Today as Darryl, Randy and I ate lunch at Wingnuts in Aliso Viejo (celebrating Darryl and Sian’s good news–congrats!), I wondered… “what do those letters mean?”
Now I know. But I betcha can’t figure it out!
This week’s Photo Friday challenge is gray. The easy way out would be a grayscale image, but I like this one which I took from the parking lot of Fluor’s San Francisco offices overlooking Oyster Bay. The photo is unretouched.
The Informed Reader has a great post titled The Powerful Lure of the Useless Extra Feature that describes the problems facing, well, many products (and product lines) today. The article quotes The Wisdom of Crowds‘ James Surowieki, who explains that “…people are not, in general, good at predicting what will make them happy in the future. The strange truth about feature creep is that even when you give consumers what they want they can still end up hating you for it.”
What got me started down this train of thought was this provocative comparison between Cingular (AT&T) Wireless, a company with 200 cell phones and 50 pricing plans and CBeyond, a smaller company with four cell phones and eight service options. CBeyond is growing at a faster rate and generating much higher margins. Could it be that we really like simplicity, and just don’t know it?
Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with my iPAQ PDA phone. It’s mind-numbingly capable, with built-in camera, GPS, web-browsing, music playing and spreadsheet crunching power. And it even makes phone calls. But for all the features and functionality, I often find myself wishing I had a plain, old phone. Something to just pick-up and dial. The reality is, though my iPAQ does in fact do all the things advertised, it doesn’t do any of them very well (including the phone call part).
Another comparison could be drawn on the web. Discussion forums (like BigBlueBall) and blogs (like this one) are two common expressions of the social web. Both allow some form of interaction between the author and the readers. Forums are feature-rich and complex. Blogs are (usually) bare-bones and simple, but painless. I realize it’s not an apple-to-apple comparison, as they each serve a specific purpose, but it’s worth noting that although blogs appeared on the scene later, they outstripped the growth rate of forums exponentially.
Where is this all leading? A reminder to myself that sometimes less really is more.
Dr. David Vaine of Apparently KM, PLC illuminates the obfuscation of knowledge management (KM) and the corporate world. Funny and poignant.
It’s Friday night, and instead of going out and raising hell, I’m thinking of hitting the hay and sawing logs. Don’t worry — I haven’t suddenly retired from life. I’m giving my body some much-needed sleep in preparation for My First Marathon.
That’s right, tomorrow morning I’m hopping on the Surfliner and cruising down south for the San Diego Rock-and-Roll Marathon. I’m running with South Orange County Team In Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I’ve been training for this event since the beginning of February, and it’s finally here. I’m really looking forward to the marathon. It winds it’s way through beautiful San Diego, including Balboa Park, downtown and Mission Bay. And there are 26 stages along the way with live bands to entertain and keep our feet moving.
The flip side of this is that I’ll be offline until sometime Monday night. I’ll post updates via Twitter, but otherwise it will be quiet here.
If you’d like to support my fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, it’s not too late! I’m just a few hundred dollars away from my goal of $2,800! I’ll run the 26.2 miles — you help me meet my fundraising goal, ok? The easiest way to contribute is online, but you can also mail in a check. All the details are on my fundraising page.
Want to follow my marathon progress? The race starts at 6:30 am on Sunday, June 3rd. They will be publishing times at the 5k, 10k, half-marathon and finish line — all in real time. Look me up on race day at www.rnrmarathon.com. I’ll be about three hours behind the Kenyans.
Now you’re probably thinking to yourself… “How the hell am I going to keep myself from getting bored while Jeff is gone?” Try Desktop Tower Defense. DTD is an addictive, free Flash-based game that will keep you busy for hours. And there’s an interesting lesson behind it’s development.
DTD developer Paul Preece had never developed anything in Flash before. He was inspired by a friend’s project and took the plunge, using simple, hand-scrawled graphics. His website, www.handdrawngames.com launched in March, and Preece says his only publicity was submitting the site to StumbleUpon.com. The games addictive simplicity and group scoring gave it a viral quality, and soon he was generating 20 million page views a month. With most of the revenue coming from Google Adsense, he is generating in the high five-figures per month.
Preece realized that the popularity of Desktop Tower Defense cannot last forever. But he figures if he can produce one or two new games a month — something he feels is reasonable — he will have a sustainable business model.
I love those home-grown success stories. Read all the details over at GigaOm.com. Oh, and see if you can beat my high score — just add your score to the “BigBlueBall” group.