Daniel Rhodes

in perpetual search of product-market fit.

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Facebook and Search

It’s unlikely in the near term that Facebook would seek to challenge Google directly in web search.

This assessment is accurate. Facebook would not have a competitive advantage by doing web search. In fact, searching the web and sending people away from Facebook is the antithesis of what they are all about. Instead, there are many opportunities for searching within its walls and thus making it easier for people to stay within Facebook or Facebook powered sites, which is exactly what they are working on.

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Fiction, Feedback Loops, and Mirror Neurons

From Annie Paul in The New York Times:

[Fiction] is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.

Much work has been done in the past 20 years on mirror neurons and how they inform our social behavior in almost every conceivable way. It is even possible that certain substances trick mirror neurons into becoming more sensitive and therefore make them more addictive. Operant conditioning is another area, possibly linked to mirror neurons, where behavior is learned.

As somebody who works on developing social products, I often think about feedback loops and how they engage people. What makes an app addictive? What makes...

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Don’t be Google

At some point in the recent past, the Mountain View brass realized that owning the Web is not enough to survive. It makes sense—people are increasingly using non Web-based avenues to access the Internet, and Google would be remiss to not make a play for that business. The problem is that in branching out, Google has also abandoned its core principles and values.

I think this sums up the bizarre behavior coming out of Google in the past few years. Such behavior is consistent with other industries where the barriers to entry are high and the result is that companies must act with a heavy hand against other companies in order to stay afloat, leaving their customers to suffer by the wayside. Viacom, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast come to mind.

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The Limits of Human Vision

With the iPad 3 and it’s new retina display, one has to ask when what we see on screen will be imperceptibly different to the world around us. It turns out there is quite a ways to go.

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Sounds of Space

An amazing video taken from launch to landing of the Space Shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. What is most striking, however, is the sound.

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Signing on to Apple

In the latest update for Apple TV, Netflix introduced a way to sign up using just your Apple ID. This could be a very important experiment because it indicates that Apple is interested in offering single sign-on to other developers as well. In fact, Apple is already offering a primitive form of single sign-on to games who integrate Game Center.

If this functionality were offered to all developers on a wider basis, it would be the ultimate lock-in tool for the platform as users realize they can’t easily port over to other platforms.

I would be surprised if Google is not thinking about this same thing on Android in connection with Google Plus, especially given that Facebook is almost certainly going to be launching their phone with this functionality baked in later this year.

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The Most Astounding Fact

It’s hard to be self-centered after watching something like this.

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