The Softwareless Software Company

David Hornik writes: “In the era of the Softwareless Software Company, in which value is measured by utility, simplicity and reliability, the greatest asset may ultimately be the near infinitely scaling data center. It will certainly be important that the new computer company deliver great utility through its software-delivered service. But the most significant differentiator may ultimately prove to be the capacity to scale with massive demand. And those companies best situated to deliver that scale will be the winners. Thus, it is no surprise that just up and down the river from Microsoft’s new datacenter in Quincy Washington, both Yahoo and Google are contemplating building their own gargantuan datacenters. The Softwareless Software Company may have come full circle from the Computerless Computer Company and be more about hardware and infrastructure than about software after all.”

Banner Advertising is Back

Fred Wilson writes:

Many marketers have reached the point that they can’t easily buy more search. It’s getting harder. Keyword markets are becoming efficient and supply and demand are coming into balance. Of course, that alone doesn’t mean that all the other money will move into banners. Banners also need to produce measured returns.

But, banners carry branding value that text ads don’t. The return on investment measure is not as cold and hard with banners. And the big branded advertisers that are leaving TV and print in search of better performance on the internet want to be able to brand with their ads. And they want to control where those ads are run. They’ll pay more for those two features.

So branding/banners may grow faster than search/CPC in the coming years, or at least grow as quickly.

India Needs Cities

Atanu Dey quotes from a Scientific American article by Nikhil Swaminathan:

Are you one of those people who think of big cities as little more than hotbeds of pollution, crime and social inequalities? Well, think again. A new report in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA confirms what many city dwellers, who account for the bulk of people on Earth, have claimed for years: Cities have an almost magical ability, spurred by increased human interaction, to stimulate innovation and increase wealth.

The report also pooh-poohs the popular comparison of the growth of cities with biological organisms. An animal slows as it balloons in size ; in contrast, the researchers note, cities speed up as population and everything from crime to per capita income grow.

Google Today

Wired interviewed Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who said: “Think of [Google] first as an advertising system. Then as an end-user system — Google Apps. A third way to think of Google is as a giant supercomputer. And a fourth way is to think of it as a social phenomenon involving the company, the people, the brand, the mission, the values — all that kind of stuff.”

Freedom Mail

The New York Times writes:

Mr. Fodor, 43, a French computer programmer, said that in the early 1990s he worked on push e-mail services that predated the filing of important patents in this area.

He intends to test his claims as soon as next month by introducing Freedom Mail, a simple free service that he says will make it possible to view and respond to messages sent to almost any e-mail account on a cellphone or other mobile device.

Freedom Mail will liberate wireless e-mail from expensive and spurious litigation driven by very few patent owners for the sole purpose of dominating global wireless e-mail communications, Mr. Fodor said in an e-mail message.

TECH TALK: Letter to a Two-Year-Old: Memories (Part 2)

Dear Abhishek,

Recently, we went to Dubai for three days. It was your first international trip. Dubai is a short three-hour flight from Mumbai. It was a great experience with you in the aircraft and roaming the malls of Dubai. The first day you ran around excitedly shouting Dubai shopping, embarrassing your mother no end! Youd fall asleep in the afternoon, so I would put you on a sofa in the mall and sit next to you as your mom went around the malls. We bought lots of cars and trucks for you and some trains (though we havent given them all to you yet).

Ill remember the Dubai trip because it was the first time we got a lot of time together away from home. It was just us. Now that you are a little grown up, we can sit and talk. Just the other day, we sat at the window in our chairs and chatted about people and the world outside. It is an absolute delight being with youto the extent that I try and avoid overnight stays and dinner meetings. There is no greater joy than coming back home and being with you as you sleep.

You appeared in Newsweek a couple months ago. They were doing a story on me, and the photographer was shooting me near our home. I called your mom to send you down so you could see me. The photographer then asked me to hold you against a quintessential Mumbai backdrop of some neighbourhood stores. And lo and behold! A few days later, there I was with you in my arms on the Table of Contents page of Newsweek.

Your language comprises of a mix of English, Hindi and Marwari. Your mother and her parents speak to you in Marwari. My parents speak to you in Hindi. I talk to you in English and Hindi. Its fun watching you piece words together now to make meaningful sentences.

A few months ago, you started recognizing alphabets and numbers. It happened quite suddenly. We had bought one of these wooden toys, and you kept asking us what the various letters were and before we realised it, you were telling them back to us. Your memory astonishes us at timesor maybe we are still used to thinking of you as a little baby we just got back from the hospital.

One disappointment I have is your total lack of interest in reading books! I used to buy a lot of books for you, but we barely get past the first few pages. Maybe some day you will realise the joy of the world of books

The coming year is going to see you go to school probably in September. As you grow up, there are times I wonder if we should live somewhere else. I grew up in the same neighbourhood as you are growing up now. It all seems so stagnant. Perhaps, we need to reinvent the world around us in more ways than one.

Happy Birthday, Abhishek. Have a great third year!

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