Our bootstrapped startup Gauss – The People Magnet (@getGauss) has made it to the @LeWeb Startup Competition semi finals! Now we need you to vote for us and help us spread the word so we will be one of the 16 startups allowed to pitch at the @LeWeb finals in Paris in December.
I’ve been way too busy lately and should probably have filled you in on what the hell I am up to these days much earlier. Anyways – here’s the lowdown.
As I alluded to a while back, I’m co-founding a new tech startup in the social/local/mobile space. It just took a hell of a lot longer than expected to assemble a willing and able crew of bootstrappers to make it happen, but now it’s finally happening!
Did you ever find yourself wondering if you are missing out on meeting interesting relevant people around you right now? Gauss (@getGauss) answers that question for you; It discovers, helps you with approaching, connecting and actually meeting up with the people relevant to you around you right now.
Gauss (@getGauss) is a real-time proximity based discovery and introduction engine. The first product we’re shipping is an iPhone app; a People Magnet for your pocket.
You connect the app with the social networks and services that you currently use (like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc), pocket the magnet and carry on. Gauss will instantly start with discovering and attracting relevant people to you.
Gauss aims to reduce the seeming randomness of serendipitous encounters and the hassles related to approaching and connecting with relevant new people in lasting and meaningful ways.
Gauss is also the unit of measurement of a magnetic field, named after the legendarily awesome German mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss.
Be sure to sign up and spread the word for an early beta access if this sounds like your kind of thing! You can read more on the Gauss Blog.
You see, as I was doing my due diligence for my crazy new venture, I jotted down some notes on the history of digital social networks leading up to the Facebook era and I thought why not share them with you here.
Most of the following is based on to the level of theft in no small part, verbatim quotations from the book “The Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatric (@davidkirkpatric) and some tidbits from Wikipedia, Google and my own faulty memory.
And, yes – it is heavily biased towards the US and Europe since I did not have much good source material on say, e.g. Chinese, Korean and Japanese social networks. Feel free to fill me in.
I claim Fair Use, as in the “Please don’t sue. That wouldn’t be fair.” kind. The following content is meant for educational purposes only . If you want to use or republish, please make sure to credit and attribute David Kirkpatric and Wikipedia. Commercial (re)use would probably be bad for your karma.
Here we go – A Brief History of Social Networks:
J. C. R. Licklider Source: Wikimedia Commons License: Public Domain
While initially conceived as an information and resource sharing network linking a variety of counter-cultural economic, educational, and social organizations with each other and the public, Community Memory was soon generalized to be an information flea market . Once the system became available, the users demonstrated that it was a general communications medium that could be used for art, literature, journalism, commerce, and social chatter.
Monochrome BBS – A more recent modern BBS
The first BBS is launched. (BTW, if you were a part of the BBS scene or want to learn more about it, check out this acclaimed and extensive documentary.)
The first public dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS) was developed by Ward Christensen (@WardXmodem). According to an early interview, while he was snowed in during the Great Blizzard of 1978 in Chicago, Christensen along with fellow hobbyist Randy Suess, began preliminary work on the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS. CBBS went online on February 16, 1978
Diagram of usenet, Author: Benjamin D. Esham License: Public Domain
Usenet enables members to post to groups dedicated to specific topics. (Check out the highly interesting book “Netizens” for much more on the history and impact of Usenet and the Internet.)
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.
Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980. Users read and post messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles a bulletin board system (BBS) in many respects, and is the precursor to the various Internet forums that are widely used today. Usenet can be superficially regarded as a hybrid between email and web forums. Discussions are threaded, with modern news reader software, as with web forums and BBSes, though posts are stored on the server sequentially.
Minitel built in 1982 Author: Tieum License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
The French postal service is the first to bring the concepts of commenting in online groups and chartrooms to a mass consumer audience with the launch of the national online service, Minitel
A side note, from Wikipedia:
The German “Bildschirmtext” (BTX) is almost as old as Minitel and technically very similar, but it was largely unsuccessful because consumers had to buy expensive decoders to use it. The German postal service held a monopoly on the decoders that prevented competition and lower prices. Few people bought the boxes, so there was little incentive for companies to post content, which in turn did nothing to further box sales. When the monopoly was loosened, it was too late because PC-based online services had started to appear.
