Commodity Computing

GigaOM has a post by Allan Leinwand:

In my opinion, for the foreseeable future, x86 commodity computing has won (Im not an expert on Intel or AMD, so Ill not choose a winner there). So, why shouldnt Internet infrastructure and services leverage the large efficiencies of the commodity compute market that is being driven by the PC manufacturers? We all know about Moores Law5 and how compute power is getting cheaper and faster all the time, so why fight the feeling? In June 2005, Apple ditched the PowerPC processor and partnered with Intel and last week Sun, home of the proprietary Sparc processors, announced that they are also partnering with Intel6.

Today, the x86 architecture features quad-core processors7 that are quite powerful and cost-effective. Recently, Intel announced research that is working on an 80-core chip8 that is basically a supercomputer on a chip. That is a huge amount of compute power coming to the commodity compute market over the next few years.

Telecom Industry Future

WSJ has an interview with Professor William Webb, author of the just-published “Wireless Communications: The Future” and head of research and development at United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom:

Some analysts have predicted that mobile-phone screens, headphones and keyboards will become separate devices.

I think there will be more of a steady progression. It will always be the case that some people will want very small, thin phones, while other people will want large full-feature phones.

I expect we will see phones evolve in many different ways as people want to get different things out of them. In particular there will be larger screen versions for people that want to use their phones as a video-type device for mobile TV and podcasts.

It’s unlikely that we will see roll-out keyboards in the next 10 or so years. But what we could see are screens that are brighter and have more power, with better resolution — meaning that watching television on your mobile phone isn’t quite so bad.

Transactions and Relationships

Doc Searls writes:

Transaction still matters, of course. So does conversation. But the biggest wedge in the social pie of the public marketplace is relationship. Prices less set than found, and the context for finding prices is both conversation and relationship. In many cases, relationship is the primary concern, not price. The bottom line is not everything.

Transaction rules the Industrialized world. Here prices are set by those who control the manufacturing, distribution and retail systems. Customers do have an influence on prices, but only in the form of aggregate demand. The rates at which they buy or don’t buy something determines what price the “market” will bear in a system where “market” means aggregated demand, manifested in prices paid and quantities sold. Here the whole economic system is viewed mostly through the prism of price, which is seen as the outcome of tug between supply and demand.

Communities

Alan Moore says in an interview:

I think communities form around 3 principle tenets.

1. Information
2. Entertainment
3. Commerce

Lets take the equine community, or the climbing community, the motivations for belonging are at a deep human level.

By creating platforms that can better serve these communities around these 3 tenets, one can build I believe sustainable businesses, that are not geographic specific.

Communities form around values, not demographics.

Time Out

Atanu Dey writes:

I believe that the ancients in India were so successful in being creative was because they meditated. Meditation is the ultimate time out. Of course, they could meditate because the culture allowed that sort of luxury. In general, our culture does not afford that luxury any more. Those who are too poor materially hardly can take a time out; you cannot meditate on an empty stomach. And those who are not materially poor are fairly caught up in a rat race to make more money and acquire more stuff; these have been brainwashed to believe that ones self-worth is tied up with how much stuff they can get their hands on from the glitzy malls. You cannot meditate if you are too busy shopping.

Even if one does not go all the way to meditation, I think it is good to sit and relax and do nothing for a change. Just stare at the grass growing. It could make you more creative or whatever. But one should not just do stuff for instrumental reasons, I believe. Sometimes one should do things just for the heck of it. Taking time out is a luxury and one should indulge oneself from time to time. It is the reward for having worked and earned.

TECH TALK: Demo 2007: The Empowered Individual

I like to track new companies and technologies. Demo 2007 is a great showcase for all that’s new in the world of tech. Since I could not attend it, I decided the next best thing would be, like last year, to read what others have written and put it all together to get a flavour of what’s hot in the world of technology. Let us begin with excerpts from the keynote speech by Chris Shipley, Demo’s producer:

Forget mainframes and minis and PCs and mobile devices. Forget even the Internet-based model of Web 2.0.

We are clearly and deeply engaged in the age of the Empowered Individual. No matter if for business value or personal entertainment, individuals You and I have tremendous power to choose which technologies we use and how we use them. We have a tremendous influence on what products will succeed and what comes next.

This people-centric focus is obvious in areas like consumer Internet sites or mobile devices and applications. Individuals are making personal choices about which applications they use, which mobile phones they buy, which services they engage.

Its evident when we think about user-generated content and social media we have moved beyond sharing of media to become designers and producers. Its no longer enough to post a photo, comment on a blog post, or add tags to a social taxonomy. As creating consumers, we ask: Whats Next? How can I do more? So we seek out sites that leverage our individual creativity, and our individual influence. Services that give us greater control of media, tools that enable us to customize and personalize our own experiences.

The Empowered Individual is easy to see in consumer markets, and most surely consumer products will garner a great deal of attention at this DEMO event.

But I also see the empowered individual influencing all aspects of the enterprise market. Empowered Individuals influence which business applications to adopt. They are purchasing for themselves mobile phones and laptop computers and portable storage, and a range of other products; their personal preferences drive those buying decisions. They are demanding performance, and ease of use, and reliability, and Web-like experiences with enterprise data.

Decisions are not taken in a vacuum; solutions are not imposed upon a work group. Instead they are driven by individual interests, requirements, and influence.

While not always self-evident, the thread weaved through each of these [68] companies is one of empowerment. The power of individuals to select and use specific products and services; The power of individuals to move markets; the power of individual expectation and the belief that new capability is possible.

Tomorrow: VC Ratings