Archive for December 22nd, 2007
I can’t resist posting this one, but you have to read this piece in Ars Technica on how hand held device manufacturers and the chip manufacturers who manufacture the processors for the devices are being forced to look at newer markets:
The vast bulk of the history of computing up until the present day has been about moving semiconductors from the server room to the business desktop, then from the business desktop to the first class cabin, and then from first class into coach. At this point, everyone who can afford a cheap plane ticket or a pair of Nikes is already wired to the gills with transistors, and the major bottlenecks in getting those folks to buy even more of them are mostly out of Intel’s control (i.e., screen size/quality, battery life, connectivity, usability).
To see real growth in the coming decades, Intel, AMD, and the rest of the semi industry must focus on markets where an iPhone would cost a month’s income, and then on markets where it would cost a year’s income.
This is a drum I’ve been beating for a long time that someone has to blink first and introduce a device that is a bare bones internet access device, at a price point of INR 4000 – 6000 (a Nokia E50 that supports EDGE currently costs INR 9000) and take about INR 2000 per unit of that as cost for a couple of years to kill the penetration issue and unleash internet access on the masses, like how it happened with mobile phones.
A fairly usable unlimited data plan on Airtel these days (Mobile Office) costs INR 500 per month. A proper device (the right form factor much in the lines of PSP and a full QWERTY keyboard) along these lines can set the market on fire and give the ever-hungry telcos a whole new breed of consumers and the silicon guys a new market to power using their new chips.
What is even better is that EDGE works pretty much around the country, essentially meaning that you get decent access to the internet pretty much from a whole host of places where it is just not available due to various reasons (Airtel refuses to provide me with a DSL link till they can find some more people from the same area).
The critical factor in all of this is getting someone to blink. Such a device would not find much uptake without the telcos actively pushing it. But, for all of this to happen, someone has to go out of the way and place themselves in the risky position of being the first ones to open up a new market.
I guess we are still a bit away from any of the players getting that desperate, but I guess the time is not too far off before something like that will happen.
Of late, how companies are run and how they manage their people has been grabbing more of my attention. It is a crazy world out there right now with most of the traditional benchmarks and rules being thrown out of the window.
There used to be a time when ten years meant not much in setting up and establishing a company and impacting the industry it belonged to in any significant manner. Cut to the present and you will see companies with billion dollar valuations being set up and turning the market upside down in time frames that are considerably shorter than that.
This is a blog entry that really is not out there to say much other than express a sense of wonder at how things have changed. Case in point is the outgoing Red Hat CEO’s message to the world about his impending departure. It was published on the company blog of all places.
The entry is written much on the lines of an informal blog post, reminiscing and ruminating on how the company has grown over the years and even reading in places like a 21st century version of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire“.
For someone like me, who has spent most of his career doing the one-man-army thing, the past two years of running a decent sized team and dealing with issues related to it has been an educating experience that no fancy MBA or any amount of money can buy. And one of the wonderful things about the internet is to be able to read and cull from such a vast amount of personal experience from others like Szulik.
Sometimes, among all this talk of billion dollar valuations, turnovers and product lines that can change the world in less than five year cycles, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that even these amazing companies are also headed and run by people, just like any other set up.
If you were to look at it that way, there is a lot to be learned and even more to aspire to, for everyone, provided we are willing to go the whole hog and be systematic, disciplined and always keep the longer term perspective firmly in our sights.