Heading to Sydney for Web Directions South & OZ IA Summit

Tonight Jon and I are catching a flight to Sydney for Web Directions South. I am doing the keynote for the conference, speaking about “The perils of popularity“. This talk is a riff on social design, popularity driven navigation of the web and the tussle between hit-culture and democratic participation on the web. Jon will be talking about Flash and AJAX and how to use them in a complementary fashion.

I am also talking at the OZ IA Summit this weekend about the lessons learned from the design of SlideShare.

If you are a reader of this blog in Sydney and want to say hi, drop me a line. Or if you are going to be at either of the two conferences, then come by and say Hi.


I like to understand people. I like to create things. I love working in a startup. I did a PhD, then got bored with working in the lab and moved to creating software. I live in San Francisco with my husband. We go hiking, watch too many movies, and don’t listen to enough music. I am originally from India and think of both San Francisco and Delhi as home. I want to travel to South America next.

I hate writing in the third person, but am not above doing it when needed. If I am speaking at your conference, grab bios and pics from here.

Short bio

Rashmi Sinha is a designer and entrepreneur. She is confounder & CEO for SlideShare, the best place to share your presentations on the web.

Rashmi believes that good software comes from a true collaboration between developers and designers. Her background is social software & interface design. She did a Phd from Brown University and researched search engines & recommender systems at UC Berkeley. Deciding that she wanted to build products, she cofounded Uzanto which did design consulting during the day and built MindCanvas (online games meet online surveys) at night! Her appetite for products was whetted and SlideShare is her next venture.

Rashmi blogs about the social web at http://www.rashmisinha.com. She speaks frequently at conferences like FOWA, SXSW & WebVisions. For her next career, she wants to write a book about strange things people do on social websites.

Longer bio
Rashmi Sinha is a designer, researcher and entrepreneur. Rashmi has a PhD in Cognitive NeuroPsychology from Brown University in 1998. After moving to UC Berkeley for a PostDoc, she fell in love with the web, and realized that many issues that web technologists think about are problems of human psychology. She worked on search interfaces & recommender systems but Information School. Deciding that she enjoyed practical problems more, she co-founded Uzanto, a user experience consulting company and worked on projects for companies like eBay, Blue Shield, AAA etc. Her first foray into products was with MindCanvas (a game-like software for customer research) released in November 2005.

Rashmi writes about social software and entrepreneurship at her blog – http://www.rashmisinha.com. She is involved in the HCI community, was one of the founding members of the Information Architecture Society, and co-chairs the monthly BayCHI talk series.

At SlideShare, she focuses on design, community and business. If you really want her attention, then post a comment on her slidespace!



pic for conference bio

Getting metrics right for social media sites: how to count the embeds?

Typically web analytics has dealt with metrics like page views, unique visitors etc. For the new generation of social sites, e.g., video, slideshow sites, this is not enough. There are videos embedded all over the web. How do you count those? This article about comscore metrics describes how analytics companies are starting to take embed views into account. It describes the ratio of embeds to views on the site itself and how it is very different for different video sites (1.52 for YouTube, compared to 4.92 for Revver).

This embed metrics issue operates somewhat differently for videos than for slideshows.

On the site itself, everyone counts the number of times the video or slideshow page is viewed. The question is how to count the views on an external site. You could count every time the page with the video embed is loaded, but that going to lead to inflated numbers. The second option is to count every time the video is played. That seems more reasonable. But its still going to be an overestimation if the video is set to autoplay. So seems like for video, its hard to avoid the inflation due to autoplay.

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Guy Kawasaki, Hal Varian and Ross Mayfield are SlideShare advisors

All of them have been informally advising us for a while and I am thrilled that they are joining our board of advisors.

Jon and I met Ross at one the early BarCamps and find him a great mix of a pragmatic entrepreneur and deep thinker. He has been involved with us from before the launch (in fact, he was one of the first people we showed SlideShare to. He got the concept immediately). His advise has been invaluable.

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Thoughts about the Web 2.0 expo and some presentation slides

I was there yesterday. Gave a talk at the Web 2.0 open and spent the rest of the day listening to talks, catching up with friends. The talk that I enjoyed the most was David Hornik’s presentation: What I Learned from Syphilis: Epidemiology & Viral Marketing. The talk was about how to apply lessons from successful viruses to web apps. David is an engaging speaker and his approach made you think about the problem of virality of web apps from a different angle.

Some of the presentations (listed below) are starting to show up on SlideShare as part of the SlideShare Web 2.0 group. The ones that I see so far are
Thomas Vanderwal: Tagging that works
Kellan: Casual Privacy
Steve Souders and Tenni Theurer: High Performance Web sites
Andre Charland: Web usability for the rest of us

Thomas Howe: Writing voice mashups with Amazon Turks
and my own of course

Please add yours if you did upload to SlideShare (or anywhere else for that matter).

The Indian startup scene gets interesting: follow it with Webyantra

7_06_facets.jpgI have been meaning to write about this for a while. Amit, who heads the Uzanto team in India started a new blog on the Indian web products scene called Webyantra (the word Yantra literally means an instrument of means. From wikipedia: “The yantra is like a microcosmic picture of the macrocosm. It is a focusing point and an outer and inner doorway”). This blog has changed my view of the Indian startup scene. If you follow newspapers, magazines about the tech scene in India, or even some of the big blogs like Om Malik or Content Sutra who write about India, you will hear about what the big service companies (Infosys, Satyam) are doing. You will also hear about the wheelings and dealings of the broadband, or mobile market. What you will not about is the small startups, the new tech entrepreneurs, the people starting new web services for the Indian market, or the two person teams starting up in their living rooms (the whole garage thing is less common in India).

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Speaking at the Webvisions conference about “Designing for Social Sharing”

Heading to Portland tomorrow to give a talk at Webvisions. I really like Portland and have been saving up my book buying for a trip to Powells. I will be giving a talk on Social Sharing. Its about social media, emergent information architecture, networks, wisdom of crowds and tagging. Its inspired by some work that we have done with web video and other media sharing recently. Below is the abstract. I will “share” the slides for the talk after the event (I always work on my slides till the last moment!).

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Follow CHI 2006 through theotherchiblog.com

A few of us felt that CHI needed an unofficial blog. The official one does a great job of being the “official” voice. But we wanted something that we could have fun with – post things that were not very official. The blog is mostly an aggregator – aggregating conversation, pictures etc. But a few of us are posting. Go check it out. Its just for the conference, so a few days after CHI, we will kill the blog off!

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Announcing DCamp an unconference focused on design & user experience

I am excited to announce that DCamp the first BarCamp type ad-hoc, unconference focused on design & user experience will be held in Palo Alto, on May 12th & 13th.

From the time I attended the first BarCamp, I have wanted to go to one that focused on design issues. Several others at BayCHI shared the enthusiasm. Chris Messinahelped us think through our ideas and we got the ball rolling. Others joined in – now we have a date, location, a wiki and a mailing list. Add yourself to the wiki if you would like to attend, help sponsor, or organize the event.

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