Strategies for a discontinuous future.

Consulting & advisory, research notes, in the press, about bubblegen,
next wednesdays.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Definition of chutzpah : The Irrelevance of Frank Quttrone.

"Putting wrongdoers behind bars is well and good, but it was investors' losses -- not new laws -- that set Wall Street straight".

Huh? Wouldn't that be the *reason* why we *need* new laws and strong enforcement, the kind that would shake a Frank Quattrone in his boots with fear and visions of *very* close encounters of the physical kind with fellow prison mates every time he signed off on throwing some of those pre-IPO shares towards his cronies, Timmy? Doh!

To paraphrase Churchill, never in the history of mankind have so many been robbed in broad daylight by so few, and managed to get away with it. Capitalism is indeed in dire need of being saved from the capitalists. Leading thinkers of market economics should be taking a very long, hard look at the train wreck of capital markets and the institutions governing them that still continue to operate as if the uncontrolled, criminal pursuit of naked greed never happened. Om's book Broadbandits must be a required reading in a compulsory business ethics class in every business school around the globe. And we get such banal pontification from supposedly the most widely read business magazine on this continent? I am speechless.

-- Mahashunyam // 6:30 AM //


The barbarian invasion : an interesting look at the last 500 years of cultural exchange between east and west.

-- Mahashunyam // 6:17 AM //


American neocons back Chechnya - truth stranger than fiction.

-- umair // 1:33 AM //


Darpa's cognitive radio (and beyond) related program website.

-- umair // 1:31 AM //


Mastercard advert, the Qwest version...

Revenue restatement? A couple of billion dollars, every now and then. Phil Anshutz's stake of the loot? A couple of billions. Joe Nacchio's share of the plunder? A billion, give or take a few hundred mil. Sundry VP's and Managers share of this daylight robbery? A few mil a head. Wealth destruction for shareholders? Oh, I don't know, say $20-30 billion. Getting away with a slap on the wrist from SEC, with at most just two former executives facing consequences? PRICELESS!!!

Is this a f**king joke?

-- Mahashunyam // 1:23 AM //


Fidelity owns about 16% of Google.

-- umair // 1:19 AM //


Word of the Day

'Fauxtism' - posing as socially retarded; via this comment at John's.

-- umair // 1:16 AM //

Friday, September 10, 2004

Love Thy Neighbour

Hungryblues has an update about the possible lynching I linked to a few weeks back...

-- umair // 11:59 PM //


Politics of the Day

It's worrying about the make of typewriters that helps to keep you silent about (and blissfully out of tune with) anything but a manufactured reality - that's right where they want you.

-- umair // 11:46 PM //


Innovation Enjun

Half of LA County is illitarit. Meanwhile, high and climbing transaction costs to student visas force talented kids to Europe, Canada, Asia, etc.

-- umair // 11:38 PM //


Information Machines (Greatest Hits Edition)

whosarat - a vivid illustration of just how valuable information really can be; we take cheap information for granted now, but looking at this market tells us it wasn't (and isn't) always so. Also a nice example of the paradox of when innovation reaches different markets - presumably, since this info is worth so much, this should have been one of the first things on the Net, but it wasn't. (Via MeFi).

-- umair // 11:31 PM //


More and more papers are coming out focusing on the crucial understanding that, as far as 'piracy' goes, the externalities replicators impose on producers (and other replicators) are often positive. In other words, replication expands the pie more than it shrinks the pie.

This is something that we built our network licenses around, something I've written about quite a bit - and something that more and more net-based models are beginning to understand can act as a game-changer, a source of massive pressure over competition.

Here's an example (via MeFi).

-- umair // 11:27 PM //


A nice paper about the macro impact of VC - that it's social return is greater than that of either R&D or business, because it has a greater effect on innovative and absorptive capacity:

"...According to a study carried out by DRI-WEFA1 on US VC-funded companies over the period 1970- 2000, �venture capital-backed companies had approximately twice the sales, paid almost three times the federal taxes, generated almost twice the exports, and invested almost three times as much in R&D as the average non-venture capital-backed public company, per each $1,000 of assets�.

-- umair // 11:21 PM //


Fractal antennas. Very cool technology, very poor website.

-- dhd // 9:33 PM //


An article regarding added incentives the music industry can provide to curb the trend of reduced sales due to file shared music.

My issue with this whole philosophy is it's still digital content. What's to stop somebody from placing the "added value" on a P2P server, and start this whole process of 'illegal download, RIAA lawsuit, how to solve the problem', all over again? Note: argueing that current technology will make it difficult to copy or burn these kinds of two sided discs is a little bit premature. Firstly, I don't even burn anymore, I just write to hard drive and then on to my ipod or something. If I really wanted to copy the dvd features and songs, I'd just write them all to DVD. As far as copying goes, anything that's protected can be broken.

