someone send this thing some cuttles

Less then two weeks after championing cuttlefish as the new medium of Internet expression, Cute Overload has found the saddest cuttlefish ever.

This should be seen as a call to arms (all eight of them) -- send some cuttles, folks.

We're clearly not doing enough as a movement, so despite all the recent allegations of inappropriate Wiki-editing, I've gone ahead and updated the Cuttlefish Wikipedia entry.

Let us rally behind this sad, sad cephalopod and further the global pro-cuttlefish agenda.

UPDATE: Curses! Those Wikipedians work quickly. My addition was deleted within five hours on the preposterous grounds that it was "self-promotion." Pfft.

Let me assure you all that I am not, nor have I ever been, a cuttlefish.

*Tip of the hat to ikirigin for finding the above pic.

reddit: not a social bookmarking site

An email last week first reminded me of it and a blog entry from the weekend prompted me to finally write this entry. The earlier email was from a startup that isn't called Kirk about how we could discuss potential opportunities to work together. The sell included an offer to match real names with reddit user profiles to show what articles they've "bookmarked." This isn't the first time the site has been thought of this way, and it's a misconception we've been working on clearing up for a while.

We've struggled with how to describe reddit ever since we started it. Paul had suggested "a front page of the Web" and it was up to us to figure out what the hell it'd look like and how it'd work. was an interesting -- albeit minor -- part of the site's functionality. You could see the most popular links being bookmarked, a byproduct of the site's purpose of storing, sharing, and discovering bookmarks.

This is social bookmarking. Delicious got it right and a bunch of other sites with similarly bizarre names emulated it.

But reddit is about new and interesting content, not reference material. True, we added the ability for users to "save" links, but it's never been an important part of the site. Instead, we wanted fresh content -- any kind of online content -- to rise and fall on the front page. News, but not News.

The words "social bookmarking" may have bumbled out of our mouths here and there, but we tried to avoid it. The New York Times likes calling sites like ours "news aggregators," but that sounds a bit too mechanized; Techmeme is a splendid news aggregator, as is GoogleNews. But we heart our users (most of the time) -- they make reddit everything it is -- so it only seems fair that it's reflected in the description.

"Social news" didn't make sense to anyone back then. I'm not sure it does now, but people sure are using it a lot more. So I guess we're a social news website.

newsweek insults me

Flipping through an issue of Newsweek today (I'm OK with admitting that) I found a scathing article by Sarah Kliff entitled "[Facebook]... And Why I Hate It."

On the surface, it may not appear to be about me at all, but look a little closer and you'll find an unconscionable attack aimed squarely at me.

She didn't even wait until after the subtitle to launch her assault: "The site nurses my worst self-indulgent instincts. Does anyone really care that I love penguins?"

Kliff must have known that I was the creator of the "I Heart Penguins" facebook group.

I've cultivated a thoughtful community of unabashed penguin lovers who have bonded to proclaim their love for these adorable birds. We've even collected 12 penguin photos and started thoughtful discussions like "what's ur favourite penguin? why do u like penguins?"

And yet Kliff has the audacity to declare we might be missing something in the "real world" with all the time we waste on facebook.

She even dares to erect the straw man claiming we spend time "debating whether penguins or bagels are more respectable."

Debate? There is no debate -- unless perhaps Sarah would like to start an "I Heart Bagels" facebook group.

Bring it on, Sarah Kliff.

when bloggers rumble: reddit vs. digg

I was amused when I read this entry lambasting reddit, "Five reasons why I don't use reddit for social bookmarking." And not because I hoped he'd use -- after all, reddit isn't a social bookmarking site (but that's for another blog post). I enjoyed the nice photoshopping of our respective logos: +10 points for using the under appreciated dead alien logo.

Florchakh enumerated his 5 reasons and even aided the reader with the subtle visual cue of ALL CAPS. Spoiler: the 5 reasons are "reddit is UGLY, CONFUSING, SLOW, MESSED UP, and BORING."

Fair enough. I was a bit confused when I read "SLOW," as I know how adamant Steve has been about keeping the site snappy, but it turned out Florchakh was just having trouble getting caught up in our submission rate-limiter. Incidentally, it's something we use to keep down spammers.

