SmoothSpan Blog

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Archive for December, 2008

Who Will Build the Next iPhone?

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 22, 2008

There is clearly an opportunity.  Nature abhors a monopoly, and the iPhone is swiftly building to one.  Every carrier that doesn’t have the iPhone or a real iPhone-killer would give their right arm to get one.  Likewise the handset makers are in the same bind.

So who is it going to be?  Palm just got another $100M.  They have the money.  Do they have the vision?  There’s a poll on that link and when I looked, the pollers don’t think it’ll be Palm.

Someone will build one, and it’ll be big.  It may not unseat the iPhone (avoid that Western “only one must win!” tendency), but it will be very big.

Posted in saas | 1 Comment »

Nature Makes Journals Free (As They Should Be)

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 21, 2008

I often find myself researching obscure topics that lead me to scientific journals, at which point I become frustrated as heck.  Many of them force you to pay inordinate fees to access the article.  I know if I just went to the local university’s library I could track down the article for free, but that would be pain of a different kind, requiring a lot of time.  In the end, I have to read the article to know whether I’d like to pay to read it.  And this is supposedly peer-reviewed scientific research, not something being done for a profit.  It just seems wrong to me.  Perhaps you’ve followed the controversy about newspapers, where the online world is eating their lunch and causing tremendous mayhem in the industry.  It’s about high time for this to happen with scientific journals too.  Thinking back to my college days, I would much rather have been able to access all that knowledge via Google search and online than in paper form in a musty old research section of the school library.  That also eliminates the possibility of other students monopolizing (or worse hiding to shift the curve) key materials needed for graded work.

Related Articles

Tim O’Reilly forwards Dave Gray’s excellent “Free the Facts” presentation

I was pleasantly surprised to read of a journal that requires the research to go up on Wikipedia before they’ll publish.  In this case its the RNA Biology Journal, which is published by Nature.  Scientists all over should simply insist on their work being published to the web as well as to journals.  And don’t even start with journals needed to charge as much as they do to get it out on print.  Maybe they shouldn’t be trying to get it out on print?

Posted in Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Google Reader Seems Buggy as Heck

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 21, 2008

Is it just me or is this new version of Google Reader buggy as heck?  I’ve waited patiently for the bugs to subside, but it almost seems like they’re getting worst. 

They mostly manifest as a ton of repaint issues.  The list of feeds, for example, doesn’t show all of my feeds and frequently corrupts itself.  I can see them all in “Manage My Subscriptions”, but the list is a mess.  I’ve got 180 odd feeds, but I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone with a lot of feeds to try to use it like that.  Worse, I can no longer create new folders because the drop down box showing the list of folders is also corrupted.

Sorry to be harsh, but when is Google going to get over producing software as a hobby?  These are real tools that people expect to work right.  Presumably Google wants broad adoption and means to stick with something like Google Reader.  The occasional problem is one thing, but these would be Priority 1 bugs at any software company I ever worked with.

I’m not the only one:

See comments here.

Why are news readers so buggy?

Posted in Web 2.0 | 3 Comments »

Steve Jobs is Apple’s Chicken and Egg

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 18, 2008

Apple is RWWeb’s 2008 Best BigCo.  Everyone loves Apple.  But everyone treats Apple like Brittany Spears because of Steve Jobs.  It’s constant gossip and second guessing.

Jobs is irreplaceable to Apple.  Some say Jobs is Apple and Apple is Jobs, and that Jobs is worth $20B of Apple’s market cap.

It’s better for Apple and Jobs both if there is a little less focus on Steve Jobs and a little more focus on Apple.  Regardless of what people may suspect about Jobs’ health, there will come a time, probably sooner than later, when it makes sense for Jobs to wind down a little bit while others step up.

So how do you engineer a shift if you are Apple?

Pretty obviously, you look for some prominently public opportunities to substitute someone else in what would normally be a Jobs role.  How about Macworld Expo?  How about having Phil Schiller keynote instead of Steve Jobs?  After all, they probably thought, we’re pulling out of this Expo soon anyway, so it’ll be a great test opportunity with little downside since we won’t be back. 

The analysts get it.  Piper says it’s a signal a transition is underway.  Of course things go rapidly downhill from there starting with various folks declaring Macworld Expo is dead, the show’s owner, IDG, declaring they were stabbed in the back, and on and on about Jobs health all over again.

