Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gigapixel-Dresden.de - Large Size Panoramas

This is pretty bad ass: 26,000 Mega Pixel Photo (largest photo in the world as of Dec/2009):

Gigapixel-Dresden.de - Large Size Panoramas

"Technical characteristics

The picture was made with the Canon 5D mark II and a 400mm-lens. It consists of 1.665 full format pictures with 21.4 megapixel, which was recorded by a photo-robot in 172 minutes. The converting of 102 GB raw data by a computer with a main memory cache of 48 GB and 16 processors took 94 hours. With a resolution of 297.500 x 87.500 pixel (26 gigapixel) the picture is the largest in the world. (stand December 2009)"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Make $1M on Apple App Store. Woop-Dee-Do.

So I was reading about this article on TechCrunch about how awesome this app was to make over a million dollars over 8 months.

Gut reaction was, wow, indie developer making real bank on the app store!

Then I put it into perspective: that's over 8 months, about $125k a month.  That's assuming that the $1M number if POST apple's 30% cut.

Lets forget that for a moment.  Lets say the app made a over $1M in one single month.


Now before you all start calling me a hater  -- I sincerely have crazy respect for the guys who built this awesome barcode scanning app (something I've always dreamt of wanting to have and even at one point contemplated building in the distant past). Lets put this in relative terms to the Facebook platform for indie developers:

I know for fact, indie developers that have made hundreds of thousands (to million+) a month, for many months, on Facebook.

If $100k-$300k a month is a big deal on the app store as a TOP paid app for multiple months is a big deal, with little in the way of recurring revenues off the one app is a fantastic success story:

Then I stand by my opinion that it still the economics still suck to build for the iPhone platform as compared to the Facebook platform, and perhaps this suckage is a good thing for apple for innovation as I've talked before in a prior posting.

That said, I suspect/hope things will change for the better on the iPhone platform.

Someone had to say it, but pound for pound, hour for hour, the pay off is still better for a developer to build FB apps than iPhone apps today.

As I said before, this is just another great data point for those that are evaluating between the two platforms to build for.

All that being said of course, if I had to build something -- I'd always build something that I'd find most interesting AND lucrative.  But never just one or the other -- as you'll never win if there isn't a good balance between the two.

Posted via email from Albert Lai's Quick Blog

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Does iPhone's Suckage Breed Better Apps?

...Or Put Another way Does Lower Virality on App Platforms Breed Better Apps?

Here are some great iPhone apps demo videos from a recent AppsFire contest at LeWeb.  In spite of the crappy economics of building iPhone apps, I seem to keep finding more creativity employed in iPhone apps than FB Apps (granted the iPhone has a camera and location and touch screen to play with over most FB apps).

I'm starting to think that its the reasons behind the poor economics on the iPhone platform (i.e. crappy distribution channels, low virality, no re-engagement channels, etc.) that are driving/forcing more diverity and creativity with iPhone Apps over Facebook Apps.

Because there are no easy viral channels on iPhone, from a economic perspective, building a derivative game/app on Facebook that copy an existing proven game mechanic (farming, fish tank, mob-combat, quizzes) and model that:

1) have of strong viral loop opportunities (quiz apps)
2) lends itself to well to driving its users towards monetization behaviors (in game survival and personalization purchasing motives)
3) have a low cost of replication (i.e. no complex 3D engines) 
4) lends itself to opportunities that enabled developers to differentiate though easy "re-theming"

Where as in the iPhone world, derivative works tend not to stand out, and relies on short bursts of exposure (and high churn) of the Apple App store via large amounts of downloads via burst promotions/marketing campaigns and strong word of mouth and reviews.

The rational developer is driven to build profitable, derivative viral games that can take advantage of a fast growing ecosystem of "fresh blood" that grows at 20-40M users a quarter on the FB platform, whereas on the slower growing iPhone platform, the rational developer is forced to differentiate itself much more so in order to gain distribution without the benefit of virality.

