Daily Archives: February 9, 2006

Congrats Shel on a bevy of DemoGod awards

Congrats to my co-author Shel Israel for helping three companies bring home DemoGod awards. What’s funny is that a week ago Shel was telling me he was preparing for his worst Demo Conference ever. Seems that one of his companies (that won a prestigious DemoGod) had technology that just wasn’t working out. They got their act together (it worked for the first time hours before Demo). I love that!

It reminds me of when I was on TechTV (a live TV show) and was showing NetMeeting to the world for the first time (way before I was a Microsoft employee). We couldn’t make the network work, which is pretty much a requirement for VoIP technology (NetMeeting was the Skype of 1995). It literally started working 50 seconds before airtime. I recently went back and watched the tape and I had a huge smile on my face. What a relief!

Anyway, congrats to all the companies who won DemoGod awards. Giving a good Demo is hard. I’m gonna try to do one tomorrow at MooseCamp (part of the Northern Voice conference).

Bloggers “bought off” by Fon? Not me…

Um, I see an article in the Wall Street Journal about some bloggers who are getting compensated by Fon for being part of their board of directors or advisors or stuff like that. Their “hype” of Von is being called into question.

For the record, if I receive compensation (or free stuff) from a company other than Microsoft I will disclose that. I’ve been offered a lot of board seats and stuff lately and I’ve turned them down. Why? Cause I work for Microsoft. Getting approval to do those kinds of things just takes too much work and, anyway, it complicates my life too much at the moment and it’s hard enough to keep track of the bias that being a Microsoft employee places on me.

Anyway, I have not gotten any compensation by Fon. In fact, it is funded by competitors of Microsoft. So, when I say it’s an interesting idea and one that I wish we had funded too, you can see I’m being straight up.

That said, bloggers, we need to disclose our conflicts of interest up front (and I would put a disclaimer on everything you write about such a company). Next week I’ll be skiing for free at a Colorado Resort, for instance. I will disclose that and will remind you of my conflict if I write anything about that resort (Steve Broback of Blog Business Summit arranged a trip for several bloggers to try out the resort’s amenities).

More commentary on this issue is linked to on Memeorandum.

Joel warns entrepreneurs

This is a good warning for entrepreneurs. Think that getting talked about on blogs is a good thing? Joel Spolsky says that this could work against you (talks about 30 Boxes that I found interesting). I don’t agree with Joel’s thesis that people only give companies one chance, but you could have guessed that.

That just hasn’t been proven by history. Lots of products sucked on the first version and then later on went on to be great businesses. Both Macintosh 1984 edition and Windows 1.0 sucked raw eggs, for instance.

It took my dad at least 50 tries before he switched from AltaVista to Google. He thought Google sucked raw eggs when he first saw it.

I found this comment pretty funny, though: “So people aren’t really building calendars to sell to people like me who need calendars: they’re building calendar companies to sell to Yahoo!, which, for some reason, has given up on the old concept of hiring programmers to write code, and is going with this new age concept of buying entire companies on the hopes that they might contain a good programmer or two, which, by the way, is a sure sign of trouble for a technology company.”

I keep hearing that companies like these are built to flip, but when you talk with entrepreneurs in this space, they tell me that’s not their motivation. Now, of course if someone comes and waves a check in their face I’m sure they’ll at least sit down and talk, but that doesn’t seem to be driving the folks behind 30 folders (I asked, believe me!)

Truth is big companies don’t acquire companies unless they have something useful. Believe me, I’m pushing to get a few companies acquired and it’s REALLY HARD. There’s one company that a group of us have been pushing to get acquired and we’ve been working on that for more than a year.

If you really want to get acquired you better be prepared to go it all the way by yourself first. In fact, what makes an acquisition more likely? One thing: a growing pool of passionate customers.

There’s nothing that gets executives at big companies excited more. (Look at the other acquisitions Yahoo has made, for instance. Del.icio.us. Flickr. Or look at the ones Google has made. Google Earth. Picasa. They all had growing pools of passionate customers/users).

More commentary on Joel’s post is linked to over on Memeorandum.

Edgeio opens new era in blogging…

I got an early look at Edgeio a few months back at one of those famous TechCrunch parties but I was sworn to secrecy. I see that Dave Winer is part of the Edgeio team as well and that he has a link to a BusinessWeek article about it (the article is here). It’s the first of several services (I guess CoComment could be counted in there) that give bloggers more services without forcing them to run off to another walled garden somewhere else.

My blog is MY garden. I love this trend. Let me do more from my blog, no matter where I am.

That’s exactly what Edgeio does. It lets me sell things right on my blog by tagging them. Now I have two groups of sellers who’ll see my listing. Buyers who are over on the Edgeio service. And my readers.

This could attack the lockin strategies that many companies try to employ. Including the one I work for. That makes this a trend to watch.

More commentary on Edgeio is over on Memeorandum.