The Gillmor Gang – Dana Gardner, Robert W. Anderson, Dan Farber, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded Monday, June 30, 2008.
Gillmor: Hi, this is Steve Gillmor. Welcome to the Monday edition of the Gillmor Gang. I’m joined by — that’s your cue.
Anderson: For us to all talk at the same time? This is Robert Anderson.
Gardner: Yeah, hi. It’s Dana Gardner.
Gillmor: So, what’s going on, guys?
Gardner: I’m taking a deep breath after all of the Microsoft/Gates leaving hoopla last week. I don’t know, it kind of left me thinking that the world has a very sort of bifurcated view of Microsoft. It’s still hate ‘em or love ‘em, and there’s not much in between.
Anderson: I think Dana’s right about that. I think that bifurcation, frankly, is really silly. People get so stuck on one side or the other of any issue, I guess. Microsoft’s a big company, they do a lot of different things. Some things are cool, some things cause a lot of trouble for people. But it’s not so simple.
Gillmor: Yeah, I agree with you, Robert. I think that the arguments about the convicted monopolists are just really old news. It doesn’t mean anything any more, and it hasn’t for quite a while.
Gardner: I think it was interesting to see how the press and the media and the blogosphere handled it. I didn’t get a chance to dig too deeply into the coverage, but it seemed there was on one hand lots of love and admiration for Gates. On the other hand, sort of always with the next half of the sentence being, “In an embattled company, under pressure, and not doing well.”
I don’t know, it’s hard for me to separate the two. I guess I always thought that Gates and Microsoft were pretty tightly aligned. So it’s interesting to see, on one hand, lots of love and admiration, on the other hand, sort of kicking the company when it’s down, or kicking it at any rate.
Anderson: Kicking it whenever you have the opportunity?
Gardner: Yeah, yeah.
Gillmor: All right now, just to interrupt, I just need to see if this dirty line is me or you guys. Hang on one second.
Gardner: I don’t know, Robert, you sound pretty clear.
Anderson: Yeah, you sound pretty good. I don’t hear anything that’s dirty.
Gillmor: I think it’s Jerry, basically.
Gillmor: Because he opened it up and went on mute again, and it seemed to go away. I’m going to assume, Jerry, that that’s the problem. We had an issue with News Gang Live on Friday, where there was dirt on the line throughout the whole show, and I’m not going to release it as a result. It’s an hour and a half, and it’s just too damn long.
So we need to kind of track this down, so I’m going to keep you on mute — we’ll just go that way. If you’re not able to get the audio into the show, then we’ll have to figure out something else. But that’s what it’ll be.
OK, back to the movie. So you were saying — I’ll edit this part out. Can you suggest what you were just saying to me as I was being distracted? Dana?
Gardner: We were sort of looking at the Bill Gates send-off in the media. And I was observing how, to me, it’s sort of weird how people will kick Microsoft but then love Bill Gates. Now that he’s gone, how is that going to play out? There is no sort of lovey-dovey figurehead, richest guy in the world, sort of riches to riches, did it himself, innovator/genius thing.
There’s Steve Ballmer, who’s obviously very admirable, but doesn’t hold quite that same, I don’t know, position of affection in the mind’s eye, in the public’s eye.
Gillmor: I don’t know that affection is really an attribute at this point. I think Yahoo completely misunderstood and ultimately destroyed their credibility by sticking to this religious kind of warm/cuddly/Microsoft founder or hated founder.
It just really has no relationship to what’s going on right now. These are not the transcendent issues of the technology space. The ones that are really mattering, we can debate, but they certainly don’t include whether Steve Ballmer’s a nice guy or not.
Gardner: I agree. So what are the important ones? Maybe we should move on. I was just remembering last week’s send-off, and it was pretty — I thought — edifying that the media is still kind of vapid and goes for the obvious, even in the day of the blogosphere, a lot of the depth of this story.
Gillmor: Yeah, I thought the blogosphere was pretty vapid as well, though.
Gillmor: Maybe there’s just nothing really there to talk about.
Anderson: Well, it’s all been said. And it was just…
Gillmor: I don’t think that it’s all been said, I just don’t think it was said particularly well by anybody.
