Survival of the fittest, and the fittest adapt and innovate

As our technological world races faster and faster we see a common trend emerging. Innovation and meeting people’s needs always will always beat the competition in the long run.

Google appears to be at war with Microsoft as far as I can tell. Visit Google with Internet Explorer and in the top right of the page you’ll be strongly encouraged to switch to Google Chrome. I’ve been using Chrome on my Mac since they released it and I’m simply stunned at the stability and speed.

I’m not exactly your average computer user either and have years of experience managing teams of online application designs and web usability researchers. Not bragging just saying I’ve seen a lot of good and bad software and Google Chrome is amazing… an Internet Explorer Killer.

Apple has been rumored for months to have a breakthrough tablet in the works. Having watched Apple leapfrog the industry for a couple of decades now I suspect this new device will have the potential to stomp all over mono-function devices like Kindle and the print industry, just like it’s doing to the music industry. Apple could be positioned to steal more market share in print and recorded media markets.

Both of these examples illustrate the how the old-school digital and print world is loosing customers everyday because someone else from another industry is entering their information distribution world and stealing it away… simple because the newcomers aren’t bogged down in old-school thinking.

Survival of the fittest, and the fittest adapt and innovate.

Oh… by the way… television is next to go. Early adopters, like me, have already given up on that dreadful box and get our information and entertainment far more efficiently online. As Telcos speed up the internet more users will go online for their TV fix.

Social Media is quickly replacing Mainstream Media

I’m not the first person to have this realization; and I’m sure it will be a few years before this becomes a glaring reality. The internet is doing a much better job of keeping us informed, entertained, and connected than the mainstream media. People are shifting their attention from the big media channels and refocusing on other people.

Shifting Behavior

I stopped watching TV a while back. I’ve also found that everything I want to know is quickly found online from an even wider range of sources. I also have a very strong opinion of the TV News. It’s like a terrible microscope for all that’s disturbing in the world. Watching the TV News now feels like subjecting myself to a slow torture.

Entertainment is also shifting to the internet. You’ve probably noticed that many television networks, radio stations, magazines, and newspapers are trying to compete for attention by publishing their content online. The trouble is that these giants have a faster growing new competitor that can’t be beat. We are beginning to entertain each other with videos, writings, photos, audio recordings, live chat, micro blogging, etc.

Every day more people are discovering and connecting with other people through the internet. We’re beginning to entertain and inform each other and our attention is being drawn away from the mainstream media.

The giants are quickly trying to modify their business models to account for this new competitor. They will always retain a market share but their size will inevitably shrink as advertising dollars move with the shifting audience and companies like Google are perfectly positioned to absorb this new audience.

The Near Future

The future trend is that more and more people will begin to migrate from mainstream media and focus their attention on their growing social networks. This will happen for several reasons:

  • People will prefer to spend more of their time connecting with other people.
  • People will loose their craving for news and commercial interrupted entertainment because they will already be getting the information they want from their social networks.
  • People will become increasingly frustrated with the biased and diluted coverage of the television news media and prefer the flexibility of quickly checking multiple sources for facts.
  • People will continue to reject paper as a communication medium.
  • People will enjoy how they feel when they are disconnected from the one-way communication channels. The interactivity of the internet will be preferred.

I also think current media channels will be abandoned in this order… IMHO

  • Print News (Newspapers & Magazines: already on a fast decline.)
  • Television News (Beginning to face competition with free online news and social network websites like Twitter.)
  • Print Entertainment (Newspapers & Magazines)
  • Television Entertainment (More television entertainment will continue to be moved to the internet but advertising revenue will drop over time.)
  • Radio (Radio can be easily ported to the internet without much disruption in advertising revenue.)
  • Print Books (Books will last the longest because people make a personal connection to paper books.)

The Future Now

I’m personally looking forward to this peer focused future… in fact I actually think some of us are there now. All you have to do is turn off the big guys and start to listening to each other. It’s a bit ironic that making this simple choice and breaking old habits can instantly transport us to the future. I wonder what Einstein would say about that? Who knows… maybe time is just in our heads.

