[linux-elitists] Outlook corrupts

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Jan 5 01:07:39 PST 2003


on Sat, Jan 04, 2003 at 09:13:09PM -0800, Larry M. Augustin (lma@lmaugustin.com) wrote:
> > From Rich Bodo on Saturday, January 04, 2003 5:13 PM
> > 
> > > get enough of it right.  There's a lesson there: It's better to be
> > > first to market with something that's crappy, but good enough,
> > > than to be late to market with something that really works.  It's
> > > sad, but they've executed on that very well.
> > 
> > I beg to differ.  I contend that all other things being equal, it is
> > always better to come to market late with a better product.  Best to
> > market beats first to market.  Google search blew doors on yahoo
> > search, who was first to market and had huge market share.  As long
> > as they can keep the quality high, it looks like they will smoke
> > yahoo in other areas as well.
> 
> Google is legendary in the venture community, and has spawned the verb
> "to google", as in "That company is going to win the market unless
> someone comes along and googles them."  Or, "the only risk is if
> someone comes along and googles us."

This speaks to what seems a very thin understanding of what Google
represents among the VC.

> But Google isn't necessarily a good counterexample.  Google is more
> indicative of the rule that a new product has to be 10x better than
> the existing product to replace it.  Also, Yahoo was never in the
> search engine business.  They were in the directory business.  They
> were very clear on that.  They always used someone else's search
> engine technology.  Yahoo did not come out with a crappy product with
> the goal of grabbing market share and improving the product later.
> They came out with a directory & portal product, and got blindsided by
> new technology that made the directory (and all other search engine
> technologies) obsolete.

Yahoo organized the Internet by throwing bodies at it.

Google organized the Internet by figuring out what bodies where doing
with it.  

Google leverages the efforts of others, externalizing the selection and
ranking process.  What Google has to do is _interpret_ these decisions,
but it doesn't have to perform the fundamental analysis itself.  This
scales far better than Yahoo's model.


Moreover:

  - Search technology is "thin".  It doesn't represent a deep lock-in or
    investment on the part of users.  I discovered Google and started
    comparing queries on it and at Alta Vista.  In three days, I wasn't
    using Alta Vista any more.  Google was better.  In my case, maybe an
    order of magnitude maybe not.  But I'd already selected Alta Vista
    over other options, largely on the basis of its search syntax.  This
    was a sufficient differentiator for me at the time.

  - Google recognized that the revenue side was sites that wanted to be
    indexed and searched (either publicly, or as intranets), or
    advertised, not eyeballs, per se.  And that the long-term best
    interests of the site were to return relevant results, quickly.
    This in an era where other search engines -- Alta Vista, HotBot,
    Lycos, Go.com, Inktomi -- were "prioritizing" results based on
    advertising revenues.  Sorry, but "Moen Faucets" or rental listings
    for searches on the proprietor of LinuxMafia or Debian package
    management wastes my time.

  - Google built mindshare largely on word of mouth.  I was using it for
    a year or two before it went off beta, and at the offices I worked
    at, discussion boards, and mailing lists I contracted or frequented,
    I demonstrated by virtue of functionality that it worked, a story
    repeated hundreds of thousands of times elsewhere.

  - Google has recognized that its users aren't _revenue_ generating,
    but they are _value_ generating.  That users and relevant results
    become the basis of selling text ads, and advanced services (e.g.:
    Froogle).  Having worked in the portal / web agency field, Google
    absolutely _dominates_ the search engine field, there are simply no
    other relevant competitors except within niche specialized content
    areas in which human editors outperform Google's page rank.  
    
    This contrasts with virtually every other search engine which
    treated its users as a marketplace to be sold to by twisting _all_
    information returned on the site.  This quickly lead users to
    discount the information provided, particularly when clearly far
    less biased alternatives (Google) became available.  I watched
    numerous other search engines jump the shark, losing focus on their
    core competence of returning relevant results.  Most memorable to me
    are Deja News's site redesign to "Deja", and a house party with a
    Disney / Go.com employee who was trying hard to convince me that
    managing the user experience was the name of the game.  Go folded
    about nine months later.
    
Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Geek for hire:  http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html



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