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Archive for August, 2007

Finger Food (7)..welcome back!!!

August 31, 2007 2 comments

Last day of August, Milan is under the rain, last night it was hit by an heavy thunderstorm, which actually lulled me to sleep, this morning there is a gray sky, dripping down a meaningless rain … it reminds me of the last days of Summer when I was in Tuscany, all my friends and the excitement of the Summer were washed away by those Western clouds… nevermind the memories, it is about time to get out the weekly finger food and, tah dah!!, going over to the beach once again!! So, there we are:

We simply have not found a way in the old business model to make a return on our investment (CEO, EarthLink, Rolla Huff)

  • For the sake of argument, a company that is actually putting itself at a somewhat technology edge has not foreseen an effective business model to support such an evolution (which, incidentally, was far from unpredictable, since we are talking about San Francisco and not a far, far away Siberian city…).. so much for leadership…
  • Again, opening up the free knowledge doors in China proves itself a daunting task.. some time ago it was Google (and China is still a tough call for the Fantastic Duo, as it seems..), if I remember it right, now is Yahoo clashing with the Chinese government… as it seems, there are differences in the approach and moral stature companies are keeping when facing court charges, and I wonder whether it is a matter of potential market sizing…
  • Another walled garden in the mobile scenario?? Nokia is launching Ovi…. I am certainly wrong, but it seems that the most compelling factor to drive users to a higher mobile data traffic is a potential fast and furious browsing over the Web, the big one.. each of us has got his network of sites, peers, Web social liturgy that has been built up over time and freedom… cannot see (or do not want to see…) that changing to a nicely done (maybe) and controlled content deposit..
  • Whilst the SecondLife universe was gathering to the Community Convention, I would have rather go surfing the waves coming with my first Western swell in Tuscany… how foolish of me, when there is the smashing opportunity to really really surf in the web!!! Here it is, a nice beach resort to unwind, going scuba and the rest… you may know that I am a touch sensitive about the entire beach lifestyle thing, and would really thank anyone for not carrying this nonsense too far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have you ever experienced the feeling of walking barefoot over the warm sand at sunset? Or ride a wave at dawn, no one in sight but you, the waves and the rising sun?? Right, then you know what I mean… by the way, those surfboards are dead ugly, please Al Merrick, please!!!!!
  • Long time ago, I knew someone in UK with a surname I thought was a promise in itself: Goodenough (apologies to the ones involved here..) (utterly unlikely they may read this blog but who knows…)… now it seems that the very concept is underpinning the entire innovation blurb.. despite my initial Goodenough friend was, and I hope for her, still is a nice looking lady, conversely I tend to believe that good enough in technology and in evolution is not, actually, good enough. Changes happens faster and faster, evolution speeds up after spell of chaotic creation, good enough in not enough.. mind you, it leaves plenty of opportunity to create lateral job placements, I am thinking consultants, maintenance, gurus….
  • And, since we are all (almost..) back from holidays with some unwanted weight over our stunning bodies, here it is, a nice way to put it…. (text in Italian, the rest is self explanatory…)!!!

That’s it…there are lots of other golden nuggets (lol) such as social network sites going to hunt for the LinkedIn marketplace, YouTube that is going hands in hands with British music royalty collection agency, and everybody’s hacking Apple’s iPhone, plus there is a new stunning Jaguar on its way, should you be at all interested!!!!

Pack your stuff, it’s weekend time!!!

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Categories: General stuff..

Black, blue and now yellow gold!?!? Not only food for thoughts..

August 30, 2007 Leave a comment

Since I am back from my traveling around, there is one issue that keep popping, or better cropping out, on Business Week, on the UK Guardian and today on the Italian La Repubblica: the ongoing interest on biofuels is actually hindering the food production and stocks around the World, particularly if considering the mid term future.

There is a massive array of numbers, more or less accurate and more or less scary, you enjoy browsing through the details, the thing is we, on Planet Earth, have found another gold: corn, maiz, grano, whatever you want to call it. As it seems, an hefty double digit figure of the overall maiz/corn production is currently dedicated to biofuel production, this aiming (seemingly) to reduce Western dependency on oil and to control greenhouse gas emissions. More importantly, there is a stack of money to be made, since it has been stated

Since biodiesel and ethanol are close petroleum substitutes, their prices track that of crude oil.

So, results are an increased pressure on food prices, since the alimentary chain has deep roots into the “corn” fields (directly – bread and derivatives – or indirectly – cattle food), all too scary should we consider that there is an increase in World population, that the alimentary habits may change whilst countries are shifting towards a more “Westernised” lifestyle, that water is becoming maybe not scarce but not aplenty either, and given that we are planned quite carefully, as smart inhabitants, to bake our planet nicely..

