Set Adrift On A Memory Bliss

This summer I was lucky enough to attend some amazing Bruce Springsteen concerts. In Milan, the San Siro arena was packed. No less than 70,000 people waiting the whole day for Bruce and the E Street Band to come out on stage.

Then the lights went down. Almost immediately, thousands of hands went up, and not (only) to applaud. They were holding softly glowing screens. Cameras and smartphones, not necessarily in this order, all straining to capture the show.

Although I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a social media addicted, I tend to limit myself to a snap or two at the beginning or end of a performance, trying to keep my focus on the show and not be distracted by Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

At this show, however, I noticed something different. With the notable exception of someone for whom, apparently, gig recording is a second job, people appeared to be trying to carve in digital form not the show itself, but the mood of the most memorable moments of the show.

Suddenly, I realized that instead of trying to obsessively document the night, Bruce’s fans were interested in capturing small snippets of the show to serve as a placebo in the future. The videos could augment that physical recollection of the night, rather than serve as a replacement for it.

This could be a sign that we are now in a sort of “memories overdose”: because of digital data and networks, we are in a situation where the amount of memories we can reasonably review has exceeded our capacity. Just take a look at YouTube statistics to see what I mean.

BTW, this is a pic taken in Milan from inside the pit. What a show… 😉

Bruce Springsteen from inside the pit. Milan, 2012

USA Inc.

Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist Mary Meeker wows the technology business world every year with dazzling presentations on the state of industry.

This year at Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, she did it again.

The complete slideshow (see above) is insightful as usual, and it goes through the present and foreseeable internet trends, with a particular attention to the mobile phenomenon – she’s been focusing on mobile the past few years.

However, the last part of the presentation is dedicated to USA Inc., a look at the US federal government as if it were a business. As Meeker states in the intro of the original USA Inc. report:

Imagine for a moment that the United States government is a public corporation. Imagine that its management structure, fiscal performance, and budget are all up for review. Now imagine that you’re a shareholder in USA Inc. How do you feel about your investment? Mary Meeker USA Inc. Report, Feb. 2011

Well, looking at slide 60, If I were an American citizen, I would not feel good at all.

America's Revenue and Expenses as % of GDP in the last 110 years

How to fix this issue? Depending on the solutions, we will have very different social and economic situations.

And, probably, a new U.S. president.

Think Different

Apple will not wait to see what the market wants

The announcement that Steve Jobs is to resign as Apple’s CEO should come as no surprise.

There is no doubt the influence of Jobs has been hugely important in making Apple the company it is today.

Steve Jobs career (source: The Economist)

However, IMHO will continue its onward march, not least because the market has been well aware of Jobs’ health issues and there is certainly no ‘Jobs premium’ built into Apple’s valuation.

It is not by chance that Apple is the success it is. This is a company that:

  1. has a strategy well in place for the mid-term
  2. is dominant in the tablet market – a market that has barely considered adolescence let alone maturity
  3. is leader in the smart phone market
  4. though it still only has single figure market share in the PC market, IMHO will continue to take share.

This company does not wait to see what the market wants – it creates what the market did not know it wanted but when it has it, it wants more. It will continue so to do.
It also have a strong competitive position: Apple has developed some quite unique barriers to entry through the iTunes store and the AppStore – which has the effect of creating much ‘stickier’ customers. Additionally, through being vertically integrated they can now not only produce the best product but can do so at the best prices – their competitors are desperately struggling to match the iPad price without making losses.

For sure, Apple will not be better without Steve Jobs but I hope that he has injected enough of his DNA into the company to let her continue this success story without him.

All the best to Tim Cook, new CEO, who has already proved himself extremely capable.

Other interesting articles on the same subject:

Freakonomics: Was Steve Jobs’ Retirement Already Priced into Apple Stock?

The Economist: Steve Jobs resigns. The minister of magic steps down

Nokia: The Loud, The Small and The Bright

Somebody has to stop them.
Nokia has released three new phones.

What?“, you could say, “Is the Android-killer Iphone-slasher Windows-equipped device already out?

Nope. They all come with Symbian OS but, hey, it’s the new version – called Symbian Belle .

Nokia claims that the 701 has the brightest phone screen the world has ever seen. The 600 is their loudest smartphone to date. The tiny 700 is the smallest monoblock phone on the market. Sounds good, uh? Well, you can’t judge a book by its cover but…

Nokia Symbian Belle Phones

Really, Nokia: stop that. We don’t want these to be your final days. Gizmodo is begging you too:

Then Nokia up and comes out with three new Symbian phones today. QUIT IT. Seriously. Finland. Do you read me? Stop making Symbian handsets. Repeat: kssshhhh Stop making Symbian handsets. Save your money for the Mango models. Wow us in October with something unexpected: competition for the iPhone. I’ll switch in a hummingbird’s heartbeat. And I won’t be alone.

Cellphones

Mobile war: who will win?

android vs iphone

In a recent report, Nielsen has stated that in U.S. Smartphone Market, Android is Top Operating System, Apple is Top Manufacturer.

Nielsen US mobile phone market share Q2 2011

We all know that Google has a business model for Android that goes far beyond the “simple” device sales figures (read something about it here, and listen to what Schmidt has to say on this subject). But are we sure that the people in MV aren’t missing something?

Apple captured two thirds of available mobile phone profits in Q2. Take a moment to let that sink in. Apple now controls over 66 percent of all the profits amongst the major players in the mobile space. HTC, RIM, LG, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung Motorola, and Nokia combined for the other 33 or so percent of profits in the space (with a few of them: Nokia, Motorola, LG, and Sony actually losing money).

Read the whole article on TechCrunch!