Brad's Books and Organizations

Books

Books

Organizations

Organizations

Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

« swipe left for tags/categories

swipe right to go back »

My Relationship With Apple Is Like My Relationship With The Republican Party

Comments (28)

Scott Converse has a wonderful post up titled Is Apple a Republican?  After reading it, I pondered my relationship with Apple and realized that it is just like my relationship with the Republican Party – there are some things that theoretically appeal to me, but endless deal breakers that push me away and head fakes that leave me cynical.

If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that every six months or so I try again.  I go to the Apple store and buy whatever shiny new Mac toy there is.  A G5 – yeah.  A MacBook Pro.  Sure.  An iPhone – definitely.  A MacBook Air.  Yeah, this will be the one.  After tens of thousands of dollars spent on Apple products, the only three I am using today are my Apple 30" Cinema Displays (I love them), my G5 in my office (which I’m running Vista on), and my iPhone 3G (which has now lasted three weeks notwithstanding the endless dropped calls and lack of Outlook Task synchronization.)

The Republicans promise me smaller government.  Oops.  Better fiscal policy (e.g. no deficits) – double oops.  Distribution of power to state and local government.  Um, yeah.  Equality for all.  Patriot act, immigration policy, wars, anyone.  The list goes on.  I’ve always described myself as "conservative fiscal policy, liberal social policy" where theoretically a "moderate Republican approach" would work for me. 

Wrong.  The big deal breaker for me is abortion.  I couldn’t ever vote for a pro-life president.  Stay with me, you’ll get the Apple analogy soon.  There are plenty of others – war, immigration, protectionism, religion – but I still fantasize about that enlightened "conservative fiscal policy, liberal social policy."

Ironically, my friends the Democrats have always had the liberal social policy down and now appear to have a much better handle on the conservative fiscal policy side of it.  I was a Reagan youth, but have voted Democrat ever since.  And while many think I’m a hard core Democrat, I’m actually an Independent.

About the time I voted for Reagan, I had an original Mac.  My first computer was an Apple II.  I even had an Apple III for a while.  My Mac had one floppy drive and 128k.  I loved it even though it was basically useless.  When I got my first IBM PC (two floppy disk drives, 64k) and started writing software on it (and making money with it) I became a PC / Microsoft user.  My Apple fantasies continued unabated – every few years I’d buy another one and end up discarding it after a few weeks to go back to my PC.  There were always "deal breakers."

The deal breaker for me with Apple for the past few years has been Microsoft Exchange support.  Entourage 2004 was so inadequate that it never became an option for me and Entourage 2008 disappointed me so much that I punted.  I don’t really want to run Entourage – I want native Exchange support in all the Mac products.  ActiveSync anyone?

I tried with the first iPhone – I really wanted to like it – but it just didn’t get there for me.  Remarkably, after resisting for many years, Apple finally licensed ActiveSync and integrated it into the iPhone 2.0 software.  Voila – I dumped my Dash and am still using my iPhone 3G several weeks later.

But – Apple forgot one thing.  Tasks.  Apple syncs Mail and Calendar with Exchange, but not Tasks.  For anyone that is a hard core Outlook user (like me) that manages to a zero inbox, Tasks are important.  It’s kind of like being pro-choice but being against birth control.  Weird.  Limiting.  And intensely frustrating.

Third party apps are starting to appear that try to sync Tasks, but they are all weak.  KeyTasks from  Chapura seems to come the closest so far, but it’s not server side sync (with Exchange) – you have to have a client side agent running.  And of course, it doesn’t have categories ("Category support coming soon.")

Theoretically wonderful, but always comes up short with a deal breaker.  We didn’t even get into religion yet, but ponder that as you think about the Cult of Mac vs. the PC / Microsoft. 

I definitely have too much politics on the brain.  I can’t wait until 2009.

  • http://friendfeed.com/bradnickel Brad Nickel

    Apple says they are born again, while screwing over the poor and weak and doing everything counter to everything Christ taught?

