I recently launched a fashion blog, http://sociologyofstyle.com. We’re starting to see some good improvement in our search results position and therefore more organic search traffic.

The chart shows how we’re doing with ALL of the keywords we’ve been associated with. We’re doing even better with the specific keywords we’ve targeted.

We’ve managed to achieve a PageRank of 4 in the short 3 months we’ve been live, for what it’s worth. 

Evolution of Content Discovery Tools

In the beginning, there were a handful of sites where you would go to to seek information (CNN, ESPN, WeatherChannel etc.) As the amount of information grew, companies were developed to help categorize and sort information (Yahoo), then came search engines.

Today, we’ve had a massive shift in the way we consume content. We no longer have to pull or seek out content. The majority of content we consume now is pushed to us via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

As the number of friends and follows grow on the social platforms, the amount of information gushing through multiplies and we’ll need another tool to help sift through all that content.

Fitocracy Blog: Getting Fitocracy Back Online

Fitocracy Blog: Getting Fitocracy Back Online

Brian K Balfour: Achieving The Network Effect: Solving The Chicken Or The Egg

Brian K Balfour: Achieving The Network Effect: Solving The Chicken Or The Egg

The Naive Optimist: I'm tired of the opportunists and their hackathons

The Naive Optimist: I’m tired of the opportunists and their hackathons

Strong Opinions @marksbirch: Twitter Discovery Tab Fail

Strong Opinions @marksbirch: Twitter Discovery Tab Fail

Setting up your machine for Ruby on Rails development

So you want to learn how to be a programmer. And so you log onto CodeAcademy, crack open a book, or attend a Ruby On Rails class. What most courses fail to do is to help set up your computer for programming.

It’s one thing to write some code into a console and get a response. It’s another thing to view a live site in your browser.

I recently set up my MacBook Air for development. I configured my development environment for Ruby On Rails with PostgreSQL as the database and GIT as the version control.

1. Install Ruby on Rails and component parts.

The best resource was the book, Ruby on Rails Tutorial as it walks through the install steps.

Follow the instructions in Chapter 1 carefully and you should be all set on the Ruby on Rails part.

2. Host your Git repository

You can use GitHub to host your repository, but private projects are not free.

I’m using Dropbox to host my Git repository. I like the Dropbox solution because I can access the repository from any machine I have dropbox installed on without having to worry about any other outside providers.

Follow the instructions by Bradley White

3. Install PostgreSQL

I choose install PostgreSQL because I’m deploying to Heroku and want to develop against the same database that I would eventually deploy to.

Follow this screencast to install and setup.

That should be all. Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy coding.


Google is launching a new product to make it easy to run consumer survey-based research.  This short video explains the product concisely.

It’s now cheaper and faster than ever to test your startup ideas before you over-commit to a half-baked idea. 

For example, if you’re building a new music player to compete with the iPod, run a quick survey to figure out what brand of music players your target demographic already owns.  You don’t need too many participants to make statistically significant extrapolations, so you can get your answer for five bucks. 

I previously used Mechanical Turk to get this kind of instant feedback on theses I was forming (for example, I used MTurk in due diligence on a Smart TV platform), but I think going forward I’ll use this Google product instead.  My problem with MTurk is that I didn’t like the sample pool… i felt like all my answers were coming from random computer farms in third-world countries.

If you do use Google’s Consumer Survey product, let me know what you think.