Technically Speaking

Rex Dixon – Professional BlogCaster

Archive for December 3rd, 2006

iPhone by Kevin Rose (diggnation episode)

Posted by rexdixon on December 3, 2006

Kevin Rose drank some beer, sat in front of his laptop and pulled off another diggnation episode and gave out some information on the iPhone.

Posted in Apple, diggnation, iPhone, Kevin Rose, You Tube, YouTube | 1 Comment »

*Interview with Ross Levinsohn*

Posted by rexdixon on December 3, 2006

Near the middle of last month, Ross Levinsohn departed from a successful run over at Fox Interactive Media. The online world was buzzing with speculation, as well as flat out false statements. Just the other day, I posted a link to such a video where a person went on video camera for a site stating some things about Ross. This Ross Levinsohnperson made these statements (maybe half-joking on his part) with the full knowledge that the possibility existed of the reporter putting the video online for the world to see.

At that point, I had enough of the speculation and rumors and went straight to the source – Ross Levinsohn. Below you will read the traditional 5 quick hit question interview with Ross Levinsohn, the same that I do for all people that would like to be interviewed to spread the truth such as Alex Chizhik – Co-Founder and COO of Planypus did earlier today. I am very glad that Ross took the time out of his day to respond to these, and without further delay, here it is:

Q1: Ross, I want to thank you for your time in doing this 5 question interview. How has your life been since you left Fox Interactive Media recently and can you expand a bit on how you feel about people just talking about you at parties in front of a video camera without asking you first?

RL: Unemployment has its upside. Most important — I’m getting to know my family again. FIM was a 24 hour a day job, and you miss part of your life. I’m also getting to meet some really interesting people who have reached out to me. It’s such a transitional time in the media business, that everyone seems to want to find the secret key.

As far as people talking, I do wish that so-called “journalists” had some facts to back up ludicrous statements like the one you’re referring to. The blog chatter it ignited was unfortunate given supporting material.

Q2: I have read that you have been “reported” as to be looking for a new start up company to head up. Have you made that short list yet on companies you would like to be involved with?

RL: I’ve now headed four start-up type ventures — Sportsline, Alta Vista’s portal division, re-building and FIM. All were quite different and challenging. There are a few companies I really like and may try to help in an official or unofficial capacity. I really like helping and guiding creators. It’s gratifying. I also believe there are some outstanding brands in the media business that haven’t taken full advantage of their position. That too is an opportunity.

Q3: What gets Ross Levinsohn fired up, or basically what is your passion as far as business goes?

RL: Creating, strategizing and working with great people. Whatever I do next will include all three. I really like “change”. Some people fear it. To me, it opens up opportunities. I also like learning. Rupert Murdoch and Peter Chernin (my bosses at News Corp) taught me every time I spoke to them.

Q4: Would you consider just saying, “the heck with business” and just go about investing and living off the money you have already earned? More like would you just consider traveling, and generally enjoying life as a person who is in early retirement?

RL: I’m too young to retire and play golf (although I’d like to play a little more). I’d like to find a balance though in whatever I do next.

Q5: Final question time. What would you like the readers of Technically Speaking to know that hasn’t been covered by my first four questions?

RL: To me the secret of the business is to defy convention. Fear of taking a risk is what stunts growth. Don’t be afraid to fail. Most people I try to hire or work with aren’t afraid to fail, and that makes them better. We all learn from that. Watching the creativity that’s in the market is astounding and is why the dynamics of the business are changing so rapidly. The change in the next 3 years will make what happened in the last 10 look paltry.

Technically Speaking, I want to thank Ross Levinsohn for taking the time to answer these questions I presented to him early in the morning, and I hope he has time to hit the golf course today!


Posted in Alta Vista, BEHIND THE SCENE (Q&A INTERVIEW), FOX Interactive Media,, interviews, News Corp, Ross Levinsohn, Sportsline, Technically Speaking | 8 Comments »

Posted by rexdixon on December 3, 2006

1ba_kim_jamesandgirls.jpgThe lastest news from this site, which seems to have the most updated information as well as some nice pictures of the family, says that search parties are out right now. Family and friends from all over have come in to help with the search.

12/3/06 – 7:30am – Search parties are setting out again this morning. State and Federal authorities are continuing their search. Family and friends of the Kim Family1ba_kim_pennykati.jpg working from the Grants Pass area of Oregon are coordinating their own efforts. Friends of the family from New York, San Francisco bay area, Portland, Eugene and the local area are in Oregon now and helping the Kim family effort. We have received so many wonderful notes and so many offers of help – it has really been keeping us going here. I have passed on a selection of emails to members of both James and Kati’s families, and they are so appreciative of the outpouring of love and support that you continue to give.

