Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” [Wired, February 1996]
I latched onto this for a couple of reasons. One is that Jobs’ keynotes and persona often come across as ego-laden and overplay Apple’s implementation of existing technologies as “world changing”. I’ll leave that for the fanboys and haters to debate.
The more compelling reason this piqued my interest is that start-ups and the press that covers them (I’m looking at you TechCrunch) are obsessed with how these fledglings will change the world. In fact, there are two boilerplate templates about how start-ups pitch themselves:
1. Start-up X is the Y for Z. For example, YouPud is the YouTube for corporate sexual harassment videos.
2. Startup-up X is changing the world by … For example, MyNicheNetwork is changing the world by creating an online community of people who are left-handed and right-footed.
I think number one is the result of laziness. Not on behalf of the start-ups, but on behalf of the VCs. I would venture to bet that this format was borrowed from Hollywood, where new movie ideas are pitched as similes.
But it’s number two that really annoys me. In fact, it’s why I left YouNoodle in a huff. I got tired of so many start-ups pitching themselves as “changing the world”. Especially when they were targeting a very small niche, doing something that was easily emulated, or just copying another successful company. If you are doing any of these, you are not going to change the world (at least in a positive way).
But even if a company really is doing something new, unique, and innovative, it most likely WON’T change the world. There may be one company in a generation that really changes the world. An you know what, that’s OK. You don’t have to change the world to be successful, to make money, to impact the world.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I have been surprised at how capable my iPad 2 has been at content creation. The virtual keyboard and autocorrect are surprisingly efficient at capturing meeting notes, jotting down thoughts, etc.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have had a Motorola Xoom to play with as well. I have been using both my own iPad and the Xoom at work, alternating which I use at meetings. I’ve been astonished at how much better the iPad is at typing. It’s surprising, given that both keyboards are roughly the same size; actually the Xoom is slightly wider due to the screen aspect ration.
This is far from scientific, but as a demonstration, here are a few sentences I typed out on each tablet. The only corrections were autocorrect. I explicitly prohibited myself from using backspace:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation.
iPad: Four sore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation.
Xoom: Four score and seven years avoum our fathers brought fir kn thus continent a new nation.
The quick brown fox jumped over the two lazy dogs.
iPad: Te quickl brown fox jumped over the two lazy dogs.
Xoom: The quick briuwn fix jumlex over the two, az div.
Which is better, the apple keyboard or the android one?
iPad: Wich is heather, the apple keyboard of the andoird one?
Xoom: Which us better the aop,e mdybkarx ir the andkjd kind?
Why does the apple keyboard routinely miss the second letter of a word?
iPad: Why dos the apple keyboard routinely miss the second letter of a word?
Xoom: Why did the aooke keyboard routuneky miss the second letter if the word?
So many words typed on the android keyboard don’t even resemble real words. Why is that?
iPad: So may words tped on the android keyboard don’t even resemble real words. Why is that?
Xoom: So many words tyoed in the android keyboard don’t even resebke real word, why is that?
So far it looks like the biggest problem on the apple keyboard is missed keystrokes.
iPad: So fear it looks like the biggest or Len on the apple keyboard is missed keystrokes.
Xoom: So far t kijs like the biggest lripen in the aooke keyboard us missed meystrijds.
No doubt there are plenty of typos is both. But the iPad performed significantly better than the Android tablet. It also appears that the Android spell-check is a Scandinavian person who hates Apple. In three attempts at typing the word “apple” on the Android keyboard, all three failed. Conspiracy?