Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Lost is soooo amazing. If you haven't gotten into it, I strongly suggest signing up for Netflix and checking out the first season DVD.

Something's wrong with my cable box or service. Not sure if it's the Motorola hardware, the Microsoft software, the service, or something else, but for some reason, the HD audio cuts out from time to time. In this case, I couldn't hear the last 2 minutes of the Lost episode! Killer!

So, I went to the Lost web site and found the name of the episode: Lockdown. Then I searched Google for "Lost Lockdown", but didn't find anything because all of the blog entries were too new (within the last 3 hours). So I did the same search over on Technorati, and found tons of cool info!

I totally didn't realize that Locke's customer was Nadia, or catch the "if I had a husband" comment (I was thinking she was a lesbian. Hah.).

Later, when writing this post, I remembered that Google actually does have a Blog Search, which actually seems to have good recent Lost episode info. But their Blog Search isn't discoverable, so you sorta have to know about it (I had to actually type "google blog search" into Google to find it).

Anyhow, can't wait until next week! I haven't had this much of a rush going since X-Files in the early 90s! (or maybe since Alias or 24, I suppose... but those have gone downhill, dontcha think?)

p.s. I used to make fun of my coworkers for reading Lost web forums. I've totally succumbed. This is HILARIOUS.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Mobile Carrier Bottleneck on Location Based Services

Engadget Mobile reports: Sprint Nextel launches "Find It!" location-based search:

For $3-a-month, Find It! lets you search for businesses or get driving directions without the need to input your current location

More from Mobiledia and

The mobile carriers have become a bottleneck on highly valuable information (in this case, location information) - information that has the potential to bring the next wave of mobile services to consumers.

Some view the value of this information + distribution channel so highly that they have undertaken the task of becoming a mobile carrier themselves in order to facilitate selling their services.

I sure hope this bottleneck is broken down soon.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Does Microsoft Branding Suck?

People like Matt are saying that Microsoft's web branding sucks. Dare points out complexity and inconsistency. Scoble agrees.

Okay, I'll admit it... I'm as guilty as the next guy for cracking jokes about releases like Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.

But before jumping on the pundit bandwagon, let's play a little devil's advocate with Matt, Scoble, and Dare.

1. What the heck is Windows Live?

Matt writes:

If only to make matters worse, when I go to Google and search for "MSN Maps", my first result is the "MSN Maps & Directions" site, but it leads to Windows Live Local. That's confusing. Even more confusing is the following "MSN Virtual Earth" link, which also leads to the same Windows Live Local site. Finally, there is the "MSN Encarta" link, which one may be inclined to think would lead to a Windows Live site. Does it? No, it leads to MSN Encarta World Atlas.

Yep. Unfortunately, today's search engines don't have real-time accuracy. When a company gets acquired, and it's web site merges into its new parent, users face the same problem for some amount of time. This happens when a company name, product name, or web site url changes. Search Google for "Scoble". The first link is his old blog [3/27/06]. Problem with Scoble's branding, or with the search engines?

When I search Google for "Keyhole", my first result is "Google Earth". Does Google have bad branding too?

2. Why rename MSN products?

Is MSN the perfect brand? Do you know what it stands for? Do most people? Do English acronyms work well for people who don't speak English as a first language?

In much of the world, MSN has become a verb, meaning "to IM". Sounds great at first - we've got a verb (in <insert country name here>). But what does that mean for the rest of the MSN products? You might Xerox papers, but are you inclined to purchase Xerox printers?

3. Why Windows Live?

Funny how nobody seems to complain about Xbox Live. It could've been branded just "LivePlay" instead of "Xbox Live". But the latter leverages the Xbox brand, which makes sense since Xbox Live is a set of online services that integrate with Xbox and provide "better together" functionality.

Similarly, Windows Live is a set of online services that integrate with Windows and provide "better together" functionality. Integrated search into the desktop is perhaps the most basic example, but there will undoubtedly be more deep integration over time. Sure, Microsoft has opened up both the Windows APIs and the Windows Live APIs so that you don't need to use Windows with Windows Live, but there is nonetheless value in doing so.

Maybe we don't "get" "Windows Live" because we're so used to just plain "Windows". But if you buy into some level of convergence between desktop software and services, it makes perfect sense. In any event, let's sit on this one for 12 months, and when we revisit it, let's see if "Windows Live" as an online extension of "Windows" makes perfect sense, ok?

