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Aug 15

Grading Spokeo – 50%

by Ray • August 15, 2007

The Spokeo Perspective

Ten rules is a wonderful post for startups written by a great web entrepreneur. I’ve read it many times and even taped it to my wall, but I am still not happy with our performance on several rules. I only present the rules here. Please refer back to the original post for descriptions of each rule.

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1: Be Narrow
Fail.

Our main message is ‘Track Your Friends’ (which will be more apparent in future releases). At first, it seemed narrow enough, but now some questions need answers. Track all your friends and grant continued account access to Spokeo? Track only your public friends?

As a startup, we also can’t support every service under the sun. Track friends across the major social networks? Track friends across every [blog or photo or video or music] network in [some category]?

2: Be Different
Pass.

Oh, yes. Very different. Makes life difficult at first.

3: Be Casual
Pass.

4: Be Picky
Pass.

We have increased our pickiness across the board.

Pickiness is a lesson that cannot be learned in a general sense. Trained as engineers, we knew from the beginning how to be picky in engineering and technical recruiting. However, engineers are probably least picky when it comes to features and abiding by rule 1. Engineers tend to want to build a lot of stuff.

5: Be User-Centric
Pass.

We completely obsess over UI. In fact, our skin is getting optimized even further as I type.

6: Be Self-Centered
Pass.

We are finally all users of our own software. I, myself, didn’t find Spokeo attractive enough until a month ago. That was a big confidence booster for me.

7: Be Greedy
Not sure I agree with this rule.

8: Be Tiny
Pass.

Rule 4 enforces this rule.

9: Be Agile
Pass.

10: Be Balanced
Fail

Some of us are more balanced than others. I tend to have spurts where I live work, eat work, pester co-workers about work after work, and even dream work! They tend to happen when Spokeo enters a critical phase.

Overall Grade
We passed 7 rules, failed 2 rules, and punted on 1 rule. Normally that would be a 70%, but since rule 1 is so important, I give Spokeo a 50%.

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