It has been less than a day but the new facebook interface already seems to have caused a pretty big stir. there is already an "official" facebook petition to get the feature removed (http://oxford.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2208288769) with over 8,000 people signed up already - there are several other spin off groups. i had a big debate with kul about this in the office today (if you're looking for a different point of view then take a look at his blog but i have to say i think that facebook has gone a step too far this time. i know facebook argue that the information is all available on facebook anyway i.e. they are not displaying any new info but just what is already there in a more efficient way. however i dont agree with that analysis - in my view there is an inbuilt barrier to entry in facebook. let's say that i want to find out about someone, i need to do some digging e.g. reading wall posts and seeing new photos. to me that is what facebook is all about, it's the ultimate procrastination tool because you can play detective and blissfully watch the hours roll by as you click all over the place. with the new interface however, as soon as you log on you instantly see a ton of information - which although useful info, is not something i think is best suited as being the first page you see when you log in. with facebook i think it is necessary to distinguish the dual roles that each user plays - that of the stalker and that of the user. as a stalker i love the new interface as it makes my stalking more efficient. from a user perspective though, i will certainly be a lot more cautious in my behaviour. if i change my relationship status to single i don't want all of my friends to see it! similarly if i happen to be incredibly bored and write on 10 walls in 5 minutes, i don't want my page displaying to the world just how sad i am! either way the one thing that can't be debated is facebook's willingness to innovate. ultimately if they decide they have gone too far this time around, they can just edit the service to give you better privacy control. i'm delighted that facebook never just sit on their huge market penetration and act all smug. they're an inspiration to young internet companies around the world.
I watched this show for the first time recently and i have to say i thought it was pathetic. why on earth should we be hyping a television show that actively seeks to discourage people from taking a risk and exploring new ideas. the dragons are deliberately rude and intimidating and even before the entrepreneur has opened their mouth, it is as though the dragons are already convinced the idea is a waste of their time. i think this represents a big problem with the mentality of the masses in general - they love to see people fail. look at all the shows on our televisions, the apprentice, the weakest link, dragons den, etc are all popular shows because it gives people the chance to see other people fail at something. especially with dragons den, it leaves people with this image of entrepreneurship as something to be laughed at or a hobby that needs to be supplemented by a "real" job. people will inevitably argue that the masses will always remain the masses and as long as there are people prepared to take a risk, then things will be fine. however i really disagree with this, i think the mentality is far more damaging to the economy than people are prepared to admit. any environment that seeks to foster enterprise must also encourage and admit failure. it is only through failure that people will gain any experience and build up that "trackrecord" everyone is so obsessed with. however how on earth can we foster such an environment when the general mentality still seeks failure as something to be laughed at? i truly believe that in order for the UK start-up scene to really explode, we need to take more of the masses and give them the support and encouragement to take a risk. i say this because i personally a couple of years ago would never have considered turning down a very well-paid job to run a web start up. it is only by giving it a go and seeing how much i enjoyed the start up dynamic that i decided to take a risk. but with every show of something like dragons den, another borderliner (like i was) goes to sleep dreaming of that lovely pay cheque waiting for them at the end of the month...
The past weekend has been very interesting, lost my phone on the train and was then called by t-mobile to be told someone had found it and would hand it in at their local police station. Called the station and no one has handed any phones in so I am now blackberry-less. I also terminated my ntl broadband package because they are useless and was about to switch to a new ISP only to be told that ntl were blocking the line. I called ntl and of course they claim they aren't doing anything. I love the uk broadband system. I'm now on a 56k dial up at home - fantastic since i'm running a web start up! Regardless of that i am still keeping spirits high and convincing myself that life is good. Spending all of the bank holiday weekend working might be a pain now but will all be worth it in the long run. Anyway now i am composed i can return to blogging about tech rather than my own self-pity!
I just read this pretty interesting article about ebay's declining popularity. I don't think eBay will be losing too much sleep just yet as i'm still sure they can afford pretty comfortable beds but it does make me wonder about online trading in general. I've been thinking for a while that auctioning is quite ineffective and lacks efficiency. will be interesting to see how this develops.