Highrise Hears

Many of us felt that the plans under which we could purchase Highrise were too restrictive (or too expensive for what they offered). Some of us were even churlish enough to feel that about the free plan.

37signals listened, acted, and posted within a couple of days of the Highrise launch. So now:

  • Even us churlish cheapskates get to try the cases feature. My one case currently contains tax stuff.
  • There’s a new plan, along with the original six. The Solo plan allows only one user (no surprise there) and unlimited cases. I think that it will be popular.
  • File space has been increased for all five existing pay plans.  And it’s doubled to zero for those of us on the cheapskate rate!

Scrybe, the Cool Stumbler

Scrybe, which I use as my calendar and which I follow with interest as an example of a Web 2.0 startup, got much better at blogging just over a month ago. After a very viral video (which can still be seen at its home page) got it off to a spectacular start, Scrybe made a bad impression in three ways.

First, it fell behind its aggressive schedule for rolling out phases of function. Second, it generated resentment among people who waited months for an invite to the beta. Third, it failed to communicate.

Sabika, Scrybe’s main blogger, has I think eliminated the last of these bad impressions, and in doing so has also addressed the first. Scrybe is now more transparent about revising schedules, and about other things. I don’t mean to imply that there is only bad news for Sabika to blog about. For example, today’s post tells us that Scrybe is one of Gartner’s “Cool Vendors in PC Technologies, 2007.”

The same post tells us that thousands of new invitations to the beta will be going out soon. This is further progress on mending the second of the three bad impressions.

Floating down my river of news next to the Scrybe post was yet another excellent post on Read/Write Web: Emre Sokullu on How to market your web app. He starts off with the observation that the traffic to a Web 2.0 site often looks like this graph, with the peak coming from a writeup on RWW, TechCrunch, or the like.

Emre argues that some sites shouldn’t try for the TechCrunch bump early on. A site such as Dogster should develop its niche, and hence the content provided by its users, before going for the TechCrunch bump. In other words, it should wait.

A second strategy is to walk. I’d say that Scrybe walked, but couldn’t cope with the pace it had promised or the size of the crowd who wanted to follow it. In other words, it stumbled. What’s worse, it didn’t communicate clearly, so it mumbled while it stumbled. It’s doing better now.

Emre identifies a third strategy for marketing a web 2.0 app: run! I’ll leave it up to his post to tell you about it, although I will tell you that his post implies the strange equation: wait + walk = run.

Forrester Report x 2.0

Forrester Research reports that CIOs Want Suites For Web 2.0. Moreover, they want these suites from large incumbents. In other words, they don’t want wikis and other Web 2.0 tools from specialist startups.

Read/Write Richard provides more detail than Forrester’s summary page. He also delves into another recent Forrester report to state that “wikis and RSS are the two Web 2.0 technologies most likely to be adopted.”

Highrise Happens

Highrise, the contact manager from 37signals, launched today. Early comment includes predictably positive acclaim for the clean design, but also includes disappointment at the plans and pricing.

Cases (read projects) are included in the upper level plans, but not in the lower level plans. To get this feature, you have to go for at least the Plus plan, which costs $49/month, and also gives you a gig of file storage and 20,000 contacts.

I am among those who think it would make sense to include a very limited number of cases in the lower-level plans. I want cases more than I want any file storage, and more than I want more than a couple of dozen contacts.

I’m using the free plan, by the way. Before I post this, let me check to see if there is any affiliate program, as there is for Backpack: no, there isn’t.

If you want to try Highrise, you might want to sign up for a free 30-day trial of the Plus (or higher) plan. That way you can try the full set of features with cost. Once you sign up for the free plan, you are not eligible for a free trial of any $ plan.

Lest this seems like the carping of a cheapskate, which it perhaps is, I should close by saying a hearty “Hello, Highrise!”

DRM, Downloads, etc.

I’ll pause in the grading I’m still doing at this ridiculous hour to offer a short quiz on Current Issues in Intellectual Property.

TheFunded: Rating and Reviewing VCs

Michael Arrington describes TheFunded, a site about venture capital firms, for and by entrepreneurs. Only members can provide content, and membership is by invitation only. So there is some diligence about the quality of the ratings and reviews at the site.

As soon as I read about TF, I had the concern that “since most startups are turned down for funding, there will be a tendency for people to leave negative comments.” (Those are Michael’s words, toward the end of his post.) I also wondered who funded TheFunded, and I’m still wondering.

TF does seem like an interesting site (and I would not turn down an invitation). I’ll watch out for comments from some of the many blogging VCs.

Globalization in the Village

I was in Roslindale Village today, calling in at Solera wine, where Michael asked me if I’d seen yesterday’s rugby match between Ireland and England. I said that I hadn’t, and that my team was Scotland, who hadn’t fared any better than England. Scotland lost to Italy, for those not following at home. So I bought some Italian wine, bid Michael good day, and went on to the cheese shop.

One of my cheese purposes was a Californian cheddar. For those knowledgable about cheese, geography, or both, that’s a little strange. But today seems like an appropriate day for cheese from California.

Globalization Just Round the Corner

Belgrade AvenueA few months ago, the three businesses housed here were, reading from left to right: a tanning salon; an Albanian restaurant, about which I posted previously; and a Brazilian market. Only the latter is still there.

The restaurant is still run by the same people, but has reopened as an American restaurant. I haven’t been there since it reopened. Adam has, though, and reports a huge menu – like 20 types of burgers, many with Boston-themed names… a similar variety of pizza choices and plenty of options for people who don’t want either (but I didn’t see any of the promised Albanian holdovers).

The tanning salon has for a while had a sign in the windows asking, it seems, if anyone wants to take over a tanning salon on Belgrade Avenue. It is indeed just round the corner from us in Roslindale. I don’t miss the tanning place, but I do miss the Albanian place.

Garbling GAPE

I hope that the previous post’s coverage of Google Apps Premier Edition was clear. I think that it was clearer than either of the following:

  • Google’s software applications… are downloaded from the Internet. OK, maybe this is clear (as in unambiguous), but it’s just plain wrong. One of the selling points of GAPE is that the apps are on the web, and don’t have to be downloaded or otherwise managed by the user. Shame on the Boston Globe.
  • “Please see the open id eff ick you.” Nobody actually wrote that (until I did just now). Andy Roberts wrote please see The OpenId FAQ, and a podcasting bot mangled his words. Andy’s main point is that: “The most important and ultimately decisive battle which starts up in 2007 may be that between OpenID and Google.”