Monday, February 27, 2006

We're NOT BETTER than Flickr. We're JUST DIFFERENT. (AKA: Repost of Stuff I wrote on Scoble's Comment Box...)

Its 5:30AM, and I'm strangely still up, and hacking away... because : (1) for some reason i can't sleep, (2) i've still gotta finish packing for my trip to the bay area (btw, if anyone would like to connect, I'm thinking of setting up a small ad hoc geek dinner...), (3) i'm insane (as as a result also took the bait on one of the comments below). The good thing is that I get to sleep on the flight down to SFO. So I guess I'll make up for the sleep then. If i don't get to blog again, I look forward to seeing some of you at the IBD Network Under the Radar event!

Here's the comment thread form this kind posting from Robert Scoble's Blog:


  1. this is a killer app. Bubbleshare is kewl..!!

    Comment by /pd — February 26, 2006 @ 11:47 am | Edit This

  2. We’re not better than Flickr. I think Flickr rocks.

    We’re just different. I’d like to think we’re more like a “Flickr for Mums.” =)

    Comment by Albert Lai — February 26, 2006 @ 11:49 am | Edit This

  3. If you want to see the Children’s album directly, just go here:

    Comment by Albert Lai — February 26, 2006 @ 12:01 pm | Edit This

  4. but can’t you do the same with Microsoft Photo Story? Then you can upload it to Just playing devils advocate.

    Comment by Richard j Smith — February 26, 2006 @ 1:30 pm | Edit This

  5. Microsoft Photo Story is super cool (IMHO: if you can look pass some of the interface issues). But its gone tons of great little features, and yes, its also free. =)

    But then again:
    (1) you’d have to download photo story
    (2) install it
    (3) run it, learn the UI, render the .WMV, and then
    (4) find a way to host it, and then
    (5) notify your friends of it somehow, after you’ve hosted it somewhere

    Vs. BubbleShare:
    (0) no registration required

    (1) upload photos directly from the front page (and add voice captions directly via the web)

    (2) forward the link we sent into your email box to friends (taking advantage of course, your email address book)

    BTW: we also support multi-file batch uploads via Flash8 uploading for FireFox and Mac users, and ActiveX with Windows

    Comment by Albert Lai — February 26, 2006 @ 2:06 pm | Edit This

  6. Don’t forget though, that you can use rss enclosures and make it downloadable via a podcatcher and people can see it on their Pocket Pc or other portable device.

    Comment by Richard j Smith — February 26, 2006 @ 4:35 pm | Edit This

  7. What’s so cool about that? A sound on a page? But that doesn’t make an app a killer app. IMHO it’s really just a bubble…

    Comment by BigMac — February 27, 2006 @ 12:58 am | Edit This

  8. (yep, I’m too “passionate” for my own good i think…
    i’m taking gonna take the bait… ;)


    A laptop hard drive that stores and plays music, what’s so cool about that? (ipod)

    A website that allow you to buy music, what’s so cool about that? (itunes)

    A program that lets you use your computer like a telephone to talk to friends for free, whats so cool about that? (skype)

    Before the Ipod was the Nomad. Before iTunes there were napster/real/emusic, etc. Before Skype there was DialPad, etc. (I recognized there is a difference in tech between some of the examples)

    There’s no way I’m going to even PRETEND that BubbleShare is half as cool as those revolutionary technologies. But what I will say is that, what makes those innovations cool — and what makes BubbleShare, IMHO, “cool” — is..


    We didn’t set out to build BubbleShare to have the coolest technology around, and use every AJAX enabled special FX under the sun. It was about solving a problem. My mom and others like her had problems sharing photos with her family and friends. Existing solutions were confusing and frustrating for novices, with a variety of limitations due to a number of different reasons (business model, demographic/focus, etc.).

    BubbleShare is all about providing a great user experience for those that are frustrated or simply can’t fully grasp existing more complex solutions. First and foremost, we’re hoping that computer novices, a category that dominates the majority of the internet population, can use BubbleShare to create, personalize and share their stories & digital assets as transparently and easily as possible.

    FWIW, i dunno if we have a killer app (heck, I’d say we’re far from it… well, at least with what’s public today ;) .. but I’m happy to know that everyday we have folks telling us how much happier they are with the BubbleShare user experience than anything else they’ve used before.

    Comment by Albert Lai — February 27, 2006 @ 2:36 am | Edit This

Friday, February 24, 2006

Some quick pix of Stowe's meet up in Toronto

CLICK on the PHOTO to see in LARGE!

