Fiat Lux

It's Latin for 'Let there be Light'

Engadget’s Open Letter to Palm

I agree 10,000%.

Look, we know what we’re talking about here won’t be able to happen today, tomorrow, or next week. It’s going to require some serious time, dedication, and faith in the brand you’ve built. Your stock is tumbling, the lowest it’s been in months; your customers have lost faith, and those buying Treos seem to be just going through the motions; your efforts to expand your business have gone unfulfilled, and perhaps most importantly your consumers are unhappy and looking for the next great thing — that you’re not providing. But it’s not entirely hopeless. Your biggest competition’s already shown its hand, and you’ve seen how successful they’ve been. Look at what they’ve done right (and wrong), and build upon it.

Even if you only implemented half the suggestions we’ve laid out here we think you could really turn things around. And we do, honestly, want you to make it through this thing. We want to love Palm like we loved it in the old days, and know somewhere, deep down, you’ve got some fight left in you. And believe you us, this is your shot. The bottom’s about to drop out on the Treo, and if you can’t make it happen soon, you may never get another chance to get a foothold on innovation.

Sadly, I think Palm is neither willing nor able to listen.

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Friday FOMC Cat Blogging

Napping Cat

Why cat blogging? Because they’re a much-needed dose of perspective when Ben Bernanke powers up the helicopters.

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If You Play With Fire …

… you tend to get burned.

Noted in passing. Thanks, Barry.

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The Poor Millionaires of Silicon Valley

A New York Times article on the millionaires of Silicon Valley is garnering mostly negative feedback today. And it’s easy to see why. It’s hard to have sympathy for people like this:

“You’re nobody here at $10 million,” [Gary] Kremen said earnestly over a glass of pinot noir at an upscale wine bar

I can’t say I’m all that sympathetic to people who got themselves onto a money treadmill and now feel that they can’t get off it. You always have a choice, and if you think you don’t, it’s because you’re not looking in the right places for options. If your role models are the folks with a net worth of $50 million, then yeah, you’re a schlub for only having $5 million. Perhaps you might try spending a little time with people whose net worth is only $500 thousand instead? Is that too demeaning for you? Those people, after all, can’t afford a nanny for the toddlers and new Acuras for the teenagers. They might even — dare I say it? — rent their homes and join the Y instead of a country club.

Is that too much like “admitting defeat”?

Cry me a freaking river.

Here’s where I come from on this: I went to a very exclusive private school when I was growing up, and my family was on the lower end of the income spectrum for the school. Kids didn’t have ipods and multi-function cellphones and $200 Gucci sunglasses back then, but some things were the same; many of my classmates had brand-new cars, designer jeans, shopping sprees at Bloomingdales, and spring break skiing trips to Aspen. I didn’t. I’d like to say that it didn’t matter, but that would be a lie. Of course you’re going to feel bad if some people in your peer group have stuff you don’t. What’s important is how you deal with it.

If you’re lucky, you take away the lesson that ‘stuff’ doesn’t necessarily make you happy, that somebody is always going to have more stuff than you, and to be happy with the stuff you do have. If you’re less lucky, you walk away with the ambition to get all that stuff, and then some, when it comes time for you to raise your own kids. And thus, a new generation of overworked treadmill-walkers is born.

Any accusations of sour grapes aside, there’s also a business lesson to be drawn here. I was interested to see that one of the subjects of the article earned much of her wealth from being an early member of the team at Handspring (and later a senior staffer at Palm). One wonders if that company’s ever-increasing inability to deliver products that people wanted might be linked to their own staff’s disconnection from what life for “normal” people is like.

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The Art of Marketing

An excellent nugget of advice from Seth’s Blog this lovely Friday afternoon:

The art of marketing is not finding more money to do more marketing. It’s figuring out how to tell a story that spreads with the resources you’ve got.

Oh so true.

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Startup Weekend

Back about 7 or 8 years ago, I was in the lounge at an industry tradeshow — I think it was ISPCON, but I’m not sure — hanging out and shooting the shit with about a dozen assorted techies & entrepreneurs. At one point, someone looked around the circle and said, “gee, we could start a hell of a company with the talent right here.” Everyone laughed.

Years later, someone has taken that idea and run with it. And I really wish I’d known about it before it happened, because it sounds like an amazing experience.

Good luck, VoSnap!

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