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The Webquarters

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

Welcome to my World Wide 'Web'quarters - where Business and Technology intersect with plain, good horse sense!

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Blogging: Just How Much of a Phenomenon?

Towards ...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<strong>Blogging: Just How Much of a Phenomenon?<br />
</strong>
<br />
<em>Towards a measure for the success of blogging</em>
<br />
<em />
<br />In a <a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/08/bloggings-future-up-up-and-away-beyond.html">previous post</a> , I talked about blogging?s future. Here we will try and arrive at a ?measure" for how successful blogging has become, and how much more it is capable of achieving.<br />
<br />It is pertinent to note that we are not talking about measuring the success of a <em>specific </em>blog, but of blogging as a phenomenon.<br />
<br />Before tackling the admittedly difficult question of measuring its success, let?s pause and ask, <strong>
<em>What is blogging?</em>
</strong> At one level, it is a tool which individuals use for communication and self-expression. Indeed, this was the only use conceived initially. As its usage soared, it also emerged as a tool for on-line 'communities' to interact and disseminate news or useful information. The most recent emerging use (completely unanticipated in the early years of blogging's existence) is for commercial organizations to interact with various stakeholders.<br />
<br />Thus, a reasonably general definition of blogging would appear to be, <em>a technology that lends itself for use by individuals, communities or organizations as a means of communication, information dissemination or interaction.<br />
</em>
<br />How do we go about establishing a measure of the success of anything? One way is to identify its "potential", and measure what proportion of that potential has been achieved. For example, if your company sells flat-panel TVs, the potential market would probably be equal to the number of households in the world having a household income of more than a certain figure. If you are trying to popularize a new 'world language' that you have invented, the potential probably corresponds to every human in the world speaking the language. If you sell beer, the potential sales would probably correspond to each adult in the world drinking 150 liters a year!*<br />
<br />However, it is frequently difficult to assess potential in this manner. A surrogate, more practical approach would be to identify the 'best' achieved by anybody so far. If you are an athlete, your 'best achievable' may be the current world record in your event. In the TV example above, the ?best achievable? may be the sales volume achieved by the market-leading company.<br />
<br />Thus, the problem reduces to discovering the 'best achievable' usage of blogging. To do this, we must stretch our imagination a bit and ask, what are the "best" technologies** that meet roughly the same needs that blogging does, and what is the usage they have achieved? The ?best? technologies we have that allow communication, information dissemination or interaction are probably telephones, email, and conventional web sites.<br />
<br />The number of telephone lines (fixed and mobile) in the world is estimated at around 2.1 billion. Similarly, the number of email users is in the region of 600 million.<br />
<br />How many websites exist in the world? <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/08/AR2005080801003.html">Yahoo indexes 19 billion web pages, while Google indexes about 9 billion</a>. Taking the smaller of the two, and assuming the average website has around 20 pages, the number of websites may be approximated as about 500 million.<br />
<br />Let?s be conservative, taking the <em>smallest</em> of the 3 figures (for telephones, email users and websites) which is 500 million. To be play it even safer, let us assume that many websites represent uses that blogs just cannot. So let us say that the figure of 500 million overstates the figure we are looking for by 90%. This leaves 250 million (assuming many websites are defunct, etc.). It appears safe to say that this represents the usage that blogging must achieve. Thus, the ?best achievable? number of blogs is, <em>at the very least</em>, 250 million. The current number of around 80 million thus suggests that blogging has covered about a third of the distance to its ?best achievable? usage.<br />
<br />Of course, we will be shortchanging blogging if we end this analysis without considering time frames. While telephones have taken 20+ years to reach their current usage (counting only from the time mobile phones were invented), email has taken 15+ years, and the web 10+ years, blogging has been around only 6 years or so.<br />
<br />To dwell a bit on how technologies evolve over time, let us look at an elegant concept, the 'S' curve. What this says, very simply, is that every technology has an initial period during which it grows very slowly. As it improves and gains usage, it crosses an 'inflexion point', beyond which growth takes off rapidly***. Further down, the technology reaches a maturity stage where growth once again slackens. Metcalfe's Law, which holds that the usefulness of something goes up exponentially with the number of its users, applies during the high growth section.<br />
