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Finding Quality Content Socially

Written by Scrivs on May 31, 2007

A long time ago Mike started to talk to me about this vision he had of 9rules where you were presented with content based on what your friends were looking at. Almost like a recommendation system helping to point you towards new content. In a sense we have something similar to this in existence today with sites such as del.icio.us and Digg. However, they don’t fully utilize the social potential of their user base and many times you are left finding stuff either on your own or going to what the public deems important and in many cases you will find that the wisdom of crowds does not work in your favor.

I was reminded of this last week when I began work on a new section of 9rules and more recently after reading The New Portals: It’s the Bread, Not the Peanut Butter over at TechCrunch. The article talks about how Facebook and other similar platforms are becoming the new portals for the web. In this case however, don’t think about Yahoo type portals, but portals based around the network of online people you connect with.

If you use Facebook you know that you can keep track of almost everything your friends do on the site and whatever they decide to update. If they are reading a new book you are made aware of their status or if they are even just changing their mood. This is fun for a while until you get overloaded to the point where the information just isn’t useful to you anymore.

What we are looking at is how mini-networks of people (you and your friends) can help each other find great content. This happens to an extent on del.icio.us, but the site isn’t really setup with social features in mind. Ma.gnolia takes it a step further, but still seems to fall short on the social aspects that can be implemented in such an environment. It could happen on a more macro level at Digg, but again you are more at the mercy of the crowd than your friends. StumbleUpon is another great example of a recommendation system implemented almost to perfection (for what it does).

What we are looking at is a system that works on helping you find great content on a macro-network and micro-network level. In a sense the original 9rules worked on a micro-level because it was us finding the great content and sharing it with you. With 9rules Notes we were able to create a system where anyone could help create great content and bring it together on one site for people to find. Now, we are looking at creating something where you start to help us and your network of my.9r friends find great content because although we are good, we can only find so much great content around the web by ourselves.

Replacing The Dog Food

Written by Scrivs on May 31, 2007

There is a saying about eating your own dog food and at 9rules we get to experience that everyday because of how we participate on the site. Hearing the suggestions that people give on improving the site goes a long way in helping us get to where we want to go, but using the site ourselves helps us even more. When Ali launched we were mighty proud of what we accomplished with it. We felt we put ourselves in a very good position and made 9rules a better place, which seems to be backed up by the amount of people participating on it.

But after a month of use, we started to see the holes in our ship and when it comes to us that usually means an overhaul of how we do things. Admittedly it would probably be easier to just fix up the bugs (we do that as well) and do small increments that improve the site, but we seem to get caught up in fixing things and implementing cooler stuff because we want to use them ourselves. And if Mike sees a better way he can design something then I can tell you there is no stopping him and once Tyme gets a hold of a site you can guarantee there will be a Top 100 list of improvements to be done.

That brings me to the next version of 9rules which is currently in development. I can’t tell you how excited I am to use the stuff we are developing over what we presently have. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 9rules that you see now, but I really am addicted to the one you don’t get to see yet. We have already provided you with a preview of The Stream, which many of you seem to love, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

When 9rules first started we were simply a listing of sites (mostly blogs) that helped people find quality content. We are still a Network of those same great sites with the added features of allowing anyone to join in one quality discussions and find others with the same interests. We are taking that a step further and giving you even more reasons to comeback to 9rules to find quality content along with providing you with more tools to control the direction of 9rules itself.

Social Networks are great, but Social Content Networks are even better. We are still a couple weeks away, but like The Stream we will be releasing some of the goods early to see what people think.

Behind 9rules: Looking For Approval

Written by Scrivs on May 24, 2007

Okay, so title wise I’m the CEO of 9rules, but that doesn’t mean that I can just go around making decisions without the approval of my partners (although I sneak some stuff behind the lines at times). So today I came up with an idea to do a preview of The Stream, but instead of just showing a screenshot I wanted to link to the actual page. Now I could’ve done that without asking them, but that would cause some pretty pissed off people and when there are only three of you having even one person unhappy isn’t a good thing. So, I setup a meeting to discuss things and like with any meeting where you are looking for approval you have to consider who you are pitching to and what you will need to say to each one to get the approval.

Mike: With Mike I figured this would be pretty easy because he designs the pages and likes to show them off to people. Usually, Tyme and I are the ones who have to hold him back from showing the world everything we are working on so with just a couple of tweaks to the page I was sure he would be okay with it. I got Mike convinced within the first 20 seconds so I was good on that front.

Now for the true test…

Tyme: You see Tyme is the thinker of the group. While Mike and I will make a quick decision based on our gut, Tyme will weigh all the options and rate all the possible outcomes. This is invaluable to us since Mike and I have our own thought process. This is also helpful because she has helped guide the way I consider things now and so I can almost predict how she will make a decision.

I made sure I covered all the bases and she didn’t have many questions meaning I answered them already so that was a good thing. Now I just had to wait for the okay…

Let me tell you, waiting for either one of them to give the go ahead to an idea you pitch is like waiting to see what your mom will do after you tell her you threw a baseball and broke the TV. She gave the okay and that meant we were good to go! Good times, good times.

Now don’t get me wrong, not everything goes this smooth. Sometimes one of us will do something without consulting the others because we don’t see what the big deal is and sometimes it goes over smooth and other times it doesn’t. Since we are small everyone likes to know what is going on because we are all apart of the same thing. It is definitely something I am still getting used to, but I am working on it. Out of the three of us I am the most guilty so I don’t know how Mike and Tyme can deal with me, but then I remember how cute I am and figure that is the only explanation.

Now if I would just learn to stop rejecting all their ideas then life would be good.

Behind 9rules: Lunch Time

Written by Scrivs on May 23, 2007

Lunch time at 9rules is pretty consistent. It happens in three stages every single weekday.

  1. Tyme prepares her lunch around 11am. There is a 95% chance that it will involve chicken. There was a time period where I swear she ate chicken for 11 months straight.
  2. Around 1pm (or more depending on when he gets up) Mike will ask me what he should get for lunch. Back in the days this was easy because I could say anything and he would be down for it, but now that his wedding is approaching he is on a strict diet and therefore his choices are a bit more limited. Now he asks me what type of grass he should eat today.
  3. Between 1pm-5pm my stomach will begin to tell me that in most cultures it would be considered lunch time or Mama Tyme will ask if I have eaten yet. Now this is where I break off into two directions: 1) I’ll go get something quick or 2) just forget to eat.

Very rarely though do we all go get lunch at the same time.

Sidenote: I wanted to make this edition in video form, but my iSight isn’t cooperating. It’s almost forcing me to buy new toys soon.

Behind 9rules: When the cat’s away

Written by Scrivs on May 22, 2007

When you are part of a three person company the little things can stick out a bit more than if you were in a big company. For example, today I have to leave the “office” and be out for a couple of hours. This happens on occasion with any of us (Tyme seems to be glued to her chair though), but it doesn’t change our routine and 9rules just keeps on flowing.

However, I know when I’m out I will think about what is going on and wonder if I am missing anything. It is a twisted scenario because you don’t want to miss anything important, but then when you get back and ask what you missed and they respond with nothing you are disappointed as well. When Mike is away and it is just me and Tyme we will chatter and magically if Tyme mysteriously disappears (I’m telling you people it NEVER happens) then I am sure Mike and I would just chatter.

When I am away I have no idea what goes on here and I can’t setup a hidden camera because all I would see is an empty desk vacated by me. So when I’m gone today if you notice any crazy stuff Tyme and Mike might be up to be sure to let me know because I need to know these things and get to the bottom of what happens when I am out.

In your place of business do you think crazy events take place when you are not around?