4. Google vs. Yahoo vs. Windows Live product names

Dare's list of Google vs. Yahoo vs. Microsoft product names is deceptive.

First, Google is not consistent. Sure, Dare lists Google Finance, Google Video, Google Groups, Google Talk, and Google Maps. But what about "Gmail", "Blogger", "Picasa", and my personal favorite: "Local for mobile"?

What about Yahoo's, Flickr,, and other acquisitions? Should they rebrand to "Yahoo Tags", "Yahoo Photos", and "Yahoo Events"?

Should Microsoft follow suit, and brand its products "Microsoft Messenger", "Microsoft Maps", etc? But isn't the coolest thing about the Xbox how there's no Microsoft branding on it at all?

So what's the real issue? Is it the fact that it's "Windows Live" instead of some new less-than-eight-character dot com web 2.0 sounding name? Then don't say "Windows Live Local" five times really fast. Say "Live Local". People don't say "Office Excel", yet people associate Excel with Office, they understand the Office brand, and it lends strength and understanding to other newer products in the Office system.

5. Why do products have years on them?

Why do cars?

Actually, one of the biggest mistakes ever was "Office XP". To this day, people still think that because they have Windows XP, they should have Office XP and not Office 2003. Newer is better.

On the flipside, how is Joe User supposed to know the difference between "Tiger" and "Panther"? At the end of the day, are those short sexy names really simpler?

(Note, this doesn't really apply to web branding since multiple versions aren't available, and hence, years are omitted).

6. Systems, systems, systems...

On top of product names, we have systems of products... like 2007 Microsoft Office System, Windows Server System, and System Center (no trailing system, probably because "System Center System" would be ridiculous).

Seems complicated. But is it?

Microsoft has hundreds of products. Grouping IT Management products into a brand like "System Center" helps customers understand a where a product fits in the lineup. For example, we have "[Microsoft] System Center Reporting Manager" instead of "Microsoft Reporting Manager". This is a product related to other System Center products that is targeted at the IT Professional.

Similarly, "Office System" products are related, and targeted at the Information Worker.

At the end of the day, this is arguably simpler for customers than a flat list of hundreds of products. As a side effect, it builds multiple powerful brands (i.e.: Microsoft, Office, and Excel).

7. In conclusion...

I agree that names should be consistent and simple.

I'm not sure about one word that's less than eight characters, but I do believe you should be able to easily tell it to a friend, and possibly even use it as a verb (or at least use its features as verbs). Within Microsoft, we still say to people, "S+ me", which means "Schedule an appointment on my calendar in Outlook". Schedule+ was the predecessor to Outlook. Outlook has no good verbs for "Schedule an appointment". So, verbs are good. At the same time, the danger here is that your trademarked verbs (or nouns) could become genericized, which is potentially a bad thing.

In any event, bottom line is that MSN/Windows Live is in a transition period. Chaos always follows change. But I have no doubt that when it emerges from the chaotic change, the brand will be stronger than it ever was before.

(Now, where'd I put that kool-aid...)

Time for a New Phone

After years of abuse, I've finally pushed my Blue Angel past the point of no return. It's dead, Jim.

Time for something new.

I'm drooling over the Hermes and the StarTrek (translation), but I suspect it'll be at least 3-6 more months before they're available through a carrier (and I'm not in the mood to import or go iMate style this time around).

So I'm pondering picking up a Tornado, probably in the form of a T-Mobile SDA, since they're available for under a hundred bucks.

Anyone out there have any other suggestions?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Eston figures out how to pimp his Facebook profile

My friend Eston is crafty. He figured out how to pimp his Facebook profile. Rock on, dude!

(You'll need a Facebook account and Firefox, Safari, or Konqueror to truly appreciate this.)

Update: Eston posted a screenshot on flickr.

Windows Media Player cannot play any items in the playlist.

Windows Media Player cannot play any items in the playlist. For additional information, right-click an item that cannot be played, and then click Error Details.

Windows Media Player cannot play the file. If the file is located on the Internet, connect to the Internet. If the file is located a removable storage card, insert the storage card.

These are the 2 errors I received when trying to listen to streaming radio while cleaning my home this morning.

I had a fun discussion over lunch the other day with my buddy Mike on his experiences calling Microsoft Product Support Services. So, I figured this would be a great opportunity to put myself in the customer's shoes and see what dealing with PSS is like for myself. Unfortunately, after calling 800-MICROSOFT, I quickly found out that PSS is only open till 3pm on Saturday. Pretty frustrating experience. ;-)

So there went that idea. Instead, as most users must do, I resided to spend my own free time figuring out why Media Player wasn't working.

