links for 2011-07-20

  • A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead. I was talking to a young startup founder about how Google was different from Yahoo. I said that Yahoo had been warped from the start by their fear of Microsoft. That was why they'd positioned themselves as a "media company" instead of a technology company. Then I looked at his face and realized he didn't understand. It was as if I'd told him how much girls liked Barry Manilow in the mid 80s. Barry who?

    Microsoft? He didn't say anything, but I could tell he didn't quite believe anyone would be frightened of them.

    Microsoft cast a shadow over the software world for almost 20 years starting in the late 80s. I can remember when it was IBM before them. I mostly ignored this shadow. I never used Microsoft software, so it only affected me indirectly—for example, in the spam I got from botnets. And because I wasn't paying attention, I didn't notice when the shadow disappeared.

    But it's gone now. I can sense that.

  • Question: Who were the early users of Reddit?

    Alexis Ohanian: We were very, very lucky being in the first round of Y Combinator because that alone generated a lot of interest. A lot of readers of Paul Graham were just excited to see what was going to come up. And we were the first ones to launch. And with that, we got a fair amount of attention just being the first YC startup. But most importantly, we got a lot of attention from Paul’s readers. He would write about us in his blog, he would mention us during talks. And he would say very nice things that were totally true. He really did spend a lot of time on reddit back then.

  • Tom Ross at Noupe.com wrote a great article about what makes a great call-to-action button on a website. As we all know, encouraging visitors to take the action we want them to take is vital to increasing conversions (leads/sales) and ultimately turning your site into a revenue driver for the business.

    I took Ross’s suggestions and my own experience and made a checklist for creating great call-to-action buttons. Follow these steps and you’re likely to see your conversion rate of visitor to lead/sale increase on your site.

  • When Apple released its third-quarter 2011 earnings results on Tuesday, the numbers were, as is becoming almost customary for the Cupertino crew lately, a huge blow-out. Success was spread over many parts of the business, particularly the company’s flagship products, the iPhone and the Mac. Both are growing and show that Apple is on a tear with the entirety of its business. But those iPad results? Those were fairly stunning.
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