A few months back I started to get more involved in Vancouver’s start-up/tech scene. I met with the key players (Mack, Boris, Parveen, Campbell, etc) and signed up for the relevant Meetups so I’d get all the invites. I even went to several of the events, which of course were great and I was excited to learn more and contribute.
Then in January I decided that improving my fitness was important to me so I joined CrossFit and now do that 3 times a week and I’m loving it!
My problem is that I have to come home on Mondays, as my wife teaches a class. Wednesdays and Fridays are CrossFit, so they already take away from my family time (due to my long commute). Finally, I work from home on Thursdays, so it makes it hard to come into town for one of the frequent events.
That doesn’t leave much time for me to contribute to the great startup scene in Vancouver, which makes me sad as the community is so much fun and I would learn a ton. I will get involved when I can, but at the moment I am unwilling to make the sacrifices needed to be a meaningful contributor.
Yesterday while out for lunch, a co-worker expressed surprised that someone with an iPhone did not have a Mac. This surprised me as there are 550 million iOS users and only around 100 million Mac users, so most iPhone owners in fact do not own a Mac.
He then mentioned Apple’s “walled garden” to those of us with Macs and it made me a tad defensive, seeing how interested I am in owning my data. I really feel that with some thought and planning you can have reasonable access to your data & much of the convenience as well.
Outside of the apps (no mobile platform’s apps are cross compatible) I am not hugely locked in to anything. My mail is in IMAP (FastMail, my music in DRM-free MP3s. I do have data in Apple containers (calendars, contacts & photos), but they can all be exported quite easily. Only my purchased movies and TV shows are truly locked in, and that is true of any platform (Amazon, Android, etc). If I wanted something less convenient, but more compatible, I could order DVDs, wait for them to arrive, convert them & then load them into iTunes, but that is more work than I am willing to do right now. And I suspect those will go DRM free in the next few years (like music did before it) so that won’t be an issue either.
I guess what grates me about these types of comments (more here1) is the assumption that Apple is the only platform with lock in. You can’t open Kindle books on a non Kindle app/device, nor play Amazon video elsewhere, so what do those people want?
Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google and the like all try to keep us using their devices & services, and rightly so. To do this, they are choosing to deliver convenience instead of compatibility. Why is this so surprising and why do people only accuse Apple of it?
For a while I have been slowly dumping all Google services. It has been quite challenging as their products are just soooo good. But I just don’t have any faith in what they are doing with my information and it seems like every week there’s another story about how Google is capturing data it shouldn’t be.
I first dumped Google Calendar and went to iCloud (yes, I do trust Apple with that information more than I trust Google). Then from Gmail to Fastmail.fm (imagine, paying for great service!!). Most recently I switched from Google searches to Bing/DuckDuckGo.
The last hold-out was Google Reader. I read a lot of feeds and I need a service/app that reliably syncs. Not only that, I am kinda addicted to Reeder, a fabulous app on my iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Thanks to Don Melton, I discovered NewsBlur. The iOS apps are decent, but not great (in comparison to Reeder); however the developer says a refresh is coming and I have found him extremely responsive. There is no Mac client, but I do most of my reading on my phone and iPad so that is not a huge concern for me (and the website works quite well should I need to use it).
I’m happy to finally be Google free!
The arguments I got back on why it was good/would succeed were:
- Brazilian launch where Firefox has a good brand
- Web-native operating system
- Open source
I think these are all rather silly reasons for success. First, is it really a great brand? When it comes to browsing on the desktop it is #3 on the list and falling. In mobile they have no real presence (both top browsers are based on WebKit). Second, it is no name when it comes to operating systems. In fact, their browser is the slowest of the bunch so why would I assume its OS would be fast?
Regarding the web-native suggestion, I don’t know about you, but I can always tell when an app is a simple Webview. And this is on the best mobile OS browser on one of the fastest devices. Can you just image what performance would be like on a super cheap handheld with a slow CPU and not enough RAM?
I’m not sure at all how being Open Source will help it succeed as I haven’t seen any consumer apps/platforms that have succeeded AND are Open Source. Let’s not even get into the app discoverability issues and malware/useless crap that people will make to clog up this non-existent marketplace.
Lastly, the price. You can get iPhones for $0 (in the US, granted) and POS Android phones for like $40 in Radio Shack and Wal*Mart. So how exactly will price “win”?
I use 1Password to manage all my passwords and all of my passwords are very strong (randomly generated from 1Password) so I am not overly concerned about those, except one (Apple). I am, however, concerned about the number of sites that have my crucial information, such as PayPal, Amazon and Apple. What if one of those gets hacked?
The great thing about those sites having your information is that transactions are blissfully easy. The downside is that if they get hacked, then people can wreck havoc with my information.
Katie suggests unique, one-time credit cards, but I don’t think that I can get those from the banks I use so the next best thing is to not store my CC info with those services. I’m not a huge fan of PayPal so I may just cancel my account with them. I don’t buy much on Amazon so I think I can put up with entering my CC information each time.
Which brings us to the one that concerns me the most, Apple. Much of my computing usage is tied to my Apple ID. iCloud, iTunes, Apps, etc so if someone got into my account, they could do some pretty good damage. And because my wife & I share an Apple ID (share purchases, etc) I created an easy-to-remember-and-type password. Also, you **must* have a credit card stored with them.
- remove CC info from PayPal
- change recurring PayPal billing to credit card, if possible
- remove billing info from Amazon
- set wife up with 1Password
- create better Apple password
- review account on other services to ensure minimum info is there along with no billing info
I would recommend you review and assess the amount of information you store online as well.
As someone who specializes in enterprise sales, this article rang really true. I feel that the app/service in the consumer space is what is heralded and spoken about most. Enterprise is seen as hard to break into, but I don’t think that is true. We had a brief discussion about it on Twitter (apologize if I didn’t use Storify right…first time) but nothing was really settled (can any thing really be “settled” on Twitter???).
It is hard to make money in the consumer space because every person sees value differently. However, you can create a powerful narrative for enterprises that will resonate across an industry/niche. It does, however, require actual selling, which many people/companies are not ready for.
Vancouver has some extremely bright people and some great companies and creating more great enterprise companies (StrangeLoop, ElasticPath, HootSuite, etc) is key to a vibrant startup culture.
I am going to work with the fine folks at (Pixel Crafters)[http://pixelcrafters.ca] to set up a panel discussion around building an enterprise sales organization. I plan to have people from companies at each stage of growth (1-2, 2-20, 20+) answer questions about their challenges and discuss what they’ve learned.
Let me know if you’d like to be involved.
Like I said, I got all my past post extracted and into Markdown and all archived in Dropbox so I am good that way.
Little hitch with posting; because MarsEdit uses the old API to add posts, every post is missing it’s categories in my archive. To fix I have to save every post twice. Not ideal but not terrible. To solve this I will either have to find another way to write in Markdown and have that posted automatically or wait until the developer updates MarsEdit to use the correct APIs.
Next up, reviewing my photo capture and sharing.
No picture update folks, just the plain truth.
I am proud to say that this year my team has raised $2295 so far and I have raised $595 of it! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far.
If you are on the fence about donating, just look around you. If you know a male over the age of 50, there’s a 3 in 10 chance they already have it. By the time we hit 70 it’s nearly 80%.
To eradicate this piece of shit disease we need education & research and your donation helps both of those.
I know Christmas is coming up, but let’s think of this as an investment in Christmases to come: http://mobro.co/MoDL.