Recommend a product that you’ve never tasted?

A few weeks ago I found myself in California and talking to Eileen Hassi who part owns Ritual Roasters in San Francisco. The conversation started with the normal “what do you do?” and then she blew me away.

She had the perfect one line response, which led to my second question, to which she had another perfect response; and on and on. After a half day spent in her company not once was I left with the impression that she was less than 100% committed. Her commitment and obsession with her product seemed total.

I’ve rarely been so impressed by someone. And this is a three store coffee chain!

So I finally got around to looking her up on Google tonight and this is the quote I see…

Ms. Hassi said she was at a party recently when someone came up to her and offered a profusion of thanks. “He said, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you for opening your cafe.’ “

Street Scene – Cafe Capitalism, San Francisco Style –

Can I recommend a coffee house without ever seeing it? Hell yes!

Issue sending mail on an Orange ADSL connection…

So you’re on holiday in France. And your hosts have given you a wi-fi connection using their “Livebox”.

Of course, this took longer than anyone expected simply because everyone had forgotten that you had to press a button on the back for the first connection from a new machine. That remembered, everything is working perfectly except one thing. You can’t send mail.

Doesn’t matter how many times you try. It can’t reach the smtp server.

Well try this. Change the port that you send the mail out on to 587. Orange blocks some of the standard ones.  No idea why.

Hopefully, this will help someone out there.

Site Updates…

I’ve updated the personal profile and Accenture pages on the blog.

Now that I’ve spoken about Accenture on the blog I needed to update the rules that I’ve given myself!

Hugh MacLeod: Part II

Part I of this story can be found here… Not loving the core product… (A Hugh MacLeod story: Part I)

On May 4th 2008 Hugh published this…


This I loved for two reasons; first, it was a page of drawing without characters or words; second,it showed a part of the process of creating the larger work. I’m very interested about the process that artists go to to get to the final product. It’s often far more complex than most people believe.

Hugh is one of those bloggers who publishes his email address. Therefore, I simply emailed him. Told him that I loved the series of Moleskins and asked him if he’d consider framing one and selling it.

Hugh replied in minutes that he was planning on framing one for sale. I replied and asked for a price.

This is the moment that Hugh showed himself to be a true gentlemen. It would have been so easy to have sold his work on eBay or to have published on his blog that he was thinking of selling the work. Either way I believe he could have made far more money than by selling it to me. Hugh could have made life very difficult for me but he didn’t. He treated a guy that he didn’t know very well and I’m eternally grateful.

Hugh quoted a price that I think was fair; although it was enough to make me think twice and to discuss it with Mrs Wilkinson! But in 48 hours we had a deal.

Delivery is for Part III.

Why Twitter is like Word…

Steve Gillmor is obsessed with Twitter an especially Track a specific function within Twitter that allows you to vanity search the service in real-time. Gillmor runs the wonderful Gillmor Gang podcast and every episode includes a plug for Twitter and specially a complaint about the Track functionality not being available.

All this reminds me of Word in the early 90s.

In the early 90s there was a long running functionality fight between the various word processor applications. Every few months a new version would appear with yet more functions. Every few months the magazines would run articles comparing the different packages and tell their readers which to buy.

During this period Word would often be labeled as incomplete, and missing key features. What was it missing? Word Count! Every few months, Word would be reviewed and it still wasn’t ready. Microsoft even produced a Macro to display a Word Count but the journalists just called that a fudge and not integrated.

In the end, Microsoft produced a Word Count with added extras, readability scores and such. Journalists happy; Microsoft went on to world domination.

Why is this like Twitter?

Well the Track function is fantastic is you’re Steve Gillmor, it’s what he wants. In fact, it’s also why Scoble likes FriendFeed I believe. However, they’re of no use to 95% of the users who just want to talk to friends and family.

What we’re seeing is journalists push applications developers into helping journalists and not the majority of their users.

Want another example? Who on earth needs over 2000 followers in Twitter or Facebook?  Outside the world of PR and journalism it makes no sense. Let the complaints begin.

Remember Xerox…

In the 70s Xerox decided that they could give away the low-end printer business because they could keep the high-end to themselves. That worked so well that the company almost died.

Now the financial analysts that thought it was a good plan have decided to do the same thing to themselves!

“The jobs most affected so far are those with grueling hours, traditionally done by fresh-faced business school graduates — research associates and junior bankers on deal-making teams — paid in the low to mid six figures.”John Robb’s Weblog: Outsourcing Wall Street