Here is a link to a PDF flyer you can put up if you are in the Oregon area where this family has disappeared.

Posted in James Kim, Missing Person Alert, | 3 Comments »

Interview with Alex Chizhik, Co-Founder and COO of Planypus

Posted by rexdixon on December 3, 2006

I posted the quick hit on Planypus on Friday. Well it’s the start of a new week, it’s early Sunday morning December 3rd, and it’s time for a quick hit “get to planypusknow you better 5 question interview” with Alex Chizhik, Co-Founder and COO of Planypus.

Q1: Alex, thanks for taking the time out of your busy day in order to answer some questions. The first question I have is – Planypus – how did you come up with that name, and do you feel that using the .us domain name is advantageous for marketing of your web site and company? Does the name stand for anything; ie.. is there a story behind it?

Rex, first and foremost thank you for taking your time to interview me and thanks to all of the readers our there for reading. Planypus arose from a need that our group of friends had. We had a little tradition of having dinners on Friday nights and it became a nightmare to coordinate them with 20 friends. We tried setting up a wiki, but it was not as functional as we would have liked it to be. Then we decided to build Planypus to help us easily and intuitively solve the casual planning problem.

Then naming process was a pain as none of the names we thought of struck our fancy. However, Alex Antonov, one of the lead architects had just came back from Australia and was talking about his trip to one of our initial users. He mentioned seeing a platypus and the user, jokingly said, you should name your site Planypus. The name just stuck. The .us was something we thought was cool (you can also use

Q2: How do you feel your company and business model stack up to the ever increasing world of social planning networks that are out there today? Case in point, right after I posted your companies information, TechCrunch posted about another company doing basically the same thing yours is. Do you feel there is enough business for everyone?

As you mentioned, there is heavy competition in the social networking industry. We, however, are slightly different than a social network. Although we have social networking features, we mainly focus on existing groups of friends. Think of it as a blending of the digital and real worlds J.

Even though there are many event sites out there, we provide a better mix of local event planning capabilities and integration with personalized websites and blogs than our competitors. Where as others such as Evite focus more on single, set, activity invitations, we provide a place to plan casual, dynamic, activities. Also, unlike our direct competitor Renkoo, we try to bring our users relevant local event information, in case they want to explore cool events going on in their cities. Our event listings on the front and the “My City” pages help many of our users create fun outings with their friends.

Finally, we listen to all of users’ feedback. We try to respond and address any problems or suggestions they have within a couple of hours of receiving them. We treat our users in the highest regard and would love to receive any feedback our users have.

Q3: Now I have called it social planning networks, and I don’t remember if I actually coined that or read it elsewhere, but do you feel that is a proper description of what your web site and company is all about?

As I mentioned earlier, I feel that we are more of an event planning website with social network features. We do focus more on helping groups of friends plan their get-togethers casually.

Q4: Please feel free to release any company data as in – how many people, if you are venture funded, looking for new hires or employees, who should outside VC’s contact (if you are looking for funding), etc.. Release what information you would like here.

We are 5 partners:

Yan Pritzker – Founder and CEO
Alex Chizhik – Co-Founder and COO
Alex Antonov – Architect
Anton Mostovoy – Architect
Stan Mazo – Strategy

We are looking for some sweet designers that would be able to help us take our site to the next level. We are based out of the Chicago (primary) and Washington D.C. (secondary) areas.

Q5: Alex, again I would like to thank you for taking the time to do my quick hit 5 question interview. Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about your company and web site?

One interesting note to mention is that we have seen some really cool change in social behavior with our users. Many people that never used to plan activities are the most active activity planners on Planypus. We believe it to be because with Planypus, it’s easy to suggest a get-together, or initiate the plan, and then let your friends plan the activity for you. Also, users like the “I don’t want to be an organizer” option. It lets them have their friends do all of the organization for them.

We are also working on integrating with local blogs, similar to Chicago’s GapersBlock’s Slowdown. The integration helps local blogs offer event-planning capability to their users.

Finally, Rex, thank you again for your time and readers thanks for reading all the way through!

You can reach me for any questions or comments at: achizhik at gmail dot com.

Thanks again to Alex Chizhik, Co-Founder and COO of Planypus for taking his time to do this interview. Technically Speaking, I believe that interviews such as the one above are a great way to start off any week.

Posted in BEHIND THE SCENE (Q&A INTERVIEW), event planning site, interviews, planypus, Social Networks, social planning site, Startups, Technically Speaking | 4 Comments »