Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The cheap car muse

I love cheap cars, and I hate 'em. Transport is a great thing, personal transport even better. But it's a win-lose, isn't it? The cheaper they get the more they infest our lives. Not only do cars cost us resources when being built but they rob us of our land as well with infrastructure (especially roads) everywhere. Great for getting around, not so good for the environment or our peace of mind. Trouble is that the market is totally out of whack with true costs. The car makers get a free ride with infrastructure and then get subsidised power and resources to boot. Now this gives us employment and transport "freedom" but at the price of a distorted market. Such markets run wild and consume resources with little restraint because the price paid does not reflect real costs. Great for our personal freedom to consume and move, bad for everything else. Here's another cheap car entering the Aussie car market. Just what we need.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Virtual opportunities

Go on, have a Second Life. I must admit I'm there, but only in the most modest way. I find the virtual world as scary as the real one, so my social and financial success is limited. Forbes has an article here about successful entrepreneurs in Second Life. Including one self-professed real-world millionaire who made her dosh virtually in real estate. It's still early days... and there are competitors, but Second Life seems to be gaining street cred real fast. I must conquer my fears and get out more, in a virtual sense.

Monday, November 20, 2006

RSS and business

Do you use RSS feeds? I do, in various ways. They feed my content (such as this posting) to any web page of mine that I choose. They arrive in my reader (to be read or ignored, depending upon time). They also trigger emails to warn me of changes and some even pop up on my screen. One feed gets turned into voice and podcasted. But do you use RSS?

I must admit most people around me - socially - go blank. Even some people at work. And I work in IT. They may use it but the name escapes them. It's just how some things work. And you don't always take an interest in the how, just the what.

So it surprises me that InfoWorld can report that "In fact, a recent Pew Internet Foundation survey found nearly one in three individuals consumes RSS feeds. But for enterprises, the most telling response was that 63 percent of these RSS users subscribe to work-related feeds."

The claim of one in 3 "individuals" surprises me. Maybe these are unusually IT-aware individuals. I'd personally be surprised if 1 in 3 individuals in the street had even heard of RSS. Maybe 1 in 10 - and that's a big maybe. But once you do know what it is and what it does it's not a surprise that people find it useful. That 63% of actual feed users use RSS for work purposes is probably about right - but I'd love to see the data!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

IBM TV - another way to get the SOA message across

In the IT world SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is getting attention - along with frameworks like ITIL. SOA can be a bit hard to get to grips with, especially for the non-IT manager. You may find the new IBM TV service useful - it presents a rich multimedia approach to explaining concepts such as SOA. I'm biased, I work for IBM, but it's still a useful site. My opinion only, not necessarily that of my employer.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dell dies a death in network gear

If Dell is the great commoditizer, why hasn't Dell run amok in the networking business? Network World takes a look at the question and finds that maybe the range isn't broad enough, or that it's gear is neither cheap nor enterprise-grade. Others have found Dell's network gear to be robust, reliable hardware, so maybe the problem lies elsewhere. As in trying to be all things to all markets, or maybe just realising that the periphery isn't as profitable as the core business.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Netflix and its ilk - is there a future?

In case you don't know, Netflix runs a web-based hard-copy DVD business. They are considering online downloads but they, and many commentators, don't think that the current business model will fall apart anytime soon.

Now how would you analyse that? You could do a SWOT. You could do an environmental assessment. You could consider core competence. Let's just do some of that now.

They are strong with online presence and do a great job at getting DVDs out to customers and back. So they could leverage that online presence to go for downloads, but the movie companies want to sell DVDs, not rent 'em., so that could be a problem. You need to have a usage limit or a time-lock of some sort if you do rent 'em out by download. Still, it's do-able.

What about threats? Bigger capacity DVDs may mean more business, or multiple movies per DVD - which is possibly less business or less revenue per disc anyway. Kiosks that burn single copies are a threat. Downloads are obviously a threat, but are restricted by download speed. Now if that speed limit is broken by Internet-over-powerline - or any other technology - then that could be serious. It would have to be super-fast, however, or super-easy. That's either a lot of bandwidth or some means to pre-load much of the content to customer's machines before they select it. That's do-able, too.

Environmental threats include the cost of fuel (affecting delivery cost) - which is sure to rise.

Now Netflix are thinking no real threat for 5 years and they expect to be doing good business in 15 years time. With what you know about the speed of change in IT, and the imminent arrival of WiMax and IP-over-powerline, what do you think?

Forbes has a nice overview of Netflix and the threats to its business plan here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ads that work? Sony Bravia - Bouncy Colors

Well, did it work? Does it sell? How about their 'paint bomb' advert? It certainly makes you look. But does it make you want to buy, now or in the future?

Buy content through ScooptWords
Creative Commons License