Here are two great places I have found useful apps for web publishers and developers. If you have a useful tool or service for developers, start here.
1. Geckoboard ; new third party plug ins are routinely added to this dashboard service. Services that produce lots of data need an easy way for users to consume that data. Lots of things can go wrong with a digital business, dashboards make it easy for companies to notice something is wrong, or right, without needing a bunch of complexly written alerts.
2. Zapier ; just like with dashboards app to app communication is essential for automating businesses. Zapier allows one app action to trigger another app action. I can make a new Asana task send me an SMS, or a new Evernote note to create a file in Dropbox. Right now Zapier supports 162 different services and apps, the more the merrier for everyone.
If you want to dig deep, there is always Hacker News and Angel List, but both are time sucks..
Consumers get confused quickly. It is not because they are stupid, it is because the sliver of attention they can give you is limited.
With one slip Apple has created an opening in their position as the undisputed leader in high quality displays on their mobile devices. The new iPad mini creates a ripple of doubt, leaving consumers to wonder if the new iPads, iPhones, and Macbooks screens could actually be inferior to their cheaper alternatives. Was it worth it?
When you are trying to build a brand, don’t throw values and features you worked hard to create by the way side. If you do, the value they add to your website, company, or persona could not just be forgotten but turned against you.
What is Yahoo anyways? Apparently little more than a content farm spewing out cheap low quality articles for display advertising revenue. That is pretty sad for a company that was once the most serious competitor to Google, one of the most valuable companies in the world.
I think you could earn an MBA’s worth of knowledge just studying the management, operational, and financial differences between Yahoo and Google. The saddest part of this whole story is just how many opportunities Yahoo threw away. Yahoo has well earned the name as the place start ups go to die.
Even grimmer news came for Yahoo this week with Facebook’s announcement of their new messaging platform, as Yahoo Mail is responsible for a huge chunk of Yahoo’s user base.
Yahoo as a search engine company: dead. Yahoo as a pay per click company: dead. Yahoo as a webmail platform: at risk. Yahoo as a content farm: alive and well.
News to content farms and investors thinking of putting their money in content farms that do not return a profit immediately: Google is addicting you to their traffic. Then they are going to pull it, and then you are going to pay for it. And if it really is a good business model it won’t be long before Google brings it in house (take a look at how many media farms are in the top 100 US websites list — thats a Google business model.)
From the reflections of Randy Farmer in his blog post I linked to above: “..When those personalities leave, their projects immediately get transferred to Bangalore for end-of-life support” The future of Yahoo: a content farm run on life support.
Stocks, bonds, real estate; don’t count on it. The best investment for 2009 is people.
I wrote about hiring employees last year. Its a pretty damn good thing to do irregardless of the economy. The difference is today high quality workers are being shed along with the low quality ones. As Google restrains hiring and the investment banks continue layoffs, you can bet it is getting easier to find highly skilled and experienced technical workers.
Downward price pressures (deflationary for now) mean better for cheaper. Not growing your company? Then this is a great time to clean out the underperformers and replace them with new hires. You can keep your costs constrained while increasing company performance. Hell, one really good programmer can automate & replace the jobs of 10 lazy workers.
In the past few weeks I’ve seen some pretty impressive resumes. My standards and expectations have dramatically increased, and so should yours.
As for a follow up on my “Killer Investment with a 100% ROI” from May 2007, I would say my return has been substantially more than that. In retrospect, the idea of putting that money to work in any traditional investment would have been absolute lunacy.