Bad UI, Not Buggy Apps, killed the Blackberry

So CNN Money reports, What Killed BlackBerry: Terrible Apps, but I disagree, I left because I couldn’t seem to install/update apps. I LOVED the Unified Message Inbox, that connected Facebook, Email, and SMS. I HATED that LinkedIn never worked — on the BUSINESS PHONE?  Blackberry App World was a buggy painful experience in contrast to the App Store.

I still miss my Blackberry keyboard, but I don’t miss my crash prone buggy phone… I loved my Palm Treo 650, best interface ever, but the damned thing was buggy, the Phone Application would hang/crash, and they refused to support Syncing to my Mac… and they kept breaking the third party application I bought… trying to force me into buggy Palm Desktop instead of supporting Apple iSync.

I think that the bad syncing with the Mac did more damage to Blackberry than people let on. So many Web developers are Mac people… not just the graphic artists.  Internet Executives, road warriors, old Unix die-hards, all toted Apple Laptops around.  People obsessed over the fact that 90%+ machines ran Windows, but when you take out the embedded machines, public kiosks, and other devices that people didn’t control, Apple’s Marketshare was WAY higher.

Apple may have forced you to use iTunes, but people LIKE iTunes.  Over time, they made it so you can use the iPhone totally untethered from a computer of any kind.  You can sync with your computer, sync everything via the Cloud, etc.  I absolutely LOVE the fact that when I update a Contact on my machine OR phone, my other computers all sync as well.  With my Blackberry, everything was unsynced until I plugged into a machine, and even then it was haphazard if it would sync.  MobileMe’s death was the final death knell for me (Apple pushed me off Blackberry), because my phone was totally unusable.  Had Blackberry embraced iSync instead of forcing me into using third party software (which they broke and forced me to use their horrible one), I might still be with them.

But that’s how market leaders are destroyed.  2% of the market here, 2% there, and pretty soon, you’re NOT the only dominant player, and that lets your competitors eat your lunch.

The Spanish Language Web

South and Central America are home to large and growing populations, close proximity to the United States and Canada, and often generous or free trade pacts with the United States, bringing business interaction as well as increased immigation. With a growing Spanish speaking population in America, you would think that there would be massive growth in the Spanish language web. According to Wikipedia, Spanish Language in the United States,” 35.5 Million Americans over the age of 5 speak Spanish as their primary language, roughly half of whom speak English “very well.”

So a little over 5% of the American population speaks Spanish and very little English, and a little over 5% of the American population speaks Spanish natively.

When Apple was < 5% of the market, people worried about losing 5% market share by not accommodating them. By not offering your website in Spanish, you are losing 5% of the potential market that doesn't speak English well AND 5% of the potential market that speaks Spanish better. As a result of neglect, the keywords are substantially less competitive in both paid and free search, yet they are still neglected.

What are you doing to accommodate this portion of America?

Secret of Amish Business Success

Roughly half of new businesses in America fail within 5 years, but 95% of Amish Businesses hit the 5 year point.  Despite stereotypes about the Amish and their businesses, the budding ranks of Amish Entrepreneurs combine their strong, traditional work ethic and craftsmanship with modern business practices.

Despite the avoidance of technology in the personal lives of the Amish, Amish owned business to use technology, albeit in often unusual ways, to run modern businesses.  To avoid connections with “the English,” the Amish have historically used generators for power, but now appear to use solar and wind power to avoid using the power grid while still providing modern amenities.  An Amish business owner isn’t going to be using a Blackberry at home to keep on top of their business, but computerized accounting, air conditioned stores, and other parts of modern business will take place.

A strong work ethic, building a business based upon what you know, modesty and politeness as the cornerstones of a service oriented business are lessons for all of us.

Facebook Pages Support Twitter, Smart Move

Last week, Facebook announced that they would support Twitter for Facebook Pages.  This seems to shock Mashable, but I’m not sure why.  Facebook offers Pages (formerly fan pages) as an enticement to businesses.  You can advertise them, add applications to them, message them, all sorts of functionality for businesses to use Facebook for marketing and pay Facebook to run CPC ads for their Page.

Hellotxt added support for Pages a while back, which would let you cross Publish to your Facebook Page, Twitter, and a few dozen other social media sites. If I’m Facebook, I want to be the core of your Social Media existence, and letting your updates auto-post to Twitter makes sense.  A business doing social media is likely to do Twitter and Facebook, so if you’re Facebook, why have them go to a third party, when you can make yourself the center of their Social Media world.

Facebook offers tremendous tools for online interaction with customers, Twitter offers some buzz.  If I can’t have dedicated people for both, I either need a cross posting tool, or having one update the other.  I see no threat to Facebook from this, and a way of enhancing the service that they want to charge people to advertisement.