Anderson: People have been writing about this forever, so that now that Bill Gates is gone, it’s like one last chance to revisit what Bill Gates has done. That doesn’t make it particularly interesting. It’s a chance to have a retrospective.
Gardner: But, hey, do you guys know anything about Jay Allard? Who is, I guess, now the chief experience officer at Microsoft?
Gillmor: What about him?
Gardner: Well, he’s just become the chief experience officer. I don’t know if you guys know this guy.
Gillmor: I have never talked to him, but I’m certainly aware of him, as well as Robbie Bach, who’s his cohort over there in the media/entertainment/mobile group.
Gardner: Well, that does raise one interesting tidbit that I saw last week, which was one of the blogs surfaced an email from Bill Gates. It was at least three or four years old, and I think it was a result of some of the trails and discovery that had gone on. And Bill was basically saying, “I’m trying to do…” I think it was Media Maker.
Anderson: It was Movie Maker.
Gardner: Movie Maker. And it was really astonishing that here’s a guy who’s in charge of the company basically going through the same pain and suffering that most of us do when we deal with some Microsoft stuff, or at least used to. And still, this whole experience thing is still there.
Anderson: Right. I think it’s a great idea to have someone in charge of that. And I only hope it means across the entire business, and not just the Live site or the Microsoft.com site. But it’s a big deal. When you go to the Microsoft site and have no idea where to find what you’re looking for.
Gillmor: I’m not sure what the relationship is between that four-year-old story and this one today.
Gardner: Well, very little progress has been made in terms of dealing from the outside looking in with Microsoft on a number of both online and the usability within their own products when they’re installed locally.
There is certainly a usability issue, and they’ve been aware of it for years and it’s still something they don’t seem to be able to master.
Gillmor: Remind me of what the products are. I’m not really familiar with those.
Gardner: Like operating systems and productivity applications.
Gillmor: Yeah, I don’t really run into them much. I’m on a Mac, so the operating system isn’t Windows. So I don’t run into those.
Anderson: I think this whole division between products and services is just nonsense. You can call them what you want. There’s software running behind them, there’s software running on your machine. They’re a total product.
Gillmor: The old classic model of a product was that is was a collection of features. In the new universe, it’s not a collection of features. It’s the whole interface is a collection of features. I don’t experience products. I mean Summize is — sure it’s a website, it’s a service, but if it worked correctly, in my book, it would be a snap-in plugin to Twitter and to FriendFeed and to everything else that I’m using.
I mean, these are features of a pervasive desktop experience.
Gardner: Right. But there’s so many folks out there that work in companies and enterprises that don’t have a choice, that are just dealing with whatever the IT department give them. And I agree that that’s a…
Gillmor: That’s really old news as far as I’m concerned. Sure, there’s going to be a struggle between the entrenched IT and the new sort of emergent IT. The IT that are smart enough to realize that they have to orchestrate these services and not — they’re going to get overwhelmed and blown out as companies, by companies that hire and maintain or ally with other companies that can be fast movers in this space.
The old notion of monolithic IT is just dead.
Gardner: And Microsoft wants to be a part of that new future, and therefore they’re going to have to work on their usability issues, right?
Gillmor: But there one way of looking at that, is that they have to work on it by going to the website and fixing that. There’s this argument that’s going on among some of the people on News Gang on Twitter about the usability of the Olympics site, as a result of the…
I suggested over the weekend in a story called “The Smoking Gun” what I’ve been saying for a while, which is that Silverlight is going to have 100 million users in about 60 days. And that the new desktop is going to be Silverlight-based and not Windows-based.
So the usability of that NBC site, according to Aron Michalski, for example, suggests that this is some sort of local application that the puppet might be promoting on his SAP Ajax Cleaners kind of a site. That it doesn’t have the resonance or the credibility of a major television network.
Gardner: And is it built in Silverlight?
Gillmor: No. But my point is that — yeah, of course it’s built with Silverlight. But it’s also built with Flash and with Windows Media Player, and whatever else is going on. The point I’m trying to make is that the look and feel of the site is something that will be handled by site developers, not by the operating system company.
The same thing is true of Mesh in general. Mesh is going to be orchestrated, once it had the fundamental primitives it need to be able to create and augment group formation, which it currently doesn’t have, it’s going to be a framework around which these kind of features on top of services are going to be deployed.
