Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The Untethered, Hyperconnected Enterprise

Two back-to-back panels explored what it takes to successfully transition to the untethered enterprise, one consisting of academics, and one of CIOs.?? Not surprisingly, each of these panels viewed the opportunities and challenges through somewhat different lenses.

The academic panel talked about the need to be entrepreneurial and move quickly to try out new ideas in the marketplace.?? Agility beats strategy every time.?? Marketplace experimentation is very important, and it is the right way to make decisions as to what works and what does not.?? Top down strategy plans take too long to formulate and generally don???t work so well because technologies and markets are changing so fast.?? With digital platforms, cloud and other such capabilities, the cost of experimentation is much lower than in the past, whereas the cost of missed opportunities is very high.?? Companies need to embrace this culture of agility.??

The CIO panel was more guarded.?? While they agreed that agility and experimentation were very important, they viewed them more as aspirational objectives that were not always practical given existing investments and commitments.?? Unlike the academic panel, the CIOs emphasized the need for ROI analysis and careful planning, especially when considering big technology bets.?? Stitching together the overall infrastructure to support a variety of cloud services and mobile devices requires discipline, otherwise things will not work or there might be serious security and quality breakdowns.??

Motherships and skunkworks

Hacking Society

The reason that’s important is because if we are here today for one reason at least that we’re here today is that it seems like 2012 has been the year in which the network has come of age politically between the SOPA PIPA battle at the beginning of the year after and its failure, let alone the prior year in the Arab spring where it’s more ambiguous how much was played by the network and how much was played by existing social networks.

But this was really the year of network politics fighting for itself. And so this moment requires that we understand not only what networks are but also what networks are against and what networks are threatened by. And that’s why I wanted this particularly stark definition between twentieth and twenty-first century, or industrial hierarchical and network. Yochai Benkler

Audio and transcripts available.

Bye Bye BlackBerry. How Long Will Apple Last?

Consider some of the pessimistic predictions that preceded Apple???s entry into the smartphone business:

  • In December 2006, Palm CEO Ed Colligan summarily dismissed the idea that a traditional personal computing company could compete in the smartphone business. ???We???ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,??? he said. ???PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They???re not going to just walk in.???
  • In January 2007, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laughed off the prospect of an expensive smartphone without a keyboard having a chance in the marketplace as follows: ???Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized? With a plan? I said that???s the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn???t appeal to business customers because it doesn???t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good e-mail machine.???
  • In March 2007, computing industry pundit John C. Dvorak argued that ???Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone??? since ???There is no likelihood that Apple can be successful in a business this competitive.??? Dvorak believed the mobile handset business was already locked up by the era???s major players. ???This is not an emerging business. In fact it???s gone so far that it???s in the process of consolidation with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc.???

This serves as a classic example of those with a static snapshot mentality disregarding the potential for new entry and technological disruption.

Hindsight perhaps, but there was huge suppressed customer satisfaction demand, functionality of networks and handsets was exploding (still is), replacement cycles were short, subsidy was available, proprietary systems were past their use by, open source credibility was high. Excellent entr??es for Apple customer marketing and Android open model with Google behind it.

The President’s challenge – Nat Torkington

As SOPA looks shakier, the President handed a challenge to the technical community:

“Washington needs to hear your best ideas about how to clamp down on rogue Web sites and other criminals who make money off the creative efforts of American artists and rights holders,” reads Saturday’s statement. “We should all be committed to working with all interested constituencies to develop new legal tools to protect global intellectual property rights without jeopardizing the openness of the Internet. Our hope is that you will bring enthusiasm and know-how to this important challenge.”

All I can think is: we gave you the Internet. We gave you the Web. We gave you MP3 and MP4. We gave you e-commerce, micropayments, PayPal, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, the iPad, the iPhone, the laptop, 3G, wifi–hell, you can even get online while you’re on an AIRPLANE. What the hell more do you want from us?

Take the truck, the boat, the helicopter, that we’ve sent you. Don’t wait for the time machine, because we’re never going to invent something that returns you to 1965 when copying was hard and you could treat the customer’s convenience with contempt.


To recap, stop asking the “technical community” to solve your niche issue, one, because there isn’t a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, and two, “we’re never going to invent something that returns you to 1965 when copying was hard.”

Congress wants to limit open access publishing for the US government’s $28B/year subsidized research – Boing Boing

A new bill in Congress, H.R. 3699 (“To ensure the continued publication and integrity of peer-reviewed research works by the private sector”), creates a regulation that make it hard-to-impossible to publish open access scholarly journals. These are journals that are paid for directly by researchers, who pay a fee that helps pay for peer review, and are then made available free of charge to all comers. They don’t make a profit the way that the incumbent commercial journals do, but they have surpassed many of the old journals for quality and “impact factor” (how often articles are cited in other articles) and are used by scholars and institutions who believe them to be better for contemporary science and scholarship than the 18th-century model of the old commercial journals.

The old lies are the best. The “integrity” argument is as old as the Statute of Anne, and just as fallacious, particularly in a world of global instantaneous review and fact checking.