Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mr Anderson

No, not the dude from the Matrix. But Chris Anderson of longtail fame was at amazon today to promote his new book. I took away some good nuggets, even though I used to follow his blog quite regularly.

  • The long tail arises from
    1. variety
    2. inequality
    3. network effect

  • When plotted on a log-log scale, the long tail is a straight line. Most sales numbers drop off from this line because of limits of
    1. findability
    2. inventory

  • We can exploit the long tail by
    1. democratising production
    2. making distribution more efficient
    3. improving findability

  • Not everyone does everything for money:
    1. We are entering a "reputation economy" (people blog or write books for reputation, not money)
    2. Our talents are more varied than our job functions (I love this one!).
    Both of these point towards the rise of the amateur professional (the expert who doesn't do it for money)

  • Don't confuse limited distribution with shared taste (i.e. boxoffice hits happen because the supply of movies is limited by distribution, not because everyone necessarily loves those movies)

  • Everyone deviates from the 'mainstream' somewhere

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Distributed Systems Engineering

So as I've mentioned tangentially before, I work on building large scale distributed systems at

These are systems that power not only all of our retails websites (.com plus the various international sites), but also our affiliate sites (like and all of the cool webservices (like the Simple Storage Service, Mechanical Turk, and ECS).

Now you can finally learn more about what we do by checking out the Distributed Systems Engineering site. This is a pseudo-official site that we wanted to put up to let people know what we work on. If you have comments about the site, feel free to post them here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

radio debut

We have a radio debut in the family! Listen here

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

google spreadsheet.

Google's much anticipated entry into the office-tools market has begun. They beta launched Google Spreadsheet. Wow.