Strangely, I was encountering 2 different error messages. I got the first one when trying to play a stream from C89.5:

Unfortunately, the error details didn't exist, let alone prove useful:

One the other hand, when I tried to listen to KEXP or Energy, I got a different error message:

After quite a bit of searching through message forum threads (mostly unanswered), I came across a post suggesting I run 'mplayer2.exe'. That's Windows Media Player 6.4 which still lives on XP side-by-side with WMP 10. Surprisingly, I was able to stream the radio stations. But, I wasn't about to stop there. What a strange issue!

More searching... and I finally came across this post, which identified the error as C00D10B5 (I didn't have an error code, because it seems we no longer display them in our produts). Following the link in the post brought me to a blog post, which brought me to a PSS knowledge base article and an unofficial FAQ site.

It turns out that Windows Media Player didn't think I was online, hence the "connect to the Internet" bit in the 2nd error message. Seeing as I was surfing the web to get to the stream in the first place, I was connected to the Internet. But WMP relies on whether or not Windows thinks I'm connected to the Internet, and despite all of my web surfing, apparently Windows did not think I was connected.

Interestingly, WMP provides a means of overriding what Windows thinks. As the KB article states:

To force the player to always assume that the player is connected to a network, follow these steps:
1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
2. On the Player tab, under Player settings, check the Connect to the Internet (overrides other commands) check box.

This worked. But it wasn't enough for me. I wanted to solve the underlying problem, since it could feasibly cause other issues in the future. At this point, I referred to unofficial FAQ, which suggests running the Windows Internet Connection Wizard. I then proceeded to run through the wizard, telling Windows that I wanted to connect to the internet, despite the fact that I was already connected to the Internet. But alas, now that Windows "knows", WMP "knows" too, and will play my Internet radio streams.

Anyhow, I'm not just posting this here to rant. On the contrary, I hope this post becomes searchable quickly, and provides other users experiencing this issue with better answers than Microsoft Product Support Services did for me.

As a sidenote, here's what I think is wrong about the entire end-to-end experience:

1. What appears to be the same issue is generating two different error messages that don't provide the same information. There's also apparently a third error message which probably has the same cause (at least has the same resolution) - see #6 below.

2. Instead of just telling the user the error message, the first error message tells the user to change context and perform an additional task to get access to the error message.

3. Changing context and performing that additional task doesn't work (items in the "Now Player" playlist don't have that option, and the item isn't in any other playlists if it was opened from File->Open URL).

4. The second WMP error message has a typo: "If the file is located a removable storage card"

5. Windows doesn't know whether or not it's connected to the Internet. Instead of fixing the problem in Windows, WMP had to add an option that essentially amounts to "Don't trust the information Windows gives me".

6. The PSS KB article with instructions to resolve the issue doesn't contain the text of either of the error messages I received. It contains the text of a 3rd error message, which apparently is the result of the same issue. Hence, searching for this KB article was pretty difficult. If we're going to remove error codes from our products, we had better get the right text in our knowledge base!

7. The PSS KB article with instructions to resolve the issue only contains the workaround telling WMP not to trust Windows. It doesn't suggest telling Windows that an Internet connection is present. The unofficial FAQ does.

8. Microsoft Product Support Services has really limited hours (this is for PAID support, no less).

I'll drop an email Monday morning to the WMP team about #s 1, 2, 3, and 4, an email to the Vista team about #5, and an email to PSS about #s 6 and 7. Since Vista and WMP 11 are due very soon, I'm hoping that on the offchance these issues haven't been identified, they can be fixed. *Crosses Fingers*

Goodbye, Slashdot. :-(

It's time to say goodbye. I've been reading you since I was a wee freshman in college - since '99 I suppose.

There aren't many web sites I can say I've been reading regularly for 7 years. But alas, in that time the web has evolved, and you have not.

Once upon a time, you were right up there on the bleeding edge. You were arguably one of the first blogs - focusing on a niche, challenging mainstream media.

But now, you're just another blog. A hodgepodge of information too broad to really nail what any individual reader might be looking for.

While other sites like Digg have taken advantage of collaborative filtering for story submission and promotion, and have incorporated all sorts of useful social software and search features like letting me subscribe to an rss feed for a topic or search, you have stagnated. And don't get me wrong, you still have one of the best moderation and meta-moderation systems out there. But how long has it been since it's evolved?

