Tag Archives: startup

Recession Proof Your Startup

Today on Techmeme there are a bunch of stories encouraging entrepreneurs to startup companies right now. Here’s a couple that caught my eye.

Paul Graham talks about why to start a startup up in a bad economy.

Don Dodge urges entrepreneurs to go for it.

OK, rah, rah, rah, we all know some startups will take off in the recession. Microsoft and Google both either got started in, or accelerated through downturns early in their lives.

But I think some of the advice I’ve been seeing out there it a little too optimistic.

Last night on Donny Deutsch’s show an entrepreneur called up and was crying. He had started a business that was selling promotional cookies and swag to corporations and his business has dried up. Clearly not EVERY startup will do well. Why? People change their behavior in recessions, but that behavior does NOT change equally. In this case companies had stopped buying non-essential items, which means that promotional items get cut first.

So, the question to me is “how do you recession proof your startup?”

That’s the conversation I’m hoping to see happen. Already VentureBeat is putting together an event to discuss how to manage through a downturn. I’m attending that and will bring any good idea I hear.

Some ideas I’ve already heard though:

1. Make sure your startup is aimed at a real pain point of other companies. I was speaking at Cisco a week ago and saw that lots of people really are struggling with email, for instance.
2. Have a startup who’s customers and users are recession proof. For instance, education is probably not going to cut back a lot, so if your customers are teachers and educational IT people, you’re probably a lot safer than if you sell to small businesses like restaurants like my brother has.
3. Have a business that helps people or companies save money. Both Dodge and Graham pointed this out. I’m starting to use services like Mint, for instance, which look at my behavior and try to find me ways to save.
4. Look for upturns due to change in behaviors. For instance, if you can’t afford to go on long trips anymore, you’re more likely to stay home. That might mean more people will work on home projects or try things like crafts or games. Make Magazine might be well positioned here.
5. Diversify your customer base. Are you only reaching customers in USA? What about going international? Often times, one country’s economy will do better than another, or might be more open to new approaches.
6. Have enough cash on hand to last at least a year without any revenues. Who told us to do that? Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
7. Look for new opportunities that happen because of the downturn. Banks might start paying money to maintain houses that have been foreclosed on, for instance.
8. Look for new distribution channels. TurnHere, for instance, told me about landing YellowPages.com and that’s meant that their business is taking off. If yours can land similar distribution deals that might really help you accelerate through the downturn.
9. Be innovative with marketing and advertising your startup. For instance, if you do a Google Search for “Recession Proof Business” and you’ll find an ad that says “start your own economy.” That took me to CircleDog, which is a customer relationship management software package. Hey, if the economy is falling apart, I want to start my own! Not to mention it caught my eye among the ads because it was different. Now, let’s say you’re going to CES or SXSW or the Web 2.0 Summit next week. How can you find new customers without spending much money?

How about you? What are you doing to recession-proof your business? Would love to see some ideas.

The startup squeeze

Startups that don’t have revenues or a business model, like Seesmic or Twitter, are going to get squeezed big time in the next six months. Already we’ve seen how Seesmic responded to that coming squeeze yesterday. It got skinnier to make the squeeze easier to take. They will be joined over the next month by tons of other startups who will get skinny to prepare for 2009.

But what at the other end of the scale? What about small companies that have millions in revenues and are very successful? I’m hearing they are getting squeezed too. I can’t reveal the names yet, but I’ve been talking with companies who have millions in monthly revenues who can’t get credit or funding to expand and they are seeing customers disappearing from the marketplace at the same time, so they are getting squeezed. What do they do? They are turning away from capital markets and turning toward bigger companies who have the cash to buy them.

Expect to see a bunch of mergers and acquisitions over the next three months (you’ll see some in the next few weeks, again, I have several sources in big companies who’ve told me what they are seeing — there are bidding wars breaking out inside big companies to gobble up some of these smaller companies that will bring needed revenues to big companies’ bottom lines. Those revenues will be how the bigger companies pull their stocks out of the discount bins over the next few quarters).

CEOs: I’d love to hear about what kinds of pressures you’re under right now, even if you’re successful with millions in sales every month, and how you are responding to those pressures.

Pageonce: economic downturn winner?

Pageonce‘s CEO Guy Goldstein was on my WorkFastTV show this morning (the recording will be up on Monday, but I did a separate video with him afterward on Kyte.tv so you can get a sense of what his app does) and while we were talking he was reporting that he’s seeing a ton of usage BECAUSE of the downturn.

