Creating open industry standards always wins, by creating a larger market for all competitors and platforms. This story has been repeated endlessly in technology markets. You would think after so many proprietary failures, it wouldn’t keep repeating itself. HTML5 appears to be another case where an open industry standard has again created a win-win for all involved, including consumers.
At an absolute minimum, Google has scored a PR coup with their blog announcement of “Project Loon,” a trial of Internet Wifi via balloons floating in the stratosphere over New Zealand. You may have already seen, heard or read about this, as the story has appeared in much of the mainstream media, albeit without much journalistic scrutiny. The Loon project has also been covered extensively in the tech “blogosphere” (pun intended). From my reading, only very few journalists have delved into the devil of the details, and asked serious questions, which remain largely unanswered. It is probably not in Google’s best interest to say too much more, as they have already favorably established the Loon Project in the media. The Kiwi’s have a term for this kind of project. They are known in New Zealand as “#8 Wire” projects. Read on and I will explain.
Tonight I was channel surfing and stumbled on the Task One iPhone Case in a TV News feature story from an outfit called Task Labs.. Their website is up but not complete. It still has the Latin text of an incomplete webpage template, but you can buy it online if you wish. I want to emphasize that I wish to be completely fair here. I am a dedicated Swiss Army Knife aficionado and a dedicated smart mobile user. I have a simple version of a Swiss Army Knife with a corkscrew in my pocket as I write this. A corkscrew is one of my mandatory survival tools (smile). I have followed the Wall Street Journal coverage of the merger of the two Swiss companies that produce the knives. It is a great story and a great product. I have the full Boy Scout version in my tool drawer. The Task Labs people should also remember the tried and true publicity adage, “Any PR is good PR.”
Maybe three years ago, I recall hearing something about a “nuclear fusion” company starting up in Burnaby. In my mind, the thought of a nuclear fusion company in Burnaby was outlandish and preposterous. Growing up in southern California, and later northern California, I had grown up close and personal with the Space Program, and nuclear physics at UC Berkeley Lawrence Nuclear Labs and the super secret Lawrence Livermore National Labs.
In my earlier post on March 11th , “Alberta Bitumen Bubble and the Canadian Economy: An Industry Analysis Case Study,” I reported the stark facts of Canada’s current economic crisis as announced by Canada’s Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, and Alberta Premier Allison Redford, directly resulting from pricing forecasts for “Western Canada Select” (WCS) from the oil sands. In that post I also explored the now well-established economic conundrum known as the “natural resource curse.” This simply means that economies that rely heavily on natural resource exploitation, have historically underperformed more diverse economies. This is now most certainly the case in Canada.
Yesterday, I was an invited guest at an annual “entrepreneurship” event held in Vancouver. The event is an extraordinary opportunity to connect with most of the major figures, leaders, and investors in the entrepreneurship community. It also prominently showcased presentations from a number of the most promising new startups. But the undercurrents in conversations around the room were soul searching questions about the current glut of startup accelerators around North America, and the frothy euphoria and enthusiasm about “entrepreneurship.” Some experienced entrepreneurial investors complained about the air of unreality of it all, and the excess of mediocre companies being cranked out. A very prominent and experienced Vancouver venture capitalist pointed out to me that a glut of Canadian startups only compounds the long-standing issue that Canada could not produce the necessary risk capital even if more of these companies were investment ready, which they are not. A related issues is the waste of government money in these companies. Clearly, the situation is a mess.
I have heard a number of students express the fear that apps like Coursesmart will crash at the worst possible time:exams. Now it has happened, which creates a market acceptance problem that will take months to repair.. It is similar to the Odwalla juice contamination case study that eventually took the company to near bankruptcy.