So, we have thus a list of “golds” to look for: black gold (oil), blue gold (water), yellow gold (??) (corn). The first of the aforementioned alternatives has already made a huge mess and quite a slaughter, do we have to expect the second and the third one to follow suit???

What is even more incredible, for the sake of argument clearly, is the actual fact that nobody is contemplating the idea that using 1.5 ton of steel to move around 75kg of meat is the stupidest waste of energy ever seen (maybe only surpassed by the fruitless attempt of a friend of mine to learn snowboarding), and it would not be so preposterous to foster the usage of alternative transportation… guess this is an already well debated issue, but I feel embarrassed as human being when a journalist states that we may end up deciding whether we may want a loaf of bread or a full tank in our car.. please.. there is no irony in this…

Personally, I sold since quite a long time my car, a nice convertible, as it was stupid to use it to go from home to work, fight in the rush hour, fight for parking and get stressed in biblically long cues. Now I get the bus to work (15′), read a nice book or listen to music without worrying about other mad drivers, I move down to Tuscany by train, there I have got a bike to pedal around or, admittingly, for longer travels I got my motorbike, still my carbon footprint is pretty low and my stress level is down quite nicely.

Bottom line: again, instead of attacking a problem’s causes, we want to reduce the effects. It is again about geopolitics, money, power. No further comments.

Categories: For thoughts.., mankind

iPod revolution on its way??

August 29, 2007 Leave a comment

Or the event that Apple will held in San Francisco next Sept. 5th is just a “keep the pressure steady” on the market after the earlier launch of the alluminum-look iMac???

Still, every single time Stevie goes on stage, people start trembling, either in excitement or in terror..

Few things in the rumors are quite interesting, though… first, the possibility to have an iPod with full-screen features, then to have it packed with Apple OS, furthermore to have that injection of intelligence into more traditional, click-wheel based models, and last but not least the possibility to see a new iPhone, the iPhone Nano, whatever that means…

Most interesting of all is an alleged  declaration Steve Jobs did in an earlier company meeting (mind you, if the declaration is out in the press, that was not exactly a company meeting.. nevermind..), pointing at the possibility to auto-cannibalise product revenues with other product lines revs, than having that done by competitors..

Now, that seems to me, with all respect for such a genius, something like common sense … so expect the expected and, as someone says in the linked  articles, also the WOW…

Apple strategy is all about excitement, and as the most adventurous amongst you may know, adrenaline wears off pretty quickly, so it is a matter of keeping that up, and transform it in awe!!

Life is great, isn’t it..?

Internet killed the video stars?!?!?!?!? Not yet… unfortunately..

August 29, 2007 Leave a comment

Milan is still warmish but the sky is clouded, yesterday was kind of raining, and today guess it will follow suit pretty easily… this is the perfect time to either going into the wild and search for early Autumn mushrooms or snuggle on the sofa with a cup of green tea (got some wonderful ones in Japan!! ) and some TV…  but, which TV???!??!

As it seems, IP television is coming on a screen near you, quite abruptly eventually, and we are all going to deal with it, should the scenario Vint Cerf is depicting at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival come to reality.. quite agree that some of the newest productions or most interesting contents are floating somewhere in cyberspace, fine again on the fact that IP TV is on the agenda of old fashioned broadcasters and newly born moguls (see Joost and its peers), and it is true that in Japan you may download one hour worth of TV programs in 16″… it is also true that in Japan the “mobile” internet seems to be a reality, that broadband connections are available for free everywhere, also in the cheapest ryokan (B&B…) you may encounter in a small city, as it is quite true that, say, in Italy we still have 56K connections, a poor command of the English language (at least at the level of proficiency required to follow a video show or a movie), as it is quite a factor that a sharp move to IP TV will definitely put in jeopardy some audience control mechanism, given the (supposed) larger degree of freedom the Web should allow… OK, this would be positive, I guess..

This is without considering the advertising strategy revamp that would be needed, a severe customer analysis, and a superior ability to meet the audience expectations and try and build up some kind of lock in (it means management capability, and you all know I strongly believe that is in very short supply) … satellite and cable, when and where they have been free to compete fairly, have actually shown how life could be hard in a truly, competitive, open TV marketplace..