Give One Get One – OLPC

give-one-get-one.jpgWhen you donate $399 to The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project they will send one laptop to your child and one to a child in a developing country. This ends December 31, 2007. $200 of the donation is tax deductable. (since you’re getting one of the laptops). Shipping and handling is extra.

If you don’t want one for your child you can simply donate $200 for each laptop you want to send to a child in a developing country.

Give One Get One Now

More about the OLPC laptop

Web2.0 Benefits In A Large Enterprise

Many people point to interface interactivity (Ajax JavaScript usually) and mash-up functionality or data when talking about Web2.0. I personally think that these two things are simply symptoms of the underlying phenomenon which is really a change in the way people think about themselves, their projects, and the people around them. Yes I think Web2.0 is a cultural revolution not a technical one.

You see the underlying common thread of Web2.0 is that people are sharing with each other. They have learned that it is better to build their websites to talk to other websites. This makes it easier to collaborate with people who have built complimentary tools and services. It also makes it easier for end users to use the information and functionality, RSS is probably the best example.

So the true Web2.0 revolution is that people intentionally build their technology to be flexible and interconnected. Their motivation is survival and success. Websites are more successful if they provide value to users (end users and peers) and people are more successful when they find ways to form partnerships and relationships with other people. For instance a group of friends help each other out. A single isolated individual has only themselves to rely on.

To see how a large enterprise benefits from the true benefits of Web2.0 you only need to extend my logic a tiny bit father and take an honest look at the most common people problems in a large organization, bureaucracy.

Red tape (cumbersome bureaucratic processes) tend to form when the size of an organization reaches a size when people are unable to understand all the social structures around them. It is a protective reaction. People begin to created request forms, document processes, ask for sign-offs on work performed, and so on. Projects slow down and costs go up. But is bureaucracy really a reaction to size or is it a reaction to a misunderstanding about where each person fits in and how they contribute to the larger effort?

The Internet is large and people there are not creating bureaucratic red-tape as a requirement to empower and collaborate with each other. It’s not size that creates bureaucracy, it’s people intent. In a large organization people loose track of the big picture. They are also compensated (judged, evaluated, rewarded) based on performance. Performance is defined by the organization and this is the problem.

The real problem is that people in a large organization are often not given the same reasons to collaborate with their peers the way web2.o dotcom people are by their environment. In the real world people have found that facilitating collaboration and making themselves more usable (in every way imaginable) makes them more successful. In a large organization people have found that spending their budget, meeting their numbers, protecting their teams reputation, and making their boss look good make them more successful. Did I hear an ah-ha? Good.

So the fix is simple and some big companies (like Toyota) have figured it out. To eliminate bureaucracy and get back to speeding your organization to success you simply have to give people a reason to change their intent. In other words reward them for collaboration. Do not encourage red tape by rewarding those common behaviors. Change your organization by helping people change the way they see themselves and their success.

One Laptop Per Child – (OLPC)


Have you seen this? The project’s goal is to, “provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves,” by delivering a $100 laptop to each and every child. It’s a tough little AMD chip powered Linux OS that has some unique off the grid and wireless features (like crank charging) specifically designed for the remote places around the world it will eventually end up.

If I were to predict the outcome, lets say in 20 years, if the project is successful. There would be thousands, no millions, of Linux literate open source software using people emerging out of today’s third world creating a huge shift in where technology innovations is happening.

I must not be alone in that prediction because it would explain why Microsoft is trying to stuff thier OS into the OLPC computer. Bill Gates and his crew must be thinking what I’m thinking. Million of young developers who know the Linux OS inside-out looking for work and working cheap would definitely create a strong business case for everyone to dump Microsoft once and for all.

I personally think that is going to happen someday anyway and anything Microsoft does today or tomorrow only delays the inevitable. But if they are diligent, like with this MS inside OLPC effort, they can buy themselves more time. I hope they fail; I’d like to see an open source world.