Thursday, December 25, 2008

Long tail?

Another illustration that Search is a winner-takes-all market. This distribution can be explained by users switching their priorities for search engines. Albert-László Barabási writes in Nature ( 435, 207-211 (12 May 2005))
... the main finding is that the observed fat-tailed activity distributions can be explained by a simple hypothesis: humans execute their tasks based on some perceived priority, setting up queues that generate very uneven waiting time distributions for different tasks.
One important question to consider: what does it take for people to re-think their priorities? For example, we can see how high energy prices forced consumers to abandon gas-guzzling trucks. Other examples of massive priority shifts?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CNet on Dec 5, 2008:
Apple announced ... 300 million applications have been downloaded from a catalog that now tops 10,000 different apps.
Most of those applications are just an interface with the "infocloud". I wonder how difficult it would be move them to a different mobile platform. Despite all the hoopla, Microsoft and Google might not that far behind. The long-term dominance in the enterprise software space is at stake here. Any company that figures out a way to tap into mission-critical business applications will come out the strongest out of the current industry downturn.

As a side note: this would be a good example to consider in the class with regard to the 10x diagram. Specifically, students need to appreciate how Apple drives increase in user interaction with the iPhone/iPod ( the Time axis).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Innovation in e-tailing

Over the last week ( 12/2 - 12/9) I've been tracking Amazon's bestsellers in the HDTV category. To my surprise, I discovered that prices for most popular TV sets sold and shipped by the e-tailer fluctuate over time. For example, the price of Samsung's LN46A650 HDTV varies from $1,499.99 to $1,614 ( see the graph below).

I wonder if they run some kind of a reverse auction to maximize revenue from the holiday traffic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Why PhDs voted overwhelmingly for Barak Obama in this election cycle?

One explanation would be that so far the scientific community took the biggest employment hit during this recession, therefore people voted with their wallets. For example, Monster Employment Index for the San Francisco Bay Area shows that over the last 12 months job demand in Life, Physical, and Social Sciences category fell 50% ( Oct, 07 - 121; Oct, 08 - 61).

Military and Maintenance/Repair jobs were among the least affected.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Winner-takes-all holiday markets

Shopping news ( 8:04pm PST, 12/1/08):
- 9 out 10 bestsellers in the mp3/audio category are iPods;
- LCD TVs: 5 Samsung, 2 Panasonic, 2 Toshiba, 1 Sony;
- Car GPS: 5 Garmin, 2 TomTom; 2 Magellan; 1 Other;
- Car audio and speekers: totally dominated by Pioneer (9 out 10);
- Shredders are split between Fellowes and Aurora;
- All-in-one (printer/fax/copier): 7 HP, 3 Canon;
- Home/Office phones: 10 out 10 Panasonic

If you are a #3, you are nobody.