Posts tagged internet

Guns, Germs, and Silicon Valley?

Yesterday I finished reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, and in the final hour of reading something sparked my attention:

Throughout history and despite relatively uniform intelligence across all of humankind, Diamond argues that widespread innovation had been limited to only certain countries in particular geographical contexts. He goes on to mention that innovation (as seen in those countries) was driven by the presence of higher population densities, close proximity to a number of neighbouring countries, and higher degrees of competitiveness between countries.

Naturally, I wondered, could this concept explain why so much technology innovation has led to an abundance of successful tech companies in the Bay Area, and to a lesser but still significant extent, the Greater Boston Area? On the flip-side, could this concept also explain why so many technology companies created in other regions have higher failure rates?

According to Diamond, innovation is driven by population densities of sorts. The Bay Area has one of the richest selections of successful and pioneering IT/internet/mobile technology entrepreneurs on the planet. As far as competitiveness, the US is the epidemy of a Capitalist nation, and competition is as fierce domestically as it is internationally (if not more fierce).

Note: As far as the Bay Area goes, I believe it remains at the apex of innovation due to its abundance of human capital, sharing of know-how, entrepreneurial culture, access to world-class research facilities/universities and venture capital financing. However, I do buy into the fact that proximate competition can help to turn good ideas into great ideas when the developers of the ideas have the ability to see and innovate on top of other very good ideas very quickly.

Although I don’t have the time and/or resources to explore this in further detail, I find this to be an interesting theoretical discussion about how a local geography can evolve in such a way that promotes rapid innovation in a particular niche. If you have an opinion on the matter, I invite you to please share it below.

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ColdFusion 8 Coming Soon

This might be a little outside the scope of my usual blogging topics, but its exciting! ColdFusion 8 Scorpio has begun its pre-release tour – in case you are wondering, ColdFusion is an internet-based programming platform. It is owned by Adobe, who bought Macromedia, who bought Allaire – the company that originally developed the technology. It’s come a LONG way! It includes built-in AJAX widgets, JSON support, .NET integration, Microsoft Exchange integration, a Flash-based presentation builder, full PDF integration and many other cool features. I may or may not be getting a little excited about this news.

More details available on downloadsquad.com.

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World Innovation Forum

I’m planning a trip to California to do some business development and go to the World Innovation Forum amongst other things. The conference is from April 17-18, so if you want to join me, fire me an email because I would love a wingman on this mission! Seriously. (Oh, and there’s an unwritten student rate if you ask nicely …)

I ripped off a bit of content here from the HSM website for the World Innovation Forum, but I want to show you some of the people that are going to be speaking at this event:

CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN Disruptive Innovation

Author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, the business bestseller that outlines Christensen’s revolutionary theory of disruptive innovation

RENÉE MAUBORGNE Blue Ocean Strategy

“Blue Ocean Strategy challenges everything you thought you knew about strategy” (Business Strategy Review)

RAY KURZWEIL A Look into the Future

“The restless genius” (Wall Street Journal), “the ultimate thinking machine” (Forbes), “the rightful heir to Thomas Edison” (Inc. Magazine), and one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America” (PBS)

LYN HEWARD Creativity & Innovation at Cirque du Soleil

Lyn Heward is the creative fire behind Cirque du Soleil–one of the most innovative and creative companies in the world today–helping it grow to distinct 13 troupes that perform on a global stage

VINTON G. CERF Internet: An Engine of Innovation

Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist and widely considered to be the “Father of the Internet”

MICHAEL THIENEMAN A Model of Innovation: Whirlpool

Thieneman’s global position ensures innovative products and features across all of Whirlpool’s brands, reflected in an annual sales total of more than $19 billion

RICK RASHID Microsoft: Research, Product Development, and Future Technologies

As Senior Vice President, Research, Rick Rashid oversees Microsoft Research’s worldwide operations.

In November 2006 I attended the World Science Forum, which is another conference put on by HSM in New York. It was a great conference, where I had the opportunity to meet Francis Collins, Marvin Minsky, and listen to presentations made by some of the worlds greatest minds. I highly suggest getting the chance to get out to at least one of there.

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New Video 2.0 Website to come from NBC and News Corp

I’m not sure who would really want to go head to head with Google, but apparently the answer to that question is NBC and News Corp. who are launching a competitor to YouTube.com in Summer 2007.

The company, which has “yet to be given a name, or a managment team” already has distribution deals with AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, and MySpace and are planning on featuring TV shows and full-length films. Hmm … pretty good job considering there is no management team! More details on the venture can be seen in this NY Times article.

The unnamed company plans to generate revenue by making the video feeds free to watch, but subjecting the users to advertisements. How will they structure these ads?

My Thoughts
I’m not sure how the company plans to work advertising into the streaming video, if its alongside the video, or if there are interruptions within the streaming videos themselves. I can say right now that people are NOT going to like interruptions in their programs being streamed from this website; so, if that’s the plan, many people will surely be disappointed.

I wonder how long it will take before some 15-year old tech-geek programs a method of “PVR-ing” the streaming video, and either (1) cuts out the commercials and saves the video commercial-free on the computer for later playback when its convenient for them; or (2) saves the video allowing for playback with a fast-forwarding option.

I guess we’ll see what happens … either way, it could be an interesting service to check out.

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