World Cup Cricket on Mobiles

My company, Netcore Solutions, will be providing live ball-by-ball coverage of the Cricket World Cup on a mobile-friendly site at cricket.mytoday.com. The site also has extensive stats and scorecards of all ODIs and Tests played. Hope you like it!

The first match (Pak v WI) starts at 8 pm India time today. India’s first match is against Bangladesh on Saturday.

RSS Explained

WSJ has this interesting analogy:

Think of information as water. A library, therefore, is a lake. The information is just poured in there, as books and periodicals. Those who want to use it wander in and scoop the water out. There’s water coming in and going out, but most of it just sits there: still water, that we have to go to in order to enjoy it.

Web pages are much the same. Information is added to the lake that already exists, but for the most part it’s a pretty static, if not stagnant affair.

Email is different. There the water comes to us in buckets. Much more useful, because the water is no longer stagnant, and we don’t have to go and scoop it out ourselves. But we are still dependent on someone sending the stuff to us — filling the buckets, as it were — and we also have little control over when, how and what kind of information we receive. No surprise, then, that one of the shortcomings of email is that we find ourselves receiving lots of waste water — spam — along with the potable stuff.

If information is water, surely there must be a way to pipe to our house just the kind of water we need, when and where we want it? This is RSS: a way to deliver information to us in a way that suits us. RSS is the piping and the faucets that let us order and manage that information flow.

Social News

Om Malik writes:

The news business is getting back to its roots and is getting social again. Mashable points to a story from Terry Heatons PoMo blog that talks about MySpace launching a social news site, based (I am guessing) on Newroo, a company they acquired in April 2006. The preview of Newroo had features that are showing up in the MySpace News offering that is scheduled to go live sometime in the second quarter of 2007.

Given the heavy emphasis on the hook-ups on MySpace, I am not sure how much of this new service is going to find traction (okay sports and gossip news might work, but then who the hell knows what works on MySpace), but it does add up to an interesting trend. Last week we saw USA Today launch a very social news experience, though the initial reaction of their users skewed negative. Perhaps they overshot, and instead should have focused on a few things first: letting the readership patterns auto-generate a front page and fostering conversations – just like those grizzly old men, discussing politics.

Business Week on India

The cover story in Business Week discusses the challenges: “Crumbling roads, jammed airports, and power blackouts could hobble growth.”

[The] economic boom is being built on the shakiest of foundations. Highways, modern bridges, world-class airports, reliable power, and clean water are in desperately short supply. And what’s already there is literally crumbling under the weight of progress. In December, a bridge in eastern India collapsed, killing 34 passengers in a train rumbling underneath. Economic losses from congestion and poor roads alone are as high as $6 billion a year, says Gajendra Haldea, an adviser to the federal Planning Commission.

The infrastructure deficit is so critical that it could prevent India from achieving the prosperity that finally seems to be within its grasp. Without reliable power and water and a modern transportation network, the chasm between India’s moneyed elite and its 800 million poor will continue to widen, potentially destabilizing the country. Jagdish N. Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia University, figures gross domestic product growth would run two percentage points higher if the country had decent roads, railways, and power. “We’re bursting at the seams,” says Kamal Nath, India’s Commerce & Industry Minister. Without better infrastructure, “we can’t continue with the growth rates we have had.”

Convergence Not Happening

Michael Mace writes:

The problem with convergence is that when you look closely, it’s not happening.

Markets aren’t converging, they’re diverging. The web deconstructs mass markets, by making it economically attractive for a company to address narrower market segments. Online marketing can be targeted at much more specific demographic groups than mass media could reach, and online communities help companies to talk directly with their most important customers. I’ve already written about this happening in mobile devices, but if you want another example, look at television: the mass markets are slipping away from the big networks, eaten by a gazillion cable channels. Or look at newspapers, chewed down by a blizzard of websites.

“Convergence” is definitely not the right word for what’s happening to markets.

Mobile OSes

The New York Times writes that there is a problem of plenty:

There are too many operating systems already and more are coming on stream, making things complicated for smaller software companies, said Tony Cripps, a senior analyst with the telecommunications consulting firm Ovum in London.

Mobile phone carriers are watching with more than passing interest because the new applications they are counting on to increase revenue and profit may make it to only a limited number of phones as software developers struggle to keep up with the different operating systems.

Having multiple systems is also time-consuming and costly for the carriers, which must configure the phones they sell.

TECH TALK: Good Books: The Strategy Paradox

I came across Michael Raynors The Strategy Paradox via an interview with the author of AlwaysOn. I was familiar with Raynor because of his previous book, The Innovators Solution that he had co-authored with Clay Christensen. The two things that caught my attention were the books byline Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (and What To Do About It) and the following statement by Raynor: the same strategies that have the highest probability of extreme success also have the highest probability of extreme failure. In other words, everything we know about the linkage between strategy and success is true, but dangerously incomplete. Vision, commitment, focus…these are all in fact the defining elements of successful strategies, but they are also systematically connected with some of the greatest strategic disasters.

Here are a few more excerpts from the AlwaysOn interview by Guy Kawasaki:

Question: Why cant companies predict the future better?

Answer: Companies might be able to predict the future better than they can now, but for me the question is whether they will ever be able to predict the relevant future accurately enough for the purposes of strategic planning, and so avoid, or at least mitigate, the strategy paradox. I dont think thats going to happen anytime soon for some deep, structural reasons.

For example, randomness. Prediction requires the identification of a pattern that repeats, because a pattern is what allows you to use what has happened to infer what will happen next. Randomness is the enemy of pattern-based prediction because randomness means that there is no pattern, no way to use the past to predict the future.

Question: Whats the proper role in strategy formation for each level in a hierarchy?

Answer: Ive found that it helps to think about strategy in two halves: the commitments that all successful strategies entail, and the uncertainties attendant to those commitments. Commitments and uncertainties are only half the answer. The rest of the solution lies in calibrating the focus of each level of the hierarchy to the uncertainties it faces. It is common senseif not common practicethat the more senior levels of a hierarchy should be focused on longer time horizons. What hasnt been as widely recognized is that with longer time horizons come greater levels of uncertainty, and strategic uncertainty in particular. This fact has some profound implications for how each level in an organization should act.

Question: How does your answer change with respect to a start-up?

Answer: Start-ups tend to be enormously resource constrained. Typically they are not able to devote money and time to the problems of strategic uncertainty. As a result, start-ups tend to be bet the farm propositions: high risk, with the potential of high reward. Such firms dont manage strategic risk, they accept it.

Given my interest in the future and envisioning and creating tomorrows world, there is no way I could not get and read the book.

Tomorrow: The Strategy Paradox (continued)

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