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kid mercury

    as great as rounded corners are, apple is still a terrible company. in addition to all the problems you noted, apple's relationship with at&treason is particularly problematic. if i wanted to give my data to the NSA, i'd do so directly. i don't need to buy an overpriced iphone with no keyboard to do that. and the fact that apple has a kill switch in its phone begs the question of whether or not the customer actually owns the phone they paid for. apple will never understand the open economy because they don't have the respect for the customer that the open economy requires. of course, the free market is just, and apple's refusal to embrace the open economy will ultimately result in their demise. (assuming our markets become more free, as they are supposed to be).

    rounded corners on hardware, while exciting, just aren't worth it.

    politically, the dumbocrats and rethuglicans are just two sides of the same big government coin. people need to tell the two party system to f off and start demanding real candidates who understand capitalism, sound monetary policy, and limited government. though he has no chance of winning, i encourage people fed up with the two party system to vote for chuck baldwin of the constitutional party. some say it is a wasted vote, which may be true in a way. but it's all relative. you think mccain or obama is going to get you the change you want? there is only one thing that can be said to that: LOL.

  • http://friendfeed.com/bradnickel Brad Nickel

    Apple spends government money like a drunken sailor while claiming to be fiscally responsible?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Awesome.  Loved your rants!

  • http://friendfeed.com/rahsheen Rahsheen(isSoAwesome

    I definitely lol'd

  • http://seeingfurther.com/ James

    Brad, you're a Libertarian… just like most other rational citizens! ;-)

  • http://friendfeed.com/jasoncarreira Jason Carreira

    The first problem he has is assuming that Exchange is more important than the environment you deal with every moment of every day. Exchange isn't an enormous flaming turd like Vista, but it's not a thing of beauty like OS X either. I can do everything I use Exchange for in Google Apps and sync with a lot of different devices / apps.

  • http://friendfeed.com/rbonini Roberto Bonini

    “But – Apple forgot one thing. Tasks. Apple syncs Mail and Calendar with Exchange, but not Tasks. For anyone that is a hard core Outlook user (like me) that manages to a zero inbox, Tasks are important. It's kind of like being pro-choice but being against birth control. Weird. Limiting. And intensely frustrating.” – I had no idea that tasks wern't sync'd. Doh! Was Apple thinking?? Wrist bands anyone? With WWAD ( What Would Apple Do). Great post.

  • http://blog.ninthyard.com Damon Cali

    What is it about Exchange that allows it to drive your choice of operating system? People seem really attached to it (Exchange), and I don't know why.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      We have Exchange tightly integrated with SharePoint.  We’ve also chosen to run our own email infrastructure (and have for a long time.)  Gmail is the first real alternative given the various integration points we have, but there still are too many limitations in Gmail on group scheduling, group administration, and task / workflow management.  But – it’s getting a lot closer.

  • http://www.intela.com Jim – Intela

    iphone email is better but still does not beat blackberry. It is good enough for me to put my main phone number on it, but I still carry a blackberry for heavy email lifting when needed.

    Besides, task integration you cannot invite people to meetings on the iphone in the calendar. That is kind of stupid in my opinion, since the Blackberry has always done that.

  • Perry

    you are running vista on a G5?! Wow!

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Yeah, it’s kind of like cross-dressing.

  • http://www.ashimmy.com alan shimel

    I think Apple is also not good on security and as more people use apple products, it is going to become clear. Brad, you would be a “Rockefeller Republican” It was a product part of the party until Goldwater, Regan and the rest hijacked the Republican Party as we know it 30 to 40 years ago.

  • Kyle S

    After carrying around a brick (BB 7290) the last couple years, my company informed me that my contract is finally up and I can get a new device. After some hemming and hawing I decided to go with an iPhone 3G (over a Pearl/Curve/8800- probably would have picked a Bold, but it wasn't available yet). Exchange email worked pretty well when I tried it on my wife's iPhone (folder support is a huge plus over my 7290).

