LinkedIn for iPhone 3.0 is LIVE!

Just a quick note to say that the new version of LinkedIn for iPhone is now live in the iTunes App Store.

Download LinkedIn for iPhone

I wrote a fairly lengthy piece on the official LinkedIn blog, so no need to replicate the full walk-through here.  In any case, check out this new home screen:

This application represents a huge achievement for the team.  It’s really a complete redesign and re-architecture of the entire stack supporting the application, based on an end-to-end design that was driven by user feedback and business metrics.

Building iPhone apps is a wonderful throwback in some ways to the days of client software, except with the advantage of over a decade and a half of web-based architectures.  There is a richness to client applications that the web still doesn’t replicate, and a complexity and depth to their design that is often under-appreciated.

Of course, the team had fun too.  The “Themes” feature, for example, was never part of the original plan.  It was originally a last minute easter egg that we included for fun in internal testing.  It proved so popular, however, we felt like we had to include it for everyone.

There are hundreds of things I love about this new application.  Even the way it presents a user’s profile is thoughtful, as LinkedIn is designed to allow you to put your best foot forward as a professional:

Of course, I wouldn’t be a product manager if I didn’t also have hundreds of things I’d like to see improved in the application.  It has been fun to watch the Twitter stream all day, as the feedback has been mostly positive.  Still, while this application represents a big leap forward for LinkedIn on the iPhone, it’s really just a beginning.  What’s most exciting about the architecture of this application is that it will let us rapidly innovate and improve the mobile experience through 2010 and beyond.

So here’s a quick shout out to the team – thank you for the hard work and effort in 2009 to produce an iPhone app we can be proud of.   I couldn’t be more excited for 2010, as we change the way people think of mobile business applications.

Fishville Economics: Points, Experience & Levels Part 3

The traffic to my blog from my first two Fishville blog posts has been staggering. How can I resist? That’s right, it’s time for Yet Another Fishville Post (YAFP). Come on, you know you want to read more…

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 12.57.13 AM

I’ve been a little surprised to see how few accurate blog posts exist out on the web that break down the profit & experience for Fishville.  For reference you can still find my first two blogs posts here:

Fortunately, I have found at least one new useful resource:

I’m at Level 42 in Fishville, so I can get almost all of the data myself.  However, I’m still missing the data for the last two fish:

  • Blueline Trigger
  • Longhorn Clownfish

If you have the data on either of these two fish, please post here in the comments.

In the past few weeks, Zynga has rolled out a number of new fish.  I’ve updated my Google Doc with all the updated numbers.

The most interesting addition has been a series of fish that you can only purchase with Sand Dollars, which is the Fishville denomination for game money that you have to buy with real money.

This poses a dilemma for my calculations, since I base profitability on coins spent to coins earned.  As a result, I needed a conversion ratio from Sand Dollars to Coins.  Although you can’t buy Sand Dollars with Coins, you can buy both with real US dollars ($) from Zynga with a scaling price table:

Dollars Coins Sand Dollars Coins / $ SD / $ Coins / SD
5 7500 25 1500 5 300.00
10 15800 55 1580 5.5 287.27
20 33300 115 1665 5.75 289.57
40 70600 240 1765 6 294.17

Notice anything strange?

According to this table, the ratio of coins to sand dollars varies between 300 and 287, and in a non-linear fashion.  It’s as if Zynga didn’t compare the volume discount on coins to the volume discount to sand dollars when they generated these prices.

Since it’s non-linear, I decided to take the “average” ratio as my conversion.  So, for the purposes of this blog post, one sand dollar = 292.75 coins.

Using that ratio, I was able to regenerate my graphs.  Here is the graph showing profitability of each fish, per level.  All the assumptions from my second blog post still hold:

What you’ll notice is that some of the “sand dollar” fish are actually money losers for the first two levels.  That’s right, assuming my conversion ratio, you’d be better off just buying coins with your money, rather than buying sand dollars and then growing these fish!

Now, the updated experience points chart tells a different tale:

In this case, you can clearly see that the best fish for experience, excluding the “fast fish”, are the sand dollar fish.  As a result, it’s pretty clear that what you are buying with your sand dollars is a fast path to rise up levels.  If you’re willing to spend the money on Batfish, you’ll be able to climb those levels quickly, and with much less work than minding 5 minute fish…

You can reference the full data in my Google Doc.  Let me know if you see any issues with the calculations.

