Florian Seroussi's Blog

Entrepreneur, traveler, geek, curious about so many things.

Archive for April, 2010

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Volcanopportunity

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

In french we have a nice expression “l’arbre qui cache la foret” literal translation ‘”the tree that hides the forest’. Icelandic volcano is a big tree planted right in front our eyes to hide a much larger problem: airlines gigantic losses.

Earlier today Air France made an announcement claiming a 35M Euro loss per day due to the ash cloud. Share lost 5% on french sotck market – enough to call for a bail out by European Commission.Air France

Bunch of crap. Of course there was an eruption, and safety should prevail. Extreme weather conditions is a cause of force majeure and does not oblige airlines to reimburse any of their customers. Their only obligation is to re-schedule flights. So when they say losses- they mean loss of income. Quite different.

But here is the biggest issue. Air France will shortly publish their figures for 2009 and guess what? A 1.3 billion Euro loss roughly $1.8 billions. Yes a mere $5M burned each day…ashes to ashes.

Volcano is to airlines what the mad cow disease was to meat producers. A savior.

Air France is poorly managed and like in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s they seek for Government monies. How convenient.

Public bail out means us – tax payers. Expect to see a ‘volcano tax’ very soon on EU airfare. After all they have it all figured out – 20 euros per ticket and they break-even.

Bummer!

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Posted in Economy, france, Travel, World | No Comments »

Twitter K.O. system

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

It all started with a blog post by Fred Wilson about 3rd party apps temporarily filling holes for Twitter followed by a series of announcement that sparked the Twitt-o-sphere on fire. The young growing social network officially released their first mobile application for Blackberry and announced the acquisition of Tweetie (leading iPhone client).

What does it mean for other 3rd party applications offering competing products on BlackBerry and iPhone? Well it doesn’t look too good to be honest- terrible news for Socialscope, Ubertwitter and Seesmic who devoted thousand of hours building a Twitter client for Blackberry and ultimately hoped to be acquired by Twitter…

The official application uses non-public APIs, offers no request limitation (recently Twitter raised their limitation to 150 requests per hour) and can be easily promoted virally by Twitter as a featured application. So many reasons for developers to spoof a revolt and to call for a broken Twitter eco-system…I call it bullsh*t.

Twitter : Is a revolt brewing

Because frankly – this is what they were all looking for. To beat the watch and build a good enough client so Twitter will buy them out. It didn’t happen although Twitter had initiated contact with those companies. Obviously the price range to acquire a Blackberry client didn’t make any sense to Twitter’s investors (Fred Wilson at least) so they decided to go build their own. If one of the apps had been bought out – the feedback would have been very different.

When I hear stories about Twitter eco-system it reminds me of a quote from Louis C.K. “it’s funny how quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only ten seconds ago”.

About 15 months ago I wrote this post discussing about Twitter’s options to drive revenue. The main threat to revenue stream was obviously the existence of 3rd party applications making money on the back of the social network. Not many developers were too concerned about it and kept raising money to bite the hand that feeds them.

This is why Ev Williams promptly announced the acquisition of Tweetie, confusing everyone on Twitter’s real intentions for future growth. Will they buy or will they develop?

In the meantime, many Twitter clients will disappear from the radar until developers can focus on producing genuine ideas and not just filling holes.

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Posted in android, Blackberry, Entrepreneur, Geek, iPhone, Social Media, Technology, Twitter | 3 Comments »

5 days with the iPad

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Here are my thoughts after 5 days of regular usage of an iPad.

  • The device has an autonomy of >10 hours which is really amazing considering it’s running on Wifi most of the time.
  • iPad’s screen quickly becomes covered with finger prints obscuring the image. I’ll be waiting for a screen protector like this one.
  • Wifi is flaky. Not sure if it’s a hardware problem but shutting wifi off and then back on again solves the problem on my unit. Hoping for a firmware update to solve it permanently.
  • Lack of a native clock application is unacceptable. Apple has it on the iphone and ipod. It’s the #2 feature of any computing device. How did they miss it?
  • No native calculator is also a big fail in my opinion. Why should I pay $4 for a basic 30ko application that should be built-in?
  • Apostrophe key is not present on main keyboard. You need to go one layer down. Very annoying. Hopefully another bug easily fixable via a firmware update. For the apostrophe shortcut, just hold the coma via @madamelolo
  • I didn’t know the iPad had a microphone. Nice tip from Andy Abramson. Works great when using Skype (BTW Skype app is not yet iPad friendly).
  • Seamless video playback. I watched 2 movies so far with great brightness, perfect picture, almost no pixelization.
  • Picture frame feature will make any hotel room look like home. Simply launch it from the lock screen (not obvious at first) and enjoy your family pictures full-screen with a bunch of possible slideshow effects.
  • Unless I missed something, Safari can’t remember your passwords. Don’t feel like buying 1password application to fill the blank. Will wait for an update. Go to setting–>safari–>autofill to save login/password via @madamelolo
  • Keyboard is pleasant, efficient and precise despite what some tech journos wrote. I type most of my emails on the tablet and I find it extremely accurate.

iPad is just incredible.

Most people I met that haven’t bought one yet are saying to be waiting for a newer version. Although a newer version is always coming :) there is supposedly somewhere between 400.000 to 700.000 units sold so far. If I was into hardware I would build a line of accessories based on this iPad case with integrated webcam, solar panel, or extra-battery. The iPad case is the perfect extension to add functionality to an already powerful device.

Last point after a few days showing off the tablet around is the sociability of the object. Andy also mentioned it to me. As soon as I pull it out my backpack, it brings immediate attention from strangers asking millions of questions. Becomes annoying after a while to be honest.

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Posted in Apple, Geek, iPhone, itunes, Technology | 9 Comments »

iPad – the Wow Effect

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

No need to do another unboxing of the iPad. Twitter has thousands of them. Instead I will give my take on this incredible piece of hardware. It goes far beyond being a big iPhone. The iPad is the ultimate all-in-one-killer. It kills the iPhone but more generally smartphones, ebook readers (sorry Amazon, Sony and all the others), netbooks, multimedia players, and to some extent laptops in general.

Desktop on iPad

Two years after changing the face of Telecom, Apple is leading the path to a new era of computing. Forget those huge carton boxes for a laptop, 4 cd-roms, the heavy-duty wall charger, the Targus roller case and the 40 20 min set-up.

iPad is ready to use out of the box– in fact Apple has redefined what we called plug and play.

I can’t imagine the storm of desperation building up at HP, Dell, Sony and all the others. What have those guys been doing all that time? What the heck happened to their expensive R&D department?

Apple did a fantastic job creating a device that has no competition out there. They clearly invented something we didn’t have. Not just an enhanced version of the iPhone.

Abc on the iPad

There are some drawbacks such as lack of Flash support, frontal camera, memory card slot, usb ports. But the device is so exceptional that none of the above should stop you from buying an iPad.

I overheard some voices stating they would rather wait for the 3G version. Well don’t! You can tether the iPad with your phone via WiFi or Bluetooth and it works.

Tether possible with my phone

So no need to pay another $200 and wait any longer. Plus you have the option to pick a faster network such as Verizon or Sprint 4G.

On a side note, Gmail offers a brand new layout on the iPad which leads me to think they didn’t specifically did it for Apple but for new tablets running Android OS supposed to be out later this year. Google will have to strike high to compete with Apple’s iPad. Very high.

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Posted in Apple, ebook, Geek, Gmail, iPhone, itunes, Sony, Technology, Telecom | 3 Comments »

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