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Showing posts from October, 2007

Oooo..when you think of something before the smart people type it up....thoughts on hulu...

I thought this was kinda cool...not Hulu, though they're not bad either. Last weekend, someone asked me how I thought Hulu would affect YouTube. I thought about it for about 1 second and out popped "I don't think they're competing." I was asked the same question at work on Monday. I thought about it a little longer (3 seconds?) and out popped the same thing.


Guess what GigaOm had to say about it?

"Hulu doesn’t seem like a YouTube (GOOG) competitor. (This is yet another thing I was wrong about.) What it really is trying to do is time shift — and place shift — television on a massive scale. It’s basically an attempt to counterbalance the tight control that cable and satellite networks have over distribution."

I think the service is fascinating, has a decent product/business model (I'm not annoyed by inserted ads), pretty compelling content (if you're a TV junkie like me) and quite frankly...it was about time something like this came around. Om thinks…

Now I get it!: why big companies can't be as fast....

They say "big companies can't move as fast as startups." I've always kinda accepted that, nodding my head whenever "they" said it. Anecdotal evidence and logic seemed to suggest it was true. Also, I suppose being someone who'd only ever been around a startup or two (until now), I was only too happy to agree with the premise. :) But I never really understood exactly why...until now.

When people say this about larger companies they seem imply something about the people that work there. They seem to believe that working in a large company seems to make them employees (or attract employees that are) complacent; less hungry... There is no way I'd believe that about anyone at the current place of work. Most people around me are ridiculously, even frighteningly smart, driven and motivated. But now I do have an understanding ....or at least a theory on why despite that, bigger companies will always be at a disadvantage at the pure speed game. I think it bo…

Quick review: "Ant Farm" and "The World is Flat"

I'm reading books again....well kinda...

The World is Flat
I'm going through the audio book version of the The World is Flat. I'm a little more than half-way through and its a great listen so far. Surprisingly informative, even though I thought I had a reasonable introductory handle on globalization as whole. The most surprising thing for me so far has been learning about the incredible logistics machine that powers UPS, and just how powerful an influence it has been on global business. Tom Friedman was at Zeitgeist a couple of weeks ago at the Googleplex, though unfortunately I'm probably quite a few pay-grades away from being able to attend.:)
The relatively long drives to work (one a couple of days a week) now mean I can get through some audio books now and I'm looking forward to listening to Nick Hornby's next after this one.

Ant Farm

I decided I needed to read a real book as well, so of course I searched for one that was both funny and short, and ideally readab…

Best Google/YouTube-related line on TV this week.

Google/YouTube mentions happen so often enough lately that I could make this a regular feature.:)

From Reaper last week, (some paraphrasing)

Sam (speaking to the Devil about finding an escaped soul from hell): "But where is he?"
Devil: "I don't know."
Sam:"That's not helpful! Don't you have minions to find this guy?
Devil: "Who do you think I am? Google?"

Late night talk show thoughts

Some random observations as I watched late-night TV

Catching Tucker Carlson on Real Time right now. My suspicion when I saw him for the very first time on Jon Stewart's now-classic, Crossfire-canceling appearance is confirmed: his arguments generally don't make too much sense, he seems to whine a lot, seems a little mean, seems pretty immature and isn't as smart as he seems to think he is. Enjoy his discomfiture below.


I prefer Craig Ferguson so much more than Conan, NBC should be worried about that "Late night leader"-tag especially with Leno's forced retirement coming. :) Everyday for years my routine was set: catch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, switch to NBC for up Leno, and stay there about half-way through Conan before going to bed. Now I almost always switch channels and make sure I don't miss Ferguson's energetic opening monologue. Apparently, his strong accent isn't proving to be as big a hindrance to his ratings as people once suspect…

When originality is picking up an (international) dictionary

Ok. I found something to rant about again.:)

I'd thought about this when I read this TechDirt article as few weeks ago. Someone sued Google and Yahoo, because he claimed the names were based on Tanzanian tribe names....and somehow this was evil. The suit is a frivolous one, but as the article points out there are tons of startups whose names are essentially just Swahili words. Now, this would annoy me about any language. but the overuse of a language that I could once speak (I'm told that till age 5 it was the language I was most comfortable with) seems particularly egregious.