For reference, I’ll include the Level 1 tables here, just in case there are issues reading the now huge Google Doc.

Profit per Fish when you harvest at Level 1:

Fish Profit / L1 Minutes / L1 Profit / Minute
Sardine 7.00 3 2.33
Mini Dart Goby 11.00 5 2.20
Red Spot Cardinal 23.00 15 1.53
Klunzinger Wrasse 26.00 30 0.87
Bluedot Jawfish 115.00 180 0.64
Bartlett Anthias 21.00 45 0.47
Swissguard Basslet 20.00 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 34.00 120 0.28
Blue Green Chromis 46.00 180 0.26
Shy Hamlet 54.00 240 0.23
Longnose Hawkfish 78.00 360 0.22
Purple Firefish 580.75 2880 0.20
Percula Clownfish 81.00 480 0.17
Flame Angelfish 89.00 600 0.15
Blue Hippo Tang 124.00 1080 0.11
Longnose Butterfly 165.00 1440 0.11
Blue Mandarin 125.00 1200 0.10
Royal Dottyback 99.00 960 0.10
Hawaiian Hogfish 72.00 720 0.10
Golden Puffer 423.00 4320 0.10
Scooter Blenny 133.00 1440 0.09
Blue Damsel 195.00 2160 0.09
Blue Spot Grouper 253.00 2880 0.09
Parrotfish 76.50 1440 0.05
Moorish Idol 53.25 1080 0.05
Blackfoot Lionfish -67.50 1080 -0.06
Orbiculate Batfish -238.50 360 -0.66
Clown Triggerfish -149.75 180 -0.83

Experience per Fish when you harvest at Level 1:

Fish XP / Egg XP / L1 Minutes / L1 XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 2 8 5 1.60
Sardine 1 4 3 1.33
Red Spot Cardinal 4 16 15 1.07
Orbiculate Batfish 66 330 360 0.92
Blackfoot Lionfish 79 790 1080 0.73
Klunzinger Wrasse 5 20 30 0.67
Clown Triggerfish 23 115 180 0.64
Purple Firefish 181 1810 2880 0.63
Parrotfish 88 880 1440 0.61
Bartlett Anthias 4 20 45 0.44
Moorish Idol 47 470 1080 0.44
Bluedot Jawfish 13 65 180 0.36
Swissguard Basslet 4 20 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 8 40 120 0.33
Blue Green Chromis 12 60 180 0.33
Shy Hamlet 15 75 240 0.31
Longnose Hawkfish 22 110 360 0.31
Percula Clownfish 26 134 480 0.28
Flame Angelfish 16 160 600 0.27
Longnose Butterfly 35 350 1440 0.24
Blue Hippo Tang 26 260 1080 0.24
Hawaiian Hogfish 17 170 720 0.24
Royal Dottyback 22 220 960 0.23
Scooter Blenny 29 290 1440 0.20
Blue Damsel 39 390 2160 0.18
Blue Spot Grouper 45 450 2880 0.16
Blue Mandarin 30 130 1200 0.11
Golden Puffer 42 420 4320 0.10

Enjoy.  Happy Holidays.

LinkedIn Takes People Search to Eleven

I apologize for the reference to Spinal Tap, but this is my personal blog after all.

I normally don’t post most LinkedIn announcements here, but this one is too big to ignore.

On Monday, LinkedIn made faceted search available to all members.  This effort brought to fruition efforts that date back to 2007 to completely rearchitect and redesign the LinkedIn search experience based on the unique characteristics of people search.

Rather than try to describe the feature here, I’ll just point to the formal LinkedIn blog post by Esteban Kozak, and embed his great youtube video on the feature:

The news coverage has been flattering:

What’s most exciting to me, however, is that these are still very early days in the development of the LinkedIn search platform.  It took LinkedIn over five years to amass its first billion queries.  This year alone, LinkedIn will exceed that number by a wide margin.  People search requires unique investments in structured data, relationship information, search intelligence, and personalized relevance.  (If you’re curious, the Boolean Black Belt got a sneak peak at some upcoming features).

