On Web 2.0 and Punk Rock

I can’t escape the observation that a simple idea, executed well, can not only change the world (or a part of it), but can also be satisfying in so many ways (like financially). Witness Yahoo!’s acquisition of Flickr, Konfabulator, and upcoming.org. How long until somebody snaps up Ning? How about the rock stars at 37signals?

The ideas at work here are around sharing, either via “Web 2.0” kinds of ideas, or communication/community (ala Y 360, but more focused). Having all these cool Web apps is great. Having them all share information among themselves is another.

Great article from Chad Dickerson on the similarities between Web 2.0 and punk rock.

Like any social movement, it starts with a small band of rebels/visionaries. By the time it hits the mainstream, it’s been transformed into something the initiators no longer recognize and don’t particularly want to be a part of. We’re probably not at that point yet with Web 2.0. Wait until there are truly compelling reasons to have web application interoperability, and watch malware writers look for weaknesses, while the hucksters build robots to use these interconnected apps for personal gain…

Many observers of the punk rock scene said the death of punk was the 1980 movie Times Square. If that’s true, is the death of Web 2.0 the O’Reilly conference this week? Or perhaps it’s the Business 2.0 article that lists AJAX as its number 1 “technology that changes everything”? Fortunately Jason @ 37signals weighs in with The top 10 things that aren’t Web 2.0“.

On Web 2.0 and Punk Rock

The art and the science of user experience

Yahoo Home PageBusinessWeek online has an article about Larry Tesler, Yahoo’s new VP of User Experience, and the design of Yahoo’s front page.

It’s a perplexing read. For example, there’s the statement:

the front page has remained stagnant

Where apparently “stagnant” means unchanged since Sept 2004.

Contrast the “stagnant” quote with this one:

Yahoo researchers endlessly try to divine which are the most-used services.

Indeed, the front page changes in multiple ways every week, as the team tries new ideas. I know this because SDS runs the A/B test system that does all the analytics. In this way, “Yahoo researchers” are always trying new things. And “devine” is an interesting word – “study” is probably more accurate. The Yahoo front page is probably the single most instrumented, most analyzed page on the Web. When 44% of the Internet population sees your page every month, you don’t make changes for the heck of it.

Finally, let’s be honest: it’s not all about user experience. The art is about the design that balances user experience (or “delight” as Larry calls it) with the business needs of the site. The science is running the experiments on those designs, so the varied opinions give way to hard facts based on actual research.

The art and the science of user experience

Do you love data?

If you haven’t seen it, the Web Analytics Association has several RSS feeds, for job postings, articles, events and press releases. And a feed that consolidates them all.

Most of the entries are for job openings. I considered posting all our job openings, but that seems excessive.

Within Yahoo’s data group, we’ve got over 70 openings. That’s not a typo. Over seventy positions, throughout software engineering, QA, product managers, statisticians, business analysts, and everything in between — and at all levels. If you’re interested in working in Sunnyvale or Pasadena, you love data in any capacity, and you appreciate a company with an executive commitment to use the data, you should check out the amazing things we’re doing. (hint: send me a resume.)

As a side benefit, you can tell your family where you work and they will have heard of the company!

Do you love data?