Intellectual Happy Hour

Again, I've found myself slacking on writing up enticing posts, so I'll suggest a couple of great reads I recently found:

Rich Karlgaard at Forbes puts forth his thoughts on the top ten laws of our digital society. They're all great, however I particularly like Ogilvy's Law: "If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants."

After 11 years of development and $13 billion in spending, Airbus finally tested its new huge A380 for the first time. This plane is spectacular, and a marvel of engineering. It's scheduled for first consumer application on Singapore Airlines in mid-2006.

Tom Evslin refers to an article in Wired Magazine on the impact of China's population and growth on the development & deployment of alternative fuels. It's a great commentary, but I don't necessarily agree with Tom on his views of globalisation and democracy.

An article in the WashingtonPost on the excessive amount of private capital available in the DC Metro Area and how deals are getting larger & larger. It's a great market for non-locals to play in as there isn't a large enough local pool of investment capital.

Andy Abramson points to a news article announcing the Cisco Linksys acquisition of Sipura Technology, the terminal adapter company for VoIP. Sipura is a truly great story and this is just another indication that VoIP is in the big leagues now.

The Omniscient "They"

I've caught myself referring to the ambiguous & omniscient "they" more frequently these days and I'm trying to correct this bad habid. Who the hell is "they"???
They did this. They said that. They want it.
Not only is it poor grammar and syntax to refer to an abstract in such a fashion, but it's limiting in terms of ones ability to express and clear statement.

Is "they" big brother? Is "they" the government? Is "they" they people who do things? Is "they" a mad scientist? Is "they" an oompa-loompa?

By using "they" the speaker implies that he/she doesn't know what he/she is really talking about. There is, and always should be, a definable entity behind the reference to a "they" in conversation.

Maybe next year, I can try to give up "they" during lent.

Intellectual Happy Hour

It's been about two weeks since I last posted, but there has been a lot of great reading that I've finally caught up on. Here are some articles that are a must-read:

An interview by CNET with Gordon Moore, almost 40 years after the Moore's Law dictum. His comments on China and AI are of note.

The ubiquitous vision of satellite radio by XM, in the MIT Tech Review.

More on the war between Google and Microsoft. In less than five years we're going to have a new 800lb gorilla that everyone loves to hate. And, it's going to be evil - regardless of what they might say.

Apparently, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) will hit an estimated 3.8 million taxpayers this year, 20.5 million in 2006, and 34 million by the end of this decade. By 2009, the AMT will collect more revenue than the regular income tax. Let's see how long it takes our policy beaurocrats to sort this one out.

More signs that Google really is taking over. This wireless Google Local service is a great tool. Try it out, you'll definitely start using it.

Thin Clients Are All The Rage

Rajesh Jain’s publishes an article on the coming of what Gilder terms the teleputer:
Handheld devices that are computers, telephones and video players will be available one day. George Gilder, a technology evangelist and author of the book “Telecosm: The World After Bandwidth Abundance,” coined the word “teleputer” many years ago. He thinks of it as “a handheld device that’s a fully functioning personal computer, digital video camera, telephone, MP3 player and video player.

Epitomized by the multi-purpose cell phone handset or personal digital assistant, the teleputers is optimized for ubiquitous connectivity. It will be as portable as a watch and as personal as your wallet. It takes pictures or videos and projects them onto a wall or screen or onto your retina and transmits them to any other digital device or storage facility.”
As usual, I think Gilder might be a little ahead of his time. But, there is a lot of truth in his vision. The complete functionality of the teleputer as he describes is still some time away, there are a lot of similarities between what he calls for and the noise we're starting to see around thin clients.

Yahoo Pay is Obvious Absurdity

Mercury News reports that in addition to his $600,000 salary in 2004, Terry Semel, the Yahoo CEO, received $231 million by exercising options and then selling the stock. Semel's total pay package, disclosed in a Yahoo regulatory filing Monday, ranks among the biggest ever for a corporate executive nationwide.

This guy does not deserve this pay whatsoever - no hired executive does! Yahoo is a company that has grown organically and likely would have met its targets with any competent CEO. That sort of compensation should be fairly divied among the ranks, not just to the top brass. I'm sure there are hundreds of rank and file employees who deserved a portion of that pay more so than Semel.

I'm never a fan of going after Boards, but this is completely outrageous. It's a breach of fiduciary responsibility and I hope someone goes after those gusy.

Intellectual Happy Hour

I've slowed dramatically on my blogging since I've been multi-tasking a number of deals. But, I still find myself coming across incredible reads that I've got to share. So, from now, I'm going to occassionally post a bunch of reading suggestions under the title 'Intellectual Happy Hour' and be a little like Jeff Nolan.

Rich Karlgaard, of Forbes acclaim, is writing incredible stuff this week:

  • He writes in the WSJ on politics and business in the Bay Area; a great synopsis of the views from Silicon Valley. Valley businesspeople are wild libertarian crazies who want nothing more than to forget the Beltway even exists. The news is full of talk about the great divide between political left and right. Silicon Valley could care less. The axis that counts here is incumbent vs. disrupter.
  • He writes in Forbes about the Cheap Revolution and the toppling of today's leading companies as a result. Here's a wild speculation. The auto industry will look far different in 20 years than it looks today. It's ripe for disaggregation. Imagine that you, as a consumer, want a car designed by J Mays, but you want it to come with some futuristic 400-horsepower Toyota-hybrid engine, a BMW rear-wheel-drive feel and a Jaguar-looking interior to be equipped with Qualcomm broadband. Will you be able to buy best-of-breed, à la carte, 20 years from now? I think so. Look at the trends. Talent: dispersing to best-of-breed suppliers. Global labor costs: dropping because of oversupply. Distribution costs: dropping because of the Internet. Consumers: growing smarter.
  • He posts a column in Forbes offering up advice to Americas young, and the establishment. Purpose. Priorities. Preparation. Pan-Global View. Partner. Perseverance. I think he's right on. And, in particular, I'm sensitive to the last one. If you want something and stick to it, you can achieve it.
And, then, there's (in my humble opinion as a clueless bystander), quite possibly, one of the smartest investments of our time from Texas Pacific Group and General Atlantic -- a $350M private equity investment in Lenovo. I, personally, would count that as much more impressive than the SunGard Data Systems acquisition.