I just wanted to take a moment to say kudos to the entire search team for this tremendous achievement that cuts across all areas – product, design, research, web development, engineering, marketing & operations.

Twitter integration, Open developer program, Faceted Search.  What a great way to launch into the holidays.

Can’t wait for January 🙂

2009 Platinum Eagles Sell Out: Speculation or Investment?

This past week, the US Mint sold out of the one ounce 2009 Proof Platinum Eagle.  As no bullion coins or fractional sizes were minted this year, it was the only US Platinum coin produced in 2009.


Released at Noon Eastern on Thursday, December 3, 2009, the Platinum Eagles were limited to a mintage of only 8,000. Over 7,200 of those sold in the first few days, even with a household order limit of 5 pieces in place. The US Mint sold just 4,769 of the one ounce proof coins during all of last year.

Some had theorized that this year’s run would be challenged by the high price of the coin ($1792.00) and the relatively unpopular new design.  However, given the huge demand for precious metals this year for investment (gold, silver, platinum, palladium), it’s hard to be completely surprised that this coin sold out so quickly.

Nope.  2008 the US Mint only sold 4,769 coins.  This year, they sell out early at 8000 coins.

The case for buying platinum right now is fairly strong:

  • The relative price of platinum to gold is extremely low, given gold’s huge run up.  A few years ago, platinum cost over 3x an equivalent amount of gold.  At current prices, the two metals are approaching parity.
  • Simple investment vehicles in Platinum and Palladium, like ETFs, do exist (they trade in London), but don’t have popular US versions (yet), so investment demand remains weak compared to it’s ETF-rich brethren of gold (GLD) and silver (SLV).
  • The automotive industry, which is the largest consumer of platinum and palladium, is extremely depressed.  However, since the demand for fuel efficient cars is growing, the use of these metals in catalytic converters and fuel cells seems to forecast significant future demand when the industry recovers.

That being said, I was surprised when I searched eBay for completed listings for the 2009 Platinum Eagle.  Normally, when there is a sell out at the US Mint, you immediately see panic buying on eBay for huge premiums over the US Mint price.

Here is the query.  What you see is that, as of December 12, the prices range from $1727 to $2050, hardly a premium given the transaction costs of eBay / PayPal which can easily run 8-9%.

As a result, I have to wonder:

  • Was the sell out the product of true individual demand for the coin?  Or was this a case of coin dealers speculating on a sell out and premium collectible opportunity?

The problem with the Platinum Eagle series is that it’s unclear how many collectors actually try to build “the complete set” of these expensive coins.  Set building is typically the primary driver for premium values for the silver and gold eagle series.

I’ll be watching the completed auctions closely this coming week.  There are a couple sellers already experimenting with higher prices.  Let’s see if they stick.

Café World Economics: Real World Hourly Wages

I’ve been distracted by Fishville lately, but the Zynga team has been busy rolling out new dishes for Café World, so I thought it was time for a new post on Café World Economics.


This post is the third in the Café World Economics series:

But before I get to the new tables, I did some additional analysis based on my popular Farmville post, “The Personal Economics of Farmville“.  I’ve produced a table that ranks all the Café World dishes based on the equivalent US $ / hour wage you are valuing your real world time when you play the game.

In order to do this, I needed to find some additional data.  The first was an effective value of Café World coins.  To do this, I used the payment schedule that Zynga has in the game (as of 11/30/2009):

Café Coins Price ($) Coins / $
15280 $4.99 3062.12
45240 $9.99 4528.53
125280 $19.99 6267.13
333300 $49.99 6667.33
1000000 $149.99 6667.11

Note the wide disparity in values!  If you pay the bare minimum ($4.99), you are valuing Café World coins at 3062.12 per dollar.  But if you pay at the high end ($49.99), you get 6667.33 coins per dollar.

Since there is such a wide disparity of values, I decided to calculate both a high and a low estimate for my table.

The second new piece of data needed was the “time spent per dish“.  This is something that I left out of my initial calculations, but makes sense in this context.

Since all of my tables are “per dish per stove per day”, I estimated that you need to spend one (1) minute per cycle to clean the stove, buy the dish, and click through the 3 ingredients, and then get the finished dish.  This might be a tad high, but it’s in the right ballpark.

