My daily readings 03/03/2010

  • tags: no_tag

  • tags: no_tag

    • When Bitnik, Inc was created, our founders envisioned making great software for real people and giving users the power to edit digital photos in their browser, without having to purchase or download complicated software. While our first office in 2005 only had two desks, today we’ve grown to 20 employees and have become the world’s most fun online photo editor, with millions of visitors every month. As we’ve grown together over the years, we’ve worked hard to build a company of great people creating great software. We think our emphasis on strong partnerships, a fun culture and you, our users, is what has made Picnik so awesome.
    • Picnik is a fast, fun, easy to use and powerful set of photo editing tools for editing, sharing and printing images using any internet browser on any computer platform. Picnik is integrated with a wide variety of websites like Picasa Web Albums, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo! Mail and Photobucket. With Picnik, you can edit your photos wherever they are from wherever you are.
  • tags: PR

    • These days, it seems like just about every start-up founder has a blog, and 99 percent of these bloggers are doing it wrong. The problem? They make the blog about themselves, filling it with posts announcing new hires, touting new products, and sharing pictures from the company picnic. That’s lovely, darling — I’m sure your mom cares. Too bad nobody else does. Most company blogs have almost no readers, no traffic, and no impact on sales. Over time, the updates become few and far between (especially if responsibility for the blog is shared among several staff members), and the whole thing ceases to become an important source of leads or traffic.
    • o really work, Sierra observed, an entrepreneur’s blog has to be about something bigger than his or her company and his or her product. This sounds simple, but it isn’t. It takes real discipline to not talk about yourself and your company. Blogging as a medium seems so personal, and often it is. But when you’re using a blog to promote a business, that blog can’t be about you, Sierra said. It has to be about your readers, who will, it’s hoped, become your customers. It has to be about making them awesome.
    • If you’re opening a restaurant, don’t blog about your menu. Blog about great food. You’ll attract foodies who don’t care about your restaurant yet.

      If you make superior, single-source chocolate, don’t write about that great trip you took to the Dominican Republic to source cocoa beans. That’s all about you. Instead, write the definitive article about making chocolate-covered strawberries. For the next 10 years, whenever a gourmand or a baker searches Google for a recipe on how to make chocolate-covered strawberries, he or she will find your post. Helping your users make awesome chocolate-based confections is likely to attract readers who might buy fancy chocolate, and that’s the point of a successful blog. Writing about trips to the Dominican Republic is going to attract only people who might want to travel to the Dominican Republic. Unless you’re selling that, you shouldn’t be blogging about it.

      In retrospect, Joel on Software was essentially a small, perfectly targeted magazine for programmers with a certain pragmatic philosophy toward software development. It was also free advertising for my company, but the advertising actually looked a lot more like editorial content than anything else; the most popular post I ever wrote, for example, was about how technology companies should never, ever rewrite their code from scratch.

    • Of course, blogging took a ton of my time: It is a manual, labor-intensive, homemade way to reach customers. All told, the work I’ve put into the website and related books, training videos, conferences, and even this column has probably accounted for about a third of the total work I’ve put into Fog Creek Software over the past decade. That’s three or four years of my work life.

      Was it worth it? Should you blog?

    • So, having become an Internet celebrity in the narrow, niche world of programming, I’ve decided that it’s time to retire from blogging. March 17, the 10th anniversary of Joel on Software, will mark my last major post. This also will be my last column for Inc. For the most part, I will also quit podcasting and public speaking. Twitter? “Awful, evil, must die, CB radio, sorry with only 140 chars I can’t tell you why.

      The truth is, as much as I’ve enjoyed it, blogging has become increasingly impossible to do the way I want to as Fog Creek has become a larger company. We now have 32 employees and at least six substantial product lines. We have so many customers that I can’t always write freely without


      inadvertently insulting one of them. And my daily duties now take so much time that it has become a major effort to post something thoughtful even once or twice a month.

    • My hope is that giving up blogging and the rest of it will be the equivalent of making a cross-eyed kid wear an eye patch on his good eye for a while: The weaker eye will grow stronger. My company needs to get better at what every other company already knows — how to promote and market products without depending on one single channel. We’ve completely saturated a small slice of the target market, and now we have to go after a much larger group of potential customers.
  • tags: ipad, idea

    • Programmers may never want a computer they don’t control, but
      ordinary people just want something cheap that works. And that’s
      how the iPad will seem to them. Many will never make a
      conscious decision to switch. They’ll get an iPad as well, then
      find they use their Windows machine less and less. When it dies
      they won’t replace it.

      Will this future happen? It could. And if it does it will bring
      big changes. There will need to be iPad alternatives for all the
      things people now do on PCs. That could mean more than just replacing
      all the desktop software, because there may be things PC users now
      do with web apps that might be better done with native iPad apps.

      Plus like any new platform the iPad will allow
      types of
      that don’t have any present day


      analogues. And no one
      knows now what most of them will be. Only people who become iPad
      developers will even think of these ideas, just as only microcomputer
      developers were in a position to think of the spreadsheet. Education
      and games may be areas where there are a lot of new ideas.

  • tags: iPad

    • When considering revolutionary new products, we can not simply compare them with existing products, but must instead compare them with the products that don’t yet exist, but should. For example, the PC was more than just an expensive, hard-to-use typewriter — it was a whole new thing that just happened to have some typewriter features. Obviously this comparison is much more difficult than the “count the checkboxes” approach that we like to use when evaluating the “better mousetrap”, but it’s critical if we’re going to understand or create anything truly new.
    • I have no idea what Apple is planning to release, but to me the revolutionary product need is in bridging the virtual and physical worlds. If you spend your entire day in front of the computer, this need may not seem real, but if you move between the two worlds you may notice that they are strangely disconnected.
    • Imagine if I instead had a simple (built-in) gesture for passing the photo off to person standing next to me, and it were just as easy as handing them a real photo.
    • However, you can get some ideas by thinking of the marketing cliche where two people are standing around a computer collaborating on something, taking quick notes, working off a recipe, etc. Those images occur in marketing because they are appealing, but they don’t occur much in real life because our existing devices and software are awful. Current laptop computers are too bulky, awkward, and keyboard centric (the ui needs to be gesture-centric), and the iPhone is too small and limited. I want something about the size of a notepad that can be used naturally while standing up and walking around, just like an actual pad of paper, except that it’s fully integrated with the virtual world as well as the physical world.
    • I’ve wanted a pen tablet to replace my paper notebook for some time. I haven’t seen anyone mention the pen. I can imagine a screen good enough so that any conductive pen tip would work, which would be awesome.

      The laptop is really a transportable computer. You can take it from A to B, and use it in both places, but only awkwardly in between. You can’t use it on the go like an iphone. You can’t easily use it standing up. Note all those folks at conferences who sit against walls, typing away. I can use my paper notebook standing. I can show something on it (or a whiteboard) to communicate with others. I can rip off a page and give it to someone.

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

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