AOL logo 1991 to 2006 Source: brandsoftheworld.com License: Fair Use
America Online starts (albeit under another name; Quantum Computer Services, Inc.)
Check out David Carlson’s Online Timeline for more information about the world coming online 1990 – 1994.
match.com screenshot anno 2008
match.com started by Gary Kremen as a proof of concept for Electric Classifieds which aimed to provide classified advertising systems for newspapers launches, filled with personal information for a highly specific purpose.
Classmates.com created by by Randy Conrads launches to help people identified by their real names to find and communicate with former school friends.
PlanetAll a social networking, calendaring, and address book site launches in November 1996. It was founded by a group of Harvard Business School and MIT graduates including Warren Adams. (A big thanks to James Currier for pointing out that I had missed PlanetAll!).
PlanetAll was possibly the first social networking site on the Internet. The site had more than 100,000 groups, organized around real-world counterparts such as academic institutions and employers. When the user entered the name of his or her university, the service would list the user’s classmates who were also members of the service. Users could exchange authorization to access the each others’ contacts. Many sites at the time offered web-based address books and calendars, but PlanetAll.com combined the two: when a user entered travel plans into the calendar, the service would cross-reference the destination with the address book, as well as the user’s contacts’ travel plans; the site would then notify users when they would cross paths with their contacts.
sixdegrees.com founded by Andrew Weinreich launches, takes social networks further. A breakthrough in use of real names. The first Rolodex in the cloud. Invitation only. At the time revolutionary. “Network me” feature for matching you with users that met your quality criteria. Failed due to operating costs, licensing costs, development and maintenance costs and users only having dialup Internet at the time (e.g. the service lacked photos due to bandwidth concerns). Bought out for 120 million. Shut down in late 2000. Weinreich was granted a broad reaching social network patent.
Ethnic focused networks Black Planet founded by Omar Wasow (@owasow) and Asian Avenue co-founded by Benjamin Sun, Peter Chen, Grace Chang, Michael Montero, and Calvin Wong launches with limited social networking functions.
The daily jolt (R.I.P. April 6, 2010) launches as a campus bulletin board for 12 Schools.
tickle.com launched originally as emode.com, with quizzes and tests for both entertainment and self-discovery, by James Currier and Rick Marini. Warren Adams of PlanetAll is an investor.
Swedish teen community Lunar Storm (R.I.P. August 8th 2010) launches
Ordinary people begins using email. Again, using addresses that typically would not correspond to their real names.
Address books of emails maintained on and within the services. Members did not identify real-life friends or establish regular communication pathways with them. Later in the decade, Instant Messaging (IM) services like ICQ, PowWow and Ubique to hold the same way. People used pseudonyms for themselves, not their real names.
On August 4, 1998, Amazon.com announces that it has agreed to acquire PlanetAll. Under terms of the agreement, Amazon.com acquired 100 percent of PlanetAll in exchange for 800,000 shares.
Amazon.com shuts down PlanetAll.com on July 2, 2000, telling PlanetAll members, “We are pleased to announce that we have completed the integration of the key e-commerce related features of PlanetAll.com into our main site at Amazon.com… Although PlanetAll.com will be going away, you’ll still be able to enjoy some of the tools that help you keep in touch with like-minded folks.”
2001 – 2002 : Social Networking bug hits Silicon Valley and SF
Cyworld (huge in Korea) adds social networking capabilities
“Network Effect” as explained by Wikipedia (excerpt):
In economics and business, a network effect (also called network externality) is the effect that one user of a good or service has on thevalue of that product to other people. When network effect is present, the value of a product or service increases as more people use it.
The classic example is the telephone. The more people own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. This creates a positive externality because a user may purchase their phone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case.Online social networks work in the same way, with sites like Twitter and Facebook being more useful the more users join.
The expression “network effect” is applied most commonly to positive network externalities as in the case of the telephone. Negative network externalities can also occur, where more users make a product less valuable, but are more commonly referred to as “congestion” (as in traffic congestion or network congestion).
