On Parenthood – Money

We are still stumbling through this thing called parenthood and I wanted to reflect briefly on the topic of money. I find myself reflecting often on allowance, money, investing, delaying gratification, and entrepreneurship.  Some of the most important life lessons I learned from my parents covered these topics and I’m keen on passing on similar traits to my boys.  As a kid I use…

Deficit Reduction

Deficit reduction is all the rage these days and as a result there are a plethora of (formal and informal) plans on how to address the rising national burden.  The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently published a comparison tool to help us mere mortals navigate 30 different plans. You can also look here for a printer-friendly…

The Intelligence of Things

At its root, the Internet of Things is about being about to uniquely identify devices.  Over the last year I’ve been talking more about the Intelligence of Things.  The Intelligence of Things is spawned by devices and objects being uniquely identifiable and addressable, but more it is able machine-to-machine communication performing tasks on my behalf based upon pre-established…

Is the Future of Reading Social?

The role of social in reading is becoming more pronounced. I’m not talking neighborhood book clubs here (no offense). The social aspects of today’s reading leverages the digital environment where both reading and the sharing of content (and consequently content discovery) is taking place.

In Kindle for example, Amazon shows sections of texts highlighted by a large number of other readers.  This reading as social allows you to see what others have found important (and thus highlighted). I’ve found this aggregated, anonymous approach to be very valuable when reading.  It keeps me engaged, helps with retention and ensures I haven’t missed something many others found significant.  This provides a break from reading without providing a distraction. More, it takes advantage of the wisdom of the crowds.…

When eReaders grow-up to be Tablets

What happens when eReaders grow up to be tablets? This morphing is already well underway. Barnes & Noble has always referred to the Color Nook as a tablet eReader – with tablet being the operative word. At their event this week. B&N claimed the Color Nook is the top selling android tablet in the market. Amazon – the current king in e-ink eReaders – is getting set to launch potentially two new tablet-oriented devices.  E-ink is actively working to bring to market color e-ink screens and other eReader players are treading towards tablet-like devices.  But this evolution has important implications.

First, network economics for text are very different than they are for video and more data-intensive applications. One of Kindle’s opening hallmark features was the ability of the user to download books via the cellular connection without having to independently contract with the service provider.  In fact, at one point Amazon switched Kindle cellular service from Sprint to ATT and users never took notice.

This won’t be the case as users gain access to more data-intensive offerings. These services are more bandwidth intensive (and therefore costly) than delivering text over the network.  Even though our research has constantly shown most tablet users primarily connect via Wi-Fi, the existing service contracts can’t work when devices are more than books. This will be a key element in the new tablets being launched by Amazon.

App usage on apps-enabled devices will crowd out book usage.  This has ramifications for device pricing.  In the early days of Kindle, Amazon subsidized the content instead of the hardware. This changed as Apple moved into the book business and subsequently eReader OEMs began selling ebooks at the publisher price and subsidized the hardware prices (or atleast began selling them at very low margin).  If the margin is made on the ebooks and their are less ebooks sold as a result of changing use-case scenarios – OEMs will be in search of a new business model to driven margin.  …

Yes, believe the hype about the National Debt

Sally Kohn’s recent prose in USA Today was right in spirit, but nowhere else.  Yes, we should worry about innovation.  Yes, the future of the US economy is innovation.  And yes, we should be making strategic investments into innovation.   But it is ludicrous to suggest the national debt discussion is some “ideological attack.”

Kohn inaccurately compares a company’s income to the US economy’s GDP. The analogy fails on the surface. GDP measures national production, not the US government’s revenues – which are the ultimate source of repayment for debts issued. The US government collects net receipts of $2.16T – giving the US government a ratio of over 6-to-1.…

Lighter Shades of Green…

Had an interesting conversation with a reporter earlier this week on the topic of “green tech.”  Green tech has always been one of those loosely defined segments of consumer tech.  Many want to box it concretely – but increasingly green is a story of relativism instead of absoluteness. Many (dare I say most) consumer electronics products today have lighter shades of green.  Their singular or primary purpose might not be to lower one’s carbon footprint, but by providing a unique service or offering they might indirectly also provide environmentally beneficial results.…

Conduits of Content

In a few weeks I’m speaking briefly on a call with executives at Korn/Ferry – the world’s largest executive recruiting firm. My remarks will cover major trends in the consumer tech space and how the global search for talent will be impacted.  For several years now, I’ve talked about companies reaching to create a 360 degree solution. Today the drive towards a 360 degree solution is pronounced. In some corners of consumer tech it is no longer simply a nice approach – it is an integral part of competing in that segment. So how does this impact talent acquisition?…