Wow – times have changed or have they.
Technology has away of fooling us into believing we are ready. Look at interactive TV or Push technology.
Remember Pointcast: In August 1998, PointCast debuted its push technology screensaver, designed to display news (and ads) while your computer protected your monitor from screen burn-in in. Leveraging an exciting new technology called “push”.
“Users don’t hunt their way through what the Web has to offer. Instead, they simply enter a variety of interests and needs into a server-side database. Then the server collects all the information it feels is relevant and pushes the data to the user’s desktop via client software, which is sometimes a standard browser but is often a proprietary interface.”
Now look at the tiles on Windows 8, desktop, phones and tablets, what’s changed 10 plus years later?
Design, sure, but more importantly infrastructure. This data, which during the pointcast days crushed large corporate networks is now delivered and updated regularly to cell phones.
Infrastructure takes time to mature and evolve and as entrepreneurs its our job when picking our next startup to determine which problem set you want to solve. New infrastructure or an application that exploits an emerging infrastructure advancement.
These are a few of the trends I’m following: shopping, real time algorithms, 3D printing, DNA sequencing, sensor networks, small batch manufacturing techniques, community and localized power. I’ve stopped following app stores, data compression, and big data.
What are you following?
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I’ve always struggled trying to describe when a startup is no longer a startup and I personally like Steve Blank‘s, author of the Startup Owners Manual, definition.
Steve also suggests their are two stages to building a company, Search and Execution but i believe the startup to company transition actually happens over 3 stages. This additional stage happens after search and just before execution. The time period when you are just starting to execute, raise money and hire as opposed to actually having enough money and the momentum behind your repeatable, scalable, business model to fund operations and growth. I add this level of clarification primarily because in my experience they are operationally different and can also be mapped to employee risk and company structure.
The law of diffusion of innovation is a great way to view the lifecycle of a company and to determine where you as an individual are probably going to find the most happiness and satisfaction on the job.
If you are startup junkie you love the innovator through early adopters stage, and if you’re into minimal structure type you will enjoy when a company reaches its tipping point through the end of the early majority and last if you really enjoy all of the processes and procedures being in place the late majority through laggard stage is probably the best type of company for you.
Knowing the level of risk and structure in a company will help make everyone in the process happier. The tension on the edges is where CEO’s get replaced, employees turn into jerks and where most people are miserable and complain.
Two other thoughts:
- A later stage company can experience all three stages during periods of innovation. This is important because its the place large companies can get employees excited. Organizations like Google use the 20% of your time concept to keep people passionate.
- Some people can move up and down the entire stack Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison and of course <your name here>
- If you are thinking about starting a high tech business you should read the Startup Owners Manual, review the course online or take my graduate level class at University of Colorado.
Endorsements are a light weight method of aligning your social capital with a colleagues specific skills. Below is my current snapshot.
What I am finding interesting is the perception vs reality. I primarily think of my self as an entrepreneur/innovator who has specific skills around UX, UI and business process, and the world so far has aligned itself with the entrepreneur/innovator. This is good, I think, but it clearly shows I am missing the mark on educating people on my other skills. I have since added a few portfolio pieces via an app from Behance. I wonder if it will change the perception or if my reality is off.
Offering a simpler way to align ones social capital feels right, but i wonder how it effects us in 10 years. The attention economy needs to be revisited, now that we have all of these subtle signals: likes, endorsements, thumbs up. The bigger social question, if we take a step back, is how will the like/endorsement change our society. The simple answer is personalization. Whats the real answer?
The latest version of the IOS has dropped Google maps in favor of an Apple proprietary maps app. Their is an awesome lesson in here for startups and consumers. Leveraging a closed platform limits choice.
With that said, I have been using iOS6 for a few months and the integration of turn-by-turn directions is so much better then the previous Google maps integration that i do not believe they should even be compared.
- I am not suggesting that Apple is the first mobile OS to offer this feature, their solution is better than other turn-by-turn apps or that the current implementation choice was the best one for the community.
I am simply saying as a consumer, and someone who is direction challenged, having turn-by-turn directions integrated directly into the OS is f”ing awesome and the way it should have been since the beginning.