Network congestion tends to occur when a network node or link is carrying more data than it can handle, slowing down process times. Now, it may not sound serious but in fact, it is. So serious that it could cause something like Packet Loss, which means that any critical information that you are trying to send doesn’t reach its intended destination – this site has more information. With potential effects like this, learning how to prevent events like network congestion, and packet loss from happening will be very important to your network, as well as your online activities.
That being said, over time, positive network effects can create a bandwagon effect as the network becomes more valuable and more people join, in a positive feedback loop.
Friendster launches March 22nd by Jonathan Abrams (@ABRAMS), Peter Chin and Dave Lee. It gambles to lure users away from match.com. Uses real names and photos on profiles. You could search for friends near locations. Invitation only, befriend if you liked the photo. Cracked the code of the modern social network, defined basic structure. Problems; “Fakesters” – People with fake names, fake photos. Plagued by engineering misjudgments; did not scale, had major outages, performance issues. Mark Pincus (@markpinc)(later founder of Zynga) and Reid Hoffman (@quixotic) are investors.
Club Nexus launches by Stanford students Orkut Buyukkokten (@orkut) and Eytan Adar. Meant to connect Stanford students only. Complicated, too many features. (Bonus material: An analysis of Club Nexus by the founders.)
InCircle launches by Club Nexus founders. Alumni only.
Orkut Buyukkokten (@orkut) leaves for google. Programs a new social network prototype. Pitches it to google. orkut.com launches.
Tribe.net founded by Mark Pincus (@markpinc). A social network around specific interests. Burning Man, Alt Sex and connecting turned out to be what the users are more interested in instead of buying and selling things.
When Tagged launched in 2004 as a teen-only social network, security was a top priority. In October 2006 the site made a drastic change and went from being under-18 only, to allowing users of any age to join. This change has helped user registration skyrocket. In fact, Tagged was adding more users per day than MySpace in May of 2007.
YouTube sold to Google in November for $1.65 billion.
Dana Boyd & Nichole Ellison write in a paper:
“The salient features of a true social network”: “A service where a user can construct a public or semi-public profile, articulate a list of other users which whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. You establish your position in a complex network of relationships. And your profile positions you in the context of these relationships. Usely in order to discover otherwise hidden points of common interest or connection.”
Do you work in or with Social Media? Marketing or PR perhaps? Maybe you’re working in a completely different field and are curious about what exactly this Social Media thingamajig is all about? Are you a gear head or a techie with a burning passion for Social Media? Maybe you’re in a company or NGO that has already embraced it, maybe in a company, NGO or GO that fears and shuns it? Are you an Social Media champion inside or outside your company or organization? Are you perhaps an independent enthusiast brimming with Social Media chutzpah? Maybe you think Social Media is a fleeting fad, the emperor’s new clothes and the greatest evil facing humanity in the 21st century [and your name is Andrew Keen]? Do you live or work in or around Cologne, Germany? Maybe both? Perhaps you’re based outside of Cologne but keep constantly looking for excuses to travel to Cologne for lunch? Do you really need more than the Dom, Carnival and Kölsch beer to lure you to Cologne? Do you keep reading through really long paragraphs on obscure blogs with silly names?
Well, then the Social Media Lunch Cologne is most certainly for you.
The very first Social Media Lunch Cologne launches
Thursday the 1st of July 2010, 12:30 – 14:00 CET.
Be sure to not miss out on the “I was there” bragging rights – success or failure notwithstanding! If you can’t make it – don’t be sorry for long. There’s going to be another Social Media Lunch Cologne just for you. Or one that you can quite possibly make it to. Sometime.
Tell all your friends, colleagues and relatives to come (or stay away, respectively), show up at the venue sometime during the timeframe or drive by and wave to the rest – just wing it and do it your way. Whatever you do be sure to bring some lunchmoney allowing for a handsome tip. That’s basically it.
If you feel like connecting and spreading the awesomeness, perhaps already craving to commit that RSVP – there’s a facebook page and blog for that.
No registration needed, though – It’s informal, remember?
If you’re into #hashtags feel free to use #smlcgn for your tagging and labeling needs.
Well, why on earth not? I personally am a grumpy zombie in the morning, I don’t eat breakfast and I currently don’t live in North America. I don’t know about you, but I do certainly need to eat lunch each and every day and I do live and work in Cologne, Germany and constantly find myself trying to fill the lunch hour with additional value to go with the grub.
