The Changing Face of Competition

Changing Competition

It came to my atten­tion yes­ter­day that “the mar­ket” con­sid­ers Kick­starter (and Indi­gogo, and oth­ers) com­peti­tors to banks!

At first I thought, “that’s silly”.

In fact, it’s not.

Retail Banks are fac­ing [Read more…]

If a Tablet Ships, but Doesn’t Replace a PC, Does Someone in Redmond Scream?

Not all tablets are cre­ated equally.

Often, this doesn’t really mat­ter. I mean, the con­sumer knows what they want (pre­sum­ably) and has a price they want to pay, and they buy some­thing. How­ever, it’s nec­es­sary for those of us try­ing to under­stand what’s hap­pen­ing to get a lit­tle more in-depth. To cat­e­go­rize tablets so we can gain insight into “what the num­ber mean”. It’s not about mar­ket share, it’s not even about profit share. Not for peo­ple who are try­ing to ana­lyze the indus­try rather than the finan­cial mar­kets.

Ben Bajarin, who per­haps gets me think­ing more than is good for any­one, has been think­ing out loud on twit­ter on how to cat­e­go­rize tablets. I had this thought-flow that I’ll try to keep brief.

It’s clear an iPad is a tablet that is impact­ing PC sales.

It’s clear that a Kin­dle e-book reader (not Kin­dle Fire) is not. I don’t know enough about the Kin­dle Fire per­son­ally, but let’s say that the Kin­dle Fire is only good at media (books, videos, audio) play­ing. With that assump­tion, let’s say the Kin­dle Fire has no impact on PC sales.

There’s an ele­ment of “com­put­ing device” vs “enter­tain­ment” device. Actu­ally, I don’t nec­es­sar­ily like the word “enter­tain­ment” but it will do for now.

Per­son­ally, I don’t like to read on my Kin­dle (eReader). I like to take advan­tage of the dig­i­tal for­mat by high­light­ing and com­ment­ing on what I’m read­ing. It’s really hard to do on a Kin­dle, very easy to do on an iPad. How­ever, an eReader does have the abil­ity to notate, high­light, and share ele­ments of read­ing (and video/audio). It’s a mod­ern expe­ri­ence of an old skill (read­ing, watch­ing, lis­ten­ing). It’s not just replac­ing the book, it’s replac­ing the book and adding lim­ited com­put­ing to change the expe­ri­ence. In the case of reading/watching/listening, the lim­it­ing com­put­ing added is triv­ial in terms of com­put­ing require­ments needed in the device.

What about sketching?

What if some­one bought an iPad only to sketch? [Read more…]

PayPal is Trusted

For­rester has released the results of a sur­vey that indi­cate more con­sumers would trust Pay­Pal than their own bank for a dig­i­tal wal­let solu­tion.

Pay­Pal is eas­ily the most “hated” pay­ment solu­tion around. At least by the peo­ple who have to accept pay­ments. Clearly they’re the first and the largest, so they’re a big tar­get for com­plaints. How­ever, I’ve been pay­ing atten­tion to the space for some time, and I know that if I ever had to do a pay­ment thing, I’d not even con­sider using Pay­Pal (as things stand today — I think they have some great poten­tial and remain hope­ful for them).

The For­rester results reminded me of a prod­uct launch we did at Actional about 10 years ago. We had a SOA Man­age­ment prod­uct and added in some really inno­v­a­tive secu­rity fea­tures, fea­tures that only we could do because of the unique capa­bil­i­ties of our SOA Man­age­ment gate­way (SOAPstation).

But, it wouldn’t sell.

And, we didn’t get invited to the oppor­tu­ni­ties (RFPs).

Why? Well, we weren’t a known entity in the secu­rity space. We didn’t have any his­tory in secu­rity, and didn’t have the trust of our mar­ket (in that regard).

Pay­Pal may have some neg­a­tive his­tory, and I’d never use them per­son­ally (for now), but even I’d prob­a­bly list them first or sec­ond if some­one put a gun to my head and shouted “WHAT ARE THE TOP PAYMENT NETWORKS ON THE INTERNETS?!”

I hope Paypal’s name recog­ni­tion doesn’t impact the future of mobile pay­ments & dig­i­tal wal­lets by giv­ing them a leg up on some of their more inno­v­a­tive competition.

Go Josh, Go.


Per­son­ally, I’m less inter­ested in fair­ness than in the oppor­tu­nity to cre­at­ing stronger fam­ily bonds. I believe deep down that the lack of these bonds are the core of the vio­lence & and other dis­turb­ing moral trends we see in our cul­ture1.

Josh Levs is suing his employer for a fair amount of pater­nity leave. From the New York Times “Stand­ing Up for the Rights of New Fathers”:

…the United States has one of the least civ­i­lized poli­cies in the world when it comes to offer­ing paid leave for new moth­ers. So, it’s no sur­prise that fathers are often treated as an afterthought.

It’s really too bad this has to be an issue of dis­crim­i­na­tion and not of fam­ily val­ues. Then again, some­times you just “get it done” and worry posi­tion­ing later. Like the way Bloomberg got cig­a­rettes banned from bars. It wasn’t about people’s health, but rather worker safety. I believe call­ing it what it is pro­vides some amount of purg­ing & heal­ing that doesn’t hap­pen with a work-around.

If you have any inter­est in this sort of thing, read Josh’s story in his own words.

  1. I love our cul­ture, it’s won­der­ful and truly cre­ates a land of oppor­tu­nity. I don’t think our cul­ture is in decline. I do believe that it is rot­ting and needs some fix­ing. []


bing enterprise search

Two obser­va­tions:

  1. Google has “won” search.
  2. Enter­prise search “stinks”.

I can’t fig­ure out, with all their strength as an enter­prise IT provider, why Microsoft can’t pivot Bing to “solve” enter­prise search while at the same time com­bine enter­prise search with “inter­net search” to pro­vide a richer search expe­ri­ence for peo­ple search­ing at work. The lat­ter thought is a great attack on Google, sim­i­lar to the way Google’s tried to attack Microsoft’s Office franchise.

Face it. Dur­ing the day, most peo­ple search from work. Train them to securely and effec­tively search cor­po­rate assets through Bing, and com­ple­ment those results with a “reg­u­lar inter­net search”. Why would peo­ple dis­tin­guish between the two? They’d even­tu­ally use Bing for both.

Once that habit devel­ops, maybe they take it home. After all, it’s eas­ier to remem­ber 1 thing than 2.

What’s eas­ier to remem­ber? One thing or two things?

The thing that Microsoft has that Google doesn’t is not the search exper­tise to “fix” enter­prise search. The tech­nol­ogy is unim­por­tant assum­ing some basic level of search capa­bil­ity. Rather, it has the enter­prise IT rela­tion­ships and the power of it’s exist­ing cor­po­rate enter­prise license agree­ments to wedge Bing in there, to buy them time to iter­ate and get it right.

Any­ways, just some ran­dom thoughts now that there’s another rumor Microsoft will ditch Bing.

By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever once searched with Bing. I have, how­ever, made many searches over the years to Share­point — Microsoft’s col­lab­o­ra­tion tool.

Why are the two search tech­nolo­gies different?