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December 14, 2003

Its official now - Powerpoint does makes you dumb

NYT has this report on how NASA found out that - part of the shuttle problem was due to the over-simplification culture promoted by Powerpoint. This allowed senior management to ignore some life-threatening messages.
More on this by Edward Tufte

December 14, 2003 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2003

Free software fueling a new kind of patriotism

Bruce Sterling writes in Wired about the growing regionalization of open source culture -

..Global Project for the Development of the Information Society aims to give every resident access to the knowledge gathered by humanity throughout history

This deeply rooted regional approach could prove a more nurturing environment for Tux than either the EU, with its stifling bureaucracy, or the US, where lawyers for SCO are eager to sue the daylights out of anyone who dares to propagate the penguin. Right now, most of the action is in government, where officials are beginning to wake up to the advantages of open standards and malleable code - and not having to pay Americans for any of it. India is releasing Linux variations in local dialects from Assamese to Telugu. China, Japan, and South Korea are collaborating on their own OS. South Africa recently approved an open source strategy, and similar things are going on in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Peru, and Ukraine.

Looks life leftist idealogy is getting a second "release" in the form of open source driven digitization of human society. End result is praiseworthy, doesnt matter from which constituency it comes - left of center or right of the center or from the neo-cons or ultras ..

December 3, 2003 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2003

Managing false negatives

Article in HBS on how sometimes success begins at failure citing example of compound UK-92,480 (better known as Viagra) -

Strategy to prempt false negatives -

Review all canceled projects
Expose projects to outsiders
Seek external licenses
Spin technologies off
Seek external VC partners

December 2, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IIT Grad/whistleblower murdered

Satyendra Dubey working for National Highways Authority of India was murdered for his upright fight against corruption.

Please sign this petition to make sure GOI investigates this case thoroughly and puts murderers behind the bar.

December 2, 2003 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2003

What makes some startups succeed

[Via Ross Mayfield] Darwin magazine on what makes some startup succeed -

Observations of some counter-intuitive trends :

- Companies raising the most capital don't have the strongest chance to succeed
- A fully staffed executive team is not necessarily a requirement for success
- Most successful storage startups fail to meet all the criteria for being a truly "disruptive innovation."
- In 93 percent of the cases, the strategy that a company emerges with (at exit) is completely different from the strategy it set out to implement


Remedy for all this :

- set a higher bar for substantive technical differentiation
- match developmental costs to the exit opportunity profile (which depends on the specific subsector you're in)
- mitigate risk with "staged deal structuring and sequential organizational development"
- recognize and leverage exit windows
- for investors lucky enough to go public, liquidate your investment as soon as possible thereafter, which history shows will enhance your return

Largely drawing these results from the storage startups but this is applicable to any other subsector

December 1, 2003 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Productivity Paradox

[Stephen S. Roach is a chief economist for Morgan Stanley ]
Productivity growth is sustainable when driven by creativity, risk-taking, innovation and, yes, new technology. It is fleeting when it is driven simply by downsizing and longer hours. With cost cutting still the credo and workers starting to reach physical limits, America's so-called productivity renaissance may be over before Americans even have a chance to enjoy it.

Time duration between the emergence of next new technology/innovation and the current cost cutting phase will dictate how acrimonious socio-political debate will be.

December 1, 2003 in Dismal science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack