It’s iPhone Time!

29 04 2008

Reported by Gizmodo according to Fortune, a $199 3G thinner and lighter iPhone is coming this summer.  Apparently it’s been just around the corner, and according to Walt Mossberg, we’re no more than 5 weeks away.

Whatever the price, I’ve been planning to buy the 3G version since I’m now out of contract and stuck with a company that just isn’t innovating (Palm).

It’s easy enough to dismiss the iPhone based on its shortfalls, the worst of which is the lack of a tactile keyboard.  I do wish they would fix it or make it easier to do workarounds.  As I’ve said before, I’m on board with the Mac.  But the godphone is a really great device, and hopefully I’ll be on board with the legions soon enough.





Are you funded?

23 04 2008

I’m making my way around some Web 2.0 Expo events this week. Last night, I went to a smaller mixer but that had some very interesting people running around. It’s an inverse proportion much of the time.

David Hansson at 37Signals writes, Are you sure you want to be in San Francisco? He also gives one of the more tremendous talks that balks at the raise lots of money, ride the big way, and sell out mentality that motivates many in Silicon Valley.

One piece of unsolicited advice when emerging yourself in the tech scene: don’t ask startup people whether they are funded so early on in a conversation. I do understand that funding quickly asserts a level of validation. However, I find it a major turnoff.

Not only that, but most interested people probe about ideas. Most VCs I’ve spoken to acknowledge and respect an entrepreneur whose answer is “not yet, but when we’re ready, I’d love to talk.”

Go one step beyond, and if funding or press attention (another supposed source of creditability) were your main criteria, you’re going to miss the diamonds in the rough. Look at ideas, look at the people by all means, but use your head in judging. So while I mostly argue for the merits of the Valley and balk a little when the “raising money is bad” rhetoric goes too far, it’s not greed and ambition, it’s the free flow of ideas that really moves SF and the Valley.

Maybe I’m ranting because we’re privately funded and bootstrapped, and the follow up to that answer “Oh, well that’s a better way of doing things” seems like a fake answer. And maybe down the road I’d swagger and say “yes, so and so funded us.”

But I don’t think so. My answer would be a vague “yes” and I’d move along to someone more interested in the merits of ideas rather than relying on external validation.





Google and Salesforce.com: Spinning a better tomorrow

15 04 2008

The interpreters of spin say this is just a partnership to stick it to Microsoft, and Marc Benioff admits as much, amounting to no more than adding a tab on Salesforce.com.

True, but it’s still a partnership between what I would consider to be the two biggest, most important platform, cloud computing, software as a service providers. Or in Valleyspeak: “this is a validation of the Web OS.” Amazon.com is right there too, as may be others, but Amazon.com also has a much more diversified revenue base as of today.

It’s not a stretch at all to see Google buying Salesforce.com.

We’ve put a lot of stock in software as a service at iLetYou.

And I would add that the semantic web is a somewhat unpractical and somewhat unnecessary creation of technologists. Although the semantic web will play a part, realize that the Web OS is where the action is. I have very little doubt about that, and the proof is ample and world-changing.





April Fools & the “Is this a joke?” Spectrum

1 04 2008

One of the funniest byproducts of April Fools jokes and the tech startup, blogger community is discerning whether something is a joke. This year’s breed of jokes seem to be somewhat unoriginal, stuff you’d expect from the tech community with its own sense of humor.

So a funnier question is: if you’re a Web 2.0 startup, could your startup be an April Fools joke?

There’s a spectrum of joke businesses. A surface scan says you want to be something like eBay. Auctioning your stuff to strangers was a weird idea. You don’t want to be like Pets.com though, weighing your future on freighting pet food around the country for cheap.

I encounter this in reactions to rental businesses I mention in reference to interesting stuff that can be rented. Fake wedding cakes, baby toys, jewelry for rent: these elicit different levels of skepticism and downright laughter from people.

If you’re not doing something that at least someone laughs at, it’s probably not original enough to go very far. There’s actually no shortage of these businesses in Web 2.0: many of which will fail because it takes much more than a silly idea. But that seemingly silly idea is far better than something so unoriginal that it elicits no strong response whatsoever.