Monthly Archives: May 2013

Techmeme Job Openings

Techmeme Part-time Editor: “To apply: Send a single email to, briefly introducing yourself and describing your motivations for seeking this job. Use the subject line “[Name] (@[TwitterID]) – Techmeme Part-time Editor”, and include a resume, either as a link, an attachment, or pasted to the end of your email. In addition, please provide numbered responses to the following questions, answering each succinctly, in four or fewer sentences:
1. What were Facebook’s most significant product launches for mobile devices in 2013 and how were they received in the marketplace?
2. Explain why Yahoo bought Tumblr from the perspective of the two companies.
3. What are the factors believed to have contributed to Apple’s slide in the stock market over the past three quarters?
4. Recent hacking episodes of note have involved defaced websites and reports of stolen data. How are companies and governments responding?
5. Contrast the 4 publications featured most often on Techmeme with respect to what they bring to Techmeme’s coverage.
Finally, suggest two pieces that you think would make Techmeme better if they were posted as headlines (at the time you emailed us). Just give the urls, and number them S1 and S2. No additional words or sentences needed for this one.”

I thought it would be fun to answer their questions without applying for the job. So, here goes.

  1. I’m not a Facebook user, but if you didn’t hear about Facebook Home you were probably unconscious or you disconnected yourself from the Internet. The product got a lot of press but the reception from uses has been luke warm at best. Hardcore Android fan boys didn’t like that it took over their springboard experience and hid often used applications. The reception for the HTC First was even worse, carriers lowered the price to $99.00 shortly after it was announced.
  2. Yahoo has been around for a long time and is a valuable internet property, but they’ve been stagnant for far too long. They needed something to attract younger users, Tumblr is that something. On the flip side Tumblr hasn’t figured out how to make money, Yahoo should be able to fix that with years of experience in this area, if they don’t screw it up.
  3. I think it’s simple. There’s some strange force field surrounding Wall Street that makes people believe a company that is super successful and making billions of dollars is somehow doomed because their UI isn’t flat. I can’t figure these people out. Your guess is as good as mine.
  4. Yeah, you lost me there. I haven’t paid much attention to this.
  5. Write some real stories. Forget about the cheap tabloid type material, everybody is covering that crap. Go long!

Yahoo! Tumblr

Venture Beat: “While Tumblr is popular, it only made $13 million in revenue last year, when it first started selling ads, and hopes to grow that to $100 million in revenue this year.”

Wow. On Friday afternoon the acquisition point for Tumblr had gone to $1.1 billion. Mind boggling considering they had revenue of $13 million last year.

I like Tumblr. If this acquisition happens I hope it’s good for Yahoo! and good for Tumblr. I think the first thing they do is start using Flickr for photo sharing on Tumblr then do something to bring the two closer together. Seems like a nice fit considering the popularity of photo sharing on Facebook and Instagram.

I read a comment somewhere, sorry I don’t remember where, to the effect that all Marissa Mayer is doing is buying other companies and anyone could’ve done that. That’s true, but anyone didn’t do that, Ms. Mayer is. I think it’s pretty brilliant, and unlike Twitter’s acquisition of Posterous, which was all about engineering talent, this one seems like it could be a nice fit and an opportunity to do something incredible with two products; Flickr and Tumblr.

UPDATE: Interesting piece on Hacker News. Apparently $1.1 billion may be too low? That would be the VC’s talking if there’s any truth to it. Take the money and run, while you still can.

Code in the Browser

Watch out! It's a blog fly!Yesterday I was lamenting the lack of good choice for coding in the browser. I know, I know, I gripe too much about it. I can hear folks now “Just shut your pie hole and learn JavaScript, like everyone else.” That is good advice, I should learn JavaScript, but I digress.

The mere mention of it started a conversation on Twitter, which lead me to start thinking about a weblog post, which lead me to a search for “CLI in the browser” or something like that, which landed this great post by Miguel de Icaza.

“ECMA CLI would have given the web both strongly typed and loosely typed programming languages. It would have given developers a choice between performance and scriptability. A programming language choice (use the right tool for the right job) and would have in general made web pages faster just by moving performance sensitive code to strongly typed languages.”

This is what I’m after. Choice and closer to native performance. JavaScript could be one of the supported languages, and should be for that matter, but in the end it would be really great to have a language agnostic runtime.

I’d compare the state of coding in the browser to coding 20+ years ago. At that time everyone was using C because it was the most portable way to get your code on other OS’es. I find it a bit depressing browsers haven’t moved past JavaScript. Can you imagine only being able to code in C on your favorite platform? Of course not, that’s preposterous.

It will be interesting to watch browsers mature into a layer that completely replaces the OS for services. Until then, we’ll have to make due with what we have.

Here’s the Twitter conversation that lead to this post (sorry, the Twitter embed code only grabbed the last bit of the conversation, not sure how to get it all.):