What is Apple supposed to do?

Going cold turkey on Steve Jobs is hard and painful.  Apple is like Popeye Doyle in the French Connection until they can show some of the other executives bring a lot to the table.  Given the state of the economy, it may not be such a bad time to be doing it though.  Plenty of other bad news around.  Let’s get it all out on the table now rather than dragging it into the good times when recovery starts.

Posted in apple, Marketing, strategy | 3 Comments »

Do You Really Need All Those Feeds in Your Blog Reader?

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 18, 2008

I just read something from Louis Gray that seriously resonated:

…there are a large number of sites who act like they are the only game in town, and that they must cover every single story.

To those guys, please stop. Seriously.

In the tech blogging sphere, there is a serious echo chamber.

Amen, Louis, amen. 

I use Google Reader which lets you group your feeds into folders.  For the record, my folders are A-List, Bulk Feeds, Customer Service, Marketing, SaaS, TechUI, and Web20.   I won’t bother to explain the meaning of each, it isn’t relevant.  But let me tell you the Bulk Feed folder is the one containing 60-70% of the posts and they are frankly some of the least interesting posts in the reader.  These are only 10 out of the 180 odd blogs I subscribe to yet I have to spend most of my reader time trying to get through the blizzard of posts from those 10.   To top it all off, you can count on 80% overlap when each of the 10 reports on a story, and you can also assume a lot of the 10 will all report the same stories. 

Who are the Bulk Feed blogs?  The usual suspects:  TechCrunch, GigaOm, Techmeme, and several others.  There’s some that are unusual, like Scoble’s Shared Items.  What do they have in common?  They generate a huge shower of posts either because they represent the efforts of many writers (e.g. TechCrunch) or they are derivatives (i.e. Scoble’s Shared Items).  It’s useful to have these for current events and because sometimes I’ll catch some news the rest of my feeds miss. 

I have a pretty good idea of what my capacity to read blogs is.  It’s easy to monitor.  If the unread number creeps relentlessly upward yet I find little to comment on in my own blog, it’s time to kick some out and find some new ones to subscribe to.  Invariably I am tempted to knock one of the 10 out of Bulk Feeds in order to add an A-Lister, or perhaps one of the more specialized bloggers that matches my interests.  I’ve never been disappointed when I knocked a Bulk Feed out so far.  Mashable was the most recent one tossed out.  That’s not to say there’s anything at all wrong with Mashable.  I used to enjoy reading their articles, but they were just too much like what I’d already seen and something had to go to make room for more diverse material.

When the unread count gets too high, I get medieval on the BulkList first.  Techmeme is always the first victim.  I like Techmeme, but I never use it as a source of news.  It is a source of what is hot.  It measures the Echo in the Echo Chamber.  That’s interesting data to me, but it grows stale quickly, so I have no compunction about marking it all as read. 

Here’s another thing I’m on the verge of acting on.  I’ve commented before that as blogs get big, they want to de-emphasize Trackbacks.  As a blogger, I feel that Trackbacks are essential as a way to share the conversation.  I think they bring real value to the readers of both ends of the Trackback.  And, I feel that big successful blogs that de-emphasize, or worse, eliminate Trackbacks are just trying to monopolize the conversation.  I don’t see why I’d want to support that, or why any other blogger would either.  Why link to a blog that does that?  I leave it as an exercise to the reader (actually it mostly matters if you are a blogger) to check out which of your BulkFeed subscriptions doesn’t do Trackbacks and ask yourself whether you need to keep reading them or not.

Getting back to the issue at hand, it’s important to remember that while the BulkFeeds are important, they lack diversity and depth for the most part.  There is more to the blogosphere to be had.  A lot more.  In fact, you’re barely scratching the surface if you haven’t searched out the more independent thinkers.  The Internet is a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, it makes possible the Long Tail.  On the other, it reduces the friction so much that you wind up with a much more potent Echo Chamber.  People become afraid of the Long Tail because they already have too much information to process.  The reality is, the Long Tail will raise their signal to noise ratio and they should be eliminating not from the tail, but from the mainstream.

Related Articles

Are You Getting Smarter, Or Just More Average On the Web?

