Google Docs down? Screw it, I’m going back to Microsoft Office!

26 08 2011





It’s the new Blue Screen of Death:

First rule of Don’t Be Evil should be “First, do no harm…”


Product Service Systems: A Sustainable Choice

8 10 2008

At the iLetYou blog, I wrote a blog post about Product Service Systems.  Check it out.

Product Service Systems put the emphasis on results, rather than consumption of a product and the inefficiencies and waste caused by pure consumption.  You’ll surely hear more about Product Service Systems, both from myself and elsewhere.

BTW–Software as a Service is a huge example of a Product Service System.  The analogy between SaaS for computing and PSS in general is very strong.  How they both change the world may be equally profound.

Yahoo BOSSes Its Way Into Long Tail of Search

10 07 2008

I could have almost missed this: Yahoo has announced Yahoo! Search BOSS (Build your own search service) as also reported by GigaOM and TechCrunch. You can access Yahoo! search results via API or framework, mashing up Yahoo’s index, and ranking and relevance, with your own algorithmic take on search. Not much concrete is being commented, possibly because there’s not much to be said. Om Malik has has reservations, but is interested in seeing what comes of it.

Broadly, it is one of the neater applications of open strategy and web service. For Yahoo, it’s smart indeed just like SearchMonkey was the neat and smart first part of its open strategy.

It is hard, or maybe impossible, to tell what will come of the strategy. It still hinges on someone to create a better secret sauce of smart algorithms, data mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence and all the cornerstones of CS intelligence. And it must be done: it’s a hedge to give Yahoo a better shot at possibly acquiring or partnering with the big bang company that somehow does search better than Google. But all the infrastructure savings doesn’t presume that a better algorithm will emerge.

So I do applaud Yahoo for going down the long tail of search with BOSS. Yet Farecast, Kayak and Sidestep, Oodle, Vast, SimplyHired, NexTag, and many more “vertical search” aggregators ofttimes rich in metadata dominate the fat middle (fat belly?)– and I bet they will continue to do so.

Yelp beats Citysearch in Traffic?

1 07 2008

Compete has Yelp beating Citysearch in monthly unique visitors for a few months now, although both the New York Times (via Comscore for March) and Quantcast have Citysearch trouncing Yelp with 8M or 16M uniques to Yelp’s approximately 3M uniques, respectively depending on who you believe.

Yelp is most definitely an interesting, and thus far successful, case study but certainly the story is not over for finding success in local with SMBs as a notoriously difficult group of businesses to sell into.

Yet Yelp is not universally known.  It’s a Bay Area staple and people SWEAR by it here.  A business that doesn’t have a Yelp sticker on its window is clearly clueless.  But step just barely outside of Yelp’s big presence here and outside of the technorati and it’s probably the biggest property for which you’ll hear “what’s that?”  It’s still showing a great growth curve, and the biggest hurdle for Yelp is just simply the difficulty of repeating its success here into nationwide success.

At its heart, Yelp is still just a venue reviews site.  They’ve done a insanely tremendous job of integrating the famous Yelp parties and Yelper badge of honor, and translating that fanatic behavior into fanatic online behavior.  The same went visa versa, and the snowball effect launched from there.

My top questions from the Yelp story:

  • How do you best cultivate offline “socializing” to translate to online activity?
  • Is there an upcoming backlash in social media and social networks?  It’s en vogue to call this fatigue, but I would call this “I’d rather be outside than staring at a computer” for the vast majority of people.  It’s well known that traffic spikes during the week and during work hours when you’re forced to stare at a computer.
  • In the long run, what garners more wins: utility or entertainment “time wasters”?  I personally think there will still be winners in both, but the current Web 2.0 landscape is focused on the time wasters.  Note that also an explosive success like YouTube successfully navigates both.
  • What are the opportunities in ubiquitous computing?  A march back towards utility benefits mobile and ubiquitous computing.

I sometime wonder how much we really “enjoy” being in front of a computer.  Even for a computer geek like me, I still have to answer “not so much.”  Maybe that’s what Yelp beating (or soon beating) Citysearch means.

Latest (direct from Compete site):

Yelp versus Citysearch

May 2007 to May 2008 traffic (saved):

May 2008 Yelp vs Citysearch

Contradictions, Changing the World & Success

24 06 2008

The contradictions and absurdities that exist in the city always crack me up. I could honestly go on and on.

Another interesting week in San Francisco. A stranger tracks your contact information down, and mails you your a stranded credit card as simple courtesy. An accidental bump when running down a busy boardwalk with a group leads to a lecture about “running in single file line” as the proper formation when going for a leisurely run. Or at a free concert: defensiveness over a piece of grass when there was no outward intention to steal the free grass, yet a willingness just minutes later to scoot in closer to your two children just to make your young neighbors a little more comfortable.

This is generally a business blog, but it’s also just my ramblings about how to tie life and business together and a process I find unendingly enjoyable.

There was a short interview with Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster, on GigaOM. There are elements here of benevolence as a effective business strategy. The essence, without agreeing completely with some overly save the world sentiments, is that changing the world with a side consequence of making a lot of money is today’s recipe for success both in life and work.

This is not the touchy-feely argument either. There are many reasons by focusing on “get rich! get rich!” will lead you down the wrong path. Most simply, you’re not going to innovate. And you’re just another rider just looking to steal a position too late to ride a wave of money, ready to get pummeled in the white water. Ride the wave you’re meant to ride in a strong yet principled way, and you might ride the wave of your life.

My question in today’s world is: which of these above people are you and do you want to be? Seems like a simple choice to me.

Internet Famous (and Successful) in San Francisco

4 06 2008

Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and Founder/CEO of Slide, walked into the coffee shop I was posted up at this afternoon.  He was talking something about widgets, RockYou and such, but I didn’t encroach enough to gather much more than that or anything of substance.

Cool though… Yet another gotta love SF Tech story!

Long Term Confidence, Short Term Stress

28 05 2008

I’ve recently summarized my current status many times as “long term I’m very confident, but tons of short term stress”.

This probably characterizes most startups and entrepreneurs.  If you’ve given up on the long-term confidence, the battle is probably lost.  Phrased this way, short-term stress can be alleviated by what an entrepreneur does best, producing results, en route to long term realization of that confidence.  It requires two skills:

  • Ability to push through short-term stress to get to long-term success
  • Ability to spot when your long-term optimism is simply delusion

Notice I call them skills, instead of abilities.  Skills of most stripes can be learned, abilities are more innate.  It’s the subject of Seth Godin’s The Dip.  It’s not a new subject, but perhaps still underrated as required skills of succeeding.  If you don’t acquire and possess BOTH, your chance of success is truly reduced.