<br />Thus, in S- curve terms, blogging can be thought of as having crossed the inflexion point, and being about 30% of the way to the peak. In other words, 70% of its potential is yet to be achieved.<br />______________________________________________________<br />
<span style="font-size:78%;">* If that sounds high, the Czech are reputed to drink 167 liters per capita per year!<br />
<br />** As is clear from the context, we use ?best? not as an indicator of quality but to mean ?the one that has achieved the greatest or most widespread use?.<br />
<br />*** Not all technologies, of course, actually cross the inflexion point - many (indeed, most) die out well before they reach that point.</span>
</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/08/blogging-just-how-much-of-phenomenon.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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An Enlightening Initiative from IBM

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="span><strong>An">http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><span><strong>An Enlightening Initiative from IBM</strong> <br /></span><br /><em>IBM's program to help science education is an object lesson to the tech industry at large, but perhaps conceals an inadvertent irony.<br /><br /></em>Many have decried the declining trend of math and science education, and have sounded dire warnings that the technology industry will grind to a halt if something is not done about it. Luckily, some are now putting their money where their mouths are.<br /><br />IBM has this week begun a program that supports its employees in the US who want to transition into science teaching. The new program, says <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9368737/">MSNBC</a>, "reflects tech industry fears that U.S. students are falling behind peers from Bangalore to Beijing in the sciences". Of course, IBM is not the first to act. Microsoft has an "Innovative Teachers" professional development <a href="http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/4418870/c_4418007?f=home_todayinfinance">program</a>, which includes $50 million in software grants for educational institutions.<br /><br />Not surprisingly, these two companies also rank at the top of <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2005/09/college_tech_re.html#more">the most favored places to work </a>in the tech industry. Perhaps it just goes to show that comapanies that take an enlightened approach to their role in society take an enlightened approach to their employees as well. Stanley Litow, head of the IBM Foundation, says that many other companies are watching keenly and may follow suit.<br /><br />Such programs are particularly valuable as the US tech industry is clearly down from its halcyon days of untrammeled growth - starting salaries for college graduates have shown marked declines between 2001-05, the <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2005/09/good_time_to_le.html">biggest decline </a>being in Electrical and Computer Science & Engineering.<br /><br />But where's the irony? Litow's comment that "Over a quarter-million math and science teachers are needed, and it's hard to tell where the pipeline is", got me thinking. Perhaps the pipeline is precisely in those locations which the US is concerned about being overtaken by!<br /><br />Think about it. It is now possible for students in the US being taught online by tutors sitting in Bangalore or Manila. And it's <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2005-08-29-overseas-tutors_x.htm">already happening</a>. And given the obvious pecuniary advantages, it is not unlikely that teachers in these countries would gravitate to such an occupation in larger numbers.<br /><br />The irony is that, it is not inconceivable that in the near future, outsourcing destinations for tech jobs such as India may find their growth stifled by a scarcity of high quality tech graduates. This scarcity will be caused in good measure by good science teachers being preoccupied with training students overseas. And what will allow the teachers to thus divert their skills? The same technology and forces of globalization that drove the offshoring of jobs from the West, and created demand for tech jobs in India in the first place! Now, why do I have the feeling that this is not the last irony that this new, globablized world is going to serve up?</div>
<p>
<div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="em>This">http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/09/enlightening-initiative-from-ibm-ibms.html"><em>This post originally appeared on an external website</em></a></div>

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An Enlightening Initiative from IBM

IBM's program...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<span style="font-size:130%;">
<strong>An Enlightening Initiative from IBM</strong>
<br />
<em />
</span>
<br />