Do we need another Social Media Meetup in Cologne? I personally think there’s potential in a local lunchtime event on a regular basis for helping Social Media professionals, the curious and enthusiasts alike, narrowing our serendipity funnel and helping to add value to our common passions and interests. I’ll let you be the judge if we really need it.
It is definitely NOT a replacement for or competition to other excellent social events and initiatives in Cologne like pl0gbar, twitwoch, Online-Stammtisch Köln, likemind, Last Tuesday, Web Montag and others. I have tremendous respect and bundles of love for the guys behind those initiatives and I for one will still be attending those event like before. Not to worry.
This is not a sponsored event. I’m not getting paid for this nor do I aim to make a profit. Sponsors may be sought in the future to help cover potential costs, and I promise to always be transparent on these issues. My views are my own and may not reflect those of my employer(s).
If you find yourself compelled to treat this event as your own sales show and hawk your services and/or products, please consider that people may laugh at you. Loudly. In public. It could even escalate to throwing of bread crumbs. Consider yourself advised.
Get in touch
What do you think? Would you attend? What would you expect? What would you like to talk about? Do you have something to show? Do you have some great ideas? Suggestions? Improvements? Special dietary requirements? Fears, uncertainties and doubts? Let me know – in the comments below, on twitter, facebook, mail me or call me (DE +49 (0) 221 3023 953 – INT +1 (650) 450-8047, both CET)!
I personally woud be thrilled even if only one person showed up for the first event. That would be truly awesome! Hope to see you there!
Arbeitest Du im Social Media oder beschäftigst Du Dich mit diesem Thema? Vielleicht im Marketing oder PR-Bereich? Vielleicht arbeitest Du aber auch in einem komplett anderen Bereich, bist aber neugierig was es mit dem Begriff Social Media auf sich hat. Bist Du ein Techie mit einer glühenden Leidenschaft für alles Digitale? Vielleicht bist Du aber auch in einer Firma die Social Media als neuen Kanal für sich entdeckt oder diesen wegen seiner Neuartigkeit fürchtet und meidet? Bist Du ein Social Media Champion innerhalb oder außerhalb einer Firma oder Organisation? Bist Du ein unabhängiger Enthusiast randvoll mit Social Media Chuzpe? Es könnte natürlich auch sein, dass Du denkst Social Media ist eine Modeerscheinung, des Königs neue Kleider oder das größte Teufelszeug des 21. Jahrhunderts (und Du heißt Andrew Keen)? Lebst und arbeitest Du in oder in der Nähe von Köln? Oder beides? Vielleicht lebst Du auch außerhalb Kölns, suchst aber immer nach Ausreden um nach Köln zum Lunch zu reisen? Braucht es mehr als den Dom, Karneval oder Kölsch Dich nach Köln zu locken? Liest Du immer noch lange Absätze in obskuren Blogs mit komischen Namen?
Nun dann ist der Social Media Lunch Cologne genau das Richtige für Dich.
Was das ist?
Der Social Media Lunch Cologne ist ein informelles, regelmäßiges Event in Köln inspiriert durch das Social Media Breakfast welches von Bryan Person gegründet wurde. Social Media Experten und Newbies nehmen gleichermaßen bei einem gepflegten Mittagessen teil, um sich auszutauschen und voneinander zu lernen.
Der erste Social Media Lunch Köln findet am Donnerstag, 01.07.2010, 12:30-14:00 Uhr statt. Wer beim ersten Mal dabei ist kann für sich den First Mover Status beanspruchen, ungeachtet des Erfolgs oder Misserfolgs. Wenn Du es nicht schaffen solltest, mach Dir keine Sorgen, der nächste Social Media Lunch kommt bestimmt.
Erzähle Deinen Freunden, Kollegen oder Verwandten, dass sie irgendwann während des Zeitfensters vorbeischauen (beziehungsweise wegbleiben) sollen. Alternativ kannst Du auch nur vorbeifahren und winken. Tu wonach immer Dir ist. Vergiss nicht das Geld fürs Mittagessen und ein bisschen Trinkgeld mitzubringen. Das ist dann auch schon alles.
Registrierung ist nicht nötig – denn es ist informell, ne?
