Try — just try! — to explain to your children what the world was like before the Internet and the Web changed life. Try to explain how commentators did not get it.
What do your kids do? They look at you like… like… like I used to look at my grandparents when they would talk about electricity.
Here is another tack: illustrate it.
In this clip from 1994 Tom Brokaw visits Comdex to learn about the “internet” from “founding genius” Bill Gates. Watch the “hip” Gates adjust his glasses at precisely the least hip moment. Eric Schmidt and John Patrick are also in the clip. (Warning: The last 5 seconds contain an ad). Here is the Hulu post.
Market value for nascent goods and services cannot be discovered in a laboratory. Scientists in lab coats cannot distill it from interviewing potential customers and vendors. It can be discovered only through market experience.
Does concentrated commercial leadership or dispersed commercial leadership more efficaciously explore value? Concentrated or dispersed commercial leadership describes whether a small or large range of firms, respectively, can commercialize potential services and products for a similar, though uncertain, technological opportunity.
Sometime soon Sony intends to embed Blu-Ray, a new optical disc format, in the PlayStation 3 and Sony’s home video equipment. Sony has gone to great lengths to generate a coalition of firms to support Blu-Ray. Opposing it is the high- definition DVD, sponsored and supported by many firms, including Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo, Microsoft, and Intel.
Weary watchers of consumer electronics markets have been unable to shake a sense of déjà vu. There have been format wars in recording media ever since the 33 revolutions/minute LP (long playing) records replaced the “78s” (78 revolutions/ minute long-playing records). Meanwhile, “45s” (45 revolutions/minute) captured singles and juke boxes (the big hole in a 45 helped).
Explorers and expanders keep the engine of development running. They have inhabited commercial technology markets as long as such markets have existed. Although it is possible to explain these roles in abstract terms, it is easier to simply illustrate them based on recent events.
Early explorers and expanders
Explorers test a new value proposition or apply a technology in a new way. For example, intrepid vendors make few sales, change designs from one launch to another, and take large risks. Typically there is no cookbook for this activity. Explorers learn through their own experience and from the experience of others. They learn about, for example, the true scope of business opportunity or what a buyer values in a new design or service.
The common clichés of modern business soothsaying are both trite and incomplete, almost by definition. That does not stop anyone from using them less often, but it does suggest the need to use them with caution.
What is the substance behind three common clichés in technology business forecasting–dead canaries, buggy whips, and sailing ships? When are they useful and when are they not?
I put on the swami’s hat and stared into the crystal ball. I tried to prognosticate future trends. And I could not do it.
Don’t get me wrong. Some things are utterly predictable. Moore’s law will somehow continue. Microsoft certainly will not go bankrupt. Larry Ellison will continue to have opinions. But you already knew this and there is no interesting trend around those facts.