As long as he still thinks the site loads quickly.

After digesting the feedback, I thought this was the last time I'd be seeing this entry, but I was wrong.

It turned out one of the reddit loyal, Jon Holato, decided to refute him. His entry, "Why Reddit Is Better Than Digg: My Reply To Florchakh’s Anti-Reddit Post", certainly has a catchy title. He even used one of my pieces of reddit propaganda: +11 points.

I'm not going to say which of these posts I agreed with, but Jon did use a nice analogy involving Google and Yahoo.

Anyway, before this escalates (when geeks fight, everyone looks like a loser -- trust me) I'd like to step in and offer each of you reddit shirts. If you'd like a shirt to wear (Jon) or burn (Florchakh) email me and I'll gladly mail one out to you.

Today is supposed to be a happy day, Chris is getting married, so hopefully this reddit-shirt-wrapped-olive-branch will be accepted and I can get back to liveblogging the wedding.

youtube gets reddit-style comments, but will discussions be any less inane?

The guys had been quite isolated while building our commenting system, so I didn't see it until shortly before it went online. During development, I just trusted Steve and his assurance that "it'll be cool."

The date was December 12, 2005 (I know this thanks to the above logo) and Steve and I hadn't given much thought to comments when we started reddit. In fact, I remember discussions sometimes ending with a concession that even if we did add them, the submissions were so ephemeral that no one would bother commenting. It's a good thing we added comments -- well, I feel that way most of the time.

Little did we know that this then novel method for voting up and down comments (and ranking entire threads based on things like hotness/newness/top-rated) would take off like it did. The idea of rating comments was nothing new (Slashdot is the first that comes to mind) but I certainly had never seen anything like the now ubiquitous up/down arrows (or thumbs up/down) unveiled that day.

It must have been quite validating for the guys to see this replicated in commenting systems across the web, and now YouTube has followed suit.
It's a good thing too, considering the level of discourse you normally find. But I wonder if it's going to make any difference...

Oh well, at least I can finally vote down those ALL CAPPS!!11 abominations.

learning from linkedin

According to a recent piece of LinkedIn mail:
Fact: Adding 5 connections makes you 3.7x more likely to receive a job offer
Oh boy! With odds like that, I'd be a fool not to make 5 more connections.

I'm going to start adding this signature to all of my outgoing mail:
Fact: Telling people about my blog ( makes you 3.8x more likely to get your startup acquired
Because 3.7x just wasn't good enough.

best usage of catbutt, ever

You don't find signs like this every day. It's a shame, life would be so much better if more companies incorporated catbutt into their logos. I wonder how the web 2.0 version of this logo would look...

If you look closely, you'll even see where they've painted over the work of some vandals presumably making the logo anatomically correct.

early results from the redditor survey

Only because this didn't do terribly well when it was submitted from our dev blog. Here it is again, with a different font! And to those of you who have already filled it out (and likely contributed the following answers) -- thanks. This thanks will also be extended to those of you who do the survey after reading the answers of your fellow redditors, even the one who said reddit jumped the shark during "Paul Graham's breakfast."

We've gotten back some of the early results from our survey (that's right, you too can tell us about yourself!)

We thought you'd be interested in seeing these...

