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Weekly Recap 071108: iPhone’s Big Gulp of Humility

Today was Apple’s big day, the release of its new 3G iPhone…geeks lined up days beforehand…stores were full of new iPhones…money was burning holes in pockets…the doors opened…customers rushed in to be the first ones to have the shiny new gadget…they claim their iPhones and go to activate in-store, an Apple requirement…and…the activation FAILS

Damn, that sucked

Apple is a company that has been on a hot streak for a while…here’s a quote about them from a recent Fortune article:

Apple requires a special kind of workforce. The place is divided by product but also by function along what COO Tim Cook calls “very faint lines.” Collaboration is key. So is a degree of perfectionism. Apple hires people who are never satisfied.

Today’s activation flub has got to be eating them up sumthin’ fierce…Apple has worked hard to achieve and maintain its air of excellence and coolness…

Fake Steve Jobs recently retired from his blogging…but surely this is too delicious to not write one more post…

All that said, Robert Scoble gives the new iPhone a thumbs up

*****

Loren Feldman is currently following only 3 people on his Twitter account…he unsubscribed from everyone he was following…wow…he does say that he will be on FriendFeed going forward

I’m not comfortable damning this guy, as I’ve never heard of him outside of recent events…he seems pretty tightly wound and people describe him as funny…he messed up with TechNigga…I’m willing to watch what he does going forward…and was this really Wayne Sutton commenting on Loren’s blog?

Thanks for the official statement, continue to create videos and I hope everyone from this situation has learned something and does not stop the future of sponsorship from other national outlets with the online video blogging community. I’m looking forward to your next project.

If that’s Wayne, wow…

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I’ve never said meatspace….

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Lots of discussions this week about the fast growth of subscribers for big name people on FriendFeed…Allen Stern does a nice job of breaking it down in this video…the issue is that same people tend to show up in two key places on FriendFeed…(1) the first 12 subscriptions listed on users’ Me page…and (2) the same 9 people are often displayed on the recommended page…shaking things up on those listings would be nice…

For my part, I was really surprised at the number of subscriptions (~100) that occurred because of Mike Fruchter’s post about ten people to follow on FriendFeed…thanks for the shout-out Mike…

*****

Two young women keeping it real out there on FriendFeed…Mona N and Michelle Miller

Mona is a geeky gal who also attracts attention from the fellas…Hao Chen declared:

Ahh…Mona just overtook Robert Scoble as my #1 person you find interesting.

Michelle is irreverent, keeping folks entertained with updates about her dates with The UPS Guy…her blog post describing their first date was What Brown Did for Me

*****

On Twitter, there are two ways to broadcast a blog post:

  1. Tweet a link to your own blog post, usually including something like “blog post” so people have a heads up its your own post.
  2. Tweet the word “reading” and the name of the blog post with a URL. This lets people know that you’re reading someone else’s blog post, and you like it enough to tell others about it.

Jason Calacanis tweets “reading” for his own blog posts. Huh? Reading? He wrote it! Here’s one example:

Reading: “Official announcement regarding my retirement from blogging.” (http://tinyurl.com/5zae7s)

Don’t hate the playa, hate the game, I guess…

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Digg founder Kevin Rose provided a great example of changing the name of blog post during its submission to Digg…

Here’s Allen Stern’s post, referenced earlier, about the ways in which A-listers quickly accumulate followers:

  • “FriendFeed Follower Patterns Exposed: How Jason, Mike, Loic & Robert Get So Many Followers So Quickly (video)”

Here’s how Kevin Rose submitted Allen’s post to Digg:

  • “The politics of Friend Feed”

Call it social media attention optimization….

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See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Weekly+Recap+071108%3A+iPhone%E2%80%99s+Big+Gulp+of+Humility%22&public=1

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In Praise of Inertia: MyYahoo Still #1

Over at TechCrunch, they’ve got a post up discussing the top six personal homepages. #1? MyYahoo. MyYahoo has been around for quite a while. 6-7 years? It’s an oldie, but still a goodie. It’s my homepage.

There are others on the list. #2 iGoogle looms as the big scary challenger. Given Google’s success over the past several years in other arenas, it’s surprising they haven’t taken the #1 spot here as well.

It’s a testament to inertia. Not inertia in any negative sense, like laziness or user ignorance. Rather, inertia as a reflection of human sensibilities and value systems. Something called the “9X problem“.

Harvard professor John Gourville put forth the idea of the 9X problem. The gist of his thesis: “a mismatch of 9 to 1 between what innovators think consumers want and what consumers actually want.” The mathematical term “9X” actually does have a little math behind it. And that math is key to understanding the 9X issue.

First part of the 9X equation is based on our comfort with what we have. Things we already know, things that we have invested time in learning and using, have a high psychological value for us. They satisfy some need. We’ve learned their strengths, and live with their weaknesses. When we compare something new to something we already have, we tend to overweight the value of what we already have by 3X. It’s a little scary to give up what you know.

Second part of the 9X equation is based on our natural skepticism about claims made for new things. This probably resonates for most of us. I know I tend to dismiss most commercials and advertisements. This is a healthy trait of people – otherwise we’d all be getting duped left and right. But it also means that we underweight the value of features for something new by a factor of 3X.

Multiplied together, this gives us the 9X factor.

This is powerful stuff. It means new things really have to deliver healthy gains in benefits. Some examples of “9X masters” come to mind. Google was such a leap forward in search relative to its competitors: very relevant results, clean interface. Apple’s iPod just blew the doors off other music players in so many ways. Honda’s reliability and fuel efficiency were miles ahead of Detroit in the 1980s and 90s.

But there are plenty of other cases where good products failed to dislodge incumbents. Supposedly, many other search engines have attained search results parity with Google. I wouldn’t know…I still use Google exclusively. And so do many others.

So there’s the 9X problem. It’s actually a really interesting concept. If you’re doing a startup, can you do in it a way that does not force someone to give up an existing “thing” they like? That way, you only have to deal with the 3X new product benefits underweighting problem?

9X is really about inertia. MyYahoo fulfills a personalized homepage need: news, email, stocks, sports, weather, etc. iGoogle, Netvibes and others have really nifty options for their pages. But have they delivered 9X the value?

The key is to hook your users. Once you get them, it’s hard to lose them. On that note, how about adding my little blog to your RSS reader? You can remove it any time you want… 😉