<em>IBM's program to help science education is an object lesson to the tech industry at large, but perhaps conceals an inadvertent irony.<br />
</em>
<br />Many have decried the declining trend of math and science education, and have sounded dire warnings that the technology industry will grind to a halt if something is not done about it. Luckily, some are now putting their money where their mouths are.<br />
<br />IBM has this week begun a program that supports its employees in the US who want to transition into science teaching. The new program, says <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9368737/">MSNBC</a>, "reflects tech industry fears that U.S. students are falling behind peers from Bangalore to Beijing in the sciences". Of course, IBM is not the first to act. Microsoft has an "Innovative Teachers" professional development <a href="http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/4418870/c_4418007?f=home_todayinfinance">program</a>, which includes $50 million in software grants for educational institutions.<br />
<br />Not surprisingly, these two companies also rank at the top of <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2005/09/college_tech_re.html#more">the most favored places to work </a>in the tech industry. Perhaps it just goes to show that comapanies that take an enlightened approach to their role in society take an enlightened approach to their employees as well. Stanley Litow, head of the IBM Foundation, says that many other companies are watching keenly and may follow suit.<br />
<br />Such programs are particularly valuable as the US tech industry is clearly down from its halcyon days of untrammeled growth - starting salaries for college graduates have shown marked declines between 2001-05, the <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2005/09/good_time_to_le.html">biggest decline </a>being in Electrical and Computer Science & Engineering.<br />
<br />But where's the irony? Litow's comment that "Over a quarter-million math and science teachers are needed, and it's hard to tell where the pipeline is", got me thinking. Perhaps the pipeline is precisely in those locations which the US is concerned about being overtaken by!<br />
<br />Think about it. It is now possible for students in the US being taught online by tutors sitting in Bangalore or Manila. And it's <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2005-08-29-overseas-tutors_x.htm">already happening</a>. And given the obvious pecuniary advantages, it is not unlikely that teachers in these countries would gravitate to such an occupation in larger numbers.<br />
<br />The irony is that, it is not inconceivable that in the near future, outsourcing destinations for tech jobs such as India may find their growth stifled by a scarcity of high quality tech graduates. This scarcity will be caused in good measure by good science teachers being preoccupied with training students overseas. And what will allow the teachers to thus divert their skills? The same technology and forces of globalization that drove the offshoring of jobs from the West, and created demand for tech jobs in India in the first place! Now, why do I have the feeling that this is not the last irony that this new, globablized world is going to serve up?</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/09/enlightening-initiative-from-ibm-ibms.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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eBay's Skype buy: Not Just a Recipe for Hype....

...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<span style="font-size:130%;">
<strong>eBay's Skype buy: Not Just a Recipe for Hype....<br />
</strong>
</span>
<br />
<em>Does this deal signal the next logical step in the evolution of ecommerce?<br />
</em>
<br />Even as the dust settles on eBay's purchase of Skype, there is considerable befuddlement among analysts and observers as to the strategic motivation behind the buy. The consternation arises not only from what people see as an apparent lack of synergy between online auctions and IP telephony, but also from the seemingly exorbitant price paid - upto $4.1 Billion. Some may be tempted to wonder whether eBay hasn't landed itself with a winner's curse!*.<br />
<br />Surprising as the deal initially appeared, a semblance of rationale is beginning to emerge. For one thing, this deal is entirely consistent with eBay's aspirations of being one of the internet honchos, along with Amazon, Yahoo and Google.<br />
<br />More fundamentally, it may be the logical next step in the evolution of ecommerce. How?<br /> <br />- By allowing buyers and sellers to communicate instantly, an integrated eBay-Skype platform could smoothen buyer-seller interaction which is a critical component for ecommerce.<br />
<br />- By allowing real-time, synchronous online auctions ? these would be just like regular auctions where aspiring buyers attempt to outbid each other, with one difference ? the bidders may be sitting in different continents and bidding via telephones / videoconferencing equipment. Achieving this using conventional telephony is prohibitively expensive, but costs virtually nothing using VoIP. <br />
<br />eBay hasn't said this is in the roadmap, but it appears likely.<br />
