Realtime feed of skydiver wearing Google Glass prototype in descent to Moscone Center in San Francisco, June 27, 2012. Source: Google
Google had fun at its latest I/O developer conference with a theatrical level performance including skydivers wearing Google’s electronic glasses streaming live realtime video as they descended from high above San Francisco. As they landed on top of Moscone Center they relayed their payload to awaiting mountaineers who repelled down the side of the building. The payload was quickly transferred to bicyclists who road through the auditorium to cheering fans and up onto the stage to an awaiting Sergey Brin (see video).
Latest Details on Project Glass
Nonetheless, the theatrics provided some new information including the announcement that the glasses will become a product next year, and prototypes (i.e. beta version) are now available for $1500 to well-heeled developers flourishing in the Google ecosystem.
A giant has awakened. Microsoft’s alliance with Barnes and Noble is a major market signal. It should be a wake up call for everyone. Yes, it’s a great deal for Barnes and Noble and just what the doctor ordered (see my previous blog on B&N). But, it also builds up Microsoft’s business platforms and adds an established e-commerce engine to Microsoft’s repertoire that could add to the appeal of Windows 8.
Yes there are detractors. On Yahoo Finance’s Daily Ticker, Dan Gross quipped, “The desperate got married to the hopeless,” and Henry Blodget added “My guess is that this is rearranging deck chairs.” I am a fan of both commentators. But, in this case, there is more to the story. The bigger story is about the overlooked overhaul and transformation of Microsoft, the company. Continue reading
With thousands of others, I just became an official backer on Kickstarter of the Pebble, a watch, really a wearable computing device that interfaces seamlessly, conveniently, and wirelessly with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS phones.
Over the past two months I’ve written twice about wearable computing – coming from mainline firms, Nike (the FuelBand) and Google (Google glasses). Nike and Google are well-established elastic enterprises and benefit from the elasticity that they have built into their companies. Their wearable devices add new levels of engagement and options for their huge base of customers.
But Pebble Technology, the maker of Pebble, is a startup. It also has a noteworthy distinction: it raised over $1 Million dollars from supporters on Kickstarter in 28 hours – for a product that is not yet in production. But a snappy video and a low-key pitch inspired thousands to make an “investment.” The Pebble folks also smartly provided “investors” with various contribution options, from a minimum of $99 to a high of $10,000, but each level will receive 1 or more Pebble watches when they are produced sometime in the fall of 2012. Continue reading
It started as a rumor. It rippled through social networks. Then came stories by Nick Bilton at the New York Times in December 2011, Seth Weintrab at 9TO5 Google and most recently again from Nick Bilton in a follow-up article about testing prototypes of “Google Glasses.” And Steven Levy at Wired recounted some deep history and added perspective and background elements about the project, now known as Project Glass.
Google CEO, Larry Page Sports New Google Glasses
(Flickr / Thomas Hawk)
This much we know. According to many reports, an official demo video, and individuals who recently saw Larry Page wearing the glasses at a party, these high-tech glasses superimpose critical information and alerts as one interacts with the physical world, in realtime. They are essentially a heads-up display for daily life. And if it catches on and moves beyond geekdom, it could be a winner in the interface wars. And no matter how much you want it, whatever you see is a prototype, not yet a product for sale.
But Google’s Project Glass is about more than a new mobile or wearable device – it’s about what we call the vanishing point. Smartphones and tablets are only the first step on a journey to operationally merge the digital and physical worlds. Continue reading
How does a sports shoe manufacturer grow? Well if it was the 1980s or 1990’s, you would get sport celebrities, use high technology materials, create great designs, diversify your merchandise, and go global with sales and manufacturing. Nike did exceedingly well with that model. Today you still do all of that but you do more…
If you’re at the top of your game, you “just do it,” differently. You do it as an elastic enterprise. Nike is well on its way to becoming an elastic enterprise. And it’s already reaping the benefits of an elastic strategy with a robust strategic options portfolio.
Nike’s FuelBand, a recently launched high-tech electronic wristband, is another component in Nike’s elastic journey that highlights its strategy. Continue reading
We think a key ingredient of sustainable future business success is an elastic strategy with a strong strategic options portfolio. There’s a classic example of that out there right now – Apple TV.
In Walter Isaacson’s celebrated biography, Steve Jobs, he quotes Steve Jobs as saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use… It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.” But what got the world talking was, “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
Among all the products that Apple is pursuing it still has time for television.
Going further into TV would involve a major multi-pronged strategy. It’s about capitalizing on the competitive advantages that Apple has developed and has as an elastic enterprise. Let’s take a closer look.
I admire Barnes & Noble. The company has guts. I most admire Barnes and Noble’s (B&N) ability to reinvent itself. In fact its recent success with its Nook digital business put them on a path to become an elastic enterprise. So why did a company that I admire for its moves to greater elasticity lose 30% of its stock value in a single week?
Well, B&N’s Nook business has been a mixed blessing. The Nook business revenue is growing at double digits but so are expenses. Such performance puts the entire company in the red. To make matters worse, the Nook business requires more investment and is unlikely to be profitable anytime soon – despite its meteoric topline growth.
In the first week of January 2012, B&N management rattled its investors with a one-two punch: downward guidance and an announcement that the company would explore its “strategic options” regarding its Nook digital business. Shares of B&N stock (NYSE:BKS) plummeted. Continue reading
By now anyone who has a smartphone or a tablet also has an app, or rather, several pages of apps. Apps are ubiquitous in digital life.
Apps alone can provide business benefit. But apps plus a business platform, plus a business ecosystem, plus universal connectors can position the enterprise to become elastic, primed for highly scaleable growth.
In this post we will describe how apps are being used to create elasticity through the customer ecosystem, improving customer engagement, customer experience and customer innovation. In a second post, we’ll describe how apps are used to make the enterprise more elastic through different ecosysstem communities.
” Fruit Seller” Louise Moillon, 1631
Let’s start with the customer ecosystem. The Baroque era, 17th Century painting by Louise Moillon, “Fruit Seller,” captures the essence of the merchant and customer relationship. The customer contemplates the basket of fruit and considers whether the product might fulfill a need. The painting embodies the customer lifecycle, as it has existed for eons, in one dramatic and artistic moment.
But today, the customer ecosystem expresses the dimensions of customer life in a highly connected world. Customers talk with other customers. Customers talk with competitors. Customers share experiences about products. Customers help other customers. And in some cases, customers help companies make products and services better. With the right app strategy an enterprise can engage the customer in ways never possible before, transform their company and create a long tail for competitive growth.
I recall speculating with academic colleagues, in the 1980s, about what would be the characteristics of enterprises in the next century. Everyone knew then that the industrial-based enterprises of the first 75 years of the twentieth century had run out of gas. But even though most of us were using Macintoshes at the time, none of us knew that Apple would be one of the leaders ushering in an historic and revolutionary business approach, some 25 years later. Continue reading
Walmart, Kosmix and @WalmartLabs
Walmart is no stranger to the power of business platforms. Walmart was one of the first companies to invest heavily (estimated at $300 Million in 1989) in a business platform as a means to empower radical business growth. Walmart used its integrated logistics business platform to grow from roughly $44.9 Billion in 1993 to over $400 Billion today. Since 1993, Walmart has extended that business platform to create a far-flung and engaged business ecosystem with thousands of supply chain partners.
But, Walmart has not scored well in Internet retailing, nor has it effectively incorporated its customers into its business ecosystem. While Walmart is the undisputed leader in terrestrial retailing, it lags in digital marketing and digital retailing.
That may be about to change.