CRMbrella vs Bad Software

Charlie and Co. have just released their groundbreaking CRM product for SMBs, CRMbrella. If you’re a small business an you’re looking for a way to manage your prosepcts and customers, look no further. In celebration of this release, I am linking to customer reviews of one the the dominant competing products, Act!. My favorite review? The one entitled “Just Don’t Want to Believe How Bad This? Read the Reviews!”

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What a long strange trip it’s been

Check out Graeme on Graeme on Steve. It’s a great story told by Graeme, one the most dialed-in marketing guys (and bloggers) in MSP.

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Breakthrough Devices

SAI has a bit here about Kindle sales. The fact that the original Blackberry, which I owned in 1999, sold only 165,000 in its first year surprises me. That the Amazon may ship as many as 600k units in the Kindle’s first year, presumably in the Americas, is pretty impressive when a poll suggests that ~25% of Americans don’t read books.

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Kindle Up

I’ve had the Amazon Kindle for just over two weeks. Having followed E Ink for a few years and having played with the Sony Reader, I was a skeptic. Not so much now. A few observations:

  • It is smaller and less odd looking than it appears in photos. This is attributable to the angles used to acheive the form factor.
  • The display, as anticipated, is great, even in direct sunlight.
  • The design and usability are quite good; there is some unpredictable latency.
  • While “always on” it lacks simple sharing functionality, presumably because of DRM.
  • Whispernet makes it a standalone device- I’ve not had a need to tether it to my laptop.
  • The overall portability makes it great for business travel.

The business model has been beaten tirelessly (and often not well), so I won’t address it other than to suggest that anyone who still uses Gilette as a proxy for a consumables business model should pick up a head cleaner for his/her VCR next time he/she is at the local radio store.

Critics who pan the device for lacking a color display are missing the point. The baseline here is ink and paper and a bound publication or newspaper.

Outside of typography, print publishing has arguably seen no consumer-facing innovation or product management for the last five centuries (graphic designers will likely disagree). This, coupled with the fact that most coporeal publications are buried in artifacts of production and efficiency (or lack thereof), means that the reading experience has never been about the reader. The Kindle is meaningful attempt to change that.

Will authors, publisher, and rights holders follow suit quickly enough (or at all) to make the Kindle a success in the mass market? I won’t speculate. For the moment, the Kindle has a spot on my nightstand.

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03/08/08

I’m at LAX waiting to board SQ011 to Narita, and I’m posting this from a Nokia E61, which has emerged from the drawer as the most versatile world phone I’ve had. This will be an interesting trip and I’ll attempt to blog it as I go. More to come…

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Human Banners- Oh Wait, They’re Called Sandwich Boards?

HB recently wrote a pretty compelling summary of the relative size of Google, both in terms of market cap and share of the ad market. Eye opening, to say the least: Welcome To The Googleconomy.

Those who have been viewing the gPhone-Android-OHA developments of late as a Symbian rehash or a non-event should look at Google’s position in the overall advertising market. It’s amazing to me that when a company that makes its money in advertising (and not just any company) leads the launch of a new mobile platform, so much of the discussion remains around software platform and applications.

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Chris Anderson publishes a list of banned flack here. Scan the list for familiar names- if you’re on the client side it may be a good time to revisit that monthly retainer.

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Much ado about…

Over the past few days the discussion around who "invented" video overlay ads has reached a new level of, well, intensity Videoegg greeted YouTube’s announcement with a gutsy positioning "welcoming YouTube" to the format, which provoked a response from Jeremy and the discussion devolved into this (you can see my comments here).

While Videoegg’s response to YouTube may have seemed a bit silly, it helped create a debate (admittedly with the help of someone looking to start a debate) in which Videoegg is mentioned in the same breath as YouTube and Brightcove.

The interesting thing here is not the debate over the overlay ad, but, given that there are an infinite number of potential formats for ad units in digital video, why anyone would focus on the format itself. The challenge for Internet video is to make new saleable ad units, and that requires participation from major stakeholders- consumers, agencies, and advertisers. The divide between the what is technically possible with Internet video and what is being bought by advertisers is vast- and the energy around something as seemingly simple as an overlay ad only highlights this gap.

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Quote of the Day

From the Washington Post:

“Drinking and driving is never a good idea – least of all when the vehicle involved is a multi-billion dollar Space Shuttle or a high performance jet aircraft,” said Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the Science and Technology committee.

You can read the story here.

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System of a Down

As a Flickr user, I concur with Techcrunch– the last line is quite funny:

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