    The main thing I'm worried about not having is cut and paste. I frequently will take phone numbers from emails and pop them into a new contact entry. Does the lack of c&p bother you guys?

  • http://www.theludwigs.com john ludwig

    i gave up on tasks in exchange. too many problems in using them with any non win32 outlook client. i moved tasks to rememberthemilk.com which syncs nicely with the appigo todo iphone app and i am very happy, don't miss outlook tasks at all.

  • dave rodger

    Along same lines as john ludwig's post; I use gootodo (http://www.gootodo.com) because it has the most amazing, yet simple feature–email a task to some date in the future. They've got an iPhone interface that works well too. I understand that it's not integrated with Exchange, but might be worth checking out.

  • Jared Still

    And here as a strong fiscal conservative that really and adamantly believes in tax reform, I thought for sure I might get your “swing vote” in 2020.

    But alas, I'm just too pro-life. But, before you turn your back on my ballot 12 years too early, lemme tell you how I'm pro-life for babies AND those facing the death penalty. I have this whole “consistency” thing tripping me up when people that are so anti-abortion, and toss around Scripture are ALSO so adamant about hanging or shooting every criminal in the system…and use scripture to support it too. Doesn't compute for me though…and I certainly don't trust the people that brought us the IRS, FEMA and TSA deciding life & death or carrying out executions

    SO what do you say? Tax reform, balanced budget, limited Govt for life across the spectrum? It would kinda be like having an unlocked iPhone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but maybe still no “tasks”…but we'll throw in MobileMe for free ;)

    Good post Brad, even though the abortion part breaks my heart.

  • blake

    Its rare to get a negative comment as this blog is mostly a conversation among like minded people… but here goes:

    “I couldn't ever vote for a pro-life president”… now that is open minded. Uggh how sad. How horrible to be pro LIFE.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Oops – I shouldn’t have used loaded words like “pro-life.”  I should have said “anti-abortion” instead.  I’m such a bad politician.

      • curmudgeonly troll

        a fertilized egg is obviously a human being!

        OMG what were you thinking?

        this is the most critical issue facing us today! politics has no room for people who think different.

        • Martha

          This is not the most crucial issue facing us today… what about the price of gas, the “war” in Iraq, health care, the homeless in our country, illegal immigration (the list goes on…. ) ???

          There are so many issues that are important, I don't think anyone can fairly say which one is the most critical.

  • http://skywardinnovations.blogspot.com/ Alex Shore

    Here is my continuing list of iPhone 3G issues. I love playing with my new iPhone, but there are some tough changes from being a former Treo user.

    -The keyboard is hard to use. I do like the auto-correct feature as you type, but you need to be able to add words to the dictionary so that slang words that I often type in are not constantly being auto-corrected.

    -No copy/paste, and no ability to highlight a block of characters and hit backspace to remove them all at once

    -Calendar app take like 10 frigging taps to get a good entry in!
    -Can't select time for new appt from calendar graphical day view – should be able to single tap
    -Cannot default calendar alarm to ON

    -Cannot set a calendar alarm for more then 2 days out

    -Cannot accept meeting request sent to me from any iCal client (not using ActiveSync/Exchange)
    -When synching meeting request to iPhone calendar, does not show attendee info

    -No tasks application as already stated, nothing to sync with Outlook tasks.
    -I started using Jott and it is nice because you can add a task from the iPhone side by recording instead of typing.

    -No sync for Outlook notes to iPhone notes. Come on! apple even have the notes application just waiting for data to be put into it!

  • http://andrewhyde.net Andrew Hyde
  • http://theconvergingnetwork.com Mitchell Ashley

    More than Democrat or Republican, Apple wants you to believe, act and behave like a religious cult. These the features you need, not those over there you think you want. Exchange support…? Ah, Entourage… this is what you need. Cell phone? Expandable hardware, GPS and Active Sync are for those “un-cool” cell phone users. And tasks? Why you silly user, you should know better that our other wiz bang features clearly obviate the need for Tasks until and if we get around to implementing it. We'll tell you which features you need. Now, just back out there and evangelize the Apple chant.

