Becoming Aware

Dave Pollard writes:

…there is no doubt in my mind that becoming a better listener, learning to perceive instead of always conceiving, and improving one’s attention and relaxation skills, are legitimate steps to becoming more open, aware, collaborative and imaginative, and that that will necessarily make us, and the teams we work with, better able to come up and develop useful ideas and approaches to complex challenges. And I do not think there is any science to this — it’s very soft, difficult, and can only be done through practice rather than book study, and our left-brain science-oriented human languages are decidedly unhelpful.

To shift back to awareness of the experiences themselves, Varela suggests we need to develop three capabilities:

1. Suspension (of our habitual pattern of ‘objectifying’ the experience, instead leaving ourselves in the experience);
2. Redirection (of our undivided attention to what is really happening, to the whole and not just to discrete objects in it and our conceptions about them); and
3. Letting Go (of the terribly human tendency to analyze, interpret, think about meaning, and of our own perspective, so we instead ‘see’ what is happening from inside it, rather than from our traditional position as ‘objective’ viewer).

Ten Trends

Jim Moore discusses ten trends that are “changing the way we live, create, and invest.” Among them:

1. Strategic convergence has come to the new web: Business strategist Gary Hamel coined the term “strategic convergence” for the industry situation where companies race to match each other point for point, feature for feature, and grow ever more similar over time. Google and Yahoo are rapidly converging toward each other–both have newsreaders, email, news, targeted ads, search, small business services such as site traffic analysis, etc. etc. etc.

2. . Google and Yahoo have converged at the strategic level. Google and Yahoo are essentially identical clusters of services. The two companies have differing interfaces, but this is a difference at the level of style and the cognitive path for the user, not information architecture.

Google starts each experience with an open text-line-based search, and has directories of ways to specialize a given search. Once a search is specialized, it again usually continues with an open text-line-based search.

Yahoo shows you sample content as early as possible. Yahoo email shows you a summary of Yahoo news. The main Yahoo the front page is filled with celebrity photos, teasers for dating, news, weather and so on. When you are attracted to a particular category of content, one click takes you to more content. You are more or less continually awash in content.

Both styles have their advantages, but neither is in itself an innovation any more. Portal concept plus unifying user interface style is not original in 2005.

Death of Databases?

Ramesh Jain writes: “The feeling that current relational databases have outlived their utility comes from many sides, including some people who were vocal proponents of relational databases. At ICDE in Tokyo, two major key note talks were by Mike Stonebreaker and Pat Salinger. Both have played strong role in the popularity of relational databases but both were talking as if they are now against relational dbs. This is very natural because relational model is very efficient for what it was designed for. The type and nature of data has changed so much in the last decade that data engineers have to rethink how to deal with multimedia, spatio-temporal, and live data. This combined with the user expectations of seeing the data at different levels of resolutions and getting information and insights from data rather than just data in response to their querries is forcing people to think about the next generation databases.”

Mobile Search

The Pondering Primate writes:

For starters, everytime we hear the phrase “mobile search” let’s replace it with “mobile info”.

The tipping point comes when advertisers realize they MUST provide some valuable service/information FOR THE MOBILE, in order to get permission to advertise on the phone.

More importantly, the Googles, Yahoos and AOLs need to think like a mobile user. Just because you made your search site WAP(wireless access protocol) enabled, doesn’t mean people will use it in the same way.

Google Tidbits

John Battelle has some interesting facts:

Average revenue per search (yes, any kind of search, not just paid): 12 cents. It was around a dime in late 04.
Avg. revenue per searcher: $7
Avg. revenue per sponsored click: 62 cents.
Estimated profits for Google in 06: Roughly $4 billion (Bear Stearns) (which is about the same as their forecasted annual revenues this year, FWIW)
Revenue growth of Google year to year: 96%
Of Yahoo: 42%
Estimated revenue growth for next year for Google (Bear): 61%
For the average of eBay, Yahoo, and Amazon: 29%
Price target for GOOG (Piper): $445
Number of shares Battelle owns (For all of you who keep asking): 0
Also: Number of employees added in the past year: Nearly 2000
Amount spent on capex, 05 (estimate): $800 million
Amount MSFT is estimated to spend: $810 million

TECH TALK: India Empowered: Indian Express Series (Part 3)

Dr R A Mashelkar, Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research & President, Indian National Science Academy: Indias future is in IT, but not in IT as in Information Technology, but in IT as in Indian Talent. Giving every opportunity possible to Indian talent to reach its real potential would truly empower India My lessons from my life are simple. A society, that gives an opportunity for education to everyone, that has inspiring teachers, that has philanthropic industrialists, that has visionary leaders in all walks of life and that gives the talent every opportunity to reach its real potentialbecomes truly empowered.

Azim H Premji, Chairman & Managing Director, Wipro Corporation: In our schools, students are usually treated as beings who need to be didactically tutored, disciplined, and moulded. Students are told what to do, how to behave and what they must know. It seems to me that the first step is to make classrooms more open, friendly and democratic. A classroom, where the student is an active and equal participant in the teaching-learning process and is continuously formulating, questioning, thinking, experiencing, challenging, reconstructingand thus learning.

Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group: This is the time for India to shift gears and for our leaders to view India in the global contextcompeting and excelling in the global arena. We can no longer compare ourselves with our own past history nor be satisfied with growth and improvement in small increments. This is the time when India must set major goals and mobilise all its resources o achieve these goals through bold and sustained initiatives. We need to empower our people and subordinate individual vested interests in favour of initiatives for the good of the nation. It will be such actions and such actions alone which will enhance prosperity in our country and raise the quality of life for our people.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual teacher: The most effective yardstick of empowerment is the willingness of people to take responsibility. We need to move away from the blame culture. Instead of blaming the elected government, religious leaders, police and even the weather, people need to take responsibility for creating not just a prosperous but a happy society as well.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited: Empowering India means empowering every Indian, specially the youth who comprise the majority. Provide them access to world-class education, technology and skills, and they will seize the opportunities, looming large on the horizon, and win for the country the race for global leadership in the knowledge age. Education and health are, therefore, on top of my empower-India agenda. Quality education and sound health of every man, woman and child is where empowerment of a society begins. India Empowered is an educated India, a healthy India.

Sam Pitroda: True knowledge can empower people at all levels. It can make our people aware of their rights and responsibilities. It can also provide them tools and techniques to be productive and meaningful in the information age. To achieve this, the best brains in the country will have to focus urgently on solving problems of the poor and the underprivileged at the bottom of the pyramid. To me the key to empowering people is to provide knowledge, tools, technology and techniques to change their mindset from negative cynicism to positive optimism with hope for the limitless opportunities in this ever changing world.

YC Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Limited: India means basically rural India, because India lives in its villages. Over 72% of Indias population lives in rural India. Indias villages are home to 75% of Indias poor. The bulk of the population of rural India subsists on agriculture. Therefore, in order to tackle the problem of poverty in India, specially in rural India, we will have to consistently enhance the international competitiveness of Indian agriculture. One important step in this mission is to enable, and consequently empower even the smallest marginal farmer in the remotest recess of Indias rural hinterland to use technology, especially Information Technology (IT). It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that if we enable Indias farmers to creatively leverage IT, the resulting power of information and knowledge will help them compete successfully in the Indian and world markets.

Tomorrow: My Views

Continue reading TECH TALK: India Empowered: Indian Express Series (Part 3)