed up and down a social network: physical items, information, and introductions. A three dimensional matrix can be built of these three items vs. node motivation & need for closure of feedback loop. If the node is not motivated, nothing will happen despite a million links between that node and the other nodes. If a feedback loop is needed it doesn't matter how many nodes the item successfully passes thru but only whether the first node, who initiated the activity, ever gets a response.


  • Physical item - example is a virus of an infectious disease. Nodes are all powerfully motivated by natural selection (that is, the virus is designed to infect others), but no feedback loop is necessary.
  • Information item - example is salesperson wants contact info for target customer. Nodes need to be given a reason for motivation (reputation enhancement could be a motivator), and it is essential that once the node with the information is discovered, the feedback to the initiating node is completed.
  • Introductions - example is a job reference. Introducing node must be 0 degrees away from one introducee, and 0 or 1 degree away from the other introducee.

Continuation is here: www.typaldos.com/word.documents/profguilds/nodes/

I was actually on the panel at Stanford on 9/16/03 that Marc refers to when he writes "Tony Perkins - went on and on on Tuesday night (9/16/03) about how social networking had the feel of a new bubble. He was basing this conjecture on the # of VCs in the audience - all there to hear Reid Hoffman, Ross Mayfield, Jonathan Abrams et al spiel on about their various ventures." Since I am not named as the one other panelist, I must be the "et al".

At the event, I did make a few comments, one was about use of social networks for introductions which I will repeat here. I belong to several of these commercial but experimental web-based social networking systems*. Recently, thru one of these systems, I was contacted by someone I didn't know, and asked to make an introduction to someone else I didn't know. While it's true that both of these people's email addresses were in the 18,000 unique addresses in my Outlook database, I still didn't know them, and the two people were surely better off going directly to each other.

*Note: in my organization we are creating our own web-based social networking capability but it's a simple element of a tapestry that a person creates regarding who they are in the context of being a member of a professional guild. We are also building it out of free services with no software development, no licensing fees, and no hosting or IT expenses. You can find out more about us here: Software Product Marketing eGroup and here: ResumeBlog(TM).

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Named link is www.typaldos.blogspot.com/#socialnetworkingsitesandsw

Social Networking Sites and Software

with perceived focus

The below is a simple list. Please go to the Quickbase spreadsheet and add your knowledge!

Social Networking Websites by Type

The list has been moved to here: Social Networking Sites and Software sorted by name
Please note that YOU can edit this list yourself to make it more accurate and up-to-date! I am not personally maintaining this list anymore, I am counting on all of you to continually keep it updated. Thanks very much.

Ryze: business
ecademy: business
LinkedIn: business
itsnotwhatyouknow: business
Friendly Favors: business
ZeroDegrees: business (corporate)
Accolo: jobs
RealContacts: jobs
Eliyon: business, jobs
Friendster: friendship, dating
Sona Matchmaker: friendship, dating (India)
Huminity: friendship
everyonesconnected.com: friendship
Ringo: friendship
PalJunction: friendship, business, dating, roommates
Tribe: friendship, business, dating, roommates, classifieds
Club Nexus at Stanford - need URL: alumni, article
MeetUp: in-person
Buddy Zoo: IM social networking analysis
*PayDemocracy: political groups
*classmates.com: alumni
*.reunion.com: alumni
*InfoSpace: yellow pages (references)
*SwitchBoard: yellow pages (references)
*Match.com: dating
*People on Page: friendship, dating
*all of the other dating sites
People Aggregator: ???

*= could easily cross over into social networking

Spoke SW: business (corporate)
Visible Path, business (corporate)
**wwPlaxo.: contacts
**GoodContacts: contacts
**Accucard: contacts

** contact software could easily add social networking features as they have all of the necessary data

Blogs with some features of Social Networking
livejournal: blog
Expressions: visual blogging
Fotolog: visual blogging

Question Marks

Preliminary Analysis
It seems pretty clear that not all of these social networking sites or software will survive. Clay Shirky states "The *only* thing these services have to base a business on is lack of interoperability". I believe there is another part to the value proposition that they offer users -- the ability to go beyond 1 degree of separation. However, it's really difficult to think of situations where going more than 2 degrees of separation is worthwhile, unless you are a contagious disease - see my whitepaper Links and Nodes in Social Networks. Unless >2 degrees of separation and node secrecy are valued by users (maybe not everyone but an interestingly large set of users), an "open" networking service will make these proprietary services and software obsolete. before they've made a penny.

Thanks to the many people who helped me compile this list including:
  • Clay Shirky
  • Danah Boyd
  • Doug Rush
  • Sean Murphy
  • Debi Jones
  • Patti Anklam

If I left your name off let me know and I will add it.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

I don't remember this being discussed at the Reputation Symposium (at MIT in April) or on this list before, but has anyone studied the effect of a transaction fee on reduction of fraud?

For example, Friendster is also called Fraudster because many of the members are fake e.g. Jesus Christ. If there were, and probably will be, a member fee, most likely Jesus will disappear*. Transaction-based reputation system can exploit the relationship between transaction fee and fraudulent behavior even more powerfully -- the transaction fee itself discourages fraud. For instance, on eBay sellers planning to commit fraudulent activities first develop a positive reputation. Once they have some credibility they commit the fraudulent act (e.g. no delivery of product). However, the the transaction fee for creating the positive reputation (and also selling the fraudulent item) is high, it can serve as a deterrent. Even better, the marketplace (in this case eBay) could make a argument for the transaction fee being higher (in either % or actual value) for certain categories of products by claiming that the higher fee reduces fraud. It's kind of like castor oil, even thought it tastes terrible, it's good for you.

Has anyone on this list explored this relationship between reputation and fees? My organization, the SPM eGroup and its sibling professional guilds, are going to be charging a member fee soon. It would be terrific if I could point to some academic or other studies that "prove" fees actually raise the quality of the interactions.



*Just for the record, I don't think Friendster has a successful business model if it is a subscription fee. The person who is most needed on the site, the matchmaker, has no motivation to join. And the matchmaking is only convincing if the matchmaker knows both of the people who are seeking a date. Is it really necessary to have a system that tells you who you already know? And the reputation system rewards not matchmaking, but the gathering of "friends" whether real or fake. For more on this go to: http://typaldos.com/word.documents/profguilds/nodes/ .