Stanford Facebook Applications Class Final

Tonight, I went to Dave McClure & BJ Fogg’s Creating Engaging Facebook Apps class final. This was a course at Stanford that explored both how to develop Facebook applications and the psychology behind who uses them, who passed them on, and why. Not only did I get to watch, but I also got to help grade some of the presentations.In a word: AWESOME!!!In a few more: Keep it simple, make it personal, play to emotions, release early, release often, incentivize people to take action (if you do this, you’ll get to this), make it have high social benefits.In all, each of the presentations was exceptionally well put together. The presenters only had 2.5 minutes to run through their back story, their app, and their stats. It is an outstanding exercise that will be leveraged fully when these people start going to VC’s to get funding for their FB companies. Here are my general observances:

  • Every time I go to Stanford, I think that my college educational experience would have been a lot different had I gone there (like that was an option). It is like an educational utopia.
  • There were many more Google t-shirts than Yahoo! t-shirts. I didn’t see anyone from Yahoo that I knew or even recognized. Where were you fellow Yahoo’s?
  • Most of the focus was on mass interpersonal persuasion. In other words, how to provide something that is enjoyable to use and encourages the user to get others to use it.
  • McClure made everyone do the wave. I’m stealing that the next time I present to a large group.
  • I’ve seen it before, but McClure’s ‘Start-Up Metrics for Pirates‘ not only holds true but makes me laugh and think of my son, the best pirate in the world.
    • If you haven’t seen it: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue – AARRR – Dave does it much better than I do it. Watch the slide show.
  • The top applications from the class are making over $1K a week, enough to pay a good chunk of the tuition for the teams.
  • There are 4.1 billion images on Facebook. This sounded really, really high to me. Mental note to confirm this. Perhaps with Photobucket & Flickr and such.
  • I’m not really good at estimating the number of people in a room, but I’d say that there were probably about 450 or so. An amazing crowd of people came out to see what Stanford students have built for Facebook. It really speaks volumes to the power that the Facebook platform has delivered.
  • There were too many applications to get notes on all of them. I’ll have a few comments about select apps scattered throughout.
  • PickMeUp was very candid – Get rich, get laid. None of this saving rain forests or feeding the hungry.
    • Tell people that they have to send to ‘X’ number of people, but don’t enforce that.
    • Include a personal touch – The personal touch was a common theme amongst these apps. How do you make it personally endearing, but not offensive?
  • Dodgeball – No one reads the rules.
    • Someone buy these guys this.
  • Yo Mamma / Wall of Shame – Rather than appealing to the good nature of people and the emotions, they were appealing to the cynical and offensive.
    • While I would have thought that this had legs, they were disappointed in it’s performance.
  • Polls – People are lazy. If you make it too complex, they won’t use the application. Make it dead simple. Extra points to those guys for having the 80′s retro name.
  • Make your apps have high social benefits. Motivate people to pay it forward. Get them to share it.
  • SuperStatus was one of the coolest, most useful apps that I saw all night. Removes ‘is’ from my status and allows me to add all kinds of cool stuff. In short, it makes status much more personal.
  • ScribblePhotos – Average user spends 4 minutes engaging with this app. 4 minutes!!! It’s not for me personally, though after the demo, I can see how it would be fun.
  • I hope that some day, when I start a company, that I can afford to hire Johnny Hwin for something. If that guy isn’t CEO or chief evangelist of something in the next 5 years, that will be a sad thing. He gave hands down the funniest presentation discussing his app, Love Child, that allows you to have virtual illegitimate children, like an NBA player. He also led the entire auditorium in stretches at the half way point. Buy stock in him now.
  • Yahoo! was missing from Daves social graph slide. I hope that he revisits that soon.
    • No enterprise apps either, but  that is a different story.

There were a bunch of other applications that were really cool there too that I’m just too tired to write about tonight.  I’ll hit on more of these tomorrow.Congrats to Dave & BJ for doing an awesome job with this event.

