Google Box

Robert Cringely builds on his previous post about Google’s plan for a “data centre-in-a-box.”

…the most important reason for Google to distribute its data centers in this way is to work most efficiently with a hardware device the company is thinking of providing to customers. This embedded device, for which I am afraid I have no name, is a small box covered with many types of ports – USB, RJ-45, RJ-11, analog and digital video, S-video, analog and optical sound, etc. Additional I/O that can’t be seen is WiFi and Bluetooth. This little box is Google’s interface to every computer, TV, and stereo system in your home, as well as linking to home automation and climate control. The cubes are networked together wirelessly in a mesh network, so only one need be attached to your broadband modem or router. Like VoIP adapters (it does that too, through the RJ-11 connector) the little cubes will come in the mail and when plugged in will just plain work.

Think about the businesses these little gizmos will enable. The trouble with VoIP in the home has been getting the service easily onto your home phone. Then get a box for each phone. The main hurdle of IP TV is getting it from your computer to your big screen TV. Just attach a box to every TV and it is done, with no PC even required. Sounds like Apple’s Video Express, eh? On top of entertainment and communication the cubes will support home alarm and automation systems – two businesses that are huge and also not generally on the radar screens of any Google competitors.

Swivel

Dan Farber writes about the new avatar of Grand Central:

Swivel is applying the Grand Central hosted integration platform concept to hottest Web spaceonline advertising and e-commerce. According to the Swivel Web site, the software service helps monitor ad spend, site traffic, conversions and other metrics across popular Web commerce platforms, such as Google AdSense, Amazon Associates, or Yahoo Publisher, tracking real time stats and optimizing revenue across all programs.

Under “Coming Soon” is integration with salesforce.com (Minor was an early investor in the company), PayPal, Intuit, eBay and various shopping sites. If you have blog or sell products across various online shopping sites, such as eBay and Yahoo Shopping, Swivel is designed to aggregate and synchronize the data, send out alerts and provide dashboards and business intelligence for optimizing revenue generation. According to the Web site, Swivel is currently working with a limited number of beta users.

The Return of Monetised Eyeballs

Om Malik writes:

A sharp rebound in the online advertising market, and big media companies like AOL (a division of Time Warner) buying up folks like Weblogs Inc, has prompted a sudden increase in the value of the eyeballs, the dreaded phrase from the early days of Internet mania.

This time, the buyout metrics are slightly different as new variables like cost of customer acquisition and stickiness. In the article, I point out that the acquisition price per unique visitor had fallen from an all time high of $710 (Yahoos purchase of Broadcast.com) in April 1999 to about 73 cents in November 2001. How are we doing these days? About $10 a unique visitor! Weblogs Inc. co-founder Jason Calacanis advises And build a brand. Because without that, youre going nowhere.

Cellphones Future

Technology Review has an interview with Mats Lindoff, the CTO of Sony Ericsson:

Technology Review: Where do you see the cell phone’s biggest impacts in the next few years?

Mats Lindoff: In 2009 we estimate cell phone companies will sell over 800 million phones. With a six billion global population, that means every eighth person will buy a new cell phone every year. I think that is quite amazing. Think what other technology has had such influence — maybe electricity? TV is much less, Internet is much less, cars are much less. The Internet is a little piece of the cake compared to cell phones. I think half a billion people will, this year, make their first phone call on a cell phone.

TECH TALK: Peter Drucker: Managements Newton: Peter Drucker: Managements Newton: Work

The Economist wrote about his early work:

The two most interesting arguments in The Concept of the Corporation actually had little to do with the decentralisation fad. They were to dominate his work.

The first had to do with empowering workers. Mr Drucker believed in treating workers as resources rather than just as costs. He was a harsh critic of the assembly-line system of production that then dominated the manufacturing sectorpartly because assembly lines moved at the speed of the slowest and partly because they failed to engage the creativity of individual workers. He was equally scathing of managers who simply regarded companies as a way of generating short-term profits. In the late 1990s he turned into one of America’s leading critics of soaring executive pay, warning that in the next economic downturn, there will be an outbreak of bitterness and contempt for the super-corporate chieftains who pay themselves millions.

The second argument had to do with the rise of knowledge workers. Mr Drucker argued that the world is moving from an economy of goods to an economy of knowledgeand from a society dominated by an industrial proletariat to one dominated by brain workers. He insisted that this had profound implications for both managers and politicians. Managers had to stop treating workers like cogs in a huge inhuman machinethe idea at the heart of Frederick Taylor’s stopwatch managementand start treating them as brain workers. In turn, politicians had to realise that knowledge, and hence education, was the single most important resource for any advanced society.

Business Week outlined his key ideas:

It was Drucker who introduced the idea of decentralization — in the 1940s — which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organization in the world.

He was the first to assert — in the 1950s — that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.

He originated the view of the corporation as a human community — again, in the 1950s — built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won Drucker an almost godlike reverence among the Japanese.

He first made clear — still the ’50s — that there is “no business without a customer,” a simple notion that ushered in a new marketing mind-set.

He argued in the 1960s — long before others — for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders.

And it was Drucker again who wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers — in the 1970s — long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.

Knowledge@Wharton adds:

Wide-ranging as Drucker’s contributions were to the field of management, his writings about marketing are as important, say Wharton professors. Stephen J. Hoch, chairperson of the marketing department, describes Drucker as “the Warren Buffett of management gurus. His analysis of management and marketing issues always was pithy and to the point. No pandering to buzzwords and fads, but a constancy of message, with straightforward reasoning and clearly articulated ideas. The following statement attributed to Drucker is today still the essence of marketing: ‘The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. (It) … is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy.'”

Tomorrow: Writings

Continue reading TECH TALK: Peter Drucker: Managements Newton: Peter Drucker: Managements Newton: Work