Category: Technology

Can you serve others better than you serve yourself

I have thought about this a great deal. The degrees of abstraction are endless. I have thought about it from a systematic perspective, from a social perspective, from a business perspective and so on. The answer I come to consistently is NO. Now let me explain.

The guiding point is: You cannot serve others any better than you serve yourself. I am not saying, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have a nice car. Nope, what I am saying is, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have the ability to give a nice car. At a personal level the actions we take that define us, are the foundations of our interactions with others. The personal side goes down a deep meta rabbit hole and is best left for another time.

The part that is more plain is from a business and systematic perspective. I had previously written “A provider cannot deliver a continuity of experience greater than the continuity of experience the provider has internally.”

You cannot manage a customers inventory any better than you can manage your own (definitely if you are using the same systems, people, and processes).

Do you think Ford could build cars for toyota better than they could build Fords, uh Nope.

Do you think that the U.S. can run a country any better than we run the U.S., uh Nope, just look at Puerto Rico (Usually worse).

If you have variability in your business process when you share those processes with your customer, guess what they get the same degree of variability.

If your email system sucks when you use it, it will suck when you host it out for your customers to use.

Do you think that Google employees have better mail services than Gmail users, I bet they do, but all services being equal I bet its darn close.

The reality is the systems, people and processes we use internally will never generate better results just because your using them on someone’s behalf.

Bye Bye local storage, Hello Amazon S3

I have been going through a great deal of change over the past 3 months. So while I am in flux I decided to minimize my use of local storage. I have started using Amazon S3 via Jungle Disk on my MacBook Pro. Storage in the cloud is very appealing to me, accessible from anywhere, anytime makes my life easier. Managing USB drives and DVDs is a pain in the neck.

I know that S3 is not perfect but it sure is nice so far. Jungle Disk appears as a mounted drive in Finder and I just drag the files into the drive. In the back ground Jungle disk uploads my files to S3 using my account. I have yet to do a back-up but that is on my list of things to do. The only think that does suck is the fact that my cable provider tightly limits upload bandwidth. So if you have a second try Amazon S3 and Jungle Disk.

Lawrence Lessig pursues Root Cause and Growth

Lawrence Lessig wrote yesterday that he is shifting his academic and activist focus from IP to legislative corruption. With his efforts over the past 10 years largely thwarted by the corruption of the legislative process. I believe that Mr. Lessig has been extremely effective in explaining the impacts and the value of a more open society. Describing a key reason for the change he writes,

I had learned everything I was going to learn about the issues I’ve been working on; there are many who would push them as well, or better, than I; perhaps therefore it was time to begin again.

Letting go of a leadership role and seeking opportunity for growth takes a maturity and self-awareness not often found. So I commend and thank Mr. Lessig for his efforts and look forward to his coming works.

Look out Washington one of the sharpest minds around is now focusing on you.

At&t not surprised

I have made it my mission to remove at&t from my life. I started this effort after a customer service rep had informed me that my Local loop could not support DSL, but at my expense I could upgrade the local loop. Just for clarification at the time I was living in a suburban community definitely not in the middle of the sticks. So I pledged to spend nothing with At&t, I dropped idsl Internet services, I dropped voice service to my home all I have left is cell service. At the end of my contract I am going to drop it.

I wasn’t surprised to read aboutAt&t’s move to censor their network traffic. I suspect that they are practicing for contracts in China. Nothing like sanctioning customers without due process, so I would like to offer some suggestions for additional services At&t can offer:

At&t Morality network filtering.
At&t Patent infringement network filtering.
At&t Free speech network filtering.

Here is the new slogan:
At&t
Our World. Filtered.

Did I mention that they are Headquartered in Texas.

Welcome FeedBurner

I have finally closed on my RFP for feed management. It only took me 10 months, that’s about right for an IT project. I have to say the set up was easy and straight forward.

I look forward to the day when Google analytics is merged with FeedBurner. Google will soon have a comprehensive offering for collecting behavioral data for websites. A belated congratulations to the folks at FeedBurner, I hope that the acquisition goes better than others (blogger, dodgeball).

Upside down, Ugh!!!

My speed test. When I first signed up for my fixed wireless service the speeds were great. Now, not so much. Just for reference, I subscribe to 10 Mbps up and down. I am starting to wonder if its worth the premium I pay.

Google Reader Updated

I have in the past written about Google Reader. It has received a needed update that has taken it to a whole new level. I have been of late getting tired of the river of news format, and have secretly hoped Google would do something about it. I tried tags and reading a feed at a time, but Reader was just to cumbersome. Now post redesign all I can say is Nice, and I won’t be going anywhere else to read my feeds anytime soon.

Well done Google.

Consumer software licensing innovation please

All around us the mechanisms for delivering applications are evolving and innovating. The web has created an infinite number of ways to do things. With all the change in the consumer application space there still seems to be a mind set that consumers should pay for the value of software up front (for local applications). So here are my suggestions for new licencing approaches:

  • Free for N number of days, after N days the customer pays what they think the software is worth to them.
  • Modest initial fee ($25 to $50) and then a small subscription fee for a fixed period of time.
  • Modest initial fee ($25 to $50) and then micro payments only when the software is used with the total payment capped.

Large upfront fees create economic barriers and perpetuate the digital divide. Companies that are willing to align their revenue streams with the rate at which their customers realize value will be more sustainable and profitable. The alignment of cost and value also provides greater motivation for companies to continuously innovate their products and focus on their customers needs.