What’s the Caramilk Secret?

Something that I find fascinating about the Web 2.0 landscape is the endless number of interesting – and, sadly, not so interesting – services/applications that are launched each and every day.

This online onslaught is a godsend for sites such as TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb that have an insatiable editorial appetite for new startups. But it can be overwhelming for people who are interested bystanders and who may sometimes jump into the fray when something looks particularly interesting.

One of the analogies that comes to mind is that all these new services are like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. There’s an awful lot of spaghetti being thrown so how do you explain how once in awhile some of it actually sticks?

Take FriendFeed for example. An interesting social aggregation tool that officially launched with some fanfare a couple of weeks ago, it now appears to have jumped to the next level with many influencers (aka popular bloggers) embracing it – much like they embraced Facebook and Twitter.

So, what’s FriendFeed’s secret? How did it pull off what thousands of other online services dream about? Is FriendFeed simply a solid service in the right place at the right time? Are its executives particularly tech savvy or connected enough to get key people to try FriendFeed? Did it hire a kick-ass PR firm?

Another thesis is FriendFeed was lucky to have found a real evangelist. Perhaps the key piece in this puzzle is Louis Gray, a blogger based in Silicon Valley, who quickly fell in love with FriendFeed, and created a hailstorm of attention yesterday with a post on how popular FriendFeed has become popular many “elite bloggers”.

While not to suggest Louis is the reason FriendFeed could become the next Twitter, his enthusiasm and stature as a tech blogger attracting more amount attention within the community – and on Techmeme (the community virtual “clubhouse”) – could have been the little shove that got FriendFeed over the ledge.

Maybe having a real-life user running around telling all of their friends about something new and wonderful they’ve discovered is the Caramilk Secret to successful in the competitive Web 2.0 world (especially if they live in Silicon Valley!)
Now, how do I get Louis Gray do the same thing for PlanetEye? :)

For more thoughts on FriendFeed’s new notoriety, check out The Last Podcast.

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  • Michael Cayley

    It’s the people Mark.

    All ex-google.

  • Juan

    As I was reading the FriendFeed saga trying to figure out what, if any, value it would give PlanetEye, I discovered that your post has made it into the TechMeme homepage. Awesome.

    To bring the discussion full circle, I think it is fair to give the people at FriendFeed some credit for their ability to launch a service that has immediate use to some, can create enough buzz to deserve the attention of many and still keep the platform simple enough that it can evolve in many different directions.

    In particular I was attracted to the potential that FriendFeed has to correlate your activities across the social-web and infer the big themes that you’re interested in. If you share a post in Google Reader, then twitter about it, share it in Ma.gnolia and digg it, chances are a common URL is used across all of them and tracking it may lead to uncover where there is lots of activity.

  • Jeremy Toeman

    all I’ll say is that the ratios of FriendFeeds and Twitters versus everything else is most definitely one in a few dozen to one in a few hundred…

  • Webomatica

    Louis has done a good job, but it’s not the whole story. IMHO friendfeed is a solid service, and delivers the goods beyond the hype. It’s the stickiest site I’ve tried since Twitter.

  • Mark Evans

    Webomatica: Clearly, there’s something solid there given how we live in a dine and dash kind of world when it comes to new online services. FriendFeed’s ability to rise above the noise, and capture peoples’ attention is fascinating when you try to break down its versus all the other wannabes out there.