Sunday, December 30, 2007

Same product, different prices

While finishing a load of laundry this morning, I had the TV on and up popped an ad for this amazing new product that can bond anything. I mean, ANYTHING. They're examples and demonstrations were impressive and it this miracle bonding product was cheap - two sticks for just $19.95. No, make that four sticks for $19.95 - they doubled the order. Sweet! But wait! Why double when you can triple! Yes, that's SIX sticks for just $19.95 (plus $8.95 shipping/handling).


Of course, the product is nothing new. Plumbers and handy men know the epoxy sticks well. Its cheap, easy to store and super easy to use. Bonds under water, has amazing strength when cured and can be easily sanded for a nice finish. You can find 4OZ sticks of this product at any hardware store, and find it online anywhere from $5.25 to $7 per stick.

If you happen to surf or windsurf, then you know this product by a different name. DingStick. I've holed boards sailing, came in, fixed the damage and was back out on the water in under 10 minutes. Great stuff. Of course, I just buy mine from a hardware store since I don't care to pay double for something just because its got a different name.

Marketing is an amazing trade. Taking the common and repackaging it into something "different" and being able to get a better price and margin for the exact name product(s).

We used to joke than when we'd go to a Gartner event, we raise our prices so that the enterprise IT guys would take us seriously. After all, how could an anti-spam system be effective that only cost $1999?? Strange but true - enterprise IT guys think that expensive means better. Then again, they get their power and control is based on the size of their budget and products like MailFoundry don't exactly burn through budget with our low cost.

Does your company have a product or service that has more value to a different market? Are you selling the same product to all markets when you could be selling custom products to multiple markets and garner better margins on some? Should we offer a "high end" version of MailFoundry to accelerate marketplace adoption in the Gartner space?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My next Mac?

Take a MacBook, add a touch screen, GPS and modify the chasis to a tablet form and poof! You have the ModBook. Pretty decent configurations, though pricey. But for what you end up with, its an intriguing product for sure.

These were the hit of the MacWorld Expo last time around, and now they're claiming a ship date that's actually in a real-soon-now timeframe.

I think Axiotron screwed up. They're building the machine lots of folks want to have, but Apple's going to do it better. They had a window of opportunity since the announcement (which was the same day as the iPhone announcement) and now Apple is headed right in their direction for handheld OSX machine(s).

Which would you rather have, a third party mod, or a product direct from Cupertino?

UPDATE - someone else is having fun playing "what if" with the UMPC idea.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It always comes down to revenue

In an earlier post about Facebook's valuation, I commented that unless they could monetize their user base, they were living in a bubble.

Fred was interviewed by BusinessWeek and was asked point blank what he thought Facebook was worth if he had to buy it today. The answer was $5B to $7B, roughly 1/3 the price Microsoft the others paid for the stock earlier this year.

While I think Fred's being pretty realistic, I think his number is high. He does nail it when defending his price that they need recurring, sustainable and growing revenues.

Friday, December 21, 2007


9 to 5 mac is claiming that at the upcoming MacWorld Expo, Apple will announce that iPhone sales have hit 5 million units.


I thought Steve might be sandbagging when he predicted that they'd sell 1 million this year, and 10 million iPhones next year.

So, if they've already sold 5 million, how many will they sell in 2008? 30 million?

Darwin foiled!

Last night while I was driving home, I could see the local rescue helo, Eagle III running a search pattern near the house over the bay. As a suspected, a few ice fishermen were out and a section of ice they were on broke free and they floated away. Luckily for them, their plight was seen by a resident on our road and 911 was called into action.

Every winter, before the water on the bay is fully frozen in thick ice, some idiots either go out fishing on the ice or go out on their snowmobiles. These two were lucky, even though they didn't even have a cell phone between them, they were pulled from their little ice island after about 2 hours by a rescue hovercraft.

Its sorry to think that soon they'll be pulling bodies from the water, and in the spring, this will all repeat again as the ice melts. Then there's a second wave of spring rescues as people venture out onto the bay in their canoes and kayaks when the air temps are in the 70's, but the water temps are still around 40.

I'm always amazed at when we pull some lucky soul from the water and he/she has absolutely NO idea as to the real danger their lives were in.

