I like this tongue and cheek checklist that the Harvard Business Review came up with so I thought I'd share it. Of course, this is really telling you what NOT TO DO if you want to have innovation become a part of your organization. Enjoy!
Hello folks. Here is a videoCast that I did with Stephen Hayward for our Project X Ltd. blog and I thought I'd cross post here at mip's scan and over at mipcast. This videoCast talks about some of the things we took away from MicroStrategy World.
I created a videoCast today which was released on the mipcast site and on the Project X blog. In case you were interested, the topic was the emerging trend for business intelligence in 2010. It is a brief video chat (about 5 minutes) that we thought we'd record as a part of some casual discussions we'd been having at the start of the conference we are attending.
To watch the video over at the mipcast, click here.
Or you can see the version that was uploaded to YouTube after the jump below.
I started using an interesting online tool called Lazyfeed that has an interesting way to stream (visually) updates from the web along topics you want to follow. I thought that rather than trying to describe this via a written post that a quick screencast would best demonstrate how this tool works since it is highly visual in nature. You can either play the video below, or go to YouTube and select HQ for a higher quality version of it.
So for the past while I've been enjoying the use of the iPod Touch. There have been numerous reviews of this device and so I'm not going to do an exhaustive review of every little feature here. Suffice it to say that the iPod Touch lives up to the hype. Often with new technology, the hype around a new product grows so large that when the device is finally released it has no chance of living up to the hype surrounding it. The iPod Touch (and first the iPhone) had a lot of hype. I'm happy to say though that it all works as advertised. Dive into the video review I've got below; there I'll step through some of some of the smaller, not often mentioned aspects of this device. It is the little things, the small attention to detail that Apple gives it products, that really enhance the ongoing use of a product.
Having a creative side to my personality I really enjoy reading/watching things relating to technology that have been done in a creative way. I came across this video on YouTube that shows the evolution of the web, from where it started to where it is to where it is going. I don't want to spoil it for you so...just watch it!
Ok...I'm finally back. Was away, as you know, on vacation last week and this week had been a short one due to the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. Needless to say, I've been swamped and haven't even had time to read, let alone write.
But now this fine Saturday morning I'm sitting back with some coffee and catching up on reading. I'd read the news that Google bought YouTube and have had the week to think about it. As you know, I've been experimenting with the YouTube service, amongst others, through my other site mip teevee and I have always really liked the YouTube experience as a means to publish content. I also really like YouTube as a source for accessing and consuming content. There is a lot of great content there.
So how did I feel about the Google news? I had mixed feelings. On the one hand it made me worry that the overall user experience might change. The community aspect of it. You can see people already on the site commenting their "good-byes". This feeling I had though, was a small one, and a brief one. The other side of me was thrilled for a few reasons. Firstly, it gives YouTube a lifeline. There is only so long that a service can run for free. They needed some cash behind this stellar offering. Google has that. Secondly, as the continued popularity of YouTube grew and grew, there were infrastructure cracks starting to appear. Slow downs in performance, site unavailability, videos embedded in other sites taking a long time to load occasionally. Video is a bandwidth intense thing - it needs sound, robust, redundant infrastructure. Google has this in spades. Thirdly, Google is an innovator and that makes me feel good about YouTube as well, because as one of the two YouTube founders said (see video at the end of this post) "Two kings have gotten together...the king of video and the king of search." Reflect on this a minute and you'll see that Google can turn YouTube into an even stronger player. YouTube dominates but with deep pocket competitors like Microsoft trying to muscle in with offerings like Soapbox it is important for YouTube to keep outpacing the competition. I think the Google YouTube deal will allow the offering to do that.
My other concern was a legal one. There is content on YouTube that is copyright. As of late YouTube had been closing deals with content providers and that is good. I thought initially that as soon as Google bought YouTube, that the lawsuits would startup right away because Google has money. Seems I was wrong in this initial thinking and it looks like the content providers, like Warner for example, figure, they can either get their money through partnerships or lawsuits...and partnerships might be the better way to go.
Anyway, my congrats to YouTube. I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Check out the video in the continued part of this post - it is the founders of YouTube posting a video just after the acquisition.
Ah...the joys of being right once and a while. Remember my post from a few days ago where I said that the real iPod killer will simply be Microsoft throwing gobs of money away to gain marketshare? Well with today's announcement on the Zune pricing, it would seem to be exactly Microsoft's strategy.
The Redmond, Washington-based software giant has said it plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and market the Zune, and acknowledged the investment may take years to bear fruit.
You can read in the announcement that Microsoft doesn't plan to make any money on the Zune this holiday season - they are fully prepared to sell it at a lose. This is where it becomes tricky and dangerous for Apple. They can't really afford to take "years of loses" like Microsoft. I repeat my mantra from before. This is the time, now that the Zune features and pricing have all been announced, that Apple should strike fast with their next generation iPod to put real distance between themselves and Microsoft. Failure to do so will see market erosion, reduced revenue and perhaps a spectacular stumble as Sony did with the Playstation products.
