Hey, how come Om got to be the “potshots” guy and I was stuck with the “tiresome” label in this anti-anti-Flock missive? I generally think of myself as more of a potshots guy, and I’ll leave it to Om to decide if he’s tiresome:
So there’s been some more talk lately about Flock and extensions and relevancy and Performancing’s new blogging tool for Firefox. I’m all for it. The more we talk about open source, about Firefox, about Flock, about coming up with better, cooler, faster and more usable technology, the more we’re inclined to just go build it. And in doing so, make sure that it’s relevant and actually meets the needs of real people.
Okay, near as I can tell from reading the lengthy piece from which this excerpt comes, the argument here seems to be a) that most people don’t install Firefox extensions, b) there is a need for a browser designed from the ground up for the read-write web, and c) Flock solves both problems.
Fair enough. And in a perfect world, that might happen. Darn it, I would like it to happen — I want a read-write app now for the read-write web, and IE ain’t it. My recent potshots [ed. Tiresomeness!] aside, I was one of the first in line to try Flock, and I’ll check out the next iteration when it appears. I want something better than I currently have, and while I doubt it will be Flock, I’m fine if it is. I’m agnostic about that sort of thing.
But I’m also wildly unrepresentative of the average user’s behavior. Repeat after me (again): People are lazy. Getting most people to change browsers isn’t quite as hard as getting them to transplant their eyes to change eye color, but it’s close.
Because listen: For most people in 2005 browsers are transparent. Heck, my Dad calls his browser Yahoo, and I doubt he’s anywhere near alone. As hard as it is to get people to install Firefox extensions, it’s even harder to get them to change browsers — especially when most people don’t even see their browser as a product about which they made a choice.
A huge caveat. There was a lot of stuff in the anti-anti-Flock note to which I’m responding about cars, cows, cell phones, duct tape, mecasting, omelettes, and crowds of people stomping down sidewalks, shades of Don Delillo. I point this out because there’s an excellent chance I’ve completely missed the point of the post to which I’m thinking I’m responding. Maybe it was actually about something else and I only thought it was about Flock, not to mention confusing Om and my scurrilousness.
[Update] Okay, some people seem to think I’ve changed my views here, at least a little. I haven’t. I still think Flock will fail, but my point is that it isn’t because it’s features aren’t useful, at least to me; it’s because the Flock folks are trying to change user behavior in a market where people don’t even know they have made a product adoption decision.