Sometimes Darwin wins, sometimes we foil him. I hate it when there's a missing body somewhere in the bay near the house. I always think I'm gonna be the one that finds it. (!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The platform breakout of 2008

2008 is going to be a huge year for the iPhone (and iPod Touch). The news, development and sales growth/market adoption is going to literally explode in Q1 of 2008 and crank all year long. We're going to see massive pains for other handset phone and handheld computer makers as with the official release of the SDK, the iPhone/iPod Touch platform will run away from the status quo.

I'm not even going to speculate as to what sorts of apps we'll be seeing - but this isn't going to be restricted just to software. We're going to see new, innovative hardware as well.

This is going to have a large effect on overall Mac sales as well and when you look at Apple's growing marketshare, with people buying OSX machines, what does it matter if they bought a MacBook or an iPhone? They're BOTH OSX machines and the lines between devices start to blur as Apple defines a new set of rules in the "computer" game.

Last year Apple dropped "Computer" from their corporate name, and while 2007 laid the groundwork, 2008 is when the rubber really starts to meet the road.

Love the computers, hate the company

Today we have news that the Apple leak website, has been effectively shut down by Apple.

For those of you who don't know, ThinkSecret has been amazingly successful in leaking/exposing Apple product info over the years. While Apple has served them both take down and cease and desist notices over the years, the most recent lawsuit has resulted in a settlement that not only got the website owner off the hook, but he also had to terminate operations on the website.

Back in the 80's, we Apple hackers used to say of Apple, "Love the computers, hate the company." I have to admit I don't remember where this came from, but lately with all the goings on with the iPhone development and these sort of things, this old adage keeps popping back into my mind.

Am I down on Apple? Nope. Because Steve was right, I'd rather be a pirate than join the Navy. ;-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Reverse play

I love it when things like this pop up. Qik lets users stream video FROM their cell phone to the net. Very cool. Lots of applications with this technology. Hmmm, live news as its happening, concert streaming, covert video? I sure hope its secure - what if someone could hack this and enable video or audio streaming from your phone without your knowledge?

Ok, fear mongering aside, its cool and I think this was long in coming.

Check it out here.

Why pay when its free?

Dash has finally announced pre-order availability for its Dash Express GPS unit. Its pretty nice looking (yeah, it looks like every other unit out there) but Dash comes with a subscription of $13/month for its data services for traffic, gas prices, etc.

Now, I think this is a cool unit. (here it comes, you know its coming) BUT....

I would NOT go into a business like this where your competitors are FREE. The Dash Express is essentially a dedicated Google maps appliance with a built in network. If you have a smartphone (and if you don't have one, you will soon), then this unit is redundant for you as Google Maps works on just about all smartphones out there.

Granted, Dash did it right, but the competition isn't other GPS's out there (same goes for you Garmin and Magellan), the real competitors to devices like this are the smartphones. GPS isn't just about navigation in your car. Its about personal navigation regardless of how you are mobile.

I kinda want a unit like this, but I can't bring myself to carry another device in my bag when my Treo does 90% of the same thing. (still waiting for that GPS+Google Maps tie in)

iPhone marketshare stories

There are a few stories running around about how the iPhone has snagged massive marketshare in Q3. Review of the numbers shows that this isn't MARKETSHARE but new unit sales.

Big difference.

At the time of the iPhone release/ship date, both RIM and Palm were selling around 750,000 units each per quarter, and have been doing so for 5-7 quarters. How the iPhone can sell just over 1M units and be considered to have gained a 27% marketshare in the smartphone market just doesn't compute.

There are roughly 5 to 7 million Palm based smartphones out there, combine that with another 6 to 8 million RIM devices - let alone a pile (est 3 million) of Symbian smartphones out there, the numbers for the iPhone just aren't there for an actual marketshare % as they quote.

However, in terms of NEW sales, I think the iPhone is probably doing quite well against its competitors.

Once Apple rolls out 3G data and the SDK, I believe that sales will really ramp.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Super Sunday!

In MVP form, Brett nailed the all time passing yards record and the Pack also clinched a first round bye in the playoffs. Excellent!

Now wouldn't it be great to see the Cowboys lose? (UPDATE : And they did! Sweetness!)

Speaking of win/lose, Miami finally pulls off a win. In overtime. (whew!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action!

