First Impressions of Gist

Gist goes beyond aggregation to add value to contact information.

Earlier this year I started casually using an online product called Gist.  My first impressions led me to put it in to the same category as Plaxo – but my recent experience has broadened my perspective:

Yesterday, I added a friend to my contacts.  My friend, “Chris”, works as a building inspector for a nearby city.  The GMail account I was using is set up in Gist to receive updates – so a contact record for Chris was created.  One of the nagging problems with the Gist import is that it assumes that the domain name of the contact is the employer of the contact.  That’s not commonly the case for my friends – I’m using their personal mail account rather than their business account.  I went in to Gist and removed Time Warner (Road Runner) as the employer and entered the name of the local city.  Today, I realized that Gist had automatically created a company and had figured out the contact information for the city – automagically.

You can see where they are trying to go with the product.  The application aggregates mail and calendar events with content from a variety of social media sources.  Theoretically, you could use it to plan your day so that you are up to date on a contact’s correspondence across the broad spectrum of outlets available to people today.  It’s definitely a beta product – and one which will someday cost money to use – but I can see it carving a a unique position for itself in the marketplace.

Broader Audience Less Satisfied with Kindle DX

Seth Godin points out flaws in a New York Times blog post about the Kindle – but the underlying message of the original article is interesting.

Amazon's Corporate Headquarters

Having spent some time recently praising Seth Godin’s writing, I’ll take a moment to jump on the other side of the fence.  Today, he takes a moment to hold accountable Nick Bilton for a New York Times blog post about the Kindle.  Seth rightly points out several issues with the author’s charts and underlying assumptions.

Bilton’s point is that through time, the number of customers who express dissatisfaction with the newer Kindles sold by Amazon is growing larger.  Seth’s perspective is that the market served by each Kindle has changed through time, progressing from technology early adopters to a more general market consumer.

I would argue that Bilton’s point is valid.  As Amazon attempts to grow the market served by the Kindle, they are struggling to maintain the customer satisfaction ratings they received with the early models (and original market).  Put another way, there is a mismatch between the Kindle DX and the market it is serving.

I’m speculating, but I would guess that Apple’s products do not receive a similarly large number of negative customer satisfaction responses.  Their products are well designed for the target market and the disconnect between what is delivered and what is expected is smaller than what we see with the Kindle DX.  Apple is the common exception to many rules, but it is possible to design a mass market product that appeals to both the technologists and the mass market.

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Seth’s Inverse Ratio of Interest and Attention

I have always enjoyed Seth Godin’s blog but until today I couldn’t objectively tell you why.

I use Google’s Reader to consume RSS feeds from different sites. I’m not very disciplined about keeping the list empty – so now and then I take a deep dive and try to catch up*. My practice is to flag items for follow up by ‘star’ interesting posts and then come back through later and post items to my Delicious account. For most feeds, I commonly flag one of every five or six items.

I just finished reading Seth Godin’s feed. I reversed my normal ratio. Pretty much everything he posts is thought provoking and requires follow up.  That should be the outcome everyone online should strive for – including myself.

PS: I know this is pretty much universally considered a poor practice – but to date I haven’t been able to simply ‘mark as read’ an entire feed. A weakness of mine.

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