Google gets pragmatic and enters China
This seems to be a week for interesting controversies to bubble up in the Internet space. Earlier in the week it was all about Yahoo! Search and Google (see my article What do Yahoo, Apple and Ferrari have in common? for more on that tempest in a teapot) and today it's all about Google again, but this time relating to one of the most basic ethical questions not just in business, but in life itself:
Do you stand on your principles and potentially fail, or do you compromise and profit?
The specific issue du jour is whether Google should have launched its Google China site, which has restrictions and filters on the results shown to comply with Chinese government regulations. Google frames the discussion on its blog here: Google in China, and even Bill Gates gets into the debate at the Davos conclave when he defended China's Internet restrictions by saying that the Internet "is contributing to Chinese political engagement" as "access to the outside world is preventing more censorship".
Are they right, or are they wrong?
Continue Reading "Google gets pragmatic and enters China"
Are the new Intel-based Macs faster, or not?
There's been a lot of debate in the computer world about whether the new Intel-based "Mactel" Mac desktop systems are actually two times faster than Motorola-based G5 Macs and Mactel laptops are four times faster than G4 Mac laptops as Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated when unveiling these revolutionary devices a few weeks ago.
The fastest critic out of the door has been Jason Snell over at Macworld, with his article stating that Intel-based iMacs are fast, but gains don't match Apple's claims. Jason says that they found applications only ran 10-15% faster than on Motorola systems.
But I've never known Steve "reality distortion field" Jobs to lie, so there must be some basis for his comments that the iMac runs twice as fast with Intel chips, right? As a result, when my friend and colleague David Geller of WhatCounts commented that their apps are running on the Mactel system, I couldn't resist asking him how the migration effort had gone and what kind of performance result they were seeing.
Q: The application is written in Java. Did you find that Java met its promise of write once, run anywhere, or did you have to tweak and change your code to work on the new Mactel platform?
Yes, our entire ASP and back-end solution is written in Java. No code changes were required since Sun's Java JVM had already been ported to the Intel platform and released as a Universal (fat) binary on the new systems. Java has long fulfilled its promise for write-once run everyone on the server level. Our platform runs on Linux, Windows 2003 and Mac OS X. For most of our customers, though, they're hitting our ASP site which is running our code across many servers.
Continue Reading "Are the new Intel-based Macs faster, or not?"
Q&A with the Lincoln Sign Company: Does your blog work?
I like to occasionally ask small business bloggers how things are going and whether the efforts they're putting into blogging are paying off. This time, I chatted with J.D. Iles, head of the Lincoln Sign Company, whose Typepad blog can be found at Signs Never Sleep. I'm sure J.D. will be happy to answer any additional questions posted here too, if there's something you'd like to ask him.
Q: Tell me about the world of signage, to start. How many signs do you produce a week, and for how many companies, on average?
Well, the first thing that you need to understand, is that the sign industry is very different from what people expect. 80% of sign companies in the US are small, sometimes home-based "mom and pop" type shops (as we are, but don't call me POP!).
We have 3 full-time (including me but I don't really do all that much) and three part-time employees. At any one-time we might be working on 15-25 signs at once, and a few actually leave the shop at the end
Continue Reading "Q&A with the Lincoln Sign Company: Does your blog work?"
What do Yahoo, Apple and Ferrari have in common?
The blogosphere is abuzz about the quote from Yahoo's CFO Susan Decker to Bloomberg News (as run in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer) about Yahoo! search and Google. First, here's her exact quote:
"We don't think it's reasonable to assume we're going to gain a lot of share from Google," Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview. "It's not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share."
It's no surprise that not only are industry analysts misinterpreting this quote, but so are lots of bloggers too. Steve Rubel is probably getting the most visibility with his colorful comment that "Yahoo cedes search to Google and so do I", but a quick glance at memeorandum shows that this is just the beginning of the misinterpretation and cloudy thinking...
Continue Reading "What do Yahoo, Apple and Ferrari have in common?"
What's better for networking, LinkedIn or Blogging?
On the ever-interesting LinkedIn Bloggers discussion list, Konstantin Guericke, VP of Marketing of LinkedIn, posted a fascinating response to a question posted by author Scott Allen about whether having your own blog is a better networking tool than the popular LinkedIn site.
