Mix of random things to share today (which is where the title comes from – the Latin word from which miscellaneous comes from) – the word Miscellaneous is a joke for some of us software developers as sometimes even in software there are tools or odd one-off kinds of software bits that just can’t easily be categoried or classified by a single title, or if it could be, it would be in a group by itself – so there is always the horrible, natural tendency to want to place it in a “miscellaneous” menu option or the ever common “Tools” or “Utilities”….kind of like a software junk drawer, anyway…
a few things caught my eye this week
1) Ongoing employment battle between Google & Facebook where Google employees are leveraging offers from Facebook to get huge raises from Google – in this story I have linked to, the crazy example of a bidding war for a non-senior engineer actually secured this person an extra $6 million in Google stock – which should scare any stockholder. And this quote from the article really pinpoints the huge headwinds that Google and their drunken-sailor-spending strategy face
But it’s an awkward time at Google, where a group of employees can leave, create a start-up and come back two years later through an acquisition with $50 million in their pockets. And the stories about competitive hiring wars with Facebook just keep getting more fantastical.
2) Its been a transition period for Bill Gates these past few years as he continues to tackle the worlds problems with his and Warren Buffets enormous gifts. Tackling issues like infant death rates in India, polio in Africa and other diseases that don’t exist in the rich world and so the research dollars aren’t there because there’s no market-driven opportunity. Meanwhile Google and Apple more and more are taking actions making them look like the Evil Empires or Borg, the titles that many liked to pin on Microsoft for years. But Bill Gates continues to amaze and impress me by his actions. Check out his website and blog if you haven’t – it’s a treasure trove of information on problems that can and are being tackled right now. Geeks saving the world, we always knew that it would be – right?
But no Gates discussion is complete without viewing the below clip from the Daily Show in which even Jon Stewart blasts Steve Jobs & Apple for their actions while comparing that to Bill Gates post-Microsoft actions of ridding the world of malaria – this was Stewart at his best. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-april-28-2010/appholes
3) And finally, Facebook is getting into email (and everything else)….so here is the biggest problem with all of the Facebook hysteria…..by the way, loved the movie The Social Network……by hysteria, I mean the venture capital companies that can’t stop throwing money at Facebook for the rights to provide a market for the future stock options being granted to their employees for the day when they do go public…right now the company has had pieces sold giving it a total valuation of 35 billion with others currently placing a total valuation closer to 40 billion
WAY back in August
A long, long time ago (way back in 2007)
So what’s the biggest problem….no moat. No barrier to entry, in fact they just happen to be in the worst possible industry to protect any long-term advantages and the hardest to protect (social media)…..ah, you snicker….Brad does not get it, it’s the community size that protects them – for a time – yes. But actually, at this point, their community size starts to work against them…….Facebook was cool, new, intriguing, I mean, how else were we ever going to check on everyone we have ever dated or gone to school with…….but once everyone’s grandparents, grandchildren, everyone you sit next to at church or on the bus is on Facebook, the luster is gone……its just a wait until the next shiny new thing, maybe it will be WUPHF (that was a great The Office episode this week that only makes the point about the fickleness of social media even clearer)……and all we know for sure with technology is that the jump to the next shiny thing will be faster and more disruptive that ever before….which is why Facebook is guarding its data to the end (and fighting with Google about it)….if you make it easy to transport the Facebook data, and the mass of people will be able to jump to the next shiny new thing in months this time rather than years …. if I had Facebook stock, I’d want to be able to monetize a good portion of it as well because it could all be gone and much quicker than anyone suspects.
The next shiny thing will be the place where the twenty-somethings will eventually run to avoid the Facebook clutter, and it will have even cooler location-based, chatroulette, foursquare, virtual world, etc.etc.etc-kind of features and so much other stuff that we are not thinking of doing, and then it will all start again
Or maybe not.
Have a good Turkey Day