What does his app do? It’s an iPhone app (next week they are shipping on Blackberry too) that lets you watch all sorts of personal information. I call it a personal information dashboard.

Stocks. Bank accounts. Travel info. Restaurant info. And more.

You can see when your bills are due, what your account balances are, and more. All from your iPhone (it’s one of the top 10 productivity iPhone applications).

This is a three-month-old startup that shipped on the iPhone and already has 200,000+ users.

Seems to me this app, along with others from Mint and Billpay could be major winners as we pay closer attention to our finances.

What are other examples of apps that you are seeing winning in this economy?

72 Nice Things about Demo's Startups' Websites

OK, OK, I’ve had my weekend fun when I said, on Saturday, that most of the sites for the companies being shown at the Demo Conference suck. That conference starts later today. I got half the industry to hate me. I have people wondering if I’m a paid shill for Arrington or TC50. Hate mail continues flowing in. Etc. Etc.

That’s what happens when you only look for the bad.

So, what’s the good? Well, let’s go through these and pull out something nice about each one. Keep in mind I’m only talking about the Websites, not the company or the product/service (I should have been far clearer about that on Saturday). Many still don’t have their service or product up, so we’ll have to judge those later in the week. This was a LOT harder than finding what was bad. I’m sorry, but these sites are really hard to praise. Compare this list to the “Gold Standard” list we posted yesterday. The difference is very telling.

Accordia Group, LLC; New Rochelle, NY;
NICE? The contact us page has a real phone number.

Adapx, Inc.; Seattle, WA;
NICE? Cool pull-down menus.

Alerts.com, Inc.; Bellvue, WA;
NICE? The site talks about you and what the service does for you. Nice color scheme.

Arsenal Interactive, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;
NICE? Clean uncluttered design. Makes me want to learn more.

Asyncast Corp; Campbell, CA;
NICE? Clear call to action “Sign me up!”

Awind Inc.; Junghe, Taiwan;
NICE? It was hard to find something nice about this one, but supports multiple languages is about it.

beeTV; Milano, Italy;
NICE? Good use of stock photos. By graying them out and animating logos in, gives it a cool feel.

Best Buy; Minneapolis, MN;
NICE? Very clear progression of what you’ll get if you try this. Nice use of demos too.

BizEquity Corp.; Spring House, PA;
NICE? Sorry, nothing nice to say. Still has a page up that says to check back on Monday, September 8th. Well, it IS Monday.

Cerego; Tokyo, Japan;
NICE? Uses OpenID.

Cinergix, Pty Ltd.; Melbourne, Australia;
NICE? Good way to get people to sign up for a beta.

Clintworld; Boenningstedt, Germany;
NICE? Clean, professional design.

CoreTrace Corp.; Austin, TX;
NICE? Good video demo. Shows the presenter as well as what’s on screen.

crowdSPRING, LLC; Chicago, IL;
NICE? The visual aesthetic here is the best I’ve seen in this group.

DesignIn, Inc.; Marblehead, MA;
NICE? First site so far that looks like it will show you something different if you’re logged in. This could be a cool product (3D designer for your home) and is one of those I’m looking forward to playing with this week.

Dial Directions, Inc.; Alameda, CA;
NICE? I missed the video on this site because I saw the comic and thought that was goofy. But, oh well, the video is nice and I have added this to my phone’s speed dial already.

DOCCENTER; Omaha, NE;
NICE? I love the “Subscribe RSS” link. That tells me this site will be updated and if I care about the offerings here I can have that stuff shoved to my RSS Reader. I said three years ago that you should be fired if you are a marketer and you don’t have an RSS feed on your site and I still believe that.

Enterprise Informatics, Inc.; San Diego, CA;
NICE? Google ads will fit right in here. Seriously, that’s about all I can say that’s nice about this one, sorry.

Familybuilder; New York, NY;
NICE? This genealogy app gets you back to your favorite social network fast.

ffwd.com, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? Home page said “site is down” when I visited at 1:10 a.m. but it has a very cool color scheme and nice logo design.

Fortressware, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;
NICE? Good value statement. A new way to protect my data.

Fusion-io; Salt Lake City, UT;
NICE? Aesthetically awesome.

G.ho.st; Ramallah & Modin, Palestine and Israel;
NICE? Love the benefit statement, the slight animation, and the product. I should have been nicer to this site on Saturday, it deserved to be pulled out and complimented.

Green Sherpa; Santa Barbara, CA;
NICE? Communicates a TON in one screen.

