Timber Interview: Adam Nash

Of all the unexpected outcomes that have come out of my blogging experiment here on WordPress, one of the most surprising has been the amount of attention I received for a post on why I like investing in timber.

Why I love Timber as an Asset Class (November 10, 2006)

Since then, from time to time, the article has been referenced in investment blogs and journals.  For example, I am still getting hits to my blog based on the following article on Seeking Alpha:

Last year, I was flattered to see a quote of mine show up in Nuwire Investor:

What I didn’t realize at the time I wrote this blog post in January 2008 was that my entire interview was actually posted online.  That’s right. You can read the whole thing in all of its glory:

How embarrassing.  I remember doing this interview over the phone in March 2007 from a conference room from the Toys building at eBay.

Still, it’s a matter of public record now.  So enjoy, if you are curious.  I still do love timber as an asset class.

Once again, the web is safe for “adamnash”

Just in case you aren’t one of the 225 million Facebook users who received a notification, tonight at 12:01 AM EST (9:01 PM local time), Facebook decided to launch a massive “first-come, first serve” claim on usernames (or handles) on Facebook.

You might be wondering why this is big deal, since these have existed on every other site for years.

Well, the reason is because this is Facebook, and ironically because they waiting this long to launch handles, it’s now moved from part of the new-user experience to a huge virtual geek battle for your name.  (if you want yours, go to http://www.facebook.com/username)

I, of course, claimed “adamnash”.

Not very creative, I know.  When I chose my first username, freshman year at Stanford, I picked a nickname I had in high school.  (To this day, the wonders of the web have preserved old Usenet posting from under than handle… embarrassing.)  Thankfully, when you declare Computer Science as your major at Stanford, you get a virtual second chance – your Xenon address.

With a full name that fits in an old-style unix handle of 8 characters, it seemed too obvious.

I am adamnash.

These days, of course, you can find me at:

Brilliant from an SEO perspective, I guess.  Not that hot if I was looking for anonymity.

Now, I can safely say, Facebook is safe for “adamnash” as well:

I feel a little guilty for hogging all the virtual cyberspace for myself.  There are other Adam Nashes out there.  I think there are over 30 on LinkedIn alone.

But not that guilty.  I’ve been “adamnash” since 1992.  I’m not going to stop now.

Jordan: My First Twitter Baby

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (or who received an email), this blog post is about old news.  But I thought I’d share here, for posterity, the fact that last Wednesday, my wife & I were blessed with the birth of our third son, Jordan Gabriel.  He weighed 9 lbs. 1 oz., and was 21 inches long.


While we’re still adapting to life with three kids in the house, I thought I’d note the tech milestone as well.  When my first son was born, we had a birth blog to commemorate the event.  That was less than five years ago.  Clearly in just that short time we’ve moved on to newer modes of obsessive documentation.

I guess that answers the question on whether Twitter competes and/or substitutes for blogging.

In any case, welcome to the world Jordan.  Our first Twitter baby.  (In fact, one of my colleagues at LinkedIn was kind enough to reserve @jordannash for him…)

Jordan Tweet

Scot Wingo & Seeking Alpha: Traffic Drivers

It’s still fascinating to me how many insights I gain from the traffic to my own personal blog.

Today, I checked my stats briefly and noticed something really strange: my post about eBay Express, A Eulogy for eBay Express, had jumped with a vengence to the number one post on the blog.  My overall traffic spiked a bit too.  A little strange for a post that is over 6 months old.

Perusing my top referring sites, I saw one obvious culprit: eBay Strategies.  Scot Wingo has a new post up entitled Episode IV – How to fix eBay (you are here) – A NEW HOPE – Introducing eBay 2.0. It’s a long post, but there are a couple of paragraphs in it that point directly to my last eBay Express post:

You may recall an experiment eBay had called eBay Express where they tried to extend the brand with a different fixed-price site, but failed.  Ex-eBayer, Adam Nash had a great eulogy and behind-the-scenes view of what happened that I recommend everyone read to see his perspective.

I always likened eBay Express to diet donuts.  It just isn’t an extension and you are admitting that, well, if you have an eBay express, that makes eBay – what- eBay slow and poky?  There were other problems too that Adam details, like they didn’t send it any traffic and small things like that.  Also the way the inventory worked was all jacked-up, it was a sub-set of fixed-price items on eBay (what?!).  I’ve read all of Adams thoughts on eBay Express and chatted with him before on what eBay’s doing wrong/right and many of his ideas have found their way into eBay 2.0. (BTW, eBay needs to get this guy back.)

OK, it’s hard not to find that last line flattering.

Scot’s post is fairly long and detailed, and while I don’t agree with everything in the article, I did find all the talk of “New Coke” amusing in one sense.  You see, Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink had just been released when we kicked off the eBay Express concept efforts.  As a result, one of the specific guiding statements for the project was: “Don’t build New Coke.”  As I mentioned in my original post, one of our key goals for eBay Express was to NOT change the original eBay, but instead focus our efforts on a new site in order to protect what buyers & sellers loved about eBay.com.  Our analogy was, in fact, Diet Coke, which is not totally surprising given that I have an entire category for Diet Coke-related posts on this blog…

Still, the branding point around the name “eBay Express” is fair, and as I mentioned previously, branding was one of the obvious mistakes made in retrospect.

