February 15, 2008

Expanding and Explaining the Early Adopter Role

Over the last few days, I've been delighted to see some very positive comments tossed my way, discussing my recent focus on social feed aggregators, and shared link engines. I've been excited to see some of these new services be discovered and launched through louisgray.com, and it now seems the blog's turned the corner, if I were to rely on my e-mail box as an indicator.

A significant percentage of traffic to my personal e-mail now consists of would-be PR reps hoping I'll cover their story, small bloggers hoping I'll link their way and share their story with readers here, or notifications that I've gained new subscribers to my Twitter or FriendFeed accounts.

As the author of one stealth service wrote me the other day, "One thing I know for sure - if we get beat to market by a competitor, you will likely be the one to post that scoop! :)"

Another developer in quasi-stealth, writing on Thursday, seeing the early discussion we've had around AssetBar, ReadBurner and others, sent an e-mail, "It seems like you're fast becoming the blog expert on various types of content aggregation services."

That's quite a little niche. Don't you think?

I've talked a bit before about what I want to do with louisgray.com - share new and exciting services as they come to market, talk about how I'm contributing to or benefiting from technology, and continuing to offer a human face to the fast pace of Silicon Valley. That this is happening more and more is exciting and daunting. Now, it's no longer enough to tell you I upgraded the software in my Apple TV (which I did) or give you an update on my bowling scores from tonight (crappy and a little less crappy), or whether I think the Oakland A's Rich Harden has any merit in his case against their medical staff (he does). Now, I expect to share ideas with entrepreneurial spirits in the RSS and link aggregation space. Now, I am playing a more journalism-like role, seeking out interesting services that have been neglected. And it's a lot of fun - not that I'm without detractors.

On Wednesday, My B-List partner in crime, Steven Hodson, complained of "Aggregator Overload", saying "There comes a point when too much is really just too much." He said, like social networks, there are many players in the space, and he won't need to join every one, that it's already "a flooded field". While there's certainly some overlap between each of the services, in my opinion, they've all been noble in their goals, and each has something unique to share. I count myself as an avid user for just about all of them.

Part of being an early adopter and a champion for the entrepreneur means giving early versions of the software a little slack and seeing where developers want to take their service. If it's too much, then pick the ones you find useful and keep using those, while the more bleeding-edge folks will play the early adopter role and wait for you. The best services will still be there when you're ready. Hopefully, more of them will choose to start their lives here.

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