Infovell, Inc.; Menlo Park, CA;
NICE? Nice stock photo. This is one that I really had to dig down deep to find something nice to say.

Intelius, Inc.; Bellevue, WA;
NICE? Ahh, a search box for people. On the other hand it found something that said I was a founder of Six Apart. Um, you might want to look into THAT. Heheh.

Invision TV, LLC; Bethesda, MD;
NICE? This is a demo I’m looking forward to seeing. Nice Flash-based site. Lots of animation and good aesthetic and all that.

iWidgets, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? Good demo and nice layout.

Kadoo Inc.; Washington, DC;
NICE? Nice animation.

Koollage, Inc.; San Jose, CA;
NICE? They are revving up their “Kool Factor.” Sigh.

Mapflow, Ltd.; Cork, Ireland;
NICE? FAIL. Says I need a username and password just to visit their site.

Maverick Mobile Solutions, Pvt. Ltd.; Maharashtra, India;
NICE? Sorry, I’ll wait until later in the week.

MeDeploy; Hamden, CT;
NICE? I get the point of what this company does fast.

Message Sling; Worcester, MA;
NICE? Nice signup button. Actually, this is one of the companies I’m looking forward to getting a demo of.

MeWorks, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;
NICE? Good “keep me posted” submission box.

Microstaq, Inc.; Austin, TX;
NICE? Nice slogan “innovations that flow.” Why? It matches their product line.

MixMatchMusic, Ltd.; Burlingame, CA;
NICE? Nice way to let beta users in, while informing others and collecting email addresses. This looks like it could be an interesting music service, so we’ll revisit later in the week.

Momindum; Paris, France;
NICE? They integrate with my old company’s products (Winnov) so that’s gotta be nice.

OpenACircle.com; Dallas, TX;
NICE? The CEO blogs. I like the human element. Of course this is a social network/collaborative tool, so you’d expect them to get the value of putting humans on your corporate site.

Paidinterviews, LLC; McLean, VA;
NICE? Very clear, 1,2,3,4 about how this site will help you. Videos don’t work, but I assume they’ll get turned on later today.

Paragent, LLC; Muncie, IN;
NICE? Love a site that has a call to action right in your face. “Watch Demo Now.”

Photrade, LLC; Cincinnati, OH;
NICE? Nice, clear representation of value “get paid for your photos.” I love sites with clear, no BS, language.

PlanDone, Inc.; Petaluma, CA;
NICE? I love testimonials. By the way, are these stock photos? Or, did they spend real money to shoot unique photos?

Plastic Logic, Ltd.; Mountain View, CA;
NICE? Ummmm. Nice super-huge graphics. Oh, wait, I’m supposed to say something nice. Um, gee, er, ahh, well, um, can’t, sorry.

Qtask, Inc.; Burbank, CA;
NICE? They have the best video demo/tour I’ve seen so far.

Quantivo Corp.; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? This was the one site that caught my eye on Saturday and it, again, is my favorite so far.

Radiant Logic, Inc.; Novato, CA;
NICE? Big customers! Tells me this costs a lot of money and probably isn’t sold by visits to the site.

RealNetworks, Inc.; Seattle, WA;
NICE? I’ll skip this one, cause it’s not of something that’ll be shown at Demo so I’ll have to come back.

Rebus Technology, Inc.; Cupertino, CA;
NICE? It’s blue. The autoplaying music woke me up at 2:24 a.m.

RemoTV, Inc.; New Haven, CT;
NICE? Red! Need I say more?

Rudder, Inc.; Houston, TX;
NICE? This site, instead of using a stock photo that looks lame, used its product right in your face. Makes me want to try it.

Semanti Corp.; Alberta, Canada;
NICE? Tight writing.

Sim Ops Studios, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? I love sneak peaks.

SitScape, Inc.; Vienna, VA;
NICE? Nice arrows.

SkyData Systems, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? Actually this is a site I could probably have been nicer to on Saturday. Glad to finally see a site talking about price. I hate it when companies don’t tell you what things cost and use that as a lead generation device.

SpinSpotter; Seattle, WA;
NICE? I wonder if they’d spot this spin? Hmmm.

Telnic, Ltd.; London, England;
NICE? Clean and gets to the point fast.

TetraBase, LLC; Boothwyn, PA;
NICE? A non-rectangular design.

The Echo Nest Corp.; Somerville, MA;
NICE? Like the design. Looking forward to trying this music recommending service this week.

tikitag, an Alcatel-Lucent Venture; Antwerp, Belgium;
NICE? I think this might be most improved site in two days. Nice video that explains what this does.

