Monday, September 05, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
What's next now?
Back in 2007, before the iphone had even launched, when Brad Burnham asked ‘What’s Next?’, I pointed to Christensen and said:
“Christensen paints a picture of various elements of a ‘stack’ disintegrating and re-integrating (ie re-aggregating) over time with value moving back and forth between those elements (thus his “law of conservation of attractive profits” referring to adjacent elements of the stack going through cycles of commoditization.) … An obvious example: the PC disintegrated the computing-device stack and pushed value to some of the individual elements of the stack – benefiting Intel and Microsoft among others. More recently, the ipod (and to some extent the mac) has reintegrated the stack arguably shifting value back to the ‘hardware’ or ‘device’ as an aggregated whole.”
Four years on, with the success of the iphone and the Kindle, and now, Google’s decision to buy Motorola Mobility, the “integration” cycle seems to be nearly complete.
"Nearly": First off, it seems unlikely that Google will become an integrated player like Apple is today. My bet would be that Google integrates not only Motorola’s patent portfolio but also much of their technology expertise and talent to create reference architectures designs and may be key hardware for their partners like Samsung. But once Google integrates the key engineering teams, it can only make sense for them to sell the Motorola brand, distribution and a hollowed-out hardware business to a company like HP. Ironically, this Googorola may begin to look more like the wintel of the 1990’s (without the Motorola brand.)
So what’s next then? What is the next big strategic shift (say, 3-4 years from now), which could put us back on a dis-integration cycle?
Purely theoretically, it seems like that value could shift to the network – ie the mobile operators. But that seems so unimaginable at this point, that I will leave it there.
What else, besides Microsoft ( ;-) ), could save us from the constraints of a Google / Apple duopoly, and jump-start dis-integration? The only things I could imagine are (1) HTML 5, and (2) personal information integrators.
1. HTML 5 could finally render the os obsolete… finally(!) That’s what everyone hoped and/or feared from the early days of Netscape, and ironically, it could make a Firefox the new king maker (again.) HTML 5, built on the advanced hardware platforms of a couple of years from now could remove much of the advantages of integrated platforms like Apple and Googorola. Evolving standards would create a seamless experience even in a dis-integrated world. The OS wouldn’t matter to the experience, and nor would the hardware. And the equivalent to the App Store or Android Market would be distributed, like the web is today, but with room for giant market makers like Amazon.
2. Be it Facebook, Google+, or even iCloud or a Dropbox, or rather I hope, a still to be formed startup, one or more companies may be able to build on top of the existing stack and create value by solving one of the other much sought-after holy grails of the internet – to be a repository and manager of your information and interactions across devices, clouds and web services. Such an animal will free us from increasing constraints imposed by the integrated stack duopoly, and shift value creation away from the existing stacks to itself… One can only hope that the winning solution here will be an open-source / open-data P2P platform.
That’s what the world is looking like to me.
(If I turn out to be way off, I will need to blog more often to push this post down beyond page 1 and into oblivion.)
Friday, June 19, 2009
Visionary Perseverance vs Stubborn Stupidity
One of the conclusions of the speech was that if you believe in what you are doing, you should persevere, and you will be successful.
One hears this conclusion quite often in the retelling of success stories. But the problem is that when you hear about stories of failure - and normally such stories do not make it to a key note address – it is told by the investors who were smart enough not to invest. “Every one told the CEO it was a stupid idea, and he just went on wasting his time on it. It was clear it was going to fail.”
It seems that the line separating “stubborn stupidity” from “visionary perseverance” can only be drawn in retrospect.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A Case for CATs
This is the intro:
A Carbon Added Tax (CAT) is like a sales tax on the carbon emitted to produce the goods and services we consume. From the CAT perspective, when you buy say, a computer, you are responsible for the carbon emitted in producing its mother board and the hard disk and each subcomponent in the computer, as well as that emitted from the fuel burnt by ships and trucks transporting it, and to power the electricity in the shop selling it. A CAT levies a tax on the consumer for all this “embodied” carbon, at the point of sale.And here is what's in it:
This paper argues that a CAT represents a better way to affect global carbon emissions, because it leverages the global nature of the world economy to cut through geographic and legislative boundaries. The paper also addresses the major arguments against the CAT – the assumed difficulty of measuring embodied carbon and administering the tax. It discusses the latest developments in this area, and proposes structural incentives to overcome those obstacles.
The Moral Imperative: Consumer vs Producer Responsibility
The Quantitative Impact of the Consumer Responsibility Perspective
The Economics: A Global Public Good
Structural Problems with the Producer Responsibility Paradigm
The CAT in Practice
Accounting View: Counting Carbon for CATs
A Philosophical Note: Archimedes’ Lever
A Time to CAT?
Labels: embodied carbon
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Macbook Environmental Report
Of course, I will have to point out that Apple estimates its embodied emissions (ie emissions from production and transport) to be 60% of the total lifecycle emissions of the product, versus 39% for customer use. Not to repeat myself too often, but why is it every one seems to be focusing on the 39% portion?
Labels: embodied carbon
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The CAT is out of the bag
Then I did a search, and found that Nobel-laureate Joe Stiglitz recently proposed the same idea:
"A carbon added tax (CAT), levied at each stage of production, would have some of the same advantages that a value added consumption tax has. Each producer would have to show receipts for the carbon tax paid on inputs into its production. The taxes levied at each stage of production would be passed on to consumers. It is as if the tax were imposed on consumers… A carbon value added tax will both discourage production in more carbon intensive ways and discourage the consumption of carbon intensive goods."His proposal pretty much sums up my thought process…
But perhaps even more interesting is that some one called Ewan O'Leary, registered the URLs for carbonaddedtax.com and .org last February. Now that is some real forward thinking!!! ;-)
Labels: embodied carbon
Thursday, July 17, 2008
OUR personal data on the web
We need a new "Social Data Contract" for the web.
Labels: Data Web30