Daily Archives: March 18, 2008

The TechMeme killer or the Google Reader killer?

I just switched all my home pages off of TechMeme to FriendFeed.

I find that TechMeme has become a Google News killer. All I see on it is big media companies (including me, who works at Fast Company).

I miss the individual voices and I think that’s really why FriendFeed has gotten my attention.

Well, that and the fact that Google Reader has just been getting more and more unusable lately. This morning I couldn’t even get it to open up. It’s so freaking slow.

Now, at SXSW I met the guy who runs the Google Reader team and he promises major speed improvements “soon.” But right now it’s totally frustrating and FriendFeed is just totally thrilling.

On top of FriendFeed right now are people I don’t know. No A-listers. I’m not there.

That’s thrilling. Why? Because I’m hearing new voices, discovering new blogs, and seeing early adopter behavior in a more pure state. A more “live” state.

It’s exactly what used to thrill me about TechMeme, but then TechMeme needed to move up the stack to try to get a mass-market audience.

Google Reader is being killed by its addition of a social network (which was implemented poorly and is falling apart for someone like me, who likes following hundreds of people).

How about you? Are you changing your reading behavior because of FriendFeed?

The Disruptive Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

Andrew Mobbs, managing director of the Hatchery, has a big dream. He wants to move the world off of credit cards and onto using their cell phones to pay for things. He’s not the first to have that dream, but I think he’s thought through some of the problems better than other people I’ve talked to about this so far. He is in Silicon Valley today, visiting from London, UK, which is where he’s located.

But that’s not what was interesting about my breakfast with him this morning. What I found really interesting was his dilemma as an entrepreneur. What is it?

1. His product is too difficult to use, so it needs some more work. That takes capital, but he’s not able to land Silicon Valley capital (at least not yet).
2. Because he’s chosen a “boil the ocean” strategy (getting, say, Starbucks or Amazon to adopt his technology) he’s finding it hard to get adoption.
3. Because he doesn’t have adoption, investors aren’t interested.
4. Plus he’s going against big companies (PayPal, Visa, MC, American Express) which makes investors nervous, unless you have a clear differentiator that’ll be defendable for some time.

Compare his story to Omar Hamoui’s story, CEO of Admob, a mobile advertising network. He walked into Sequoia Capital and had a term sheet in his hands in about 24 hours. I interviewed him yesterday, and we’ll have his story of how he did that up on FastCompany.tv in a few weeks (we start our daily video show tomorrow, and have about three weeks of shows stored on our Seagate hard drives right now).

How did Admob land the capital it needed?

1. They had customers and rapid growth BEFORE they walked onto Sand Hill Road.
2. They didn’t try to boil the ocean, nor did they try to go up against entrenched competitors.
3. One thing common is both picked the rapidly-growing world of mobile.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see if Andrew gets any feedback based on the 18-minute conversation we had this morning on Qik. My feedback to him?

Instead of trying to get in front of the CEO of Visa, Starbucks, Facebook, or getting a VC like Sequoia, or even an investor like Jeff Clavier to pay attention to him, I’d do some new work. I’d hang out at Stanford with Dave McClure, who teaches a Facebook class there. If Andrew gets a couple of Facebook app developers to build his payment techology into their apps, then he’d have something to show investors. Plus, he’d probably have millions of people trying his technology and he’d be able to learn from their usage model.

Translation: don’t try to boil the ocean, just pick off a small bucket of water, boil that first, then work on the ocean later.

What do you think?

Either way, it’s pretty rare that entrepreneurs let you look into an early-stage company and some of the challenges that it faces trying to get a new idea and a new company started.

Thank you Guy Kawasaki

I have started reading my Google Reader feeds again. Of course, if you followed my FriendFeed page you would already have known that.

But, Google Reader isn’t as efficient for finding something different, I’ve found, as just scanning a page of headlines.

That’s where Guy Kawasaki comes in. He has a page of ego bloggers. I like it, because I’m on top. Hey, if you are gonna be on an ego blog page you better have a competitive ego, no? Heheh.

Anyway, I was scanning this page. I read lots of these people already, but I’ve missed a bunch cause I just can’t keep up with everything on Google Reader anymore.

There I found a blog by Jimmy Guterman on O’Reilly’s blogs and one of his headlines was “Amazing TED Talk.”

Indeed, it was. Amazing.

So, thank you Guy Kawasaki for bringing me the egos which, in between being egotistical or whatever got us all on this page, did bring me an amazing TED Talk.

The talk? Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk, where she talks you through her own stroke. She’s a Harvard neuroanatomist.

Can I use the word “amazing” again? This video deserves it.

Rackspace goes “Mosso” for developers

Stuff found on table at new Rackspace headquarters

Rob La Gesse is totally becoming a raving lunatic about Rackspace’s new “Mosso” hosting cloud.

This is a company the industry could easily underestimate for a long time. After all, it’s in San Antonio, Texas. What kind of technology ever gets invented in San Antonio, right? (Um, ask this guy, he was Vice President on the team that developed the Intel 8008 chip in the building where Rackspace is currently located, which was the first chip along the line that today is in our computers). Anyway, the point is that because Rackspace isn’t in Seattle or Silicon Valley that it is pretty ignored. It’s a huge mistake for its competitors to make.

Anyway, back to Rackspace and Mosso. Anyone else using it? Are your experiences the same as Rob’s?

Where’s Google and Microsoft in this cloud game in comparison?