Monthly Archives: June 2007

iPhone vs Blackberry: Fight!

Read/WriteWeb weighs in, along with 97% of the blogosphere (aka 0.0000001% of humanity), on the iPhone. Specifically, the iPhone vs the Blackberry. Their conclusion: “Watch out Blackberry!” My conclusion? Get a paper bag and breathe deeply for a few minutes because hyperventilation can be dangerous guys.

This is somewhat related to product management; let’s think about some elements of user segmentation and key features. First of all, it has been reported elsewhere that for the moment you can’t get an iPhone on a corporate AT&T account. So form a purchasing perspective, the game is over. But let’s pass on that because AT&T could chage that policy easily.The keyboard would seem to be the most obvious advantage. But, a R/WW commenter says that it will be easier for Apple to add a keyboard than for RIM to make OSX. Really? Is having a OSX-like systems really a key criteria for corporate users? Allow us to reminisce about the breakout product that launched RIM onto the world stage… the RIM 850. This pager-on-steroids was the device that first earned the name “crackberry” among Wall St users. Yes, admire that gorgeous 5-line black-on-yellow LCD display. Admire the operating system that look like it was written by some upper-year computer engineering students after an all-nighter to finish an embedded systems class project. Marvel at the 512K RAM. Enjoy the flexibility of replacing its AA battery any time you want – no messy recharging cables. No hassle sync’ing over USB because there’s no external connectors at all.

Seriously, the RIM 850 is prehistoric compared to the iPhone. It doesn’t even make phone calls! And yet it is absolutely the product that launched RIM. There would be no Pearl or Curve without the 850. So what were those killer features that made the 850 the must-have item of 1999?

  1. integration with corporate email and calendaring servers
  2. a keyboard
  3. brain-dead ease of use

Three things that the iPhone lacks. It has some Exchange support, but not the tightly integrated, seamless solution that is Blackberry Enterprise Server. It doesn’t have a real keyboard. And while I’m sure it’s quite slick, it lacks the one-handed one-two-reading-my-email simplicity of Blackberry.

So while it will be the must-have toy of the next several months, Apple neither needs nor wants to supplant RIM. And RIM will lose absolutely no sleep over the iPhone.

Related: Honey I bought the Phone: Alan buys one and blogs about it.

SaaS: A revolt against Enterprise Software

How many failed enterprise IT projects will it take, till too many people have died?

OK, the Bob Dylan reference may be overkill, but SaaS represents a revolt against the sins of enterprise software past. The challenge today selling enterprise software is that buyers are jaded; they have heard it all before, and they no longer believe. They want to see proof that you can deliver what they need, and they are extremely wary of projects with large up-front capital expenses. Continue reading

Talking to Ourselves

An editorial note: you may see us talking to ourselves.

Saeed and I work together and we both talk to Alan fairly often, but since we started blogging based on the belief that we should share our insights and knowledge with the world, we thought we should share the ongoing conversation with you too. So Saeed may disagree with Alan or Alan may have more to say about something I’ve written but what we really want is for you to jump in too. As long as you don’t want to share your secrets about which penny-stock we should be short-selling.

Software as a Service: Just a delivery model?

milk delivery modelI was speaking yesterday with someone in charge of the SaaS initiative at a very large technology company. In the conversation he described Software as a Service (SaaS) as a “delivery model”. Now of course SaaS is a delivery model, but it is not just a delivery model, nor is it primarily a delivery model.

In fact the word delivery starts from the wrong place. Isn’t SaaS mostly about the consumption model? Continue reading

Roadmaps

roadmapWe’re product managers. Making the roadmap is one of our key jobs. But who gets to see the roadmap?

I was prompted when I found this roadmap shared on a company’s website. (and I’m not trying to pick on them, it just got me thinking on the topic) I’m all for transparency, but this strikes me as having gone too far. You need to be somewhat careful in choosing who you share your roadmap with. Customers, definitely. Prospects probably. But I find two things wrong with this approach. First, it’s mostly backward-looking. Maybe it’s simply been up a long time. But there’s not really any benefit in explaining your product’s history to customers, unless your product is Louis XV chairs. Second, there’s no context about why they did what they did.

The purpose of the roadmap is to convince customers of two things: that you will be doing the right things in the future and, more importantly, Continue reading