Archive for August, 2007

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SUN to become JAVA on NASDAQ. World to end.

August 24, 2007

Jonathan Schwartz, the brilliant young CEO of SUN Microsystems spoke today on his blog that his company would change their NASDAQ stock symbol from SUNW to JAVA, a calculated tip of the cap to SUN’s most widely used brand, the JAVA platform. He had some great things to say about the direction of the company, and heralded his recent partnership with Google on the Open Office offerings (as he should). As he stated, the JAVA brand is worldwide… its used by computers, cell phones for games, programmers….. most people with a vague knowledge of the Internet are familiar with JAVA. As Jonathan put it, imagine what that type of exposure would cost if you were paying for it through advertising. I think it is a brilliant idea to leverage that exposure so that it becomes an advertisement for the business. People are not near as familiar with Sun Microsystems as they are with JAVA, and changing the companies identity to JAVA on NASDAQ makes every time someone sees the JAVA logo an advertisement for the litany of other things that company does. I think it’ brilliant, but the comments in below the post seem to disagree. While many see dropping the SUNW (which comes from the companies roots as being Standford University Network Workstations) as disrespectful to the other products such as Star Office, Open Office, and the revolutionary open source OS offerings the company has. What they fail to see is that by leveraging the JAVA brand, SUN draws attention to everything they do.

Johnathan is doing what Google is so good at: taking a successful brand and leveraging that familiarity into a trust that encourages users to look into what else the company has to offer. When Google first came out with Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Docs I knew I would try it. Why? Because they were so good as a search engine that I assumed their other products would be just as innovative.

JAVA as a stock symbol scares some people and seems insignificant to others. But just like Ron Burgundy, its kind of a big deal.

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A Whole New Take on Social Networks

August 22, 2007

I just ran across an interesting article from Newsweek that talks about asmallworld.net. The site is a social network with…. GASP…. a closed door policy. Only the rich, famous, and elite are members of the site, having gotten in via an exclusive invitation only policy. Whats interesting about this is that this flies in the face of most Internet business model. Accounts on the site are free, so revenue must come from advertisements (nothing new about that). But their “invitation-only” model seems to be self-defeating in that it intentionally keeps the number of eyeballs looking at the site smaller than it could be, therefore (theoretically) lowering the value to advertisers. Elite brands like Jaguar and Rolex would still find the site enticing, but how long can the creators of the site fight the urge usher in several more users in order to show a larger number of users to potential advertisers? The site started with around 500 users and grown to 260,000 in three and a half years. Impressive, but not staggering when you consider that a B List site like myyearbook.com has accumulated over a million users in half that time.

It seems to me like the creators have missed the boat on this one. They have created a country club on the Internet and treated it like the city park. Why not charge these “elite” users a subscription fee? If you target those types of people, isn’t an outrageous subscription fee just validation that the site is truly only for the high rollers?

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TechFriday = Good Times

August 22, 2007

It’s a little belated, but I wanted to thank Curtis Palmer
of TechBirmingham for inviting us to TechFriday at the Apple Store. In addition to learning about how to use
Windows in an Apple environment and drooling over the enigma that is the
iPhone, we got to meet some great people in the Birmingham tech community. If anyone out here is interested in what is
going on in the IT industry in the area, you shouldn’t miss these gatherings.

I actually didn’t get to meet the one guy I wanted to…. The man
behind The Terminal, my new favorite blog (I am 90% sure he was there, although
I don’t know his name, or what he looks like) For those who haven’t checked it out, the
terminal is a great blog about what is going on in the B’ham area in business,
life, and politics. I guess I will just
have to attend their launch party that is coming up at the Bottletree.