Celebrate What’s Different About the Internet or Be Irrelevent

Scoble Deconstructs TechMeme

If You Want to Favor Diversity on the Internet, Increase Friction

Leaderboards Are Not Best Seller Lists

If you look at Scobleizer, no trackbacks.  Just an automatic list of “possibly related” articles.  Trackbacks are a big part of the conversation, and Scoble is a conversation guy.  Yet, he has made the decision to limit his conversations to the stoccato of a Twitter/Friendfeed rather than the more learned discourse trackbacks make possible.  It’s a mistake.  He’s musing over the time trade offs of blogging vs Twitter/Friendfeed, and choosing not to do Trackbacks is one more time trade off that works against the blog.

Posted in Web 2.0 | 7 Comments »

Now is a Great Time to Join or Found a Startup

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 16, 2008

This is a great time to join or found a startup.  Why?  Because a bad recession is like a treadmill EKG for companies, and especially for small companies.  It puts everything under so much stress that when you see a consistent source of good news, you know that company is strong.  In good times, the rising tide lifts all ships.  How do you know whether that sock puppet selling dog food on the Internet is really a good idea, or just the product of the Bubble?  There are no sock puppet opportunities that do well in a bad economy.

The key question to ask yourself is whether you have enough visibility to tell whether a company is doing well.  This will vary based on the position you’re hiring for, but just the fact a company is hiring is a signal of some sort.  Another is that the company just raised money in this climate from a recognizable VC firm.  I’ve been keeping a list of those to monitor myself to see how the companies do.  In terms of founding a startup, the question is going to be how quickly you can get to an indicator in this economy.  You have to either raise money or sell something.  Only third party credibility will do.  If you’re hunkered down building software and living on canned goods, you have the benefit that there probably aren’t competitors being funded, but you don’t have the third part read on your own success.

I joined my last company Callidus software in November, 2001, right after 9/11.  That was a bad economy.  I saw a middle-stage startup that was able to sell multi-million dollar software to telcos.  At that time, everyone thought all the telcos were going bankrupt, and some did.  So I knew that if a troubled business like a telco couldn’t wait to buy a multi-million software license in those hard times, that company was a pretty good bet.  Sure enough, we went public in 2003, about 2 years after I joined. 

It was the best possible time to look for a job.

Posted in strategy, venture | 7 Comments »

Twitter Joins the Internet Single Sign On Fray. Sort Of.

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 16, 2008

Your Twitter credentials can now be used to log onto some services if you like.  For example, Google’s Friend Connect will now let you log in using your Twitter sign on.  Twitter joins Google, Yahoo, AIM, and OpenID on the list of ways to log onto Friend Connect.  To take advantage as a Twitter user, you must first have one of the other 4 types, logon with that type, and then associate your Twitter account with that logon.

This is what I mean by Twitter “sort of” joining the SSO fray.  They aren’t exactly a first class citizen, they’re piggybacking on Google (and Facebook as it turns out, and maybe even MySpace, but the latter is unclear).  That’s a smart strategy for them.  They’re not a big enough playerr to promulgate.

For Google’s part, this is also a great idea.  Twitter is a first class form of communication for its devotees, and Google makes it easy for them to go beyond just the logon credentials by doing other Twittery things.  For example, quickly Tweet about something cool you’ve found on the web.

What to make of all this activity?  Are we seeing the usual consolidation that happens after a period of “punctuated equilibrium” innovation?  Perhaps accelerated by the economy?

Perhaps.

Web Single Sign On will be key to advertisers.  It means they know who you are wherever you go and can successfully collect information about you over a broader range of your web experience, hopefully to use that information for more targeted advertising.  The Social Advertising Race has begun.  We know that Google invests in things that drive greater Internet usage.  For them, the Internet is their walled garden, and so letting companies like Twitter plug into their SSO mechanism is very beneficial.  It’s a lot less clear for Facebook, which is tending its own Walled Garden what they should do.  For now they seem to be holding on to their place at the table by checking and not raising raising the bet.

Posted in strategy, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Is Computer Science Broken, and Should Computers Be Fractal?

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 14, 2008

Interesting post via Dare Obasanjo who passes on Joe Gregorio’s post “CS Broke”.