<br />____________________________________________________<br />* <span style="font-size:85%;">defined by the <a href="http://wikipedia.org">wikipedia </a> as a phenomenon that occurs in auctions, where the person who bids the highest frequently ends up paying a price that is more than the "true" value (or at least worries that he has done so). People have researched the winner's curse phenomenon in eBay auctions. </span>
</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/09/ebays-skype-buy-not-just-recipe-for.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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A Hazy Picture for Home Entertainment
Sadly, somet...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<strong>
<span style="font-size:130%;">A Hazy Picture for Home Entertainment<br />
</span>
</strong>
<em>Sadly, sometimes the price of technological innovation is confusion<br />
</em>
<br />There is perhaps no aspect of life where technological innovation is set to produce more flux than the home entertainment space. And I'm not talking about the video iPod. I'm talking about how the humble home has become the battleground in the fight between all the behemoths of hte technology and entertainment industry. And all because of the blazing speed of technological innovation.<br />
<br />Cable service providers are getting into providing telephony, and telecom service providers are in turn getting into TV-over -IP (or IPTV). <a href="http://businessweek.com">BusinessWeek</a> writes that "The new holy grail of the communications industry is the triple play: the ability to offer customers data, video, and voice".<br />
<br />In the broader home entertainment space, competing visions <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/oct2005/tc2005106_9074_tc024.htm">have emerged</a>. Computer industry stalwarts such as Microsoft and Intel are pitching a scenario where the PC will be the entertainment hub which will house, and control the flow of, all content such as songs, films and TV programs. Media and content companies such as recording companies, film and TV studios are recalcitrant about such a picture, as they foresee large-scale piracy and potential loss of revenue from content. They would like to see content being housed on disks, as it is today, with plenty of technological bells and whistles to ensure that it is not pirated.<br />
<br />The real battle that is assuming Armageddon-like proportions is one that has all the giants of the technology and entertainment industry arrayed: the DVD wars. This pits Sony's Blu-Ray format in one corner with Toshiba's HD-DVD format in the other. This battle royale is for who will control the next generation DVD format. At stake, aside from multi-billion dollar revenues, is nothing short of the future of Sony and Toshiba as powerful players in the electronics space, and perhaps that of Microsoft and Intel as potential rulers in this space.<br />
<br />In the midst of it all, of course, and quite forgotten, is the hapless consumer. Can you imagine the fate of the poor bloke who plonks down his hard-earned cash (or credit!) to buy a player supporting the format that will end up on the losing side of this battle? At all costs, all the companies concerned must ensure that only one standard makes it to market.<br />
<br />For consumers, the advice is: unless you are a pioneer, or 'early adopter', and willing to risk being saddled with potentially useless devices, wait until there is more clarity in this space before you make any investment</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/10/hazy-picture-for-home-entertainment.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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VoIP and Valhalla
A true "killer-app" in the makin...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<span style="font-size:130%;">
<strong>VoIP and Valhalla<br />
</strong>
</span>
<span style="font-size:100%;">
<em>A true "killer-app" in the making</em>
</span>
<br />
<br />VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has already been hailed as the death knell for POTS (Plain Old Telephone Services). But there is another application of VoIP that makes simple, one-to-one voice communication seem pale in comparison. And that is, web-based <em>collaboration </em>using VoIP.<br />
<br />Ok, what's so life-enhancing about web-based collaboration, and what does VoIP have to do with it anyway? Web-based collaboration is, of course, groups of people located at geographically separate distances working as a team to achieve a common goal. It's happening now, but a big barrier is the cost of communication. And that's where VoIP comes in - by reducing the cost of voice communication to almost nothing, it's going to open up a great deal of new areas. Imagine the possibilities - medicine-at-a-distance (the services of expert surgeons can be utlised anywhere in the world); learning (likewise the services of tutors); leisure (family and friends can be virtually together for as long as they want to be); after-sales service; consultancy and advisory services of various kinds ...in short, it will be a giant leap towards the long-proclaimed 'death of distance'.<br />
