It’s Festivus – Time to Air Grievances

It’s that time of year and as Frank Costanza famously said… “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people…”

This years list is a large one so bear with me.

Google Chrome and every other company that decided to release their own web browser – I love you, but you’ve added yet another browser to test web applications against. You should therefore be required to all contribute to an agreed upon suite of tests (ACID is fun, but isn’t real in the least) and test harnesses that web developers can run to validate their applications look identically pristine in all browsers.  I also hate  you because you remind me how much I despise the market share IE6 still enjoys and the 35% development tax that must be paid to support it.


 Social Media Experts that grow on trees. You people are as useful as the so-called SEO experts you all used to be and the talking heads on 24 hour cable news channels.  I’m glad I’m not on any of these lists.  You can game social media just like SEO, but the crimes are going to catch up to the poor companies who bought your advice. 

The immutable laws are now that the web is social & that people will go where-ever the best conversations and content lives.  If you don’t have something worth talking about and good content to seed discussions with then it doesn’t matter what else you do. This goes for your companies intranet as well. Twitter has a spam problem it’s ignoring. I’m sure a social media expert has a strategy bullet for it, but I call it thread hopping.  Just about every post I make earns me a public reply with someone offering their services, asking me to try out schmap-it-a-ma-gass, or (not kidding) buy an official festivus poll from their site.  Don’t create an inbox you want people to check if you aren’t going to prevent spam from getting to that inbox.  Don’t get me started about the # of spam followers I have that get to send messages directly to my real inbox.



I’m sorry that, like the underpant gnomes, you haven’t figured out what step 2 is on your 3-step plan for profiteering and world domination.  That does not, however, excuse you from continuing to dupe users into making their content public so you can serve more pages.  I suspect a lot of them starting using your service because they believed (wrongly) that it was more private than posting everything to flickr and public blogs. 

The message I received logging into facebook one day was “We think you may have set your privacy settings incorrectly…” because I had locked down a lot of content.  Trust me, if a user found their way to your security panel… the action was very intentional and they do not want to open up their lives.  I accept that if I post something online there is no place that’s really private but I don’t accept the assumption that your users were dumb and really meant to do something else.


People that don’t realize they can change the channel. These are the app developers that complain about the App Store approval process and the lack of one for Facebook apps.  The solution is simple… don’t play.  Write a mobile web app or go build an opensocial widget instead. 


image The SQL Express management console installation process. Have you done this lately?  There is nothing “express” about it.  It’s easier to install the operating system. At least it asked less questions.  Yes, this made the list because I did it today.


Anyone that confuses Excel with Infopath or a documentation tool. Excel is awesome for spreadsheets, graphs, calculations, etc.  Word is awesome at word processing.  Excel is a terrible word processor and Word is a terrible spreadsheet.  Lets all agree to use the right tool for the job.  How the heck to you enter a line break in Excel anyway?  Bullets?  Sometimes I think the worst thing Microsoft did was make the office products work so well together that people think you only need one of them.  Yes, I had to do this today too. 


Fairy tales sold as business books. I may agree with your concepts and will implement any good advice I receive regardless of the source.  But I want you to come back to me when you have case studies, hard data, and real success stories.  Until then you should have stop your analogy at the level of a long blog post.  It would have been just as insightful. (Perhaps even more so as a manifesto)  But there is no need to stretch out a storyline in a non-fiction book.


image Major League Baseball is broken.  I don’t know how you are going to fix it, but when one team can command a payroll of 5 other teams combined and 6 umpires can blow a foul ball call by 1 foot there is not competitive balance. And I’m not just a whiney Red Sox fan.  They enjoy the same unfair advantage that the Yankees have in terms of relative payroll… the Yankees just did a better job exploit
ing the system this year. Every other sport seems to have solved this problem and now it’s your turn. 

If you’ve read this far I hope you can see this post for the humor it was intended to be.  I really do love Baseball, Chrome, Facebook, Twitter, etc… but there will always be a list of grievances. And it’s no fun to complain about things you really do hate.

Happy Holidays everyone!