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Saturday, January 20, 2007

HalfBaked.com - Entrepreneurial Improv

I stole the idea for my Bar Camp Dallas 3 session. It was a good decision. Amit Gupta and, indirectly, Dave McClure, James Levine and Paul Rademacher are excellent people to steal from.

Here's the idea: Get a group of geeks in a room. Have them yell out thirty or forty random words. Divide everyone up into teams of five. Each team picks two of the words and adds ".com" to form a company name. Give each team fifteen minutes to come up with a business plan, and five minutes to present to a panel of judges. Hilarity ensues.

For this go-round, the judges were Jim Young of Jambo and Giovanni Gallucci of AgencyBlog. The teams were LatexRobot.com (don't ask), g.littr.com (dumpster diving social network), UpTownish.com (high end dating for Dallas posers) and ToothBling.com (electronics for the mouth). The unanimous winner was g.littr.com, the strangely compelling and unsettlingly probably tool for those who live by the dumpster.

The key to running one of these things seems to be an absolutely ruthless approach to timing. Keep the pressure up, move things along, and you can get through four teams in an hour session with time to spare.

It's a total blast to watch a group of relative strangers gel into a startup team. The energy is addictive. There may be a video, I'll link to it when it shows up.


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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Deportalization, Microformats and RSS

I recently had a long lunch discussion with Kinan Sweidan of Ximda. I was going to try to convince him to share some TagMyCity content with DayTripr, but about two seconds into my pitch I had a vision of every niche web service in the world trying to make a content sharing deal with every other niche web service in the world. The thought made me very tired.

It's not so much the content itself. Most of the content on a site isn't strategic, and it there's no harm in sharing it. It's the need to sit down and talk about the terms and conditions, and the necessity to write integration code.

What eventually emerged was that you need two things.

You need a standard license, something Creative Commons-ish, that sets out just what the shared content can be used for, and what the obligations are. Maybe you have to link back to the original source in some particular way. Or something. Does such a license already exist? Can one of the existing Open Source licenses be adapted? Not sure, this is all in brainstorming territory

And you need a simple, standard way to share the content. Something like a set of web pages containing all the content to be shared, marked up in microformatted HTML, with a live RSS feed of any new sharable content. The technology to do this is trivial, it's mostly a matter of deciding just what needs to be made available.

You put up a page with the license, a link to the content and a link to the RSS feed. And you're done, or at least have a good solid start.

The two things above don't begin to cover all the possible ways that two sites could cooperate, but I'm going to claim that they cover 80% of the first couple of steps. If it turns out a closer relationship is worthwhile, then the sites already have some experience with each other, if not, not too much time and energy has been wasted.

I'm thinking it would be a fun to have a first pass working by BarCampDallasIII, but there's not much time between now and then, so it might be SXSWi before there's anything concrete to look at.

Oh yeah, and the idea needs a catchy name and a cool logo. Anybody have thoughts? Well, write 'em down and we can talk about them at Bar Camp.


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Monday, January 01, 2007

Bar Camp Dallas III

Well, we're back in Dallas full time now, just in time for Bar Camp Dallas III. Not quite sure what happened with number two (we were in NYC when it was scheduled) but I have great hopes for this, the third installment. Not being an organizer, I don't have any inside info to impart, but check out:


Running very, very tight on time but I'm hoping to arrange a "HalfBaked.com : Entrepreneurial Improv Theater" session like the one at Bar Camp NYC 2 and possibly, maybe (probably not?) a mini-DemoCamp. If you're interested in either one of those things, please contact me ASAP and we'll see what we can make happen.

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