    My first computer too was and Apple II plus, which I started my first business on. The Mac came along and hooked me as an Apple believer up until the hassles with Mac hardware and Mac OS were not worse or better than Windows 95. Yes, Windows 95 facilitated my “intervention” and brought me out of the Apple cult. I look back now and say, why… why did I make all those sacrifices just to use and Apple? What was I thinking!?! Never again, will I follow the Apple rabbit down that bunny hole. There's brand loyalty and then there's brand blindness.

    Actually, I've already made my public confession about Apple in my blog post “Confessions of a former Apple zealot”. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/24165

  • http://theconvergingnetwork.com Mitchell Ashley

    More than Democrat or Republican, Apple wants you to believe, act and behave like a religious cult. These the features you need, not those over there you think you want. Exchange support…? Ah, Entourage… this is what you need. Cell phone? Expandable hardware, GPS and Active Sync are for those “un-cool” cell phone users. And tasks? Why you silly user, you should know better that our other wiz bang features clearly obviate the need for Tasks until and if we get around to implementing it. We'll tell you which features you need. Now, just back out there and evangelize the Apple chant.

  • Steve Bergstein

    Apple started out on the wrong foot when Jobs proposed “computer as toaster.” My toaster doesn't have a four-digit price tag. What the hell was he thinking?

    You've stepped in it now, Brad, by stating your position on abortion. I'm actually surprised that you wrote “pro life” rather than “anti choice.” Will Amy forgive you?

  • Jesse

    VMWare Fusion can help bridge the gap where native Apple apps fall short. This would allow you to run Office 2007/2003 seamlessly in a VM to enjoy a better solution than Entourage.

    Google is also coming out with a task manager app relatively soon (supposedly), which should making switching to Google Apps that much more appealing.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      I’ve never had “perfect” luck with Fusion (or Parallels).  They are both very good, but fall slightly short for some reason.  I haven’t been able to articulate it, but I’ve tried both several times.

  • John

    I circumvented (::shudder::) Entourage altogether after it got a little too uppity for me – I installed Outlook in a WINE bottle (Crossover Mac) and I haven't looked back once. It works perfectly.

  • http://thedirtyonion.com Gideon

    I am completely sidestepping the substance of your post. There was one paragraph that I do not understand. You seem to be an intelligent man, but your pro-choice stance is disturbing. Read this post I did and explain your stance, please – http://thedirtyonion.com/?p=36.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kidmercury kidmercury

    as great as rounded corners are, apple is still a terrible company. in addition to all the problems you noted, apple's relationship with at&treason is particularly problematic. if i wanted to give my data to the NSA, i'd do so directly. i don't need to buy an overpriced iphone with no keyboard to do that. and the fact that apple has a kill switch in its phone begs the question of whether or not the customer actually owns the phone they paid for. apple will never understand the open economy because they don't have the respect for the customer that the open economy requires. of course, the free market is just, and apple's refusal to embrace the open economy will ultimately result in their demise. (assuming our markets become more free, as they are supposed to be).

    rounded corners on hardware, while exciting, just aren't worth it.

    politically, the dumbocrats and rethuglicans are just two sides of the same big government coin. people need to tell the two party system to f off and start demanding real candidates who understand capitalism, sound monetary policy, and limited government. though he has no chance of winning, i encourage people fed up with the two party system to vote for chuck baldwin of the constitutional party. some say it is a wasted vote, which may be true in a way. but it's all relative. you think mccain or obama is going to get you the change you want? there is only one thing that can be said to that: LOL.

  • James

    Brad, you're a Libertarian… just like most other rational citizens! ;-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jim122 jim122

    iphone email is better but still does not beat blackberry. It is good enough for me to put my main phone number on it, but I still carry a blackberry for heavy email lifting when needed.