However, the ability of the IP TV to implement some “high tech”features, such as sort of hyperlinks in shows, will demolish the consolidated idea of a TV “whatever”cast, that is to sit and watch… merging too deeply the incredible digging power of the Web with the TV format it may be nice on paper but may not encounter a burst of enthusiasm… TV is TV, the Web is the Web, a news site is not substituting a newspaper, as ebooks are not substituting a nice paper book… cultural shifts are hard to sell and digest, it may happen but has to be a great, truly wonderful idea (such as the ease of choice and portability of an mp3??? my mum got in love with Pink Floyd since that was what my brother put in her mp3 player for her to listen whilst painting… nice works, mind you..)

TV will end up coming from Mars, as Cerf says, and will be fun to watch (kind of…), some of us are interested in exploring programs for further news and in-depth knowledge, some of us will watch shows in three languages, but there is a huge amount of people, today, watching every single day EastEnders, Beautiful, the Big Brother and some silly quiz show(we have that horrible “Affari Tuoi” here in Italy that is polluting my dinners..), and all the rest of those questionable programming.. and guess what, someone may actually say that the money flows there and not around the National Geographic series…

Too sad!

We are all back… and where are the leaders?????

August 28, 2007 Leave a comment

Back… “finally” is kind of a far too positive word to depict my status,  still, there we are…

I read through some newspapers since back, pretty much the same stuff as I read one month ago, same story for a few publications, all boring discussions about nothing. So headed over the Web…fair, few more interesting bits around, still have to make my mind over the real importance of what I read about.. connectivity, iPhone again, the uttermost importance of WiMax in our lives, the raging China and how desperate the US housewives actually really are given the crumbling of the housing market…

So, it seems we are all back at full swing (what????) and there are troubles ahead… which actually calls for carefully planned actions, against a clear strategy, implemented by well motivated forces run my enlightened leaders… ops.. leaders?????

Scarce commodity as it seems in a recent BusinessWeek article… the concept of leadership, the perfect commander, that sort of human being capable of extracting the best and more than that from every single individual he meets/command/manage, actually rests on the laurels of intangibles, on natural born stardom status, on admiration for a way of being above and beyond petty normality… unfortunately, as well pointed out, leadership is often mistaken with a superior accounting skill, and that is a huge blunder that will come back as an hefty bill to pay when the matter get worse..

We have been discussing, reading, talking and debating about evolutions, about new geopolitic balances, about a new layer of society based on technology, we have witnessed the rise and fall of economic wealth across nations, we have seen countries emerging to new powerhouse status and yet, in all this, we have not seen the very idea of leadership growing the same speed, nor we have seen real leaders arousing from the masses. Just aggressive and ego-bloated accountants, allover the place.. numbers are not diamonds to bright up someone’s performance, numbers are not made to hide behind..

That is scary… a battle with no commanders is lost before fighting…  we should start this working season a bit better than this, shouldn’t we?

Categories: For thoughts..

Japan strikes you badly!!!

August 4, 2007 Leave a comment

Admittingly, the first approach to this country is not the easiest one… most of all if you linger around Tokyo… it is seriously complicated but…in a little while it opens up to a shrine of golden secrets!!

In the first place, despite the language or the impact of a deeply different culture, it is deadly easy to move and hang around, I have never been in a large city with this ease, almost amazing. The impressive array of modernity clashes with what is seemingly the Japanese way of looking at things, a mix of new and old, a borderline between reality and gaming…lights from a Blade Runner scenario go hands in hands with ancient temples and a closed, almost shy but most likely proud way of acting..

And, impressively enough, this city of more than 30 million people is not noisy!! It is almost silent apart from the physical noise that things and bodies do in moving around, unbelievable!!

Then, it comes a time when you decide to take a train and go outside town…there you get smashed! A lush tropical forest hides temples, valleys, rivers and gentle people.. yesterday I spent three hours hicking over a nearby mountain to go and see a Giant Buddha in a nearby village….it was overwhelming, breathtaking….

Keep you posted then!!!

Categories: Tokyo!!

Tokyo ….decadence???

August 1, 2007 Leave a comment

There we are, first day in Tokyo and have already seen half the city… almost… considering the place is a touch large…

Still, few points (since I have got few secs left on the shared connection at Andon Ryokan..)… tech is all around but fairly hidden in a mess of old fashioned attires (grey walls, plasters going bananas and so forth…), Japs are nicely Westernised to death, and I have seen all the Playstation PSP Sony sold… tons in the tube, lots in the streets…

Cells are extension of human beings…. pretty huge stuff nonetheless, nothing with our frenzy for slim shady stuff….

OK, have to leave the thing…

will keep you updated and posted, as much as I can and despite my moving around the country in a couple of days!!!

Cheers!

Categories: Tokyo!!