“Friends for Sale” by Ryan’s team. As I came slightly late and as this was the first group to present, I admit that I didn’t really pay much attention at what Ryan was saying.
However, a skim through the slides seem to indicate that Ryan might not have presented all that he’d prepared, or did he intentionally NOT to talk about the slides? After all YinChao has dropped this module some time last week and thus making Ryan’s team a two-man team.
Honestly, the idea of “Friends for Sale” quite interesting. You get to “Buy” your friends as pets and assign them to do random things, and all without his/her approval. I think these feature are the selling point of this application.
During the presentation, Ryan did mention that the application is viral. However, I don’t remember him elaborating further on how FFS achieve its viral status. In my opinion, “Friends for Sale” leverage the Facebook notification feature for the viral-factor. Your friends are automatically notified on every instance of your actions to him/her, whether you’re buying him/her and you’ve assigned some jobs to him/her.
The viral part comes into play when you assign your pets to do some “actions” to your other friends, even to friends who might not even have added Friends for Sale. So if non-app users receive notification when you’ve done something to him/her, the non-app user might just be provoked enough and add the app just to react to the initial user’s action. Thus producing a natural viral process.
Ryan also mentioned that using the app fulfill friend’s ego, and he attempt to explain this using Maslow’s hierarchy and 7 sins. However I think Ryan didn’t really elaborate much on this point. I think he assume that it’s apparent to all of us how 7 sins and Maslow’s Hierarchy applies to Friends for Sale, which is not entirely true as I have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy but I’m not too sure how it plays a part the apparent success of Friends for Sale. A quick check with Wikipedia tells me that Maslow’s Hierarchy is more commonly used to represent the priority of needs in a pyramid with the largest and lowest levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top. Honestly, I’m even more blurred at the fact that he mention 7 sins. Although I’ve heard of the 7 sins, but I don’t really know what are the 7 sins. In my opinion, the 7 sins are just inference and it isn’t stated explicitly in the Bible. Wikipedia mentioned that
The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of the most objectionable vices which has been used since early Catholic times to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen man’s tendency to sin. The final version of the list consists of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
So how exactly Maslow’s Hierarchy and 7 sins translate to Friends for Sale remains a mystery to me.
Like all other successful Facebook application, there seem to be a recurring theme. There must be some kind of Time-sensitive element to give users reasons to come back to the app. Leaderboard – leveling up system -> Like Mafia Wars…. lv600++. I wonder how many hours have been spent playing the game @@.. In Friends for Sale case, it’ll be the viral work you get to do to your friends to earn more money. Virtual money can be used to buy more friends as pets and thus making the user rise higher and higher on the leaderboard. Looks like an app will not go too far without some kind of highscore/leaderboard system. Even Causes has it!!
Towards the end of the presentation, Ryan recommended that we should all watch the video interview of the Friends for Sale founder. If the video is indeed that meaningful, I guess he should have at least summarize the video in his presentation instead of just briefly mentioning it toward the end of the presentation. As promised, Ryan has the link posted up on his blog http://sharetheconversation.blogspot.com/2010/02/links-to-interviews-with-chen-siqi.html
Like a lot of successful Facebook App, the back end is not something remarkable. It runs on Ruby on Rails (RoR). This name is familiar because I think I got eliminated in an internship interview last year because I have no idea what’s RoR. A quick check on wikipedia seems to suggest that RoR is quite popular among web apps nowadays, even Twitter runs on RoR. Apparently Chen SiQi (co-founder of Friends for Sale) thinks that RoR is very well-suited for rapid application development and scalability. How I hope I understand a bit more about why it is so, I got lost in the pool of jargon.
We definitely wouldn’t change our choice of framework – Rails was invaluable for rapid application development, and I think we’ve pretty much proven that two guys without a lot of scaling experience can scale a Rails app up. (Chen SiQi http://highscalability.com/friends-sale-architecture-300-million-page-view-month-facebook-ror-app)
Ok, I guess there’s really a lot to learn from Friends for Sale as the co-creators are part-time developers, just like us in the CS3216 class. However, they manage to rise to be the top10 app on Facebook in 3 months. That is a feat and I bet there’s a lot to learn from them. Onward to the Gwave assignment!
At the end, I would like to promote our group’s video for Facebook Marketplace. Thank you Adhiraj, Xialin and Reuben, this video wouldn’t be possible without you! (I’m just a video-editing-monkey!)