Five Indisputable Tech Facts for 2010

I stayed out of the annual New Year’s prediction derby, because my stock buying history proves without a doubt that I have no predictive abilities.

image But I will give you five indisputable tech facts for 2010.

First, if the $1000 price point rumors are accurate, the much discussed Apple Tablet will be more sleep inducing than world changing.  Few people in the real world want a tablet computer to begin with.  Almost no one in the real world will pay more for a tablet than they plan to pay for their next desktop.  Oh, sure, the Appleheads will gush over it for a day or two, and then it will fade into the same cloud of communal apathy that swallowed the Palm Pre and a horde of earlier supposed world changers.  I would love a nice, iPhone looking and acting tablet.  But not as much as I’d love $1000 in my pocket.

Second, Google Docs are not even remotely close to being a legitimate alternative to Microsoft Office for document-intensive users.  Anyone who tells you different has never had a real job.  Look, I tried.  Really hard.  The formatting incompatibilities, printing limitations, inability to create useful document comparisons and a slew of other glaring deficiencies made me run back to Office, with my tail between my legs and my credit card in my hand.  Microsoft isn’t going to commit corporate suicide by giving us a reasonably featured, free online Office suite.  The only chance we have of getting a half-way usable online word processing suite is via Open Office.  Unlike Google Docs, Open Office is a legitimate Office alternative.  I don’t know if there are plans for an online version, but the right people could create something really useful with Open Office supplying the underlying applications.  But Google Docs?  Honestly, they just piss me off.  Worrying about collaboration is a complete waste of time when the tool you’re collaborating with sucks so bad.

Third, blogging, sadly, is dead.  Facebook has all the non-nerds guzzling the Kool-Aid (in between shifts of Farmville), and has become the new AOL.  Twitter has the attention-challenged (as well as the spammers).  In our ADD culture there’s just no place for depth.  Which makes newspapers, record albums, and blogs dead media.  The momentum may swing back the other way at some point- and I certainly hope it does.  But for now, anything that has more meat than a chicken foot is out of favor with the masses.  Sure, some of us try to continue blogging, but can you name even one person who’s really into it?  I used to wonder if I could blog my way into the Technorati Top 100 (not that there are many real blogs on that list anymore).  Now I wonder if I’ll even finish this post.

Fourth, if Microsoft wants to finally get something right on the internet, all it has to do is put OneNote online, and make it free.  It is by far the best information aggregator on the market.  Only the cost and, more importantly, the lack of an easy way to synch and access your information stands between OneNote and complete dominance of the space.  Sadly, Microsoft probably won’t do this, since it is such a good idea.  But if it did, I’d dump Evernote in a heartbeat.  That would teach them to ignore my repeated requests for folders.

Fifth, as the Twitter hysteria begins to fade, we are witnessing the end of one of the worst things to ever happen to business: the idea that free is a business model.  It’s not, and it never has been.  It’s just smoke and mirrors used to puff up valuations in the hope that some greater fool will wander by and start throwing money at you.  Sure, some free things have always been a part of good business plans.  Like samples or maybe even “lite” versions of something you want to entice people to buy.  If all you have is free, you’re a charity not a business.  You make money by selling something, and you can’t sell something that has no perception of value.  There’s no better way to create a perception of no value than to give all of your goods away.  The death of this non-business model is a very good thing that will eventually lead to real innovation.  When the barriers to entry are higher, the quality of the goods that make it to market is higher.

That’s my five.  What are your indisputable tech facts for 2010?

9 thoughts on “Five Indisputable Tech Facts for 2010

  1. Indisputable facts eh? I take issue with blogs being dead. If blogs are dead, then that means the only remaining content is from Companies with a capital “C”.And where was this prognostication made? Is this a blog? 🙂

  2. Sean, I hope you are right and I am wrong. But I just don't see the energy in blogging there was 2-3 years ago. I think it comes down to a few factors: content is too diluted throughout the various social networks; Twitter, FB, etc. is so much easier than writing a blog post; many question the return- in eyeballs, etc.- one gets from the effort of blogging; there is somewhat of a ready-made audience on the networks, etc. I think it's a shame from a content quality and personal branding perspective. But I think it's a reality.

