LinkLog: Successful Platforms

Here is a nice discussion worth reading about Silicon Valley, recession, disruptive products and successful platforms:

He says that a platform ill be successful if it has three characteristics. It has to be able to commoditize a market. Secondly, it has to obey the 10x better/cheaper rule.

Thirdly, a platform must allow you to add value with custom additions. The reason Netscape wasn’t a platform was that no one could program to it, nobody could add value. (By the way, that’s also true for virtualization…) Unless you have all three characteristics, you won’t have a disruptive chain that can accelerate a startup from zero to sixty, and turn it into a major player.

Makes a lot of sense. Either all these or an outstanding product/business model as in the case of Google Search. The discussion is also optimistic about the prospects of Silicon Valley, some musings about what it takes to increase adoption of Green Technology. Looking forward to reading the second part.

Engineers Don’t Start Like Business Folk

I am reading a series of blogs about HP Pheonomenon by Chuck House , thanks to a note sent by a friend, Bill (Mr. Human Glue) Daul of NextNow.

I paused when I came this line:

Engineers don’t start out thinking like, or looking like, business folk.

How true. There is a lot of difference between the companies started and run by Engineers vs Business People. Both seem to be successful in their own way. You need a combination of both to build a successful company. Marketing/Sales/Technology is a key combination. Having said that, look at companies built by engineers and business folk. There is a distinct difference in the culture.

This is an illuminating blog. It takes you back more than 50 years and tells the story of a great company. Chuck says that it is just a few front-end loaded with about 12 small items.

Here is a little snippet of the story on the first laser printer HP produced and the marketing.

We had a poll in marketing on how many we’d sell the first month. The forecast was 75. Actual sales were zero. We also sold zero in January and February. Finally in March, Dan Schwartz sold our first trade unit to AAMC in Washington D.C.

But read this. It will blow your mind.

After the failures, the Boise, Idaho management team had lost enthusiasm for this sector, reducing the development team to five engineers for the third try – which yielded a product called the HP 2686A, later retitled as the HP LaserJet. It was a stunning, and unexpected, success, turning into a product bigger by a factor of five than anything else in HP’s 90 division line-up.

Each post has a telling story. They fill you with wonder and some times make you think, “I know how that feels”. I just can’t wait for the book to appear. Meanwhile, I am going to keep track of this blog.

Resources: Technology Podcasts and Videos

I am always on the lookout for good podcasts to listen to. Here is an opportunity to listen to thought leaders in the tech industry.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Interviews with Innovators by Jon Udel from ITConversations Network. ITConversations also hosts some interesting podcasts on Social Innovation and other interesting topics.

Talking with Talis is one of my more recent discoveries. In their own words, it is:

conversations with thought-leaders at the interface between Web 2.0, Libraries, and the Semantic Web…

Inside Silicon Valley from PodTech News is another one of my favorites. I became aware of PodTech when Robert Scoble moved there from Microsoft.

ScobleShow is another one of my favorite ones. Since Scoble is no longer at PodTech, I wonder whether this series will continue.

Channel 10 is a great source that covers products and innovations at Microsoft.  I have watched some really grate videos and podcasts there.

Google Engineering Edu and other Google tech talk videos is one of the best sources of technology information. Google often invites thought leaders, developers, language designers to their campus. They make these videos available free.

A talk a day is my motto. A technology or Science podcast or an audiobook is a great companion when I take my walks or sweat it out on my treadmill.