Zoho: the office disrupters

Zoho. Never heard of it? You will. They were just named to PC World’s top 100 products of 2007 list and on Tuesday they released Zoho Notebook, an app that lets you take notes, record audio, and interact with people during meetings. Anyway, I just put up an interview with the CEO.

UPDATE: here’s a separate video where I get a demo of Zoho Notebook.

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How is Xbox Marketed?

On Monday I recorded a speech by Jeff Bell, Vice President of Global Marketing at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. You know, the Xbox folks. He’s a good speaker, gets a little “salesy” but gives lots of good detail in how they are marketing Xbox.

Oh, and someone whispered in my ear that there will be a new Zune this year. I was told to “think widescreen.” Hmmm.

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Why Scott Guthrie is cool

Scott Guthrie runs a bunch of developer tools teams at Microsoft. Why is he cool? Well, head over to Eirepreneur for the details. This is an advertisement. One that we’re passing around. Red vs. Blue (machinima video based on Halo) is so fun.

They do these little commercials and it’s pretty lucrative too. If I remember right they did one for the PDC a few years back when I worked at Microsoft and Microsoft paid quite a bit for them to do it.

Googlers going to do themselves in?

Robert Cringley writes a provocative post about Google’s 20% time and that it’ll cause problems in the future as employees get frustrated that their ideas aren’t getting implemented.

I think he underestimates what’s going on inside Google.

First, did you know that every employee has access to the source code? All of it? I don’t know of any other company of Google’s size that gives every employee access to every source code asset. For developers this is like being in the coolest sandbox in the world.

So, an employee could build a pretty darn interesting system on his/her 20% time and get buy in from the people involved. Say you wanted to build a Digg-like system for Google Reader? Well, you don’t need permission to build it. Just build it, then show it to the Google Reader team. If they like it, then they could turn it on.

Now, what if they don’t like it? Well, what, you gonna go outside and do that? No way. Google has lockin on interesting ideas that you could come up with. Forget the legal lockin too. What’s the real secret sauce over at Google? Is it your idea? No.

It’s the infrastructure!

The datacenters, the fiber, all that. Look at the troubles Technorati had earlier this week. Or that Twitter had over the past two months.

Getting your idea to work (and to be integrated with something that’d bring you large amounts of traffic) will not be easy outside the walls of Google.

Yesterday I had lunch with a VC and he said they are seeing remarkably few Googlers quitting and/or starting new companies.

My friends at Google are unhireable. Why? Cause they are happy and engaged in the mission of doing Google’s work. So, Cringley’s caution might turn out right long term. But not this year. And that built in sandbox is going to prove pretty resilient and is something that Cringley didn’t seem to take into account.