19
Jul 10

Austin

At the beginning of 2005, I knew nothing about this city that I’ve come to love. That spring, Jenn was accepted into the Organizational Communication PhD program at UT and suddenly Austin was on the short list of places that we might make our home. We came to visit for a few days; it was warm (even in March), it was green, there was a river, there were hills, the people were friendly and there seemed to be a never-ending supply of bars and tex-mex. It was my first visit to Texas. We came back again for a weekend June. On that second visit to Texas, we bought a house. And so, five years ago this month, we moved to Austin from Raleigh, NC.

Jenn went to school and I worked remotely for a company in Raleigh. This was the first chapter. We made friends, we played kickball, we learned our way around. We got used to the heat (though the humidity wasn’t as bad as North Carolina despite what anyone said). This part was fun, but I never felt terribly connected to Austin. Most of our friends were here for grad school as well. They were from all over and knew they would be leaving in a few years. These are some of my dearest friends and will be so for the rest of my life, but we could all have met up anywhere. So that was not when I came to love Austin itself.

In 2008, I was feeling the itch to start a new company. This is the second chapter. That spring, we went to SXSW. In May, I quit my remote job in Raleigh and Jenn and I founded Appozite. I was a Ruby n00b but had decided that I would write our software in Ruby. I’ve never been much of a “user group” kind of person but I wanted to learn, so I went to an Austin on Rails meeting. I was in over my head during the presentations and I didn’t know anyone. Afterward though, Damon Clinkscales took the time to sit down with me over beers. He was genuinely interested in who I was and what I was doing. At that point, I realized there was something special here in the tech community Austin.

What followed has been the most fun, stressful and interesting two years of my life so far. And I owe most of that to the people here in Austin. Jenn and I went to all sorts of things: Refresh, tweetups, Bedouins, more SXSWs and on and on. I got to know other people struggling with the same challenges I was. I learned from those who had already been through it a few times, with their experience of both successes and failures. I felt what it was like to be part of a real community of people doing diverse things, learning from each other, sometimes competing with each other, and always supporting each other. I’ve made incredible friends in Austin over these last two years and met some incredible people who have advised us as we continue to build Appozite. This is when I learned to love the unique people and character of Austin.

The people are the reason it’s now so difficult to say goodbye. In a few weeks, Jenn and I will be moving to San Francisco to pursue our goals both personally and professionally. We have big ambitions for Appozite and our products and we believe that the Bay is the right place to realize those. More than that, we’ve always had a deep love of San Francisco; we spent our honeymoon there. We know that, for us, now is the time.

So, to all our friends in Austin and to so many of you who have supported us, thank you. You probably don’t realize the impact you’ve had on making us who we are today. We love this city and the people.

Goodbye, Austin.


08
Jan 09

Bringing RSS to e-Commerce: Announcing ZiteFeed

ZiteFeed - Feeds for e-commerceRSS and related syndication technologies (like Atom) have become just about ubiquitous online these days. We expect every self respecting blog and news site to show us that cute little orange broadcast logo when we visit that lets us know they’re interested in keeping us up to date with their latest information. Pretty much every social site offers the option to receive updates via RSS. In short, it’s a critical and widely-supported technology all over the web. In fact, RSS is becoming so well known that people aren’t even searching for it to find out what it means anymore.

There’s one place online though where the syndication revolution just hasn’t taken hold. Yet… That’s on e-commerce sites. Many times I’ve been on a site that had some products I wanted to keep an eye on but found there was no way to be notified when prices change, the store has a sale or new items come in. Instead I was stuck with two options:

  1. Sign up for an email newsletter that would land in my inbox who knows how many times and probably not contain anything I was interested in.
  2. Try to remember the site and visit it later.

Guess which one I usually chose? You guessed it, neither one! That’s not good for me and it’s not good for the retailer. I lose out on finding just what I’m looking for and the retailer loses an eventual sale. If I had the option of receiving unobtrusive relevant updates in my feed reader, I would happily have subscribed and probably returned to the store to buy something. Without that, I just forget it.

Well, at Appozite, we’re fixing this problem with today’s launch of ZiteFeed. ZiteFeed provides a simple way for any e-commerce site to turn routine product updates and promotions into RSS feeds. ZiteFeed hosts the feeds, provides easy-to-use embeddable widgets for feed subscriptions and gives site owners in-depth reporting so they can measure how their feeds are used. Just like any RSS feeds these can be added to feed readers, placed on personalized home pages and generally subscribed to in any software that understands RSS.

If you run an e-commerce site and you’re interested in adding ZiteFeed functionality to your site, let us know. And if you’re buying online from a store that doesn’t offer feeds, tell them they’re missing out and send them to ZiteFeed!


30
Jul 08

1, 2, 3… ZiteFight!

It’s been really quiet around here because I’ve been hard at work for Appozite these past few weeks. We’re very excited to announce the launch of our first app, ZiteFight. So what’s the deal with ZiteFight? Well, it’s the World Championship of Style. ZiteFight pits user-submitted photos against each other and lets the world pick which one has the best style. Now, I know this blog skews developer (what with the Hadoop posts and all) and developers aren’t exactly known for their style but I’m sure you know someone who thinks they’ve got good taste. Tell them to go prove it to the world by joining the fight at ZiteFight.


02
Jul 08

RSS and e-commerce post on dev.appozite

I’ve been swamped with annoying stuff like work lately so posting on here has been sparse. That should change soon, I hope. I did come up for air the other day long enough to write a post over on the dev.appozite blog discussing the use of RSS in e-commerce. Bottom line: it would be great for even moderately web-savvy users but it’s just not used very much. Do any of you out there have experience either implementing or using RSS/Atom in an e-commerce context? If so, I’d be really interested in hearing about how it went over in the comments on the dev.appozite post.

Look for more stuff here soon. I’ve got some more to say on the semantic web and I plan to get back to hadoop soon as well.


01
Jun 08

Appozite starts to take shape

I’m currently in the process of getting my new company, Appozite, off the ground. We’re still being a little intentionally vague about what exactly we’re doing but suffice it to say that I’m excited enough about it to leave my job at Kadro Solutions to get Appozite off the ground. We’ll start to fill everyone in on the details in time. Just know that we’re doing some very exciting stuff coming up with better ways to connect people with products that delight them.

This last week we launched two Appozite blogs: Appozitegeist and dev.appozite. There’s not much there yet, but there will definitely be a lot more to come.

Appozitegeist is my co-founder Jenn’s space to talk about the intersection of social software, shopping and style. She’ll give you her take on how people are using all their shiny social software to keep up with all the shiny new styles.

dev.appozite is where I’m going to geek out (much like I’ve been doing here) and talk about what we’re up to from a technical perspective. I’m passionate about web standards, building scalable systems, programming languages and algorithms. I’ll talk about all those things and whatever else comes to mind on dev.appozite.

Anyway, we’re really psyched about what we’re doing at Appozite so check out the blogs and follow along because we’re going to be changing the way you shop.