So talking about usability, sure, there are some fundamental primitives of usability. Drag and drop has been one that’s been utilized forever, since the beginning of Gates trying to normalize the Web with the hard-coded applications on the client. The whole idea of being able to disrupt Office by having Outlook Web Access and then migrating that over to some of the Office apps themselves.
All of that is around usability. And the thing that’s been disrupting that has not been that they can’t get a reasonable user experience, it’s been the concern on the part of the bean counters that they were going to destroy their revenue stream.
That’s changed, and it’s already changing in terms of inside Microsoft now that Gates is out of there.
Gardner: Right. What’s more interesting is what you mentioned, something — we call them site managers, they’re the ones that should be driving the look and feel, the character.
Gillmor: They’re the ones that are going to be driving it, once this presentation layer is extrapolated out of the fundamental of whatever the enclosing framework is.
Gardner: Yeah. So I’d actually like to see this taken a step further, where the usability becomes close to what we’re starting see on the cloud with some of the tools, some of the dynamic languages. So that it’s not a site manager, it’s not even IT, it’s the actually people who are the publishers, editors, bloggers, creatives, that are going directly to the end user without any intermediary step. And that’s fundamentally the glitch.
Gillmor: That’s not something that’s going to happen, that’s something that already has happened. Most of the programming and development environments have been separating presentation and business logic from the data since, I don’t know, 10 years now. None of this is new.
Gardner: No, it’s not new, but it’s a progression. And we’re getting to the point where it’s the creative types that can drive through self-help and widgets and templates and automated GUIs, to the point where you get rid of that intermediary step of the developer, the site manager, the web master, the IT department.
Gillmor: I think you’re overstating it.
Gardner: I’m overstating what?
Gillmor: You’re not going to get rid of anybody.
Gardner: For a point.
Gillmor: You’re going to have people who wear different hats at different moments.
Gardner: Yes. But the agile sort of approach where you get the creatives doing fast iterative steps, I think that’s what’ going to start bringing these apps, these portals, these websites — whatever you want to call them — services, ultimately, to the point where they are usable to the end user because they’re not being driven through a tool set and developer mind set.
They’re being delivered, and being delivered and defined by the actual creatives. And it’s happening…
Gillmor: I think you’re overstating it again.
Gardner: It’s happening on the cloud, which is very interesting. With Microsoft, this usability issue needs to move beyond their Visual Studio set, beyond their Silverlight set, and become a part and parcel with what they’re delivering, what some people call “platform as a service.” That’s huge.
Gillmor: I think your abstracting out of the realm of pragmatism. You’re talking about something larger, boil-your-ocean kind of scenario.
Gardner: All right, Steve, I can’t sit here and argue with you. It’s your show, why don’t you tell us what you think it should be?
Gillmor: No, I’m arguing with you. I don’t agree with you. That’s what I want my show to be. I think that what you just said is wrong.
Gardner: All right. Well, have a good day.
[line hangs up]
Gillmor: Bye. The fucking attitude on that guy is just unbelievable.
Gillmor: All right, so…
Anderson: I don’t disagree with what he’s saying. But I do think that you can do both. You can be pragmatic about what the next steps are. And the boil-your-ocean approach is actually being developed by a bunch of different people. And some new applications will go that route, and the most interesting applications will migrate there.
Gillmor: But that’s the whole point. The whole point, Robert, of what’s been going on in the rest of the universe, exclusive of the Microsoft mindset, is that there is no time for establishing, outside of the user and developer perspective, a new way of doing things. There is not time for the aircraft carrier to reboot. This has to be done iteratively.
I mean, this was the genius of Visual Basic in the first place, that you didn’t create applications fully built out, you started with a local data store and you basically added — as SQL came online– you added the ability to talk over the network to the data. And then you added, through an extraction language like XAML — it was obviously earlier than that and not on the Microsoft technologies, but then ported to the Microsoft technologies. You added the ability to be able to contain the changes and deltas in terms of the UI.
And you started to build these things out. Now what Dana seems to be — or seemed to be before he hung up — suggesting is, is that we’re going to have some sort of larger construct that is going to govern this. That the larger Microsoft hairball is going to integrate and push forward as the new way of doing the old thing.
And I don’t think that they have the time for it.
Anderson: Well, see, I don’t entirely agree with that.