Wenn Du #Hashtags magst benutze doch #smlcgn als Label und Kategorie.
Nun warum nicht? Ich bin ein unleidlicher Zombie am Morgen und frühstücke nicht. Ich weiß nicht wie es Dir geht, aber ich esse jeden Tag zu Mittag, ich lebe in Köln und versuche immer die Mittagspause mit etwas Sinnvollem zu füllen.
Brauchen wir ein weiteres Social Media Treffen in Köln? Ich glaube das es einen Bedarf an einem lokalem, regelmäßigem Mittagessen Event gibt, an dem Social Media Profis, genauso wie die Neugierigen und Enthusiasten sich austauschen, inspirieren und ihre Passion teilen können.
Ich überlasse die Notwendigkeit eines solchen Events Eurem Urteil.
Dies ist kein gesponsertes Event. Ich werde dafür nicht bezahlt noch beabsichtige ich Profit daraus zu schlagen. Sponsoren werden vielleicht zukünftig angestrebt, aber nur um mögliche Kosten abzudecken und ich verspreche bei diesem Punkt maximale Transparenz walten zu lassen.
Meine Ansichten sind meine eigenen und nicht die meines Arbeitgebers.
Wenn Du Dich gezwungen fühlst diese Veranstaltung als Deine eigene Vertriebsplattform zu nutzen, dann rechne damit, dass Dich die Leute auslachen könnten. Laut. Sehr laut und öffentlich. Eventuell kommt es soweit, dass Du mit Brotkrümeln beworfen wirst. Insoweit bist Du jetzt gewarnt.
Nimm Kontakt auf…
Was denkst Du? Wirst Du teilnehmen? Was erwartest Du? Willst Du drüber sprechen? Hast Du etwas zu zeigen? Hast Du großartige Ideen? Vorschläge? Verbesserungen? Spezielle diätische Anforderungen? Ängste, Unsicherheiten, Zweifel? Lass es mich wissen, indem Du in folgenden Kanälen Deine Kommentare hinterlässt: Offizielle Website, twitter, facebook, mail oder ruf mich an (DE +49 (0) 221 3023 953 – INT +1 (650) 450-8047, beide CET)! Egal wie und warum.
Persönlich würde es mich sehr freuen, wenn wenigstens eine Person auftauchen würde. Das wäre phantastisch. Hoffe Euch dort zu treffen!
As I wrote yesterday, I attended a DNA Digital workshop held in the 4010 Telekom store in Berlin to discuss how so called digital natives, social media and web2.0 can positively influence and help shape the future of Deutsche Telekom (DTAG). [Big fat disclaimer: I work for a company that does business with DTAG] Here’s the follow-up as promised.
The goal of the workshop was to select the members of the DNA Digital community that would attend and speak at the next and perhaps more exclusive workshop with DTAG CEO René Obermann.
The workshop itself was more or less organized in the style of a open-space meeting. Any attendee was free to step forward to present a topic that they’d like to discuss and the rest with no topic of their own could chose to join in group discussion of the topics of interest. Topics ranged from “apps development via social media” to “cultural change and credibility”.
I chose to participate in the latter, “cultural change and credibility”, sparked by Lutz Hirsch and Basti Hirsch (if my memory serves me correctly) as it is a topic that highly engages me personally. The number of challenges, ideas and thoughts that were addressed in that discussion is probably symptomatic of the complexity of the subject matter. I will not try to repeat them all here as they have already been posted on the DNA Digital blog (German).
At the workshop I found myself pimping the book Tactical Transparency by Shel Holtz more than one time. I think it’s a good primer on the transparent enterprise – and no, I’m not getting a cut for saying that. ;)
In conclusion I was positively surprised by the variety of people, opinions, ideas and experiences shared. I was also very pleased to register a high level of authentic personal engagement among the attendees. My cynical suspicion before the workshop – that the whole thing could be an embarrassing play to the Telekom gallery – was definitely put to shame.
Looking forward to see you DNA Digital guys again at the Obermann gig in Bonn on the 17th of June!
Disclaimer: I work for a company that does business with DTAG. However, I'm not getting paid nor am I instructed to write this blog or to participate in the Enterprise2.0 discussion.