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Mr. Hewitt’s cradle to cradle vision of systems, utilities, and development won the role of developing the sustainable utility design for the Babcock Ranch which was recently announced as the Nation’s first all solar city. Mr. Hewitt started his career in Alaska where his private paging... More
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  • A few things about the $8.5 Billion dollar purchase of Skype today!!

    Skype LogoToday’s announcement of the $8.5 Billion dollar cash purchase of Skype by Microsoft will have the world buzzing with chatter and speculation for weeks to come.  Here are my outtakes from today’s announcement.

    1. Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis were (are) team builders; the company succeeded against the giant telecom odds by collaboration and strong leaders that really bonded
    2. Skype has formed perhaps the largest active peer to peer network in the world; with access to now over 50 million TV’s and other devices Microsoft will soon be expected to add Skype to Xbox, Kinect and perhaps reawaken the seemingly dead Microsoft Mobile platform
    3. New revenues from advertizing something that has always held back Microsoft in achieving a strong financial model like Google to “Give Away” things in order to generate revenue.
    4. Skype has become a “Verb” and Microsoft will leverage this across their applications; I see it becoming part of Outlook and SharePoint sooner rather than later.
    5. Skype will give Microsoft access to “Non-Microsoft” platforms expanding the company’s brand and reach.  This will impact the availability of BING, and Maps along with reawaking the company’s earlier quest to become a communications provider.

    Aside from just watching the course Microsoft takes Skype we should also watch the many spin offs from former Skypers after the 2007 exodus of many executives. Here is a short list of some former Skype executives and where they are today:

    rdio - online music to every platform you can think of led by Janus Friis - Skype co-founder and Carter Adamson former head of product development

    TransferWise - a currency exchange service founded by Taavet Hinrikus former director of strategy

    MemoLane - a document collaboration system founded by Eric Lagier Skype's former head if mobile business development, also notable that Skype's co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom is an investor.

    Hi-Media Group - an online media publishing group CEO is now Pooj Preena Skype's former business development lead.

    I'm sure this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovative team oriented folks; however you can see that building a vision produces a far more rich environment for innovation that we see from former HP or IBM folks.  That's another blog...

    May 10 4:58 PM | Link | Comment!
  • The Emergence of the Agile Business

    I remember clearly the first day of a new Internet search engine “Google” with its simple banner and viral like emergence from almost nowhere in late 1998.  The talk was all about how could someone like this displace Yahoo the dominate search engine at the time.

    The rest is history and yet I see the same set of patterns in Apple with the success of iPhone and the iPad Apple has opened two new markets that have already displaced the control over applications in the mobile market that formerly were the domain of carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

    Apple’s iOS provided a stable controlled environment for developers to easily develop many of their new ideas and monetize them though the single most important aspect of the overall ecosystem – the iTunes Store.  Steve Jobs knew that it was not enough to simple build appliances he understood the “Ecosystem” of the future.  I remember when Apple first went to Verizon to launch the first iPhone the Verizon executives flat rejected the change in their tight control over consumer and business applications sending them to the world of AT&T the only other major provider with a 3G network big enough to support their idea.  Again like Google the rest is history iPhone became the highest single device to impact wireless sales ever.  (We had a team working in advance with the AT&T provisioning team to ramp up their capabilities to handle the projected influx of new customers in the first 24 hours they doubled the projected new customer forecast and continued to ramp new customers and sales at an alarming rate.)

    Today however Apple reminds me of Yahoo as Google quickly displaced them as the dominate search engine by the end of last century.  The Android O/S has already displaced Apple’s iOS as new customers, devices, and applications flock to the more robust and open environment offered under the Google development agreement.

    This rapid displacement of technology has been well documented in Clayton Christensen book The Innovator's Dilemma “When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” as Apple just like Yahoo became so attached to their control over the iPhone and iOS market they failed to adapt to the rapidly changing market.

    Hence the emergence of the Agile Business; named for the successful development platform that emerged from early “Continuous Integration” development systems used by highly successful teams in the late 90’s and first decade of this century.  Today referred to as SCRUM Agile Development this method has been adopted by most every successful large scale product team including Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and yes Apple.

    Today’s Agile business recognizes the need for short ‘Sprints’ of product and business development cycles the need to adapt and change are the core requirements to maintain a profitable and successful lead regardless of whether or not you operate a small business or the largest industry.

    To learn more about Agile SCRUM development and how it applies to your investment strategy or just to operating your own business there are a number of excellent references and training systems available through the Scrum Alliance (http://www.scrumalliance.org/)



    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
    May 08 5:00 PM | Link | Comment!
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