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Better is good enough

7.28.2008 by Kevin Creighton


Cringely on why Google won
:

We didn't need Google, or didn't think we did before Google came along. I don't recall sitting around complaining about Alta Vista and Excite and the other pre-Google search engines, which seemed to do a pretty good job in their day. But then Google came along and was clearly better -- enough better that we all jumped.

How much better did Google have to be than Alta Vista to replace it in the minds and mice of most users? I argue five percent better is good enough. In a market where products are presented as services and those services are ad supported and don't cost users any cash, there is almost no exit barrier. The system has no friction, no stiction. Five percent better is enough to steal that kind of promiscuous market. And five percent isn't much -- a little better UI or server or just a slightly different idea can be enough.

Now let me take those same two paragraphs and apply them to the iPod:

We didn't need the iPod, or didn't think we did before the iPod came along. I don't recall sitting around complaining about my portable CD Player or small MP3 player and other portable music players, which seemed to do a pretty good job in their day. But then the iPod came along and it was clearly better -- enough better that we all jumped.

How much better did the iPod have to be than the Rio to replace it in the minds and playlists of most users? I argue five percent better is good enough. In a market where products are a series of tradeoffs between size, capacity and ease of use, the iPod was better at all three. Five percent better is enough to steal that kind of promiscuous market. And five percent isn't much -- a little better UI or server or just a slightly different idea can be enough.

We got 'em on the run

7.24.2008 by Kevin Creighton

The sleeping giant awakes. But the Microsoft of today is not the Microsoft of 1994.

· Apple: In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience. Today, we’re changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We’ll do the same with phones—providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences.

Just like they did with the Zune. And Bob. And Windows ME. And the horrid interface on Office 2008.

Is it the beginning of the end? No. Is it the end of the beginning? Yes.

Is the iPhone the end of radio as we know it?

7.18.2008 by Kevin Creighton

Maybe.

For me, though, Youtube and its related searches are the way I find new music, not listening to the same boring corporate pap over the airwaves, and you can't do that while driving to work.

Now, with an iPhone/iPod and, say,Jonesy's Jukebox via podcast, now you're talking new music that really is new with a national audience. We can now listen to what we want, when they want it, not what the station manager and corporate management thinks we should list to.

Power to the people's iPods.

Wii are the champions, my friend

by Kevin Creighton

Build a better mousetra, er, game console, and the world will beat a path to your door.

Why Flickr?

7.09.2008 by Kevin Creighton

Aside from the fact that your images may now be picked up for licensing through Getty Images, photo editors also cruise Flickr looking for the images they need.

It's simple: If you want your images to be noticed, you have to show them to people, and there's no bigger forum for that right now than Flickr.

Trickle-down effect

7.08.2008 by Kevin Creighton

The military needs small, efficient power sources for all it's new hi-tech communications gear, so naturally, it creates a competition for the best portable power source.

A California company has introduced a 25-watt mobile fuel cell system designed to power a ruggedized laptop computer for up to 14 hours at a time using a single 250cc cartridge.

The XX25, as it is called, internally generates fuel cell-ready hydrogen from a highly concentrated methanol solution, providing power to a field computer and communications equipment at weight savings of up to 65 percent, according to Livermore, Calif.-based UltraCell.

14 hours of 25 watt output = 350 watt/hours, or almost seven times the battery life of a MacBoook Pro, from something the size and heft of a hardbound novel.

Wow.

Why? Because we can!

7.06.2008 by Kevin Creighton

A LAN party on Commodore 64's.

If you don't know what "LOAD *.*,8,1" means, you wouldn't understand.

Heroes

7.02.2008 by Kevin Creighton

Y'know, I've never listed out my inspirations in this blog.

W. Eugene Smith: It's got to start with him. I remember seeing "Tomoko in her bath" when I was but a lad, and it still resonates with me today.

I've been a big fan of Mark Seliger's for years now. I love his open, dramatic lighting style.

And before there was Ansel Adams, there was Paul Strand.

And I'll end it with the best portrait artist of the 20th century, Arnold Newman. Getting to meet him in person is something I'll always remember.

Always keep your eye on the ball

by Kevin Creighton

Starbucks has got to be the new poster child for perils of diversification. Think about it: How many people go there for coffee anymore? I'm not talking an iced vente half-caf soy latte with whipped cream, I mean coffee: in a cup, by itself, possibly with sugar and cream.

And now they're paying for their past mistakes. They may be down, but they're certainly not out.

Stop the presses!

7.01.2008 by Kevin Creighton

Flash files can now be indexed by search engines.

Wow.

What this means to designers and the web as a whole is just earth-shattering. Flash (.swf) is pretty and nice and all that, but it was search-engine death. Opening up to search engines means that one more reason NOT to use Flash is now gone.

Wow.

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Kevin Creighton's views on online marketing, design, photography and the future of technology

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