Texas Instruements CEO Interview

Forbes asked Richard Templeton: “How does the proliferation of extremely cheap cell phones impact TI financially?” His answer:

I was in India a month or two back. They have 80 million cell phone subscribers currently, and they added 5 million in January alone. They have operators projecting the number of users and subscribers in India at 300 million by 2010 and 600 million by 2015. This is going on in Africa, Indonesia, South America and Russia. I think this is early and I think it’s large.

And when you put a bunch of cell phones into a marketplace, you need a lot of infrastructure equipment. So we’re seeing nice growth in infrastructure equipment in the near term.

Longer term, it is important to refer to these markets as emerging markets. They are not low-end markets. Today, it’s an entry-level voice-centric phone. But I wouldn’t rule out that you find TV being delivered [through a cell phone] in India because it’s a society and a culture that loves its entertainment.

Microfinance in China

Knowledge@Wharton writes:

Microfinance may include several types of financial services, including deposit taking and insurance, while microcredit normally refers to small loans of between 1,000 yuan and 3,000 yuan ($125-$375). The terms are often used interchangeably in the media.

Many are hoping that microfinance can give a boost to rural China, which today faces enormous problems. Some 30 million “relatively” poor people survive on less than one dollar a day, and another 30 million people live in “absolute poverty” of less than 25 cents a day. The vast majority of these are in the countryside, where there is a huge gap in living conditions and public services, such as medical care and education, compared to urban areas.

Mobile Web

Paul Golding writes:

In the mobile setting the user is frequently motivated by an intent to find something out fast because they want to do something else there and then, like make a phone call, book a flight, catch a train etc. This “saving time” objective is distinct from the “killing time” one. In the “saving time” frame of mind, there’s almost zero tolerance to anything remotely like surfing (i.e. faffing) around. In that setting, the whole web paradigm falls apart very quickly, especially if it’s actually the standard mega-screen web experience shoe-horned into a mobile nano-screen.

Therefore, it seems perfectly obvious that any self-respecting site that wants to extend its wares to the billion mobile windows in the world should contain metadata to answer these simple questions and this is all that gets dished up to a mobile device, most likely ranked in order of most actionable data first, like phone number (one click to dial it), then address (one link to map it) and so on. After all, the world of going to sites via search engines is a rather uncluttered affair of visually uninteresting, but apparently useful, text-only descriptions and links – albeit presumably relevant ones. Once at the destination site we are looking for answers to those questions, not fluffy flash movies and the like.

Municipal Wireless Networks

The New York Times writes:

Municipal wireless networks are cheaper to build than cable or fiber- optic networks and are easier to deploy. According to one study by muniwireless.com, an industry Weblog, more than 120 such networks are up and running around the country, including some that allow public access and others that are exclusively for city services. Nearly 60 other cities and towns have requested proposals from vendors or taken steps toward creating networks.

Rollouts of municipal networks in major metropolitan regions like San Francisco and Philadelphia have attracted attention, but development of community wireless networks holds even greater promise for out-of-the-way and poorer areas. For these smaller cities and towns, the networks are a tool for more efficient municipal operations and a way to provide inexpensive Internet access to residents who could not afford it.

TECH TALK: Four Blog Years: The Beginning

On May 9, this blog at Emergic.org completed four years. I have posted every day since I started. I wrote a Tech Talk midway during this period after completing Two Blog Years. I thought it is time for another look at the blog world and how that has helped shape my thinking about technology and entrepreneurship.

The blog began in May 2002. Like many others, I was inspired by Dave Winer. I had been writing a daily column on Tech Samachar for about eighteen months then. I would end up reading a lot to get those written. My motive for writing was that it forced me into a discipline of reading and thinking about a broad set of technology areas thus expanding my own horizons.

More fundamentally, writing is something I have always liked and done. When I was young (college days), I kept a daily diary. Every night, I would write a couple of hundred words on what happened during the day. It helped me reflect and get a bit of perspective as I was growing up. That habit continued somewhat infrequently during my IIT and US days. Now, I write out a diary page once a week or two in my notebook. I find that writing about the world as I see it helps me think better. There are times when I am very happy or very sad the writing helps me balance my emotions.

My love for technology writing found its first natural outlet in a fortnightly column I had started in Express Computer called Internauting in early 1996. I continued that for sometime on Indialine one of the IndiaWorld family of sites. You can find some of my early writings here (via the Internet Archive). I then started Tech Talk in November 2000 to ensure that I started reading and thinking about technology. The column was inspired by a Red Herring daily column (I dont recall the name now). I wanted it to be daily because it would then become as much a part of my life as it would for my readers. That philosophy continues to this date Tech Talk is published each weekday. It is a mix of my writings and those of others aggregated together on a theme.

When I came across the blog format in early 2002, I immediately liked it. The free flow of thoughts on ones own site appealed to me. But it took me a few months to make the decision to start my own blog I wanted to make sure that I could have something new daily. In that sense, it was more news-paperish because I wanted the blog to become a daily utility in the lives of my readers.

Today, there are a few thousand readers who read my blog either by coming to the site at emergic.org, or in their RSS aggregators, or via email. I get 10-odd comments weekly from readers on the blog, and some write directly to me. Four years later, the blog is as much a part of my life as it is for some of you.

Tomorrow: How I Blog