Archive for the ‘General Observations’ Category

Twilight of the Internet Idols. Will CEO heads roll at Microsoft, RIM and Cisco?

Off with their heads.   Now is the season of investor discontent.   Dissent is brewing among angry shareholders, disappointed with lackluster performance at tech giants Microsoft, Cisco, Nokia and RIM.

Steve Ballmer’s days at the helm of Microsoft are clearly numbered.  His desperate bid to make the company relevant by buying Skype for a ridiculous price has trigged calls for termination, including this screed from the WSJ decrying 8.5 billion reasons to fire Steve Ballmer.   But publications have been complaining about him for years:  WIRED called for Ballmer’s termination more than three years ago.  Now read this devastating critique by Ben Brooks.

One month after admitting he has “lost some credibility“, John Chambers is going nowhere fast as Cisco braces for the biggest layoff in company history.  BusinessInsider says Chambers has failed.

The two-headed hydra that runs RIM has lost its way.   Actually, the company has two CEOs, and three Chief Operating Officers.  No wonder the company seems to be drifting off course.  RIM continues to disappoint, squandering its dominant position in smartphones and confusing its customers, distributors and developer partners.  Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis seems on edge lately, storming out of an interview.

Poor Steven Elop.   He’s only been on the job at Nokia for a couple of months, and already an angry mob of shareholders wants to fire him.   After selling the company out to Microsoft, I can’t say I blame them.   He wrote a memo comparing Nokia to a “burning platform” but his solution, which consists of leaping onto a sinking ship, probably doesn’t help solve the Nordic giant’s problems.

Here’s one politically-incorrect CEO who won’t be stepping down anytime soon.  GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons remains defiant about his habit of shooting elephants.  From his viewpoint, he feels that he is doing poor villagers a service by taking out-of-control wildlife down.  

Posted via email from Think Twice

Chicago Core SuperIntense

Driving Tour of the Gorges du Verdon, in the Alpes-du-Haute-Provence, France

A narrow road has been carved out of the cliff high above the green river. It’s a hair-raising drive: a sheer vertical drop of more than 2300 feet, in many places too narrow for two-way traffic, with craggy rock overhangs, blind curves and hairpin turns, and thrillingly, no guardrail (!!) The road begins in the ancient fortified village of Castellane that guards a narrow mountain pass. At La-Palud-sur-Verdon, climbers gather to scale the vertiginous heights. And the road ends at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a breathtakingly beautiful medieval town perched on a mountainside, where paragliders sail silently from the mountain face hundreds of meters above. The local Provencal farmhouses have been turned into upscale villas and fancy resorts.

Beyond Imagination: Video of Robert Tercek’s speech at the Creativity World Forum

In November 2010, I was invited to participate as a speaker and moderator at the Creativity World Forum in Oklahoma City.   More than 2500 attendees, including hundreds of international delegates, attended the event.   We participated in workshops, discussions, exhibitions, demonstrations.

I was the moderator of a discussion on the topic of Technology Aiding Creativity, and my guests were Pranav Mistry, the creator of Sixth Sense and other futuristic UIs, and Andrew Zolli, the impressario behind PopTech.   Here’s the video of my opening remarks:

I chose to focus on three main points, to direct the audience’s attention to the way that technology can catalyze creative breakthroughs:   giant scale, two-way dialog and the freedom of open platforms.   The breathtaking pace of innovation on the web can be attributed to the fact that nobody needs to obtain permission from powerbrokers to gain access to scale, dialog and open platforms.   That’s radically different from traditional mass media.   And that’s why digital media grows so much faster than old media.

How to Prepare for Your Next Career: Video of my guest appearance on “This Week In Careers”

This week I was a guest on “This Week In Careers.”   Host Lisa Mandell interviewed me about career opportunities of the future.  I spoke about several industries that will grow this decade and the steps to take now to prepare for the jobs of the future.

In a wide-ranging interview, we covered several topics, including several  lessons that I’ve learned in my 22 year career as a TV director, game designer, creative executive and entrepreneur:
  • Two essential steps that every young person should take in college to prepare for the future;
  • How to make yourself irreplaceable at work by becoming an in-house expert;
  • Three books that will dramatically change your perspective about your next career;
  • How to evaluate the tradeoff between career advancement versus earning a graduate degree;
  • The importance of international experience:  the benefit of gaining new cultural perspectives;
  • Four industries that are poised for explosive growth this decade.
This Week In is a bold new startup founded by serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis and a smart young CEO  Mark Jeffrey.    Online video is growing fast, and this company is doing exciting things.   They’ve mastered the art of rapid video production and low cost distribution, which are two evolutionary skillsets necessary to thrive in the online ecosystem.   It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on

Posted via email from Think Twice

Real Time Bidding and Behavioral Targeting Will Change Mass Advertising

Merchant Joe Wanamaker’s famously groused  “I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted but I just don’t know which half!”
The age-old promise of the web is to eliminate inefficiency in ad spending by targeting users with precision, but for much of the commercial web’s 15-year existence, that hasn’t been easy.   Most display advertising on the web was bought and sold on an impression basis just like traditional mass media.
That’s changing now, and it has big implications for all media.   Wanamaker’s complaint is about to be answered. Continue Reading

Looking for suggestions on how best to put a presentation on the web

I would welcome advice from you, dear reader, about how best to record a presentation and put it on my blog.

During the past six months, I have given a series of speeches that track the way that modern society was shaped by technology.   These talks were pretty ambitious:   my recent talk at Merging+Media covered 500 years of technology in a whirlwind survey.
Lately, I’ve received several requests from people who would like to Continue Reading

Favorite Things: Holiday Gift Guide for GadgetGrrls and Women on the Go

After receiving several encouraging messages from female readers who liked my 2010 Guys’ Gift Guide, I thought I’d follow up with my holiday gift suggestions for women.   Herewith, a preview of the goodies I am considering placing under the tree for the lady in my life.  Some of these are pure concept, not available in stores yet, so I am still on a quest to Continue Reading

Favorite Things: Ten Must-Buy 2010 Holiday Gifts for Geeky Guys, Roadwarriors and Modern Men

Each year at this time, people ask me if I have any suggestions for cool holiday gifts.  Without further ado, allow me to present my very own version of “My Favorite Things” for the world-traveling technology lover.

$700 or less online
Smallest most powerful camera that uses interchangeable lenses.   Half the price and half the size of an SLR with comparable picture quality.  Giant 14 megapixel CMOS sensor is the secret to Continue Reading

Welcome to Surveillance Nation: what happens when spy camera data is merged with online profiles

There’s a lively debate underway about the erosion of privacy in digital media, focusing lately on the careless handling of Facebook data by bottom feeder RapLeaf.   This is a useful discussion but it does not address the proliferation of surveillance technologies that now pervade the real world around us.
I’m not referring to your web browsing habits (there is already a multi-billion dollar industry of tracking your online behavior).   I’m talking about your daily activity in the city where you live.
Whether you know it or not, your public life is being converted into somebody else’s digital data.   For control.   For profit.  For entertainment. Continue Reading