December 14, 2002
Wired Correspondence

See the article I'm making a fuss about here

Mr. Kapor,

Chris Anderson, our editor-in-chief, has asked me to contact you
regarding a short piece we'd like to run for next month about your
open-source Outlook killer.

We would like to know ten things you dislike about Outlook. This can include
anything (like the GUI, the complexity, lack of usability, etc).

[snip]

-Joseph Portera


Joseph,

I appreciate your interest in the offer of coverage. Candidly, I don't want to play into the meme that Chandler is an Outlook killer.

I especially don't want to be positioned as attacking Microsoft. It makes for good copy, but bad business. Sorry.

I would do something about 10 reasons why what we're doing is new, cool, and different. If that's of interest, please let me know.

Mitch

Mitch,

I understand your concerns. I didn't mean to paint it that way -- what we'd like is your take on what's why Chandler has the potential to be a better program/platform. How would it be better than Outlook?

How about ten ways/reasons Chandler is going to be different from Outlook?

[snip]

-Joseph

[As my email to Chris Anderson, editor of Wired, indicates, the piece didn't turn out to be quite what I expected.]


Chris,

...I raised a concern of great importance to me and received reassurance that Wired's coverage of the Chandler project wouldn't take an explicit anti-Microsoft slant. Imagine my surprise to see a headline title like "10 Things I Hate about Outlook" in the current issue [The actual title is "10 Things That Bug Kapor About Outlook" -MK.

I responded in good faith to your inquiry and could not have been clearer about ground rules, which were treat with total disrespect. This completely wrecks your credibility in my eyes, something I will keep in mind with regard to future coverage.

Mitch

Posted by mitch@osafoundation.org at December 14, 2002 11:42 AM
Comments

Mitch, what are the ten reasons why what you're doing is new, cool, and different?

Posted by: Dave Winer at December 14, 2002 01:03 PM

Mitch, I'm puzzled. It's one thing for them to angle headlines and misrepresent statements to paint you into the anti-Microsoft corner. But what in the world did you tell them to give them enough for a whole list of 10 anti-Outlook things with such a clear bias?? :-) I'd also reiterate Dave's question above-- enquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: John Stanforth at December 14, 2002 02:18 PM

Hi Mitch,

Lazy, deceiptful, unimaginative and generally disgraceful behaviour. Anyone can find plenty of cool features of your project with a handful of mouseclicks. Anyone calling themselves a journalist should be able to be able to make a good story out of Chandler in their sleep.

Best wishes with that project!

Posted by: Danny Ayers at December 14, 2002 02:53 PM

I have a feeling that the headline (and perhaps the lead paragraph too) have changed since you posted this.

Do you have the original article text?

Posted by: Michael Bernstein at December 14, 2002 03:07 PM

Michael, I've checked the online version against the version in the the print version of Wired magazine. They are the same (except the online version has the wrong name with the photo).

Posted by: Steven Garrity at December 14, 2002 03:49 PM

Steven,

Including the headline? The online version has a headline of "The Outlook Killer?" and a subhead (above the list) of "10 Things That Bug Kapor About Outlook", which is at least slightly different than what Mitch reported above.

Posted by: Michael Bernstein at December 14, 2002 04:43 PM

Where did the Wired list come from? It's blatantly false. I use Outlook to get email from my old UserLand account. UserLand doesn't use Exchange. So, Outlook clearly works if you don't have Exchange running. Now, if it said "not all features work unless you use Exchange" that would be more accurate.

But, to get back to the topic, yeah, this sounds like one of those times when a so-called journalist already had a story written and wanted to put Mitch's name on it. That sucks.

But, yes, I'm interested in what is different and new about Chandler.

Posted by: Robert Scoble at December 14, 2002 04:59 PM

Count me as another person interested in what Chandler holds for the future of email, and specifically what it may mean for email for the growing number of Mac OS X users who already live without a native version of Outlook.

As for the headline, I am curious if this is a case where the editorial process and play between the writer and an editor who may have actually written the final headline is the source of the breakdown. I know from the days that I worked as a journalist that editors often aim for the obvious, catchy and sometimes inflamatory headline to appeal to readers, and often those writing headlines don't have the full scoop on any agreements made between a writer and a source for a story. This isn't an excuse, but it is a reality in the reporting world if someone other than the article writer comes up with the headline and subhead...

