Social Web’s Big Question: Federate or Aggregate?

Inventor and tech-philosopher Dave Winer Twittered tonight that federation is the hot thing, pointing to a New York Times article about Facebook Connect. And just like that he touched upon the third rail of our increasingly social web. The big question facing the social web depends on the direction it needs to take. A sharp increase in the number of web services and social networks has many of us yearning for a single sign-on, which has lead to the idea of “federation.” On the flip side, we also want one place to manage our diverse web services in one place.

ITunes Adds FOX HD, Sells 200M TV Eps.

Apple announced today that it added straggler network FOX to its HD offerings, giving iTunes high-definition TV programming from all the major broadcast networks. Apple (s APPL) also announced that it has sold more than 200 million TV episodes, a million of which were HD shows downloaded since high-definition programming was added last month.
iTunes now holds more than 70 primetime comedies and dramas from the fall 2008 TV season, including The Office, Grey’s Anatomy and Bones. Standard definition versions of shows remain at $1.99 a pop, while HD versions are $2.99.
But hold on there, buster. Didn’t we just run a story this morning calling out Apple for it’s inability to push more product? Two hundred million downloads ain’t too shabby. True, that’s an impressive number, but if you scratch the surface (as our friend, and author of this morning’s ant-iTunes post, Robert Seidman pointed out) that’s the total number. ITunes has 30,000 TV episodes, which translates into an average of 6,666 downloads per episode sold. That ain’t much.
Granted, averages don’t always tell the whole story, and some episodes outsell others. But as you spread it out, that 200 million becomes less impressive. Additionally, we don’t know whether or not Apple is including the free TV episodes it offers in that 200 million, and if so, what percentage they make up.

Sonic.Net’s SF ComMuniFi Plan

[qi:045] Update: Dane Jasper of Sonic.Net left a comment saying that this is their own initiative and the equipment is coming from Meraki.

We’re doing this independently, using equipment from Meraki. Meraki and Google have an ad partnership, and any revenues that flow from that will be split with our customers.

Dane says that if the program works well in SF, then it would be expanded to other Bay Area regions where the ISP currently offers the service. (Original post below the fold.) Read More about Sonic.Net’s SF ComMuniFi Plan

How to Work the Room

So you’ve got your engineering degree, and your marquee MBA, and a business-plan. You’re on your way. But at some point you’re going to have to ‘grace’ your way through an important networking or social event. How you handle this matters–probably more than you care to admit.
Anyone who has attended a Silicon Valley networking event can attest to the fact that “Social Graces” often elude us founders. But if we were “hacking” or “grocking” our way to better methods of networking, the user manual would be 10 inches thick! There is such a thing as “Social-Business Protocol.” Not all of us in the startup universe are born with it, we can all _learn_ it. So, here are my *10 tips for founders en route to the power-party circuit.*

*1. Be more of a host and less of a guest.*
“Susan Roane”: and “Letitia Baldridge”: say there are two types of people at a party: hosts and guests. People like hosts more because they make introductions, and make people more comfortable. Guests tend to need attention and maintenance. Susan wrote the ageless book “How to Work a Room”: and Letitia wrote “Executive Manners”:

*2. Avoid permanently joining a “rock pile.”* A rock pile is a pack of people in a tight circle. It’s natural to huddle because it makes us feel safe, but it borders on anti-social.

*3. Dress for the party.* The more junior you are, the better you should dress. I always try to dress up because of my lower-than-average IQ. On the other hand, an advanced networking strategy is to show up severely under/over-dressed. If you’re caught off guard with an impromptu invite, execute under-dressed (aww shucks) “Mark Zuckerburg’s Adidas flip-flop routine”:

*4. Don’t “hotbox”.* Hotboxing is squaring the shoulders front and center to one person. In groups one person will often “hotbox” the target/VIP of the group. Hotboxing in a one-on-one conversation is OK, but it excludes others from joining.

*5. Put your coat and bag down.* Your coat is non-verbal communication that you: *a)* need a shield; *b)* just got there; *c)* don’t trust the host’s coat check; *d)* are not healthy enough to keep your body at 98.6; *e)* are imminently about to leave. Women can be forgiven for keeping a purse, but it’s a networking sin for a man to keep a ‘man-purse’ (i.e. backpack, tote- or laptop-bag).

*6. Mentor someone about your–or your company’s–core competence.* Since Duck9 educates college students about FICO scores and debt minimization, I have networking talking points on FICO scores and the urban legends that surround them. It transitions nicely from the what-do-you-do-for-work question. It also adds some substance to party conversations and clearly brands you as a person. I’m the duck dude, with the magnet for a card, that does credit education.

*7.Don’t forget to get mentored as well.* A great guy I know has one rule for social-professional success: *his party goal is to learn three new things at every event.* It is very effective. He tilts his head like my shih tzu and gets all sorts of credit for being a great listener.

*8. Be a good host while you’re someone else’s guest.* Say ‘Hi’ to wall flowers. I once saw a tier-1 celebrity work the fringe of the room. He must’ve said ‘Hi’ to 12 wallflowers. Actors don’t get paid
to act, they get paid to promote. As entrepreneurs, we better promote ourselves by being gracious to everyone. This means making introductions, too. Introduce a junior person to a senior person. Include one positive snipet about both as you do so: “Sarah, I’d like to introduce Hazel, she started Fashion4 and also leads the “Ladies Who Launch” here in Silicon Valley. Hazel, this is my friend Sarah whom I told you about from…” (“Letitia Baldridge”: has an entire chapter on this.)

*9. Managing the party host.* When you’re interacting with the host, ask simple questions requiring a ‘Yes/No’ response. I’ve heard disastrous questions in a vain attempt to out alpha-male the host. The best questions to ask of a host are upbeat, light and fluffy. If you want to be Mike Wallace/Chris Matthews with a hardball question, tread lightly. Also, help your host wiggle by wrangling them away from guests who are monopolizing or “hotboxing” them. They will thank you later.

*10. Always, always, always: Thank the host before you leave.*

These are some of the basics of good networking. One *bonus tip* for when you are havng a hard time at an event: play *’Convo Bingo’.* Make a list of ‘bingo’ words in your head and every time you hear a word on your list,cross it off. This will force you to listen intently and actively drive the conversation towards your “bingo words.” It also makes you a better audience to other guests. A sample bingo card is available “here”: