Archive for April, 2010

media is the new wordprocessor

Pound for pound I’m the best to ever come around here
Excluding nobody
Look what i embody
The soul of a hustler i really ran the street
I CEO’s mine
That marketing plan was me
And no i ain’t get shot up a whole bunch of times

Earlier this month, Tom Foremski provided notes on why every company needs to become a media company. Much of his thesis was based upon the demise of “mass media” and how companies need to devise the skills of media companies in the brave new emergent world.

You see the major thrust of the presented argument is focused upon new considerations in the marketing approach.  I do not disagree with the points raised, although filling the vacuum created by the demise of “mass media” remains the holy grail of most valley startups. Tom has only presented part of the story. I think there is a more profound change coming…

Why every company really needs to be a media company is because every company has moved beyond just office documents. How many of you remember the days when companies had office typing pools full of typewriters, replete with carbon paper and rubber erasers.

Then whiteout was invented!

Then came the departmental wordprocessor.

Then came the personal wordprocessor…

How many of you had a typewriter in your youth, and can therefore appreciate the profound changes of wordprocessors on business?

Guess what? Today’s ‘wordprocessor’ paradigm shift is digital media, and that is why companies need to become media companies. Not just for the PR/marketing opportunities presented by the interconnectedness of what new web-enabled mediums promise, but for the fact that in addition to documents, spreadsheets, pdfs, presentations… companies now need to manage video, audio and other multimedia files. They need to store them, manage them, search them, archive and back them up. They need to convert them, provide bandwidth for people to use them and provide access to that content in a timely manner. They also need to determine usage patterns so that they can store them on cheaper storage, enable them to be available over the internet via a corporate VPN, check copyright usage and ensure that no one steals them… they need to do this to a budget.

Sound like a media company? I think so. Or, at least the operations side. Then there is creating the content, and then there is the secure distribution, and then there is ability to leverage it for PR & marketing.

I do not disagree with Tom, but I also find complete agreement elusive, and the simplistic perspective presented in the thesis marginalizes the real reason. Humans in companies need to communicate concepts to both their customers and staff. And the most effective communications mechanism is rich media, the richest, and hardest to manage, being video.

I absolutely agree with Tom that “Every company is a media company (EC=MC) is one of the most important concepts to understand”. However, we need to extend our understanding multi-dimensionally.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

April 29, 2010 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

flash momentum

I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas!
But it’s all right.  I’m Jumpin’ Jack Flash,
It’s a Gas!  Gas!  Gas!

Those familiar with Moore’s Law have seen the disparity between disk and CPU performance increase. Today’s CPUs can easily out-process the data provided to them by even the fastest disk. Why is that?

There is a physical limitation on the rate at which we can spin platters. Our ability to engineer mechanical devices to spin highly unstable platters close to moving heads which are microns away from the surface are limited. Material science, stresses, quality of the bearings – all require tolerances that are approaching our physical limitations. Yet, we seem to be always finding new approaches to managing silicon fabrication.

The end of the mechanical age is near.

Enter flash. Freeing us from our mechanical limitations, flash enables the development of ‘silicon drives’ with speeds approaching those of their silicon CPU partners. With prices declining, these drives are fast becoming more affordable. Yet with still a significant price disparity to their slower, yet higher capacity mechanical cousins, what is the alternative?

Hybrid storage. Take the performance advantage of silicon flash, with the mechanical capacity of drives. Balance these devices for the workload, and you get unmatched price-performance. There is a whole class of devices emerging that support this philosophy. The question is, do systems engineers have the tools to understand their applications sufficiently to tune configurations to optimize this opportunity.

It’s nascent. More education than marketing is required.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

April 22, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

nab 2010

It’s the same old story
Same old song and dance, my friend
It’s the same old story
Same old song and dance, my friend

I love NAB, it is a great place to catch up with colleagues, see the new developments and occasionally stumble upon a seismic shift… but where is the really cool new stuff that is going to drive the industry back into high growth?

Is it 3D?

I don’t know, the jury is out, but the marketing folks and just about every booth rendered the 3D story in some respect. What I do know, is that there is only one company that I saw, that actually converted 2D to 3D – and it was good. It was in real-time, and it provides a really interesting path to monetizing ‘old, really long tail content’ and making it a new experience. I don’t promote companies or technologies in this blog, not my style, but if anyone is interested, drop me a line…

Is it ATSC M/H?

On April 9, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) threw its hat into the mobile TV broadcast ring with word that it has begun developing ATSC-M/H, an ATSC-backwards-compatible transmission system to reach mobile viewers via broadcast DTV transmissions. With ATSC-M/H, broadcasters can use their excess DTV broadcast bandwidth to provide new services directly to small hand-held receivers, laptop computers and moving vehicles. It all sounds great, and it will be – if a couple of things happen:

  1. Where are the handsets to drag a compelling business model? Can I get them at my local cell-phone store?
  2. Where is the content to drag the manufacturers to make the handsets to drag a compelling business model? Will the consumer really care about “yet another video service”…?
  3. How do you hand off from one broadcaster to another (like a mega cell)? Well, this problem has been solved technically and that is a seismic shift… problem, who gets the money in this multicast model?
  4. Will the telco’s have enough incentive to let this happen i.e. support a multi-protocol handset, with the vision that this will save precious unicast bandwidth from multicast-affinity content e.g. real-time news/sports?

It’s the economy?

Personally I perceived attendance was down. Floor-space was certainly down, with large curtained-off sections, and the registration are moved to fill hall space in a veiled attempt to prevent booths from rattling around in otherwise less than occupied halls. However, business activity was up… my friends and colleagues told me of a more qualified attendee, with a higher likelihood of decision-making authority, and there was certainly many discussions covering pent-up demand and a perceived relaxation of previously frozen budgetary constraints.

It was a good show. Tiring as usual, but as is so often the case, the same stuff re-packaged differently.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

April 15, 2010 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

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