Gillmor: Then maybe you’ll argue with me about it.
Anderson: Right. But then I’m going to have to hang up.
Gillmor: OK. Well, you know.
Anderson: I’ll argue with you, but if you argue back, I’m gone. OK?
Gillmor: Very good. Prepare to be gone.
Anderson: You can hang me up if you want. I think that these things are happening in parallel. I agree with you that there’s no time to restart the aircraft carrier, if that’s what you said. But the aircraft carrier is being — a second aircraft carrier is being rebuilt. Taken apart and rebuilt up.
Now the big vendors are all trying to come with their all comprehensive platform-as-a-service play. But I think that you make a good point, that there isn’t going to be one big construct that replaces everything we’re doing today. There already exists hundreds of very small constructs that are in place today, that are getting more and more powerful.
And it’s those small constructs that are going to move us forward, in parallel with these other mechanism for — I’ll just call them “new development.” Starting to build applications that fit inside of Silverlight, that’s new development, right?
It may fit into existing models that we understand about rich Internet applications, and segmenting the front end from business logic, perhaps somewhere else. And data, of course, somewhere else altogether. Certainly that’s a well-understood pattern.
But it’s still a change for people who are used to, let’s say, building ASP.NET application. It may not be as much of a change for people who are used to the Flash environment, although in terms of the language it certainly is a big change.
Gillmor: OK, but were talking about — at least Dana appeared to be talking about the user experience, not the developer experience.
Anderson: Right. And he said that the creatives will be able to make all this happen without the developers. And I don’t want to channel…
Gillmor: And I think that talking about the creatives as some sort of separate identity doesn’t — this is not going to happen as a result of a group of creatives doing one thing and a group of developers doing another thing. This is going to be as a result of a class of aggregators, be it of services like Salesforce, or other developers who put together a console of a dashboard of some type that allows the user to be able to, initially or eventually, configure it to house the services they want.
And then they’re going to us it in the way they see fit, and that data — as we’ve seen with Sun Microsystems and their strategy in open source — is going to be flowing back to the mother ship and is going to determine who are the best up-sell candidates for products and feature, which is how this stuff with get paid for, at least in some part, over a period of time.
But the idea that this is somehow going to be constructed at the vendor level as a strategy flies in the face of, among other things, what Google is doing in terms of their strategy, which is to disrupt that kind of capability.
Nobody’s going to be able to get a foothold unless they play according to the same kind of iterative roles that Google has been pushing forward. And that includes Microsoft.
Anderson: I agree with that. That’s why people are still running VB 6.0 code, right? It’s because of the pragmatic realities of the enterprise, or even in the consumer space.
In terms of the creative thing, I was going to say that I certainly don’t want to channel Dave Weiner here, but we are very far away from a situation where they creatives — and in no way to me is that a pejorative term — but where the creatives can just put together, wire together, everything they need, the applications that they need, without architects and developers. That’s a long way off.
Gillmor: All right. So I just want to bring up one other thing, which is I just see it on Twitter. Dave Slusher says, “I think Steve in wrong is in thinking Twitter is relative in this process. If it disappeared tomorrow, the impact to him would be minimal.”
So I’m not sure what he means by how I’m wrong that the impact to him in minimal.
Anderson: [laughs] Well…
Gillmor: I think his underlying issue is that he feels that somehow Twitter has sort of been passed by, by FriendFeed.
Anderson: Is that what he means or regardless of Twitter, that the idea of a Twitter is irrelevant in the bigger picture.
Gillmor: I don’t know that the bigger picture is. I’m dealing with fragmentary Tweets, which he doesn’t really say anything around it that I can tell. He pointing at me with an @ sign.
Anderson: Then you should hang up on him.
Gillmor: Dan Farber, welcome.
Farber: Thank you for having me.
Anderson: Hi, Dan.
Anderson: This is Robert.
Farber: Robert, hi. How are you?
Anderson: Fine, how are you?
Farber: I’m well.
Farber: And I’m happy to be here on this new phone line.
Gillmor: Yeah, it’s getting better. Dana Gardner was here earlier, but he hung up. And Robert has been doing the favor of arguing with me as opposed to hanging up.
Anderson: I’m trying to channel Dana Gardner, but I’m not doing a very good job.
