10 Apr 2010
FourSquare – Re-writing the Rules While Killer Application Remains Elusive
“Nature is by and large to be found out of doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs.”– Fran Lebowitz I’m a believer that Location Based Services (LBS), coupled with the latest smartphones, will evolve a number of indispensible, and unexpected, killer applications. That said, it’s pretty clear that those mission critical applications remain to be found. Essentially, the whole LBS opportunity, is a social experiment that early adopters are collaboratively helping to clarify. It was with those thoughts in mind when I decided to start using some of the popular LBS social media applications, or should I say social games? These included FourSquare, Yelp and Gowalla. Let me put this in context of other social media applications with which I’ve experimented. Back in 2007, I decided to try microblogging service Twitter, that was then in its infancy, I had low expectations. In fact, I expected to hate it, but mentally committed to give it a two week trial just for the purposes of self education. Over 3 years later, I’m still using it, love it and have found many applications which Twitter […]
5 Feb 2010
Ignite Passion before Money
This week I had the pleasure to be the luncheon speaker during the Ignite Entrepreneurship course put on by Guelph Partnership for Innovation, aimed at University of Guelph graduate students from various technical fields including biology, life sciences, materials, agribusiness, etc. It’s always a thrill to get into a room with 40 or so energetic and bright grad students who are considering going into business. And, kudos to GPI for hosting this. As an experiment, I broadcast the 3 questions out into social media-verse (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and got some great UGC that I factored into the presentation. Here are the questions regarding Money and Startups that I attempted to address: Do you really need it? Where will it come from? and What will you do with it? I’d be delighted if any of you could comment on the topic as well. It’s an extraordinarily challenging time to startups to find funding right now, and the importance of a healthy pipeline of new companies to our future well being, has led me to dedicate a fair portfion of my social enterprise/sharing time to the issue of the serious funding gap […]
1 Jan 2010
Technology Visionaries in the 1990’s: A 21st Century Retrospective
“It is sobering to reflect on the extent to which the structure of our business processes has been dictated by the limitations of the file folder.” -Michael Hammer and James Champy, Reengineering Your Business Recently, I unearthed a 10 year old book by Bill Gates, Business @ the Speed of Thought and took a bit of time to re-scan that 1999 book. On the first day of 2010, it seems appropriate to study technology trends to help give perspective to the future of the digital revolution. Far from being an overtly partisan paen to Microsoft, the passion and enthusiam for change reflective both Bill Gates personality and the thinking of that era, shine through. What is being presented is a prescription for a world, focused primarily on business, where mass adoption of networked computing unleashes a digital, knowledge-based revolution. In the 1990’s, Information Technology (“IT”) was considered a “necessary evil” in business, being viewed largely as a cost centre, and consigned to report to the CFO with a major focus on cost control. Although we’ve made some progress in the last decade, there is still a huge need to […]
13 Dec 2009
[Book Review]: Here Comes Everybody
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky Published by Penguin BooksWorldCat • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder Clay Shirky does a fantastic job of explaining why lowered transaction costs from recent inventions like computing, internet and mobility have led to a new world order in which individuals can collectively achieve what organizations used to have a stranglehold on. Specifically, this is a great way to look at how these changes, often labelled social networking or social media, are transforming business, government and nonprofits. Thanks to Bill Pase for recommending this.
9 Nov 2009
Die Berliner Mauer – 20 Years After “The End of History”
“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” – Francis Fukuyama, 1989 This week marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Was it the “end of history” that Francisc Fukayama suggested? Although perhaps that’s an exaggeration, it was probably the most transformational event in our lifetimes. Certainly, it ended a cycle of tyranny and brutality under totalatarian ideologies like Naziism, Stalinism, Fascism, Communism, etc., that characterized much of the Twentieth Century. In some ways, the Iron Curtain, of which the Berlin Wall was the most visible manifestation, froze half a continent in time, almost as if the World War II didn’t really end until 1989. While our world today is by no means perfect, the events of 1989 delivered greater democratic and economic rights to hundreds of millions of central and eastern European people, not to mention exerting a […]
11 Oct 2009
[Book Review]: Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Published by Little, Brown and Co.WorldCat • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder Malcolm Gladwell’s counter intuitive take on success. He downplays virtuosic brilliance in favour of timing and sheer hard work. Less research driven than some of his words, like all Gladwell books, a fast and easy read. It was almost spooky to read the birth years of people creating the first generation of software companies given that the range includes mine. Also, Malcolm’s discussion of his own background was moving and very personal storytelling at its best connecting his mixed racial origins with British colonial structures.
2 Oct 2009
MobileMondayToronto – Striving for Canadian Leadership in Global Mobile
Through the 1960’s, 1970’s and into the early 1980’s, Canada leveraged many of its best minds to develop technology solutions that span the great distances and empty spaces in our vast country to position Canada as a world leader in Telecommunications. Today, numerous examples from world leading companies like Blackberry to startups like Viigo or Iotum continue to show world leadership. Notwithstanding these points of strength, in the early 21st Century, there are surprising gaps in our global ability to compete, given our early leadership. The causes are many from regulation, standards, finance and even investment decisions of major carrier players. While there are individual success stories, like the Blackberry, there are also numerous structural issues that dampen our natural competitive position in this all important industry. We’ve assembled a diverse team of some of the top players shaping our mobile futureo help us understand Canada’s position in the global mobile industry, where the opportunities lie and changes in policy and investment that might allow us to maximize our footprint in the future mobile industry: Bob Ferchat – a Canadian mobile pioneer at the epicentre of the aforementioned world class […]
3 Aug 2010
How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm?
“How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm” (excerpt) by Andrew BirdOh, how ya gonna keep ’em down? Oh no, oh noOh, how ya gonna keep ’em down?How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway?Jazzin’ around and painting the town?How ya gonna keep ’em away from harm?That’s the mystery______________________ This week, my 18 month old Blackberry finally bit the dust. Out of this came a realization that led me to the challenge I issue at the end of this post.Please don’t view my device failure to be a reflection on the reliability, or lack thereof, of Blackberry handsets. Rather, as a heavy user, I’ve found that the half life of my handsets is typically 18 to 24 months before things start to degrade – indeed, mobile devices do take a beating.The obsolescence of one device is, however, a great opportunity to reflect on the age-old question: What do I acquire next? That is the subject of this posting, which focuses on the quantum changes in the mobile and smartphone market over the last couple of years.I’ll start with a description of my smartphone usage patterns. Note that, in a later […]