Monday, August 13, 2012

A Crack in My Love of Google

I regularly tout Google as the long-term winner of our current tech battleground.  There is its search dominance, its ownership of Youtube (one of the most valuable media properties ever created in my opinion), and Android, just to name a few assets.  Not to mention that it's pushing the envelope in server design and snapping up small tech outfits, one of which might turn out to be a goliath.  Yet, there are some cracks in the facade.  Google has shown something of  a disregard for privacy rights and there are comments like these from programmers, which worry me:

"Google does have an office in Manhattan. You should definitely apply there - I don't think it's an interesting company to work for anymore (and their recruiters are second only to Facebook's in how pathetically desperate they seem when they contact me), but the interview process is really fun."

See more of this thread at

Hmmm... anecdotal but troubling if programmers no longer find Google interesting. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tech Dogs, Lessons of the Past, and a Possible Portfolio

Wired magazine recently ran an interesting article on how Apple was derided as a terrible and failing company in 1997:

Some of the quotes from that time period about Apple were absolutely damning.  How wrong they were.  So what, you say, it's too late to capitalize on that information?  Yes, but the point of the article is that there are a number of one-time 800 pound gorillas in the tech space that again look like terrible and failing companies:  HP, Nokia, RIMM (Blackberry), and Yahoo.  Why not create a portfolio of them?  Not all of them will likely rise from the ashes but only one has to experience an Apple-like turnaround to carry the day.  If I had to pick the most likely to do it, I'd go HP, Nokia, RIMM and Yahoo in that order.  Why?  Because HP still has a lot of patents and a lot of engineers.  Same for Nokia and Blackberry to some extent but in a more confined space:  mobile (although a good space to be in if you must be confined).  Yahoo lacks truly valuable technology but has brand and users.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Facebook Prediction and the Speed of Change

On May 23, 2011, I predicted that Facebook would lose half of its value within 5 years due to loss of users: .  Arguably, the 50% loss has already occurred but I don't raise the issue to take credit (I fully expect Facebook to lose more value over time), but rather to consider a point:  the world may be moving much faster than my previous conceptions of it would permit.  Another case in point:  one of my first posts predicted that Google would acquire Motorola Mobility within 5 years.  That prediction proved correct but took 5 months.  These are anecdotes to be sure, but I'm now examining my assumptions about the speed of change and the volatility of the world and its markets.