Dare seizes on one part of Gregario’s post as being the important one:

Computer Science, at a deep and fundamental level, is broken, and that applies not only to software but to hardware. One of the reasons that I have this feeling is that after programming for the past 25 years the field hasn’t really changed. The conversations aren’t any different. You could substitute ‘Windows API’ or ‘Borland CGI’ for ‘HTML and CSS’ and you’d be having the same exact conversations I had 15 or 20 years ago. We still struggle with leaks, be it memory, or file handles, or threads, or whatever. We still have race conditions. We still struggle with software that grows linearly in features but exponentially in complexity.

Obasanjo’s response makes sense:

  1. If your definition of computer science includes HTML & CSS or Win32 then you’re doing it wrong. In the words of Edsger Dijkstra, computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
  2. Even if you limit the discussion to computer programming, does it also mean that civil engineering is broken because people today still have to discuss and solve the same kinds problems faced by the builders of the great wall of China or the Roman aqueducts?

But I think Dare has missed the more interesting part of Gregorio’s point, the fractal part.  It’s fair to raise the issue that computer science is no more about computers than astronomy about telescopes, but that misses a bigger point.   First, there are other sciences and disciplines that are concerned with telescopes.  If computer scientists aren’t concerned with computers, who is?  I think Dijkstra went to far with that glib dismissal.  Someone has to be concerned.

Second, telescopes are further removed from astronomy than computers are from computer science.  Yes, there are abstract and theoretical corners of computer science such as automata theory and studies of algorithms that can’t exist or make sense on today’s computers (have you got a quantum computer yet?).  But there is a also a lot of computer science that’s engineering and is concerned with what we do day to day. 

Lastly, civil engineers do discuss problems similar to the great wall of China or the Roman aqueducts, but by now those problems are much more well understood than the issues Gregorio is concerned with.  The conversations the civil engineers are having are at a much higher level with less constant reinventing of the mud bricks pulled by donkeys on sleds methods used by their Roman and Chinese predecessors. 

But is it really so bad?  And what does Gregorio mean with his answer to the problem, which is concise but cyptic:

I’ve been struggling to find a way to express this concisely. The best way I’ve found so far is to ask:

What part of the computer in front of you is fractal?

The answer is none of it, yet in nature, which has been at this game of computation for billions of years, everything is fractal. We’re doing it all wrong.

The comments on Gregorio’s post are interesting.  My gut reaction, which is that much of what Gregorio decrys is what happens when computer science is ignored and we push ahead anyway, is reflected in the comments.  HTML itself is an ugly mess as are many languages that grew rather than were designed.  I always liked Wirth’s languages (Pascal et al) much better than C and its derivatives.  One actually reflected good computer science and was in fact easier to write compilers for as a result while the other was a half step beyond a good macro assembler and sure seemed a hack.  Certainly pragmatism wins the day in many cases and C beat Pascal for various reasons though there remains a dedicated following to Delphi to this day and its creator Anders Hejlsberg is at work with Microsoft trying to make C a better place.

But this still misses the fractal point.  What would it mean for the computer in front of you to be fractal?  Wikipedia defines a fractal thus:

A fractal is generally “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,”[1] a property called self-similarity.

Some of the comments on the original thread imply the web or nature itself is fractal.  There are aspects which are fractal in both cases, but in neither case is everything fractal.  Fractals are but one way of capturing complexity in an abstract way.  In the same way, I’m not sure it makes sense to insist that computers be fractal.  Fractals I suspect are an appropriate way to view and schedule massively parallel algorithms to many cores, and that may be a good literal application of fractals.  The Thinking Machine of Danny Hillis is an ideal fractal architecture because the notion of CPU and memory merge to a single entity.  I still think Hillis was just ahead of his time and we’ll get there.  When we do, it may take some sort of fractal model to make it work at all easily or well.  Hillis showed what can happen when the astronomers build the telescopes and the Thinking Machine was a fascinating architecture.

Being a software guy, I tend to focus more on software than machine architecture though.  For me, the manifestation of a fractal nature comes from layered architectures such as the network layering discussed by Tannenbaum in his great textbook Computer Networks.  There are similar layered abstractions that exist elsewhere, but we seldom see an opportunity for practitioners to reach across layers or to create their own layers.  That’s a shame because it isn’t hard to do and leads to a lot of power.  I think of Domain Specific Languages as a sort of fractal concept because we create new languages on demand for specific tasks or domains.  I have argued before that creating a language is the only way to realize the ultimate power of the computer because executing a language is really what they do uniquely.  It’s what gives them their power.  Understanding this is definitely a computer science issue.  Read Godel Escher and Bach for a wonderful discussion of the deeper meanings to be found.  You can’t read through “the eternal golden braid” and not think of things at least somewhat fractally.

