Archives for March 2006


Free Speech Costs $100

A nurse in Athens, Georgia was pulled over on her way home by a local police officer, who disliked that her bumper sticker “I’m Tired Of All The BUSHIT.”  The officer considered it  lewd, and gave her a $100 ticket for violating a state law prohibiting lewd or profane stickers and decals on vehicles.

The driver defended the sticker as a political statement that’s protected under the First Amendment.  By the way, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the “lewd bumper  sticker” statute as unconstitutional in 1991, in a case involving a defendant who had a “Shit Happens” bumper sticker.

Here’s the detailed account of the incident. (hat tip: Eszter).   My readers know where I stand on Freedom of Speech,  so I’ll just list a few other related posts:

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Patent Ransom – Take #2

Auren Hoffman got the patent on the business model of suing others who violate patents.  Or something like that.  But he may be late, since Chris Yeh got the patent on patenting the business model patent business model.  Or maybe it’s just too late and I should go to sleep.

See also: Patent Ransom.

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ajaxWrite and ajaxSketch are Not True WebOffice Applications

I was one of the first bloggers to welcome  ajaxSketch, released only a week after ajaxWrite, as part of my growing collection of FireFox bookmarks in the WebOffice folder.  Well, I just deleted them.  What’s the point of using Web-based applications if I can only save my work on the local harddrive?  If I have access to my own PC, I also have the desktop applications, and if the purpose is work/create anywhere I am, I need not only Web-based applications, but web-based storage too.

Well, at least I don’t have to worry about my WebOffice folder filling up too fast …

Update (3/30): Apparently I’m not the only one disappointed: “Whats the point in a Web application storing its files on your pc? None!

Update (4/10):  Now we have the answer, thanks to the Seattle PI via Paul Thurrott.  “Currently, ajaxWrite saves documents on the computer hard drive, but

Robertson says the plan is to offer online file storage and other

advanced features for a subscription fee. That’s how the company will

seek to make money.”   OK, I just wonder if the initially disappointed users will bother to check back later.

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Ellison’s Double Dip: a Conflict of Interest? No.

Netsuite LogoMatt Marshall at SiliconBeat is wondering whether Oracle CEO Larry Ellisons 60% ownership (*) in NetSuite, preparing for a $2B IPO represents a conflict of interest.

I don’t think so.  Oracle dipped into the On-Demand market before,  it did not quite work, so Ellison decided to tackle it differently, through his investments.  He is a Warlord battling in different theaters and maintaining two separate, not directly interchangeable armies.   This is still true, even though Oracle’s second attempt in the SaaS space will likely be successful, especially after absorbing Siebel.

The issue isn’t so much On-Premise vs. On-Demand anymore,  but the market segment they go after: NetSuite is still mostly an SMB player, although more the “M” than the “S” piece.   The SMB market requires a totally different Sales and Marketing approach, amongst others, and Oracle with it’s current “legacy” salesforce can’t reach this market profitably.  It’s the Business Model, not only the technology, that requires a separate “army”.

For the above reasons I’ve long been advocating that SAP also should invest in it’s own NetSuite-equivalent (or better, and I happen to know who ) to tackle the SMB market.

Back to the Ellison factor, Jason  still contends that “NetSuite could get scooped up by Oracle before it ever sees the light of the public markets.”

* (I think it’s actually less than 60%, but more than 50% – but that’s irrelevant here.)

Update (4/2)Vinnie agrees:I have always believed if Larry had invested in every one of Oracle’s alums, he would be a far richer man than Bill Gates…. Maybe Larry should similarly invest in Open Source, Third Party

Maintenance, BPO, Search, Web services start-ups. They represent the

growth and the innovation in the market, not the company he founded.”

Sramana Mitra‘s post is also worth reading.

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Why Preaching the “Art of …” is Easier than Doing It

I enjoy reading Guy Kawasaki’s blog, the “Art of..” series as well as other posts.  I find myself agreeing with him most of the time, including his most recent post, The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy.  That said, let’s look at some of his examples:

  • Apple coolness factor vs. CIO safe bet
  • Turning enemies into allies:  The Knight and the dragon are “mashingly unsuccessful at doing battle and eventually decide to go into business together. Using the dragon’s firebreathing ability and the knight’s salesmanship, they create the K & D Bar-B-Q.
  • Mindgames, or “size matters”: “During the Korean War, the U. S. Army Office of Strategic Services left a supply of condoms for the Communist Chinese to find. The condoms were specially manufactured in an extra-large size. The label on the boxes, however, said, “Made in the USA Size Medium.”
  • Mindgames, a’la Hannibal: make the enemy believe the hords of cattle are all soldiers… etc…etc.

