The Business Part of Business

The Jeff Yablon Map

 

How’d you like to build an amazing web site in just a few minutes, for almost no money? I did: here’s the The Jeff Yablon Map!

The Jeff Yablon map was an actual web site for a few minutes earlier today, and I really did build it at a cost of exactly zero in under ten minutes. But there’s very little amazing about it.

OK, maybe there is, but it has less to do with The Jeff Yablon Map App than about how easy it is to manipulate perception and reality. Or as I’ve said for as long as I can remember, Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Any Two.

The Good/Fast/Cheap/Perception/Reality thing is large in my mind these days; we’re launching a new service soon, and The WordPress Helpers, as much as anything, is about trying to alter perception to make the Good/Fast/Cheap thing feel different. So when I came across this piece in today’s New York Times,  it struck a nerve.

Building The Jeff Yablon Map

I was taken in by the title of the article. Building a Serious Website Without Serious, or Any, Coding Skills? My reaction—as it should have been—was square in between “yes, please!” and “yeah, right”. And the article was fine; Eileen Zimmerman, a small-business blogger, has written a few not-well-enough-versed-in-the-stuff-she-writes-about pieces at The Times, but this one, while also not-well-enough-versed-in-the-stuff-she-writes-about, was at least well-sourced. Zimmerman mentioned a few websites that purport to make creating your own site very easy, very fast, and adhering to design standards you can be proud of before moving onto her topic of the day; Bubble.

Bubble is Intriguing. It’s also kind of useless—on top of being horrifically overpriced. On the other hand, Bubble is slick. REALLY slick. Problem is, in the real world the only people who can (maybe even should) use Bubble are people with enough budget that they can afford what sounds to most small businesses like a “my new website will cost WHAT?” site. Bubble just doesn’t add up, and the fact that I was able to—literally—draw the the Jeff Yablon Map—everywhere I’ve ever lived, with street address accuracy— and add pins to it so easily doesn’t change that.

The truth is, anyone can build a WordPress site in less time that it would take to build a real site of any value using Bubble, and host it for somewhere between free and a few dollars per month. And I’d venture that what you build in WordPress in the same amount of time it takes to make something actually useful in Bubble would be more functional, too. So let me see … slick and potentially-but-not-really useful plus expensive, or good-enough-and-nearly-free. Not a very difficult choice, is it?

In Business, Shiny Objects Are Your Enemy

Bubble is a shiny object. It looks great and it has a few neat-but-ultimately-not-very-useful applications. It is, on the other hand, a great way for Bubble’s founders and investors to get too much of your money and corner you in a box you can’t ever escape. So Bubble: nice work. And Ms. Zimmerman? Thanks for giving me something to think about today.

Now, can we all get back to doing business in a way that actually makes sense?