Archive for April, 2011

Why Greplin is my favorite new startup

I’ve talked before about how much I love Greplin:

Greplin is a tool that allows you to search across all your content from one search box. For example, I’ve got my account set up to index my Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Google Docs and Google Calendar. With one search I can surface messages or content from any of those services with Google-like speed. Once they add indexes for Google Voice, Google Reader (both coming soon) and browser history, they’ll cover 99.9% of the personal content I want to search. They already offer lots of integrations including popular serivces like Yammer, Saleforce, Evernote and tools from 37signals.

The value proposition Greplin offers is clear. Often I’ll remember having a conversation without remembering where I had it – was it Facebook? Twitter? Email? With Greplin, I don’t need to remember. They’ll find it regardless of which service I used. It was Greplin that let me find the link to that tweet I included in this post without wasting 5 minutes digging around on I also use it as a context tool for remembering past conversations. For example, before emailing or responding to a stranger, I’ll usually Greplin their name. I’m often surprised to find that we actually met years ago at a conference, were CC’d on the same email or had some interaction on twitter that I had forgotten about. Being able to surface that context in a split second is invaluable.

On Friday, Greplin became even more useful. They now give you the option to replace the default search tool in Gmail. For anyone who uses Gmail search on a regular basis, you know how painful the experience can be. I’ve never understood how the worlds best search engine manages to be so terrible at search inside Gmail. With Greplin, my searches inside Gmail are now blazing fast.

There’s an obvious concern about the security aspect of using Greplin since they have access to all my content and are storing the indexes in the cloud. For me, the value they provide is big enough that I’m willing to take the risk and I’m not one to hand over the keys to my data easily! In this case, the cloud really does make more sense than storing large indexes on my hard drive.

A big part of the reason I’m willing to trust Greplin is because of how much I’ve been impressed by the team. Greplin is a YCombinator company and they have an interesting story of how they got started. The latest features didn’t work for me at first and I mentioned the problem in a comment on the TechCrunch post. I immediately got an email from their CEO, Daniel Gross asking for more details. Today Daniel emailed me to tell me it was fixed and sure enough, it’s now working great. Thanks Daniel!

If you haven’t tried Greplin yet, I recommend you give it a shot. I’m willing to bet you’ll fall in love with it just like I did.


Guest post on TechCrunch: How fast is your site?

On Friday I had the privilege of writing my second guest post for TechCrunch. My article was titled How Fast Is Your Site? Measure It With Google’s Page Speed Online. I talked about the new Page Speed Online tool from Google and how you can use it to analyze the performance of your website. It’s been a while since I’ve written for TechCrunch and it’s always fun to write for an audience of millions. A huge thanks to Erick Schonfeld for giving me the opportunity and helping me get my commas in the right places. I seriously wish he could edit everything I write.

I believe we are still in the early days of web performance optimization. Most people aren’t aware of how slow their sites are or how much their performance is hurting them. A big part of my job as CEO of Torbit is educating people on why speed matters. People need to understand the problem before they can be sold a solution. Tools like Page Speed Online make my job easier by showing people their sites aren’t as fast as they could be. The statistics are out there and the correlation between performance and revenue is undeniable. You’re losing money if your site is slow.

One person who “gets it” is Micah Baldwin. Micah added Torbit to his site a few weeks ago and reported a noticeable speed improvement as a result. He left a comment on my TechCrunch post that says:

It’s amazing how much speed matters. We have found a direct link to pageviews and revenue.

I’m stoked to be helping people like Micah get faster sites, increased pageviews and more money. We’re building an automated solution to fix slow sites and are making a lot of progress. We’ve got a ton of people on our waiting list and are looking forward to opening up our BETA soon. The technology isn’t trivial, but it sure feels good to be working on something that really matters.