<br />What the lowered cost does is, it allows these things, which may be happening in pockets now, to happen on a really large scale, and render distance almost irrelevant. Of course, it will take a while for VoIP to really become free, and another void to be filled is that collaboration software needs improvements. But we can really begin to see these things in 2-3 years' time.<br />
<br />It is, at least partly, for this reason that VoIP companies have become the hottest property on the planet. No wonder eBay paid an astronomical price (up to $ 4 Billion) for Skype. Microsoft too is acquiring VoIP companies by the handful.<br />
<br />In a lighter vein, with all the talk of killer-apps and VoIP-induced death, one can't help feeling that Valhalla, that great hall in the sky where the glorious dead feast all night, had better start thinking about expansion plans.</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/11/voip-and-valhalla-true-killer-app-in.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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The Incredibly Shrinking Printed Word
The printing...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<span style="font-size:130%;">
<strong>The Incredibly Shrinking Printed Word<br />
</strong>
</span>
<em>The printing industry, once the victim of powerful resistance, is today itself resisting change.</em>
<br />
<br />This sounds a bit like another of those apocalyptic predictions of doom / gloom that we see all too often, but the demise of the printed word appears to be at hand (or at least, visible on the distant horizon). Amazon has introduced <em>Amazon Upgrade </em>which enables online access to a book that is purchased. Microsoft is helping the British Library to digitize and make available via MSN Book Search, 25 million pages (roughly 100,000 books) from the British Library?s collection over the next year. The most well-known - and widely feared - initiative on this front is of course, the Google Print (now Google Book Search) initiative.<br />
<br />Why is it happening <em>now</em>? Because the technological capability is only now beginning to become available - to scan, store, index, and deliver online the humongous content locked up in the world's books would have been unimaginable a few years ago.<br />
<br />This flurry of digitization of content is shaking the foundations of publishing as we have known it for the last couple of centuries. Will this mean that <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/09/google-print-and-authors-guild.html">authors </a>and publishers will no longer be able to control who accesses their creations? How will revenue be earned on published content? The economics of the publishing industry, and also the very concept of copyrights and ownership of Intellectual Property rights to published content, are being threatened.<br />
<br />There is, of course, huge resistance from the publishing industry, which can hardly be expected to take such a threat to its revenues, and its very future, lying down. Ironically, this is a throwback to the resistance that emanated, particularly from the Church, to Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. The irony is that this time around, the resistance comes not from the those who are afraid of printing, but the printing industry itself! So the printing industry has come full circle, from being the fugitives to the entrenched interests resisting change.<br />
<br />It is widely expected that all the resistance is going to see some scaling back of most of these initiatives.<br />
<br />Overall, the horse sense view on this would be that, any initiative that helps information flow more freely, and releases knowledge from its silos is to be lauded. After all, history teaches us that the darkest ages were those where knowledge was the most monopolised by powerful interests. And I'm sure most of us have had the disconcerting experience of searching for a term or a concept on the internet, only to find that the precise information we want is locked up in some printed book or journal. An added benefit is that we no longer need fear that the priceless works of ancient and medieval authors will be forever lost one day.<br />
<br />I guess those of us in the technology industry should also see this as further proof of how, as technology advances, it inexorably impacts the social and cultural fabric of life too.<br />
<br />It's going to be a big, game-changing battle. But what it is, at the bottom of it all, is Power to the People. And one can scarcely argue with that!</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/11/incredibly-shrinking-printed-word.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Corporate Longevity (Revisited)