This took longer than I thought, but the iPhone hackers out there are finally cracking the video recording barrier on the iPhone.

I wonder if the forthcoming SDK has these capabilities?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My latest gadget

I present to you the Sanyo Xacti handheld video camera.

What's so special about this handheld video camera? Is it the 6 megapixel camera or the clear video? Perhaps the tape-less SD card used for recording/storage? Or is it the sweet design that makes it super easy to stash in your coat pocket?


For me, the killer feature is that this camera is waterproof. Yup, finally we have a high quality camera that I can haul all around the world, and then jump into the water with and record all the action going on around me.

I got mine from Amazon for $373. They have it in three colors, and it just so happened that this color was $80 cheaper than the white or baby blue ones.

The real only buzzkill on this camera is the proprietary USB cable for downloading your videos and images off of it. I'm always looking to reduce the cables and clutter in my bag, but this camera requires this special cable to work.

Oh well, its worth it. ;-)

2007 Google Adwords Gift

This year's Google Adwords gift arrived today. As silly as it might sound, I get excited when I see a package with the Google logo on it. The gifts are usually pretty cool every year, and every year is something different.

The package was a little small for another fleece blanket, or a oversized Google beach towel, and I was certain it wasn't another LCD picture frame.... So, what was it?

What I first thought was a business card holder turned out to be a credit card sized 2GB USB flash storage card! Very cool.

I thought the flip out connector was a cool touch.

But wait! There's more....

What looked like a card, well, it was a card. But with a nice little Google twist.

Google has partnered with such that all recipients of the Google Adwords gift can choose a school to receive books, art supplies, technology, or other resources.

These donations are targeted at low income communities.

Now that's way cool. Kudos to Google.

Government cover up!

Last weekend the Space Shuttle didn't launch - the culprit? NASA claims it was a faulty sensor.

I claim otherwise. After all, I have photographic proof! We're being invaded by giant spiders from Mars!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


MailFoundry has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2008 SC Magazine Awards for the Best Email Security Solution.

Congrats to the MailFoundry team!

They'll announce the final winners at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco this April.

Hijacking on the open internet

I received a mass email for an upcoming Entrepreneur's event in Green Bay, and when I visited the website for the event, I was shocked to see that it reflected information from the 2006 event. Looking closer, there were some odd adverts for cars, written essays, naval rings and some unreadable Russian text. Suspicious, I clicked on to the agenda page, which was for the 2005 event. Down at the bottom were text ads for buying Levitra and another Russian link.

At first I thought their website was hacked, but this didn't smell like a hack. A quick check of the whois record for the domain and sure enough, the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce didn't renew the domain. Duh! I'd say it was hijacked, but how do you hijack an abandoned ship?

Almost all domain registrars have auto-renew to keep these little things from happening.

Are your important domains set to auto renew?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tablet roundup

Macrumors has a nice little roundup about the possible forthcoming ultra-portable laptop from Apple.

Just to clarify - there's a difference between a tablet and an "ultra portable" laptop. Will we see one, both or neither?

I'm gonna be there again this year. If you are planning to be at MacWorld Expo 2008, drop me a line and lets connect! (first round of drinks are on me!)

Navizon for free

I've blogged out it in the past (back when I had my iPhone before I returned it) how much I liked Navizon, and now they're offering their low end (accurate up to 1/2 mile) version for free. If you've not used it before, there's no reason NOT to give it a try.

Seriously, go over to and get yourself all located up this holiday season. If you really like it, upgrade to the pay version.

Don't just spread the cheer, direct it to a lat/long of your choice! ;-)

Ad supported music streaming

Imeem finalized a deal with Universal Music for ad supported music streaming for its social community members, adding a 4th major label to the lineup. This addition brings it total available song count up to over 5 million - tantalizingly close to iTunes 6 million available songs.

What does this mean for Pandora which has (seemingly) struggled to get its streaming deals?

I have dinner tonight with a good friend from Pandora, and I'm sure this will be a hot topic for us.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

NFC North Champs!

Sweet! Too bad the Cowgirls eeeked out a win in the last seconds against the Lions. Bummer.

And in case you didn't notice, that other team keeps winning. Will someone please knock them off? (or do we have to go to the Super Bowl to do that?)

