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Current Topic: Tech Industry

As Silicon Valley Reboots, the Geeks Take Charge
Topic: Tech Industry 10:59 am EST, Oct 26, 2003

Are the good times back in Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is rebooting. And this time, the geeks are the ones with the upper hand.

... The marketing plan, business model and sometimes the company itself die, but good technology tends to live on. Think of it as the biz/tech equivalent of the "selfish gene." ... "No one gets too torn up about [failure] in the valley."

"There is a lot of phenomenal intellectual property that has not found its way into the marketplace yet."

As Silicon Valley Reboots, the Geeks Take Charge

Blackboard to Set Up Chinese Colleges With Its Software
Topic: Tech Industry 11:58 am EDT, Sep  1, 2003

Just six years after it was founded by two new graduates of American University, Blackboard Inc. has entered a partnership with Cernet, which provides Internet services to more than 1,000 universities in China, to create a software platform that will allow professors to post course materials, conduct discussions and administer tests online.

Cernet CIO Walter Hu predicted the number of Chinese Blackboard users could possibly reach 20 million within 10 years.

Blackboard is succeeding because ...

"Easy", 2. "Security", 0.

Blackboard to Set Up Chinese Colleges With Its Software

Former Dot-Commers Are Adjusting, Painfully
Topic: Tech Industry 4:07 pm EDT, Aug 24, 2003

Chapter 2 of the Great Dot-Com Bust of 2000 has begun.

Few are the millionaires they expected to be: many are poorer than they were to begin with. Some are still frantically seeking jobs, while others are humbly grateful for finding even ill-suited ones.

"The true reality shock comes from trying to unlearn ways of doing things that you've been socialized into believing were the norm."

"If Webvan had spent as much intellectual and financial capital on finding out what customers wanted, and less on fancy technologies, it might still be around."

"Silicon Valley stock options are useful mainly for kindling now."

Former Dot-Commers Are Adjusting, Painfully

Rogue AOL Subsidiary Leader to Resign
Topic: Tech Industry 6:55 am EDT, Jun  4, 2003

A young programmer whose software startup, Nullsoft, was gobbled up by America Online -- and then caused numerous headaches for its corporate parent -- plans to resign after his latest piece of rebel code was pulled from the Internet.

Justin Frankel, 24, announced his intentions late Monday, less than a week after a file-sharing program called Waste was posted and then pulled from the Nullsoft Web site.

Rogue AOL Subsidiary Leader to Resign

IT Doesn't Matter
Topic: Tech Industry 2:42 pm EDT, May 29, 2003

In this article, published in the May 2003 edition of the Harvard Business Review, I examine the evolution of information technology in business and show that it follows a pattern strikingly similar to earlier technologies like railroads and electric power. For a brief period, as they are being built into the infrastructure of commerce, these "infrastructural technologies," as I call them, open opportunities for forward-looking companies to gain sustainable competitive advantages. But as their availability increases and their cost decreases - as they become ubiquitous - they become commodity inputs. From a strategic standpoint, they become invisible; they no longer matter. Seeing IT in this light reveals important new imperatives for the corporate management of information technology. In brief, executives need to shift their attention from IT opportunities to IT risks - from offense to defense.

Nick Carr has collected responses to his HBR, as well as related reading on the topic, at his web site.

At a glance, much of his work reported here appears to be derived from that of Thomas P. Hughes.

IT Doesn't Matter

IT Doesn't Matter
Topic: Tech Industry 2:39 pm EDT, May 29, 2003

As information technology has grown in power and ubiquity, companies have come to view it as evermore critical to their success; their heavy spending on hardware and software clearly reflects that assumption. Chief executives routinely talk about information technology's strategic value, about how they can use IT to gain a competitive edge.

But ,scarcity, not ubiquity, makes a business resource truly strategic -- and allows companies to use it for a sustained competitive advantage. You gain an edge over rivals only by doing something that they can't.

IT is the latest in a series of broadly adopted technologies -- think of the railroad or the electric generator -- that have reshaped industry over the past two centuries. For a brief time, these technologies created powerful opportunities for forward-looking companies.

But as their availability increased and their costs decreased, they became commodity inputs. From a strategic standpoint, they no longer mattered.

That's exactly what's happening to IT, and the implications are profound.

In this article, HBR's Editor-at-Large Nicholas Carr suggests that IT management should, frankly, become boring. It should focus on reducing risks, not increasing opportunities. For example, companies need to pay more attention to ensuring network and data security. Even more important, they need to manage IT costs more aggressively. IT may not help you gain a strategic advantage, but it could easily put you at a cost disadvantage.

Subscription required for full text. Or pick up a copy of HBR at your local news stand.

IT Doesn't Matter

Dilbert on Interface design
Topic: Tech Industry 11:29 pm EDT, Sep 23, 2002

[Nano: I *heart* Dilbert cartoons!]


Dilbert on Interface design

A New Model for AOL May Influence Cable's Future
Topic: Tech Industry 11:06 am EDT, Aug 29, 2002

"A few years out, the question of whether last week's deal was a good one for AOL Time Warner will probably depend on whether the America Online unit can create the Internet equivalent of must-have offerings like "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."

A New Model for AOL May Influence Cable's Future

AOL Is Reportedly Set to Pay AT&T for TWE Stake
Topic: Tech Industry 6:54 am EDT, Aug 20, 2002

AOLTW is poised to buy out AT&T's stake in Time Warner Entertainment for $9 billion in cash, AOL stock and shares in a new publicly traded cable business.

Smartest thing AOL has done in months ... Now: what to do about all of those dialup users?

AOL Is Reportedly Set to Pay AT&T for TWE Stake

SEC Expands Probe of AOL
Topic: Tech Industry 6:21 am EDT, Aug  2, 2002

The SEC has widened its probe of AOL Time Warner, investigating the company's former business relationship with PurchasePro, a struggling Las Vegas software firm.

In one unorthodox arrangement, AOL gave $9.5M in cash to PurchasePro for $30M in stock warrants in the firm, and AOL booked the difference -- $20.5M -- as ad and commerce revenue. PurchasePro also bought advertising space from AOL and paid AOL commissions for selling PurchasePro software.

At least two AOL executives have already retained attorneys in connection with the matter, including David Colburn, who recently relinquished his day-to-day duties.

SEC Expands Probe of AOL

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