Here's what Konstantin said (published with permission, including some interesting hints of what's coming next from LinkedIn too):
It's really just a matter of definitions. When we initially said "networking tool" we meant what LinkedIn was designed to do -- not replicate what was already working well on mailing lists, Web sites (now blogs), networking sites and in offline networking events.
We sometimes called this internally "fishbowl" networking: anybody can see anybody else, and you easily approach people directly or make yourself good-looking, so people will want to approach you. While not every approach was welcome, in general people opt into being on mailing lists, have a blog or attend offline networking events and so the "hit" rate in terms of getting into a dialogue are much better than when you walk down the street and try to engage a stranger.
Continue Reading "What's better for networking, LinkedIn or Blogging?"
My Latest Book: "Let Go To Grow: Escaping the Commodity Trap"Let Go To Grow: Escaping the Commodity Trap, co-written by IBM exec Linda Sanford.
In the book, we wrestle with the question of how does a company succeed in a commoditized market segment. Included in the book are case studies of a number of innovative companies, notably BMW, JC Penny, IBM, Proctor & Gamble and Eli Lilly.
Linda just published a viewpoint in the January 9th edition of BusinessWeek that I reproduce here. It's an eloquent and thoughtful presentation of our book's thesis.
Continue Reading "My Latest Book: "Let Go To Grow: Escaping the Commodity Trap""
What makes a truly great public speaker?
As a frequent speaker and workshop presenter I was recently asked by a colleague whether I thought he should ask for any sort of speaking fee for keynoting an industry conference and what I thought were the key elements of a really dynamite presentation. I thought my answer might be of greater interest.
First off, speaking-fee wise, I can't see how it would hurt to ask "is there an honorarium available"? I have received honorariums from organizations by just asking.
Seriously, if you're a world-class speaker, don't hesitate to ask for money and don't hesitate to be straight with them: "I'd love to keynote your event, but if you're expecting 1000 attendees and charging them $495/head, then I am sure that you'll agree that a $2500 honorarium is more than reasonable?" (or, don't share the calculations, but do 'em anyway before you talk with them).
Or say "I'm very interested, but as I'll lose a day of consulting time, and I charge $1000/day, I'd like to receive equivalent compensation if you can work it into your budget".
Continue Reading "What makes a truly great public speaker?"
Adesso and the challenge of quality control
Perhaps the explanation for my experiences with Adesso keyboards is as simple as my having a heavy hand, but still, it's hard to know what conclusions to draw when product after product fails from a company.
But let me start at the beginning, or at least near the beginning.
Apple used to make a really great ergonomic keyboard that not only split, but let you actually adjust the center angle of the board to fit the width of your shoulders and natural keyboarding posture. A wonderful device and I went through two of them, never thinking to stockpile a few extras before they decided to discontinue the product.
When the last of those started to fail on me, I scoured online shopping sites, local stores and even the Apple Store itself, looking for a really good ergonomic replacement that was Mac-friendly. The best choice I could find was the Adesso AKB-805MAC, so I bought one.
Continue Reading "Adesso and the challenge of quality control"
It's virtual moving day for intuitive.com!
I've been planning to move my domain name onto a new server for months and today's the day that it's happening. If you're seeing this blog entry, congratulations, you're seeing my new server.
The hiccup, however, is that there are apparently some glitches in the new email configuration, so if you try to send me mail and it fails to survive the trip - or I don't answer for an inordinately long period of time - please contact me on my alternate address of d1taylor at Google's gmail.com site.
And, hopefully, we'll get everything worked out in the next day or two!
Why I won't be buying a Lenovo X41 Tablet PC
Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while know that Lenovo generously loaned me one of their hot new X41 Tablet PC notebook computers to try out for a few months, and that my experiences have been mixed. I really like the form factor (what's not to like about a 3lb computer?) and I am highly impressed with Windows for Tablet PC, but after spending a few months with the X41 system, I'm ready to send it back to Lenovo.
There are a number of problems I've encountered with the unit, but none greater than the performance issue. My expectations of an ultralight are obviously less than a full-size PC laptop, but the performance of the Lenovo X41 is really quite terrible, and the battery performance is even worse. Some of these issues might well be to do with the settings of the computer, but I'm quite a savvy technologist and have spent hours tweaking and tuning the system for the best possible results.
