March 23, 2007

In which I speak out of school, and likely sound quite smug doing so.

So I don't work on YouTube and I only barely know these very new Googlers. Those that I've met I like. They seem quite googley, engineery and are very competent. So, with that in mind, there are times as a Googler when you see the actions of those who would wish us ill and you think, very simply, "Go ahead."

Not like the George Bushian "Bring them on" but just... "Go ahead." as in... It's a big old world....if you make a bigger & better YouTube than we can, then terrific, do it.

And this bring me to the topic of todays post. Those last two , nikean, words.... Do It.

Don't say you're going to do it.

Do it.

You see this all the time in the computer industry.....a pr person calls a reporter or preps a press release and it talks about the grand innovation that they (and perhaps their pals) will bring to the market. It'll be great! It will change the world. It will be the Google of that particular vertical, market, or whatever.

Sometimes, when these are specifically targeted at my employer, she of the grand cafes and profligate collection of physioballs, I can only think if you do these things you speak of you will be doing us a great favor. Yes, I'm talking about the possible combination of...

News Corp, Microsoft, NBC, AOL, MSN and Yahoo.

I'm picturing the meetings. The posturing. The bandwidth provisioning. The advertising meetings. The legal reviews. The pr reviews. The plans. The emails. The cross-functional , inter corporate steering committees.

Who pays for what with what? Who is in charge? Who picks the content? Does anyone pick the content? Who can upload? What can they upload? When can they upload? How long will it take to transcode? Can a video be downloaded to iPod? Archos? Zune? Who will monitor the uploads?

The Layers.....oh god, the layers.....The managers, the lawyers, the executives, the ops people, the accountants, the lawyers, the programmers, the lawyers, the qa teams, the lawyers, the secops people, the users, the producers, directors, key grips and craft people. The talent, the fx houses, the compressors, the vast use of ffmpeg and all that entails. All from all the different companies.

Funnily enough, I don't wish them to fail. I truly believe that YouTube can continue it's remarkable path even in the presence of an efficiently functioning service like that being aspired to above. But....and I mean this.....I'm glad to not have to to be the one deploying the consortium based video site.

But they would have been better to have launched their site than to talk about it.

Secondly.....this week Microsoft got a -lot- of pr attention for announcing their intention to open source FoxPro.

Those of you who read my previous rant on the subject know that one of my favorite pet peeves centers on those that would claim open sourceyness when none is in evidence.

Microsoft says they will release source code into codeplex. This, my reportering friends in the media and on blogs, doesn't necessarily mean open source. This means that they are planning on releasing code into codeplex. No more, no less.

Until they actually do release the software onto codeplex, we have nothing but talk to rely on. It would be great if they release foxpro into open source , but until they do, it's just code you can't use. Again, nothing wrong with -not- releasing code into open source, but if it is not actually released under an open source licences, then it is just software.

So, end of today's post. The moral: Don't Talk. Do. Don't yammer. Launch. Release. Ship. FCS, you know?


Fraize said...

What a great post! You have such insight - I'd like you to appear on a panel for a video podcast with a panel of 5 people... ;-)

Seriously, I'm going to enjoy watching NBC, News Corp and Yahoo try to get anything effective out the door. It will be like watching someone herd cats.

Peter Palludan said...

nice post, made me think of this:


Anonymous said...

Jeez, have people still not learned this lesson? It is soo 1984.

Real artists ship.
-Steve Jobs

Gordon Weakliem said...

Your link for ill is turning up no results. I think you're underestimating Microsoft, this is the company that supposedly had a team of 8 people work for a year to design the shutdown UI in Vista (you know Start | Shutdown), and none of them was a lawyer.
The other part about FoxPro is that it's one thing to release the source to a product, and it's another thing to release the source to a product that's important to you. This sounds more like a code word for "we're end-of-lifing FoxPro, but have too many legacy customers to cut off entirely without totally pissing them off".

Don MacAskill said...

As an expert on the word smug, yes, you do sound quite smug.

You also sound quite right. :)

Bryan said...

Reminds me of Rives spoken word piece from the TED Videos -- in which he prods --

“It is not a question of if you can, it’s do ya?”

Jay Neely said...

Hey Chris, great post. I linked to it from my own blog where I had thought about writing on the same topic. I'm glad I decided against it, you did a much better job.

You might be interested about what I wrote about instead, though. It's a proposal for a YouTube/Adobe Systems strategic partnership.

Looking forward to reading more from your blog!

Marty said...

Well put! There are both big talkers and doers, and even fewer of these people (and companies) which are one-in-the-same. It'll be interesting to watch how this partnered project unfolds, whether it is into something great, good or an (expensive) 'lesson learned'.

Martin Paulo said...

But don't forget about support when you do decide to "do it".

Stuff will go wrong, and when it goes wrong if you don't have a good support story you can get a very bad reputation, very quickly.

For example, I have been tearing what remains of my hair out trying to get a response on why my Google Apps domain registration is stuck on "We are still processing payment for your domain registration" more than two days after the credit card company handled the transaction.

All the support forums, all the e-mails sent, all seem to be met by a vast wall of automated response that in the end brings only silence from Google. Even phoning the +1 650-253-0000 number leads to an automated response that provides no answer.

So now I am very annoyed with Google: a company that until now could barely do wrong in my eyes.

So please do remember to sort out your support story before you ship. It is important!

Tim Gales said...

Of course you are right that releasing FoxPro into CodePlex
is not making it open source.
And there is a lot of maketing noise about it -- tho' it is
not realy being opened up.

However not much is being said
about what is happening over at
Microsoft Reasearch, where they
seem to be sowing the seeds for
dual licensing.

For example, there is a project
called 'Phoenix' where you can
test the software for free with
a non-commercial/educational license; or apply for a commercial license.

Either way you don't get the source -- but it still struck me as interesting.

Lacey said...

Great post, but we are talking about some major players in the internet. While I fully believe that actions speak louder than words, sometimes the "pre-release" words can create such a buzz that everyone must have it when it is finally released. Reminds me a bit of Gmail in Beta, some thought they needed it so bad they bought accounts on Ebay before it was released to the public. :)

Your insight is amazing and I always look forward to reading, keep it up.