    Besides, task integration you cannot invite people to meetings on the iphone in the calendar. That is kind of stupid in my opinion, since the Blackberry has always done that.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jared_stil28971 jared_stil28971

    And here as a strong fiscal conservative that really and adamantly believes in tax reform, I thought for sure I might get your "swing vote" in 2020.

    But alas, I'm just too pro-life. But, before you turn your back on my ballot 12 years too early, lemme tell you how I'm pro-life for babies AND those facing the death penalty. I have this whole "consistency" thing tripping me up when people that are so anti-abortion, and toss around Scripture are ALSO so adamant about hanging or shooting every criminal in the system…and use scripture to support it too. Doesn't compute for me though…and I certainly don't trust the people that brought us the IRS, FEMA and TSA deciding life & death or carrying out executions

    SO what do you say? Tax reform, balanced budget, limited Govt for life across the spectrum? It would kinda be like having an unlocked iPhone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but maybe still no "tasks"…but we'll throw in MobileMe for free ;)

    Good post Brad, even though the abortion part breaks my heart.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/andrew_hyde651 andrew_hyde651
  • john ludwig

    i gave up on tasks in exchange. too many problems in using them with any non win32 outlook client. i moved tasks to rememberthemilk.com which syncs nicely with the appigo todo iphone app and i am very happy, don't miss outlook tasks at all.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Oops – I shouldn’t have used loaded words like “pro-life.”  I should have said “anti-abortion” instead.  I’m such a bad politician.

  • dave rodger

    Along same lines as john ludwig's post; I use gootodo (http://www.gootodo.com) because it has the most amazing, yet simple feature–email a task to some date in the future. They've got an iPhone interface that works well too. I understand that it's not integrated with Exchange, but might be worth checking out.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/alan_shimel2002 alan_shimel2002

    I think Apple is also not good on security and as more people use apple products, it is going to become clear. Brad, you would be a "Rockefeller Republican" It was a product part of the party until Goldwater, Regan and the rest hijacked the Republican Party as we know it 30 to 40 years ago.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Yeah, it’s kind of like cross-dressing.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    We have Exchange tightly integrated with SharePoint.  We’ve also chosen to run our own email infrastructure (and have for a long time.)  Gmail is the first real alternative given the various integration points we have, but there still are too many limitations in Gmail on group scheduling, group administration, and task / workflow management.  But – it’s getting a lot closer.

  • curmudgeonly troll

    a fertilized egg is obviously a human being!

    OMG what were you thinking?

    this is the most critical issue facing us today! politics has no room for people who think different.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mitchell_as5509 mitchell_as5509

    More than Democrat or Republican, Apple wants you to believe, act and behave like a religious cult. These the features you need, not those over there you think you want. Exchange support…? Ah, Entourage… this is what you need. Cell phone? Expandable hardware, GPS and Active Sync are for those "un-cool" cell phone users. And tasks? Why you silly user, you should know better that our other wiz bang features clearly obviate the need for Tasks until and if we get around to implementing it. We'll tell you which features you need. Now, just back out there and evangelize the Apple chant.

  • Alex Shore

    Here is my continuing list of iPhone 3G issues. I love playing with my new iPhone, but there are some tough changes from being a former Treo user.

    -The keyboard is hard to use. I do like the auto-correct feature as you type, but you need to be able to add words to the dictionary so that slang words that I often type in are not constantly being auto-corrected.

    -No copy/paste, and no ability to highlight a block of characters and hit backspace to remove them all at once

    -Calendar app take like 10 frigging taps to get a good entry in!
    -Can't select time for new appt from calendar graphical day view – should be able to single tap
    -Cannot default calendar alarm to ON

    -Cannot set a calendar alarm for more then 2 days out

    -Cannot accept meeting request sent to me from any iCal client (not using ActiveSync/Exchange)
    -When synching meeting request to iPhone calendar, does not show attendee info

    -No tasks application as already stated, nothing to sync with Outlook tasks.
    -I started using Jott and it is nice because you can add a task from the iPhone side by recording instead of typing.

