Week of 5/8/09 Tech Roundup in 15 minutes

I’m going to try something new this Friday–a mini-blog post where I time bound to 15 minutes observations, etc. on the week in tech.  Feedback welcome on whether useful. 

What a week, just to cover a few of the high points that I thought were interesting in 15 minutes:

  • Amazon launched a new Kindle.  Here’s what I find so amazing, having been in software platforms for 10 years—basically everyone had declared hardware to be dead.  Now if you look at two of the 800# gorillas of technology, Apple and Amazon, the wind is at their back precisely because they built dedicated, innovative hardware.  Lesson for entrepreneurs—ignore people who pronounce stuff dead, unless their an MD.  Awesome.
  • Twitter rumors hit pretty strong peak, now looks like no sale.  I admire Twitter’s approach and have come to really enjoy their product.  I love that they’re in no hurry to sell, and I’d say rightly so.  The wind is at their back and will continue to be so.
  • Speaking of which, I heard someone today talk about Twitter’s 40% account drop off cliff after a month.  My answer: who cares! ?!  The glass is more than half-full—60% of their accounts stay on for more than a month.  That’s goodness!  In all seriousness, the increasingly powerful thing that Twitter does is it creates a real-time web.  Just like YouTube with user videos or with blog platforms, whatever, you have some number of creators and some number of consumers.  In Twitters case, they’ll quickly have the biggest number of creators worldwide, for a scenarios that’s useful—real-time information.  I predict that in short order we will use Twitter as a search front-end for real-time events—this applies whether I”m a Twitter account holder or not.  In this future, you don’t need everyone sticking around with their accounts.  And of course,once ore and more people use the network the draw will get increasingly strong to draw people back.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 RC release, and it looks like its going to be a hit.  I predict MSFT gets a strong step forward in its momentum with the release of Windows 7.  There is enough hardware innovation in the ecosystem and the power of the software is looking great.  The public download experience was clean and simple—note there was no real outcry about this.  The buzz from even MS haters is that W7 is looking pretty good—here me now and believe me later, W7 is going to be a hit.  This will provide good wind at the back of MSFT as they take next steps on Silverlight, Azure, etc. 
  • Wolfram Alpha ran the gauntlet in the press.  Geesh, you’d think that Google wasn’t just destroying the news, but that they actually at this point owned it all too.  WA did a public talk-through of their product, which got lambasted for not first showing screenshots.  Then folks reviewed it in comparison with Google a product that’s been in market for 10 years.  I’m glad RWW at least was willing to admit that WA looked like it had some benefit to real academics and so on.  This is a completely legitimate starting place, which I recall was how Google got started.  Of course, that was before they owned the news….
  • The Founder’s Institute closes applications for summer session and gets a bumper crop of Mentors (present company excluded) :).   Caveat: I’m involved with this, and I’m super excited about the opportunity to work with the great bunch of new founders and existing mentors to create great companies and great entrepreneurs. 
  • Seesmic releases new update.  I’m running out of time.  I’d still review Tweetdeck ahead, given that I like its white text on black background more.  but I do think Seesmic does a nice job with search.  I have no idea how either plans to make any money but hey, I”m glad I got them. 
  • Final thought/ Post of the week: be sure to read Seth Godin’s thoughtful post Too Much Free.  It takes 30 seconds, and its useful to any entrepreneur.  My quick input—don’t be too lazy on thinking about business model and say ‘free and we’ll figure it out later.’ I can count on 2 hands the number of companies that have succeeded in building a great company built around charging no money to anyone.  If you’re clear on two things when building a business, be clear on what problem you’re solving and be clear on how you’ll pay the bills. 

I’m out.  15 minutes. 

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