links for 2008-01-03

links for 2008-01-02

How to Evaluate a New Product Idea

Evan Williams has a very useful post describing a different matrix to use when evaluating ideas for new businesses–particularly technology companies.

Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of people about what their business ideas. Many of the ideas fail to pass more than a couple of the criteria that Evan describes.

During these casual conversations, I’ve struggled to figure out how to help people see the same picture I did about the likelihood of their ideas being successful. I don’t want to discourage them from pursuing their dreams—there are far too many people already discouraging people from taking risks. At the same time, I want to help people understand where the limits of their idea are and help them have a realistic picture of the challenges they face.

The next time I find myself in one of these conversations, I’m going to point them to Evan’s post to help them evaluate their own idea. Maybe this will help us develop a common language to use when discussing how the viability of the idea.

Steve Souders to Join Google

Steve Souders, Yahoo’s Chief Performance Officer and the author of High Performance Web Sites, is leaving Yahoo to join Google.

Most of the media coverage of his announcement has focused on a narrative of Yahoo’s demise. The Information Week article that I linked to above is probably the most neutral article I could find, and it still slants towards making a bigger deal of this change than it probably is.

I’m not much interested in whether or not this represents a larger trend for Yahoo. What matters for those who are concerned about site performance is that Steve has been publishing some of the best research recently on these topics. I hope he will continue to be able to publish new research and techniques while at Google.

links for 2007-12-21

Mobile Updates Part II – The iPhone Edition

It’s been only three weeks since I got my iPhone. There are many things that I wish it did better, but despite those items, I couldn’t be happier.

The iPhone is a mobile device in the truest sense of the word. It is a joy to use. The iPhone truly lets you see what is possible with an Internet connection that is available to you 24/7 no matter where you are.

I follow the news about the iPhone not simply because I own one, but also because I believe the usage patterns of the iPhone are much more typical of what we are going to see in the future of the mobile web than if we look at the past usage of mobile devices. Trying to draw conclusions about the future of mobile devices by looking at statistics before the iPhone is like trying to draw conclusions about the future of web browsers by looking at the usage of gopher after Mosiac had been released.

Here are some recent updates on the iPhone that are of interest:

  • iPhone browsing marketshare closes in on .1% — This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is amazing for only being available for five months. In addition, Windows Mobile which has several times the number of devices in the world, but only represents 66% of the browser share of the iPhone. This is the difference between the web done well on a mobile device (iPhone) and done poorly (Windows Mobile). Too often people draw conclusions from the poor implementations that people don’t really use the Internet on their mobile devices. In truth, people don’t use them because they don’t measure up.
  • iPhone Q3 US sales top all Windows Mobile smartphones — More iPhones were sold in Q3 than any other smart phone than the blackberry.
  • iPhone Tops Google’s List of Fastest Growing Search Terms in 2007 — This shows the interest in the iPhone is wide spread. It truly has mass market appeal. People have taken notice.