Daily Archives: June 24, 2011

Weekend bitchmeme: the three people Steve Jobs should fire (can someone else exploit these?)

It’s a weekend, and that means it’s time for a bitchmeme.

It’s not often that I call for someone to be fired, but, well, when it comes to Apple I have been giving that company more than its fair share of cash lately and there are some things that it’s done that totally piss me off. Here’s three. If I was Steve Jobs I would be ashamed and would make these three people pay:

Apple's worst design decision of past five years. New iMac and Cinema displays don't line up!

1. Whoever designed the new 27-inch iMac and the new 27-inch Cinema display should be fired. Why? They don’t line up! Is it too much to ask that two monitors from the same company should line up perfectly when placed on a desk? Keep in mind these are both brand new products, both purchased in the past week.

2. Whoever designed the new Airplay on iPads should be fired. Before we get into why, first let’s cover what Airplay does since so few of you use it. If you are using, say, the TED app on your iPad and you say to yourself “gee, I’d like to watch this video on my big screen” you can use Airplay to do exactly that (if you have an Apple TV). This is the coolest new feature introduced to my world this year. By far. So you think I’d be totally praising the person who did it, right? No way. This is Apple and if something isn’t done perfectly heads must roll. So, what’s wrong? Well, easy. If you use the TED app and push airplay it indeed starts playing on your big screen. One MAJOR F***ED UP PROBLEM: you can’t minimize the TED app. You can’t even watch a different video. This isn’t a problem with the TED app either, it’s a problem with Airplay (same thing is wrong with other apps that use Airplay like Squrrl or ShowYou).

3. Whoever decided that the new Final Cut Pro wouldn’t have multi-camera support should be fired. Listen, anyone who does pro videos uses multiple cameras. We do over at http://building43.com. Whoever decided that Final Cut Pro could ship without multiple camera support decided to ship an incomplete product (and my producer says it’s not the only feature missing from it). Why didn’t you just call this iMoviePlus or something instead of pissing all over the Final Cut Pro brand and users?

Anyway, it’s so rarely that Apple just does things badly, but there’s three cases where heads must roll. At least if Steve Jobs wants to send a message to the others left at Apple that they better not ship crap on his watch.

What do you say Steve?

UPDATE: I’m wondering if someone else can exploit these mistakes. Certainly Android could exploit the Airplay problem, if it had a clue. But the monitor problem? I wonder if HP or Dell had a clue about how to exploit these problems? As for Final Cut Pro, my producer, Rocky Barbanica, is already switching to other editing products. He’s partial to Adobe Premier so far, so maybe Adobe or Avid will get a ton of business because Apple just signaled to pros that it doesn’t care about them anymore.

UPDATE #2: writing this article has caused a LOT of pushback. Here’s some samples:

Neven Mrgan Tweeted: Hey @Scobleizer, that post about employees Apple should fire is idiotic, mean, and ignorant. Shame on you.
AgentKyle Tweeted: Wow. @scobleizer just posted the most asshole article I’ve seen in a long time.
Chronic tweeted: one person Rackspace should fire: @Scobleizer

I’ll keep updating with more updates.

Why mobile users and developers should care about what Matt Murphy thinks

If you use an iPhone or an Android-based mobile phone you probably are using an app that Matt Murphy has invested in. Who is he? He’s the managing partner of the iFund at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Yesterday they celebrated the third anniversary of the fund. His team has seen 5,000 pitches and funded 25, including companies like Flipboard, Shopkick, Pelago, ngmoco, etc. In 2010 fund companies had 100 million downloads. Techcrunch has other stats they shared with the press yesterday.

But why should users care? Because what Matt and his team invests in decides whether platforms rise or falls.

Some things he shared in an interview (you can listen to the entire thing) with the press (Reuters, Wall Street Journal, AllThingsD, and other journalistic organizations were in the room asking questions) are:

1. They aren’t likely to start an Android-focused fund anytime soon. He says that their companies are mostly on both iOS and Android, but that iOS is monetizing 5-10x more than Android (and Android is monetizing MUCH more than the other platforms). “If you’re an app that’s heavy on the monetization side you want to go where the monetization is,” explaining why he’s still so bullish on iOS.
2. There’s one company in the fund that was Android only. That’s Work Smart Labs, which has six million users on Android (coming next week to iOS) and I have a separate interview with co-founder Artem Petakov.
3. They aren’t investing in app discovery companies like Chomp. “I worry that those aren’t a good experience…Discovery should be a lot simpler than that.” Hint: he sees Apple improving the app store a lot soon and he’s counting on viral mechanisms that Twitter and Facebook integration will supply later this year.
4. Does he know something about Facebook that we don’t? He kept talking about Facebook integration into iOS.
5. He doesn’t believe yet in Windows Phone 7 and the fund’s companies are mostly taking a “wait and see” approach. That said, one of my favorite iOS apps, Foodspotting, just shipped a WP7 app today. You can be sure that Matt will watch their results closely and may update his stance within a few months.

So, what does this mean for users? Well, Matt is continuing to fund innovative companies. KPCB team members told me off camera that they are seeing the same things I am: that most of the great apps are being built on iOS first, then ported to Android.

Some challenges that the companies are talking about are that many users aren’t loading many apps, and they are working to build viral mechanisms into apps so that users on Twitter and Facebook feel impelled to download those apps and join in (let’s just call that the Instagram model of getting users). They also are looking forward to further integration with Apple TV in the future (Cooliris is one of the companies they funded and its CEO told me last night that they are really diving deeply into iOS 5 and are excited by some of the AirPlay features (which let you shove any kind of media over to other devices, mostly Apple TV right now).

Anyway, it’s not everyday you get to hear from someone who has such a big impact on the mobile market. Glad I could share it with you.

Foodspotting and Yelp has new restaurant-finding and review competition: Chewsy

One of the best examples of how mobile devices are changing our lives is Foodspotting (my account is here). What does this do? It lets you see photos of meals taken near you as a way to find new restaurants. I find it more compelling than Yelp or Google as a way to find new restaurants to try. It also is a good way to capture your own meals as a historical record of what you eat.

Now a new company, Chewsy, comes along that says “well, Foodspotting is pretty cool, but it’s missing some things.” Here you can hear co-founders Chaitanya Sareen and Trevin Chow explain what Chewsy does. First, it’s only on iOS for the moment (they are planning on coming to other platforms) and they just released a new version this morning, that makes Chewsy much more social than it was previously.

The biggest difference from Foodspotting you’ll notice about Chewsy is that it has reviews on the photos, which helps you communicate with your friends whether a dish actually was good or not or totally sucked. These reviews were written by other Chewsy members. One problem: many towns don’t have many photos or reviews. It shows the chicken and egg problem many app developers face and why I still find I start up Foodspotting more times than Chewsy, but Chewsy is improving as more people try it and put reviews in.

Anyway, these two apps are changing how I find restaurants and it’s great to see competition so that both are pushed to add new features to make dining out even better for all of us.