Scripting News for 2/13/2008

For the Twitter FAQ 

This Meg Fowler post should be part of the Twitter FAQ.

“I even love the people that unfollow me because I won’t shut up. I support your efficiency and realization of my inherent freakiness.”

That pretty much sums up the mutual laissez-faire-ness of the culture that forms around a tool with the feature set of Twitter.

About my Seesmic investment 

Today, Seesmic, the company founded by Loic Le Meur, announced their initial $6 million funding. Several people noticed that my name isn’t on the list of investors.

I’ll probably end up kicking myself when Seesmic becomes the next Google or YouTube. I remain a fan of the company and Loic and his team and will be rooting for them.

Why did I get cold feet? It has nothing to do with the product or the company, both of which appear to be outstanding. It’s the stock market. I had to make the final Seesmic decision as I was getting out of stock, at a significant loss.

The only stock I hold now is AAPL, and sadly, it’s way under the price I paid for it on October 8.

Like a lot of other investors, right now stocks give me the willies. I will likely get back in, slowly, a little bit every week to average out the price, hoping the market has found a bottom.

I don’t care if Roger Clemens is lying 

I’m a lifelong baseball fan, and I don’t care if Roger Clemens took steroids, or if he is lying or if McNamee is lying.

News is stuff that’s important. If it’s national news, it’s stuff that is important to everyone in the nation. Whether Clemens took steroids or not is a proper topic for a 60 Minutes, Fresh Air or Nightline segment. To take a whole day across all the cable channels the day after three pivotal primaries is very wrong. (And what if they do it again tomorrow? Oy.)

So it’s ridiculous that all the cable news channels are broadcasting the full testimony of Roger Clemens and his accuser. Hours of repetitive questions and the same answers, over and over, while there is news happening in the world. I know because I’m subscribed to the MSNBC and AP feeds on Twitter. I have a Google Alert that shows me results of all the campaign conference calls. (There have been a couple this morning, from Obama and McCain, I’d love to get MP3s, and still looking for a feed.)

It’s time for some serious routing-around, or for the cable news programmers to get back on the job.

Elisa Camahort: “Oh God, I so agree.”

Cross-posted at Huffington.

The mind of Yahoo 

Yesterday while we were waiting for returns from the Potomac Primaries, some disturbing things started showing up on the wire. Layoffs at Yahoo, long planned, were now happening. People we knew were leaving. This morning we have a better idea of how wide the layoffs were.

You have to wonder what they’re thinking at Yahoo.

Odds are that Yahoo is going to be acquired, even though they rejected Microsoft’s offer, it’s not clear that there’s another way forward. The possibility of going it alone seems even slimmer after the layoffs.

Why would Yahoo want to self-inflict more doubt about its future at this moment where doubt is its worst problem?

There’s only one explanation. The layoffs were planned before Microsoft made its bid. “Business as usual” may be the order of the day, but this order should have been held until the Microsoft situation has cleared. If Microsoft is the new owner, let them decide who should go and stay, and whether Yahoo as a whole can operate with less profitabiity. As a division of a larger company they have less direct responsibility to shareholders. If they’re going forward alone, then perhaps the layoffs still make sense, or maybe not. When tech companies are acquired the people are the primary asset.

You gotta wonder what Microsoft thinks about this. Maybe it’s the ultimate poison pill. Let’s get rid of the talent that Microsoft wants to acquire. Of course that’s a poison pill that would surely kill the patient.

A hint in a postscript 

Dare Obasanjo works at Microsoft.

In his blog post about the Yahoo layoffs, in a postscript, he indicates that Microsoft is interested in creating a Twitter clone.

I’ve said openly, on Twitter (and now here) that I would like to be part of a venture that aims to create a scalable Twitter. I’ve had several conversations with people who are attempting to do this. I haven’t done a deal yet.

My bet: There will be a lot of growth in Twitter in the coming years, and it seems likely that the Twitter company will not be able to scale their systems to meet the demand. There are features that should have been in the product and in the API months ago that are on the back-burner, likely due to Twitter’s constant battle to meet meet demand (scaling).

As a user, I’d like to view the product and the company as a black box, but that’s impossible with the system glitches and outages. What users are doing now with Twitter is far more important, imho, than the servers, or the company. The company, understandably, thinks their issues are most important, but that’s a matter of perspective. We don’t own any stock in the company, so our perspective reflects that. To us, they’re a utility.

All this is a verbose way of saying that Microsoft applying their resources and scaling knowhow to this problem woud be an interesting development.

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