Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the death of a business model

In the Social Life of Information ( p. 176-178) they write about predicted death of paper that never happened. They also mention newspapers that at the time of the book publication (200) looked rather healthy despite some competition from internet news sites.

Today we can clearly see that newspapers in their traditional paper form are dying. And the reason for that is not the technology, e.g. paper vs screen, but the business model. Advertisement that supported newspapers for four hundred years is moving on to the internet. Google and craiglist found a better way to provide relevant ads, and money followed. Cut off from their traditional source of income, newspapers started looking for different business models.
Most likely, a similar fate is awaiting broadcast TV. They are already losing ground to cable, but this trend will probably accelerate when new video-based advertisement models are created.

tags: technology evolution source prediction newspapers tv

from invention to innovation

,s the challenge in moving systemically from an initial inventon through complementarity to innovation is the challenge of coordinating diverse, disparate. and often diverging. but ultimately complementary, communities of practice. The Social Life of Information. p. 160.

Note the role of systematic approach. Also, use of reverse brainstorm can be very beneficial to flesh out various complementary needs of the organization.

tags: quote invention innovation brainstorm problem evolution

innovation failures

Ie evident failure of the Xerox Corporation to make use of the knowledge developed at PARC has well-known parallels, n in Xerox's own history. Chester Carlson, who invented the erographic process, offered several corporations, including IBM Iud A.B. Dick, his idea. None would buy it, for none could lagine how a photocopier could justify its expense when carbon paper was so cheap. The copier did not merely replace carbon paper, however. It transformed the way people used docunts to organize work-as the Web is doing once agaIn. Even innovative organizations are often quite unable to understand such transformations.

Social Life of information. p. 158

Note how Christensen's "disruption" concept doesn't work here. You can try to smuggle it in through the backdoor of "non-consumption", but it would be a significant stretch.
A typical situation when an inventor solves a synthesis problem.

tags: invention innovation problem synthesis

Innovation system interfaces

It's easy, this case ( GUI development at Xerox PARC) reminds us, to believe that scientific results provide objective measures that can show one technology to be "superior" to another. All that's needed for ideas to flow, from this perspective, is the right information. In fact, such judgement rely on subjective understanding, intuition, and evnisioning that varies from commnity to community and practice to practice. These variations are much harder to deal with.

In case of the GUI, however. when the researchers. with their new criteria, met the engineers, each side accused the other of arrogance or stupidity (or both). It's easy to blame the corporate side of such exchanges, particularly when the invention goes on to be a success. But where the GUI researchers had had the opportunity to develop their understanding incremen_ tally in practice, the engineers had to make a large conceptual leap in one go. Nature, it's said, doesn't make leaps. And it isn't n the nature of corporations, either.
The Social life of information. p. 156.

tags: quote invention innovation interfaces control source tool

Invention and Innovation

Separation that advances invention, however, creates problems for innovation, which is the implementation of invention. Invention produces new ideas. It requires inovation and organizational coordination, however, to turn these ideas into new products and processes.
The Social Life of Information, by John Seely Brown, and Paul Duguid, p. 155. "Becoming United".

Separation here means Adam Smith's separation of labor.

See also ( p. 154): As tightening the ties of formal coodination inevitably inhibits creativity, firms often loosen them to encourage it. Loosening ties this way is a well-established business practice. Lockheed did it with its "skunk works". Xerox did it with PARC. GM did it with an entire division when it set up the Saturn project, etc..

tags: invention innovation quote

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Senator: Expect data privacy and patent law rewrite | CNET

Senator: Expect data privacy and patent law rewrite | CNET "High-tech companies, some of which have voiced support for the Leahy-Hatch proposal, have levied a hefty list of gripes about the current system in recent years. They say its setup has encouraged a proliferation of bad patents, disproportionately exorbitant settlements in infringement suits, and so-called 'patent trolls,' who sit on patents in hopes of seeking a lucrative licensing deal from alleged infringers."

tags: patent law super system reform integrity

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Free flicks, art for Netflix users | CNET

Free flicks, art for Netflix users | CNET "Whether you use them as coupons or fridge art, you might want to hang on to those red Netflix envelope flaps. Blockbuster is offering free movie rentals for every Netflix envelope flap brought into participating stores December 5 through 21. In order to qualify, however, Netflix subscribers must also have a Blockbuster store membership. The membership is free and can be applied for at the store. "

Sic transit gloria munid. Blockbuster is desperate to compete against Netflix, but I don't think its strategy is going to work. Since Netflix doesn't charge per DVD, there's no advantage for consumers to exchange individual items for a rental. Internet-based distribution model favors virtual stores, not brick-and-mortar ones.
Traditional PC manufacturers lost to Dell in a similar manner.

tags: control point distribution video DVD internet

TV networks reportedly discussing YouTube rival | CNET

TV networks reportedly discussing YouTube rival | CNET "News Corp.'s Fox, Viacom, CBS and NBC Universal are in talks about creating a video Web site to compete with Google's YouTube, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

While a deal is still far off, the four media companies envision a jointly owned site that would be the primary Web source for videos from their television networks, the paper said in an online report on, citing people close to the situation.

The companies aim to cash in on the fast-growing market of Web video advertising and have also discussed building a Web video player that could play clips, the Journal said."

