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The Speed of Innovation

Published August 15th, 2007 edit replace rm!

Speed of Innovation

Frederik Andersen of Goodmorning Technology in Denmark gave a great talk last night at Innovation Center Denmark in Palo Alto on the speed of innovation.

His design firm is working on all kinds of interesting projects using a method which I found very reminiscent to what we do as agile web application developers.

Firstly Frederik said his clients always want them to provide a straight path to a successful product design. He says that this is pretty much impossible due to what he calls the dual speeds of innovation going on in everything.

What this means is that designers (and developers) have traditionally focused on features. Features are basically lead by the designers or developers of the project, thus the speed of feature innovation is pretty much up to the designers. However as he says there is another slower path of innovation which is much more evolutional, which in particular involve peoples habits and cultural changes as a whole.

This is a lot harder to control and while new features can help nudge things in a direction, it can’t control where you’re going.

His recommendation is to not go straight for the end goal, but rather realize from the beginning that your current goal is but a point in a probably unpredictable future path.

An example of this was the whole Virtual Reality craze of the 90’s. The technology was there (VRML) but the cultural changes weren’t quite there yet. Now Second Life has taken off in many peoples imagination, although he as well as I think it’s probably not anywhere near the final point along a very wiggly path.

So what can you take along from this? Basically you need to keep innovating and keep testing. Smaller less obvious paths, might be better rather than trying to change the world in one go. This is of course what agile development is all about as well. See if features work, if they help the culture or the market to evolve.

This is pretty much what we are doing with Agree2 as well. It is now very different from what I envisioned a year ago. I’m sure in a year once we have real users using it will have evolved some where I haven’t planned. That said we do know what direction we want to head more or less and in particular where we don’t want to head. The path though is not entirely up to us.

Great use of VC funds

Published November 5th, 2006 edit replace rm!

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of FON, they are a very cool Spanish WIFI startup, who aim to make their Wifi network ubiquitous throughout the world. So how have they taken up the challenge of the worlds telecoms companies?

The 5 euro FON social router

Well they’ve created what they call a social router. This is basically a Wifi Access point with two completely separate SSID’s – one public and one private. The one above is mine. If you hurry up you can get one as well for 5 euro or US$5. This offer ends on the November 8th after which you will be able to get them for $29. Martin says the cost of each router is $28. They say that they have 20,000 routers connected.

I’m not sure how many they have actually sold, but assuming they have sold 20,000 routers that means the direct costs for the routers have been at least $460,000, not including development and marketing costs. I think this is a fantastic sales strategy and one that could only be done with VC funds.

This is similar to the $10 gift certificates that helped grow PayPal like crazy during their first year. This was also a very good use of venture money.

They also show that there are definitely uses for Venture Capital. I still believe though that until you reach the point where you have great plan like this, it would be best to stick to bootstrapping or angel funding.

Find out more about me

Published November 8th, 2005 edit replace rm!

In the blatant self-promotion department and because people have been asking me about it I have updated my Who am I section over the last couple of weeks.

I currently have a long but bound to eventually be embarrassing Rambling Bio, where I go into way to much detail than I probably should.

Also see my client list (which isn’t complete) and my open source projects list. I need to further add a list of my own projects, but current projects can be found from the main Who am I page and some of my older projects are listed in my Bio.

Marten Mickos responds

Published October 26th, 2005 edit replace rm!

So my post about MySQL AB and the Cluetrain must have hit a nerve with their CEO Marten Mickos.

Basically he started out not agreeing with me as they do get lots of good information from it.

I said they should make it optional to register, so they don’t lose customers. Basically my point in all was that they are a very Clued up company in most respects, that it was just so out of character of MySQL to do something so old school like and therefore alienating their customers. I suggested a comparing the amount of hits to that page versus the amount of actual registrations. In the end he agreed on some things and it looks like they will take it up to revision.

While I don’t like acting cluetrain transport police, the success of MySQL AB is of utmost importance to many of us for so many reasons that they don’t become just another boring enterprise software vendor. In other words, only your true friends (and little children) tell you the truth.

  • They provide a great database for free that we need for our apps (Postgresql is there of course as well, but we all have our preferences)
  • They provide low cost support packages that beat anything the competition has (IF we feel we need it)
  • They provide a great example for other software vendors to follow
  • By pushing into the enterprise world they help provide consulting opportunities for those of us with many years experience with MySQL

So I hope Marten and his team do change this which I’m positive they will. All the best of luck to Mysql 5 and for good orders sake Postgresql as well which is of course also an excellent database.

Have a look through the comments of the above post and you can read for yourself.

Did MySQL AB fall off the Cluetrain?

Published October 25th, 2005 edit replace rm!

I wanted to read up about the new features of Mysql 5.0 and I was hit by a registration wall .

Whenever I go to a site where I have to register to read their marketing spiels I immediately switch off. It even makes me angry. It all reminds me of my days at AltaVista when the marketing department where busy inventing fake collateral and pdf whitepapers. Geeze, we are not in 1996 anymore. MySQL has always had a clue before, but have the corporate clueless staged a coup d’etat in Upsalla?

If I want that type of cluelessness I would pick Oracle or IBM.

==Update Marten Mickos responds ==

See below for more. Also Roumen writes MySQL 5.0 – Why Do I Need to Register to Read about New Features?

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About me

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My name is Pelle Braendgaard. Pronounce it like Pelé the footballer (no relation). I live in wonderful Managua, Nicaragua. I work with Clojure, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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