Archive for Adam Trachtenberg

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Adam Trachtenberg is the Director of the LinkedIn Developer Network, where he oversees developer relations and marketing for the LinkedIn Platform. Before LinkedIn, Adam worked at eBay in platform product management and marketing. Even earlier, he co-founded Student.Com and Adam is the author of PHP Cookbook and Upgrading to PHP 5. He lives in San Francisco.

The new wave is garbage-subtracted

I stumbled on an old DaveNet piece from 1994 on developers and platforms, which caused me to go back and reread a number of his classic e-mails. I forgot how interesting they were.

These were the good old days of the Internet, where you could write about Microsoft, and Bill Gates would write back telling you why you were an idiot. (Well, he didn’t actually use that word, but how would you describe: “Nothing I said… could have been misinterpreted to suggest [the idiotic thing you wrote].”)

My favorite piece (so far) is an e-mail that Esther Dyson sent to Dave, which includes these highly prescient lines:

The new wave is not value-added; it’s garbage-subtracted. The job of the future is pr guy, not journalist. I’m too busy reading, so why should I pay for more things to read? Anything anyone didn’t pay to send to me… I’m not going to read.

Yes, in a world full of content and advertising and pr, I still want to know what your friends and mine are thinking, but I want only what they think is so good that they’ll pay to have me read it — because they honestly believe it will raise their stature in my eyes.

If that isn’t foreseeing the downfall of newspapers and the rise of Facebook and Twitter statuses and Google AdWords, nothing is.

Barcelona Graffiti

I am slowly getting around to sorting my sabbatical photos.

Many stores have a metal roll down shutter that they use when they’re closed. As you can see, it’s quite popular to decorate the shutter with graffiti.

Estudi de Ballet

Estudi de Ballet



Chroming at Google with Sergey

Google’s been writing their own web browser: Google Chrome. Recently, the Chrome team hosted a launch party at the Googleplex to celebrate the release of Chrome beta versions for Mac and Linux, and also the beta launch of Chrome extensions.

With Chrome extensions, developers from outside Google can write software to modify the Chrome experience. Individuals can install these extensions to enable features that are useful to them, but aren’t necessarily of value to everyone who uses Chrome. (Those features are part of what Google will provide.)

A team at eBay has been working on an eBay Chrome extension (what else?), and apparently the Chrome team liked it so much they asked us to come and show-off the eBay extension at their launch event!

Unfortunately, the team lives in London, so they couldn’t fly all the way to California to be there. However, they passed the ball to me, and I agreed to be their talking head for a day.

Overall, my five minutes of Chrome fame went quite well. I talked about why Chrome extensions matter to eBay and also how third party developers can build their own eBay extensions, too. Also, as someone said to me: “they laughed at your jokes.”

But don’t take my word. My wife Beth joined me for the afternoon and took this beautiful flip HD video of my talk. (Warning: the sound is a little low.)

eBay Chrome Extension Demo from Tifton Drive Productions on Vimeo.

Now, as to the Sergey teaser in my headline…

While we were in the event space getting ready for everyone to come in, I looked up and saw a robot heading out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a small screen mounted on a skinny pole that itself was mounted on a wider base of wheels. (Think of a less human looking version of Number 5 from Short Circuit.)

Adam prepping before the Chrome event

All of a sudden the robot wheeled our way and we could see that there was a TV screen on the top (along with a WiFi router on the back side). Looking at us through the screen were two people. One of whom was Sergey Brin.

Before we could properly process any of those facts — as my post cannot recreate the surrealism of the experience — Sergey started talking and asking us questions. We realized the was a video camera mounted on top of the TV screen, so we were involved in a two-way video chat with Sergey, who was in his office, driving the robot around, and looking for people to talk with.

After some short chitchat, we almost got him to stay for the event, but it was still 30 minutes before kick-off, so he rode off in search of other projects.

After he left, someone else from Google came up to us and said “What did you think?” My reply: It was very on brand — exactly what I expected to find when I came here. :)

Tracking our sabbatical journey

Beth and I blogged much of our five week sabbatical trip. We pulled down the wedding information at and replaced it with travel photography and a few videos.

The Julie/Julia/Adam Project

Inspired by watching the Julia & Julia, I not only cooked dinner from recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I am now blogging about it.

I watched the movie at Japantown’s Kabuki Sundance Theater. The Kabuki has many positive virtues, such as the ability to pre-select your seat, drink alcohol in the theatre, and no commercials before the show. (They also have the highest ticket prices in town.) However, I chose it for two other reasons.

One: In 1974, Julia performed eight cooking demonstrations at the Kabuki Theater itself, an event covered by Calvin Thompkins in his fantastic 11,005 word profile published in The New Yorker. (Did you know that Julia wrote that she “would be perfectly happy w. only Chinese food…. Either French or Chinese. Could live w. only Chinese.”)

Two: The Kabuki uses real butter on their popcorn. Knowing Julia’s fondness for butter, it seemed disrespectful, and downright untasty, to eat artificially flavored popcorn during the show.

eBay Search Results Speculation

One of the great things about working at eBay is reading the various speculations on the Internets about what’s going on inside the company and seeing how closely it matches up to reality.

I don’t normally comment on these discussions, but there’s a pretty good one right now that I’m enjoying on the screen shot posted under the title a “new split screen GUI” view of eBay.

According to a comment, one person thinks this is some super-secret screen capture ferreted out by someone under NDA. Scot Wingo thinks this is a “snagged screen shot” of a special test “roaming around the playground.”

As usual, the reality is far more mundane. Since the evidence is posted publicly on, I’m happy to debunk this.

Go to the eBay investor Web site and check out the “Boston Lunch Presentation” from February 1. (This deck is identical to New York lunch presentation from the day before.) Go to slide 14 “New approach to Fixed Price and Auctions: Early prototype.”

Look familiar?

Lion Taming at Half Moon Bay

A new year, a new marketing campaign for Between Christmas and New Year’s, I went to Half Moon Bay. Over the weekend, thanks to iMovie and the Mrs.Ms., I ended up with this:

Goodbye 2007. Hello 2008.

I somehow decided to take 2007 off from blogging. It wasn’t intentional at first. However, at some point during the year I realized I hadn’t been blogging for so many months, it was would look better if I just skipped the entire year.