Entries in Tech (2)
A few weeks ago, LeapFish.com launched its new “convenient” meta-search engine (because, you know, Google is so dang inconvenient). No one really paid much attention except for Robin Wauters at TechCrunch who wrote a brief, somewhat snarky post that pointed out the many challenges ahead for LeapFish.
As is often the case, the comments that follow the story were quite entertaining in their own right. The TC community being a cynical bunch, the comments were predictable enough:
Leapfish…is a joke. It will take only a few minutes to design a web app like that… It just uses msn, yahoo, google search engine to search the word entered in leapfish’s text box. Surprisingly it is ranked 110k in Alexa…
And then of course LeapFish employees began posting hilariously obvious and utterly transparent shill comments, such as:
This site is perfect for all my searching needs. I get Google, which I always use anyway, by default then I can immediately see images and YouTube videos related to whatever I’m searching for…how convenient is that?!
However, what I found to be of particular interest is when the founder of LeapFish, , decided to get personally involved in the discussion. Most of the time, I think it's a great idea for the CEO or founder to chime in with a comment. It shows that they're engaged with the community. That they’re listening and receptive to other opinions. However, what could have been a dialogue quickly degrades into a good old-fashioned flame war (and best of all, the entire transcript will now forever be part of the Web record - which will likely find its way into future depositions).
I imagine this is an issue that other founders and CEOs encounter quite often. They read something they don’t like or disagree with and their first impulse is to respond. Just as in a relationship, sometimes the smartest thing to do is take a deep breath and step away from the computer. While it might feel good to set the record straight, it often doesn’t serve much of a purpose in the long run. Especially when it's being played out in front of a crowd (real or virtual) and in such a hostile manner. As for Leapfish and their attempts to secure long term keyword sponsors (which does indeed sound pretty fishy), this flamewar will now appear at the very top of any search results for "Leapfish". For those potential advertisers who wisely choose to perform their due diligence, they should ask themselves: do I really want to fork over precious marketing dollars to an unproven start-up founded by someone who has shown himself to be impetuous, hostile, and litigious? All I can say is: caveat emptor.
Occasionally being an early adopter has its rewards. Such was the case when I decided to install the new Apple 2.0 firmware the day before the 3G onslaught rendered millions of iPhones useless for the greater part of Friday. I upgraded my firmware like a good fanboy when Gizmodo reported it had been released into the wild and then headed straight to the new application store to see what the development community has been slaving away on since Apple released their SDK in February. So far, these are the applications that have really blown me away:
I have no idea how this actually works (guessing that every piece of music has a unique fingerprint of sorts) but basically you simply hold your iPhone up to the radio, press the tag button and it will tell you the name and artist. Haven't been able to stump it yet.
More novelty than actual utility, the Urban Spoon iPhone app lets you select from three key criteria for finding your next meal: cuisine, neighborhood, and price. Just give the iPhone a quick shake and the built-in accelerometer kicks in turning your iPhone into a dining roulette wheel. Don't feel like Greek food in Fremont? Just give the old appliance another shake. It's oddly addictive.
I heart SmugMug. IMO, the best of the photo sharing applications on the Net. With the Smugmug iPhone app, photos that you take on your iPhone are automatically uploaded directly to your Smugmug page. Now if you lose (the horror) your iPhone, you won't have to worry about when you last synched your phone.