Photo from - go get your NFC North Champs hats, shirts, etc. at the Packers ProShop and you can still get your order before Christmas. What are you waiting for?!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Now Cringely is jumping on the OSX tablet bandwagon in his latest post.

I just don't think we should call it a tablet. Tablets are so 1990.

Drop Acid

Yeah, this is really going to spark Zune sales. LOL

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Seth's spam

Seth posted today about his spam problem. Aptly titled, "When spam approaches infinity", he's finally given up on an unfiltered inbox, and had Yahoo turn on spam filtering on his email. His immediate false positive rate has been .5%, and he's none too happy.

Can you blame him?

Our determination to build an anti-spam system that's trusted by people like Seth is building more and more momentum as people get fed up of loosing important email to their spam filters.

Especially for small groups like Seth - that's why we offer our hosted anti-spam for FREE for groups/companies with 10 or less mailboxes. Go ahead, sign up and give it a try. (it's free!)

Email me and I'll send you a "spammers hate me" t-shirt. (while supplies last - I've got about 20)

Are you really secure?

This afternoon I'm on the security panel at the Atlanta ITEC show. I've been fortunate to be on this panel this fall at the various cities that ITEC has visited, and one thing is certain, IT folks really don't grasp the real security issues in their company.

Sure, they have firewalls, filters and even encryption, but many have no idea on the threat from data loss from USB sticks, iPod's or any other device that can connect to computers in their company and have some sort of storage on them. Heck, even a camera can mount as a storage device. And with a 2 or 4GB card in it, a lot of data can walk out the door.

Another major hole that folks don't think of is the security surrounding their PBX. Next time you are in the office on the weekend, check out the extension lights and see how many lines are in use when the office is closed. That will wake ya up! Got an old modem hanging off of a server somewhere? What about that PC that's driving your printer spool? That one came in from a vendor and its sitting on your network.(!)

When people are on the road, think about all the data that is on their laptop, in their bag or on their phone. What if it fell into the wrong hands? If laptops are reported stolen, etc. how quickly do you change passwords, VPN's, etc.?

I had an iPod stolen years back - and I used that iPod as a handy little backup of my laptop. HUGE MISTAKE. Changing everything was a royal pain in the ass, and you can bet I don't do stupid things like that again. I got lazy, and paid for it.

Ignite Chicago

Sorry for the late notice - I spaced on the date. Tonight in Chicago is the Ignite event and had I not been traveling, I'd make my way down there for it. See their website for more info.

December 6, 2007
Location: Debonair Social Club in Wicker Park at 1575 N Milwaukee Avenue.
RSVP: Register at

Harper Reed - skinnyCorp
Jason Fried - 37 Signals
Erin McKean - Oxford University Press
Matt Lincoln - Beer Brewer
Adrian Holovaty (tentative) - Chicago Crime & EveryBlock

The event agenda is as follows:
6pm — Ignite Content Begins
8pm — Ignite Talks Round 1 Begin
9:15pm — Ignite Talks Round 2 Begin

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

mollusk mario embassy goldman

Looking at the message traffic for new spam outbreaks, I'm seeing a lot of messages which have been created with the intent to poison heuristic based anti-spam solutions, which can only mean one thing - the spammers are preparing for a flood of spam to hammer out.

One would think that pre-Christmas would be the optimal time for a spam burst, but the way that spammers think, you also have to take into account that they're targeting the week between Christmas and the new year for their little message avalanche. Why? Most staff will have this week off for vacation and there's better chances that they're message will get into user's inboxes as a result.

Yet another reason of the season not to use (or trust) heuristic based systems.

The image here is my favorite spam image so far this Christmas season. LOL

Someone else's problem

For the first time since 1994, I'm a tenant and not a landlord. In the past owning the building(s) that we operated out of made a lot of sense, but the continued opportunity cost in the past 4 years has changed my mode of thinking on this. The distractions not only on time, but also monetarily, dictated this change. Now we can better focus on our goals and objectives as a result.

The best part is that now when something goes wrong, I just call someone to tell them about it. And now the problem is dumped in their lap, not mine.

What are you dealing with on a recurring basis that's keeping you from focusing 100% on your job or business? What if you made it go away? How much more productive or successful could you and your team be?

What about the image on this post? No, we're not moving to Lambeau, but just up the street from the stadium. ;-)