Your users love you so much that they go to great lengths of screen scraping to view your stories on topics they're interested in. Give them what they want, before it's too late!

While sites like Engadget have realized how important images and rich media are in their posts, yours are just boring text. My Bloglines subscription to your site hits the max of 200 unread posts, and all I'm left with is pages and pages of hodgepodges of boring unformatted text. ZZZzzz...

You may still have a fighting chance, dear Slashdot. You still have a loyal base of readers. Give them what they want. Heck, give them what they don't even know they want. And do it now, before they realize how uninterested they've become in you and wander away.. like me.

Best wishes. KIT.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Filing Bugs With Microsoft

This evening, by way of a Digg story, I came across a post on Tim's blog about his struggle in logging a bug against a Microsoft product.

It really pained me to read Tim's story. Here's a guy who's not only been incredibly aggravated by an issue with our software, but then went over and above to report the issue, only to be faced with a brick wall and a $35 (potentially $70) toll.

For all the talk my company has generated around transparency through initiatives like Channel 9 and Scoble's blog, it's unfortunate that experiences like Tim's still occur.

In his book Brand Harmony, Steve Yastrow talks about customer "touch points", and how experiences like Tim's will shape the way people perceive a company more than any other form of marketing. With the advent of blogs, and sites like Digg, experiences like this become even more significant.

My General Manager at Microsoft likes to say that "perception is reality". I'd argue that often times perception is in fact more relevant than reality.

In this case, people have begun to question whether Outlook's non-compliance with RFCs is actually a bug, or whether the request for compliance is a feature request. It doesn't matter. Either way, there should be some easy way for Tim to provide his feedback to the Outlook team.

One of the products my team at Microsoft ships is Microsoft Operations Manager. If you check out the MSDN Product Feedback Center (the first site Tim found when he searched the web for "microsoft bugs"), you'll notice that MOM is listed as one of the products for which you can provide feedback (in the form of bug reports or suggestions). Others can then search through these submissions, and 'vote' on issues they too find important. Each submission is automatically entered into our primary bug tracking system at Microsoft, and triaged by one of my teammates.

My team takes these bug reports and suggestions very seriously. We know how frustrating it would be to run into a problem with our software and then have no way to contact us.

I wish more teams would do the same, and I'll be firing off an email tonight to our company-wide 'improve' mailing list to that end, so that more product groups can read about Tim's experience and others like it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Web-To-Desktop Bundling?

I read an interesting piece today over on the Microsoft Monitor Blog by Joe Wilcox on "web-to-desktop bundling". Here's a quote:

Microsoft partners and competitors should be concerned by the integration. Windows is supposed to be a neutral development platform. Windows Live competes with many Microsoft partners (as well as competitors). Remember, Microsoft rebranded its MSN services as Windows Live for a reason. Those services are about enhancing Windows and generating more Windows upgrades. Way I see it, Windows Vista hooks to "Live" would favor Microsoft products and services, which isn't a neutral platform position.

Here's where I think the argument falls short:

1. Users expect their web browser to be capable of searching the web - out of the box.

Simple idea. You open your web browser and you expect to be able to search the web. You expect to see a search box which is connected to a search engine. You expect to be able to type something into the address bar and have a search performed if no address is found. This expectation has been set - by IE, by Firefox, by Safari.. the list goes on.

Is this "web-to-desktop bundling"? Maybe. Is it a bad thing? Absolutely not. Consumers expect their web browsers to have this functionality. And this is a prime example of integration between a desktop application and a service delivered over the web.

As long as the desktop app (in this case the web browser) is built to work with any web app (in this case the search engine), and visa-versa, then the issue really boils down to one of default configuration.

The barrier to switching search engines by changing the default configuration (usually by clicking a link on a web page or similar) is miniscule compared to let's say, installing a new piece of software.

2. If configuration defaults do matter, it's hardly Microsoft that you should be worried about.

IE, Firefox, Safari, and every other web browser come configured with a default home page, and a default search engine, to meet the user's expectation of the web browser being able to search the web.

However, when you buy your new Windows-based computer from Dell, your default home page is not MSN/Windows Live, and your default search engine is not MSN/Windows Live. If you've bought a new Dell recently, when you make a mistake typing in a url into the address bar in IE, you're taken to a Google search page. Guess who splits the revenue from the ads on that page: Google/Dell!