Sadly, this brings me back to the conclusion that most of the time computer science is ignored and we hack on.  There are few equipped to create a Domain Specific Language that makes solving a problem easy rather than just plunging in and hacking it out.  It’s not clear to me you can teach a person meta-thinking, which is what I call the kind of thinking that boils everything down to a language.  The distant cousin of this approach has us building a framework to solve a problem, rather than a language.  That’s not nearly as good, but often we don’t even do that.

Appologies to my regular audience for having gone off on a Geek tangent.  It happens!

If, OTOH, you liked it, here are some similar writing from this blog:

The X in Software Engineering: Exactly!

Software Handyman?!?? Not at all. Software Itelf Is Math And There Are Engineers And Scientists

Is Programming Like Music or Engineering, and Must it Be Unintuitive?

Posted in software development | 6 Comments »

Black/White – Symmetry/Asymmetry – Forum/Social Network – Search/Browse

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 12, 2008

Interesting post by Ross Mayfield on the disadvantages of symmetry in Social Media.  In particular, he is focused on the disadvantages of forums for this reason.  As he puts it, forums are about ideas not people.   The big selling point of following people instead of ideas is you’re leveraging other people as a filter.  The ultimate example he gives is that when someone is too obnoxious, you can’t unsubscribe.  BTW, that’s not really true.  Nearly every forum I participate in has an “Ignore” feature that does exactly what Ross hopes for and eliminates the need for you to ever hear from that person again.  I use it sparingly to eliminate trolls from poorly or un-moderated forums.

I am a big believer in subscribing to people, but I think you miss out if you choose to ignore all the “symmetrical” Social Media (BTW, it’s symmetrical WRT subscribing to everyone, but asymmetrical WRT subscribing to ideas, so I just see these media as a mirror image to the people based in terms of what’s symmetrical/asymmetrical, but that’s a pedantic note). 

Don’t yield to the Western tendency to have to pick a winner for any choice someone points out.  There is great value in following both options.  I find, for example, that I find the right people to subscribe to by following ideas.  The converse is also true, but the difference is evolutionary.  I seldom find the existing crop of people originating big new memes in my personal infosphere.  It is the people I didn’t yet follow that bring those memes in, which causes me to follow them to hear more. 

Because of that use for finding who to follow, I value “subscribe to everyone” models for building communities and relationships early on.  Once you’ve matured those, go in search of the “subscribe to person” model to reduce the information flow to manageable levels.  If you’re involved in a community that is sufficiently specialized that the information overflow situation doesn’t arise (I am involved in many), you’ll want to avoid “subscribe to person” lest it overly restrict your access to what little information is available. 

And don’t forget to search.  Being subscribed is great, but if you let yourself get so consumed with your subscriptions that you never go exploring, you’re missing out there too.  I was recently in a similar conversation where some folks from one of the REALLY BIG Internet companies asked about the Helpstream application.  We support both searching and browsing (as well as subscription).  They wanted to know our thoughts on the preferability of Search versus Browse, recognizing that you need both (Thank Goodness–they avoided the Western, “There can only be one winner” trap!). 

My answer was in three parts, and bears comparison to what I’ve said above.  First, new users gravitate to Search and have greater success there.   It isn’t surprising as it can take some exploration to learn what the browse hierarchy looks like and internalize where to go to find what you want.  Search jumps you straight in.  This is analogus to links versus search in the mainstream web.  Second, as I’ve discussed many times before, there are personal Learning Styles at work here.  Some people like the add-hoc and asynchronous feel of search.  Others need to know how all the pieces fit together and are organized, they are browsers.  My sense after working with both models at several startups is that this maps well to personality traits (engineers do a lot of browsing), but that Search is slightly more popular, say 60% search, 40% browse.  Individuals will show a marked preference for one versus the other.  The last point is that of task.  If someone is focused on a task that is idea-centric, they like search.  If it is social-centric, they seem to want a “place” (albeit virtual) to go for that task.  It is valuable to the evolutionary hard wiring in our brains to think of information or people as being in a place. 

