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Facebook Places + Photos Makes Sense... It's Now Here

When Facebook Places first launched, I wrote that a photo integration made sense: If I could change one component of the product – and I really only have one suggestion – it would be to add photographs. Four reasons why:

1. I believe that images are becoming integral pieces of explaining location / local activity. Checking in at a restaurant, theme park, ballgame, etc are all well described by time, title & description and photograph.

2. GPS & photographs are tightly related on the mobile device. Putting them together in the Places product could still be done simply and comfortably.

3. The lack of integration makes me frequently choose between posting a newsfeed photograph and describe location via the description… OR forgo an image and post via Places.

4. Finally, if Facebook Places is to ultimately also become a directory of businesses, reviews, etc – photographs must be tightly integrated.

... Well, it's now here:

Welcoming Dillon Jacob Spoon

This weekend, my wife Anette and I welcomed Dillon Jacob Spoon - all 7.5 pounds and 20.5 inches of him. We thank everyone for the well wishes and notes... we were truly overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and generosity. Though only a couple days into the journey, we have loved every moment =) A few pictures are below and I will be taking a short hiatus from email, the blog, and so forth. Please understand if there is a delay in returning emails / calls!

But before I go (!), three geeky thoughts:

1. Apple's Facetime is made for experiences like this... in fact, it is why Anette, my parents and I all got the new iPhone. Facetime has allowed family and friends outside of San Francisco to 'spend time' with Anette, Dillon and I. It really is life changing.

2. Thank god for Amazon (and Amazon Prime).

3. Facebook too: with its ability to easily share updates, photographs and so forth with all of our friends and family. Everyone's feedback has been touching!

Dogpatch Labs SF Gets a Remodel, Taking Applications

This week Dogpatch Labs San Francisco underwent a slight remodeling. In addition to new residents joining (and a handful 'graduating'), we rearranged the layout to better accommodate teams and add some more space.

Apply to Dogpatch!

On a different note: Dogpatch Labs San Francisco currently taking 'applications' for new residents as some space will come available in the next 30-60 days. If you are interested in applying, please email me at rspoon _at_ polarisventures.com with:

- company / concept description - bio(s) and links to online activity (ie Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Quora) - interest level and number of requested desks

Thanks!

We're Engaged! (And how Facebook's News Feed is Strangely Relevant)

Over this July 4th weekend - where we vacationed in Cape Cod with my family - Anette and I got engaged! We actually debated whether or not I should post the announcement and picture on this blog. Anette finds it tacky and I have personally struggled with the balance / conflict between tech posts vs. personal posts. But now, a few days after the proposal, I've realized how important the web has been (despite being 'tacky') in communicating the news... and consequently, I don't feel awkward posting this information on a blog... and a tech blog at that.

The other interesting aspect was how Facebook played a role in reaching our friends. Outside of phone calls, text messages and emails - I was really struck by the impact of simply changing my "Facebook" relationship status. Unlike my sisters, I am not an avid Facebook user who logs in multiple times a day (or even daily). I consider myself a reactive Facebooker - someone who logs in when drawn through SMS and email alerts. I suspected that most of my friends were also reactive users.

Not so.

By only changing our relationship status, we each received numerous messages from people who saw the news hit their Facebook Feeds - which means that people were logging in and actively using the Feed to monitor changes in their network. Fascinating considering the amount of activity most people's feeds contain and the rapidity of which we both started getting emails. There is no overlooking how important the Feed has become to Facebook's ecosystem.

I haven't yet posted to Twitter... I can't bring myself to be that tacky (for now).

2008 Golden Gate Triathlon - Results and Pictures

Warning: as the title suggests, this is not a tech-related blog post... and at the risk of upsetting readers, I do that from time to time! Today, longtime friend Steuart Martens and I competed in the 2008 Golden Gate Triathlon. It is a relatively overlooked Bay Area triathlon considering that it is sandwiched between Wildflower and the San Jose International (both very big events). The course was brutally difficult - but it must be the most beautiful event in the continental United States:

- Swim: Occurs in the San Francisco Bay. You swim towards parallel to the shore, with Alcatraz behind you and the Golden Gate / Bay Bridges in the distance (depending on the direction)

- Bike: Almost entirely uphill. You go from sea-level to high in the Presidio - well above the Golden Gate's entrance. 90% of the bike is done is gear 1-1.

- Run: Along Chrissy Field and up to the Golden Gate Bridge... which includes scaling very steep steps.

Notice the beRecruited swim caps (and the shameless promotion)! We will both be wearing these during our upcoming Alcatraz swim at the end of July (will be #6 for me). Congratulations to Steuart, who placed 6th overall and won the swim leg:

More pictures after the jump

Grand Theft Auto IV & Forgetting Sarah Marshall

After being disappointed by Will Ferrell's Semi-Pro (and the box office results agree), I was excited to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall... but the box office response was far from overwhelming (although I thought it was great). This past weekend, it placed 2nd ($17.3 million) behind the Forbidden Kingdom. In fact, movie ticket sales in 2008 have been down and year-over-year growth has been flattening:

So what's the connection between Forgetting Sarah Marshall and GTA IV? First, I had seen these Sarah Marshall billboard ads everywhere:

from Defamer

And then I saw the below GTA ads placed on a series of LA buildings (from Kataku). Not only has Rockstar created an awesome mural ad - video games are a big, big business. Grand Theft Auto III has sold 14.5 million units - at $50 a copy, that's $725mm in sales. Titanic is the highest grossing domestic film ever at $601mm.

Web 3.0 - Making Web 2.0 More Efficient

Great post on TechCrunch today named Web 3.0 Will Be About Reducing the Noise—And Twhirl Isn’t Helping. Eric Schonfeld included the below screenshot from his desktop and sadly, it reminded me of mine...

Eric is right - if web 2.0 is all about creating and finding content; web 3.0 will have to be about simplifying the output.

Two examples:

1) I can't get myself excited about FriendFeed because I already have accounts elsewhere... that I use frequently. And while FriendFeed consolidates the output, it doesn't offer the same utility on the input. Furthermore, for me to change my stubborn-but-efficient internet habits, I need to be compelled with *increased* utility. And to the initial point of this post - I'm not convinced that platforms like FriendFeed simply the web.

2) I am approaching 1500 unread emails in Gmail (currenty 1471). A productive day might reduce that load by 100 or so... but I haven't been under 1,000 unread emails in months. A (positive) consequence of web 2.0 is open communication and social interaction - consolidating my online activity and communication can become overwhelming. Hopefully web 3.0 brings a killer email app... I'd pay a pretty penny for it.