10 geek business myths

I was reading the 10 geek business myths that venture capitalist Ron Garret laid out. Good read. Recommended.

One thing, though, that I’m gonna jump on is his thoughts about Microsoft. He wrote “Microsoft has achieved success largely by seeking out and destroying other people’s brilliant ideas.”

What’s interesting is in other places he writes that it’s what the customers think that really matters, not what anyone else thinks. And, in this single sentence he’s demonstrated that very well.

Microsoft has two really huge businesses that funded the rest. What are those two businesses? Operating System and Office. Well known.

Why did I — as a customer — get into Microsoft’s ecosystem? Because Windows NT crashed less than my Macintosh did in the mid-90s. And because Office cost about the same as, say, WordPerfect (a competitive Word processor) but came with a spreadsheet, a database program, and more.

Did Microsoft then do stupid things like crush Netscape? Yeah. But they were put in that place by building products that customers wanted to buy. And buy in massive quantities. Translation: if you really want to crush the competition, build a better product for a lower price and make your customers very happy. (I was a very happy customer of Microsoft’s back in the 1990s).

Ron’s entire rest of his lengthy post was right on.

Flying Doug Kaye’s airline

I was lucky enough yesterday to hitch a ride home on Doug Kaye’s airline six-seater airplane. He dropped me off at the very small Half Moon Bay Airport (so small they don’t have security checkthroughs and you can pull your airplane right up to the Three-O cafe and have lunch).

Anyway, why was I lucky? Cause Doug Kaye had the hit of the Podcast Expo last week and it gave me a chance to catch up. Actually he had two hits at the Expo. First he’s giving away the “Levelator” which will take all your audio clips and make them sound the same level. As those who listen to the ScobleShow know, I really need this in the worst way.

Also, he demonstrated the new GigaVox Audio Lite was getting raves in the hallway discussions I had. On Saturday I had a look, and it is the content management system that podcasters are waiting for. Doug coded it all himself (he used this system to publish ITConversations).

Anyway, I filmed Doug flying for a future version of the ScobleShow. Speaking of which, should have some more ScobleShow stuff up tomorrow.

Gaming Google

Ahh, PayPerPost gathers $3 million from the VCs. I see a lot of heat and fury on the blogs and on Digg about this, but I don’t see anyone asking “why?”

Why would any advertiser pay for a post this way?

It can’t be for the credibility that bloggers have. As someone said over on Digg: “when did bloggers have credibility anyway?” Certainly not when they post something and take money for it and don’t disclose it. And, if they are disclosing that they are pimping their posts for cash, doesn’t their credibility go out the window?

I had dinner with Leo Laporte last week and we talked about just this. He listed to me a whole raft of things he wouldn’t do for money. Why? He values his listeners and readers as more important than any money he’d make. Certainly he’d never take money for advertising without disclosing that he (or others in his network) are getting paid. I think that’s a great stance to take.

Will PayPerPost lead directly to sales? Now that the blogosphere is being bought off, I sure won’t buy something just based on one blogger the way I might have if, say, Dave Winer said he liked a product. I know Dave isn’t bought off, though, so will probably still listen to him when he finds a killer product. I don’t think PayPerPost will lead to many direct sales. I might be wrong, but if I were an advertiser that isn’t why I would be paying bloggers to post.

So, why do it? If I still ran a camera store in Silicon Valley, here’s why I’d pay bloggers to post about my camera store: to game Google.

See, the more inbound links I can get from bloggers, the higher on Google I will go.

But, here’s the rub. If this starts effecting the relevancy of Google (and it will, especially now that there’s some serious money) Google will find a way to remove those listings from the index (or devalue them). So, will PayPerPost advertisers get their money’s worth?

For the record, if I ever take money from anyone for anything I will disclose it on my blog (like, my ScobleShow is sponsored by Seagate). At PodTech if we take money to make a post it goes on the Corporate Channel.

I should disclose that Seagate is giving Podtech and me a serious pile of money (far more than I could make over on PayPerPost) and they haven’t asked me to do anything that I wouldn’t disclose, and disclose fully. That’s the kind of advertiser I like. But then they aren’t trying to game Google either through my sponsorship. In fact, they haven’t even asked me to blog anything about them. Which, makes me want to blog about them even more.