26 Mar

Blist Gets It

In August 2005 I wrote The Microsoft Office I Really Want. When I tried to engage Robert Scoble at the time on the topic, he showed he relied too much on speed reading to properly address my points and/or was quickly out of his depth (I’m betting on a combination of both factors). I don’t want to turn this entry into a personal attack, my point is the openness and dialog through corporate blogging act is hard to get right. Nonetheless the conversation at the time really pushed me to pay attention to Salesforce.com, which we finally adopted in December 2006 (we’ve been real happy customers ever since). SFDC recently added inline editing which speeds things up and helps deliver on the product vision I had outlined at the time.
There’s also a new generation of software companies that try to push the envelope when Microsoft is sleeping, such as Tableau, Blist, EditGrid or Proto. Watch the demo, I’m glad to see Blist delivering on my half-baked high level spec from 2 years and a half ago. I tend to think it’s not a coincidence that it’s led by a former Microsoftie who probably got tired of the lack of progress within the behemoth.
As an aside, two of these four companies are based in Seattle, one in New York and another in Hong Kong. Atlassian is kicking ass out of Australia. People who think you have to be in the Silicon Valley to innovate crack me up. The truth of the matter is that the Valley is currently producing a wave of useless crap almost as high as the one it delivered a decade ago. If Twitter is the best they can do… not that Twitter is necessarily a bad application, but I’ve been using it and I’m not overwhelmed by the value creation there (unlike Blogger, which I instantly liked). We’re past the time when people confused products with companies, we now see people confusing features with companies, and not very compelling features at that. Businesses start with customer problems and needs, end of story. I know Salesforce.com is in Nocal, but it’s also eight years old. Silicon Valley is a washed out whore with occasional flashes of brilliance (Splunk comes to mind). It’s too focused on consumer fads and reflects the extractive mentality California was build upon. You get 100 gold diggers for one builder. That’s fine. What’s tiring is said gold diggers self-portraying themselves are entrepreneurial geniuses. The only people you guys are fooling is your peers and the occasional gullible journalist.

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