Good Reads, News and Reaction, Technical, Technology

O’Reilly: Don’t Reinvent the Penis

O’Reilly has some fun and insightful reading on the whole Microsoft-Yahoo! drama. The idea is that instead of chasing the competition because you have “penis envy” and spending your time and energy re-inventing what someone else already kicks ass at, you should figure out what awesome new things need to be built, and go do that instead. Yahoo! shouldn’t waste its time on search when what it is really good at is building a great media portal and user experience. Similarly, Microsoft should probably focus on building better network-enabled user software.

“So, my advice to Yahoo!: continue with your plan to outsource search to Google, just like you did before 2002, and plow those increased profits and reduced costs into your own innovation, strengthening the areas where you are #1, exploring new ideas that will make YOUR users insanely happy, and generally focusing on what makes Yahoo! great, rather than on what doesn’t.”

I kind of figure that building search is a waste of Yahoo!’s energy, and that if Microsoft wants to ditch their own failed effort and give Yahoo! a chunk of cash for its also-ran technology, well then hooray for Yahoo!

I was also reading about Sugar, which I have gotten to play with on the OLPC XO-1. It is somewhat frustrating to deal with because I really really really like having access to the file / folder metaphor for tracking my work. I do like the “history” interface to “activities” via the Journal, and the built-in collaboration, although I have not had a chance to actually “collaborate” with any one, seems like a really big win–the sort of thing that has a lot of potential not only for education but in the office environment that we adults use as well. It is too bad that collaboration via shared applications is such an under-developed idea. That strikes me as the sort of thing that ought to be within Microsoft’s grasp to run with, and a nice answer to the Google “spreadsheet in a web browser” mentality.

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Categories: Good Reads, News and Reaction, Technical, Technology

  • Erik

    O’Reilly got it right. Reminds me of my days back at Philips, where researchers were somewhat encouraged to find infringements on IP rights by competitors. Someone remarked that was a waste of time, because it was better to generate more of our own IP rather than find out if someone is stealing what we already have. I thought that was a good point back then.

    Didn’t stop me from finding out an infringement, though, and actually getting an award for it also. It still wasn’t the best use of my time, but it did give me some temporary fame, at least in the lab :)