Category Archives: Products

How to Select Vendors: look for rate of improvement in the product

When selecting software vendors, besides for just doing the usual (feature analysis, price, compatibility, ease-of-use, etc.) look for one core x-factor: rate of improvement of the product.

The faster the product has been improving in the last year, the more likely it will improve in the coming years.

Look for products that get better quickly. Look for products that fix bugs and performance issues quickly. Look for products that add new features. Look for products that keep delighting customers.

One way to do this is note your evaluation of the product when you first see it and then in subsequent times that you see it.

Look for companies that publish change logs

Reward companies that publish clear change logs on their product and show how the product is getting better over time (which means they are honest about past bugs). We’ve been experimenting with publishing change logs at SafeGraph and it has significantly helped our sales cycle and ability to gain customer trust. In addition, it is helpful for current customers to keep track of our ongoing changes. We would love for other companies to copy us.

Summation: a great way to chose a vendor is to look for the rate their product is improving.

Photo by Christina Morillo on

Better World Books

BwbBetter World Books is one of my favorite book-sellers of used books. They give a big portion of their profit to support worldwide literacy causes (there is little more important for world peace then to get people to read).

And they also have a great Rapleaf reputation.

I’m not sure if I am allowed to tell anyone about it, but they’re doing a friends and family discount code of 10% off for the rest of 2006. All you have to do is enter BETTERWORLD_FRIENDS at checkout. And they also have free shipping in the US, $2.97 worldwide. Pretty cool — check them out.

losing weight will be easier in the future

Astro_picBodymedia recently launched the Bodybugg which monitors how many calories you’ve burned everyday (it kind of a pedometer and heart-rate monitor on steroids). Accompanied with the hardware is web-based system that allows you to log your food so you have a good idea of your calorie intake. And as the bodybugg web site says:

weight loss is simple. you just need to burn more calories than you take in. it’s that easy.

Astro Teller and the BodyMedia gang are on to something. This system will truly get people to better understand their calories going in verses what they are burning.

Now this system will only be used by early adopters now … now … but I expect that this will have great appeal as the systems become even more user friendly. Certainly this is a lot more practical than Atkins.

As society invents more and more ways to get obese, it will also invent greater and greater ways to beat obesity and stay trim. So eat another Big Mac — that’s only three hours extra on the treadmill …

Samsung A920

like a lot of bloggers, Sprint sent me the new Samsung A920 to use with free service and free downloads  (unlimited music, tv, games, etc) for six months.   

quick update (i will write more later):

i really like it.

thus far i have been using the phone and it is great quality.   the phone itself works great as a phone.   also — music download is really easy and understandable.  i downloaded so many tunes so quickly that my 128 MB card got filled up.   and though $2.99/song is a little pricey — it is definitely the thing you might do while you happen to be on the road and you just "need" to listen to a song.  the sound quality is good (which is a big surprise — the speaker is quite loud given this is such a small device)

and the TV works great.  i watched a bunch of different shows — they have a ton of different choices.   

on Sprint’s marketing strategy: i think it is really smart.  i’m a big fan of this ground-level marketing.   

Plantronics Voyager 510SL and Aliph Jawbone PC Edition

V510sThere are two products that I want to praise — both of which go in your ear.   

the first is the Plantronics Voyager 510SL Bluetooth headset.   this is the best Bluetooth headset i’ve ever user.   it is extremely lightweight, long talk time, good sound, and good volume.   it connects directly with my Treo 650 (and any other bluetooth compatible cell phone) and it has an adapter that connects directly with your office phone … so you only need one headset for both phones.  it is really cool.   (note that this was a Silicon Valley 100 product and I got it for free).

The second product is the new Aliph Jawbone PC Edition.   it is not out on the market yet but it is a terrific headset for travelers that want to make skype calls.   Hosain Rahman, Aliph’s CEO, gave me the product minutes before catching my plane to Chile.   it is a great product that really made my trip better (i’ve been using skype a lot when traveling internationally and the lightweight Jawbone made my travels much easier).   plus, the sound quality is really good.