Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Is it really necessary for Google to screw their customers?

Yesterday, Jason McCabe Calacanis invited me to respond to his post “Has Google Been Naughty?  Yes.  Should the Government Get Involved?  No”.   You can read responses from Vivek Wadhwa and  Robert Scoble along with mine in a handy digest on the Launch blog.   The following post is the full text of my response to Calacanis view of Google’s future path.

There’s a predictable cycle in business, at least in the sectors of technology, media and telecommunications.

In the first part of the cycle, companies achieve success by introducing a new service that delights customers:    call it the “Value Creation” phase.   This is the phase when lots of customers sign up.   Remember when you bought your first Windows computer, your first iPod, or your first smartphone?   Chances are good that you made the switch at the exact same moment when millions of other people were migrating to these new gizmos, too.  Everyone was attracted by a novel combination of utility, cool factor and the right price.

But over time, as the new product/service evolves into our daily habit, some companies are tempted to Continue Reading

The Book is Dead, Long Live the eBook! Video of Robert Tercek’s guest appearance on “This Week in Books”

The advent of table computers and electronic book readers poses a serious challenge to the traditional business of book publishing.  As I’ve written previously, it’s entirely possible that the economics of print publishing will crumble faster than commonly expected.

Recently I was invited to appear on “This Week In Books” to discuss the implications of electronic book publishing for authors, publishers and readers.  There’s no doubt that this transition will present some difficult challenges, but our conversation was focused on the many new opportunities for authors to connect with their audiences via digital media.  Printed books are great in many ways, and that’s why they’ve continued to occupy a central role in modern civilization in more or less unaltered form for  500 years.  But now the Gutenberg culture is going to be transformed.   Watch the video clip:

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Welcome to Surveillance Nation: what happens when spy camera data is merged with online profiles

There’s a lively debate underway about the erosion of privacy in digital media, focusing lately on the careless handling of Facebook data by bottom feeder RapLeaf.   This is a useful discussion but it does not address the proliferation of surveillance technologies that now pervade the real world around us.
I’m not referring to your web browsing habits (there is already a multi-billion dollar industry of tracking your online behavior).   I’m talking about your daily activity in the city where you live.
Whether you know it or not, your public life is being converted into somebody else’s digital data.   For control.   For profit.  For entertainment. Continue Reading

The Berlin Wall mentality, reconsidered

In 1986, when I returned to New York City after living in West Berlin for a long time, a lot of people asked me “When will they tear down the Wall?”

There is something typically American about this question. Behind the question was the implicit assumption that, eventually, the two Germanies would be re-united. You might call it hopeful. Others might call it naive.

However, that wasn’t the mentality in Germany at the time. Continue Reading

About the X Media Lab in Melbourne

Wow, what a weekend.  I am seriously jet-lagged.    Just returned from X-Media Lab, which is an intensive three-day workshop held periodically in different cities throughout Asia:  Dubai, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai.   Last weekend XML took place in Melbourne, Australia.

How XML works:  ten individuals with experience in digital media arrive from all corners of the globe.  16 companies are chosen for the workshop from a competitive field.   On the first day, the experts present their vision and background as it pertains to the subject matter of the lab.  (Our topic was “DIY Media”).   During the next two days, each of the 16 companies has the opportunity to review their project in one-on-one sessions with the experts.   The result is a combination of brainstorming, pitching, debate, challenge, refinement and collaborative creativity.   Very fun.  It’s unlike any other conference.

The XML workshop is the brainchild of Australian impressario Brendan Harkin.   He and his tireless partner Megan Elliott make the whole thing work:  coordinating the travel of 10 speakers, finding and screening the projects, securing the venue and government support. Continue Reading