Grant's Blog

Technology - Entrepreneurship - Humanities

Month: April 2007 (page 1 of 3)

Exclusive Beta, Web 2.0

Well, Joost still hasn’t given me any more invites. (I’ll let you all know when I get some more). So, why invites? Do the makers of Joost simply want to be elitist? Many Web applications these days offer a limited beta release where anyone can sign up for their app only to follow by locking down their sign-up pages in favor of getting current users to invite their associates to use the program. Why do this? It seems like extra work to manage invitation and exclusive sign-up lists.

It turns out that the exclusive beta process is actually quite selfish, companies tend to do it because they haven’t fully developed the infrastructure they require to properly scale their application. The infrastructure could include items such as servers, customer support teams, etc. — exclusive beta allows them to determine how much bandwidth 1 addition to the user base takes off the servers. As the app development team works the kinks out of their technology they release more invitations to more beta users and are able to throttle the growth of that base as much or as little as they need to as they flex their muscles and build the systems required to deliver their app without any major customer service failures.

In short, exclusive beta is a great way to eliminate an unknown as you go to develop your web app. With the ability to throttle your exponential growth you are able to experiment with your user base without the fear of becoming overwhelmed by a huge influx of popularity. Simultaneously you create buzz for your application by keeping it exclusive- encouraging bloggers such as myself to at least comment on having invites available for people. The one gamble lays in not refining the value proposition of your app to the degree that would encourage people to invite their friends or associates to test it out. Developing an elaborate system to throttle growth is next to useless if no one is inspired to help you grow your user base.

Google Is god

With their seemingly relentless unveiling of new products and services and uncanny ability to be one step ahead of the competition, I previously dubbed Google “god of the Internet Frontier”. Or, when it comes to all things ‘net, simply: Google is god.

Well, it looks like traditional religion is feeling the heat. Check out the tongue-in-cheek picture below!


Google Is god

Funny Or Die!! Sanchez.

While I don’t know why exactly a comedy site that distributes original content from established comedians via the Internet has earth-shattering new technology necessitating the label “beta”, I’ll put aside any concern and enjoy a laugh or two on Funny or Die. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions is making a splash on the Internet, partnering with leading venture capital firm Sequoia Capital to launch comedy video site

The site is simple enough in premise, and very Digg-like. Vote on the videos and decide whether they’re funny or whether they should die a fiery death. From Funny Or Die: The site was created by Gary Sanchez Productions and a bunch of Silicon Valley guys who drive Hondas and watch old episodes of Babylon Five. Venture capitalist, Mark Kvamme and his son came up with a concept for a new kind of comedy site and approached Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s company, Gary Sanchez Productions. Randy Adams, a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, signed on to handle design and implementation. They along with writer/producer Chris Henchy sought to make a comedy site where established comedians and regular users could put up stuff just because they think it’s funny. At the same time they wanted to eliminate all the junk that people have to pick through to find funny stuff.

Sequoia Capital knows a thing or two about successful user-generated Web sites, having provided early rounds of funding to YouTube. The company also delivered venture capital for YouTube’s parent, Google, as well as Yahoo! PayPal, and Meebo.

While Gary Sanchez is no-where to be found, I managed to track down his Myspace page located here. Wherever he is, Gary manages to produce some pretty funny stuff. It’s fun to see what these comedians get up to in their spare time when they are not censored or their creativity hampered by old-media. Check out Will Ferrell’s short below.

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