Internet Ad Exchanges

WSJ writes:

Over the past few years, a host of small companies has started electronic exchanges where advertisers and Web sites can buy and sell online advertising space. The companies, with names like Right Media Inc., AdECN Inc., Turn Inc. and ContextWeb Inc., have been an obscure sideshow to a broader battle over Internet advertising.

That’s changing quickly. The biggest Internet companies, including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., are focusing attention and money on the emerging business, hoping to be first with the kind of large-scale, dynamic market for the ad industry that the Nasdaq market brought to stocks.

Google News and Techmeme

Read/Write Web discusses what the two sites could learn from each other. “It should probably be noted that Google News and Techmeme have very different aims. Google News aggregates news from across a broad spectrum of categories, mostly from mainstream sources. Techmeme, on the other hand, highlights buzzworthy news from a focused niche (technology), mostly from blogs. But they are very similar beasts. They both aggregate news very well and algorithmically decide what are the top breaking stories of the day.”

Designing for Word-of-Mouth

Bokardo writes:

The big benefit of word-of-mouth is that your marketing budget goes toward zero, as your users become your marketers. If theyre so passionate about your design theyll tell their friends about your service, and you wont have to. And, most likely, what they say is more influential than what you can say anyway. Focusing on this value, and designing to enable it, is a big part of social design.

Word-of-mouth is complicated from a design standpoint because its not a monolithic activity. Its several smaller steps that happen in order. On one hand this makes it harder to design for because there are many little problems to solve. On the other hand, it gives designers a clearer picture of what to focus and spend time on.

Hackers and Investors

Paul Graham writes:

The world of investors is a foreign one to most hackerspartly because investors are so unlike hackers, and partly because they tend to operate in secret. I’ve been dealing with this world for many years, both as a founder and an investor, and I still don’t fully understand it.

In this essay I’m going to list some of the more surprising things I’ve learned about investors. Some I only learned in the past year.

Social Computing Infrastructure

Simeon Simeonov writes about his article:

We are entering into a period where communities and social networks will be part of everything. No, there wont be many more MySpaces. There really isnt a need for too many huge social networks. Instead, well see verticalization/specializationthe long tail of SNs. And these wont be built from scratch. Theyll be built using Ning, GoingOn, PeopleAggregator and the dozen other social infrastructure platforms that are emerging right now.

I talk about three trends we are likely to see:

* The opening up of social networks
* A battle for the ownership of user data
* The introduction of social economics

TECH TALK: Black Swan: More Reviews

The Guardian wrote about Nassim Talebs The BlackSwan: If you are aware of your own ignorance, though, you can use it to make money, as Taleb did on Wall Street, as an options trader. Options are gambles about what the market will do. To sell an option to somebody else, you need to be confident you have some kind of theory about what will happen in the future. If you’re right, you make a small amount of money; if you’re wrong, you lose lots. Taleb, however, realised he had no theories. So he exploited everyone else’s confidence, buying options according to no particular prediction. Most days, his rivals made a small amount of money, and he lost a small amount. But the one thing he could predict was that, if he waited long enough, something unpredictable would happen. When it did, some of his rivals would lose millions, and Taleb would make millions. It happened often enough for him to turn a big profit. It takes a rebellious nature, and an iron stomach, to go against the flow for so long. It is, perhaps, the kind of mindset that comes naturally to someone who lived through the Lebanese civil war – a classic, unpredictable black swan – and then found himself living as an exile, at one remove from American society. We are not all so good at resisting the herd’s way of thinking.

Bloomberg wrote:

There’s an investment strategy to profit from improbability. “Be as hyperconservative and hyperaggressive as you can instead of being mildly aggressive or conservative,” Taleb advises. “Instead of having medium risk, you have high risk on one side and no risk on the other. The average will be medium risk but constitutes a positive exposure to the Black Swan.”

The hand can feed the turkey for 1,000 days until, on day 1,001, it wrings the fowl’s neck for Thanksgiving. The trick is to be the butcher, not the turkey.

“A thousand days cannot prove you right, but one day can prove you to be wrong,” writes Taleb. “I am not urging you to stop being a fool. Just be a fool in the right places.”

With risk measures at or near record lows, including volatility indexes, corporate bond defaults, credit spreads and emerging-market yields, Taleb might help you dodge the next Black Swan.

Business Week wrote:

The Black Swan is not as unprecedented as Taleb claims. You may have encountered pieces of his arguments in recent popular books by the likes of Chris Anderson, James Gleick, Paul Ormerod, Duncan Watts, Steven Strogatz, Aaron Brown, and one of Taleb’s few living heroes, Benoit Mandelbrot.

Moreover, despite Taleb’s best efforts to make The Black Swan a useful guide to life, we human beings aren’t wired to cope well with radical uncertainty. Donald Rumsfeld, the former Defense Secretary, famously cogitated in front of the microphones about “unknown unknowns,” which is precisely Taleb’s conceptand look where the philosophizing got him. Still, The Black Swan is a richly enjoyable read with an important message.

Nassim Talebs The Black Swan is one of the best and most important books you will read. Go get it!

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