Something From Nothing – Bringing the Store to the Customer

Grocery giant Tesco has launched a mind-boggling new experiment in South Korea.  Ranked at Number 2 in the country’s market, Tesco had fewer stores than its number one competitor, EMart.  Yet it wanted to move into number 1 without adding any stores.  The solution they came up with was nothing short of brilliant, but it wasn’t just a lucky guess; it came from thorough and thoughtful study of the customer.

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Shooting Out The Lights: Google + Motorola Mobility

Great analysis by PEHubWire on the Google / Motorola Mobility announcement this morning.  Pretty much captures it.  Look for increased anti-trust scrutiny on this one:

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Brian S. Hall Hates Google

Brian S. Hall has posted a super-harsh smack-down of Google entitled “How Do I Hate Google? Let Me Count the Ways.”  (Link is to Business Insider repost because the original post includes offensive language that detracts from his points.)  As a big fan of a lot of what Google has done (noted here and here for example), I am not sure I agree with Brian’s rant on all fronts, but I do think it is a valuable perspective that is worth having out there in the mix.   There were a couple areas, however, where I think we are in total agreement, and I mentioned both of them in my post on Google+.  Here are those excerpts from my original post:

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eBooks: Accelerating at an Accelerating Rate

I was struck by the recent news release by Amazon about the Kindle over-taking all other book formats combined.  So I indulged my curiosity and here’s what I found.  The world, my friends, is changing very quickly….

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Verizon 4G LTE Speeds are Insane

Verizon 4G LTE speeds are insane.  I have lately been seeing 11-13Mbps around Boston area (about 10x faster than 3G), but the speeds I am getting on Connecticut coast right now take the cake so far: 17.6Mbps down and 8.1Mbps up!  For all intents and purposes, it is as fast as our home fiber-optic connection.  (To access Verizon’s 4G network, I am using the new Samsung MiFi rather than the Novatel – I had a Novatel for 3G and didn’t think much of it due to flakiness, slowness, and really poor battery life, so when I switched to 4G, I also switched to Samsung).  Needless to say, I am pretty satisfied with my 4G experience so far….


Ten Entrepreneurship Rules For Building Massive Companies

Reid Hoffman of Greylock & LinkedIn fame has posted a great list of rules for entrepreneurs looking to build great companies – check out his post for the full text (link below).

Ten Entrepreneurship Rules for Building Massive Companies

Rule #1: Look for disruptive change.

Rule #2: Aim big.

Rule #3: Build a network to magnify your company.

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Open: Good, But Not Easy

In an NYT piece about GoogleTV this week, Ashley Vance illustrates one of the major difficulties of totally open systems – in their raw form, they are horribly unpredictable and therefore very difficult to build a business on.  As Google moves into the device space, they have caused quite a bit of heartburn with their partners: delays in ChromeOS caused laptop manufacturers to miss this holiday season; delays with Android have caused major headaches with phone launch delays, tablet launch delays and phone upgrade issues; and now Google has asked major TV manufacturers to cancel their plans for GoogleTV roll-outs at the Consumer Electronics show in a few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong – open software projects are awesome, but experienced software people are fond of the saying “real engineers ship” for a reason.  In the enterprise space you see hybrid models being adopted for working with open projects – manufacturers will certify, ship and offer support only for certain reference versions.

Google’s ready, fire, aim approach has worked very well and driven very rapid innovation for its cloud-based the software, and an incredibly fast ramp for Android, but as they begin to mate their software more closely with hardware, something’s gotta to give.

Rough Start for Google TV

Google TV is off to a really rough start.  David Pogue slammed it in his review.  He probably didn’t set out to slam it, but by the time he is done describing it there is no conclusion you can reach other than v. 1.0 is a bag of hurt.

Then Walt Mossberg of the WSJ has added to the chorus of jeers, pointing out how fragmented and difficult GoogleTV is to use at this point.

For the record, I am not saying that the platform is the next Google Wave and will never morph into something interesting – it might – but it really shows the importance of a seamless experience and in sweating the details to make things feel integrated and easy. But even if they get there on the UI, the jury is still out on the basic premise that underlies GoogleTV: that people want the full internet/web/browser experience in the “lean back” context of the big screen TV environment. Many have argued that the Internet is a lean forward medium (i.e. a close-up, fine-grained, interactive, text-heavy desk or lap experience) that won’t translate well into the lean-back big screen context. When I consider how easy it is to just browse YouTube videos on the $99 AppleTV box, you have to wonder if that isn’t 90% of the value for 0% of the hassle?

Simplicity counts.

Square Is Cool

Received my Square credit card reader recently, downloaded the app, and have been using it for a little while.  Overall, I’d have to say it is a nice tool.  The reader is very poorly made and flimsy, so I worry about its durability in the pocket, but it was essentially free, and is easily replaced, so no biggie.  Payment process is incredibly simple and easy – in fact, it is almost too easy; the first time through it, the screen elements are so spare and elegant as to be confusing; it is not always clear what to do next (for example, the signature capturing screen is very plain.)  A few labels or some guidance would be nice.  But once you get the hang of it, it is very quick and easy and the notifications are fast and convenient.  It is nice to be able to take credit cards.  Too bad the dongle doesn’t have a keychain loop.  Still, I’m a fan.

Apple & Sony? Get Real.

And Jobs is certainly not going to dividend out that cash. He worked very hard to earn it and he’s not going to return it to shareholders whom he doesn’t like and to whom he’s already given an amazing ride.


Apple + Sony? Sorry, it ain’t gonna happen. I think Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of Silicon Alley Insider outlines the reasons better than I could. And the snip above is the frosting – perfectly captures indifference Steve Jobs has for his shareholders – for him it’s not about the trappings of being a public company CEO, it’s about making great products and having a bully pulpit from which to shout about them.