-- dhd // 8:48 PM //


Very, very strange.

-- dhd // 5:25 PM //


What's happened to the distinction between the church and the state? Isn't this starting to get a little too close for comfort in what's claimed to be a 'secular' country?

-- dhd // 4:26 PM //


Would you watch television on your mobile phone?

I'm not so sure about the business model for this. I personally wouldn't watch television channels on my mobile phone. This might be due to the fact that I live in north america where mobile phones seem to be generations behind their cousins in europe. Regardless, I still don't think I'd have the desire to watch continuous television on my phone. However, I would watch 'snippets' of television. For example, I'd watch news briefs, sports highlights, breaking news, etc. This type of service wouldn't require the type of hardware of a fully TV capable phone (I have a feeling these phones are using a form of software defined radio to demodulate digital TV broadcasts...and if they're aren't, they should be). In fact, the 2.5G and upcoming 3G phones could do this easily.

-- dhd // 4:04 PM //


Intel is warning of potential disaster for the net.

Basically Intel is suggesting building a second, more advanced, net over the existing internet infrastructure. Aside from the fact that this seems like a scare tactic designed to increase Intel's revenue, it also suggests that the internet will become even more segregated than it is today. Those lucky enough to live in a part of the world with an abundance of money and power will benefit from the safe, 'worm free' internet. The poor buggers in the rest of the world, can live with our refuse (or the current internet). Wasn't the internet supposed to bring the world together?

- an interesting, yet completely unrelated note, in regards to this article. It mentions that the internet may one day reach 100 billion connected devices. This is approaching the interconnected complexity of the brain. ...we seem to be building our Earth its own little brain. I wonder what will happen if/when it becomes conscious.

-- dhd // 3:34 PM //


Could the rantings and ravings of bloggers one day be grounds for legal action?

- " ...we are all now empowered to become "citizen journalists" and tackle "Big Media", then every blogger, site host and community publisher needs to take their role seriously, and keep an eye on what they are publishing."

-- dhd // 3:30 PM //


It's a robot Jesus.

-- dhd // 3:13 PM //


How to fight(?) the drug war

I really think that Canada can lead the way with its moderate, and tolerant attitude towards soft drugs. I know, Europeans started it. But we still have a long way to go, and the actions of Canadian government make me feel hopeful. In Vancouver, there's a public debate going on about legitimate businesses openly selling BC's finest in retail shops. So much more civilized than letting Ashcroft's goons terrorize the people!

-- Mahashunyam // 7:08 AM //


India stories round up for the day

Your man in India : Outsourced butler? Speaking of outsourcing, GE is looking to exit from it in India. I am wondering if that's a leading indicator of the business having peaked. Elsewhere, the Indian government is hunting down illegal phone exchanges to protect reveunes of the (erstwhile) national monopoly. That's so funny! Next thing you know, they may try to outlaw the PhoneConnector or block Skype :-). They really need to wake up and smell the disruption. But then again, the Indian government is just as stupid as its counterparts around the world. *Sigh*. Well, more stupidity tax for their hapless citizens, I suppose.

-- Mahashunyam // 6:58 AM //

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Andromeda Strain

Genesis crashes. Place all eggs in one very expensive basket; how not to run space missions; Nasa fails yet again; insert your own criticism here. Or just wait another coupla years for the Chinese, Indians, and private sector.

-- umair // 1:55 AM //

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

PhoneConnector : bridging across the chasm, accelerating disruption, investment in complementor, blah blah...Haven't tried it but looks cool anyway. Expect more such niches to emerge, as we hurtle down the road to VoIP. Personally, I think Mobile over IP over WiFi (MoWLAN) is the biggest disruptor of them all.

-- Mahashunyam // 6:09 PM //


Netflix and Tivo rumoured to enter a deal. Hmmm...is this where they got the idea from? :-).

-- Mahashunyam // 8:17 AM //


Om likes Andy Kessler's new book : Running Money. Me? I am trying to get through some hard-core doctrinaire Buddhist stuff in Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa, thanks to my good friend Tertium Quid who was kind enough to lend me his personal copy. It's not only very interesting, but also very different from anything else I've read. Although written as an exposition of Trungpa's Buddhist viewpoint, I find it quite fascinating and universally accessible in general. Will write more about it after I am done with it.

-- Mahashunyam // 7:57 AM //

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Rural innovation in India.

-- Mahashunyam // 5:47 PM //



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