Gillmor: No, I think you’re doing a very good job. And with the result that we’ve actually had a conversation. Well, that won’t be a problem much longer.
So, Dan, what’s floating your boat this week?
Farber: This week, I don’t know, it’s kind of early in the week. I’m not to afloat. Although speaking of afloat, I just posted — I did an interview with Jonathan Heiliger, who’s the vice-president of technology operations for Facebook, about how Facebook stays afloat as it adds 250,000 new users per day.
Gillmor: And how does it do that?
Farber: Well, they have a bunch of servers, I guess. And from an architectural standpoint they use a very distributed database organization so that you’re not hitting one server. So that’s pretty much what a lot of people are doing with these kind of distributed database architectures.
Gillmor: Well, hasn’t this kind of been going on for quite some time?
Farber: Yes, it has. But then you ask yourself…
Gillmor: What happened to Twitter?
Farber: [laughs] Yeah.
Gillmor: But Twitter, it’s not like they’re adding a lot of users on a daily basis. Although I must say that I’m continuing to get a number of additional follows every day, for reasons that I can’t quite understand.
Anderson: You might say they’re driving away people every day, actually.
Gillmor: I don’t think they are. That’s what would be my point. And I’ve seen other evidence of it from other people who’ve noticed that there continues to be a stream of people engaging in Twitter, trying to figure out what it is that isn’t working, maybe. I’m not sure.
But my point would be that I don’t think, Dan, that it’s as a result of a massive, ongoing scale-up that they’re unable to keep their servers going. I don’t think that they’ve figured out how to keep all the features that became popular at a much lower number of follows and track.
Farber: Yeah. I think, obviously, when they started this project, they didn’t really think about the architecture as much, or how they construct the databases or whatever else.
Gillmor: Did Facebook ever have a period of instability? I seem to recall it did.
Farber: I think it had some instability, but nothing like Twitter. And I think more the problem with Facebook was just a latency problem, that it was sometimes slow. But they’ve hidden a lot of that now, which you really can’t do very easily in Twitter because it’s a real-time kind of service.
With Facebook, for example, when you used to add a friend, if you weren’t on a super-fast connection, it would just kind of crank and crank and crank, and then finally appear. So what they did was they just Ajaxed it so that it just says, “Yes, you’re now friends with this person,” so that it can more asynchronously, in the background, then do the processing to put all the connections in.
Gillmor: There’s been a lot of noise in the blogosphere and FriendFeed that suggests that people like us really don’t know what we’re talking about, about the technology, so we really shouldn’t have this be part of what we’re commenting on.
Farber: Well, I don’t agree with that at all, because I think a lot of what happens on the Gillmor Gang and on some of the blogs and Techmeme and other places that we frequent is this is kind of the leading edge. This is where a lot of the experimentation is going on. We don’t know if we’re right. We don’t even know if we’re wrong or whatever. That’s not the point. The point is that it’s forward movement and that kind of making it up as we go. And I think, if we look back and we say, “Well, how right were we about some things?” I think it’s probably not a bad record of accuracy.
Gillmor: Yeah. No, I’m confident, as has been true for quite a while, that we’ll be right about the majority of what we’re talking about. The push-back, though, seems to sort of center around one of two things. Either there’s some sort of personal attack, which we don’t need to explore, but then the other way is to just basically, it’s the engineers — it’s the doers versus the talkers. And I think you’ve answered the question, but I want to hear what Robert has to say about it, since he’s both a talker and a doer.
Anderson: [laughs] Well, like I said about the creatives before, I do think that there is this tendency to create these artificial barriers. There are people who can only talk. It’s like that thing about teachers — if you can’t do, you teach — which is just nonsense. That’s probably true for some teachers.
I hope that everyone on this call — I certainly believe it’s true — are able to work at many different levels at the same time. And I always bridle at being pushed into some particular bucket because I’ve written some code once or because I started a company once. There’s a lot of different things that I can do.
And I was at CloudCamp last week, and there was this question: “Who here is a developer? Raise your hands. Who here is a businessperson? Raise your hands.” As if those are different things. And I think that, especially those of us who are putting ourselves out there and getting involved in a lot of different things, we’re not everything – -we can’t do everything. But we can do a lot more than I think people suggest.
