Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.
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I’m not sure how many trusted readers we have by now, but I bet there’re quite a few. Like you. You’re coming back tomorrow to read our blog, right? So you’re a trusted reader. Okay, that’s one at least.

Anyhow, as our trusted readers have noticed by now, Playing With Wire has been redesigned completely. We swapped out the standard Blogger theme for something that’s a bit more ‘us’. Based on minima++, the new design has got a new fresh logo, cleaned up links and improved minimalism. It works in all modern browsers and even limps along alright with IE6. We’re following our own advice and making our site cross-browser you know.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

SearchMash is an interesting new search engine. It turns out that it’s actually just a shell on top of Google’s search engine. It’s a pretty cool shell though. One thing you can do is to hit space repeatedly to see more and more results, without reloading. Ajax goodness. Another thing you get is image search results alongside with your normal results.

This article is about one of the least conspicuous features, which none the less might be the most important one.

You can rearrange results.

Doesn’t sound like much but lets think about it. What might rearranging the results be good for? Right now the features list says the rearranging is just for fun. This is coupled with a hint that there are ‘plans’ for the future.

Here’s the future.

Rearrangement is an intuitive way for search users to ‘fix’ their search results. For example, say that Jane searches for ‘Google’ but the top hit is ‘Microsoft.’ Microsoft has a big marketing department. Marketing or not, ‘Microsoft’ is not the result Jane was looking for. She scans down and finds ‘Google’ in the second result. Traditionally, this would be the end of the story. But with this technology, what Jane would do is to simply drag ‘Google’ to the top. She does this not because of some spiritual search for perfection. She does it because the next time she performs the same search, she wants the most relevant result on top. The search engine memorizes her rearrangement action and the next time Jane searches for Google, she gets the result she wants on top.

That’s nice and all but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

If a large number of users rearrange their search results in the same manner, the search engine can take note. If a lot of people are placing ‘Google’ on top of ‘Microsoft’ when searching for Google, the search engine might eventually say, “Hey, that’s kind of funny. Maybe Google is actually the most relevant entry. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and make Google the top entry for everyone.”

There it is. The spam result just got downgraded, the search engine’s index became better, and every person searching with the engine in the future thinks the search engine is just terrific, not realizing the betterment was caused by humans rather than technology.

There is in fact nothing surprising about this development. Sites like digg have been touting swarm functionality as their thing for a long time. The philosophy is that when many users get together and do a small bit of work each, a lot of work gets done. Ultimately even huge tasks can be undertaken in this way.

The only thing that is surprising about user sorting, and Google’s secret testing of it with Searchmash, is that it took so long. To sort the whole internet by search terms is the quintessential swarm task. It can be massively parallelized – lots of people can sort their own little bit of the internet. Each step of sorting isn’t a lot of work. In this case the sorting is even rewarding for the user – they get personalized search results with their own sort order in the future. They don’t need to be altruistic. They just have to do their own little thing and in the end everyone benefits.

Swarm ranking is the next step up from Google’s page rank. The first internet search engine to feature page rank and swarm rank simultaneously will win this round by a significant margin.

If only our startup had a couple of million dollars.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.
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Category: Business

We’ve been at this for about a year already so we have seen our share of problems with our business plan. It seems like every other day some new competitor shows up. They still don’t do what we plan to do but like with artillery shells it doesn’t feel good when they start hitting close. So yesterday I went back to basics and started doing the math and predictions. If we make this much money per amount of resource we pay for, are we doing alright? That’s the question.

The other day’s post mentioned the importance of being able to refocus when the inevitable downturn comes. I think we had a bit of downturn yesterday but we’ll refocus and come right back up.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

Today I found an article that really caught my attention. The article was written by Paul Graham, a startup-guru(?) who has been around for while, and pretty much knows what he’s talking about.
Anyhow, this article was called the 18 mistakes that kills a startup. So, since we’re a startup, I thought that I’d analyze his list a bit, to see how we’re doing.