Toolgether; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? Sorry, can’t say anything nice yet.

TravelMuse, Inc.; Los Altos, CA;
NICE? I want to go to Hawaii after visiting this site.

Trinity Convergence, Inc.; Durham, NC;
NICE? I wanna hear more about their picture frames and what makes them different.

TurnTo Networks, Inc.; New York, NY;
NICE? Video demo is good.

UbiEst S.p.A.; Treviso, Italy;
NICE? I bet the demo is nice. I want to see if it’ll make my mobile phone more useful.

UGA Digital, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;
NICE? Nice 3D logo. I wish I had a sense of what their photo frame does, though.

Unity Solutions, LLC; Clearwater, FL;
NICE? I’m getting sleepy.

Usable Security Systems, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? Free beer.

WebDiet, Inc.; Henderson, NV;
NICE? This site has my name all over it. I’m fat and it’s a service to help me diet.

Xumii, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? Hey, how did they get a Nokia N96?

Zazengo, Inc.; Santa Cruz, CA;
NICE? Now I’m feeling charitable because I get to go to sleep.

Let's cry for the poor fragmented, underreported startups

Daniel Terdiman, over at CNET, is reporting that Demo and TC50 are potentially fragmenting their audiences.

Let’s cry for a moment for all the startups. Boo, hoo, hooo.

Back to reality. Any startup that looks at this as a loss should be refused funding.

First it’s funny that a CNET reporter is saying that. After all, CNET is one of the few organizations around that has the resources to attend both conferences. CNET should LOVE this because it gives them a HUGE advantage over 99.9% of other bloggers.

The way I look at it is that four years ago only 70 companies got paid attention to (I attended Demo that year). Now double that number will. Even if you only try out the top five companies from each conference that number will be double too. So, competition between two conferences is GREAT for startups. Any startup that says otherwise just won’t have credibility with me.

The fight between Arrington and Shipley has helped focus our attention on these two conferences (the LA Times even wrote about it) so now startups are getting even more PR than they’d get if there were only one conference. Keep in mind that each of the 70 startups on this list paid $18,000 to get on stage, so I’m sure not crying for Shipley’s business. Seems to me that it’s better than ever.

OK, now that we have the drama of the morning out of the way, let’s dig into the 70 demonstrators at Demo. TechCrunch will announce its list on Monday morning at 6 a.m.

If Shipley really cared about the startups she would have made each of the URLs in this list linkable. Here, let me do that. Then, let’s take the weekend and see what we can learn about each of these companies. What do you think of this group? Anything here catch your eye?

UPDATE: I just visited every one of these companies. Boy do they almost all suck (at least their Web sites and if their sites suck, I can’t believe their products are going to do much better).

Accordia Group, LLC; New Rochelle, NY;

Adapx, Inc.; Seattle, WA;

Alerts.com, Inc.; Bellvue, WA;

Arsenal Interactive, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;

Asyncast Corp; Campbell, CA;

Awind Inc.; Junghe, Taiwan;

beeTV; Milano, Italy;

Best Buy; Minneapolis, MN;

BizEquity Corp.; Spring House, PA;

Blue Lava Technologies, Inc.; Honolulu, HI;

Cerego; Tokyo, Japan;

Cinergix, Pty Ltd.; Melbourne, Australia;

Clintworld; Boenningstedt, Germany;

CoreTrace Corp.; Austin, TX;

crowdSPRING, LLC; Chicago, IL;

DesignIn, Inc.; Marblehead, MA;

Dial Directions, Inc.; Alameda, CA;

DOCCENTER; Omaha, NE;

Enterprise Informatics, Inc.; San Diego, CA;

Familybuilder; New York, NY;

ffwd.com, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

Fortressware, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;

Fusion-io; Salt Lake City, UT;

G.ho.st; Ramallah & Modin, Palestine and Israel;

Green Sherpa; Santa Barbara, CA;

Infovell, Inc.; Menlo Park, CA;

Intelius, Inc.; Bellevue, WA;

Invision TV, LLC; Bethesda, MD;

iWidgets, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

Kadoo Inc.; Washington, DC;

Koollage, Inc.; San Jose, CA;

Mapflow, Ltd.; Cork, Ireland;

Maverick Mobile Solutions, Pvt. Ltd.; Maharashtra, India;

MeDeploy; Hamden, CT;

Message Sling; Worcester, MA;

MeWorks, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;