I have been researching what i think is a fascinating change happening in retail and I’m noticing 5 concepts merging at the same time, which is wreaking havoc on the entire industry:
- Brick and mortar stores are becoming showrooms for online purchases
- Products are becoming more sophisticated
- Sales people are clueless
- Interrupt advertising is not working
- Companies are clueless about social
I recently did some research around buying a smart phone. I visited all 3 major carriers plus a big box retailer. These are the best one liners I heard during my conversation with the employees:
- Sprint told me all Apple apps cost money and all Android Apps are free
- Verizon said Android is open sourced so the apps are better then the iPhone
- AT&T said all Android phones could be upgraded to the latest OS
- BestBuy said the camera on the the latest Samsung was an awesome camera in low light and the sales person illustrated this by taking out his personal phone and taking a screen shot of the home screen
Besides lies and nonsense, none of the representatives could tell me anything really useful about the devices and several told me to go read the reviews online. I was shocked, BestBuy did not even have actual phones on the floor, only slugs. Getting me in the door is hard enough and these companies spend billions to make that happen. I am not sure who had the great idea of telling their employees to send customers home to do their own research.
One interesting note: If you ask them about the plans, they new the higher level details to sound educated. At first you would say ok they’re the carrier and not the device maker, but if you look at the latest plans for these devices:
- Verizon Share Everything plan is $40 for unlimited calling and text in the US
- AT&T Mobile Share is slightly more complicated but it starts at $45 for unlimited calling and text in the US
What’s so fascinating is the complexity is now switching from the plan to the device, and the retail environment is not keeping up leaving me unsatisfied again. A classic one step forward two steps back.
Why are these people selling your products its not just Smartphone and its not the sales people’s fault. This is bigger issue and it needs to be solved in a completely new way.
Hmm, i have an idea.
I wonder if the
cuts at the Apple store will lead to replacing the majority of their underpaid floor workers with Facetime and workers behind glass. I could see a basket of iPads at the front door and glued to the table next to each product. When the consumer needs help, they tap the screen and talk to the genius behind the glass. A custom version of facetime could be created that told the person behind the glass where in the store the user was standing. A new kind of in-store GPS called Point of Sale (POS).
Update: that was faster then i was expecting, 1 day after I predict Apple will have geniuses behind glass they announced a new feature to its Online store in the UK. Apple Geniuses to help you pick the right iPhone.
New Tech Boulder predicts 54% of the existing iPhone users will switch from AT&T to Verizon. What’s the math and is it time to buy Verizon, Apple or short AT&T stock?
- According to comScore 23% of the iPhones sold as of November 2010 were for the US Market.
- The same article reports about 75 million iPhones have been sold to date.
If the New Tech survey is accurate and 54% of the people switch thats 9,315,000 new Verizon customers.
- If these number are correct and using my AT&T bill as an average $150 a month, This will increase Verizon monthly billings by $2,587,500,000.
- Increasing Verizon’s annual revenue by $31,050,000,000.
Holy sh!t these numbers seem crazy.
I don’t think the current Verizon stock reflects these types of increases, but remember buying and selling stock is an adult responsibility and I’m not an investment advisor.
- AT&T stock price 28.85 / market cap 170 bilion
- Verizon Stock price 35.93 / market cap 101 billion
- Apple Stock price 336.12 / market cap 303 billion
A few other stats you might find interesting:
- 26% have already switched to Android
- 5% have switch to Windows 7
- 4% use a blackberry
Has the business world given up on Linkedin?
Two years ago, I would have exclusvily said Facebook is for friends and Linkedin in is for business, not anymore. I am starting to get more business requests on Facebook than LinkedIn. Trend or anomaly?
in 1996 I started writing a book, “Information is the user interface”. I never finished it, but the theme is more alive today today than it was 1996.
A new trend that is starting to emerge with business communication is transparency. Ad agencies are getting into the action, look at the CPB campaign for Domino’s and startups are doing it as well.
Last night at New Tech Boulder a local company, Sparkfun, shared their business strategy and growth from bedroom to a 50 thousand square foot facility and last week Backflip studio’s CEO shared his personal and corporate story with a group of students I teach at BDW.
Thanks for sharing.