  • Single Founder
    • Check. Last time I counted we were two at least.
  • Bad Location
    • No way. We’re located at the best possible location.
  • Marginal Niche
    • Not really, our potential is certainly not a ‘Marginal Niche’.
  • Derivative Idea
    • Our idea is great. It’s simple, and yet powerful. However, most importantly, I want our product. It’s something that I would use on a daily basis.
  • Obstinacy
    • I don’t think this will be a problem. We’re certainly flexible, but we still know what we want. Also, customer feedback is definitely something that will be used in the future to determine where we’re going with our products.
  • Hiring Bad Programmers
    • Not gonna happen. Alex is an awesome programmer, and he’ll code just about any language you can imagine, and he’ll do it good. It’s hard for me to imagine that he would hire a bad programmer.
  • Choosing the Wrong Platform
    • Not at all. No money will be wasted on expensive licenses. All the money will be placed right into the R&D-account.
  • Slowness in Launching
    • I don’t think this will be a problem either. We’re trying to launch our product as soon as we think it’s ready to be released. Sure, there will be some bugs, but if Microsoft can get away with like a billion bugs, I think our initial launch can get away with a couple as well.
  • Launching Too Early
    • Yeah. We’ll keep this in mind.
  • Having No Specific User in Mind
    • We know who our customers will be. And there will be plenty of them.
  • Raising Too Little Money
    • We just started, this is not really relevant right now. We have enough capital to start up.
  • Spending Too Much
    • Nope. We’re really conservative about this. No unnecessary expenses. We put all our money into R&D.
  • Raising Too Much Money
    • Nope.
  • Poor Investor Management
    • We’re the investors. I hope we can manage ourselves.
  • Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit
    • No, both Alex and I are really customer-oriented. We’ll try to do our best to cater to our customers.
  • Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty
    • Yeah, we admit it. Neither of us like to clean the toilet. Except for that, I don’t think there’s anything that we consider dirty. Alex is a programmer, I’m a business-guy with a background within computer-science. I think we have the field covered pretty well.
  • Fights Between Founders
    • Sure hope that’s not gonna happen. Alex’s been a good friend of mine for years, so I think I know him pretty well by now. We also share a similar vision regarding the future of the company.
  • A Half-Hearted Effort
    • Not so much.

Read the entire article at Paul Grahams’s homepage.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

For a long time most websites were essentially designed for Windows users running Internet Explorer. The simple argument was, ‘well, that’s what most of our customers run.’

That simple argument is not very effective anymore. With the strong growth of the Linux and Mac platform, more and more users are surfing the web using Firefox or Safari on a non-Windows platform. When the number of visitors using a non-Windows platform starts to climb up to 10% or even 25% of your visitors, it becomes hard to pretend they don’t exist.

People are inventive though and they come up with new arguments for making their pages Internet Explorer only. Maybe they’ll say their business is a Windows shop. Or that it’s too expensive to write for more than one browser, considering the returns.

Whenever you find yourself thinking along those paths, look no further for the counter arguments. Here are the top three reasons for why your website should be multi-platform.

Reason 1: You’re not Windows Compatible

Huh? Isn’t that exactly what you are if you’re running a Windows only website?

No! It turns out that if your website only works for the main Windows web browser – Internet Explorer – it does not work for many, or even most, Windows browsers! Many Windows users today use Firefox, Opera or other browsers. Some Windows users can’t even use Internet Explorer. If you have a disability you might go for an alternative browser which gives you more assistance than Internet Explorer does.

If you make your webpage multi-platform it will be much more likely to work in alternative Windows browsers as well.

Reason 2: You Might Hinder Decision Makers and Affluent Visitors

An example is Mac users. A couple of years ago Nielsen/Netratings released a study showing that Mac users on average have a higher income and better education than Windows-users. Even the popular publication Wired brought up this fact in an article. If you’re running a website to make money, reaching out to the people with the most money is kind of a no brainer. (Obviously, if you’re running a website to lose money this becomes a bit less relevant.)

Some websites might say, ‘Well we sell Windows software, so those visitors don’t help us any.’ Think again. A company manager might run a Mac but still be in charge of an office with a hundred Windows machines. A system administrator might be surfing from her Gentoo Linux machine, but she is the one in charge of installing thousands of machines at the end of the day.

Reason 3: You Look Better

It is very rare to find a professional web site which is not multi-platform today. Just check out sites like, YouTube or even Yahoo!.

Small startups use multi-platform webpages to demonstrate their technological provess and willingness to work with all people. Big corporations know better than to turn away any customers since their competition will be more than glad to accept their customers in their place.

Even if your website is not for a technical startup or a big corporation, that kind of website is exactly the crowd you want your website to hang with. You want to be up there with the great and modern or with the successfull and stable. You don’t want to be the company with the fringe Internet-Explorer-only-with-blinking-text-and-repeating-backgrounds website.


At the end of the day it’s just way too easy to make a multi-platform webpage so you might as well. If you’re the one actually building the website, the easiest way is to follow standards. This blog points out why that’s a good idea: Web Standards and Why You Should Care.

If you’re not the designer, spend the extra time to find a webdesigner who’s actually worth his or her salt. Either way, ditch Interner Explorer and jump on the people friendly Web 2.0 train. It’s the train to the future.

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