This album is powered by
BubbleShare - Add to my blog

Sorry about the crappy treo650 camera quality. =( If someone at Palm wants to send me at 700, please feel free. ;) Or umm.. the Nokia N90 would be nice too. =)

Energy & Vibe of Toronto & Back from YAM (Yet Another Meetup) - with Stowe & Reply to Rick Segal about TechCrunch5

In response to a posting from Rick Segal, I made the following comment which I'll repost here:

Mark, Rick, All,

Sounds like a killer party, wish I could have made it.

But check this out:

WITHOUT free beer.

WITHOUT being techcrunched.

WITHOUT 10x the tech dev population.

WITHOUT 100x the tech venture capital.

WITHOUT naked men running around. (okay, that one is out of place ;)

That are all representative of the bay area and the killer techcrunch (that I regret missing out on).

We had ~100 people show up to the DemoCamp 3.0, when we (me and David Crow) started/hosted 1.0 at the BubbleLabs (makers of, of course, ;) in December as a spin off of David's TorCamp we had 30 people. At 2.0 in Feb, we had ~60.

(in response to:) Sand Hill Slave: Unlike 1999, us poor Canadian software startups that host these "parties,” we don't offer crap -- except good company (in the form of demos from passionate developers and entrepreneurs). What is like 1999 though, is that there are a lot of people that are coming out of the woodwork and taking risk in doing innovative things and neat things -- some for the money, some for the vision/fun, some for both. (I like to think that I fall into the last camp/category :)

I just came back from an ad hoc meetup, having drinks and dinner with Stowe who was visiting, with Michael O'Connor Clarke playing host at a local downtown pub. With just 2 days notice, we had something like 20+ people show up. It was great. The energy in Toronto is almost comparable to the valley during my days there in 2000. Mike A./Slave/Scoble/whomever: if you're looking for pure developer-energy/passion, not just money (because that is one spot where Canada is still greatly lacking--sufficient, true, venture capital), outside of the Bay Area... Toronto is doing pretty well relative to its very very small tech pool.

The community events that are popping up, the camps/parties/whatever, are a nice sign of good moral and passion – a great leading indicator, IMHO, of risk taking and innovation. This in turn, and I would expect, to lead to great economic growth for the region.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

YouTube == Napster of the late 90s?

From Om:
It reminded me of my post from last month -
Google, You Tube and Dark Side of Online Video. I had raised concerns about this then, and only this past week, I saw that NBC was issuing a cease and desist to You Tube over a SNL clip. You Tube (and Google) can hide behind DMCA to some extent, but in the end as one commenter on my previous post had said - this is no different than Napster. Listings (and hosting) of other people’s content can and will always get you in trouble.

My 2 cents:

If anyone figures out what the biz model of YouTube is beyond monetizing traffic resulting from sharing copy written video content, please let me know. ;)

While I think micro-content in video format, copyright or not, are going to stay around... no matter if YouTube or its siblings get shut down. The more interesting thing I think will be a content discovery and delivery service.

Just as the ORIGNAL Napster, and iTunes helped me discovery new content -- cheaply and effecitvely (and in iTunes, a real way of monetizing it). The really compelling thing to a user will be having a system that can help me identify what I'd be interested in (i.e think Tivo), and deliver it to me (i.e. fireant, ipod, etc.)


So I've been to a bunch of founder/CEO type events.

One thing I've always felt that was lacking is something that was specific to the software startup industry... esp. in Toronto. Back in the day, when I was in the valley, there were always interesting events where I could bounce things off of software entreprenures. Heck, it seemed like all I had to do was show up at any random Starbucks in San Francisco, pick any random three people, and I could have an ad hoc advisory board meeting/focus group. ;)

But what occured to me today at DemoCamp 3.0 was that we could really use something like a cross between a CEO roundtable event that I'm a part of via ACETech (an organization of tech CEOs across Canada that was started out in BC - a little TOO big company/late-stage than I'd like), and the CEO Fusion Center (run by Cindy Gordon, a respected author and consultant in Toronto that runs a consulting pratice called Helix commerce -- CEO Fusion Center is not focused enough on software than I'd like).

Really, all I'd want to do is have a small meeting of like-minded early stage AND software focused founders/entreprenrues /executive-janitors that I could chat. In some cases, I could even see how I could lend some useful advice. More often than not, I think it would be a great way to vent and learn from others. Like I did today at my own little table the the after party at DemoCamp.