Stanford Facebook Applications Class Final

Tonight, I went to Dave McClure & BJ Fogg’s Creating Engaging Facebook Apps class final. This was a course at Stanford that explored both how to develop Facebook applications and the psychology behind who uses them, who passed them on, and why. Not only did I get to watch, but I also got to help grade some of the presentations.

In a word: AWESOME!!!

In a few more: Keep it simple, make it personal, play to emotions, release early, release often, incentivize people to take action (if you do this, you’ll get to this), make it have high social benefits.

In all, each of the presentations was exceptionally well put together. The presenters only had 2.5 minutes to run through their back story, their app, and their stats. It is an outstanding exercise that will be leveraged fully when these people start going to VC’s to get funding for their FB companies. Here are my general observances:

  • Every time I go to Stanford, I think that my college educational experience would have been a lot different had I gone there (like that was an option). It is like an educational utopia.
  • There were many more Google t-shirts than Yahoo! t-shirts. I didn’t see anyone from Yahoo that I knew or even recognized. Where were you fellow Yahoo’s?
  • Most of the focus was on mass interpersonal persuasion. In other words, how to provide something that is enjoyable to use and encourages the user to get others to use it.
  • McClure made everyone do the wave. I’m stealing that the next time I present to a large group.
  • I’ve seen it before, but McClure’s ‘Start-Up Metrics for Pirates‘ not only holds true but makes me laugh and think of my son, the best pirate in the world.
    • If you haven’t seen it: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue – AARRR – Dave does it much better than I do it. Watch the slide show.
  • The top applications from the class are making over $1K a week, enough to pay a good chunk of the tuition for the teams.
  • There are 4.1 billion images on Facebook. This sounded really, really high to me. Mental note to confirm this. Perhaps with Photobucket & Flickr and such.
  • I’m not really good at estimating the number of people in a room, but I’d say that there were probably about 450 or so. An amazing crowd of people came out to see what Stanford students have built for Facebook. It really speaks volumes to the power that the Facebook platform has delivered.
  • There were too many applications to get notes on all of them. I’ll have a few comments about select apps scattered throughout.
  • PickMeUp was very candid – Get rich, get laid. None of this saving rain forests or feeding the hungry.
    • Tell people that they have to send to ‘X’ number of people, but don’t enforce that.
    • Include a personal touch – The personal touch was a common theme amongst these apps. How do you make it personally endearing, but not offensive?
  • Dodgeball – No one reads the rules.
    • Someone buy these guys this.
  • Yo Mamma / Wall of Shame – Rather than appealing to the good nature of people and the emotions, they were appealing to the cynical and offensive.
    • While I would have thought that this had legs, they were disappointed in it’s performance.
  • Polls – People are lazy. If you make it too complex, they won’t use the application. Make it dead simple. Extra points to those guys for having the 80′s retro name.
  • Make your apps have high social benefits. Motivate people to pay it forward. Get them to share it.
  • SuperStatus was one of the coolest, most useful apps that I saw all night. Removes ‘is’ from my status and allows me to add all kinds of cool stuff. In short, it makes status much more personal.
  • ScribblePhotos – Average user spends 4 minutes engaging with this app. 4 minutes!!! It’s not for me personally, though after the demo, I can see how it would be fun.
  • I hope that some day, when I start a company, that I can afford to hire Johnny Hwin for something. If that guy isn’t CEO or chief evangelist of something in the next 5 years, that will be a sad thing. He gave hands down the funniest presentation discussing his app, Love Child, that allows you to have virtual illegitimate children, like an NBA player. He also led the entire auditorium in stretches at the half way point. Buy stock in him now.
  • Yahoo! was missing from Daves social graph slide. I hope that he revisits that soon.
    • No enterprise apps either, but  that is a different story.

There were a bunch of other applications that were really cool there too that I’m just too tired to write about tonight.  I’ll hit on more of these tomorrow.

Congrats to Dave & BJ for doing an awesome job with this event.