Weblog Ideas

Writes Dave Winer, providing examples of how weblogs can make a difference in the real world:

If a weblog is used by a workgroup to keep the members informed, and to connect with other workgroups; and if their feeds are aggregated to inform shareholders, management, regulators, and other interested parties, you might measure the money-making in the form of money saved, or shortcuts found, or new ideas discovered, or blind alleys averted. Weblogs have a place in business that’s as strong as their place in decentralizing news gathering and reporting.

And there’s more. Imagine a weblog for each patient in the hospital. Each patient defines a community, the people who want to know what’s going on and how the guy is doing. I know my friends and family would have found that useful when I was hospitalized last summer. I certainly wouldn’t have minded them having the information (although I’d want to control who could access this particular weblog).

How about weblogs for political candidates, and weblogs for citizen activist groups to get corrupt or incompetent politicians out of the way. Weblogs for every cellphone user in the third world (and the first and second too).

[Moblogging]: Imagine a small computer, a cellular telephone with a headset, and a standard qwerty keyboard, hooked up to an instant messaging network and to your weblog. To post a new item to your community, hit the Blog Post button and start typing. Hit ## to submit. Bing.

Microsoft’s SPOT

Business Week on Microsoft’s foray into the area of ubiquitous computing [1 2]:

The new gizmo [watch] gives users personalized, up-to-the-minute information such as stock quotes, sports scores, local weather, news headlines, horoscopes, calendar info, and even one-way instant messages — all on their wrist. The data will be beamed over FM radio airwaves to the gadgets, wherever they are. Consumers will pay $120 to $300 for the watches and perhaps $99 more a year for the data service.

The watch is the first product to roll out using Microsoft’s new Smart Personal Object Technology — or Spot. Microsoft (MSFT ) expects to follow the watch with a travel alarm clock that will cull traffic data and your calendar info to suggest an appropriate wake-up time so you won’t miss your first meeting of the day. Also on the drawing board: key-chain fobs that provide the same sort of data as a watch but might be more appealing to those who don’t want a big watch face on their wrist.

Chips Complexity

Writes Red Herring:

An insatiable demand for smaller, faster, and more adaptable chips is driving the industry’s embrace of greater complexity. In the last few years, the chip industry has managed to combine onto a single chip discrete components for functions like graphics, processing, and communications. But the resulting complexity makes verifying the design of these new systems-on-a-chip extremely difficult. And the complexity will only increase. “We’re on track, by 2010, to build 30-GHz devices of 10 nanometers or less, delivering a terra-instruction of performance,” said Intel’s chief technology officer, Pat Gelsinger.

TECH TALK: Entrepreneur’s Enigmas

The life of an entrepreneur is a confused one full of choices to be made and paths to be taken (or not). Every day brings forth its own enigmas, leaving the entrepreneur is a perpetual state of being caught between multiple worlds. And, surprising though it may seem, it is the entrepreneurs own making. It is a decision he has made of his own free will a life of continuous flux, uncertainty and unpredictability.

The life of an entrepreneur is, for the most part, a lonely one. He has few others he can talk to who can understand the situations he faces. Enigmas are an inherent part of an entrepreneurs work and life. We will explore some of the enigmas that entrepreneurs face, and how they tackle these challenges.

For an entrepreneur, the chances of success are infinitesimally small. But that does not deter him. The thrill lies not as much in reaching the destination but in the journey. An entrepreneurs first mistake could be his last. There are no right or wrong answers immediately apparent in the decisions the entrepreneur makes. There are no management case studies which can help in recreating the situations faced. For many an entrepreneur, management is learnt in the real world rather than business schools. And as such, the driver for many decisions is just raw instinct the gut.

There is an unflinching confidence an entrepreneur has in his business sometimes, too much, which can be blindsiding. An entrepreneur has no rule book the rules of the game are made up along the way. Amidst all the challenges that he faces, what rarely wavers is the entrepreneurs faith and belief that he will succeed against all odds.

Here then are some of the enigmas entrepreneurs face questions they wrestle with constantly, and the answers to any one of which could make the difference between success and failure.

Strategy vs Execution

One of the first enigmas an entrepreneur faces is on balancing thinking and action. Thinking only requires the entrepreneur looking at the big picture, while execution requires getting different people to work together in an co-ordinated manner and focusing on the details. The former is easy and controllable, the latter harder and dependent on many others to make it a success.

The danger is that in search of the perfect plan an entrepreneur overemphasizes the vision and strategy part (which he is comfortable with) and does not pay adequate attention to the execution. Just thinking through the problem and solution does not make a business. Revenues, customers and profits are what is needed, and that is much harder for a new business to garner.

Execution is the discipline of getting things done. More than the thinking, envisioning and strategizing, it is perhaps the single-most important factor that will determine the fate of a venture. Results are what matter. For results, the entrepreneur needs to, after the initial thinking is done, focus on implementation and use the feedback from the marketplace to do course-correction.

Tomorrow: Entrepreneurs Enigmas (continued)