Update: some more examples from Guy’s post, see our comment exchange below:

  • Small hardware store offering refill service of the gas tanks that new behemoth Home Depot sells
  • The even wiser hardware store owner who displays “Main Entrance” on his portal, right next to Home Depot
  • Pizza company incentivising customers to tear out competitor ads..etc.

These illustrations make it a fascinating piece to read…and that’s exactly my issue with so many management books: the author has the freedom to quote the most interesting stories from the entire world to make their point. 

Business reality is not that fascinating, if you are an Executive or business owner, you live within the confines of your own everyday business, you can’t perform the condom– or cattle-trick.  You have a more limited set of options, no matter how creative you are.  The stories belong in books, or – if yo can afford – motivational, skill-development training sessions, but most of them are hard to map to your business reality.  I guess that’s also the difference between celebrity story tellers and management consultants, who have to recharge and boost real businesses every day.

P.S.  Guy, I still love reading your blog.


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Software 2006

I’ll be attending “The must-attend software event of the year”, Software 2006, organized by the Sand Hill Group.

The 2,500 participants meet industry leaders on April 4-5th in Santa Clara, CA.

I hope to blog from there, although it’s more likely that I only get to do it after the event.  I also hope to meet many of my readers.  If you’ll be there and would like to meet, drop me a note.  

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Prelude to the New Gmail Business Model?

This story (via Digg) suggests Gmail has a limit of 500 emails a day. Perhaps it’s just spam control – perhaps it’s the prelude to Google’s pay-for-use services, especially considering that they will introduce private label Gmail accounts.

read more | digg story

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Open Source kills innovation (?)

Does Open Source really kill innovation? – debates Michael at SQLFusion, quoting from the Economist, Harvard, Infoworld and others.   It’s worth reading – and considering that they are the company soon launching Open Source Fusion, you can guess what Michael’s answer is.
Full post here.

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ajaxSketch Launched

 ajaxSketch, a Web-base tool for diagramming, flow charts, free hand drawing was launched today.  This came just a week after it’s creator, Michael Robertson released ajaxWrite, which became both instantly popular and controversial.  Popular, since within a week it was used to creat over half a million documents.  Controversial, since it sparked a debate that it’s actually not AJAX but XUL, so perhaps it should be named xulWrite

I’m a dumb user, not technical enough to follow those debates … and I don’t care anyway. What I do know is that I now have a folder named WebOffice in my FireFox with bookmarks for Writely, Thumbstacks (cool online Presentation tool – light Powerpoint-replacement, although I will be chastised for this), Vyew,, Zoho, Calcoolate … and a bunch of others.  Today ajaxSketch joined the crowd.  I think I’m gonna lose this race: before realize, I’ll have way too many WebOffice apps there, when I really should “standardize” on a handful.  Michael Robertson is a guilty party here:  he promised to release a new app on every Wednesday, and so far he’s delivered.

Update (3/29):  Since the announcement this afternoon, the US server had scarce availability, the European server was up, but slow.  Now that they got TechCrunched, it won’t help…    Oh, well, when Zillow was unavailable almost all of their launch day, nobody seemed to care except me – apparently it did not hurt them a single bit.

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How a Good Name Turns out to be Crap – Literally

TechCrunch gave a pretty positivie review of Jobby:
Unlike other web 2.0 job sites like Indeed and Simply Hired (which aggregate job listings from around the web), Jobby takes information directly from job seekers, and then focuses on helping recruiters filter through job qualifications fast via tagging and tag filtering. The results are quite stunning

A good review by Mike always helps, so all is fine for the beta-service … except … hm… apperently the name has a special meaning in Scottish slang:
A Scots term for the brownish substance excreted from ones anus when the bowels are full or after a spicy cuisine.
Also the term for something that is disapproved of/ rubbish
.” (source: Urban Dicitionary).

Yuck. That’s pretty bad. The Jobb(y)ers are lamenting the right course of action:
So what’s the solution? The way I see it, we have three options.
1. Change our name.
2. Keep our name. Grin and bear it. After all, we showed the site to hundreds of people before anyone actually pointed this out. It’s pretty obscure… Right?
3. Change our logo to a little amorphous brown man in a lively plaid kilt

My vote is on #2, keep the name. Although I’d like to see someone come up with #3.

Update : I guess now it’s fair to say these surfers in Hawaii had a jobby experience

Update (3/31): Here’s a thorough data-driven analysis into how sh*t (I mean “jobby”) happens. More here, and from Guy Kawasaki.

Update (5/24): Jobby no longer… they got acquired by Jobber. Hope the deal was not … “jobby” (in Scottish). Congrat’s to the team.

Update (7/16/07): Read/WriteWeb has a run-down of the 10 worst app names.

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