Here's the massive lack of consensus so far. If you haven't yet voted, please chime in. Bands listed by number of votes as of April 6th at 12:30 P.M.:
Allmans E Street Band Dead Doors Aerosmith Replacements Beach Boys Nirvana Phish Ramones REM The Band ZZ Top Black Crows Creedence CSN&Y Foo Fighters Fugazi Guns N' Roses Jefferson Airplane Little Feat Metallica NRBQ Pearl Jam Rush Stooges Talking Heads Tom Petty and Heartbreakers Velvet Underground White Stripes Wilco Eagles Chili Peppers
Quickly: Give me your vote for the greatest American rock and roll band.
Content: A few years ago I went to an Aerosmith concert with two of my sons and some of my childhood friends. En-route, we argued about who was the greatest American rock and roll band.
There's rough consensus that the Brits dominate the overall list (The Who, Beatles, Stones, Zep, Cream, et. al.).But who would be at the top of the American list?
We had two rules: 1) You can't choose an individual, so that eliminates Dylan, Elvis, and arguably Jimi, and Bruce. 2) We tolerated a smattering of Canadians, so that keeps The Band and Crazy Horse in the running.
At Davos the big question was: "When are we going to get out of this economic mess?" So I decided to take an informal poll of attendees. The question I asked was: "When will world GDP start to increase again?" Strangely, the early poll results were quite negative -- the average was hovering in the mid-2011 range. But as the World Economic Forum wore on, there was creeping optimism -- I started to get more 2010s (and an occasional 2009) than 2011s. My sample cut across a wide swath, from CEOs to journalists to academics to political leaders -- 55 votes in total.
According to my unscientific Davos poll, world GDP will turn and begin to grow again in April of 2010.
Depressing? Not necessarily. Davos rarely gets it right. Remember, this was the group that was highly bullish only 12 short months ago.
I'll be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos next week -- look for posts here as I gather up blasts of insight from the gathering.
I'm running a session on January 29th at Davos that will analyze how social computing will transform corporations and markets. Discussion leaders will be: Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Robert Scoble of Fast Company TV, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Matt Cohler of Benchmark Capital (late of Facebook), and others.
We're going to be working to answer the questions listed below.
1) Get the general economy back on its feet. Tech spending correlates closely with GDP growth.
2) Take government action that increases competition in tech markets. Nixon charged IBM with anti-trust -- ushering in the independent software and plug-compatible hardware businesses. Reagan presided over the breakup of AT&T -- setting the stage for massive innovation in telecommunications.
If you want to understand the financial meltdown, read Niall Ferguson's article in Vanity Fair: "Wall Street Lays Another Egg." It logically lays out the causation of the disaster, complete with historical backdrop.
If you're busy, here's my instant summary:
Factor One: Real estate
The belief, going back to Roosevelt, and most recently promulgated by G.W. Bush, that all citizens should own a home.
Factor Two: Converting mortgages into securities
Wall Street bundled mortgages into securities, supposedly attenuating risk, but actually making it hard to ultimately assess the value of the loans.
Factor Three: Subprime mortgages
The securitization of mortgages theoretically made it possible to take on riskier loans (subprime mortgages), as long as they were bundled with better risk loans. This strategy worked as long as real estate prices kept rising and interest rates remained low.
In these economic times, it's best to stay close to the people in companies that buy things -- the sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals. At Forrester's sourcing Forum in Florida this week I hosted a dinner for ten vendor management executives and four vendor reps.
This group was fascinating. They are experts in purchasing, evaluating vendors, arranging sourcing agreements, pricing, and negotiation -- the front lines of their company's operational and capital expenditures. The role is still in its infancy -- some are still tough purchasing agents while others have graduated to a more complex model of "diplomacy" -- seeing all of the interests around the table and working to arrive at a solution that helps everyone succeed.
Over dinner the executives worked on a simple question: "What are sourcing and vendor management best practices in a recession?" So if you've ever wondered how the screws will be tightened, here's a peek under the tent:
But now comes Intel's announcement that it expects revenue for the fourth quarter to be down 10% from its original forecast. What does this mean? I have a few thoughts:
1) Intel is not the bellwether that it once was. Personal computers and servers, the primary destination for Intel's processors, are not nearly as large a percentage of tech spending as they were back in 2001.
2) Layoffs in the economy have already begun. Fewer employees, fewer PCs needed.
3) Large companies are accelerating virtualization projects. Virtualization is a fancy word for running more applications on fewer servers. It is greener (less power), simpler (fewer servers to break), and cheaper. Good for companies looking to lower capital expenditure and operating expenses in a recession, but bad for Intel.
Forrester has been predicting that the two tech segments that would be hit hardest in the recession are computing hardware (PCs and servers) and communications gear. But services and software (Intel plays in neither) would fare better. Exit polling would appear to indicate this result.