And I’ve heard a lot of criticism about, “Does Steve know what he’s talking about?” Well, I think that the proof is in the pudding. The answer is “Yeah.” That doesn’t mean you’re always right.
Gillmor: Well, I think, to Dan’s point, it’s not necessarily whether we know what we’re talking about. Most of the time, I qualify what I’m saying by saying that I don’t know what I’m talking about, but my instinct is that something is going on in one or another place.
And we’ve been seeing this with FriendFeed over the weekend, I think. I’ve been staying away from it for a long time, mostly because I’ve been trying to sort of evangelize the features of Twitter that I wish would be restored.
But finally — because Dave Weiner and others started to make some investigations inside FriendFeed and started to develop a kind of conversation that tends to promote, or at least exacerbate, the kinds of concerns that I have about FriendFeed — I started to observe it. And even with Marc Canter, over the last 24 hours, started doing some sort of tests, where, in fact, I just see a Twitter from him saying that “Facebook copied FriendFeed’s ‘comment.’ But it ain’t Ajax-y. It reeks of being thrown together. But it is inside of Facebook.”
What I’ve trivialized as a silo effect of these comments inside of FriendFeed, the actual mechanics of seeing what the problems are of trying to surface those conversations on the Twitter pipeline — or in other words, outside, along the thoroughfare that Twitter represents — is a really interesting problem. And I certainly don’t have an answer for it. But I sure do understand what the problem is. I’m a user, and I don’t like what I’m being constrained about. I can’t find anything. Dan, do you use FriendFeed?
Farber: I use FriendFeed.
Gillmor: Can you find anything?
Farber: No. There’s a false dichotomy that’s been set up, which is that it’s Twitter or FriendFeed, or Twitter versus FriendFeed. And it’s really not the case. They’re very different things, in that FriendFeed absorbs what Twitter produces. But it does create some…
Gillmor: Well, the reason I think that there’s been a focus on the difference or the competition between the two is that many of the people who went over to FriendFeed, like Scoble and Dave Slusher and others, have represented it as a replacement for Twitter. So that isn’t the construct that I suggested. That’s the one that the evangelists of the other service suggest.
So, getting past that, do you actually use FriendFeed? And if so, can you find anything in there?
Farber: I do use FriendFeed. And I can find things in there. But I don’t actively participate by necessarily commenting or doing other things. It’s more scanning, as I would scan my RSS reader or scan Twitter, just to pick up little atomic bits of information that might lead me somewhere interesting.
Gillmor: But even at that level, isn’t it difficult? I find it difficult to be able to track what’s going on across a number of different comment threads that are hosted by different people.
Farber: Yeah. I think that’s a challenge we’re in the middle of right now. And I think I did read where you can now comment on FriendFeed and have it show up in Facebook, or something like that.
Gillmor: Right. I think that’s what Marc Canter is referring to in this Tweet.
Farber: Yeah. So again, we always talk about how painful or how complicated or confusing it is, but this is all emerging. It’s all very emergent stuff. The whole point is to be active and have a conversation about it and have opinions about it, because that’s how things get pushed.
Otherwise, if we weren’t having all this chatter about it, it would be uninteresting and go nowhere.
Gillmor: I also think that we help move the ball forward substantially quicker than otherwise. And I don’t mean just us, I mean the people in FriendFeed who are using it, who are trying to extend it.
Farber: I have a kind of a theory that you take the core of what Twitter is, that’s a broadcast service that has elements such as following and followers and track and reply and so on, and that’s just going to become something that’s baked into everything.
It wouldn’t surprise me if a Facebook or others came up with a similar thing. And then you get to the point where we need a standard for that so things can move across very easily, just like there’s a XMPP for instant messaging.
So I think we’re a ways off, but that’s where things are going to be heading. And then something like FriendFeed is trying to figure out how does it become useful for people? Yesterday I must have gotten 200 FriendFeed followers. Because everybody’s decided, “Oh, we’re moving from Twitter to FriendFeed.”
That complete herd goes over to the FriendFeed side. But I don’t think that’s really the point. Not unless FriendFeed decides that they are going to include and host the functionality that Twitter provides.
Gillmor: Right. And I’ve talked with them on this show, and also at SuperNova, about whether they’re going to extend the real-time services to incorporate XMPP. And the answer appears to be yes.
