A Company called Zynga

Here is one of the coolest companies making a buzz right now- it is called Zynga http://www.zynga.com/

They have built some of the top games on Facebook (including a game called Mafia Wars which is sadly so addictive it should be made).

Gaming communities and discussion boards including at www.travian.com are one of the hottest forums , with steady revenue generation models and quite a lot of nice math and statistics behind the wheels.

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(Psst- if you are present on Facebook please send me a Facebook invite at ajayohri@yahoo.com and we can play Mafia Wars too)

Saving the New York Times from itself

The iconic newspaper New York Times, flagpole for progressive, liberal and communist thinkers (depending on where you stand) is under attack again.

It is under attack from the stupidity of its old school old fashioned presses, who believe cutting thousands of trees every year to make loss making newspapers is better than just putting the News on a Kindle, on an iPhone, on an RSS feed. Apparently online advertising is a difficult topic for the Pulitzer prize winning newspaper to master which has Nobel writers in its hallowed mustachioed and sometimes dowdy columnists.

 

If the NYT just shut down its paper division and shift to a paperless world, it would save lots of money, and earn lot more money from the online world. They can ask their own technology columnists and strategists if this is possible- and ask Google for help. Google with its Al Gore links, environmental standing and hunger for more and better online advertising can definitely team up (but for those anti trust worries alas)

So here is a Facebook cause- Save the NYTimes.  You can join up here –

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/170855/8347178

It has 37 members already and I created it some time back in December 2008. If you love newspapers and want the NYT to shape up, then join up.

 

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An open source and better Search Engine

Search Engines are difficult subjects to talk about there are multiple experts and there are multiple vendors from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Cuil and there are newer innovations like Cosmix -Blended Search and there are Wiki Search (Including the Digg bar and same features introduced in Google now). Content itself has exploded from websites in 1999 to websites, blog posts, RSS feeds, tweets, Facebook profiles, online communities, voice, podcast and video. Quantitative measures to measure, index and rank the new types of content require that the algorithms behind search be made open source but with strict creative commons licensing and using third party developers to create search algorithm extensions.

This idea seems difficulty to implement but it has been there and done before. No one creates Palo Alto like research labs anymore- all scientist and researchers have to first sign away copy"catrights before beginning their research.

The year 2009 is different from the year 1999, and PageRank is no longer a maths based algol- it is a marketing brand. Time for the Stanford dropouts to go back to school and get some more math and some less marketing (and less pranks on Wolfram please) in their search engine. And Paul Allen who created the building in Stanford where the Google algol was first thought, he needs to spend some Bills and venture fund a new wave of innovation in search engines. Is this wishful thinking? Maybe. I just need a better search engine than Google right now.- Perhaps Herr Schmidt take some time from viewing mountains in Mountain View and measure customer satisfaction instead of just measuring market share in non competitive and likely to face anti trust scrutiny in US and Europe very soon. So better give some of the ranking algol features open so all websites implement the SEO tactics magically revealed and create a better world wide web- thus negating the information asymmetry in a closed source search engine.

An E Book Review

Here is a nice e book I got from my colleagues at The Customer Collective. I really really loved the friendly design making this a very easy e-book to read unlike other self help books. It has tips from 11 top sales experts in how to sell in that specific sector during a recession- and these are not essays but nice bullet point specific action items. Hat tip to the editor and the authors here.

You can download the ebook here

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Working Together -Yuuguu

Here is a nice software called Yuuguu. I really liked the software because it enables sharing of screens so we can have secure virtual meetings, it is quite light on processor and memory , and best of all it works across Ubuntu 64 bit, Windows XP, Mac OS .

So if you want to work on a project team that sit across the seven seas and the big pond, and you feel the best way is to talk through a demonstration rather than give  a documentation then Yuuguu is the right software for you. The worst part of this software — is probably the name. And yes it is free and has a paid version as well.

See www.Yuuguu.com

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KXEN and a Data Mining Survey

Recently KXEN, the data mining and modeling automation company which has also pioneered social network analytics software came in for a bit of customer love in a data mining survey.

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As per the site

KXENs next generation automated data mining software is a strategic solution for 90% of user organizations and has won their support and praise in a new customer satisfaction survey, the findings of which are revealed today.

Of almost 2,000 users polled 90% of those responding said the company’s advanced analytics software was strategic to their activity, 87% were highly or very highly satisfied and 85% agreed the software had met or exceeded all of their expectations. The results underscore KXEN’s growing importance in a market traditionally dominated by more costly, harder to use first generation offerings.

KXENs analytic software was also highly rated for its simple, clear interface with all respondents agreeing that KXEN solutions were easy to use, and 90% stating its new graphical front end had brought yet more usability benefits. Confirming these findings, users responding included sales, marketing and other line of business staff as well as specialist analysts, data miners, academics and statisticians.

Turning to the results of using KXENs software, 98% of all those responding stated it had improved their overall business with the same number agreeing it had speeded up their data modeling activities. 96% said KXEN had increased the value of predictive analytics in their companies.

Of course there are numerous surveys (including probably the best is from KD Nuggets) and I am trying to find the raw data and samples for this survey as I write. But it is a promising step up for a company I have admired since 2004, when I first tested it, and as late as last year I was building online models with it. Predictably Roger Hadaad whom we interviewed in January 2009 was all praise for his team and its splendid product. Well Done, guys take a bow- it is about time ! A great example of a company that builds innovative analytics quitely without getting into any tangles with open source or business intellgence sentiments.

Ajay- I am a consultant to KXEN for Social Networks Analysis.