Q3. When do you believe Reddit jumped the shark?
  • nyeh, i dont much worry about that.
  • not sure
  • Some time this year.
  • The day Digg started censoring users over the HD DVD key
  • stupid question. Why can't reddit just be evolving into a new paradigm?
  • Has it?
  • Jun-07
  • February 14th, 2007 at 11:14am
  • Uh, leading question? Not sure it has, just yet. I guess the overall quality of posts had declined since early '07.
  • the shark had it coming
  • ?
  • sharks? where? SHARKS??? SHAAAARRRKKKKSSS!!!! (chomp)
  • Lipstick
  • During the Digg AACS key riot, the tenor of the site changed noticably.
  • When it adds a section. Then it will have jumped the shark.
  • wtf does that mean?
  • No real specific time. It's slowly been getting more like digg (with spikes here and there) as the userbase grows without having the ability to section reddit off into groups of similarly interested people. We need the new version!
  • When Digg got caught censoring stories... well, probably a few months prior but that was when it became apparent.
  • When it was purchased by Wired
  • When it became an almost-entirely U.S.-politics-driven site. I'm very interested in politics, but very not-interested in re-re-re-re-re-posted variations of the same uni-dimensional political shrieking...
  • When Digg deleted all those HD-DVD keys
  • When the digg kids surged in.
  • Yesterday.
  • I don't know
  • it hasn't yet
  • When politics, America-sucks, and cops-suck took over the front page
  • I don't understand the question. Now?
  • It hasn't yet.... has it?
  • Never!!
  • when the digg users flooded in
  • what?
  • never
  • don't know what you mean
  • Paul Graham's breakfast.
  • Probably a while ago; i would have to say, unfortunately, as soon as it became popular. Funny how that works...
  • I'm not sure it has. But if I had to pick a time when it was closest, it was when I started getting 20 political articles out of 25 instead of the nice mix of several genres I used to get.
  • Never. Reddit is a great resource.
  • May 2007 -- When Digg users migrated en masse and the front page became extremely politics-centric.
  • It was gradual. For once, I think it's fair to blame Bush: the Impeachment Day (in February, I think) was awful, and reddit never got better.
  • Within the past six months.
  • When they went to the West Coast
  • If the "new" version never comes out, yes otherwise no.
  • the time i sat next to alexis at a dinner and he was a totally self-centered, sarcastic, holier-than-thou, oh-i-am-so-cool asshole.
  • Shark, what shark?
  • I don't think it has jumped the shark, maybe it happened before I joined. I mostly stick to programming.reddit, which for the most part seems to be great.
  • Ron Paul
  • I don't think Reddit has jumped the shark yet. Asking this question is proof of that. I still have faith.
  • There has been no shark jump yet.
  • I don't think it has yet.
  • Almost when there was the Digg fiasco over the magic DRM number, but seems to have recovered.
  • I'm new here. I like post-shark reddit :)
  • i think it never even reached the shark.
  • It never really got up on to its waterskis for me. Just... it never settled in to my routine of reading; I suppose that the crowded design and not-quite-close-enough-to-useful bubble-up meant it wasn't for me.
  • After all the political crap and pictures showed up.
  • Well, you guys are still doing alright, but the quality of the front page really took a dive starting somewhere around November last year I think. Probably can't be helped though. The masses like their lolcats.
  • I don't think it has, really.
  • While I don't know real numbers, would say after it was bought by CondeNasty. Just hold up a Wired from 2000 to one from today an you'll see what I mean. But I still tell people about Reddit everyday.
  • It didnt
  • Did it?
  • Reddit jumped the shark when subreddits moved everything except politics off the front page.
  • What a pointed question! Hard to quantify with a specific time frame, but the main page started sucking since at least a few months ago. Well, noticeably at least. There were always the lingering, repetitious LOLcats and their ilk, but eventually that's ALL that the main page was. So I jumped ship to The whole site hasn't "jumped the shark", just that the main page is rather uninteresting these days (blame it on the Digg users! Haha).
  • Hah. Funny that you just assume that your users are dissatisfied. It was a gradual thing, of course. I remember all these great articles that used to be on the top all-time. Stuff about the Socratic Method, why so many numbers begin with 1, extreme learning, etc. And Paul Graham's essays, although I guess that's mainly because he was writing a lot then. Now it's mainly political stuff, and since I've personally decided that reading about politics is a waste of time, I try to stay off the site. But I get bored a lot.
  • When Ron Paul became the ad hoc candidate of interest
  • What?
  • When DIDN'T it jump the shark? Reddit jumps the shark almost hourly.
  • I believe that reddit started taking a dive a month or two before the buyout announcement. I don't think this was the fault of Reddit, but instead, the influx of new users. The programming subreddit (the only one I read daily), is still fairly decent.
  • when you sold out
  • September 2006, give or take a few months. I still hope it will recover.
  • Last summer.
  • I don't have enough information to say.
  • 4-6 months ago, give or take.
  • Needed the money.
  • I don't think it did.
  • After Digg's HDDVD rebellion
  • When the digg users came.
  • 2005
  • Not yet

confused by inefficiency: better living through technology

I like technology. I'm not obsessed with it (read: I don't own an iPhone) but I'm interested in it.

