I must give Robert Scoble credit. In two consecutive blog entries, he’s managed to make me go "hmm"–twice. Not bad, Robert. First, he highlights what Tara is up to (I’ll add her trackback later), and then he refers us to what Stefan is up to. I tend to agree with Robert’s readers who label Stefan as a "virtual panhandler," and yet, what he is doing seems to be working. That sort of makes me wonder what would happen if I applied his tactics to marketing Xpress-It or getting employment. Hmm indeed!
I do suspect Stefan’s tactics would back-fire if his goal wasn’t so easily obtainable. Getting donations for a Mac is literally childs-play compared to finding meaningful employment or marketing an AAC product to an apathetic market. Just the backlash among Robert’s readership warns against using Stefan’s dubious tactics on a larger scale.
What’s interesting about Tara’s blog is mainly Robert’s comments in regards to it Tara is with one of those starry-eyed "Web 2.0" startups, and I believe I’m already on record as saying Web 2.0 is mostly hype and a stunning lack of knowledge about what’s been done before. However, where Tara does bring fresh ideas to the table, Robert agrees with her that large companies like Microsoft fail to even see them. Even when new ideas do register externally, they have an uphill struggle gaining acceptance inside large companies. Boy, don’t I know! Shell basically saw me as a maverick they never understood or knew how to utilize.
The AAC market is much the same way. It feels like the industry has never studied the real world where the speech-impaired would need to interact with strangers. Menu-driven phrases and dedicated computers or other devices are fine if all you hope to do is express your basic needs. But, communicating abstract ideas or functioning on your own with strangers–such as in a corporate setting–for hours requires flexibility not really present in current-day Xpress-It competitors. We have multi-tasking computers because we inherently multi-task. Why should we give disabled people anything less? Xpress-it is proof that high-performance AAC can easily share a computer with even the most brutal applications like Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
This blog entry is also a shift in my SOP. Since it started life as a blog entry rather than email, I will not send it out on the mailing list. Instead, I’ll simply let the mailing list know where to find it. I’m trying to get my normal readership used to interacting with blogs for multiple reasons.
Wish me luck. 🙂
Update: so much for not posting this entry to the mailing list. The damn MSN site is down. WTG Microsoft!