4/5ths of IT execs say they are re-assessing their IT organization with the intent of finding ways to run leaner. Many of these firms will use a consultancy with a practice in re-engineering IT organizations. And a number of these firms are asking me what they should look out for when they evaluate these consultancies. Why are they asking me this? First, these re-engineering projects cost a lot, 2nd, clients aren’t expert in how to evaluate who’s strong and who’s weak, and 3rd, our clients have one shot at getting these re-structure projects right, and don’t want to pick the wrong firm.
I ask them to drill down three levels into the methodology boxes and arrows charts that they bring to their sales calls.
I've been saying for a year now that all media organizations need to separate creation from distribution. Newpspaper are a good place to start because their distribution model is so broken, the industry is so troubled, the savings potential is huge, and the opportunity is vast.
Creation, especially of quality journalism, is a very small part of the total budget of the newspaper business. Once you take out presses, trucks, paper, rewriting wire copy, rewriting press releases, soft features, laying out pages, and overhead, the actual cost of gathering, writing and editing the news that matters to the continuing function of our democracy is a pretty small part of the total cost of journalism. And it's the part that is most worth preserving.
Modern national and international news organizations already are beginning to look more like wire services than newspapers. It may be time to move that model down to the regional and metropolitan level, as well as up from the ultralocal level to neighborhoods and communities.
By separating creation from distribution, we can create newsgathering organizations that are efficient, worth preserving, and very cheap compared to the cost of supporting them. Matt Yglesias gets this, although I'm not certain I'd endow all the organizations he's considering. I'd prefer to endow entirely new newsgathering operations whose primary purpose is informing the public.
OK. So this is really a little bragging about my son Justin. But I hope to make a broader point as well. In the last few days Justin has become a bit of an internet star. His name is all over the Web having invented a popular game for the X-Box. Somehow -- and I haven’t tried it yet, having no X-box -– you put the controller on your neck which gives you a massage and through adjustments (see console below), you can adjust the strength. It’s unclear to me how he is fitting this development amidst his study load at Vanderbilt – but I take solace in the fact that he is at least applying his EE education.
If everyone in the world had access to an Xbox, masseurs and masseuses worldwide would be out of job and out of pocket-- all because of a community game released on Xbox Live called "Rumble Massage." The game enables users to use the rumble functions of the Xbox 360 controller as a massage tool, while utilizing the console as an interface with which to change the settings.
It's easy to forget as we watch penetration numbers rise for social services, what these numbers look like when they hit small communities of connected people. I was reminded of this last night.
Every year, my wife takes photos of the kids in the Half Moon Bay High School musical. The pictures are used in the play program, become headshots for the handful who act in other venues, and are shared with friends and family. She takes a lot of care to produce great-looking shots and it shows.
This year is the first time anyone asked her for a copy to put on Facebook, and everybody asked for her to email them a copy for Facebook.
Tuesday, January 20th, Riverbed Technology announced its acquisition of Mazu Networks for $25 million in cash with the possibility of an additional payment up to $22 million if future sales meet or exceed $35 million in the 12 months after closing. Mazu, which provides an application and device performance monitoring and reporting solution, will be integrated with Riverbed's current WAN Optimization offering to provide a more comprehensive solution for enterprises. In addition, the move also shows a competitive response to Blue Coat Systems' acquisition of Packeteer last year.
Jeff says that print advertising worked as a business because there was a limited supply of space. But it also worked as a business because it was staggeringly inefficient. A Realtor had to buy access to a million readers to reach to two dozen who were looking for a neighborhood open house. That model has been broken for at least five years.
He has some great suggestions for new kinds of businesses for media companies. You should read his whole list, but here are my takes on some of them:
Nortel’s future does not look bright. It admitted to huge financial reporting misstatements in 2002 and 2003, and the Canadian federal police are pursuing the former CEO, CFO, and comptroller for fraud. Nortel has lost more than $7 billion since CEO Mike Zafirovski took over in 2005. Competitors like Cisco and Juniper have been gaining share and new ones like Huawei have emerged. Since 2005, Cisco’s revenues have grown by almost 60%, Huawei’s have more than doubled, and we estimate that Juniper’s revenue has grown by well over 40% over the same three year period. In contrast, Nortel’s revenues have declined. During this time, Nortel’s share price has dropped by 90%. Nortel is losing share in the IPT market and the overall economic climate will clearly affect telecom hardware purchasing. All of this makes Nortel’s recovery even more difficult ¬— despite having $2.4 billion in cash on hand.
People and companies in Japan traditionally send cards for New Years rather than for Christmas. New Years cards are often printed with a photo of the sender or a picture of an animal from the Chinese zodiac. (This year, it's the Ox). Some cards are quite humorous.
Best card of 2009 -- Dentsu Razorfish:
2008 was the year that "Dentsu | Avenue A | Razorfish" renamed itself "Dentsu Razorfish" and spared me the frustration of finding the vertical line symbol ||| on my keyboard every time I want to write about them.
The Greetings Card contains a set of fish shaped adhesive notes and a fish pen. So I won't forget the company's new name in a hurry.
I would have given this card a KISS award.... but the pen doesn't work.
[On a side note, I'm also amazed at the diversity of business units in India's major companies - some major Indian companies seem to be involved in everything from hospitality to information technology. Can you imagine checking into an HP hotel?]