In the case of Windows Mobile devices, Microsoft almost never has control over the configuration defaults, because the OEM always installs Windows Mobile and has almost complete control over the defaults. So, for example, when you pick up your new Windows Mobile Treo, the search box on the front page also is configured by default to search Google (again, Palm/Google deal in effect).

So, while I would usually agree with Joe Wilcox's point that bundling is generally assurance of some success, I don't think it applies to what he refers to as "web-to-desktop bundling", where in reality, it's more and more the distributors (OEMs) that make the money off of default configuration, and not Microsoft, and where the barrier to switching is so low that it's arguably insignificant.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Powerpoint "12" Rocks!

Woohoo! 2:22AM on a Saturday night, and I've finally finished my Powerpoint deck for the presentation I'll be giving on Monday! Feels like college all over again.

I decided to go all out, and scrapped all of the slides I had initially thrown together. As one of my favorite professors in school used to say, "Always throw the first one out" -- of anything you build!

The new version is waaay cooler than the previous one. How?

1. It's written so as to completely hook the audience through tried-and-true story telling structure (with conflict, resolution, and all)!

2. It has zero bullet points.

3. It has a theme that ties together both the words and creative images throughout the deck.

4. It has interesting screenshots interspersed throughout the deck.

5. It still has enough technical content, mainly in the form of architecture diagrams, to meet the expectations of the technical members of the target audience.

This was also the first "real" presentation I've put together in Powerpoint "12" (soon to be Office 2007). All I've got to say is... Wow! Once folks start using this, they'll never be able to go back. Here's a review with some screenshots (warning: it's still beta, so the UI's not quite 100% polished).

Sidenote: The Office "IGX Graphics" are *awesome*. I have a friend who works on the IGX team, and until now, I had no idea how useful and amazing his product was.

In any event, after reading Beyond Bullet Points and put the ideas into action... I've gotta say... I totally buy in.

Let's see how Monday goes... time to sleep.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Coffee, anyone?

I took a huge bag of coins I'd been collecting for about 4 years now into the supermarket and pumped 'em into Coinstar.


203 quarters
854 dimes
508 nickels
2058 pennies

The grand total was $182.13. Not too shabby, considering it didn't include all the quarters that went to coin-op laundry back in Michigan!

But here's the kicker... if you take your profits in the form of a gift card instead of cash, you get to keep 100% of the amount you put in (only some machines support gift cards, so you should do an advanced search on first before running for the nearest supermarket).

So now I've got a $182.13 Starbucks card.

Coffee, anyone?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Like a Kid in a Candy Shop

By way of Mike's blog, I stumbled across a cool demo (skip to minute 2:40) of some stuff coming out of the Windows Automotive group.

My friend and former coworker Ted left my team to go work on this project last September. It's really exciting to see his project coming to life (though I have a feeling what's coming next from that group is going to be even more exciting)!

On a somewhat related note, my friend and current coworker and officemate, Steven, is moving over to the Windows Live Messenger team. He's gonna be working on the end-to-end user experience (so you'll probably see me stop ranting as I begin to email him instead every now and then). Steven's incredibly talented. He's one of those people that just "gets it". And, he's been an awesome officemate, so I'm really sad to see him leave my team.

Sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy shop. So much cool stuff going on left and right. It's hard to stay put!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Getting Things Done Without Bullets

I made time recently to read two really great books: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done and Beyond Bullet Points.

The first book, Execution, was given to my entire team at work by my Director. The underlying message I walked away with, which I completely buy into, is that while vision, strategy, planning, <insert other business stuff here> is important, nothing is as critical as the ability to execute. Moreover, an individual or a team's ability to execute is often incredibly difficult to gauge, and is regularly overlooked. Often, when things go wrong, we point the finger at market conditions -- or anything else outside of our control -- but rarely identify execution as a culprit.

The book's authors walk through what makes, and how to build, a culture of execution. At a high level, I took quite a bit away from the read. But, I'll probably need to give it another go 5-7 years down the road. The last 2/3rds focuses largely on hiring and operating strategies for the highest levels of the world's largest organizations. I felt a little out of the loop, not having interviewed any candidates for CEO positions lately. My other big complaint was that many of the anecdotes, while interesting, won't be memorable due to the omission of company names. Unfortunate.

The second book, Beyond Bullets, was a really fun read. It's one of those books that people have been talking about for ages, and that I finally got around to diving into.

