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Thread started by Dave Winer on Monday, April 02, 2012.

Instability vs Readapaper

I couldn't resist changing the headline. Of course that broke the link. Serves me right! :-)

There's an active debate in the Mac blogosphere about the competition between these two products.

Since everyone is making disclaimers:

1. I know both Rich Ziade of Readability and Marco Arment of Instapaper.

We're all in NYC. This is an example of NYC driving tech innovation. Something that gives me a sense of NYC pride. Like being a Knicks fan.

2. I have used both products.

3. I own no stock in either, have no formal relationship, not on advisory boards.

Whether you like Instapaper or Readability is a lot like whether you like the Mets or the Yankees. Except neither Rich or Marco are paid like a baseball player. They both work really hard and care about their work. In fact that's what their products are made of, their caring for good usability of stuff you read on the web.

I talked with Rich about his plan to ask for money from readers to distribute to writers. I told him it was naive and generous at the same time. He would regret doing it. There would be nothing but pain. Everyone would hate him for it. The more successful it was the more grief he would get. This is me, the 56-year-old technology dude speaking to the younger entrepreneur who has to learn these things for himself. I counseled that he should stick to what he does well, craft really gorgeous user interfaces and runtime environments, and let other people do the finance. I think I was proven correct.

I've spoken with Rich about this recently and got in my I Told You So. But anyone who says he's a shnook trying to take advantage of people, is wrong, and ought to take a bit of time to get to know the guy personally before you make accusations like that.

But the guy making the charges is from Philadelphia so what do you expect.

I think this is all being blown out of proportion. If, after a few months, they don't unwind this ill-advised program, then I will join you in saying there's something nefarious going on. But for now, I'm pretty sure it's just an overly grandiose but well-intentioned guy not sticking to his knitting. :-)

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