Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Steven Levy in the June 2011 issue of Wired Magazine describes how and why Apple rose to dominance, the following stands out:
“Still Apple’s full-on devotion to something as lowly as a cover is a classic example of how the company concocts advantages in the areas that rival previous hadn’t considered all that important.”
Intel has been attempting to enter the living year for over a decade now – and finally it is beginning to happen. Their dream has been for an Intel-powered CE device to be the center of the living room. They tried with the StrongARM line of processors right after their acquisition from DEC (late 1997). The StrongARM business was sold to Marvell in 2006. Intel, then followed by launching Viiv, to create an Entertainment PC for the living room. Sadly that effort also went nowhere …
Things are beginning to change. Intel is finally entering the living room – I can say this is true for my home and any of the households who have bought any of the following: the Boxee box, Logitech Revue, Sony GoogleTV products. All three of these are powered by the Intel 4100CE chip – code named Sodaville. The Sodaville chip has an Intel Atom processor.
The thrust is not only on the consumer front but also via service providers such as Comcast. There have been reports of Comcast running trials with a Set Top Box (STB) being powered by the CE4100 (you can read a review of the SOC by Anandtech).
The one thing that history does tell us in this case – Intel will not give up!
John Gruber has blogged about one passage from the interview with John Sculley – on how Steve admired Sony. And @gruber makes points out the irony in how Akio Morita gave the first of the Walkmans to Steve Jobs who went on to create the iPod that started Apple’s renaissance. To me it was an eye opener and disbelief on how Sony has lost its way in design. Here is a simple evidence of that (ID comparison of Sony Blu-ray Player with GoogleTV & the AppleTV):
One of the reasons why startups succeed introducing new products, services in the technology world compared to large incumbents, is their ability to execute quickly with limited resources. Virtually zero bureaucracy/politics combined with tons of dedication and enthusiasm a startup will execute quickly! Agreed that not every startup succeeds but the ones that succeed combine innovation with execution helped with a little bit of luck!
But why do large companies fail (and in the context of this post – large means a publicly traded technology product company responsible for shareholder return), in general, to innovate or introduce new & commercially successful products & services? Here is why I think that happens, and in no particular order of priority:
1. Silos within mid to large companies leading to duplicate efforts, lack of sharing the knowledge of what works and what does not work
2. Product Developers isolated from consumers or potential customers by layers of people – Product Managers, Program Managers, Business Development
3. Time to market, inability to move quickly to changing market requirements (may be an effect of #2 above?)
4. Lack of domain expertise, especially, when product requirements are converging with multiple domains (thinking Mobility combined with Video – a handset not just for calls but for watching video as well!)
5. Not big enough – the fixed overhead of running a large organization prevents it from entering relatively small markets – it does not pass their formal or informal ROI benchmark
6. Short Term Horizon – financial results for the next quarter drive design & development, rather than strategic product innovation
Bonus Reason: Absence of tiered product development model – either build it or NOT! (the decision to build an innovative product is based on internal and mostly theoretical analysis which results in a Yes or No)
This inability or lack of prototyping phase makes introduction of new ideas, products challenging. This is true especially when the company has to deploy a hardware product (and not just software in the cloud) to trial the new idea/concept with its customers.
I will share my thoughts on how to implement rapid prototyping using specific examples in future posts meanwhile I would love to hear from the readers if you know of any good examples….
[Disclaimer: There are exceptions to rules and observations .. an obvious exception to my observations below is Apple, and there could be many more, so read on keeping in mind that these are observations on why large companies fail to introduce innovative products and make them commercially successful.]
Let’s see – given my experience – I wanted to share my thoughts on several technology topics and was really struggling to come up with an opportune title for the blog. Inspiration came in the form of the famous and popular blog by Walt Mossberg – AllThingsD. I wanted to write about things related to communications & convergence – an area of expertise and experience. And hence the name AllThingsCC.
My past attempts to write have been failure, and I hope that this time I will persevere. I usually have all kinds of ideas, have tried my hands at some of them – some good, some bad.
I hope this time around I am able to share my thoughts and ideas AND also add to value to meandering readers who hit upon this blog. More importantly – this medium will help me express my thoughts and concepts and ideas in abetter form and fashion …