Brad Feld

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Sharing A Short Attention Span

Jan 18, 2008
Category Technology

Ok – I’m stretching for a clever title for this post.  Several weeks ago I saw two great technical posts from friends. 

The first is from Stan James – the founder of Lijit.  Stan was fiddling around with the idea of short URLs which have been made popular by TinyURL and recently amplified by Twitter.  This is the "short" problem – simply, how do you turn a long url like into something manageable like that is guaranteed to be unique for all cases.  Stan walks you through the code at Geekout: How To Make Short URL’sYes – it’s simple – and I’m surprised more web services aren’t doing something like this.

The second is from Nick Bradbury – the creator of FeedDemon.  Nick is an integral part of the NewsGator software brain trust and has been working hard on several things, including the attention algorithms being used in NewsGator’s products.  In response to the question "I’d be interested in more detail on how you compute the scores [which determine a feed’s attention]. Nothing that gives away your competitive edge of course but just some generalizations of what you are tracking that amounts to attention" Nick responded by posting the current version of his algorithm.  As with all powerful things, it’s simple. 

While I’ve always been a code nerd (even though I can’t program for shit anymore I can read and appreciate a handful of languages), I’ve loved the evolution of code sharing via tech blogging.  I’ve always found that the most confident software developers are willing to share snippets of their code that do important things, in the same ways that experienced entrepreneurs are willing to share ideas.  It’s not the snippet or the idea – it’s the implementation of the entire thing that really matters.