What this means is that a dish that takes 5 minutes to cook is now estimated to have a cycle time of 6 minutes, with 1 minute of “real world time” spent.  So, 1440 / 6 = 240, which means to cook a 5 minute dish all day you’d need to cook 240 cycles, which implies a sign up for 240 minutes of “real world time”.

This allowed me to do the simple algebra to weigh the profit per dish per day, in Café World coins, and then subtract the real world time, and figure out the effective “hourly wage” of each dish.

As it turns out, whether you use the high value or low value for coins, the sort order is the same.  Here are all Café World dishes, sorted by “hourly wage”:

Dish Hourly Wage (high) Hourly Wage (low)
Impossible Quiche $199.57 $91.66
Chicken Pot Pie $148.62 $68.26
King Crab Bisque $105.22 $48.33
Grand Tandoori Chicken $78.08 $35.86
Homestyle Pot Roast $77.10 $35.41
Herbed Halibut $74.16 $34.06
Delicious Chocolate Cake $67.31 $30.91
Overstuffed Peppers $58.49 $26.86
Savory Stuffed Turkey $56.53 $25.96
Crackling Peking Duck $52.61 $24.16
Spitfire Roasted Chicken $50.65 $23.26
Voodoo Chicken Salad $38.40 $17.64
Lavish Lamb Curry $34.98 $16.06
Vampire Staked Steak $33.21 $15.25
Tostada de Carne Asada $29.10 $13.36
Shu Mai Dumplings $26.55 $12.19
Triple Berry Cheesecake $24.20 $11.11
Kung Pao Stir Fry $19.30 $8.86
Spaghetti and Meatballs $17.83 $8.19
Tony’s Classic Pizza $17.34 $7.96
Pumpkin Pie $16.56 $7.60
Atomic Buffalo Wings $11.66 $5.35
Fiery Fish Tacos $9.60 $4.41
French Onion Soup $8.33 $3.82
Caramel Apples $3.82 $1.75
Buttermilk Pancakes $2.65 $1.21
Tikka Masala Kabobs $2.55 $1.17
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail $1.33 $0.61
Powdered French Toast $1.31 $0.60
Super Chunk Fruit Salad $0.98 $0.45
Chicken Gyro and Fries $0.55 $0.25
Bacon Cheeseburger $0.43 $0.20
Chips and Guacamole $0.22 $0.10

Now, these figures are a little misleading, because the dishes that result in high profit (like the Impossible Quiche) and that have long cycle times result in very low amounts of real world time. As a result, if you can make $2 in a minute, you effectively get $120/hour. Still, it makes a point. If you are trying to minimize time spent in Café World for maximum profit, this is a pretty good list to go by.

First thing you’ll notice, is that Chips & Guacamole may build your Café World coin stash, but they are not valuing your time very highly.  In fact, you have to get to Kung Pao Stir Fry to break above the living wage in California, at the low valuation for coins.

However, it also shows that the economics of these coin values are unsustainable. If Zynga allowed people to convert coins to US $ at these rates, then the value of opening up 50 Facebook accounts and cooking Impossible Quiche all day would beat most jobs.  ($200/hour = approx $400K per year!)

Just one of the interesting things you find when you crunch the numbers.

For those of you looking for updated tables with the new dishes, see below.

Café World dishes, sorted by profit per dish per day:

Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 5888.6 245.4 840.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 5420.0 225.8 360.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 5355.0 223.1 480.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 4760.0 198.3 180.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 4455.0 185.6 480.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 4320.0 180.0 45.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3985.0 166.0 1440.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Chicken Pot Pie 3792.5 158.0 2880.0
Herbed Halibut 3785.0 157.7 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 3580.0 149.2 1080.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 3147.3 131.1 1320.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 2730.0 113.8 480.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

Café World dishes, sorted by Café World points per dish per day:

Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 992.0 41.3 45.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 624.0 26.0 360.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 600.0 25.0 480.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 544.0 22.7 180.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 468.0 19.5 840.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 439.6 18.3 1320.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.0 16.8 1440.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 369.0 15.4 480.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Herbed Halibut 225.0 9.4 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 221.3 9.2 1080.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Chicken Pot Pie 153.5 6.4 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0


Update: I’ve now published updated information on Cafe World Economics.