Friday, October 30, 2009

1984: PC vs. Apple? PC - 2009: Android (based) vs. iPhone? Who?

In the 1980s IBM diluted Apple to single digit share of the personal computer market place.  I believe if Apple continues in the same vein, the Android powered smart-phones will do the same to it now.

Can Apple change? Will it?

Read more at Wired here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Economist Looks at Business Through Schumpeter's Eyes

This is probably the best article I have read to date that puts the past, the present and what may be the future of business and management into perspective. The Economist's "Schumpeter, Taking Flight" is a new column launched on September 19th, 2009, read here, says of Schumpeter - "Joseph Schumpeter was one of the few intellectuals who saw business straight." I agree.

As an entrepreneur and a global businessman, Schumpeter's concepts on economics have made the most sense to me. Especially, the concept of "Creative Destruction" (see a primer here) has been a key to my thought process in the past twenty years as I conduct and build businesses around the world. The Economist states:

"[Schumpeter] regarded business people as unsung heroes: men and women who create new enterprises through the sheer force of their wills and imaginations, and, in so doing, are responsible for the most benign development in human history, the spread of mass affluence."

I look forward to the Economist's perspectives as it perceives business today through Schumpeter's eyes.

Ease of Doing Business and GDP growth

I previously wrote about the World Bank's "Doing Business" here. Their new report is out, the overview can be downloaded directly here. The Economist sites a study that is important to note:

"... in poor countries, a ten-day reduction in the time it takes to start a business can lead to an increase of 0.4 percentage points in GDP growth. Another shows that people who have a formal title to their property invest as much as 47% more in their businesses."

World Perspective 6 [Water]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hummer Story Continues...

Via Tony Tsai -

"GM decides to sell Hummer to Tengzhong; government approval is key to deal
Oct. 8, GM CEO Fritz Henderson says that GM has decided to sell Hummer to Sichuan Tenzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery. Earlier, China's Ministry of Commerce said that it had not yet received any application for the deal. Government approval has become the biggest variable in the deal. Apart from Hummer, GM has successfully sold Saab and Opel."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Predicted (Perceived) vs. Actual Social Behavior

A grand social policy shift was made in Portugal in 2001 - The decriminalization of drug use and possession. The Economist writes:

"The place was dubbed Europe's "most shameful neighbourhood" and its "worst drugs ghetto". The Times helpfully managed to find a young British backpacker sprawled comatose on a corner. This lurid coverage was prompted by a government decision to decriminalise the personal use and possession of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The police were told not to arrest anyone found taking any kind of drug."

Fast forward to 2009, the Economist quotes from a report on Portugal's decision and its outcomes:

"The number of addicts registered in drug-substitution programmes has risen from 6,000 in 1999 to over 24,000 in 2008, reflecting a big rise in treatment (but not in drug use). Between 2001 and 2007 the number of Portuguese who say they have taken heroin at least once in their lives increased from just 1% to 1.1%. For most other drugs, the figures have fallen: Portugal has one of Europe’s lowest lifetime usage rates for cannabis. And most notably, heroin and other drug abuse has decreased among vulnerable younger age-groups..."

"The share of heroin users who inject the drug has also fallen, from 45% before decriminalisation to 17% now, he says, because the new law has facilitated treatment and harm-reduction programmes. Drug addicts now account for only 20% of Portugal’s HIV cases, down from 56% before. “We no longer have to work under the paradox that exists in many countries of providing support and medical care to people the law considers criminals.”"

Hats off to Portugal for bringing innovation in social policy. See more data and read the complete article here at the Economist.

Democratization of Mobile? (called openness)

"Google and Verizon announced a “groundbreaking” partnership Tuesday that will bring Google-powered smartphones to the nation’s largest wireless carrier, finally bringing innovative devices to the country’s biggest and best wireless network.

Call the announcement a major victory for Google and perhaps even for openness."

Read details here on Wired. And not to be outdone:

"Bowing to openness pressure from the FCC, AT&T renounced on Tuesday its opposition to internet telephone calls that use the iPhone’s 3G data connection.

In short, Skype on the iPhone is now OK by AT&T, the company said in letters to Apple and the FCC."

Read details here on Wired.