Posted by: Rob McNair-Huff at December 15, 2002 12:27 AM

Mitch, since Wired goofed up; let abloggger do it!

Okay my Ten questions:

Alot of users have an email program like Netscape-Mail, Eudora, Outlook, and etc that expects certain styles of wokrflow, workflow space, and operation. These questions are designed to gather information on how Chandler will be different form that setup:


1. Why do we need a new mail program?


2. What is cool about Chandler that has not been done in a mail program before?

3. How does working in open source differe from 100% commecrial developments?

4. How much does the user experience come to play in both application and GUI design?

5. Is there or are there any new colloboration styles that you will be incoroprating?

Okay these are the first five. So if these seem reasonable, woudl you Mitch take a blogger at his word to do a serious article about Chandler?

Posted by: Fred Grott at December 15, 2002 06:01 AM

While its despicable that they did that, the question remains legitimate: why do we need yet another PIM?

There IS another project, BTW, which uses a RDF base. It seems to hide that complexity well, and has a raft of new ideas in user interfaces such as semantic context oriented user interfaces and UI continuations. Unfies IM and email. Has RSS aggregation. Meeting scheduling. Scheduler with agents. Responds to SOAP/http/jabber. Has embedded
imperative scripting language, Adenine.
It hasnt released its prototype yet, but is supposed to soon. URL is http://haystack.lcs.mit.edu.
Screenshot at:
http://haystack.lcs.mit.edu/images/screenshot.jpg
The best info is at http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/dquan/ in the second publication.

So the question is, what will Chandler provide that Haystack and Outlook dont?

Posted by: Rahul at December 15, 2002 06:58 AM

Dear Mr. Kapor,

I read the recent blurb, "The Outlook Killer", in the November 2002 issue of Wired Magazine with great interest. I am particularly interested in the implementation of contact management systems in an Open Source environment, and in this case, specifically the "auto-updating address book" feature of Chandler.

About a year ago, having grown frustrated with the limitations of proprietary contact management systems, I launched an initiative called OpenContact on the web, at http://opencontact.org. While the site never quite took off, I still believe OpenContact.org poses some valid expectations and questions for the contact management industry.

Although I may have limited programming experience, I have listened to the complaints of hundreds of small and medium sized businesses who seek a better way to manage their contact information. OpenContact.org represents a wishlist for an Open Source standard of contact management, and Chandler seems to have the potential of fulfilling the front-end role of such a system.

I look forward to learning more about Chandler. Also, Mr. Kapor, if it is possible, I would welcome the opportunity to communicate with you via e-mail. My e-mail address is wlevin@macboy.com

Sincerely,

William Levin

[reposted]

Posted by: William Levin at December 15, 2002 12:07 PM

Mitch,

You got hosed. I expected more from Wired.

Posted by: kent Barrett at December 15, 2002 03:46 PM

What Wired did to you Mitch is what is going on with reporting on the web in general. Everyone wants a splash screen, the BIG story, very few wish to speak of the technical merits of a given project.

Posted by: Don Ulrich at December 16, 2002 01:42 AM

Hey Mitch,

Sorry to hear about what happened to you. I once shared a plane ride with a very young lady who went to school with the intention of becoming a journalist all the way. She achieved her goal and quit within a year because she couldn't stand the way she was pressured to manipulate her subjects into doing a story on false pretenses.

RE: headlines, this is true. From what I've heard, the people writing the headlines are not the same ones writing the story.

Posted by: GilbertZ at December 16, 2002 07:33 AM

Scratch that last comment. I just read the article. That was a snow job. Who's the guy in the pic?

Posted by: GilbertZ at December 16, 2002 07:35 AM

Don U. wrote "What Wired did to you Mitch is what is going on with reporting on the web in general.".

I would expand that: What Wired did to Mitch is what the vast majority of journalists have done to their victims for the entire history of journalism. It's Sturgeon's Law, biting 90% of everything, day in, day out.

Posted by: Doug L. at December 19, 2002 01:36 PM

Mitch,

I learned long ago. Do not talk to a jounalist unless you know going in you are going to be misquoted. I ALWAYS return ALL phone calls or e-mails UNLESS it is someone from the media. I don't trust any of them.

The unfortunate thing is - your misquoted words are now a matter of public record and may come back to haunt you 5 years down the road.

Posted by: MikeS at December 19, 2002 04:01 PM