    -No sync for Outlook notes to iPhone notes. Come on! apple even have the notes application just waiting for data to be put into it!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kyle_s10731 kyle_s10731

    After carrying around a brick (BB 7290) the last couple years, my company informed me that my contract is finally up and I can get a new device. After some hemming and hawing I decided to go with an iPhone 3G (over a Pearl/Curve/8800- probably would have picked a Bold, but it wasn't available yet). Exchange email worked pretty well when I tried it on my wife's iPhone (folder support is a huge plus over my 7290).

    The main thing I'm worried about not having is cut and paste. I frequently will take phone numbers from emails and pop them into a new contact entry. Does the lack of c&p bother you guys?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/martha3408 martha3408

    This is not the most crucial issue facing us today… what about the price of gas, the "war" in Iraq, health care, the homeless in our country, illegal immigration (the list goes on…. ) ???

    There are so many issues that are important, I don't think anyone can fairly say which one is the most critical.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/steve_bergs2127 steve_bergs2127

    Apple started out on the wrong foot when Jobs proposed "computer as toaster." My toaster doesn't have a four-digit price tag. What the hell was he thinking?

    You've stepped in it now, Brad, by stating your position on abortion. I'm actually surprised that you wrote "pro life" rather than "anti choice." Will Amy forgive you?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    I’ve never had “perfect” luck with Fusion (or Parallels).  They are both very good, but fall slightly short for some reason.  I haven’t been able to articulate it, but I’ve tried both several times.

  • John

    I circumvented (::shudder::) Entourage altogether after it got a little too uppity for me – I installed Outlook in a WINE bottle (Crossover Mac) and I haven't looked back once. It works perfectly.

  • Gideon

    I am completely sidestepping the substance of your post. There was one paragraph that I do not understand. You seem to be an intelligent man, but your pro-choice stance is disturbing. Read this post I did and explain your stance, please – http://thedirtyonion.com/?p=36.

  • Perry

    you are running vista on a G5?! Wow!

  • blake

    Its rare to get a negative comment as this blog is mostly a conversation among like minded people… but here goes:

    "I couldn't ever vote for a pro-life president"… now that is open minded. Uggh how sad. How horrible to be pro LIFE.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mitchell_as5509 mitchell_as5509

    More than Democrat or Republican, Apple wants you to believe, act and behave like a religious cult. These the features you need, not those over there you think you want. Exchange support…? Ah, Entourage… this is what you need. Cell phone? Expandable hardware, GPS and Active Sync are for those "un-cool" cell phone users. And tasks? Why you silly user, you should know better that our other wiz bang features clearly obviate the need for Tasks until and if we get around to implementing it. We'll tell you which features you need. Now, just back out there and evangelize the Apple chant.

    My first computer too was and Apple II plus, which I started my first business on. The Mac came along and hooked me as an Apple believer up until the hassles with Mac hardware and Mac OS were not worse or better than Windows 95. Yes, Windows 95 facilitated my "intervention" and brought me out of the Apple cult. I look back now and say, why… why did I make all those sacrifices just to use and Apple? What was I thinking!?! Never again, will I follow the Apple rabbit down that bunny hole. There's brand loyalty and then there's brand blindness.

    Actually, I've already made my public confession about Apple in my blog post "Confessions of a former Apple zealot". http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/24165

  • Damon Cali

    What is it about Exchange that allows it to drive your choice of operating system? People seem really attached to it (Exchange), and I don't know why.

    • Bob

      we are tied to it because our work is tied to it. any other solution that doesn't tie directly into exchange just wont work.

  • Jesse

    VMWare Fusion can help bridge the gap where native Apple apps fall short. This would allow you to run Office 2007/2003 seamlessly in a VM to enjoy a better solution than Entourage.

    Google is also coming out with a task manager app relatively soon (supposedly), which should making switching to Google Apps that much more appealing.

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    Ok – that made me laugh out loud.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Ok – that made me laugh out loud.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Awesome.  Loved your rants!

Build something great with me