Continue Reading "Why I won't be buying a Lenovo X41 Tablet PC"
The future of sales? Affiliates
I just returned from the splendid Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada (conveniently held immediately after the huge Consumer Electronics Show) where I gave a well-attended business blogging workshop, and was fascinated by the wide range of affiliate programs available to interested publishers. Over 1,200 attendees were excited about affiliate programs too.
There were a wide range of attendees, but it was surprisingly common to meet someone who earned $10,000 or more monthly from their efforts to help other companies sell products or services, ranging from books and music to credit cards and even gambling (and, yes, porn, but those folk were careful to stay away from the light of day).
It was good timing, therefore, when I noticed today that PR Leads forwarded along a query from a freelance writer seeking experts to discuss technologies that are "changing the sales profession."
Continue Reading "The future of sales? Affiliates"
You know it's a CES commodity when...
One of the most interesting things about attending the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show is seeing the increasing speed at which technologies are becoming commodities in this space. Technologies that even a few years ago were extraordinary state-of-the-art are now just another ho-hum technology that every company in the world produces.
A great example of this is 50-75-inch high definition plasma television sets: last time I checked this product segment there were really only four or five credible vendors, all the biggest electronic firms: Sony, Samsung, Philips, etc. This year at CES, however, there were at least twenty
That, of course, is the very definition of a commodity: when it's impossible to differentiate between vendor offerings based on capabilities. IBM exec Linda Sanford and I just wrote a book about this topic, Let Go To Grow, so this is a subject near to my heart and, frankly, one that I think is quite important to the long-term economic health of our country.
Continue Reading "You know it's a CES commodity when..."
Microsoft partners with MCI for VOIP? Smart move!
I got a very interesting email from Microsoft this evening, inviting me to try out the Windows Live Messenger Beta. I'm not a particularly big fan of instant message clients, generally, as I find IMing to be a massive time-sink and generally avoid it, but I was intrigued by the two new features highlighted in the message:
In terms of my earlier comment about Insular, Proprietary VOIP Solutions it's a very interesting example of one of Microsoft's key strategies:
If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em or partner with 'em.
Now, hmmm, who are they worried about when they add a VOIP capability to their IM client?
Continue Reading "Microsoft partners with MCI for VOIP? Smart move!"
VOIP doesn't create silos, users create silos
I'm usually a big fan of Om Malik's superb GigaOm weblog, but today he's posted a bit of a rant about the evolutionary steps that we're seeing with Voice over IP (VOIP) companies at the Consumer Electronics Show that I think is just wrong.
First off, go read his commentary: Enough of these damn VoIP silos.
Now, before I explain why he's wrong, let me briefly describe my own VOIP setup, because it's quite relevant. I am using the small Canadian VOIP provider Vbuzzer for my office line, as I've written about before (see Is VOIP ready for small business? and Business VOIP solutions are too complex). I'm not using it as what industry folk call a "softphone", though, where it relies on my computer, I'm instead using a slick little Sipura device, the SPA-3000, to hook directly into my local area network.
Continue Reading "VOIP doesn't create silos, users create silos"
Philips Entertaible: terrible name, way cool product
I haven't even gotten to the Consumer Electronics show yet this week but already I'm seeing some very cool stuff being introduced. In the mix of online music stores, new headphones, GPS systems, yet more MP3 players and more, there's a very weird and incredibly cool new device that Philips Electronics is introducing called the Entertaible.
How on earth they came up with this name is baffling to me - it's terrible - but they've been working on this for a while at the Philips research labs in Denmark. In fact, they have a Web site for the Entertaible where you can learn more, but let me quote from their press release instead...
Continue Reading "Philips Entertaible: terrible name, way cool product"
Of lazy journalists and wanton plagiarism
As a teacher, I have spent a lot of time reading up on, thinking about, and debating plagiarism. Where is the line between being inspired by someone else's work and the theft of intellectual property? It's not always so easy to figure out.
On the other hand, as my friend and colleague Randy Cassingham can attest, sometimes plagiarism is so glaring that it's almost embarassing for the other party. And if it's a national news publication that's stealing content, well, the best I can say is that it's just another mark against the so-called journalism professional.
Here's the story...
Continue Reading "Of lazy journalists and wanton plagiarism"
Elsewhere in my
Latest Entries at
The Business Blog