Posts Tagged ‘Phillip’

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Phillip made a surprise appearance at Babycakes yester-day. When I called him earlier, he gave no hint that he was in San Diego (as opposed to the Solipsistic Bay Area). During the course of our conversation, I walked from my home to Babycakes. I inferred from the noises from his end that he was running errands in his car. At some point, he was heard ordering coffee. Then I spotted him in Babycakes; he had ordered the coffee there.

Phillip hadn't been told of my mutton-chop sideburns, but now understands indeed what sort of change to my appearance has been effected such that a few people have since failed to recognize me. (For his part, Phillip has grown a mustache and goatee.)

Setting aside further discourse on what is and should be called the Midwest, I guess that the largest part of our conversation involved politics. (Phillip and I disagree on many issues, but neither of us looks forward to the next Administration, as we both see the two major-party candidates as each a technocratic centrist not really all that much different from his opponent.) We also talked about mutual friends, at least one of whom Phillip hopes to rope into hanging-out somewhere during his visit, about relatives, about the changes at Babycakes, about computers, and about hats.

Our conversation continued until Babycakes closed; we went thence to City Deli for a late dinner. Afterwards, we walked back to where he'd parked and talked until about 01:40.

Clean Thoughts

Sunday, 3 August 2008

My best thinking seems to be done in the shower. Yester-day, in the shower, I came up with the idea for what may in fact be a killer app.

The thing that distinguishes a killer app is not that it provides an excellent solution to a problem so much as that it provides an acceptable solution to an excellent problem. That is to say that a killer app may not have ideally efficient code, but manages to do something very desirable that other programs pretty much aren't doing at all.

Some time ago, I wrote a simple pair of programs for the use of the Woman of Interest and myself. Their functionality is very limited, and they were written under an assumption that now seems more dubious. So I was thinking about how to rewrite them into something more powerful, and quickly developed the general idea for the hypothetical app.

Later, I returned a phone call from my friend Phillip (a programmer), and during the course of our conversation sketched the idea for him, telling him that I would want to discuss it at some future date. But Phillip quickly got very actively interested, and discovered that I had coherent answers for related programming questions. (What I don't have are answers for some of the marketing problems.) Basically, he wouldn't let go of the subject, and we ended-up talking for hours. Phillip had one excellent technical suggestion about how to improve the app. He's planning to research potential sources of competition, and then get back to me.

The nature of the app is such that, if some party produces a decent implementation and gets a significant number of users before anyone else produces a decent implementation, then that party can probably profit for years, by virtue of path dependency. But, if a well-funded rival recognized the potential market before there were already a substantial number of users for the app, then that rival might be able to get utterly displace the first party. Hence, I'll remain annoyingly vague about the idea, until I either abandon it or have product ready to move.