Microstaq, Inc.; Austin, TX;

MixMatchMusic, Ltd.; Burlingame, CA;

Momindum; Paris, France;

OpenACircle.com; Dallas, TX;

Paidinterviews, LLC; McLean, VA;

Paragent, LLC; Muncie, IN;

Photrade, LLC; Cincinnati, OH;

PlanDone, Inc.; Petaluma, CA;

Plastic Logic, Ltd.; Mountain View, CA;

Qtask, Inc.; Burbank, CA;

Quantivo Corp.; San Mateo, CA;

Radiant Logic, Inc.; Novato, CA;

RealNetworks, Inc.; Seattle, WA;

Rebus Technology, Inc.; Cupertino, CA;

RemoTV, Inc.; New Haven, CT;

Rudder, Inc.; Houston, TX;

Semanti Corp.; Alberta, Canada;

Sim Ops Studios, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

SitScape, Inc.; Vienna, VA;

SkyData Systems, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;

SpinSpotter; Seattle, WA;

Telnic, Ltd.; London, England;

TetraBase, LLC; Boothwyn, PA;

The Echo Nest Corp.; Somerville, MA;

tikitag, an Alcatel-Lucent Venture; Antwerp, Belgium;

Toolgether; San Mateo, CA;

TravelMuse, Inc.; Los Altos, CA;

Trinity Convergence, Inc.; Durham, NC;

TurnTo Networks, Inc.; New York, NY;

UbiEst S.p.A.; Treviso, Italy;

UGA Digital, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;

Unity Solutions, LLC; Clearwater, FL;

Usable Security Systems, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;

WebDiet, Inc.; Henderson, NV;

Xumii, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;

Zazengo, Inc.; Santa Cruz, CA;

A new search engine appears: will you use it?

Tonight a new search engine showed up. Techcrunch has the details. So do tons of other blogs. Search engine guru Danny Sullivan has a great post about the new engine, Cuil, (pronounced “cool”). I wasn’t pre-briefed or anything. Like I said last week I’m trying to get out of the PR game and try to get back to what made me like blogging: sharing information with other users.

So, has anyone figured out a good way to quickly test search engines? I haven’t. Everyone has their own search terms that they use to judge whether or not an engine is interesting.

I remember when I was trying to convince my dad to move from Alta Vista to Google he had a bunch of very specific scientific searches he’d do. He used to love showing me that Alta Vista had more and better results. I kept at it. After about two years he switched to Google too.

Today isn’t like back in the Alta Vista days. Back then there was porn and spam that was showing up in my result sets. Google doesn’t have those problems and usually works for almost anything I search for. When it doesn’t work, I try some of the other engines, or just refactor my search and it almost always works. I can’t remember the last time I was totally stymied by Google.

But, what’s great about the blogosphere is that everyone gets to participate. Look at TechCrunch’s early searches and the comments that are coming in. I, too, think that Cuil is going to face an uphill battle based on my early searches.

On the other hand, let’s give Cuil the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say it actually was a better search engine. I still doubt many people would switch. Why?

Distribution.

Huh?

Well, my Firefox browser has Google built into it. Most people have no idea how to switch it. Most people, on our tests, really don’t understand much of anything except that that little box probably now goes to Google. The Google.

It’s so pervasive of an expectation at this point that many people type URLs into that box. Or, type the word “Yahoo” into that box so they can get to their email and other Yahoo services.

Is Cuil going to be able to get into this game?

No way, no how.

On mobile phones it’s worse. My iPhone has Google built in. No way that Cuil is going to be able to rip out Google and replace that with its own engine.

So, why is Cuil here?

I think it’s a play for Microsoft money. Microsoft needs to get back into the search game, so will continue buying companies to try to get back into the search game. Yahoo, if run by management that’s rational, will probably start doing the same thing.

Look at Powerset. They cashed out early to Microsoft. Cuil probably will do the same thing if it brings enough to the table.

Just for fun, though, and to get back to being a user, let’s try one search:

Barack Obama’s technology policy

I put that into all the search engines without any quotes, just to see which one does the best job. Here’s the result set:

Cuil (gave an error, couldn’t find any results)
Google. (best of the three)
Yahoo. (close to Google, but not quite there)
Microsoft. (by far the worst of the big three, didn’t bring the technology policy up as the first result).

Anyway, I did a bunch of other searches on Cuil and they are trying to be different, that’s for sure, but I didn’t see enough of a need to try it out further.

How about you?

