January 2008 Archives

I am unassertive on why I want to blend those two - but I have to; a right brain thing.

Bruce Nussbaum reflects on the Tata Nano again and it's inclusive innovation, frugal engineering, frugal Indian business model innovations.

Whereas Seth Godin argues against brand management - to be replaced by tribe management.

Ok, so where is the connection?

Is it the tribal manager using inclusive innovation to stay close to the tribe. I really don't know ...

But one thing at least is obvious to me: Branding is dead, long live tribing!

Follow Bruce Nussbaum! | Read Seth Godin!

Three people instantly chatting in English, Spanish and Chinese without knowing each others languages? Apparently feasible with a combined machine/ human translation approach by the New York-based service SpeakLike.

As we all know, language is not the only barrier between cultures but in written communication it is the first and foremost one. The future is near!

BTW, anybody still or already using machine translation services? For me it was a funny experiment years ago to come up with 'unusual' German or English texts - but apart from that ...

Found in FORTUNE Techland! | Visit SpeakLike!


According to Wikipedia, the first TV ad was broadcast in the US at 2:29 PM on July 1, 1941. Today, over the course of 10 hours, there are approximately 3 hours of ads. Take a medium length of 30 sec per clip and you could air 360 of them on one channel within 10 hours. Below we have 9. Multiply that by 40. Start the clips and enjoy a visually inspiring 5-minute coffee break - a selection worth watching:

[Please be aware that certain spots may contain mature content, which is unsuitable to minors.]


According to Wikipedia, the first TV ad was broadcast in the US at 2:29 PM on July 1, 1941. Today, over the course of 10 hours, there are approximately 3 hours of ads. Take a medium length of 30 sec per clip and you could air 360 of them on one channel within 10 hours. Below we have 9. Multiply that by 40. Start the clips and enjoy a visually inspiring 5-minute coffee break - a selection worth watching:

[Please be aware that certain spots may contain mature content, which is unsuitable to minors.]

LEGO Brick

Image © LEGO

Google, amongst others, is celebrating the 50th birthday of the LEGO brick today. Let us join the congratulations. I had tons of bricks as a child and definitely preferred those to my three small fischertechnik sets back then.


Still playing LEGO as well as fischertechnik with my kids today, I begin to realize that LEGO is for visual designers whereas fischertechnik is for engineers.

Thanks, Manu Sporny, for explaining the Semantic Web visually!

Watch the video!

Robert Full on biologically inspired design: Make sure to watch the dance sequence between 1:30 and 3:30 and enjoy the bipedal octopus disguised as a rolling coconut :)

Lesson to learn? Imagine your 5-year old asking why cockroaches can climb smooth vertical metal plates. Your answer from now on: They are swimming upwards using their feet as pedals. Look at it in slow-mo, son.

Houston, we have a problem. Support curiosity-based research. TED Talks 2005, Robert Full. View the talk!

TED Talks: Burt Rutan. Right back to where we inspired people who will be our great leaders later ...

View the talk!

His message? "Something everybody can do ..."

Mobile phones reporting ... View QIKs!

Man, I remember that one for years now - and you know what? I didn't know where to find it, brother. Just stumbled upon it during my Advertising Overload research.

Another excellent presentation from slideshare.net: Todd Warfel's thoughts on data driven design research personas. "The average user doesn't exist." View the presentation!


Windows 7 is in the news again. It was a month ago that I first had the question on why Windows is still in it's infancy years whereas Mac OS has entered the teenage period quite some time ago. My arithmetic was - and I posed the question to Mary Jo Foley, the Microsoft Insider :

> Hi Mary, as you are the Microsoft Insider: Can you explain the naming
> Windows 7 to me? W 3.0, W95 (=4), WNT (=5), W2000 (=6), WXP (=7),
> Vista (=9). Were Windows 1 and 2 buried, ashamed of what was state of
> the Microsoft art then? Thanks for your help, Harald

Following Alex Wright we have a second history lesson from Google Tech Talks today - dating from December 18: It is Steve Blank.

What a coincidence: Having read the first two chapters of Nick Carr's new "The Big Switch" last night, I find a Microsoft Executive E-mail from Bob Muglia in my Inbox this morning barking up the same tree. Bob Muglia is Senior Vice President for Server and Tools Business at Microsoft Corporation.

But in contrast to Nick Carr's book, the mail is written from a quite abstract server point-of-view only. There might be two reasons for this:

QIK is spamming me via Twitter, so let's just add one video from there:

From Wikipedia: "Dave Winer is an American software developer and entrepreneur in Berkeley, California. A pioneer in the areas of RSS, XML-RPC, OPML, outliners, and the MetaWeblog API. He is also the author of Scripting News, one of the oldest weblogs, established in 1997, he is both an evangelist of RSS as "Really Simple Syndication" and the first to implement the feed "enclosure" feature, one of several necessary ingredients for podcasting at the time it first emerged."

View QIK!

Continued from &57/, &60/, &62.a/, &62.b/, and &62.c/: Phase 7.

Taken from Wikipedia: "Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a United States holiday marking the birth date of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King's birthday, January 15. It is one of four United States federal holidays to commemorate an individual person."

Speaking as a citizen of a different culture (Europe) I have to shout out: "Hut ab! Chapeau! Kudos to the United States!"

Why that?

Instead of watching TV: Go to http://wunderman.com/, click and enjoy.

[It's amazing how low-quality this top-agency site is :( - try to find the good stuff with some subs in "Where we are".]

"I hate the way way people tend to generalize and think that those who choose to cover their heads are unliberated ..."

Watch the video!