In any case, a little more snooping and I discovered that while eBay Strategies was the source of some of the new traffic, even more traffic was being sourced from the Seeking Alpha distribution of the article.  I’ve been an active reader of Seeking Alpha as an investment site for years, and I’ve noticed their recent push for sourcing content from any major blogger.  However, this is some real evidence that bloggers who leverage Seeking Alpha are likely seeing significant boosts in distribution.

I wonder if I have any posts that are Seeking Alpha worthy… I’ll have to think about experimenting with them at some point.  I’ve actually been cited in Seeking Alpha posts before, but typically with pointers to my articles on investing in Timber as an asset class

The Fifth Cylon as a Traffic Driver

I know I posted on this topic last week, but I thought I’d add an update after the big Battlestar Galactica debut this past Friday.  Interesting to see how frak parties everywhere translated into traffic.

So far, despite the debut on Friday, it looks like my traffic may have peaked yesterday, on Saturday.  5380 hits to the blog that day, with my most popular BSG posts taking the top 5 slots for article popularity.

Why?  Check out the top 10 referring searches from Google, Yahoo, etc:


Notice a pattern?  I’ve discovered that my blog post is the number one result in Google for the search “fifth cylon”.  At least, it is today.

Battlestar Galactica Hits My Blog Stats… Again

Can you tell that Battlestar Galactica starts its final season in just ten days?  You can if you look at my blog stats…

Blog Stats

Over 200 hits to the post “The Fifth & Last Cylon” yesterday alone.

I’m even getting referral links from O’Reilly!  Love it.

No matter how I try to diversify this blog, ever since my first Battlestar Galactica post in 2006 (which still gets comments regularly), I continue to get massive traffic at key points in each season.

The only thing I think will be greater than the excitement for the series finale is the empty realization afterward that there is, in fact, no more.

Now for the ultimate spoiler…

… I am the fifth cylon.

January 16th, 2009

Mom Gadget on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

Had to share this small gem of a find.  It’s not one of my normal RSS feeds, but my wife forwarded me this article from Mom Gadget:

Mom Gadget: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin – Double U – Tee – H

(Turns out, the reason she asked me to look at it was to translate the “Double U – Tee – H”.  I told her it was WTH or “What the Hell”.  There were several minutes of back and forth before she was convinced I was right.)

In any case, the article covers a basic cyber-mom question of what social networks she belongs to, and what each is for.  I thought the four snippets were great:

  • MySpace is a socializing website for teens, young adults, stars and music
  • Facebook is sort of the same only for young adults and tracking down your old school classmates and college friends without having to join Classmates.com for $29 plus a year.
  • Linkedin is for professional adults and for networking with people in business and sometimes it’s helped people land really awesome jobs.
  • Twitter – everyone is doing Twitter. Twitter is like text messaging meets the internet. It’s a way to text all your friends at once and have them text you back.

Of course, the primary theme of the article is one of social network fatigue. Apparently, this mom draws the line at these four.

Daily/Weekly use, in order of repeat visits (December 2008):

  • Google Reader
  • My Yahoo
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • WordPress.com (this blog)
  • Facebook
  • E*Trade
  • Mint.com

Twitter is the biggest surprise for me.  I’ve been playing with it for months, but I’ve noticed my activity has been increasing measurably.  This past month, I’ve been checking it multiple times per day (thanks to TwitterFon for the iPhone).  Mint.com also has spiked up now that it has iPhone integration.

How to Create Your Life Plan

Interesting timing on a post from Lifehacker today:

LifeHacker: How to Create Your Life Plan

The article points to a blog post by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.  The post from Michael is extremely detailed about the system he’s used for the past five years to guide his life (not just career, but life) on a quarterly basis with the help of his executive coach.

Here is the intro:

I have met very few people who have a plan for their lives. Most are passive spectators, watching their lives unfold a day at a time. They may plan their careers, the building of a new home, or even a vacation. But it never occurs to them to plan their life. As a result, many end up discouraged and disillusioned, wondering where they went wrong.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can live your life on purpose. It begins by creating a “Life Plan.” This won’t insulate you from life’s many adversities and unexpected twists and turns, but it will help you become an active participant in your life, intentionally shaping your own future.

I remember some of these exercises from the management and leadership curriculum in the IEEM (now MS&E) track at Stanford, but never with this much richness or detail.   It’s a fairly personal and exposed post in many ways – impressive in some regards to see this kind of transparency from an executive. I used to not have a plan about my life what so ever, I remember how I would always be regretting how I was not able to rent the beach house from twiddy how I always wanted, until I decided it was time to take control and suddenly everything changed.

On the surface, it feels a little strange to see this type of micro-management of your entire life.  Of course, I’m not sure it makes sense to expect your goals to be fulfilled without both a clear definition of your goals, and a strategy & execution to get there.  After all, it’s what I hold Product Managers accountable for, right?

Can you manage your life the way you manage a product?

