Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wait Less

How to stop a baby's crying in 2 seconds? How to peel the shell of an egg in 2 seconds? How to parallel park in 2 seconds? These and many more here

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Can social networking sites make substantial amount of money through ads?

Facebook is dubbed as the next big thing in the IT industry. It is supposed to be on the verge of going public. There are many people moving to Facebook to make obscene amounts of money as and when it goes public. People who missed the previous bus (Google) want to get on board. Let us look at social networking sites in general and Facebook in particular (just coz it is dubbed as the next big thing).

It always intrigues me if social network sites can make money. If you see other ad companies, they bank on other things. Take Google Search for example. When Googling, people are looking for information and there are higher chances of they being interested in the relevant ads. Clear money.

On the other hand, on any social networking site, people go to socialize. Meet old friends, reunite with family members, keep track of what others are doing etc. So, they are definitely not looking for any serious information. I agree there are people who, on seeing ads, would go click and buy stuff (even if they are not looking for it) but how big is this number. Ads clearly do not suit these kind of sites. And, I don't find any other way by which they can make money.

When I mean money, I am not talking about money to break even. It seems Microsoft has valued a part of Facebook for a huge sum. And, extrapolating, Facebook is valued apparently at ~ 16 billion USD. Also, it doesn't bank on any strong technical finding. It just has a huge user base. But history has been showing - it might take long to divert the user base but it is very easy to do that.

Needless to say, it is the same with any social networking site. It is very very hard to make obscene amounts of money. The existence of more of these is just cutting the small cake into many more pieces. With this said, I open the discussion. People are welcome to discuss/argue on this.

Disclaimer: This is total speculation and as the blog title reads - Random Thoughts - it doesn't use any specific knowledge about any company internals. It is totally based on assorted discussions with friends - who again speculate.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Point & Shoot camera

Hi guys

I have been thinking of buying a point and shoot for a while now. Though it is not very slim, I liked this one - Canon PowerShot A720IS

Let me know if you have any extreme opinions/reviews for this camera.

Thanks a lot.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Are movie reviews true and reliable?

Are movie reviews true and reliable? In other words, is the current movie reviewing system correct?

My friends and I were contemplating going to this new movie - 'Iron Man'. I decide to go see how people have reviewed it on IMDB. It says 8.3/10.0. Sounds like a good movie, given the fact that the best review for any movie being 9.1 and only 73 movies having a better review than this.

I watched this other movie - 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' recently and didn't like it much. (I would have personally rated it at 6, my idea of a movie rated 1 would be 'The Golden Compass') I check the rating and the rating happens to be 8.0? Wait a minute. Isn't American Gangster also rated at 8.0? Ain't this strange? 'American Gangster' and 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' equally good???

Of course, I do understand that different people like different movies and the rating shown on any of the review sites is mostly an average opinion. Also, I have this feeling that people get this urge to vote only if they have some strong opinion about the movie, particularly when they have a strong positive opinion.

This skews the whole opinion and makes the whole review process pretty useless. So, can't we have a good review system which helps everyone.

When each voter votes for some movies, it is pretty possible that he is close to some other person's votes. Two people might have similar tastes, and one's review might make sense and be useful to the other. This correlation factor can be very easily computed and can be updated whenever someone adds a review.

After this, each user would see two kinds of reviews. One shows average review and the other weighted review based on his correlation factor. Wouldn't that be cool and so useful?

I don't understand why people do not have these kind of reviews.