My daily readings 02/03/2010

  • tags: eReader

    • Like many people, I have the Stanza app installed on my iPhone. Made by Lexycle (acquired by Amazon last year), Stanza is a free app for iPhone and iPod Touch that serves as a gateway to a library of more than 100,000 ebooks for easy reading on the go.
  • tags: entrepreneur

  • tags: idea

  • tags: no_tag

  • tags: search, mashup

  • tags: Startup, entrepreneur

  • tags: no_tag

    • Applications have a natural tendency to grow. If you don’t pay attention, what started out as an elegant, simple application that perfectly solves a single problem, can quickly turn into a huge behemoth of an application that solves a ton of problems, but solves all of them poorly. Features are always more complex than you think, and many small features quickly add up to one large mess.
    • Novelty Knife
    • Each of our books, for example, covers fewer topics than its closest competitors. Yet we outsell all of them, and part of that is precisely because we cover less. Our readers learn fewer topics, but nail the important ones, and it turned out that for most people, nailing it was more important than reading it. Our readers put their trust in us to work hard at finding and focusing on what really matters, and brutally cutting the cognitive overload that comes with the rest, and we try not to let them down.

      Be brave. And besides, continuing to pile on new features eventually leads to an endless downhill slide toward poor usability and maintenance. A negative spiral of incremental improvements. Fighting and clawing for market share by competing solely on features is an unhealthy, unsustainable, and unfun way to live.

    • Here’s the thing about the power users and developers I know: they use a lot of apps. They manage a lot of complexity already. They often have a few powerful apps (Xcode, Photoshop, Final Cut, Excel, whatever) that they use to get their work done.

      They’re not sitting around wishing for more complexity. Quite the opposite! But they do wish that some apps fit them better. And in many cases they wish for less complexity.

  • tags: no_tag

    • The size of their tablet in the video makes it look closer to something like MS Surface than a ‘tablet’ device.
    • Et tu, Google?

      I had grown used to Microsoft reflexively competing with whatever led the tech headlines that month, whether it was Zune coming out to combat iPod, Surface and Zune Phone to combat iPhone, multiple attempts to combat Google, and so forth.

      Part of this is simply having a shotgun approach, which is a cheap way to diversify your business. After reading The Road Ahead, I got the distinct impression, based on Gates’ appraisal of Wang, that his greatest fear for Microsoft was to stay stuck in one product line and be made obsolete by the next big thing, which partially explains the shotgun strategy and even the trend-jumping strategy. Still, it comes off as desperate for Microsoft to respond in kind to each new product category that makes news, like they are trying to prove their relevance. Secure companies which really do innovate don’t need to imitate and they don’t need to try so hard to prove their relevance.

      Google, too, always had a shotgun approach by design, but seeing this makes me worry that Google is following Microsoft into the hole of mimicking whatever the big news is at the time. I don’t think that road pays off. It’s the exact opposite of what Google started off doing–improving a boring and forgotten part of the internet ecosystem–and it’s the exact opposite of Apple’s strategy. (If Microsoft and Google are shotguns, Apple is a sniper rifle carefully picking off market opportunities no one else really sees that well.)

    • I agree (I made the video). There is actually bunch of thinking behind it, but we’re leaving it rough because we don’t want to pretend we’re developing high-detail specs just yet, as doing so tends to lock you in to a certain approach – we really do prefer to experiment in code.

      The point of the Chromium site is not to sell, but to be pretty open about what we’re doing and what we’re thinking early in the process so that our external contributors, who we value highly, can get access to the same information that our internal teams can and so that they don’t get surprised by sudden public changes in direction.

      It’s a tough balance – not over-specifying yet being open, especially when people are used to everything a company puts out being a high-definition advertisement. This open development style is still new to me, and hope we’ll get better at it with practice.

      (FWIW, this is all personal opinion, not Google’s).

  • tags: virality

  • tags: Startup, entrepreneur

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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