Heck, I'll kick it off and hosted it at my offices. I'll pick a date at a later time. There doesn't even need to be an agenda or anything. I've come to chat and get to know with some of one of the Nuvvo guys that are in a simlar stage to quite a few companies that I know, I've know Liela from Idee Inc. for a bit now, and Sutha from AmbientVector for quite sometime. There's some earlier stage guys as well, that have one to two people operations doing things for the first time that I'm sure would benefit somewhat from what we have to discuss and perhaps learn from some of our growing pains. But the idea is to keep the gathering light weight, free/low-cost, and open -- but still be exclusive enough so you don't have service providers showing up to try to pitch founders.

The focus of these "events" would be more about the BUSINESS of software, i.e. things like sales, strategy, financing, HR, etc.

Anyways, if anyone is interesting in helping out... or getting together at our offices for a pizza or something to chat and do an informal "FounderCamp" thing let me know.

As an side note, this is not meant as an altnerative to the idea of MoneyCamp, which is a pitching platform (and sorta a variation of HyperCamp) to get entreprenures and companies out in front of VCs (which I guess in itself is more of an alternative to something like the TAG -- Toronto Angel Group). But rather, its by software company founders, for software company founders.

I'll host something in March, I'll be up front, I'm not willing to do much work other than to provide a meeting spot and offer some drinks and/or food. This is meant to be superlight weight.

Just add a comment below if you are interested. If we get too many folks (I don't know what that number will be), we might have to cut it off or filter (and since its my party/experiment, and I'm footing the rent/drinks/snacks bill, I get to bias towards companies that are more like ours -- early stage, post-seed funding, product oriented, creative/innovative, etc.) ... I dunno, but feedback would be good.

DemoCamp 3.0

It past midnight, and I just got back from DemoCamp 3.0 after-party/dinner.

Actually, a big part of the night was spent in a car talking to David Crow for an hour in the freezing cold... hah! Why am I blogging past midnight? I dunno... just feeling the grove I guess.

When we first started DemoCamp 1.0, as a spin-off of TorCamp (which was of course a spin off of BarCamp, which is a sorta/kinda spinoff of FooCamp), we had 25-30 people show up and we have 4 fun demos.

DemoCamp 2.0 which happened within 2 months of 1.0, had something in the order of 60 people, now at 3.0 just within about a month of 2.0, we had upwards of what might have been 100 attendees!

The great thing about DemoCamp for me, is that its all volunteer run. David Crow has done a great job of getting things rolling, and keeping the grass roots "participants only"/community driven elements great.

Joey and Elliot at Tucows was kind enough to offered to host the event -- and was also quite surprised at the turn out it seems -- having had to change venues three times inside the office to accommodate so many people. If DemoCamp keeps growing, I'm not sure if we're going to find a viable venue. I also talked to someone and brainstormed about the idea of breaking things into two tracks. But then I thought, that would be a bit "heavy" and would start to resemble something more like TorCamp (2.0)

Anyways, its great to see so much vibrancy in the Toronto software developer community. Its been a long time since I've seen so many of us gather together. Having spent a good deal of time in the valley, I have noticed that there is still a real difference between what we see in Toronto/Canada and the Bay Area. The software developers in Toronto all seem to lack the level of marketing/market savyness that I see in valley based companies/ventures/projects.

I met and found a TON of interesting project in Toronto tonight, that I thought, if it were given just the slightest tweaks, and refinements -- and perhaps some strategic help and financing, they would be a magnitude more compelling as companies/ventures. I wonder if its a disconnect thing where the marketers aren't talking to the technology people, or if its because the developer folk in the Bay Area tend to be naturally trained or by osmosis, to be more market driven (vs. tech driven) and market savvy.

Maybe its just an illusion. Perhaps its just that the Bay Area has more critical mass, so there tends to be more success stories, or innovative market driven tech stories that come out from the area.

Anyhow, it was very refreshing to get this feeling of resurgence in new ideas and products that are coming on to the market. Perhaps the thing we need is to facilitate and help connect the more market savvy founders in the area to more tech savvy founders to help each other out. In fact, I think facilitated two transactions/introductions today that may have a positive impact for two different organizations just tonight. But perhaps we need more structures/focus events around this issue. I'll make another posting about a rough idea I've had in my next blog.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Daily Show on MySpace ad the Social Networking Thing...

