Andy Grove’s Learnings

Shrikant Patil points to a May 2000 Andy Grove interview in which he talks about his learnings. Some I liked:

Profits are the lifeblood of enterprise. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

You must understand your mistakes. Study the hell out of them. You’re not going to have the chance of making the same mistake again–you can’t step into the river again at the same place and the same time–but you will have the chance of making a similar mistake.

Best of all is this: “Take a bit of the future and make it your present.” It is what I have been doing for the past decade. Sometimes the future was on time, sometimes it wasn’t. Let’s see how it is with this time with Emergic.

Linux Predictions

Five predictions on Linux by Ninad Mehta:

1) Sun will abandon new development on Solaris in 3 years or it will die! Sun supports Linux on its low end servers (Cobalt) today and it will invest more and more to make Linux supported on its higher end platforms. Need to understand more on Sun’s strategy for Linux.

2) Microsoft, on the other hand will bundle more and more software “free” to entice customers to stay with Windows. Microsoft will try to look more and more “open” without actually doing so. Microsoft will continue its propaganda against lack of support and keep enhancing its Office suite to stay one step ahead.

3) Dell, IBM and others will give an option to buy a consumer desktop running Linux (or Lindows within one year)!

4) ERP, CRM and SCM software vendors will have full support for Linux within 3 years on most of their software.

5) A whole bunch of consulting companies will spring up to “support” various flavors of Linux over time. Industry verticals will get formed for different versions of Linux.

I think Ninad (and Linux) are on the right track.

Wireless PBXs

Writes Kevin Werbach: “Within the next few years most large corporations and highly traficked public areas worldwide will have WiFi wireless hotspots. (I believe he predicted 1 million worldwide by 2006, which at first sounds like a big number but actually feels about right.) If quality of service, roaming, and security issues can be worked out — and all of these straightforward technically — there is a killer app for companies to run “wireless PBXs.” In other words, route their voice traffic within the company over the private WiFi network. This would save mucho costs, and give the companies features and management capabilities they don’t have today. We’re probably talking 2-4 years for even early adopters to go this way, but the numbers could get very big very fast.”

Continue reading Wireless PBXs

Bottom-up Knowledge Development

Writes John Robb:

There is only one good approach to approach bottoms up KM development:

1) Start with a simple system (ie. like a weblog publishing tool like Radio) using tools that allow future innovation. Try it out with a small team to pilot it. Post the weblogs to the Intranet (all you need is an FTP location for each weblog — very simple).

2) Get people publishing daily what they are working on. Make sure they understand the basics of publishing to the Intranet. The chronological format. The archives.

3) Help them to start subscribing (via RSS) to each other and essential news sources. This is again a simple thing to do. That way, they have lots of good fodder for posts.

4) Next. Ask team members to begin to create category specific weblogs. Show
them how they can post from inside their tool to as many or as few category specific weblogs as they choose. Ask the team to create similar categories dedicated to specific projects or topics. Encourage people to subscribe to projects that they are interested in.

5) Build a community system for the weblogs. This will allow people to get community pages that include recently updated weblogs, top weblogs by pageview, etc. This will help people find each other.

6) Write up the results and begin to encourage other teams to join the community. Sell the concept. Encourage use by having the pilot team read and
recommend changes to the new community members.

At this point, there should be a steady flow of great information, data, and knowledge flowing to the Intranet and between community members.

7) Next, begin to experiment with ways to slice and dice the knowledge that is being generated. Try a search engine, build directories (ie. Active Renderer), add metacontent to the publishing process (ie. Live Topics), enable e-mail to weblog publishing, aggregate RSS streams, connect to Web Services, etc. There is so much that can be done at this point.

The key to making this work is to make it easy and valuable for people to publish. Success here will solve the knowledge “capture” problem. Community development will help spur greater involvement and more frequent updates. Only at the point when you have a viable system should you start to try more innovations in how the information is organized. In fact, what you will see is that people will start asking for new ways to organize information/knowledge in order to save time and get more value out of the process. Without this demand side of the equation, selling complex KM will not work.

TECH TALK: Technology’s Next Markets: Wave Theory

Merrill Lynch and Mark Stahlman talk about Waves when it comes to Technology.

Writes Steve Milunovich in a Merill Lynch report entitled The Coming Era of Managed Computing:

We believe that the industry evolves in waves of 10-15 years. Thinking about the industry this way leads to these conclusions:

1. Each wave results in a ten-fold increase in the number of users. The move to 1 billion users could mean the consumerization of technology. Moreover, the industry is moving from a network of computers to a network of things.

2. Each wave has been led by a different set of vendors. Because competitive advantage periods are short as a result of required competencies changing, vendors have not been dominant in consecutive waves.

3. Each wave begins with a period of euphoria that is followed by a difficult transition we call the WaveTransition. There has also been an economic recession early in each wave.

An extension of our Wave Theory suggests two critical trends: the industry is adopting true standards and this network wave is about integration. As a result, the technology matters less but managing technology matters more. Cost of acquisition will give way to cost of operation. Enterprise Hardware is entering the era of Managed Computing. Hardware is quickly commoditizing, value is shifting up the stack, and solutions vendors should win. As manageability becomes critical, watch for the rise of grid and utility computing. Systems integrators may be the new general contractors.

Mark Stahlman talks about the coming of the sixth wave, after the mainframes (1960s),mini-computers (1970s), PCs and workstations (1980s) and the Internet (1990s). He writes:

Just as in the previous five waves of Moore’s Law driven growth, there is basic dilemma facing every potential participant. Innovation implies conflict. Innovation obsoletes earlier innovations. Each wave draws from the collapse of the previous wave and sets itself up as a major improvement over and against all the earlier waves.

Personal computers (the third wave) crusaded to bring computing to the masses. And, minicomputers (the second wave) forcefully broke the stranglehold of the mainframe priesthood (the first wave). Workstations (the fourth wave) deeply integrated networks into computer design and use, while thumbing their noses at both standalone OC’s and monolithic Minis.

The Internet made these networks universal … overturning the economics of all the previous waves. In the wave vs. wave process, many more first through fourth wave companies went out of business than those who survived. And, as in all previous waves entirely new companies built billion-dollar revenue bases and became the new “industrial” leaders.

Once again, the building of completely new leaders is likely to happen in the sixth wave.

The sixth wave of computing/networking growth, the next wave will be driven by what computer researchers call “Human-Centered Technology” (HCT). Taking advantage of the exponential increase in “complexity” Moore described in 1965, we will begin to build computer/networking systems that reverse the current relationship between humans and computing machines. For the first time the humans will be in charge. And, the machines will be taking the orders.

So, what will be the next wave in technology? While I do agree with what Milunovich and Stahlman have to say, they have only looked at technology from the viewpoint of its existing markets that of the consumers and enterprises in the developed markets. Little of this applies to the worlds emerging markets. These markets are the technological equivalent of the New World that Christopher Columbus set out to find.

Next Week: Technologys Next Markets (continued)