"Make an X with your two index fingers to indicate you'd like the bill."

Back Then

Image © The Library of Congress

You heard the news, Library of Congress is opening up on a Flickr stream. Tag and comment!

Watch the stream!

Tom Davenport published an interesting article on Six Sigma last week. Have a look at it and at all the comments as well!

Tom conludes:

  • "First, there was all the statistical mumbo-jumbo it implied — but seldom delivered on in most companies’ implementations.
  • Second, it didn’t incorporate information technology — arguably the most powerful force available for improving (or screwing up) processes — in any way.
  • Third, it was overly elitist. Instead of relying on Six Sigma expert “black belts” do the process analysis and design, every employee should be a process improver, as I argued last week.
  • Fourth, it really only enabled incremental improvement, not radical breakthroughs.
  • Fifth and last, it wasn’t a good fit for innovation-oriented work."

One reader adds a point and we especially subscribe to that one:

"No approach works when Leadership does not clearly communicate a coherent strategy to masses and then own the implementation of that strategy. It's like the old mantra 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear' only it is 'when the leader owns the implementation, the appropriate tools will appear'."

Is Six Sigma really on a downslope?

Read Harvard Business!

MacBook Air

Image © TechCrunch

Remember Apple burying the 5.25'' floppy, the 3.5'' floppy, and the CRT monitor? Today it is burying the optical disk. Is it?

Sure, my Toshiba Portégé has no optical disk either. And has not had one for years now. But it seems to be a difference when Steve Jobs is introducing an innovation ...

Think of a world where a discussion Blue-ray versus HD DVD won't matter any more - as everything is in the air/ online. Possible. Watch out for the new MacBook Air.

Do we need optical drives and Ethernet on our laptops?

Look at ars technica! | It's TechCrunch time!
[Update 7:48 PM: Visit Apple!]
[Update 9:45 PM: The video. It's CrunchGear times!]
[Update January 16: Follow Bruce Nussbaum!]

In December we asked for your participation in two days of x-cultural Twitter. We will be back tomorrow from 9 to 5 (GMT+1)!

Tata Nano

Image © Tata Motors

Cultural models by Geert Hofstede or by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner are based on a simple principle: Lay out a dimension and try to quantitatively assess the culture under the given dimension. E.g.

- Do members of a culture openly display emotions? This dimension can be assessed by questions as "In my society, it is considered unprofessional to express emotions overtly. (a) agree - (d) disagree."

Those cultures that display emotions to a lesser extent (a), are more on the neutral side of this dimension. On the other hand those cultures more openly displaying their emotions (d) are called affective.

Nick Carr defends himself from being mis-quoted:

"IT's alive! [...] IT departments still have a good long life ahead of them, and the quality of that life will be much improved if they embrace, rather than resist, the new choices presented by Web-based computing. To misquote Nietzsche: That which may kill us can also make us stronger."

Our take on it:

The focus of the classical IT department will shift away from the development of a proprietary line of business applications to the consulting when it comes to business requirements and solution selection, deployment of buy-over-build applications, IT governance, and IT project portfolio management.

Anything we have forgotten?

Read Nick Carr's Rough Type!


Let's face it: Browsing the blogosphere during our nighttime occupations we take it for granted that everyone understands the sense and nonsense of all things Web 2.0. But that's quite distinct from our daytime job realities. Asking your IT department for a simple blog replacement of the outdated intranet CMS might bring you back to earth and prove that Web 1.0 might be arriving (if you are lucky) but trying to adopt social media and RSS in the workplace is like reaching for the moon.

Instead of watching TV: Go to http://www.wk.com/, click and enjoy.

Kevin Kelly points us to an amazing movie from JK above.

Follow Kevin Kelly's Lifestream! | Visit JK's Home!

Catching up with last year's TED Talks: Data and information again - grandma-verified statistics! We had Hans Rosling before.

&144/ R.I.P. DRM?

| View Comments | No TrackBacks

The chronology:

  • February 6, 2007: Steve Jobs writes his Thoughts on Music letter.
  • April 2007: EMI offers to sell higher-quality, DRM-free tracks for a premium.
  • August 2007: Vivendi tests "the ‘smart business’ way of approaching the availability of DRM-free music" and Universal Music announces a six-month trial to sell a significant chunk of its catalog without DRM protection software.
  • October 2007: Radiohead releases "In Rainbows" DRM- and label-free.
  • November 2007: The last of the big four, Sony BMG plans to drop DRM.
  • January 2008: BusinessWeek reports.

Not dead already? At least another nail in the coffin of digital rights management.

Found on Mashable!
Read from the Insider!
It's TechCrunch time!
Read BusinessWeek!
[Update January 15: View Fortune!]

Marc Andreessen and Tim Ferris point us to interesting note-taking techniques. Marc cites an idea from Darryl Zanuck, 1934. Tim (face #5 you should know) presents his own process, 2007.

Read Marc Andreessen! | Read Tim Ferris’ article!

Windows Secrets reports on MSN versus Windows Live charges:

"Thousands of customers are paying almost $120 USD per year to Microsoft for an Internet subscription service that includes e-mail, security, and other features. But Microsoft gives away almost identical services absolutely free in Windows Live and the Windows operating system itself, while neglecting to inform those who pay through the nose."

Our two cents: This is the _old Microsoft business model (MSN, Bill Gates) versus the new business model (Windows Live, Ray Ozzie) in two separate organizational silos_ story. A comment on CrunchGear states: "In short, one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing in Redmond." Might be. Our opinion is: We are witnessing a company in transition.

Reveal Windows Secrets!
It's CrunchGear time!

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