But I do believe in the death penalty for corporations.
Sometimes they do something so heinous, so unacceptable, that the only just punishment is oblivion.
An example: We should have put Exxon to death after their tanker wrecked the ecosystem of a pristine bay in Alaska.
And today, If there were a death penalty for corporations, AT&T may have just earned it.
Imagine, they have designs of selling access to movies and stuff over the Internet, so they decide to join with the MPAA and the RIAA to spy on and prosecute their customers.
What a lack of awareness of their relationship with customers. They should do things to reward customers for being smart enough to have chosen AT&T as their Internet service provider. Instead, they would make their customers the stupidest people on the planet, choosing the only ISP that will send you to jail to create a new business model for them. Instead of competing to provide great service at the lowest possible price, they want to drive their customers to financial ruin, for having made the mistake of choosing AT&T.
AT&T — a company that doesn’t deserve to live.
Papa Doc: “Kinda gives ya the warm scuzzies, huh?”
Daring Fireball: “Perhaps it’s playing well in the mainstream press, but here at WWDC, Apple’s ‘you can write great apps for the iPhone: they’re called web sites’ — message went over like a lead balloon.”
Read the whole piece about how developers are reacting to Apple’s news at WWDC this week, and consider another theory to explain what’s going on.
Apple makes a lot of software that developers used to make. Over time they’ll make more. And while that’s going on they’re becoming more of a consumer products company and less of a computer company. How does that translate for developers? The platform is less important and the package is more important. What the consumer gets out of the box matters. The ability to make a phone call, or listen to music or get directions to a restaurant. But run some random app that someone other than Apple made? There’s not much demand for that with users.
How do I know? I’ve been there. When Apple made very little of the software people used, I still had a hard time explaining to people I met on airplanes or ski lifts, generally well educated people who used computers, that I didn’t work for Apple, that I was an “independent developer.” What’s that.
Apple doesn’t open up the iPhone because they don’t have to and they don’t want to. The security argument is bogus. Skype runs only on computers that are wide open. The phone is just one app, as it is just one app on the iPhone. And Apple has some special understanding of security? Well, that was disproven quickly after Safari shipped for Windows, holes were discovered within hours of its release. No it’s not security, it’s a shift in positioning. Apple didn’t come prepared this year for WWDC because it’s not a computer company, and they don’t need a developer community.
Which of course is a total shame and utter waste because they have one of the best, if not the best, developer communities in existence. Surely something could be done with all that motivated talent that effectively works for free for Apple?
Jason Calacanis announced earlier today that Mahalo now has a way for people who aren’t on their payroll to create and maintain pages on their human-powered search engine. Each author and page has to be approved by one of his staffers. Authors get between $10 and $15 per page. Not sure what tools they have, or what protocols they support (that’s what interests me most right now).
But $15 seems like not very much money. Do a little math to see how many pages you have to write to make a living. Suppose an employee costs $100K per year after benefits, that means they must do 6666 pages per year. If a book has 300 pages, then a Mahalo staffer would have to write 22 books a year to earn a fairly modest salary. All this is assuming that there is no disparity, that internal authors are paid the same as external ones.
I don’t see why people should line up to do this work? I mean, I understand why Jason wants them to do it (he puts ads on the pages). But what value do they provide to authors? I suppose at some point there is flow, but you’re not allowed to spam them, so it’s just a good feeling that you’re helping people? But isn’t Jason going to get a personal jet if this thing is successful? Seems like a bit of a plantation to me.
Yes, he’s flowing some of the money to Wikipedia, but isn’t it obvious that he’s wanting to displace Wikipedia’s position in Google. Search for almost anything on Google and you’ll find the Wikipedia page either at the top or very near the top. Today Mahalo is nowhere, but Jason, the kickass promoter that he is, plans to change that!
So, I don’t understand the business of Mahalo, although at a technology level though, I do, and have some ideas. Basically everything we’ve done with the OPML Editor applies. I’m going to ask Jason for some money to develop the editor (it’s an open source project after all, and he’s got lots of VC money) so we can put together a great editorial toolkit for Mahalo authors both internal and external, and leave it to him and others to figure out the economics.
Christian Burns has a theory about the economics.
Brian Benz: “Anyone who has written a technical book with a traditional print media publisher will recognize these numbers.”
Patriot-News: “Brian D. Kelly didn’t think he was doing anything illegal when he used his videocamera to record a Carlisle police officer during a traffic stop. Making movies is one of his hobbies, he said, and the stop was just another interesting event to film. Now he’s worried about going to prison or being burdened with a criminal record.”