Checked into Hugus Alley
Checked into Cross Campus
Attending the Friday Coffee Meetup

Yipeng Zhao, a Managing Partner at Embark Ventures, a Los-Angeles based venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies, gives a talk entitled “Embark Ventures: Raising Seed Capital and Building MVP for Scientific Founders” at the Innovate Pasadena Friday Morning Coffee Meetup.


A VC talk focused on the science space. I wish there was more detail specific to the company’s particular niche, but it’s a nice overview to the space in general.

Read 10 Words for People Who Are Bad At What They Do : Plater (merriam-webster.com)
Don't quit your day job
Patzer is such a great word. I’ve only heard it in context in the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher. 

Most of the others I’ve heard as well, though many are rarer. Throttlebottom is a solid one that I wasn’t aware of before, but seems very fitting. I’m half-tempted to change the tagline of my website to Philologaster now.

RSVPed Attending Innovate Pasadena: Embark Ventures: Raising Seed Capital and Building MVP for Scientific Founders

Details: https://www.meetup.com/Innovation-friday-coffee-meetup/events/267973501/
85 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA
January 31, 2020 at 08:15AM- January 31, 2020 at 09:30AM

http://fridaycoffeemeetup.com

Biography: Yipeng Zhao is a Managing Partner at Embark Ventures, a Los-Angeles based venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies. Embark Ventures particularly interested in Frontier/Deep Tech companies such as cyber-security, AI/ML, Robotics and Data Analytics. Yipeng co-founded Embark Ventures in 2017 where he manages Embark Ventures’ new investments and portfolio companies. Since founded Embark Ventures, Yipeng lead 8 investments and is on the board of directors of multiple venture-backed companies. Prior joining Embark Ventures, Yipeng serviced as Executive Vice President of ZMXY Global Investment, Inc., a China-based private equity investor where he has been actively involved in equity investment in both China and US. Some cases including the equity investment of YangQuan City Commercial Bank and a mixed-use REITs portfolio in Taiyuan, China. Yipeng also helped ZMXY Global Investment set up their venture investment arm (ArcheMatrix Investment Group, LLC) in Los Angeles as a part of the global strategy. Yipeng also worked at UCSD as research statistician focused on Nonparametric and Semiparametric estimation and inference problem in Econometrics. While at UCSD he spent time on the application of big data in customer behavior research and game-theoretical econometrics approach to customer behavior research. Yipeng also has extensive research experience in financial risk management and time series data Analysis.

Manual Backfeed in the Blogosphere

Forcing webmentions for conversations on websites that don’t support Webmention

Within the IndieWeb community there is a process called backfeed which is the process of syndicating interactions on your syndicated (POSSE) copies back (AKA reverse syndicating) to your original posts. As it’s commonly practiced, often with the ever helpful Brid.gy service, it is almost exclusively done with social media silos like Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Github, and Mastodon. This is what allows replies to my content that I’ve syndicated to Twitter, for example, to come back and live here on my website.

Why not practice this with other personal websites? This may become increasingly important in an ever growing and revitalizing blogosphere as people increasingly eschew corporate social sites and their dark patterns of tracking, manipulative algorithmic feeds, and surveillance capitalism. It’s also useful for sites whose owners may not have the inclination, time, effort, energy or expertise to support the requisite technology.

I’ve done the following general reply pattern using what one might call manual backfeed quite a few times now (and I’m sure a few others likely have too), but I don’t think I’ve seen it documented anywhere as a common IndieWeb practice. As a point of fact, my method outlined below is really only half-manual because I’m cleverly leveraging incoming webmentions to reduce some of the work.

Manually syndicating my replies

Sometimes when using my own website to reply to another that doesn’t support the W3C’s Webmention spec, I’ll manually syndicate (a fancy way of saying cut-and-paste) my response to the website I’m responding to. In these cases I’ll either put the URL of my response into the body of my reply, or in sites like WordPress that ask for my website URL, I’ll use that field instead. Either way, my response appears on their site with my reply URL in it (sometimes I may have to wait for my comment to be moderated if the receiving site does that).

Here’s the important part: Because my URL appears on the receiving site (sometimes wrapped as a link on either my name or the date/time stamp depending on the site’s user interface choices), I can now use it to force future replies on that site back to my original via webmention! My site will look for a URL pointing back to it to verify an incoming webmention on my site.

Replies from a site that doesn’t support sending Webmentions

Once my comment appears on the receiving site, and anyone responds to it, I can take the URL (with fragment) for those responses, and manually input them into my original post’s URL reply box. This will allow me to manually force a webmention to my post that will show up at minimum as a vanilla mention on my website. 

The manual webmention box and button that appear on all my posts.

(Note, if your site doesn’t have a native box like this for forcing manual webmentions, you might try external tools like Aaron Parecki’s Telegraph or Kevin Mark’s Mention.Tech, which are almost as easy. For those who are more technical, cURL is an option as well.)

Depending on the microformats mark up of the external site, the mention may or may not have an appropriate portion for the response and/or an avatar/name. I can then massage those on my own site (one of the many benefits of ownership!) so that the appropriate data shows, and I can change the response type from a “mention” to a “reply” (or other sub-types as appropriate). Et voilà, with minimal effort, I’ve got a native looking reply back on my site from a site that does not support Webmention! This is one of the beautiful things of even the smallest building-blocks within the independent web or as a refrain some may wish to sing–“small pieces, loosely joined”!

This method works incredibly well with WordPress websites in particular. In almost all cases the comments on them will have permalink URLs (with fragments) to target the individual pieces, often they’ve got reasonable microformats for specifying the correct h-card details, and, best of all, they have functionality that will send me an email notification when others reply to my portion of the conversation, so I’m actually reminded to force the webmentions manually.

An Illustrative Example

As an example, I posted on my website that I’d read an article on Matt Maldre’s site along with a short comment. Since Matt (currently) doesn’t support either incoming or outgoing webmentions, I manually cut-and-pasted my reply to the comment section on his post. I did the same thing again later with an additional comment on my site to his (after all, why start a new separate conversation thread when I can send webmentions from my comments section and keep the context?).

Matt later approved my comments and posted his replies on his own website. Because his site is built on WordPresss, I got email notifications about his replies, and I was able to use the following URLs with the appropriate fragments of his comments in my manual webmention box:

https://www.spudart.org/blog/xeroxing-your-face/#comment-43843
https://www.spudart.org/blog/xeroxing-your-face/#comment-43844

After a quick “massage” to change them from “mentions” into “replies” and add his gravatar, they now live on my site where I expect them and in just the way I’d expect them to look if he had Webmention support on his website.

I’ll mention that, all of this could be done in a very manual cut-and-paste manner–even for two sites, neither of which have webmention support.  But having support for incoming webmentions on one’s site cuts back significantly on that manual pain.

For those who’d like to give it a spin, I’ll also mention that I’ve similarly used the incredibly old refbacks concept in the past as a means of notification from other websites (this can take a while) and then forced manual webmentions to get better data out of them than the refback method allows.

Watched "The West Wing" The Wedding from Netflix
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