Basically, bullets are boring. Stop trying to pack information into Powerpoint presentations in the form of bullets. Use Powerpoint to tell a story instead. People like stories. In fact, the book is written largely in the form of a story, which made for a very quick, engaging read. Cliff, the author, has a blog. Very interesting stuff.

A great blog post on presentations I came across is over on IA THINK, written by one of my friend Jill's coworkers. Also highly recommend checking that one out - contains lots of good links.

I have a big presentation to give at work next Monday to a sizeable group of people I've never met who are older and more experienced than I, including Directors way high above me in the organization. I'm weary of taking the chance and ditching bullets for a story-driven slide deck, but am strongly considering it at this point.

In general, giving presentations to large groups of unfamiliar people isn't one of my strongest competencies (yet). Anyone have any advice/suggestions for me?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Love The Infinite Scrollbar

While in Whistler snowboarding for a few days, I missed the launch of the latest enhancements to

While the site's still far from perfect (searching for "movies 98122" doesn't give me showtimes like Google or the old MSN Search, the MSN Shopping gadget that used to be on my page is now blank/broken, and other issues here and there), I've gotta say it's certainly improving every day.

And I've also gotta say.. I'm intrigued by the idea of launching many new features more and more often, even if they're not completely functional, available, or of the highest quality. It's certainly worked well for Myspace, which despite a large number of features not working much of the time, has been rather revolutionary among some demographics (for example, I don't think my little sister does email - if I want to send her a picture, I need to Myspace her). But alas, I'm rambling.. and oh could the first sentence of this paragraph be dangerous out of context. So back to

I like the clean look/feel of the search results page, and the integration across the other Windows Live services. And I love the infinite scrollbar - especially for image searches (though I still think that the "Zelda effect" is a better name ;).

I'm curious, is Microsoft the first to bring this effect to a web app? (If not, please do pardon my ignorance.)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Helio Has My Heart

I read an article in Wired Magazine a few days ago on Sky Dayton, the founder of Earthlink and Boingo, and his new venture, Helio:

Sky Dayton Gets Mobile

It really triggered one of those "Wow. I wish I was involved." emotional moments somewhere deep down inside. Their vision is right on. If they're able to execute, I'm truly excited about what they'll be bringing to US consumers (and personally, I wouldn't be able to resist a phone codenamed after YT - hehe).

There are a handful of large companies and small startups alike going after the vision of mobile social location-aware software. So why am I so excited about Helio specifically? They're going after the whole technology stack: device (oem rebranding), data service (mvno), and user apps (gifting/begging, etc) - and they're forging some really cool partnerships (i.e. myspace) along the way.

Going after the whole stack gives Helio the power to avoid some of the biggest challenges in providing next-gen mobile apps: incompatible device hardware, incompatible operating systems, various barriers to deployment of mobile software applications, carrier control over content distribution, location information, and other valuable information, etc (the list really does go on and on here, and any one of these can easily become a showstopper).

Partnering with Myspace not only gives Helio a market 'in', but also solves the challenge of building up network effects from scratch.

Anyhow, as a geek with a huge passion for mobile social location-aware software, I'm completely bought in to the Helio vision, and I'm intrigued/impressed by the mvno strategy. As Trump says, "Go Big or Go Home". Must be cool to be a startup with hundreds of millions of dollars in backing. :-)

(Here's some more recent coverage of Helio with cool pictures/details...)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

"Dealing With Darwin"

Ah, a good week since I've made time to post. It's not that I don't have a lot to say -- I DO! Life has just been insanely busy. At the end of the day, it's all about priorities.. and on a high note, I put 20 hours of coding time into Ping over the weekend. Alpha version should be done in just a few more weeks.

Today, Geoffrey Moore (he has a great blog!) came to talk to us at work. He's the author of the quite popular book Crossing the Chasm (which I highly recommend if you haven't read it), and also a bunch of other, newer books that deal quite a bit with "innovation".

Normally, I cringe when I hear people talk about innovation. It's usually used as a meaningless catchall buzzword that sounds nice. But Geoffrey knows his shit, and still has quite a bit of new, original thought on the subject.

I definitely recommend checking out the "Ideas In Action" section of his Dealing With Darwin book's web site.

And then... next time someone tells you how "innovative" something is... you can ask them, "How is it innovative? What type of innovation is it, exactly?" (At which point, there's a 99% chance they'll respond, "uhh.. it just is.." - you don't wanna be that guy, do you? That guy who uses "innovative" as a sexier word for "cool"?)