So the questions is: does virality + explosive platform growth breed highly profitable, derivative app development efforts, crowding out and driving out creative efforts?  And is the lack of better economics for iPhone developers actually providing Apple a better and more diverse app developer ecosystem?
Either way, at Kontagent, we are seeing that developers are becoming much more focused than before about micro-tuning their virality, and putting more efforts on A/B testing given the more limited viral events/messages/channels that are available to them. 

Posted via email from Albert Lai's Quick Blog

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

6 Must Read Start Up Blogs

Here's the list of my favorite startup resources and blogs... not entirely conclusive, but I've picked the ones that I think have the highest signal to noise ratio from a startup content only perspective.

Collections of Top Resources:

  • Noam Wasserman/Founder Research: http://www.founderresearch.blogspot.com/
    • HUGE Body of Reference on Founder Related Issues and Research from Noam Wasserman, Professor of Entrepreneurial Management at HBS
  • Nivi and Naval's VentureHacks - http://venturehacks.com/ 
    • HUGE Collection of Real World Advice from the Trenches by Naval Ravikant and Nivi
Fantastic Start Up Bloggers:

Posted via email from Albert Lai's Posterous Quick Blog

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Another example of why Paul Graham rocks in my books.

Paul Graham On Two Kinds of Programmers and Painters
...In the world of painting there are some people who are just fabulously talented at drawing. They can sit down, these are like the kids who could draw in high school age fifteen they can sit down with a pencil ... sit in front of you ... wow, it looks just like me. But then when you say to these guys, "ok, use this amazing skill to just produce anything, just put it on the wall it's going to look great and then they lose". And within programming there is this distinction too. There are some people who are really really good at implementing code like if you give them a spec for a programming language and man, they will just implement it; The hardest stuff as long as you tell them precisely what to do, they will just do it. But you say, "ok, make up a product, make up some kind of new product that people want", and they are just utterly lost. This is actually a big mistake that companies make. There's a lot of companies who think that the programmers are basically implementers, that products are supposed to be designed by product managers. They are supposed to be designing what the products do. And they make mockups or something like that and they hand it to the programmers and the programmers translate their ideas into code. Like this one way process, no loopback - that loses! The best programmers are the ones that combine in one head both the ability to translate ideas into code and having the ideas.  Just like the best artists have both the ability ... (have) a great hand. They can make their hand do what they want. But they also know what to tell it to do and actually between the two, I would take the Cézannes. Cézanne could not draw, he makes the same drawing mistakes that every one makes in introductory drawing classes. Occam's razor said he couldn't draw, not that he was trying to transcend three dimension ... But what he was good at was sort of the other half - deciding what to produce. He was terribly frustrated he was like this guy who had all kinds of ideas, but he couldn't articulate them with his hand. When you put the stuff on the wall in a room full of other paintings, it looks like there's a spotlight shining on his paintings and other ones have been sprayed with a light coating of mud. It's just amazing when you look at side by side paintings. So I will take the Cézannes actually and one interesting thing that has been happening is because programming languages have gotten so powerful you don't have to be that good an implementer to get something built.
Paul Graham in an interview with Russ Roberts (~45:30-48:25)

Posted via email from Albert Lai's Posterous Quick Blog

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Early Predictions for the Social Web in 2010-2011

2010/2011 Will Be the Year of...

  • The Social Web, Facebook will be a part of the fabric of the web (PC, mobile, xbox, PS3, iphone, etc.)
  • LAMP-"F" (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python, Facebook-connect)
  • Social Micro-Commerce: Facebook Connect + "Facebook Wallet" = Web Micro-Transactions at last (for light weight web content/services etc.)
  • First pure social game company to IPO (zynga) and people will finally realize that it is the most successful internet company in a first two/three year time window in every financial (revenues, profits) and reach metric (users)
  • Brands will start to clue into the power of viral marketing in the age of the "social web"
  • "Data Driven Design" and "Viral Engineering" will be memes used in the real world (and powered by Kontagent ;)

Posted via email from Albert Lai's Posterous Quick Blog