My Flex app featured in Business Week!

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The Fidelity Trading Knowledge Center that I gave my life to last Summer and Fall has been featured in the latest issue of Business Week magazine. The article is a glowing review and to me indicates that the application was developed well for general usability. Businessweek asked me to take down my scan of the article but it’s available online at as well but you need to be a registered user to access it.

It’s times like these that all the blood, sweat, and tears seem worth it. I feel proud to be able to contribute to a successful implementation like this. We had a great team of folks working on it across the organization.


Adobe Flex: To Have and Have Not…


Yaniv Golan Yedda, Co-Founder and CTO of a web 2.0 startup called Yedda had an interesting post on his blog concerning Adobe Flex and how he just doesn’t get it. As someone who is a big proponent of the Flex platform, it raises some interesting issues that Flex is facing from the more traditional development consensus. Any good developer pines for efficiency, strucutre, and scalability over just about everything. This goes for the tools (IDE’s) he or she uses as well.

I think the most intuitive reasoning behind why to use Flex is that it runs on top of the Flash platform, which has (according to Adobe) a 98% penetration factor in browsers. That basically means what you see is what you get. Unlike issues that different browsers may have in terms of handling CSS, Javascript, XHTML, etc… your app should have the same look and performance it has with any browser that supports Flash. This is a powerful service model that Adobe has also leveraged in their mobile technology platform, Flash Lite. Instead of developer’s having to target specific handsets, Adobe creates an environment where you can expect similair content performance in any device which support Flash Lite, thus less fragmentation.

Yaniv also alludes to Adobe maybe having a strategy of cornering the market for RIA’s by leveraging the huge contigent of Flash developers into a vendor-lockdown. This is interesting but there’s an assumption there that this technology is never going to evolve into something else someday. Development frameworks are constantly changing and there is no gaurantee that Flash, ASP, Javascript, or any other of these technologies would not be eclipsed by an ascending one in the coming years anyway.

‘There is more than one way to skin a cat’ as the old adage goes. The one thing that is important is to continue to evaluate emerging trends and methods and not stick with an approach simply because it works. Maybe become technology-agnostic in some sense and constatnly analyze whether your approach is the best one. As I said above, as long as developer’s plan for efficiency, strucutre, and scalability, you can as they say, “pick your posoin”. If in the end, your application is succesfull and achieves your clients goals, then what’s the difference?

Hey Startups, It’s okay to change your mind…

    “You go to your TV set when you want to turn your brain off. You go to your computer when you want to turn your brain on.”

      Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer Inc., US, October 1998

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Yes it’s true… the nearly impeccable Mr. Jobs would probably look back at that statement and realize maybe he had jumped the gun. Of course he’d never admit it, but my point is even the best and brightest have to look at realize market trends when they’re right there in front of them, regardless of their past position. So for the many startups jockeying to capture the next social networking windfall, here are a few tips from someone who has never worked at a startup company and works in a large, Fortune 100 financial institutuion:

    MySpace has already happened… you missed the boat:
    There probably won’t ever be a site as big as MySpace again in terms of commodotizing new customers, so you are better off just finding a niche and focusing intently on that. You’ll have less initial competition, and if you’re successful you should be able to maintain some dominance and keep new competitors out.
    Stop copying trends and create your own: Create a new category which you can be the first in. I know this is easier said than done, but sometimes it really only takes the ability to see the obvious to get a great idea. Was posting video on the web anything new last year? No, but YouTube made it easy and built in social networking. Viola, billion dollar company. Just like they did, itry to create new catergories of a market rather than creating new markets serving existing ones.
    Make it ‘Even my deaf, blind, 92-year-old grandfather can use it’ simple:
    I’ll give you an analogy. My son was five when he got his Nintendo DS. Within 3 minutes of having it he was playng Super Mario Brothers barely able to read, albeit faced with several steps between him and the game. Why? Intelligent touch sensitive user interface design. He didn’t need to read it for him to understand it. Treat your customers the same way. They’re just trying to give you their money people. At least make it easier for them.

And oh, back to the original subject matter…. don’t forget it’s okay to re-evaluate things and re-focus as long as you’re willing to stay the course based on what you see in front of you. It’s happened to the best of us.