on discovery path

Sep 06

In 1996 I was covering spot news from a closet in The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau when the phone rang. It was Jobs, offering to comment on Pixar’s earnings. It seems crazy in hindsight, but this was near the end of Jobs’ long season away from Apple. Pixar had the previous November released its first big hit, Toy Story, and in the same month had an IPO that beat Netscape as the year’s biggest. That heat had cooled, Woody and Buzz weren’t out on video yet, and with no second film in sight there wasn’t much news in the earnings. The paper had scheduled the story as a brief. Jobs picked up the phone himself, pointed things out, offering quotes, selling me, getting Pixar a bigger story in a so-so quarter.

It was kind of surreal, having a legend work to get his one-inch story made into three inches. If it bothered him, he didn’t show it. Jobs was already a billionaire from the Pixar IPO (the Disney purchase of Pixar, which tripled that, was years away), but at that moment he was a guy striving to get his company a little more attention, a little better position. He wasn’t dogged, he wasn’t irritated, he was focused on the thing he could do in that moment that would push his company forward. And, of course, it worked.

It’s not much of an anecdote, but it shows a couple of things. Jobs is someone who never gives up on details, never stops making that next call, pushing one more thing a little harder. It is a habit of his greatness.

One time he talked about how his habit of email exchanges with strangers who write him. It was a whim, he said: He was up one Thursday at 1 AM working on a presentation for the following Monday, and this kid’s note popped in, so… The real point is, Here is a guy who’s up late working on his material days ahead of time. Most chief executives look at a speech somebody else wrote about 20 minutes before they give it.

” — Another Steve Jobs anecdote from Quentin Hardy of Forbes.

Aug 17

Not bad for an online bookseller…

I’m sharing with you two great posts (see links below).  

Will IT-aaS result in a better IT service and Cloud Architects?

The authors make completely different points but there was one common context: the threat of Amazon Web Services.  Surely AWS has played their part in motivating IT shops and incumbent IT vendors to push toward the so-called private/hybrid cloud.

Aug 02

Great infographic on hottest tech companies in the current “bubble”.  Click the picture to see a larger full version.

Great infographic on hottest tech companies in the current “bubble”.  Click the picture to see a larger full version.

Jul 19

Why Netflix Wants You to ‘Just Say No’ to DVDs -

This Wired article talks about why Netflix is raising its prices… for example, the 1 DVD + unlimited streaming plan will get 60% price hike.   

Jul 02

…We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care. We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people aren’t hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work.

…25 million iPad users don’t care that it doesn’t have Flash or true multitasking, so why make that a focus in our campaigns? I’ll answer that for you: it’s because that’s all that differentiates our products and its lazy marketing. I’ve never seen someone buy product B because it has something product A doesn’t have. People buy product B because they want and lust after product B.

… BlackBerry smartphone apps suck. Even PlayBook, with all its glorious power, looks like a Fisher Price toy with its Adobe AIR/Flash apps.

Developing for BlackBerry is painful, and despite what you’ve been told, things haven’t really changed that much since Jamie Murai’s letter. Our SDK / development platform is like a rundown 1990′s Ford Explorer. Then there’s Apple, which has a shiny new BMW M3… just such a pleasure to drive. Developers want and need quality tools.

If we create great tools, we will see great work. Offer sh*t tools and we shouldn’t be surprised when we see sh*t apps.

” — Select excerpts from RIM’s own anonymous version of peanut butter manifesto