woensdag 22 januari 2003


Clay Shirky Explains Internet Evolution

Really. He does. Quite eloquently. Clay Shirky's answers to our questions could easily be turned into an all-day seminar on where the Internet is today as a communications medium, where it might be 10 years from now, and how it is going to get from here to there. This is information you need if your career or business is affected by the Internet in any way. Lots of good debunking, too, of everything from WAP to the myth of increased media homogenization, all put forth with enough humor to keep even Clay's most depressing thoughts from bringing (too many) tears to your eyes.
The Music Business and the Big Flip

The first and last thirds of the music industry have been reconfigured by digital tools. The functions in the middle have not. Thanks to software like ProTools and CakeWalk, the production of music is heavily digital. Thanks to Napster and its heirs like Gnutella and Kazaa, the reproduction and distribution of music is also digital. As usual, this digitization has taken an enormous amount of power formerly reserved for professionals and delivered it to amateurs. But the middle part -- deciding what new music should be available -- is still analog and still professionally controlled.

maandag 20 januari 2003

McKinsey Quarterly

How to rescue CRM

As a rule, CEOs don�t worry much about business software initiatives. But customer-relationship-management (CRM) software�the systems that allow companies to plan and analyze marketing campaigns, to identify sales leads, and to manage their customer contacts and call centers�may be a different story. Good CRM software can influence how much customers spend and how loyal they remain. Some companies using CRM programs report double-digit gains in revenues, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity, along with dramatic savings in customer acquisition costs. Across the United States and Europe, nearly 40 percent of the companies in high technology, aerospace, retailing, and utilities have invested in CRM systems. Two-thirds of all US telecom operators and half or more of all US financial-services, pharmaceutical, and transportation companies are either implementing or already operating them.
McKinsey Quarterly

The strategic value of Web services

Before most managers had ever heard of XML or .Net, they knew that important business lay at the fringes of the enterprise, since that is where connections among suppliers, dealers, and customers are made. Those connections are getting easier thanks to Web services technologies that help companies stitch together networks of specialist businesses that collaborate to deliver a product or service. This Reader combines three McKinsey Quarterly articles that together explain Web services, tell where they will first gain traction, and illustrate the type of network where they are likely to have the greatest impact.

zondag 19 januari 2003


The Unreal Estate Boom

The 79th Richest Nation on Earth doesn't exist. The population is 225,000, the hourly wage $3.42. Welcome to virtual paradise, where a carpenter can live in the castle of his dreams - if he doesn't mind an 80-hour workweek double-clicking pig iron and hoarding digital dung. Not long ago, a 43-year-old Wonder Bread deliveryman named John Dugger logged on to eBay and, as people sometimes do these days, bought himself a house. Not a shabby one, either. Nine rooms, three stories, rooftop patio, walls of solid stonework - it wasn't quite a castle, but it put to shame the modest redbrick ranch house Dugger came home to every weeknight after a long day stocking the supermarket shelves of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Excellent location, too; nestled at the foot of a quiet coastal hillside, the house was just a hike away from a quaint seaside village and a quick commute from two bustling cosmopolitan cities. It was perfect, in short, except for one detail: The house was imaginary.

Sports Rule!

In-your-face marketing. Extreme camera angles. Trash-talking superstars. Sound like TV sports? Try sports videogames, where the nastiest competition is the battle to take down the reigning champ, EA Sports. It's a warm autumn day at the South Street Seaport in New York, and 500 men - most in their twenties and thirties and wearing baggy jeans, backward baseball caps, and football jerseys - are gathered inside the sort of huge white tent generally reserved for wedding receptions.

Replay it again, Sam

Personal video recorders already have Hollywood running scared. Now Microsoft is pushing a new computer that will make trading TV shows as easy as using ... Napster. "Like Mr. Ed," says Craig Newmark, "I never speak until I have something to say." It's a crisp fall morning in San Francisco, and Newmark, sipping coffee at his neighborhood cafe, is in the middle of a long discussion of the ethics involved in watching television. He's invoked TV's talking horse to explain his fight with TV's fat cats: He's suing the media companies whose executives have been calling people like him -- people who use personal video recorders, or PVRs, such as TiVo and ReplayTV -- "thieves."

Life on the edge

The geek-driven world of new "decentralized" technologies like Wi-Fi, blogging and Web services is more about cutting out the middleman than finding a business model. The technology industry has long been shaped by the creative tension between technologists and businesspeople, otherwise known as geeks and suits. Geeks make new stuff primarily because it's fun, because it's useful, and because they can. Suits make new stuff primarily because they hope to earn a profit. Yes, that is an oversimplification, and there's overlap between the two types -- there are plenty of profit-seeking geeks and geeky business folks. Still, the distinction is real.

