modular innovation

Worldwide Vacation Day — Courtesy of Google

Grrr…How’s your day? Mine is fine, I use Microsoft Office. How is that a good day, you ask?

Well, it is as good a day (comparatively) as it can be with Microsoft Office … especially, when seeing what kind of day Google Docs (Google Office) is having. Ugh.

We (the universal WE) put more and more of our virtual office online as newer services become available. We, at my company, are very careful and selective about which portions of our virtual office are moved to third party services. More and more of everyone’s most critical documents and services are being placed online — software as a service is great…

… but, not even Google can do it trouble free. Today, October 10, Google Docs is down. Users are getting 404-Not Found errors or funny server messages. How can any other start-up, which is by its nature smaller and with less resources, provide any business with the 24/7 availability uptime that is needed, that is absolutely required?

If I have a problem on my personal computer, it only impacts MY productivity and MY work.

If (I mean, When) Google Docs goes down, then MY WHOLE COMPANY would come to a grinding halt.

In the ideal Google World (I hear they are working on that too, link ;-)) everyone in the world would be using Google Docs and Google services — and (the Google ideal version of) today would be a Worldwide Vacation Day.

Data must be portable! Data must be able to be redundant, shareable, and synchronizable across services and products!

The data is mine, and I should be able to determine the user interface, the user experience that I want to use to interact with it, be is MS Office or Google Office or SomeOther Office. If I want SomeOther Office to store my data and have Google Office edit it, if I want to store my files locally or at another online file storage service (e.g. Amazon Web Services S3) then I should be able to.

These IF’s and WANT’S are what will shape (are shaping) the FUTURE of products on the Internet. No one will put all their eggs in one basket, even if it is the Google (golden) Basket.

To sum up…

  • Let me choose which service and software I want to use to get stuff done,
  • Let me choose which services I store my information at,
    • And, hey, let me keep the content synchronized across different options (in case they go down!)
  • Let me choose my own user experience – that works best for me
  • Let me control MY data and how I access it…

… because, if you don’t…

Well, you just won’t be part of the future of the Internet and the coming time of Modular Innovation.

If you arent working on solving this problem right now… don’t worry, someone will be presenting solutions soon, and since they are nicely modular, flexible, open, and customizable, it will be easy for me to switch to THEM.


Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy


  1. I agree with the redundancy comment. I just carry a laptop everywhere to have my files “everywhere.”

    GoogleDocs is great. I like the system a lot (and use gmail compulsively), but I like the idea for sync options. Why not let me store the files where I want, have them automatically synced up to GoogleDocs when I open the web program w/ a high speed connection (and even then, just upload changed documents so I don’t spend forever and a day waiting for “changes”), and then when I’m done, take 10 seconds and sync them back down so I have the changes locally.

    That gives me the multi-access to my files that -I- want, plus makes it easier than e-mailing a file to myself 13 times on Web mail (or in the case of my last design class, the archive was over 1.5 GB, so no Web mail there …).


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