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Lessons Learned: How not to make Friendster-s

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by Bambi Francisco Roizen
September 3, 2007
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/44

We broke some news at Vator in August, at least according to one well-known Web 1.0 site. The fact that Wired Online found news in a video clip about Friendster that's been posted on Vator for many months was surprising to us, especially since Friendster's rollercoaster story is old news in Silicon Valley. Still, we appreciate that they are now looking to us for news on startup companies. Their one-sided take was a little different than ours, of course. Vator is a social media network for innovators, with a budding news operation driven mainly by our community. We let our users play a major role in presenting the news in their own voice directly to the audience and deciding what's news -- through their video pitches, critiques and posts. That's why you can see the Friendster video here on Kent Lindstrom's profile page. (Like many entrepreneurs and executives on Vator, Kent offers up lessons learned from building a startup.)


The video was shot back in January, when Vator was just a side project for me. That's why I equivocated on whether or not to put it in the Vator newsroom, as well as on Kent's profile page. But in the end, I decided we should have the same standards that I always used as a veteran journalist. That is to report stories accurately, and stand by them. If a story is published in a newsroom and it is accurate, it will never come down. There it will always stay. 


Which leads me to our next bit of news. I'm thrilled to announce that John Shinal, who has covered the tech industry for more than a decade, will soon join Vator as managing editor of our nascent newsroom. John has covered Silicon Valley for Bloomberg News, Forbes.com, Business Week magazine and the San Franicsco Chronicle. Most recently, he was Technology Editor and Senior Columnist for MarketWatch, where he was alternately my manager and colleague. Like me, John believes that the next five years are going to radically change the Internet news business. John is coming to us with some great ideas about how to integrate staff-produced stories with user-generated content.

Many of my readers know my views about social networks and media. Many traditional media companies are layering social network features atop their newsroom operations. I think that will be a tough chore, if only because traditional newsrooms are accustomed to controlling the content.

At Vator, the network has always been at our core and the news has always organically grown from it. I believe this is the right approach because our news will scale as fast as our user base. And, I'm excited to have John be part of the process of building this new social media paradigm in our early days.