I think there is a lot to the “place” metaphor.  You can feel it as you’re interacting with various social tools.  Search misses out on providing a place.  It homogenizes and warps “place space” so that things are artificially close to one another depending on what you’re searching for.  That’s best suited to one shot rather than repeat interactions.

More evidence for why you need multiple models, and shouldn’t settle for thinking any one tool is best for all things.

Posted in user interface, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

What Keeps Microsoft Office Strong is Incompetence

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 12, 2008

There, do I have your attention with that headline?  And how the heck can incompetence make a product strong?  No doubt you’re assuming I mean Microsoft’s incompetence, but it’s quite the opposite.  I am referring to the myriad competitors to Microsoft Office.

I got started on this rant after reading Larry Dignan’s rehash of a Bernstein report on Cloud Computing (executive summary: lots of buzz but it won’t have that big an impact, they’re wrong, but that’s the subject of another rant another time).

Getting back to the subject of incompetence, that is perhaps too harsh a word, but what’s wrong here, the reason cloud versions of the Office products are not getting uptake, is tragically avoidable.  I agree 100% with Bernstein’s analysis of what that problem is:

While Google Apps and Open Office from Sun have almost all of the functionality of Microsoft’s Office the conversion of documents is still not 100% effective, although Open Office comes very close indeed.  In a recent test Open Office could easily open a Word version of one of our published notes with formatting that was over 98% accurate.  Open Office could similarly open one of our financial models written in Excel – over 3Mb, and using a variety of Microsoft functions with iterative calculation.  Once again the document opened almost perfectly but a minor change was needed to ensure the model converged properly.  Google Docs did less well and could not handle the Excel model but opened our Word note and preserved about 90% of the formatting. Even though these programs are very nearly comparable in functionality and can offer additional functionality in terms of allowing users to simultaneously edit documents – which the client versions of Word and Excel cannot do – we still perceive considerable reluctance on the part of users and IT Departments to use them. 
 

The mystery to me is why these vendors can’t get compatibility with MS Office right.  There has to be some form of incompetence there, because it just isn’t that hard.

Let me explain.  I was a General in the Office Wars of the 80’s and 90’s.  I was responsible for Borland’s Quattro Pro.  It was 100% compatible not just with Excel, but before that with Lotus 1-2-3 during the DOS days when that product was King of the Hill.  None of the kinds of errors described for today’s MS Office competitors existed in our offering because I knew that any little hiccup trying ot use the original files would be the kiss of death.  As a matter of fact, on the predecessor to Quattro Pro, a product called Surpass, I personally did all the file compatibility work with Lotus 1-2-3.  It took me 4-6 months as I recall, and this while I was CEO of the company and working on a lot of other things.

Borland also had a Windows Word Processor that was MS Word compatible.   Unfortunately, we never got it shipped for various historical reasons (largely profitability issues made us fight over whether to spend the money, my argument was a single app can’t beat a suite no matter how good it is, the rest is history), but we were compatible there too.  And of course we were compatible in the database market, having shipped software that was compatible with dBase.

We were by no means the only software at that time to achieve that level of compatibility.  It is a mystery to me why the industry seems to have lost the capacity to think and execute in those terms.  It is no harder today than it was then.  The Quattro Pro product was built start to finish with just 10 developers in about 18 months.  I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be straightforward to do it again from scratch with a very similar budget.  That’s certainly within the reach of Google and others who want Office-killers.  Yet they don’t get it done.

Outlook is even more vulnerable than Office, yet there is no good synchronization software available for the non-email functions of Outlook.  Lest you send me a flurry of comments about one solution or another, be aware I’ve tried a whole bunch already.  Google’s version failed utterly.  My best result was with Plaxo, but it ultimately destroyed my calendar and contacts so I turned it off again.

The thing Bernstein, Microsoft, and these would be Cloud Upstarts have to keep in mind is that until this problem is fixed, Microsoft will keep dominating.  But it isn’t that hard to fix, and once fixed the friction preventing a switch goes down radically.  Heck, Microsoft can’t even get good uptake on Office 2007 if I look at the number of people that can’t read my files because they have the older version of Office.  Cloud Vendors, let me know if you need some names from my original Quattro Pro team.  They’re still around, still brilliant, and still able to build a product that’s 100% compatible and will get you where you want to go.

Can we get on with it?

Posted in cloud, saas, strategy, user interface | 16 Comments »

 
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