Tagged: linkedin


The ability to moderate comments and user created content on a website is not a new technology. Slashdot has had comment moderation for over a decade. As the ability to vote on user generated content has grown more popular, so too has the inability to vote down or “dislike.”

The most common example is Facebook, which introduced a “like” button, which was really just a ripoff from Friendfeed. While Facebook is the most widely known case, I find the lack of moderating down comments on Yelp even more annoying.

On Yelp people will write reviews that are completely idiotic. A negative review because the restaurant was busy, or because the weather was bad, or because it was a chain. Yelp only gives people the ability to “compliment” a review, so moronic reviews never get put in their place.

Has our society become so insecure, that we cannot take honest feedback when it comes to our online contributions? Does every child get a medal? Life is a two-way street; online moderation should be the same way.

The marketplace for startup funding is something that has always fascinated me. Venture capitalists seem to behave like trendsetting hipsters trying to go to the next “it” club. Once the new “it” business plan is identified, VC’s will gladly fund mediocre startups that resemble or piggyback to “it” regardless of their potential for long term viability.

In the mid to late 90’s “it” was any business plan that involved e-commerce. You could write a business plan to sell dogshit online, and “it” would probably get funded. The Napster phenomenon caused a funding frenzy towards P2P startups, even though their potential for revenue was mediocre at best. The success of Myspace caused a funding boom for anything to do with social networking, even though that business model is extremely questionable. Today, the “it” trend is probably cloud computing.

Venture capitalists are like hipsters looking for the next “it” nightclub, but most of the time they end up with a bunch of “me too” companies that go nowhere, but get funded with buzzword laden business plans. Some of the most successful startups in the history of technology are boring companies in established markets.

Was there really anything exciting about Google? Search was already being done by 20 different players in the late 90’s. Search was boring. I’m surprised they didn’t get passed over in order for a VC to fund the next Pointcast screensaver.

The point is that some of the best startups are boring companies, that do boring things, in already proven boring marketplaces.

The Wall Street Journal had a sobering article about the changing face of employment in the United States. Many of the jobs lost during this recession will never return.

The U.S. hasn’t seen a contraction as deep as this one since before World War II, and employers have cut workers faster than history suggested they would even in a recession as deep as this one. Private-sector payrolls today are lower than they were at the end of 1999.

In addition to replacing 7.2 million lost jobs, the economy needs an additional 100,000 a month to keep up with population growth. If the job market returns to the rapid pace of the 1990s — adding 2.15 million private-sector jobs a year, double the 2001-2007 pace — the U.S. wouldn’t get back to a 5% unemployment rate until late 2017, Rutgers University economist Joseph Seneca estimated. And that assumes no recession between now and then. “Even with some very optimistic assumptions, it’s a long road back,” Mr. Seneca said.

Perhaps one bright spot of note is the constant change of employment. Many of the jobs that exist now, did not even exist a decade ago.

In 2003, Treasury Department chief economist Alan Krueger, then at Princeton, calculated that a quarter of U.S. workers at the time were in jobs the Census Bureau didn’t even list as occupations in 1967.

25% of all jobs in this country did not exist a few decades ago. On a personal note, what I do for living did not exist a decade ago. There were very few IT people focusing on datacenter automation, and the commercial use of Linux was in it’s infancy. Time will tell if positions like mine exist twenty years now. However; if there is one positive note about the volatility of the job market, its the fact that five years from now there will be plenty of new positions that do not exist today.

With all the health care talk in the last few weeks, I started to think how utterly broken the health care system is in the United States. I’m not a fan of the current proposals in congress, because they don’t go far enough. We really need to move to a universal single payer system.

Opponents of health care reform seem to like the current system. They refer to public health care plans as “socialized” health care. It recently occurred to me that there are lot of other “socialized” government services in the USA that should be reformed, using the brilliant HMO model. Here are few suggestions:

The “socialized” public education system is out of control. People without kids get taxed for education. We need to privatize education immediately, and auction off all the public schools to private companies. People with good jobs will get employer subsidized EMO (Education Management Organization) plans that pay for their kids to go school. People will not get to choose their school regardless of where they live. Participants must choose an “in-network” school, even if it means traveling far away from their homes.

Millions of kids will be unable to go to school, because their parents are unemployed or work at companies that don’t provide an EMO plan. Mental retardation and other developmental disabilities will be considered “preexisting” conditions, that will exclude coverage under all EMO plans. Sorry kids, but you can always get a job at Taco Bell.

The “socialized” road system is killing America. We should privatize all roads immediately. Under the new plan, all roads will be toll roads. Your employer will sign you up with an EZ-PASS system through your TMO (Transportation Management Organization) plan. You will only be able drive on roads covered by your TMO plan, so make sure you pick an employer with good coverage area. If you lose your job, you will lose the ability to drive on roads.

The “socialized” police system we have today is straight out of Soviet Russia. Effective immediately, all police services will be paid for via your CMO (Crime Management Organization) plans. When you’re the victim of a crime, the police will charge all investigative costs to your CMO plan. Your CMO plan will determine the amount of money paid for specific investigations. Pricey investigations like rape might not be covered under your CMO plan. When a criminal is put in jail, the cost of incarceration will be covered under the CMO plan. The time a criminal spends in jail will be determined by the quality of the victim’s CMO coverage.

Your employer’s FMO plan (Fire Management Organization) will cover the expenses of fire services. If you do not have FMO coverage, the fire department will let your house burn down, unless you pay in full upfront while your house is burning. The FMO system does away with the previous “socialized” firefighting system.

National Defense
Its hard to believe that the Republican party has been supporting nearly unlimited funding for socialized national defense. The entire armed forces should be privatized immediately, and citizens should be billed appropriately. You employer might have a DMO plan that will cover some of the costs. People who live in high risk areas, will be charged more, similar to how an insurance company manages risk. People who are unemployed and can’t afford DMO coverage will be expelled from the country immediately. We can’t have free-riders ruing the system.

Oracle announced today that they are buying up Sun, just weeks after the Sun/IBM deal fell through. While I was cheering on the IBM deal, I can’t say I’m very happy about Sun being bought up by Oracle.

Unlike IBM, Oracle has no history of embracing open source. Sure, one can argue that because Solaris, Java, and MySQL are open source, Oracle doesn’t really hold all the leverage with Sun’s open source products. One of the main tenants of the open source model is that anyone can take the existing code, and start their own version. However; in the case of Solaris, Java, and MySQL it would be very difficult to have a viable fork that advanced at their previous rate of development.

From a hardware perspective, it will be interesting to see what Oracle does with Sun’s products. Do they put more money in high-end hardware? Do they sell off most of their hardware business? Oracle wanted to get in the hardware business, but do they really want all of Sun’s baggage?

With the Sun acquisition, Oracle will realize their dream of selling the whole application stack. (hardware, OS, Language, Database) Given Oracle’s track record, why would anyone want to go that route? Sure, Oracle will do some tricks to speed up things, but at what cost? Your locking the entire application stack to one vendor. Is that really worth it?

Its a great move for Oracle, but Sun and especially MySQL customers have to be really nervous. If I worked for Sun, I would be busy updating the resume tonight. One thing is for sure, Postgres is going to get a big boost.