The New Microsoft…same as the old.

Yesterday the new Microsoft logo was introduced. I have seen a lot of mentions to the new look. After reviewing it I only had one feeling – flat. I don’t mean 2 dimensionally flat although it is but more un-inspiring, lacking interest, more of the same.

Changing or updating your logo is not an insignicant thing. It affects the company in updating packages, websites, supporting material (business cards, letter head). More importantly it affects who your consumers see you.

Microsoft waited 25 years for this update and personally I think they failed. It lacks originality, it does not offer and unique visual queues or say anything about the company of note. I think Andrew Kim did a much better job over the course of one week

Seth’s Blog: Tattoo thinking

I love this post from Seth (like most of his).  He is reminding us and giving us permission to make mistakes.  I think a lot of peopl, myself included, allow themselves to be boxed in with their decisions. Find reasons to prevent changing things as opposed to trying to change things. The internet provides us the ability to be more flexible, fluid, able to react quicker then many other industries. Take advantage of it !

New Nikon camera to get Android OS — macfilos >

Last week Michael wrote a piece about new models of Nikon camera, specifically the Coolpix S800, is rumored to be running a version of Android as the camera operating system.

I have been sitting thinking about this for a while.  As a long time Nikon user I am not sure how I feel about android on the camera.  Not because it is Android and I am an Apple fan, more because of the fragmentation of Android in general.  While writing this I am thinking about the Kindle Fire as an example.  Amazon took the open Android, forked it and rewrote it to do everything they could to hide anything that looked like or functioned like Android from the regular user.  But now this is a problem for them.  Updating it is not easy. New functionality has to be rewritten.  So in a sense with this open approach they have closed themselves off.

I have always enjoyed the Nikon camera functions – more so then Canon for example.  I worry how this will affect overall functionality.  Will this OS jist live on the point and shoot models or make its way up to the Pro-level cameras?  I agree with Michael’s thought.

“I suspect that it is only a matter of time before most consumer-oriented cameras get an OS”

Time will tell I am sure.


The State of POS

Last week my girlfriend and I traveled up the coast of Maine. All along the way we stopped in the cities and towns. We visisted Portland, Kennebunk Port, Camdem, Belfast and Rockland. In each area there were little stores that we explored.

The one thing that struck me was the number of stores that were using Apple based point of sales (POS). Some used iMacs while many used iPads with an external register. After I noticed the first few I decided to stop and ask the shop keepers what software they were running. LightSpeed and QuickSale were the most common but there were several others we encountered.

I guess this intrigued me because compare to where I live I almost never seen any Apple POS in the retail stores. In Maine I would estimate that it was in 8/10 stores. Perhaps this is a trend that that will move from East to West across the United States.

Sponsored Google Map Ads?

 Goggle sponsored ad on map Goggle sponsored ad on map

While traveling around Maine last week my car GPS seemed to be leading our trip in an odd direction.  Not wanting to go to far our of my way I brought up Google Maps on the iPhone and punched in the coordinates.  While I did get the location it also gave me this sponsored ad in the middle of the map that I have never seen. Did I miss a memo?  I have never seen this pop up before.

I understand why Google wants to do this.  It’s yet one more way to advertise using all the location data and personal information that Google collects.

I am not a fan of this tactic.  I do not remember asking if Google could display ads on my maps. Removing my personal opinion there are still things here that I feel are very wrong.

  • The size of the ad takes up a huge amount of space on the map relative to the overall screen size of the phone
  • The sponsored pin is ugly and a different shape then all the other google pins
  • I was not able to move the ad around to see the road under it – or dismiss the ad
  • When I first did the search and the label appeared I initially thought that was the destination I needed to go to.  Visually it caught my eye first in a misleading manner.

Now I am aware that they are there and intrusive I will not be using Google Maps unless I absolutely have to and look forward to what the Apple version is in iOS 6.

Marissa Mayer’s 9 Principles of Innovation

Fast Company posted a from Googles’ then VP of Search on her Principles of Innovation. While the article was from 4 years ago I think these principles could be “un-googlefied” and apply to many many companies that exist today. There is nothing complicated about them at all, very straigtforward. Its worth reading the full list. I expanded two of my favorite points below.

Marissa Mayer’s 9 Principles of Innovation

  1. Innovation, Not Instant Perfection
  2. Ideas Come From Everywhere

    “We have this great internal list where people post new ideas and everyone can go on and see them. It’s like a voting pool where you can say how good or bad you think an idea is. Those comments lead to new ideas.”

  3. A License to Pursue Your Dreams
  4. Morph Projects don’t Kill Them
  5. Share as much Information as you can
  6. Users, Users, Users
  7. Data is Apolitical
  8. Creativity loves contraints

    “This is one of my favorites. People think of creativity as this sort of unbridled thing, but engineers thrive on constraints. They love to think their way out of that little box: ‘We know you said it was impossible, but we’re going to do this, this, and that to get us there.”

  9. You’re Brilliant? We’re Hiring

“Net Income Decreased 96%”

MG Siegler reports on a story from Business Wire about Amazons latest numbers.  The numbers are truly staggering:  

Net income decreased 96% to $7 million in the second quarter, or $0.01 per diluted share, compared with net income of $191 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in second quarter 2011.

In an effort to continue to grow and create new customers I think what we are seeing is a race to the bottom.  

Ideas are easy

Step 1: The idea

Ideas are easy. Executing on an idea and turning into reality is much harder. I have been trying to come up with a side project that will allow me to create a side business for many years. In this series of posts I am going to try and document the process I am going through in the hope that it will help someone else in the same situation.

The first question I get is why create a side business? Why bother ? Why add on the extra work? You have a good job and like it a lot. This will vary from person to person. Some people will want extra income, others will want to use it as a launch pad to be independent but in my case it is to prove that I can do it. Anything else that comes after that is a bonus.

Everyone assumes creating a business is easy. Generally it is. Todays technology and services allow you to do an amazing amount of things with a laptop that you may not have been able to do 5 years ago. I am starting and creating this business on an 11″ MacBook Air. Purely to allow me to be mobile and work on the project where ever I am.

The hard part is the Idea. I come up with lots of ideas. Just because you have an idea does not mean it will work or is good. My typical process is write the idea down and think about it. Research the topic, look at the market, see if anyone else is doing it already (just because someone is already doing it does not mean you can’t make it better) and decide is there is an opportunity. Most of the time I am able to quickly kill the idea or decide that it is not the right one for me. If I had $1 for every idea I killed off I would not need to create a side business, I would be retired ! Sometimes I felt like I was trying to force an idea and I found that frustrating.

I found that many great products have been developed by people who have a problem and then solve it. I have heard it many call it the scratch your own itch syndrome. This is fairly typical in the software development world.

What I started doing is looking at things in my everyday life and started to ask myself questions:

  • What could be done better?
  • What bothers me about X?
  • Could it be improved on?
  • Why does this annoy me so much?

After I started asking myself these type of questions I was able to see a wide range of problems right before me that were not being addressed. Look at things in this manor instead of trying to find the force and idea was liberating.

I followed my same process and after a short period of time I had an idea. Next step to see if I could design it. More to come.