The best comment on Twitter and architecture I've seen

It’s the comment left by Michael Kowalchik, aka “MikePK” in response to Matthew Ingram’s post about Twitter’s architecture (or the lack thereof). He’s the CTO of Grazr and makes an important point that every entrepreneur should read. So should every pundit who is giving Twitter crap about being down right now. It is the most important comment I’ve seen in weeks in another blog.

This one comment made me look at Grazr yet again. In the comment Mike seemed disappointed about why the market didn’t show up to enjoy his great architecture. Got me thinking about why Grazr doesn’t have many users and, therefore, doesn’t have Twitter’s scaling problems. Either way, read the comment that Michael left over on Ingram’s blog. The rest of this is just a rant, with a bonus rant about why FriendFeed isn’t going to be Twitter either.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s why Grazr is no Twitter:

1. Grazr’s name sucks. I HATE HATE HATE “Flickr” copy names. Er, Web 2.0 names. It’s so hard to tell other people about things when you introduce misspellings into them. Here, what’s easier to tell someone else about “FriendFeed” or “Grazr.”
2. Grazr solves a problem normal people don’t have. I think Dare Obasanjo is right, too many companies are trying to solve a problem only the weirdos in society (like me) are having. I explained this on the Gillmor Gang on Friday: I’m a noise junkie. Only one out of 100,000,000 people will be like me. If you think you can build a business just on those weirdos like me or Mike Arrington or Louis Gray will ever use, then go for it. But you don’t need an enterprise-level architecture to keep the two of us happy. Look at Grazr: how many people have too many feeds or want access to more? Only a very small percentage. Who wants to tell their friends what they are eating for lunch? A whole lot more people.
3. Grazr’s UI is too confusing. Look at all the hottest services lately. They are simple, simple, simple. Easy to get into and easy to use. Way too much use of color, too. Why? Put this sucker in front of an eye tracking research project and you’ll see why: you don’t know where to look so your eye gets confused and when it does that the next thing that happens is I look for the “back” button to get the hell out of there.
4. Grazr has a focus on A-list blogs. Who wants to read those things? I’d rather read the blogs from my friends. Those A-list assh***s? I already see too much of them in other places.
5. Grazr’s language is cold. No personality. At least Twitter has the “Fail Whale” with lots of little birds. It has a personality. Grazr? Look at the terms they use for their categories. Business. Celebrity. Gaming. Health. Music. Yahh, yahhh, yahhh, boring!
6. Nothing is moving on Grazr’s home page. I’ve been staring at this for five minutes and nothing has moved. Compare to Twitter Vision — which is more inviting? I even refreshed and nothing on the home page changed. Now go to Twitter or FriendFeed or Jaiku or Pownce. Click on the “everyone” feeds on FriendFeed. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Do you see new stuff? I do. It makes me feel like something is happening on those services and that there’s tons of users. Oh, wait, there are.
7. Grazr has UI that looks like Microsoft’s Windows. Enough said. I know what they are trying to do, but look at FriendFeed’s widget on my blog. Does it look like Windows? No, it’s customized so it fits into my blog’s design.

But, go back to the comment that Michael left. That’s exactly true. I’d rather have Twitter with all of its scalability troubles than a perfect system without any users.

END GRAZR RANT, START FRIENDFEED RANT

That’s why we’re all staying with Twitter. Now, if someone can figure out how to build a perfect system AND get the users to move, then we’ll talk again. FriendFeed is close, but isn’t going to be it. Why? Four reasons:

1. No realtime yet. When I can participate in FriendFeed by using an instant messaging client like Google Talk, then we’ll have realtime. Right now it’s pseudo real time and not wholly satisfying.
2. No SMS compatibility. Can I post to FriendFeed and get messages out of FriendFeed via a cell phone’s SMS feature? Not yet. How many cell phones are being sold everyday? In China alone they are selling six million new ones a month! Now THAT is a market Dare Obasanjo could get excited about!
3. No ability to see a river of noise. Everything on FriendFeed gets reordered based on participation. I want to see just a strict reverse-chronological view.
4. Poor querying abilities. I can’t tell the search to just show me every item that has “n” likes. For instance, I want to see only the popular items sometimes. I can’t do that. Same with comments. I want to see only those items that have lots of community engagement. I can’t. Steve Gillmor asks for this feature another way: he loved Twitter’s track feature. I can’t do that in FriendFeed either.

Oh, well, I’m off on a FriendFeed rant. Enough of that. Thanks Michael for making me think in a different way. What a great comment.