Sometimes you see a parent walking with a child in the park, the parent talking into the phone and the child looking into the eyes of any available adult as if to ask “Can you believe this asshole?” Maybe I’m projecting. But the kids don’t look happy. That’s for sure. I wonder what kind of therapy these kids are going to need when they grow up. Used to be when a parent took a kid for a walk, the kid could ask the parent questions, or tell him or her stories about what they did in school. These days quality time is spent with a hand-held device and a parent whose mind is anywhere but here

People tagging

One of the most successful online social drugs is people tagging in Facebook photos. I can’t recall when this feature was first introduced but getting a message saying “you’ve been tagged in a photo” followed by a link was incredibly seductive. It still is. 

And it isn’t link bait as the content typically is quite good on the other side of that link.

Twitter’s users invented their own native version of people tagging with @replies that have evolved into @mentions. It’s very popular to see @username in a tweet. I do it all the time when I’m hanging out with friends and loved ones. 

Foursquare has a cool way of people tagging. They use the Twitter namespace and actually do an autocomplete during the check in. Then if I send that check in to twitter, my friends can see that I included them in the tweet. It just works. 

Instagram has their own version of people tagging but it’s a bit wonky. They use “@username” as well – just like Twitter. But when you tap on the @username in Instagram it goes to the user profile page on Instagram.

Here’s why it’s confusing. The other day I took a photo of my friend @ryan on Instagram that I fully intended to share on Twitter. But his user name on Instagram isn’t @ryan. So folks on Twitter knew who was in the photo but people on Instagram thought it was a different Ryan. 

It would be great if Instagram reconciled their namespace with Twitter. Especially since they copied the same @username syntax from Twitter. 

I think people tagging is extremely useful and fun. But somehow it needs to be organized and structured. I guess we solved this with email back in the day. It seems fixable. 

And as more social apps come to market, i’d love to see more of them figure out how to connect and sync with the best people tags as much as possible. 

we are wading through a see of uninspired activity…searching…endlessly for that glimmer of ambition…that crazy look in a crazy founder’s eye…that says I would not last 4 seconds at Bain Consulting and I might have killed a turtle when I was 7 to see if reincarnation was real…where are you strange thinkers?  Where are you weirdo’s? For god’s sake, get weird.  Do different…PLEASE…the fate of our ecosystem rests in your hands…in your mind lives the step function we desperately need…inspire us

Three thoughts about Microsoft Surface

After reading yesterdays NYT piece about Surface, I’m still left with a bunch of thoughts and questions.


Why didn’t they wait for the big reveal until after they were ready to actually let people touch it? The keyboard is clearly a big new thing with the Surface but I’m told by folks at the event that users were never allowed to try to the keyboard attached to the device. And why didn’t they have pricing ready?

Hardware Partner/Channel Conflict

When Google launched their first Nexus, it was an attempt to showcase Android. But they still worked with one OEM at time. By choosing just one they insured quality. They went with HTC on the first one and then with Samsung on the next two Nexus devices. The Nexus line stands out from all the other Android powered phones because they are clean versions of Android. There isn’t any UI layer built on top and they generally have the best hardware at the time. The latest Galaxy Nexus is a great example. 

I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t do the same. The NYT story talks about a failed joint developement with HP for the tabletpc. But there are a lot of other Windows based OEMs out there. Does MSFT no longer trust OEMs? As Gruber points out, why didn’t MSFT work with Nokia on this given their close ties.


I recently passed on an investment opportunity because the entrepreneur is going to port for Windows 8 before the iPad. The reason? Because Microsoft is paying the development costs and told the entpreneur they will market it. I’m not a fan of changing your roadmap because of near term dollars. You gotta decide: who is your customer. Also rarely do marketing pushes by any App Store (iOS or Android) ever make a company. Getting featured is super nice but it doesn’t define your success. 

So back to the topic at hand. Who is gonna develop for the Surface. The best news is the Microsoft has a number of their own apps that are compelling for the enterprise (Exchange & Office). But that isn’t sufficient. How will MS get thousands of other great devs to build for Surface. Marco has some great insight on this topic

What do you think? Will you give the Surface a try?