That is something that Microsoft has a lot of. A couple of weeks ago someone sent me an email that alluded to the fact that Microsoft's Zune might not knock the iPod from its market dominant position, but that future versions of it could. The argument went like this: remember when the Xbox came out, and Sony's PS2 continued to dominate. But Microsoft sold the Xbox at a loss, never turning a profit on it and then rapidly came out with the next version of it before Sony could deliver the PS3. If Microsoft can do that with the xBox, is the Zune destined to take the same strategic path? Microsoft could sell the device at a loss and continue to evolve it until it bested the iPod. Apple on the other hand does not have the luxury of selling the devices at a loss.
I thought about that approach, and then let it go. Then I read another opinion piece on another very good blog, Blackfriars' Marketing and they drove the point home even more. What if Microsoft decided to simply give the Zune away, say sell it for $99? Now they'd have pushed the price down so far that it could be an impulse buy. Something people could/would buy and figure, "hey, if it sucks, who cares....I only spent $99." In this give-it-away-for-nothing scenario it could indeed cause Apple to falter and stumble in the same way that Sony did. The reason would be, because Apple can't afford to give the iPod away at a loss. Microsoft has deep pockets and has often given products away by subsidizing them with dollars from their cash cow products, like Windows XP and Microsoft Office.
Now I still stand by my belief that end users want a complete and robust end-to-end user experience and not necessarily a less expensive device. If it was cost, then there have been many devices that have already come and gone that cost less than the iPod. But what if Microsoft delivers an experience that is not as good, but pretty good and virtually free? Give the device away and make money on subscription fees. That's what they are doing with the Xbox 360 right? Losing money on the hardware and making it up on games and Xbox Live? This pressure that is created by not having to be concerned with what a product launch does to the bottom line is exactly what has caused Sony to become utterly incapacitated by Microsoft. The same could happen to Apple and we could see the iPod lose marketshare.
Is all this good for the consumer? Sadly it isn't. Microsoft did it with Internet Explorer to kill off Netscape and what did it leave us? Years where nothing was ever done to advance the web browser. As soon as Microsoft manages to drive a stake into the heart of Sony, do you think that we'll see revolutionary things being done with the next Xbox? Not a chance. Once the competition has been eliminated then it is time to stay the course and begin to make back the money that you lost in the early years. The same I'm afraid would be true with the iPod. Once Microsoft could gain a toehold on the market and eventually dominate, they would limit choice and simply make money from the current basket of Zune-products at hand.
So will it be a single device that comes along to kill the iPod? No. It'll be slow death grip that Microsoft applies to slowly try and chock the air supply (cash flow) of Apple's world class product. What Apple needs to do to ensure that they don't become roadkill like Sony's next generation game machine is to move quickly and outpace Microsoft. They need to continue to differentiate the total user experience. By doing so they can refuse to play Microsoft's price game and force Microsoft to come play their game of innovation. I was disappointed that Apple didn't launch the next-gen iPod that we thought they did, but perhaps they were bidding their time? Perhaps they want Microsoft to release the Zune and then, once the market sees what it is and what it is priced at, Apple will effectively say "That's nice...but so last year...here is the new standard in portable entertainment." Then no matter what price Microsoft sets the Zune at, be it $99 or $9, Apple can stay out of arms length.
It is a constant cycle of innovation and not allowing the "other" guy to catch up. In the scenario of Apple vs. Microsoft however, it isn't just innovation that Apple needs to worry about, its the deep pockets and patience of the Redmond giant.
Apple launched movie sales as we know last week in their "Showtime" press conference. Today I read
that in less than a week they've sold $1,000,000 worth of movies in less than a week. I'd say that is pretty impressive. They are targeting $50 million in a years time and based on the initial week they could be poised to do that easily. I'm sure the sales figures will make the other studios take notice and get on board.
But how good is it really? What does it mean? It sounds like a "big number" but is it? Well, in relation to DVD sales in 2004, for instance, it is small. DVD sales in 2004 accounted for over $9 billion dollars in sales. Yes...that is billions! You can see from the chart that DVD sales had grown to make up about 47% of the total revenues for the movie industry. Set against that, the iTunes forecasts of $50M are trivial by comparison. Does that mean that the movie industry should ignore it then? Not on your life. The mix is going to change, the chart will look very different in the future. You can see that DVD success came on the back of the rental market. I think you'll see the iTunes sales take a further chunk out of that. Further to that, the industry will be trying to canabilize their own DVD products with Bluray and HD, thus further fragmenting the mix and making space for online / download video entrants. You see, year over year growth of the total dollar being spent on movies isn't growing dramatically. That means that people aren't spending more when new video content formats are made available...they are simply shifting their dollars from one format to another. That is why I think the winner of the "format wars" will be the company that gives people the easiest way to enjoy their content in multiple places. I think Apple is trying to do this; download content...watch it on your Mac, move it to your iPod, stream it to your TV using the yet to be launch iTV.
It is about the total end-to-end user experience in consuming the content. Movie Industry, take notice....$1M in sales in less than a week may not look huge, but neither does a tsunami while it is still out at sea.