Thursday, January 31, 2013

Attracting A Crowd at So Say SMEs

We had a lot fun last week with our season two kickoff video.  It was in a great location and we tried to set the stage for the year.

On the first day of the video being posted, I had a few retweets from others that I follow on twitter.  Which was really nice and much appreciated.  Then a few days later I got a whole slew of retweets from people I don't follow.  As you can see from the screen grab, there is a definite trend in the profile pictures.

Looks like my blog on the spammers getting it right might be true in this case as well.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Cowbell and Stevie Ray Vaughan In So Say SMEs Season Two

Kong and I kicked off season two of So Say SMEs this week.  I promise more cowbell this year.

We did this initial video next to the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue near downtown Austin.  The reasons why are covered in the last minute or so of the video.  Here is the Stevie Ray song that I was talking about.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Apple and The Cult of Personality

There are a couple of facts about Apple today that may or may not be related.

  • Charismatic and dynamic Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs died a little over a year ago.
  • Apple's stock has taken a dramatic downward turn over the past few months.

If Apple was really a cult of personality centered around Steve Jobs, then these two things are directly related. But I think this is an overly simplistic view of what is happening.

Apple's dramatic rise to become the most valuable company in the world was based on it creating entirely new markets with high margin products and then dominating those markets for many years afterwards even as competitors entered with less expensive options.  This was true with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Without an entirely new market or category being created by Apple in the last couple of years, the  rate of growth has slowed.  While still dominant in it's existing markets, there are no new products on the horizon that would warrant the continued growth rate in the stock.

There is also the law of really big numbers at play with Apple.  It is has reached the point in size where it becomes very difficult to continue to grow at the same rate it did when it was smaller.  At some point growth slows.

It is possible that Steve Jobs would have been able to keep the growth up a little bit longer, but not too much longer.  This was no cult of personality, but it was and still is a great company.  It will continue on and while there are surely things that Steve would have done differently, it is difficult to believe that Apple would not have performed about the same.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SpamBot Gets It Write About Storage

The lengths that spammers will go through to try and get comments added to blogs has become pretty sophisticated over the years.

They started with just mass blanket efforts to put the same comment on every blog they could find.  These messages typically just contained a crass message and link to some not so credible website.

A more recent strategy was to cleverly write a generic message that could be applied to just about any blog post ever written, but to then contain a link to some not so credible website.  Something about how this is a very informative blog post and please continue to share you wisdom - link to random site that has nothing to do with anything.

They have finally progressed to the point where the spam is so targeted they actually are on topic and, at least in a recent case on my blog, topical and funny.

I recently wrote about the future of storage in a couple of blog posts, and a spammer blogged that the mini-storage units down the street were very nice and came highly recommended.  How could I have written a story about storage and not mentioned storage units?

Now if we can just figure out how to virtualize the mini storage place down the street, we can truly bring virtualization to the masses.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hopping Over CNET

Everything that is written, produced, or created is influenced by the person or team that originates it.  In the press there are many very good people that do their best to report things in a fair and unbiased way, but even in deciding to write one story over another - a judgement has been made.  The order of facts that are presented represent an opportunity for bias.  Good editors and writers are able to make the best decisions on issues like these and give readers the full story.

Part of the identity of any news organization or publication is the types of stories and articles that it chooses to write.  This is a conscious decision on the part of editors and writers.  Readers learn to expect a certain type of story from different sources.  Over time, a website or publication gains a reputation and readers feel they can trust that source for certain types of information.

In the case of CNET, they have spent years developing a reputation for technology news and tech product reviews.  I often found myself reading reviews of products on CNET before making purchasing decisions or before advising friends and family on decisions.  I trusted their reputation as a knowledgeable and fair source of information.

That relationship changed last week.  The CNET editorial staff had voted the Dish Hopper DVR as the best in show product for this year's CES show, but was forced to pick something else because the executive office of CBS (parent company of CNET) decided that they didn't like the choice.  There is an ongoing legal battle between CBS and Dish over this Hopper DVR, but that doesn't mean that CBS should attempt to control the media as a result.  Additionally, CBS forced CNET to go out with a bogus official statement initially that didn't own up to the Hopper winning the vote.

I have been a very longtime reader of CNET, but this has broken the relationship and I don't see them as a trusted source any longer.