You are stuck with the profile pic you picked in 2007

It’s true. In the early days of the Internet, you were know by your handle, thankfully those days are past. For the better, or perhaps worse, you are identified by your profile pic now – and dare you change it!

Quick, do you recognize these people?

Of course you do.

A profile pic that’s instantly recognizable is so important, that people are wary of changing it, much as they might hate it.

Here’s an interesting example. Dharmesh Shah recently updated his old, pixellated avatar – but chose to keep the exact same pose and expression in the new one, to avoid resetting the instant recognizability. Smart!


Kenshoo is about to get acquired by IBM for $300 million

So, there are two possibilities.

  • A celestial, well-coordinated practical joke is being played on me (good job, guys – I fell for it!)
  • OR, Kenshoo is about to get acquired by IBM for $300 million.

How do I know? Either I’m being a good sleuth, or a big dummy. Decide for yourself, and comment below!

The first clues: Blog post on January 16

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Orchestra – great todo app (plus a feature request)

I’ve been enjoying using the Orchestra web and iPhone app experience quite a lot. Sharing and collaborating on to-do lists is a breeze – and the price can’t be beat!

A couple of features would make it beyond awesome. First, the ability to add more than one item to a list – with just one email. They currently support adding items by email – but only one at a time.

Second, and this one is complicated, I’d like to be able to use the earphone remote on the iPhone to add new items.

You see, the Voice Notes app on the iPhone allows you to control it with the earphone remote – click to start taking a note, click again to stop. This makes it super easy to take notes when, say, you are driving.

Imagine you could do the same with Orchestra. It already supports adding todos by voice – they’d just have to trigger this functionality when the earphone buttons are pressed.

Simple and useful!


32-year-old video of Steve Jobs, underscoring that Apple’s priorities lie in software

Even 3 decades ago, Steve Jobs had a clear vision of software‘s role in making computing personal. In this clip, dated a mere 4 years from the founding of Apple, he describes how he wants to use all this new hardware computing power to make the 1-on-1 interaction with a computer go smoother.

(From a rare clip contributed to the Computer History Museum by Regis McKenna)

Skip to 12:17 where he talks about this, specifically saying:

…we’re gonna start chewing up power specifically to help that 1-on-1 interaction go smoother – and specifically not, to actually do the number crunching and database management and word processing, we’re gonna actually start applying a lot of that power specifically to help us remove that barrier…

Of course, as with all great founders, he was quite optimistic about how soon this would happen:

…it looks like the timing is just right for that to occur. So hopefully, when we have our international Applecore meeting, the 3rd or 4th one from now, we’ll all be able to talk about how we’ve solved that problem, because I really think it’s gonna happen…

It’s incredible how well products Apple produced in the last 3 decades, under Steve Jobs, hold up against this articulation of Apple’s software strategy – and explains the inordinate level of effort expended in getting the user experience right. Apple products have a better user experience than other companies building similar products – not because they have incredible designers – but because these designers are building to solve a different, more aspirational, more human goal.

John Gruber’s recent post on Isaacson completely missing this centrality of software in the Steve Jobs narrative reminded me of this clip. People who marvel at how iPhone is truly a software-first device shouldn’t be surprised – Steve’s Apple has always been a software company first; they don’t make hardware because the margins are high, but because they need a certain kind of hardware to make the software vision a reality.