SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Archive for August, 2013

Feedly Progress Report: Not So Good

Posted by Bob Warfield on August 30, 2013

SadFeedlyI’ve been using Feedly since the demise of Google Reader and wanted to give a progress report on how that’s going.  Not that you won’t have already had to make a decision on an alternate, but perhaps this will be helpful for Feedly if not everyone else.

First the good news:  Feedly is great as a desktop browser app.  I am very satisfied, and if it weren’t for the mobile issues I’ll get to momentarily, I would be a committed and enthusiastic paying customers.

The bad news is all about the Mobile App.  Put simply:  it doesn’t work.  I started out fairly unhappy with Feedly’s mobile app, and I have written about it before.  Initially, it didn’t work at all.  Eventually, they fixed that bug, and now the mobile app doesn’t work because it is too frustrating to be useful.  I waited a reasonable interval before writing this to see if a fix would be forthcoming and whether it was just me.  No, and no are the answers.  You can Google “Feedly Mobile Crashes” and find plenty of references to this–there are even people commenting on Feedly’s Blog about it.

The problem is it crashes frequently.  If I click on every article I want to read, it will easily have crashed at least once every 10 articles.  The problem is, when it crashes, you lose the article you were trying to read.  The sequence goes like this:

1.  Click on article to read it.

2.  It starts loading.

3.  At some point, it may even look like you are done loading the article, Feedly crashes and you’re left staring at the iPad desktop.

4.  You go back into Feedly, and it has already marked the article as “read”.  It’s gone, long gone, and you’ve missed your chance to read it.

At this stage, the Feedly Mobile App is really only useful for clearing out articles you don’t want to read.  You don’t dare try to use it for reading articles you’re interested in, because sooner or later (and mostly sooner in my experience), it’s going to zap your article before you’ve had a chance to read it.  DOH!

It’s annoying as heck, though it hasn’t quite risen to the level where I am ready to drop Feedly altogether.  What it has done is made me spend less and less time reading feeds on my mobile devices (iPad mostly).

The thing that puzzles me is why they haven’t fixed it.  Even if they can’t fix the crashing (looks an awful lot like Safari crashing, which also happens a lot if you try to read Google News), they could change the software so it doesn’t mark the article as “read” until you get safely back into the list of articles without crashing.  That would make it dramatically less frustrating and stressful to use.

Of course I could also ask one more time (as many commenters on other posts about this have), why doesn’t feedly make it possible to simply use their browser version?

I recommend not paying Feedly for their enhanced version until they make a decent mobile app or get out of the way and let us access the service via browser.

Posted in customer service | 1 Comment »

The Trend to Part-Timers, Freelancing, and Consultants Over Full-Time Employees

Posted by Bob Warfield on August 8, 2013

FreelancerOffshoring, Outsourcing, the switch to freelancers instead of full-time employees, and all of the other ways big business wants to shed expenses at no apparent cost is a trend that’s well underway.

Shortcuts all have a price of one kind or another. Usually that price is hidden from the bean counters that wanted to do these things for short term profit bumps regardless of the impact on quality, visibility into what was being done on behalf of a company, actually creating value that belongs to a company and is reproducible, making sure that talent is loyal and believes in the company and its goals, and so on.

As for freelancing, when you force someone to stand on their own two feet, when they have to learn to fish for themselves, suddenly, they get a much clearer picture of their real value to the organization and of the organization’s value to them. Successful freelancers are some of the hardest people to recruit on the planet because they know the organization doesn’t bring them much value while they are creating a great deal of the real value.  That’s why you have to pay consultants more.

If you find yourself having to go it alone, it will start out very scary.  You’re going to have to stretch to learn to wear more hats.  You have to learn to market yourself, for example, and to network to find business.  Cast off your fears and welcome those challenges.  Quit trying to join a large organization or get Big VC to back your idea.  You can go it alone more than well enough to come out way ahead.  After all, business wouldn’t be doing this to you unless they didn’t value you all that much.  That tells you something about how they will treat you if they did decide to hire you.  OTOH, you are also undervaluing yourself.

Why make the same mistake as the business whose decision you so disagree with?  Recognize your inestimable value and get to work for yourself.  Enjoy being your own boss.  Embrace the change and use it to improve your life.

Posted in bootstrapping, business, strategy | Leave a Comment »

 
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