Thursday, March 19, 2009

The recession's Churchillian moment?

To quote Churchill

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Or, in econospeak:

"I don't think that this is the beginning of a recovery. It's the beginning of a much slower pace of decline," said Ethan Harris, an economist with Barclays in New York. "You've got to walk before you run."

U.S. economy shows signs of crawling out of hole | Reuters

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The secret of beating Google

NYTimes highlights a key challenge of trying to use technology to beat Google. Sure, other search engines may come up with different, new and maybe by some standard, better technology, but what they won't have is Google's stickiness. Google isn't so much a search engine as it is a sense of habit.

Even though other search engines are one click away, part of Google's competitive advantage is that have managed to create a psychological bond with consumers that keeps them hooked.

Here's part of the NYT's take on the issue:
More important, successful companies succeed for many reasons in addition to the quality of their products. When a technology start-up begins to do well, it is like a snowball rolling downhill, as technology, packaging, marketing, sales, customers, developers, brand reputation and a lot of luck bind together to create momentum that then feeds on itself.

Back to Microsoft: There are lots of people who believe that there are better operating systems available today than Windows. The question is, how very much better do they have to be, and what else needs to happen, to unwind the self-reinforcing ecosystem that lets Microsoft dominate the PC business? Windows now is just one of Microsoft’s products.

Better Search Doesn’t Mean Beating Google - Bits Blog -

Friday, March 06, 2009

Different ideas of value

So CalTrain has introduced the new 8-ride ticket to replace the old 10-ride tickets. Here is a direct quote I got from some of their marketing material:

"Like the 10-ride, the 8-ride will have a 60-day expiration and have the same pricing structure so you receive the same ride value"

I guess we all have different ideas of "value", but it seems to be a very odd definition indeed when you try to say that getting 8-rides for the same price as 10-rides is "the same ride value."