Another indication that YouTube business model is valid.

tags: distribution video advertisement content
The teachers of philosophy and theology in the universities [...] were the most influential intellctuals of the medieval West. They were among the grandparents, if not parents of the New Model, though they were not intentional innovators. They did not believe they they had to invent or discover wisdom, but only to rediscover it. St Bonaventure called them "compilers and weavers of approved opinions."
They constructed summaries and encyclopedias of the ancient heritage, adapting and simplifying in accordance with Christian beliefs the little they had and often, like archaelogists cataloging potsherds, becoming engrossed in mnitiae.
The difference between the scholarly effort of the two periods was the the first was an attempt to save as much as possible from a shrinking body of knowledge [], and the second was an attempt to make sense of an expanding body of knowledge as a whole hay mow spilled onto the barn floor. p. 61.
The Schoolmen had to solve the daunting problem of how to organise the massive bequest from the pagan, Islamic, and Christian thinkers. The measure of reality, p. 62.

tags: quote restructure performance source storage

University as a source

In 1231 Pope Gregory IX ussued a bull recognizing the University of Paris as a corporation under papal protection, buttressing the institution's claim of exemption from local authority.
The West had invented an enduring institution whose function was to provide employment for professional thinkers and learners.
As a reward for indulging the universities, the Church and state received generations of literate, bright, intellectually rigorous bishops, administrators, and assorted bureaucrats who had attended and often taught at univiersities.

The Measure of Reality, by Alfred B. Crosby. p. 60. ISBN 0-521-55427-6. 1997

tags: education source science synthesis

Friday, December 08, 2006

Power corrupts quote

Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg, 1st Baron Quote about power on Yahoo! Education: "Quote:
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad man.

Author: Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg, 1st Baron"

Why? What does it mean in system terms?

tags: control degradation performance


Hertz: "With this oscillator, Hertz solved two problems: 1) timing Maxwell's waves (he had demonstrated, in the concrete, what Maxwell had only theorized: that the velocity of radio waves was equal to the velocity of light), and 2) how to make the electric and magnetic fields detach themselves from wires and go free as Maxwell's waves.
Hertz thought his discoveries were no more practical than Maxwell's. "It's of no use whatsoever," he replied. "This is just an experiment that proves Maestro Maxwell was right - we just have these mysterious electromagnetic waves that we cannot see with the naked eye. But they are there." "So, what next?" asked one of his students. Hertz shrugged. He was a modest man, of no pretensions and, apparently, little ambition. "Nothing, I guess." "

Note the gap between discovery and its applications. Even the discoverer himself is hardly aware of a system that can be possibly synthesized utilizing the phenomenon he's just discovered.

tags: problem solution detection synthesis radio radar waves

100 years of Grace Hopper

100 years of Grace Hopper: "Her greatest achievement in computing was here, as she gradually evolved the idea that software should be easy to use instead of being a long string of mathematical functions and notations.

From that point came the principle that programs should be easy enough for businesspeople to use and understand; in principle, COBOL is for the businessperson, not the scientist."

compare to Bill Gate's Basic for PCs.

tags: problem discovery domain example control synthesis

100 years of Grace Hopper

100 years of Grace Hopper: "Her greatest achievement in computing was here, as she gradually evolved the idea that software should be easy to use instead of being a long string of mathematical functions and notations.

From that point came the principle that programs should be easy enough for businesspeople to use and understand; in principle, COBOL is for the businessperson, not the scientist."

compare to Bill Gate's Basic for PCs.

tags: problem discovery domain example control synthesis

Monday, December 04, 2006

Chambers: Businesses to adopt YouTube model | CNET

Chambers: Businesses to adopt YouTube model: "Already, 25 million videos are being downloaded from YouTube every day. But that could turn out to be peanuts, compared with what user-generated content can really do, Chambers said.
'That's our children--wait till we get hold of it,' Chambers told delegates at the ITU Telecom World conference here Monday. 'We will change business models on this. In the future, it will be about producing it yourself' as enterprises start to adopt technologies such as collaboration tools.

User interaction and content sharing could be put to use particularly effectively with telemedicine, where health care information could be distributed to those in areas where medical facilities are not so common, Chambers said.
'Now we're beginning to provide health care to remote villages in China and India--that will change society,' he said.

As a result of a trend toward content sharing from businesses and consumers alike, network traffic will obviously reach new highs, Chambers predicted.

'We haven't seen anything yet,' he said. By 2015, the Cisco chief believes that 15 exabytes a month will be traveling through assorted pipes across the world. (An exabyte is a billion gigabytes.)"

tags: distribution infrastructure video content consumers

United States Patent Application: 0060268528

United States Patent Application: 0060268528: "[0017] In recent years, portable computing devices such as laptops, PDAs, media players, cellular phones, etc., have become small, light and powerful. One factor contributing to this phenomena is in the manufacturer's ability to fabricate various components of these devices in smaller and smaller sizes while in most cases increasing the power and or operating speed of such components. Unfortunately, the trend of smaller, lighter and powerful presents a continuing design challenge in the design of some components of the portable computing devices.

[0018] One design challenge associated with the portable computing devices is the design of the enclosures used to house the various internal components of the portable computing devices. This design challenge generally arises from two conflicting design goals--the desirability of making the enclosure lighter and thinner, and the desirability of making the enclosure stronger and more rigid. The lighter enclosures, which typically use thinner plastic structures and fewer fasteners, tend to be more flexible and therefore they have a greater propensity to buckle and bow when used while the stronger and more rigid enclosures, which typically use thicker plastic structures and more fasteners, tend to be thicker and carry more weight. Unfortunately, increased weight may lead to user dissatisfaction, and bowing may damage the internal parts of the portable computing devices.

tags: apple phone challenge quote dilemma problem patent