Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Tagged web

Reason no. 629 I love Amazon

“There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.”—Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of the Seattle-based Amazon.com, now going on seven consecutive years as my favorite website.

“Information discovery problem”? Give me a break.

Do you have a hard time finding information online?

I don’t. If anything, there’s too much information online.

Which is why I scratched my head this morning after reading what the founders of YouTube are remodeling. In short, they bought an old web linking website in hopes of turning it around.

“Twitter sees something like 200 million tweets a day, but I I can’t even read 1,000 a day,” complained YouTube’s Steve Chen. Seemingly in between bouts of “Mine! Mine! Mine!” he added, “There’s a waterfall of content that you’re missing out on [and] a lot of services trying to solve the information discovery problem, but no one has got it right yet.”

Information discovery problem?

Maybe a few thousand Silicon Valley nerds have that problem. But the vast majority of us have no problem finding information online.

As I’ve said before, “Whether online or off, the cream of life always rises to the top. The best status updates and news transcend the Internet.”

What more do you non-contributing zeros want?

See also: Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

My brother has built one of the nicest data centers in the world

fogo data center

It’s not the biggest data center. But in terms of technology — including containment, a bajillion security checks, monitoring, and backups of backups — it has to be within the top one percent in the nation, if not the world. And it was built in itty bitty Carrollton, the rural Georgian city I spent my formative years in.

Congratulations, Brooks and Clay! More photos here.

One year after canceling my data plan: 10 things I’ve learned

gp792536-00vliv01Update: As of 2013, data is now included with my cell phone plan. But thanks to my four year break from it, mobile data no longer interrupts my life like it use to. When used sparingly, it actually enhances it.  

A year ago this week, I canceled my data plan. The unexpected catalyst was an awesome trip to Montana. After being tied to my Blackberry for four years, here are 10 observations of “my rebirth” into mobile obscurity:

  1. My quality of life has improved while productivity has remained constant. By that I mean I get as much done as I did before, only now I enjoy a lot more personal time without work interfering. In many cases, that translates into greater productivity upon returning to work the next morning or after the weekend. Believe it or not.
  2. My relationship with my wife and children has improved. I recognize them more. I play with them more. With fewer alerts to interrupt us, it’s a lot more fun now.
  3. Email still waits for me on my computer. Continue reading…

Information overload? Get Smart Brief.

Screen shot smartbrief.com 2010

When I first discovered RSS, I went crazy. I subscribed to more than 400 feeds out one time. Ridiculous. And even though I’ve since reduced that number to a mere 40, I’m still inundated with repurposed, rehashed, and regurgitated information. Why can’t someone just point me to the good stuff?

Actually, someone can. At least as it pertains to business and technology headlines. They’re called Smart Brief. They claim to “read everything” so “you get what matters.” And after a week of subscribing to their various newsletters, I can honestly say they deliver on their promise.

As a result, I’ve unsubscribed to even more feeds. Now if only Smart Brief covered more consumer areas, I might be able to relegate my Google Reader to personal feeds only.

Is anyone overwhelmed by Google search results?

YouTube Preview ImageMicrosoft thinks so. And they’re newest commercial says so: “I can’t pick a restaurant in all these links,” an indecisive women using Google replies, when asked “What’s taking you so long?”

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve never felt overwhelmed by Google results. It’s not information overload if I find what I’m looking forward on the first results page, second at most. It’s almost as if Microsoft is confusing relevance with lack of choice.

I’m all for keeping Google on their toes through competition, but build a better mousetrap if you want to compete.

Get this! Firefox 3 is mucho fast

img4.jpg
I just upgraded from Firefox 2 to 3 on both my PowerBook and desktop PC. Man is it noticeably faster and less of a resource hog (like, my CPU fan no longer kicks into high gear when 10-15 tabs are open). Though some of my nifty extension are incompatible on launch day, those things usually get upgraded in a matter of days. Get this!

Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit—And You Should Too

harvardbusiness.com — “Zappos sells shoes —lots of them—over the Internet. After a week or so of employment with the company, it’s time for what Zappos calls “The Offer.” “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!”

It pays to be in it for the long haul…

Now with 100% more milkman

According to Wikipedia, milk was first delivered in bottles on January 11, 1878. As of April 14, 2008, it is still delivered to Wasatch Front doorsteps in plastic jugs.

Though Lindsey and I had heard and tried Winder Dairy in the past, we recently become customers in a cooperative with our downstairs neighbors, the Johnstuns. We pay about a dollar more per gallon than we would at retail. The milk (not to mention bread, cheese, and whatnot) is not only deliciously fresh, but it’s delivery method is loaded with history, something I’m convinced makes the cow extract taste even better.

To my surprise, milk is still delivered in isolated regions of the United States, but it’s seemingly a rare luxury for most. It’s amazing how long older technologies can endure, and with the quiet resurgence of web-to-order grocery delivery, the milkman may still have a future.

Fun Fact: I was in talks with Winder Dairy many years ago as a web consultant to redesign their website.