Critical Section


Thursday,  06/16/05  11:35 PM

Remember Rageboy?  Well Christopher Locke is still around, now posting as the Chief Blogging Officer.  He is a great writer.  And his tagline on rageboy was - well, still is - "where we write at night when we should be sleeping, and it shows".  I think of that often, as I sit at my keyboard, at 11:30 at night...  Yeah, I'm, well, you know, and yeah, it shows.  What can I say?

Steve JobsSteve Jobs delivered Stanford's 2005 commencement speech.  "You've got to find what you love."  This is an awesome speech, even on paper; I sure wish I was there to hear him give it, as great as he is in person.  "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."  [ via The New Editor ]

This is a wonderful, positive, enthusiastic speech.  Perfect for college graduates moving into the next phase of their lives.  Isn't it sad when people abuse the honor and responsibility of giving a commencement speech and use it as a forum for their selfish political views?

Paul GrahamPaul Graham explains How to start a startup.  "You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible."  This seems exactly right to me.  The last part is the hardest, because the enemy of every startup is time.  And spending money often saves you time.  The hardest decisions in a young business are the trade-offs between spending money and spending time.  Anyway it is an excellent read, check it out!

Joel SpolskyJoel Spolsky criticizes Microsoft ("The best recruiting department in the world can't make people want to work at a company that's moribund and can't figure out how to ship a compelling upgrade to their flagship OS..."), and Robert Scoble criticizes Joel ("Our stock price is flat, yes, but new employees get given stock that vests over several years.  What do your new employees get?  Options?  Nothing?").  All fuel for a great discussion thread.

Robert ScobleRobert's greatest asset as a blogger, and as a public face of Microsoft, is his ability to “take a punch”.  I totally admire him for it; he is an inspiration to me.  I mean that seriously.  When someone criticizes me or my company, I think of him, and try to respond the way he would respond.

So here's the bottom line.  Joel is right, and Robert knows it, and that makes him defensive.  Understand, I am not a Microsoft basher.  I'm a critic, but I'm trying to be a constructive critic.

Microsoft is in trouble.  For being the best software company ever, surely the most successful, it really is in trouble.  In Warren Buffet’s most recent address to his shareholders, he commented: “Some people seem to think there's no trouble [with Ford and GM] just because it hasn't happened yet.  If you jump out the window at the 42nd floor and you're still doing fine as you pass the 27th floor, that doesn't mean you don't have a serious problem.”  This is true for MS, too.

On the Windows front, it is a fact that people haven't upgraded from 2000 to XP.  It is a fact that it has been four years since XP, and Longhorn is still two years away.  It is a fact that features are being pulled out of Longhorn, I'm not sure what the compelling features are going to be.  Etc.

On the Office front, it is a fact that people haven't upgraded from 2000 to XP, or from XP to 2003.  It is a fact that it has been two years since 2003, and that Office 12 is still two years away.  I don't know what the compelling features of Office 12 are going to be (XML file formats? yawn.)  Etc.

The best thing Microsoft can do is to be honest about these issues and try to address them.  That’s what Robert usually does, and I'm sure he’s going to do in the future.  The worst thing they can do is pretend there aren't really any problems.

CNet reports Apple has trademarked "Numbers".  A spreadsheet?  Could be.  Along with Keynote, Pages, and Mail, that would pretty much give them a Microsoft Office equivalent.  And soon, it will be running on Intel computers.  Yeah, if I'm Microsoft, I'm worried...

Robert X. CringleyRobert X. Cringley follows up on his Apple on Intel article; this time he reports on The Osborne Effect.  "Sometimes what everyone remembers is wrong."  This is terrific stuff; I'm so glad what everyone remembers is wrong.  Osborne lost out because they delivered a worse product for more money, not because they preannounced a better product.  I also like that Robert thinks kind of like I did; Apple is focused on delivering online video, and the Intel deal is part of that strategy.

Another great example where "what everyone remembers is wrong" is VHS vs Betamax.  What everyone remembers is that VHS won despite being inferior to Beta.  But the truth is that while Beta's video quality was superior, its recording time was inferior; VHS enabled recordings up to 6 hours long, whereas Beta only recorded 2 hours.  People wanted to be able to tape a 2 1/2 hour movie or a 4 hour ballgame.  So VHS won because it was superior.

Russell BeattieToday's conspiracy theory: Russell Beattie ponders Apple and Nokia: Who approached who?  "The situation then is that Apple has learned from past mistakes of relying on Motorola too tightly (think CPUs) and is looking around for other top-tier manufacturers to help them with their vision of the perfect mobile companion to OSX: the proverbial and mythical iPhone."  The iPhone, eh?  Sure, why not...

Mark CubanMark Cuban slams Macrovision.  "Now maybe I’m reading this wrong, but the way I understand it, the CEO of Macrovision, a company that sells copy protection software to DVD publishers, is sending out a press release saying…  'Our software doesn’t work.  It sucks.  We can’t stop a bunch of little companies from writing software that completely busts our copy protection that we are selling for millions of dollars to publishers.'"  I love Mark.

GNXP discusses The opportunity costs of affirmative action.  Eh, don't get me started...  If you're interested check out the comments as well as the blog post.

Yucaipa - 5.3 earthquakeDid you feel it?  I didn't.  But we had a 5.3 Earthquake out here...  Coming on the heels of a 5.2 in Idyllwild last Sunday.  I never know whether to feel good ("they're relieving the pressure") or worried ("they're harbingers of a big one").  Anyway I'm glad I didn't feel it.

Cassiopeia!And out your left window you can see - Cassiopeia!  Whoa.

 

 

 

 

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