Of declining compa...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<strong><span style="font-size:130%;">Corporate Longevity (Revisited)</span></strong><br /><em>Of declining companies and brands (but maybe not the big ones?)</em><br /><strong></strong><br />In an earlier <a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2005/07/corporate-icons.html">post</a>, I wrote about once-mighty icons of the technology industry - Digital, Sperry, Burroughs, Compaq - who are but mere memories today. However, here's a scary fact from the McKinsey Quarterly in its <a href="http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/article_page.aspx?ar=1734&L2=18&L3=30">Ten Trends to watch in 2006</a>: it says that the probability that a company in an industry's top revenue quartile will not be there in five years is as high as 30 percent! So clearly, the phenomenon of high mortality is not confined to the technology industry but is applicable to the corporate world in general.<br /><br />And what's more, this has been an accelerating trend for decades. Back in 1999, Marina Whitman wrote in the Harvard Business Press book <em>New World, New Rules: The Changing Role of the American Corporation: </em><br /><span style="font-size:85%;"><em></em></span><br /><span style="font-size:85%;"><em>"</em>Only about 4 percent of the Fortune 500?the largest U.S. industrial companies?had turned over annually during the 1960s and 1970s, but by the 1980s the average annual rate of turnover had doubled to 8 percent".</span><br /><br />Also, James Surowiecki writes in <a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/brands.html?pg=1">Wired magazine </a>, that while the number of brands on US grocery store shelves has trebled since 19**, customer loyalty to brands has been on a precipitous decline, and even the loyal ones are less willing to pay hefty premiums for brands perceived as high quality.<br /><br />So, it's no big wonder that companies decline and die with alarming regularity. Don't get too wedded to your favorite newspaper or brand of toothpaste - you may be forced to change it every few years!<br /><br />However, all is not lost - here is a heartening <a href="moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/extra/P113953.asp">observation</a>: Surprisingly, since the Fortune 500 list of the largest American corporations was first published in 1954, only 3 companies - General Motors, Exxon Mobil and Walmart - have held the No. 1 position. So maybe there's some truth to the belief that size means stability!<p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2006/01/corporate-longevity-revisited-of.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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The Crystal Ball - in Need of Fixing!
Our ability ...

by kochikvp In reply to The Webquarters

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<strong>
<span style="font-size:130%;">The Crystal Ball - in Need of Fixing!</span>
</strong>
<br />
<em>Our ability to foresee emerging technologies is amiss. Can we do something about it?</em>
<br />
<em />
<br />We've all heard of Cassandra, Pollyanna and Rip van Winkle, right*? And we thought they were mythical characters, or at the very least, existed in dark, unenlightened times. Well, we may just need to do a rethink on that.<br />
<br />It's not very edifying to know this, but we in modern science, technology and business, make mistakes in foreseeing emerging developments - particularly of the technological kind - that fit into patterns that uncannily resemble these hoary old mythical characters! And with all the latest knowledge at our disposal!<br />
<br />Read how in my <em>Computerworld </em>column, <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/management/story/0,10801,108005,00.html?SKC=management-108005">
<strong>
<em>Re-engineering the Crystal Ball</em>
</strong>
</a>
<em> </em>
<em>. </em>The piece also proffers simple, easy-to-use pointers on overcoming our deficiences in foreseeing emerging technologies.<br />Some technologies currently in the exuberance phase that appear less alluring when subjected to this scrutiny include eXtreme Programming, Utility Computing or Software-as-a-service, Open Source, the Tablet PC, Agent technologies and the Semantic web. A few technologies which, based on these pointers, are shown to merit strong consideration for widespread corporate adoption: Wikis, Micropayment technology, Grid computing, Podcasting, the iPod, VoIP-based collaboration technologies, Human speech recognition, Electronic auctions and Prediction markets.<br />
<br />Foreseeing - technologies or any other developments for that matter - has always been an exercise of the hit and miss kind - see a couple of pieces that agree, <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2006/01/bad_forecasts.html">here </a>, <a href="http://blogs.forbes.com/digitalrules/2006/01/is_gates_predic.html">here</a> and <a href="http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2953.1336112593">here</a>. I'd like to think that I've done my mite in bringing some badly-needed horse sense to this crucial activity!<br />__________________________________________________________<br />* <span style="font-size:78%;">In case you haven't, or have forgotten: Cassandra was the one known for making baleful predictions. Pollyanna was the opposite - always cheerful. And Mr. van Winkle - well, he was just oblivious to what was happening in the world around him. </span>
</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://webquarters.blogspot.com/2006/02/crystal-ball-in-need-of-fixing-our.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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