I really like technology when it makes me more efficient -- or at least feel more efficient, which I perceive to be just as valuable (read: I'd have an iPhone if the keyboard could accommodate my ogre-thumbs).

Last week a couple friends came over for some beers and a few hours later we're thinking about seeing that new Bourne movie (SPOILER: Jason Bourne is the only man alive who could not only roundhouse kick Chuck Norris to death, but also cripple Jack Bauer with a paperclip -- all in way less time than 24 hours). We find a theater in Brooklyn with a late showing and head over.

Unfortunately, half the borough was also planning on seeing a movie that night, so we found ourselves standing in a massive line to speak with one of two very tired looking ticketsellers. I have to admit, I rather mindlessly stumbled into place when a buddy pointed to the nearby ticket machines.

Of course! There were no fewer than four machines going totally unused. As far as I know, they had the exact same tickets those humans were selling, only without the line. A few finger jabs and a minute later, we were in line for popcorn.

But the thought lingered: Why were we all standing there waiting?

I know it's not because the machines only accept credit cards. There's way too much credit card debt for that to be the reason. I know how much people dislike waiting in lines. Maybe it's masochism?

A fear of touchscreens? Sure a lot of other people have wiped their fingers on it, but this is Brooklyn, groping those steel handlebars, we ride the subway into the city every morning. People die on subways.

Perhaps we just distrust machines -- or we miss the human connection absent in our isolated and increasingly automated lives?

About a year ago, a tech reporter told us that, "I'm not a robot guy." And he's a tech reporter.

I guess he's not alone. Could that many people have seen I, Robot?

I think Skynet started with automated ticket machines. That's it.

There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Stop waiting in those lines people, use the machines. Before they start using us.

the 1/2/3 rule of powerpoint

With all this talk about YC presentations, the timing seemed right for me to unveil my new PowerPoint™ rule. Guy Kawasaki evangelized his 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint to great acclaim, I figured the same could work for me and my 1/2/3 Rule.

I've given this style of presentation quite a few times over the last year since I became slightly less insignificant. The trial run was at Startup School Stanford (here's the ppt); afterward, I got some encouraging feedback and a few invitations to do the schtick again. The idea was really just an extension of a BarCamp presentation we -- err, Pierre Francois and Ian Gilbert -- did last year. This was of course a blatant rip-off of Stephen Colbert's The Word, the 2.0 version.

I don't suffer from anything particularly bad (maybe the occasional allergies) and I rarely see pitches -- so I haven't got any form of Kawasaki's "Ménière’s of the VC community" -- but I really like pictures. This is aims to be a model for a more entertaining (I didn't say informative) style of presentation.

It's very simple really. A 1/2/3 presentation should have 1 focal point on each slide, each slide shouldn't take more than 2 seconds to comprehend, and the majority of the slides should be images from one of 3 categories: ironic pictures, funny photos, or cute animals (always a crowd-pleaser).*

This style of PowerPoint presentation requires a fuckload™ of slides, but they should almost all be pictures that you can advance through rather quickly. If it's gotta be text, it should be for an emoticon -- or maybe five words tops.

Our attention spans have evidently gotten even shorter since Kawasaki's decree.

Granted, getting the timing right on this takes some practice, but I think you'll find it to be well worth it. Hint: the "preview next slide" functionality in most presentation modes is a great cheat as long as you can furtively peek at it.

If you're still reading this, I'm sorry. But your curiosity has at least gotten you this far, so let me give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Here's a reenactment:

(Imagine a captivated audience and me standing behind a podium, broad-shouldered and visionary.)

"When Steve and I started reddit, we were just trying to build a site that wasn't annoying -- " (click)

"-- or tacky and trendy --" (click)

"-- Above all, we wanted reddit to be simple." (click) "Dead simple."

(Too easy, I know, but I couldn't help myself.)

Throw in a couple jokes about Java and you're golden. I've pretty much recycled this same presentation about five times now, adding and removing various slides depending on the audience, so please feel free to gank.

Even if you can only squeeze a couple LOLCATs into your next quarterly earnings presentation, I think you'll be quite pleased with the results.

*One of these days, I'm doing an all-LOLCAT presentation.