  3. Due to the almighty Google, I think there will always be a place for solid content. Someone, SOMEWHERE is looking for it. Perhaps not today, or tommorow, but eventually.

  4. Hi Kent, my first reaction is to agree with you about the $1000 price point for an Apple Tablet but then I remember back to the introduction of the iPhone and how all the naysayers and experts said no way would Apple be able even enter the cell phone market much less market a smart touch phone with a $500+ retail price point. We know how that story ended. For years Steve Jobs and Apple said there was no market for tablets. For them to now change their minds may mean that technology is at a point where they intend to redefine what a tablet means much the say way they redefined the cell phone market. So if you're saying no way would I purchase today's definition of a tablet for at or near $1000 I'd agree, but the definition of tablet (or slate) may soon mean something totally different. “Appleheads” will be the first to buy it but if it's as revolutionary as the iphone was the price will drop and other will follow.On blogs, I think they will live on but their popularity and influence has peaked. The majority of Internet users don't seem to have the attention span these days to read in depth articles and opinions — for them it seems like too much work. I don't know what this says for the future when this multitasking but short processing time culture bleeds over into daily business practice and these twitter and FB fanatics become CEOs, CFOs and CIOs. Maybe it's already happened in some financial/banking areas and we've been experiencing the results.Enjoyed the post…yes I still read blogs! 🙂

  5. Did you happen to catch the release of Seesmic Look? This app will change the way Twitter is used and I think inject people into the stream of info that might not have ever understood what Twitter is about. I think Twitter may soon see a recovery in traffic because of Seesmic Look.By the way – terrific blog. Found you by way of a 2006 posting about why blogging is hard. Great read!

  6. Earl, I agree that Apple may change the definition of a tablet- and I hope it does. I never thought I'd buy an iPhone and now I can't imagine not having one. But one issue is the presence or lack of carrier subsidies. My iPhone is affordable because ATT subsidizes part of it. I'll sign up for an ATT contract because I need a mobile phone. But I have wi-fi almost everywhere I'd want to use a tablet, so I won't sign up for a carrier contract to get a subsidy. Which raises the question, would I have paid $500 for an iPhone? Maybe, but I use my cell phone way more than I'd use ever a redefined tablet. It's going to be interesting.

  7. Richard, thanks for the kind words. I briefly looked at Look. In theory I like it. But I just don't know that many “mainstream” people who use Twitter (unlike Facebook). I think Twitter is a lot of (a) technophiles like me, (b) companies trying not to miss the boat (but who don't really know what to do with it), (c) marketers marketing mostly to each other, and (d) spammers. I just don't see anything that is going to pull the mainstream masses away from Facebook, even with a more robust front-end. Basically, I see Twitter as the new Digg. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing world-changing about that either.

  8. I was all preparing to use GoogleDocs. For a lot of what I do, it's almost exactly what I need. But I can't swallow the size-limit on files. It's nothing I couldn't work around if I really wanted, but I don't want to. One of the things I was wanting to use it for was novels, which come out larger. I do like Open Office, though. I also really like IBM Lotus Symphony's layout better than I like the layout of any of the competitors, but it's a bit buggy and even a bit buggy is unacceptable. The only problem I have with Open Office is that its Access counterpart does not remotely stack up to the original.There's supposed to be a couple other online suites out there. Have you tried any of those?

  9. I used Zoho a little. More elegant that Google Docs, but not as good as Open Office. For light users, any of those probably fit the bill. I do personal letters on Google Docs, but for anything intensive it is just so far from acceptable. The entire Google Docs (and Google Apps, for that matter) suite seems tossed together to me. I don't think it's a priority for Google, which is a shame.

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