Why Flock Matters

In light of the recent backlash concerning Flock, I have decided to throw in my 2 cents besides Chris’ excellent post.

I have to admit I like Flock. I like the people behind it, and I like the product and the ideas behind the product. So you could say I’m biased but don’t let that stop you from reading on.

If there is one thing that history has told us it is that choice is a Good Thing. Open source is, amongst other things, about freedom of choice. As Linux is an alternative to Windows and Firefox and alternative to IE, the ability to choose is important.

The web has changed. Call it what you will, the social web, web 2.0, the essence is that more of our life is happening online. Our shoebox with photos is on flickr, our bookmarks are on del.icio.us, and we blog to our heart’s content. These are not just geeks using these services, yes we maybe the early adopters, but not forever.

Flock forking from Firefox is about offering us, the consumers of these new services, a choice in the way we consume them. And there will be more and more of these services and each of these will have a different interface, a different way to interact with it and a different bookmark in your bookmarksbar (of which I already have one too many). All these diverse services create opportunity. They are also in dire need of it. The opportunity is a simple one, simplification:

###Business Mode ON###
The value of Flock lies within how it will capture the consumers of these new services, as a one point of entry for how we interact with these services.
###Business Mode OFF###

Until something better comes along, as innovation happens elsewhere*, and it’s the way it always has been.

*this quote is by Bill Joy, probably overused, but still applicable. The idea is that no matter how many smart people you have within your company there are more smart people outside of it.

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3 Responses to “Why Flock Matters”


  1. 1 Chris Messina January 3, 2006 at 1:36 am

    Mies, great post, and I totally agree. It’s interesting how the people we talk to personally “get” Flock, whereas as those who just read our blogs or website tend not to… Hmm, image problem much? Maybe, but I think it’s that we’re driven by in-person connections and that, well, the technology of today inevitably falls short in communicating what we’re really after — which is deeper, more personal interactions between friends!

  2. 2 mies January 3, 2006 at 1:42 am

    But still…these are people who are ‘in the know’, who know about linux and the open source movement and who at least should know the importance of open systems, open standards and choice. But I’m guessing you’re right it *is* more of an image problem. Which has probably more to do with the whole web 2.0 hype and results in people not looking at the product and what it stands for.

  3. 3 Chris Messina January 3, 2006 at 1:51 am

    Yeah, I give it a year and if we’re not in the right by then, it really might be time to move on and give it ago at something else. Yeup.


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