But I think what’s going on here with — I’m also getting a tremendous number of FriendFeed subscriptions throughout the last four or five days.
Farber: I just got one from Robert Anderson.
Gillmor: But I don’t think that this is so much about a herd mentality, or them abandoning it. I think they’re just trying to figure out what we’re trying to figure out: what’s going on over there. It seems to have gotten…
Anderson: And what’s it good for? I don’t think it’s clear what it’s good for.
Gillmor: It’s pretty clear that it’s good for….
Anderson: But my point is, that’s why people are going to it. They’re going to try it out for themselves. We can tell them what it’s good for. But I’m not going to know unless I go do it myself.
I think, Dan, you’re maybe the second guy that I’ve subscribed to in FriendFeed, so I haven’t really used it very much.
Gillmor: I think there are all sorts of motives for what’s going on, but I would suggest that we’re in a different phase than the tire-kicking phase at this point. People who are inside FriendFeed seem to have gotten a certain command of their landscape, and they’re very happy with it, etcetera, etcetera.
But they’re also — I’m sorry, go ahead.
Farber: No, I’m just saying the reality is that we’re still in the Stone Age of the metaverse. And so we’re just going to keep hacking away.
Gillmor: But the Stone Age, and I you look at the chart where the figure get’s more and more upright and then walks, I think that thing is moving very rapidly.
Farber: I think it’s not moving very rapidly. I think it’s moving very steadily. I wouldn’t say rapidly. I mean, I would say you tend to make things move rabidly as opposed to rapidly.
Gillmor: Rabidly? You mean like….
Anderson: It’s moving rabidly sideways.
Farber: Like Twitter. You know? You’ve made…
Gillmor: I think Twitter is a communications backbone, and attempts to make it do what it should be doing are important.
Anderson: And that’s why we’re talking on the plain old telephone right now.
Gillmor: I agree. But we’re talking on a service that allows anybody to call up, and hang up too. I think these technologies are remarkably more mature than people trivialize them to be. I’m not saying you do, but I do say that there’s tendency in the enterprise space to talk about these technologies at precisely the moment that they’re disrupting major players of all kinds in the enterprise space, to talk about them as though they’re toys, and that this is a waste of…
Farber: I think there’s a mismatch, though, between the pace at which the enterprise changes and the pace at which you think that this technology is evolving, in fact.
Gillmor: If you look at what happened with the iPhone, the iPhone — we’re coming up, in fact I think it was yesterday, wasn’t it? The anniversary, the first anniversary of the iPhone.
Anderson: But the iPhone is just a better phone.
Gillmor: No, it’s not.
Farber: With a browser and a music player.
Gillmor: The disruption that that caused across…
Anderson: But who is it disrupting? It’s disrupting the…
Gillmor: The vendors, the carriers…
Anderson: It’s not a super…
Gillmor: The film and television businesses. It’s extraordinary what’s happened there. And it’s only been a year since it was shipped.
Anderson: And how many have shipped? How many have shipped?
Gillmor: What percentage relative to…
Anderson: How many have shipped?
Gillmor: What percentage relative to the size of the audience is it in affecting the web space?
Farber: Look, here’s the way it works. There’s over a billion phones sold in a year, I believe. I think Apple’s sold six million of that one billion. But what they’ve done is they’ve said, “Hey, all of you guys who think you know how to design phones…”
Gillmor: What the percentage of advertising for smartphones relative to a year and a half ago?
Farber: I’m not finished. So, “All of you guys who think you know how to design smartphones, here’s how you do it. Now try to — we’re going to keep doing it, and you can go imitate us.” That’s fine. It moves the entire industry forward. That’s all good.
Gillmor: Right. Rapidly.
Gillmor: Extremely rapidly relative to previous disruptions in that space. It compresses if from a decade to about a year, in terms of its impact.
Farber: That’s all good. And when the bandwidth becomes more available, then we will see some acceleration.
Gillmor: But the bandwidth is becoming more available in a week and a half.
Farber: Yeah. We’ll see.
Gillmor: Again, things are moving much quicker than the enterprise wants to suggest that they are.
Farber: I must move quickly myself.
Gillmor: All right. Thank you very much for coming. This is Steve Gillmor. This has been the Gillmor Gang for Monday, and we’ll see you again tomorrow. Bye-bye.