The practice may have been interesting the first time, even the second, sometimes it can be still be witty and original...but at some point its just being unoriginal. I'm willing to bet that most people in these startups don't have a Tanzanian/East African connection of any sort, so its just one way to find a name that seems "cool"....either to them or an expensive naming consultant.

Swah…

Ah, life goes on...

Another ChiBus issue out last week..nothing new about that.
I didn't read most of it...nothing new about that either.:)

But, I just realised...it was the first issue in 2 years that didn't have a single article with my name on it.:)

Sigh...people just don't listen...so how will they change their minds?

I'm not sure how I ended up on Scott Adams' blog last week, but this post really resonated....for a number of reasons.
First of all after 2 years at UChicago, I agree that an exposure to a lot of economists/economics will change the way you think forever. You're constantly questioning why you're thinking in a certain way, why you're believing what you do and under what circumstances that belief will change.

It can make life a little more complicated, but oh-so-much more interesting.:)

Anyway, the main part of Scott Adams post is about cognitive dissonance. He described his reaction to an episode of the Real Time with Bill Maher show, where essentially an economist made an unconventional argument: (i.e. the cost of measures we're taking to fight global warming may basically not be worth it.) I don't know if the argument is true, but the data to prove it definitively false isn't there either. Its a classic economic argument.

It should've been heard, deba…

Berkeley courses on YouTube

This is huge!

As excited as I was when the MIT/OCW initiative grew to include most (now, all) MIT courses, I think this is much, much bigger. Materials are great, but seeing the videos there is what is actually putting the courses online.

Though education/knowledge is the biggest competitive advantage there is now, somehow as a civilization we've decided that the right thing to do is to share it. I've never really figured out how that came to be but the fact that it is just seems to make the world a better place, no? :)

Of the most desired courses though, I'm willing to bet the B-school courses will be the last (or at least offer the most resistance) to being put online. Extrapolating from the attitudes of many of my classmates, MBAs are going to try to hang on to that competitive advantage as long as possible.:)

Best Simpsons line(s) today:

DVR = I can finally be more regular watching the Simpsons.

Favorite lines today:

Homer to tow-truck driver: "You mean you can make people miserable whenever you want...just like God."

Bart: "Search for it on the Internet. Mom"
Marge: "Oh, I don't want to bother the Internet with my problems."

So much TV...so little time..

Those who know me well, know I have an all-too-unhealthy addiction for TV...even bad TV. But is it just me, or does the average quality of TV shows on American (especially network) TV just keep getting better over the last few years?

Anyway, I'm DVR-ing more shows than I can possibly watch..though I am trying.:)

Top of my list of the many new shows that I like so far: Pushing Daisies : very quirky, sharp dialogue, imaginative cinematography, moves really quickly, unusual soundtrack; cannot possibly end well, but should be fun while it lasts...or until the writers make it jump the shark.

Yet another example: of when you should ignore your customer.

Companies/Marketing gurus are always preaching about how the path to (continued) success is to listen to your customers. Thats true most of the time... of course except when its not.

There are many obvious case where this is not true: for example in the case of breakthrough /emerging technologies. Customers are generally pretty good at telling you about things they'd like changed about a product of yours they're using. But ask them if they're interested in a product of yours that they may not be very familiar with, with benefits they may not completely understand, and their answers are notoriously unreliable!

Why do I bring this up? I signed up for DVR a couple of months ago. I also signed up for the HBO package for the very first time (more on HBO's really smart On Demand options later.)

I didn't really expect DVR to significantly change the way I watch TV, but it has. Completely.

I've basically stopped watching live TV; even when I show up in time to watch the sh…