Sunday, July 17, 2011

Banning the Use of PowerPoint in Switzerland

The Swiss political party known as the Anti-PowerPoint Party (APPP) is seeking to have PowerPoint banned from the country.  They argue that use of PowerPoint costs 2.1 billion Swiss Francs (about $2.5 billion).  They even developed a mathematical model to calculate time wasted and productivity lost to PowerPoint.  The APPP is certainly not the first critic of PowerPoint and certainly not the last, but this seems to be indicative of a larger trend in which users and software developers are seriously seeking alternatives to PowerPoint.

Read the article.

(submitted by Joel)

Apple: Using High Tech Supply Chains for Market Domination

Apple has been developing the coolest products for years now (arguably decades).  But a little fact often overlooked in all the buzz about the latest and greatest Apple gadget is why it takes so long for competitors to catch up.  There was a gigantic 12-18 month gap between the first iPad hitting the market and a suitable alternative.  In today's age of instantaneous information flow and technology development that is a staggeringly long time for competitors to be shutout of a high tech space.  After some deeper research it appears that this competitive advantage comes from Apple's dominance of certain high tech supply chains.

It turns out that when Apple has cash to spend (which they have plenty of) they invest it in the construction of factories that manufacture key components (touchscreens, chips, LED displays).  In return they receive exclusive rights to the output of those factories.  This keeps competitors at bay because they will not have economical access to these assets and all the while Apple is charging premium rate for its products.  Then when competitors eventually hit the market Apple can undercut the competitor price because they can produce the product more cheaply, leading to more profit, and of course starting the cycle again. 

This is a must read article.

Read the article.

Getting Started with Business Analytics

Implementing a business analytics program is a daunting task.  Defining a roadmap, planning for implementation, select the vendors, and even defining success.  No single article (or book) can answer these questions, but this IBM article gives a simple high level roadmap of items for consideration when starting down the business analytics.  While this article is rather light in content for analytics practitioners, it provides a good overview for those new to the world of analytics.

Read the article.

(submitted by Mike)

Abandon Ship: App Developer Jumps Blackberry Ship

RIM, maker of the Blackberry and once undisputed leader of the smartphone industry, has completely botched the transition to the world of Apps.  Apple and Google, in the course of three plus years have not only eviscerated RIM's lead, but they have redefined the future of smartphones.  The relevance of a phone today is measured by the number of Apps available, the quality of its Appstore, and what platform developers are attracted to.  RIM not only fails badly in all three categories, but they are rarely even included in the App related discussions.  On top of that, Seesmic, developer of a popular Twitter App is discontinuing its development on the Blackberry platform, citing major changes in the operating system (requiring Apps to be redeveloped), delayed delivery, and lower sales.  The reality is only three smartphons brands are going to be relevant ongoing, Apple and Google have secured the first two spots.  That leaves RIM, Microsoft, and HP (Palm) to fight it out for the third spot.  If more App developers start abandoning the Blackberry platform then RIM is going to be in worse trouble than they already are.

Read the article.

(submitted by Walter)

Crowdsourcing a Constitution

Iceland is in the process of recovering from a government and institutional meltdown.  As part of this recovery government officials are "crowdsourcing" the drafting of their new constitution.  Citizens are encouraged to submit their ideas through social media outlets while officials post working drafts of proposed clauses for public feedback.  This is one of the first examples of social media giving citizens direct access to constitution (or law) making.  With so many countries in crisis right now it is likely that citizens will become a lot more participatory in the governmental process and it looks like social media will play a key role in connecting citizens and government officials.

Read the article.