Definitely worth a read and at least 15 minutes of consideration…

Adam Nash: Gentleman, Internet Tactician

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for that title. 🙂

My friend & resident blogger at LinkedIn, Mario Sundar, found this follow-up post to a comment I left on one of the “live-blog” write-ups on my Graphing Social Patterns East keynote yesterday.  In the write-up, Craig (the author) had left a slightly snarky response to an answer I had given during Q&A.  I posted a quick comment to help clarify the issue, and to express my honest thanks for the live-blog synopsis.  As you can tell from the title, Craig liked the response:

Worth noting here is how Adam–in a way befitting the professionally oriented nature of his enterprise–responded so perfectly to my intemperate post. He started with a compliment and shifted into a clarification that reframed [and corrected] what I’d written. He ended with another compliment.

This is a near-perfect display of best practices when responding to a negative post: Remain calm and respectful, do nothing to escalate a the exchange, clarify the point, keep it short. He comes off looking good, representing himself and his company very well.

I’m really glad Craig wrote this post, because it’s a topic I’m fairly passionate about.  (Plus, he gave me the title for this blog post.)  I honestly believe that the way employees behave and communicate with the outside world is part of the brand and part of the connection that a company has with it’s customers, followers, and even detractors.  More importantly, when you help participate and encourage friendly discussion, it helps you remember that we’re all just people – people with opinions, sure, but real human beings.

It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget sometimes when you get caught up in theoretical and emotional arguments in email, groups, and blogs.

The truth of the matter is, I was really grateful to all the people who captured content from the conference.  I’ll be posting a more official summary of the material tomorrow on the LinkedIn official blog.  For tonight, here are some snippets that might entertain my family & friends who read this one.

First, here are the three live-blogs of the keynote I gave, called “LinkedIn: The Business Social Network“:

The last one is where I left the original comment that Craig was responding to.

Here are some Flickr images, courtesy of James Duncan Davidson:

This is from the keynote in the morning.

These three were from a really fun panel called “The NEED for FEEDS” that we did in the afternoon.

Anyway, while it’s good to be home, I had a lot of fun participating in GSP East 2008, and I learned a lot from the conversations I had with different people there.  We’re in such early stages of people figuring out the social internet, it’s wonderful to be a part of it all.

And Craig, just in case you read this, you should know that our Director of Communications at LinkedIn thinks I should add your article (and title) to my LinkedIn profile permanently. 🙂   Hopefully, we’ll get to chat live in the future sometime.

Slowly But Surely… Resurrecting My Home Machine

Definitely not at full strength, but slowly resurrecting my home workstation from the catastrophic failure of my PowerMac G5 last Friday.

Tonight I got a brand new (OK, well, refurbished) 2.8Ghz 8-core Mac Pro from the Apple Store.  I managed to use Time Machine to resurrect the boot drive from my G5 onto it, which seems to have worked well so far.  I’m a little nervous though about how many PPC items might have been moved/executing as system extensions, etc, on the new Intel-based Mac Pro.

I also decided to go wireless with this machine on the Keyboard & Mouse.  The keyboard is fine, but the bluetooth mighty mouse is a little… off.  Not sure what it is, but I’m debating going back to my USB Logitech.

In any case, I likely won’t get a lot of blog posts in this week, but a few may crop up here and there.  I’m excited to put the new machine through its paces, but that’ll have to wait until I get my photo library back online, install Photoshop CS3, and start ripping movies again.  I hear that this machine can rip a 2-hour movie to MP4 in about 40 minutes, which would be approximately 10x faster than my old G5.

BTW Despite promises from the Apple Store on Saturday that they would run diagnostics and tell me the problem with my G5 by Monday, I had to call them today (Wednesday) just to find out that they still can’t get it to boot.  They think it is the power supply, which is good news because that means $300 could net me a machine that will sell for $1200.  If it’s the logic board, then I’m hosed, and I’ll likely sell the box, sans hard drives, on eBay for parts.

In any case, I’ll post at the end of this ordeal about the Mac Pro and the transition, and what is better/worse about the new setup.  I have to say, I haven’t been this excited since… I got the PowerMac G5 4 years ago.

Psychohistory Reaches 450 Posts

Just a quick milestone for this blog.  It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted any stats.  I don’t have the patience tonight to go into extreme detail, but here are some high level numbers for Psychohistory to date:

Blog Stats

  • Total Views: 272,308
  • Best Day Ever: 4,536 — Monday, March 26, 2007
  • Posts: 450
  • Comments: 1,312
  • Categories: 35

Here is a nice graph that shows page views, month by month, since I launched this new blog in August 2006:

The big spike in March 2007 was due to a flurry of interest in my Battlestar Galactica posts, which remain to this day the most popular posts on this blog.

Do You Hate My New Blog Header?

I was getting a lot of abuse at work today over the new image header for this blog.

Obviously, it’s just a quick Photoshop job over the Leopard background from Mac OS X 10.5.  But people seem to be completely against it.  Elliot has gone so far as to say he refuses to read my blog from the site anymore – just the My Yahoo reader – just to avoid the new header.

Thoughts?  I can replace it with a plain vanilla color header.