Radio Free Software

Call them hackers of the last computing frontier: The GNU Radio coders believe that any device with a chip should be able to do, well, anything. It's the vision that elicited a beatific smile from Alan Turing, a Bela Lugosi-like cackle from John von Neumann, and a cannabis-tinged giggle from 1970s-era PC creators: Imagine a universal machine, a computation device capable of mimicking the functionality of any other machine.
Business 2.0

Something Phishy This Way Comes

Leave it to a reunited neohippie rock and roll band to show major labels how to sell music via the Net. It's easy, during these postboom times, when we're more concerned with severance packages than options packages, to get cynical about the Net. Rather than see it as enabling closer and more effective relationships with customers, many longtime media industries still -- in 2003 -- view the Net as a threat to all that was good and protected in their pre-Internet businesses.

vrijdag 17 januari 2003

Fast Company

Desire: Connecting With What Customers Want

There's too much of everything: a head-spinning array of products, an eye-glazing gaggle of ads, a mind-numbing barrage of information. So what are the most desirable ways to reach your customers? Melinda Davis and her Human Desire Project have developed five answers. Marketers with a desire to succeed are paying attention.

donderdag 9 januari 2003

Fast Company

Playing to Win

Computer and video games are a bigger business than the movies, and the biggest force in games is Electronic Arts -- a company whose blockbuster titles dazzle millions of customers and generate billions of dollars in sales. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at a creative powerhouse ( and a model of disciplined management ) where rappers beg to be hoopsters, war-game designers learn combat tactics from a Marine hero -- and a series of complex projects come in on time and on budget.

woensdag 8 januari 2003

Red Herring

Top Ten Trends 2003

The Red Herring predicts the business of emerging technology in its sixth annual top ten trends list. As the last few years have illustrated, trying to correctly identify future trends in technology is like peering into a crystal ball. Blindfolded. In the middle of an earthquake. The best you can hope for is not to get hurt by the flying shards of glass.

dinsdag 7 januari 2003


Power Houses

Tech execs and extreme jocks are making the world safe for plasma-screen shaving mirrors and Wi-Fi window shades. Join Jack Boulware for an exclusive tour of the ultimate wired homes. And please wipe your feet. Behind the gates of Boca Raton's exclusive Polo development, where Spanish-style mansions and palm trees line the manicured cul-de-sacs, one house stands apart. Sprawling across two lots, the 17,000-square-foot monster belongs to Roger Shiffman, the former CEO of Tiger Electronics. There's the pool and cabana � this is Boca, after all � and a three-story cathedral ceiling in the foyer. But what distinguishes the house is its digital guts � the $1 million of electronics that control this audio-video nirvana, and the remote-controlled waterfall, too.

God Is the Machine

At today's rates of compression, you could download the entire 3 billion digits of your DNA onto about four CDs. That 3-gigabyte genome sequence represents the prime coding information of a human body � your life as numbers. Biology, that pulsating mass of plant and animal flesh, is conceived by science today as an information process. As computers keep shrinking, we can imagine our complex bodies being numerically condensed to the size of two tiny cells. These micro-memory devices are called the egg and sperm. They are packed with information.

vrijdag 3 januari 2003

Business Week

The Battle to Streamline Business Software

Simplification -- using fewer suppliers and fewer packages to cut overall costs -- is rapidly becoming an issue that unites all CIOs. Each year, more than 150,000 patients pass through the doors of Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, a leading teaching hospital and dental clinic. Keeping track of all of them is the job of John Kenagy, the hospital's chief information officer -- and his is no easy task: OHSU uses 200 different software packages to admit, track, and bill patients. If that isn't complex enough, many of those programs are unable to communicate with each other. "Data integration is a huge problem in the health-care industry," says Kenagy. "If I'm seeing a cancer doctor, and three weeks later I show up at the emergency room, my records have to show up in that department too."
Business Week

Hollywood's Digital Love/Hate Story

While today's technologies threaten old powers and create new opportunities, the final scene is sure to be in ones and zeros. Director Robert Rodriguez' rise to fame and fortune is a story worthy of Hollywood itself. In 1992, the young Texan filmmaker made his first feature, El Mariachi, for just $7,225. The tale of an innocent guitar player mistaken for a vicious killer went on to win the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, transforming Rodriguez into a legend for a generation of aspiring directors.

donderdag 2 januari 2003

The New York Times

Postcards From Planet Google

AT Google's squat headquarters off Route 101, visitors sit in the lobby, transfixed by the words scrolling by on the wall behind the receptionist's desk: animaci�n japonese, Harry Potter, pens�es et po�mes, associa��o brasileira de normas t�cnicas. The projected display, called Live Query, shows updated samples of what people around the world are typing into Google's search engine. The terms scroll by in English, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, French, Dutch, Italian - any of the 86 languages that Google tracks.