My goal with this blog

I write about relevant changes in the way that people use the web and how startups are built to provide services and products for this ever changing wonderful thing we still know as "the web." As a former entrepreneur turned early-stage investor, my greatest hope is for this to be useful to other folks that are like me in the hopes that they can avoid some of the mistakes I've made.

Quick thoughts on the Kindle Fire

The Amazon Kindle sucks plain and simple. I say this despite loving almost everything that Amazon does and thinking that Jeff Bezos is the closest contender for the post Steve Jobs "best tech CEO." And the excuse that it great for people who can't afford an iPad reminds of the wackos who argue that Linux on the desktop is good for the developing world as though being poor helps one overlook crappy product.

Professional reviewers have said it better but here is the laundry list of blemishes: it's industrial design is at best uninspired and more likely flawed (no buttons on the device, an easy to depress overloaded button on the bottom), it's build quality is atrocious (my unit squeaks like Tweetie bird and it feels cheap), and most importantly, the software build shows its underpowered Android roots in everything from the sluggish page swipes to wanky and discordant visual effects or periodic freezes that make one wonder why they didn't just port the diminutive eInk interface to this dog of a slab.

Overall, the 2011 Android Amazon tablet is not much better than the 2008 HP Android tablet that we worked on— and that was built on older silicon and with little of the right software expertise. How Amazon expects this to sell well is beyond me. I'd definitely not recommend it to anyone— not even someone looking for a cheaper iPad— not just because it is bad but because it is a product that gets hired to solve no problem and does it poorly. The iPad face a similar challenge but fortunately for Apple proved to be so good at what it did (surf, email, content) that people were delighted to use it as their portal to these applications.

The lesson is clear: if you are going to invent a category not fundamentally rooted in a basic need, you need to overdeliver not provide the budget low entrant disruptor. Go big or go home. Amazon did this with the first 3G seamless e-reader back in 2008 so it's shocking to see them missing the mark now.