Oh, this is too funny.

Great commentary on youth & social networking sites from the Daily Show.

Here's another interesting commentary: does google have permission to use ANY of these copywritten clips? =)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The State of Canadian Tech/Innovation Culture & Startups

Below is a a quick cross posting of a comment I left for Mark Evans on his blog entry on his write up about Alec's new company... for some reason on this Saturday afternoon, I just felt compelled to chime in with my 2 cents on the state of startup culture in Canada.

What’s truly weird for me is that I've come to realize that I've been in this industry (with 100% of the time being a "tech entrepreneur") for well over 10 years. Its a pretty startling thought for me for some reason. Perhaps I'm worried I'll be saddled with experience, and lose my creative edge and drive. Frankly, I'm not sure how much more creative or better I am with coming up with new ideas now than 10 years ago with a lot less experience (..but I'm pretty sure I am a few magnitudes better translating an idea into a viable business).

Hrmm.. or maybe its just mid-tech-life crisis coming on early for me. ;)

Anyhow, here's my 2 cents on startup-life / innovation-culture in Canada...

by Albert on Sat 11 Feb 2006 03:00 PM EST | Permanent Link

Your right, Alec is kickin' ass -- and I agree, even with the dramatically lowered cost of starting something up, we're still seeing little in the way of new innovative ventures in Canada that are pushing the edge. But I think this time around, we'll do a bit better -- access to global talent and capital is easier in this era than before IMHO, all we need is to have folks step it up. The culture IS slowly changing I think. Waterloo is still no Stanford when it comes to migrating top technical talent into REAL VENTURES (per capita) -- even as they produce some of the best technical minds in the world.

But my guess is that Canada is going to be a relatively more innovative in the next decade (2006-2016) than the last decade that I've experienced working here as being paid to "build things technology" (1996-2006).

And, as you may recall from April 2000 when I first showed up publicly on your editorial radar at the Globe, me and the team (made up of mostly serial tech entrepreneurs) at BubbleShare are not risk adverse and enjoy stirring stuff up. ;)

The most important thing we can do here is just lead by example and keep stirring things up to help cultivate a culture and awareness of entrepreneurialism. I think between guys like Alec on the startup side, Rick Segal on the funding side, and David with things like TorCamp on the grass roots developer side -- things will really start picking up over the next few years.

Friday, February 10, 2006

New Release on BubbleShare

Major release on BubbleShare today. Still a few bugs to iron out, but I hope to hear everyone's feedback. We took all the suggestions over the past few months and tried to take as much of it as possible and put it into our first major release since launch (well, officially, this is our "3rd release" in the past 3-4 months).

Hope some of you guys will like it... more details to come. Been pretty bad at this blogging thing. Just been crazy busy, and can't remember the last time I left the office before midnight. But all the hard work I from the team and the what I try to do for them seems to be paying off nicely in this new release!

Enjoy and let us know what you think (please email feedback (at) BubbleShare (dot) com).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Quoted quoting the real brains behind blogging on The Globe and Mail

I've been quoted in The Globe and Mail.

After working till 4:00AM on a Sunday, mostly to catch up with last week's work, I just don't think I can't think of a ton to add to the conversation that was started with that piece. I know I'm not alone burning the midnight oil as I'm sure many of my fellow entrepreneurs are doing the same, as its the weekend prior to the main event that is Demo 2006 (we didn't make the application deadline... sigh.) Then again being a bootstrap -- tens of thousands of dollars to demo at a conference is pretty steep -- esp. given our non existent marketing budge.

Here's a bit more I wish I could have added to the article: (1) blog early, blog often -- and (2) read the Cluetrain Manifesto. Much of what I was quoted on I can't take much credit for, much of what I said was figured out way before I had even heard of the "blog" word word by Doc, Chris, and David the real blogging gurus.

Coincidentally, I'm proud to say that I've met two of the authors (Doc and David) in person (both separately) and have spent a decent amount of time with each talking about what we've been up to at BS. I'm looking forward to reading more of what Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have written in their recent offering and see how they are "extending the conversation" around the evolving role of blogging and "peer-to-peer content creation."

Hopefully those that are using BubbleShare see what we're doing as a positive contributor to enabling regular people to become "peer-to-peer content creators." If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then our BubbleShare pictures with their associated audio and text captions should have contributed a few essays worth the googlesphear/blogosphear.