Ben Thompson says it:


Utimately, though, Samsung’s fundamental problem is that they have no software-based differentiation, which means in the long run all they can do is compete on price. Perhaps they should ask HP or Dell how that goes.

In fact, it turns out that smartphones really are just like PCs: it’s the hardware maker with its own operating system that is dominating profits, while everyone else eats themselves alive to the benefit of their software master.

From article of the same title


Smart people have a problem, especially (although not only) when you put them in large groups. That problem is an ability to convincingly rationalize nearly anything.

Go read it.

Via Daring Fireball


What if we designed a new kind of “maker space” — a space that isn’t just for putting pieces together, but also for seeing and understanding a project’s behavior in powerful ways? — Bret Victor

David writing on Signal v. Noise about building mobile version of Basecamp:


We implemented the main progress screen in the iPhone app in first a fully native version, then again in an HTML-backed version.
After a fiddling a bit, the conclusion was clear: There was no discernible difference! Well, except for the fact that it was far quicker to develop the HTML version than the native version.

Count me in for this approach.


Mobile is dead.… Web & apps are both wrong.

— Matias Duarte, Head of Design at Android

I like Matias’ point of view.

Best CSS gradient, shadow, radius, transition and transform WYSIWYG editor I’ve seen to date. You can create instances for :hover, :active, custom class states. You can also work with transitions and transforms.

Ben Thompson writing for stratēchery:


Think about commerce in the same time periods and contexts I recounted above: in the time of addresses and telephones, most commerce involved driving to the store. It was a purposeful and burdensome activity, rather like a scheduled phone call. In the era of the web, ecommerce became a word, but it still entailed going to a computer, a journey that seems simple, but in reality is often far removed from the motivation to buy, which may arise from an ad seen on TV, or a dress in a windows, or the recommendation of a friend. With mobile though, and particularly with messaging, the omnipresence of both a communications channel as well as a purchasing channel means the separation between the thought of buying and actually making a purchase is very small indeed.

Josh Bersin about knowledge workers:


A “Power Law” distribution is also known as a “long tail.” It indicates that people are not “normally distributed.” In this statistical model there are a small number of people who are “hyper high performers,” a a broad swath of people who are “good performers” and a smaller number of people who are “low performers.” It essentially accounts for a much wider variation in performance among the sample.

Via @asymco

The Gap by Ira Glass. Video made by Daniel.
I’ve published it a while ago together with another great one by Steve Jobs.

Marco Arment writing:


They did everything that the press, analysts, and prevailing wisdom at the time were telling them to do. Everyone was pressuring them to be more like Apple, so they tried.

The problem isn’t that they botched it (although they did, in some ways). The problem is that Microsoft isn’t Apple, and Microsoft’s customers aren’t Apple’s customers. They tried selling a more Apple-like attitude to their customers, most of whom don’t want and won’t tolerate an Apple-like attitude. That’s why they’re not Apple customers.

Very nicely done two part series. First part about energy and second about information.

Michael Mace writing for his MobileOpportunity blog:

I believe Google’s mission statement to “organize the world’s information” is no longer a meaningful guide to its actions. To me, the company looks less and less like a unified product company and more and more like a post-modern conglomerate.

The idea behind the “Internet of Things” is that network connectivity is moving into almost everything. If that’s Google’s investment thesis, it could rationalize an investment in almost any industry. Appliances? Absolutely. Shipping and logistics? You bet.

Via Asymco

Ben Thompson excellent again. The price of undifferentiated software converges to zero and therefore three main business models he sees are:

  • Software free + hardware where you make profit margins
  • Software free + advertising
  • Software as a Service for businesses where the competitive environment will provide ever better products that the businesses have no problems to pay for.

Probably best documentary on it I’ve seen to date.

You can buy it on iTunes if you are not in Czech Republic as me, where I can’t. Stupid right holders.

Rest of the Everything is a Remix series

In this great documentary series, Jack Turner shows us the surprising depth of knowledge the ancient civilizations held.

Personal, honest, funny, touching, inspirational.

Another great one by Mr. Asymco:


My contention is that app time will impact many of these incumbent media and that both the effect and the consequences will be hard to measure in advance or even ex post facto. These new media objects are not measured easily and therefore are flying under the radar of traditional metrics used by the industry. Such absence of reliable measurement is one of the hallmarks of a disruptive shift in industry: You can’t perceive what you can’t measure and you certainly can’t manage it.

Horace Dediu for Asymco:


I believe the logic for Apple is that usage of the products determines their value and therefore placing powerful software in the hands of more users means they will value the entire system more. This leads to the notion of greater “stickiness” or “lock-in” but also to higher satisfaction and loyalty, rate of upgrades and even more third party purchases and yet more usage.

This is the virtuous cycle platform custodians seek to engender. This is what Apple is trying to build and the transition of apps into the system bundle is part of this re-enforcement.

One wonders how long before Apple’s approach becomes the norm for other platforms.

Jakob Nielsen publishes an Alertbox:


People can use computer systems for years without knowing about features that would be very useful to them. This is true even for productivity applications that people rely on for their livelihood, such as email, word processing, and spreadsheets. In testing intranets, we frequently find that employees are unaware of key enterprise features.

This seems like a paradox, because users would gain substantial benefits — potentially accrued over several years — if only they bothered to spend a few moments looking around the user interface. The ROI seems clear.

However, while users might have a mathematically true ROI from learning more about user interfaces, the ROI might not be so clear from a behavioral standpoint. The problem is that the investment occurs immediately: users must suffer the interaction cost of navigating through obscure parts of the user interface. In contrast, the benefit is deferred: users realize it only in small increments in some undefined future moments when they might use newly discovered features.

And then he provides tips on how to encourage learing. First among them: Fewer features.