-- from wsj --
Sony to Start Selling Flat TVs With Next-Generation Screens
April 13, 2007; Page B4
Sony Corp. plans to start selling small televisions with a technology that's a contender for next-generation flat-screen TVs.
Sony will begin selling an 11-inch TV with an organic electroluminescent screen by the year's end, a Sony spokeswoman said. OEL screens are already used in mobile phones, personal digital assistants, camcorders and other small-screen gadgets. Sony believes it's the first company to launch an OEL TV, she said.
Washington Mutual has been carving a distinctive place for itself in the stodgy world of banking: irreverant, customer friendly, and poking fun at the rest of the banking institutions with a series of witty TV spots. Even it's name is not conventional.
There's a 1-pager interview with WaMu's CEO, Kerry Lillinger, in the April issue of Fortune, and he talks about the importance of making five-year plans:
-- from mediapost --
"The first phase of the new marthastewart.com launched April 10th with improvements in search and navigation, a more streamlined user interface, an archive of how-to videos, and an extensive article library.
"Promised later this year are community-focused polls, forums, message boards and other features built on passions."
Personally, I was hoping for this ever since the site was brought up by David in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart back in late 2005. I had always assumed marthastewart.com would be the bomb, but after I visited it, I found that it could probably be improved upon.
I think the new site is what I had hoped to have seen then.
> the story...
-- from springwise --
Now, anyone can start their own MVNO using Sonopia, which launched earlier this week.
Sonopia works with Verizon to handle calls and data transfer, and lets anyone from a rock band to a church group set up their own mobile network brand. In return, the mini carrier will receive 3-8% of revenues generated by the customers they sign up. Brands create their own calling plans, get a co-branded website and are able to send their members messages about the latest news or special events.
> more of the story...
-- from fiercewireless --
Smart SMS is teaming up with boutique brand engineering firm MP3NY to launch mobile banking through Columbia Card Services Mobile Visa Debit Card, which aims to give unbanked Americans, small business owners and immigrants the freedom that comes with a debit card. The service is called T-Weed Wireless Visa.
> more of the story...
As a good GenXer, I firmly claim The Stooges as part of my cadre and even more so these days.
-- from nyt, 4/11/07 --
'Iggy repeatedly asked for the house lights to be turned on: more boundary-ruptures. At one point, lights fully on, the band started "Real Cool Time," and Iggy brought the audience into his world, or so it seemed. "Invade the stage!" he begged. "Fly!" About a hundred did, many of them dancing, many trying hungrily to kiss him or pile on him. The road crew suddenly had to protect the band, the backline of amplifiers and Iggy himself, who nonchalantly reached for the arm of a roadie at critical moments. (The mob stayed onstage for âNo Funâ as Iggy dodged feet and hands while singing "no fun to be around/walking by myself/no fun to be alone ...") Iggy Pop is all right with physical danger and leapt into the crowd several times to prove it. One of those times, memorably, was a dead-man dive: he just tipped over into the front rows, face-first.'
There's an interesting article by Jim Hemerling of BCG's Shanghai office about China's migration to the next wave of sourcing, in which China emerges "as a global R&D and innovation hub in its own right."
He breaks the history of Chinese sourcing into three waves. The first focused on low-cost procurement. The second wave saw the very same suppliers who participated in the first wave mature to the extent that they could participate in product innovation and design. The numerous announcements of new R&D centers being set up in China are evidence of this wave. These R&D centers not only localize for the Chinese market, but have evolved to develop products for global markets as well. See also previous discussion on this blog here.
Hemerling's interest is in the third wave, of which he cites IBM's recent relocation of their global procurement organization from New York to Shenzhen and GM's relocation of its power-train electronics procurement organization to China as examples. He argues that the third wave -- China becoming a global center of procurement -- may make sense for some companies, but that there are numerous performance issues to consider for most.
I find the third wave to be more an issue of cost savings that result from scale and from being a multinational organization that can truly function in an integrated way across regions -- no small feat and a positive reflection on the company's (e.g., IBM's) structure and operations.
That said, I find the second wave's transition of Chinese R&D centers from product development for the local market to global markets more interesting. The development side (the D in R&D) is straightforward, but how does the research side (the R) do this? That's the difference between China becoming a global R&D hub and becoming an innovation hub. The latter emphasizes understanding users and markets and the design of products -- this capability is much harder to centralize (and doesn't need to be anyway).
What can we learn from a street musician flopping in front of a busy commuter crowd in Washington D.C.? Tons, if that musician happens to be Joshua Bell, recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize.
On January 12th, 2007, the Washington Post set Bell in a busy commuter station as a street musician to see how the crowd would react to having one of the greatest classical musicians on earth delivering a free concert to no one in particular. The resulting article's findings are astounding.
Bell was virtually ignored.
Aside from this being a fascinating cultural experiment, there is an excellent lesson embedded within it that designers of any ilk should heed: context matters more than you would like to believe. In one setting Bell can fill halls with people who gladly pay hundreds of dollars to see him and stifle their coughs in reverence to his craft. In another, more than 1000 people pass him by without even the slightest acknowledgment.
No matter how good your idea is and no matter how well you execute on it, if you get the context wrong you will miss your audience entirely. Like Bell, this will be hard for you to stomach because the mastery of your craft is no different between the varying contexts, only the environment has changed. Because of this it is tempting to blame the commuters for their cultural ineptitude, just as it is tempting to blame users for not fully understanding our systems.
Accounting for context is, and should be, an integral part of understanding the user experience. If we are designing a mobile application, we must be aware not only of the diminished screen space, but also of the environments users may be in. These environments may cause them to only use one hand, only have half an eye available, or may require them to operate the application blindly. If we don't take these factors into account, even the sexiest, most kickin' application ever put together falls flat.
â from center for media research â
A report released in March, 2007, entitled Latinos Online by PEW Research, finds that 56% of Latinos in the U.S. (comprising 14% of the U.S. adult population) use the internet. By comparison, 71% of non-Hispanic whites and 60% of non- Hispanic blacks use the internet.
Mexicans are the largest national origin group in the U.S. Latino population but only 52% of Latinos of Mexican descent use the internet. Even when age, income, language, generation, or nativity is held constant, being Mexican is associated with a decreased likelihood of going online.
> the whole storyâ¦.
"Radical Transparency" is what Wired author Clive Thompson considers the new paradigm of the "reputation economy." He envisions the workplace of the future like this: "Perhaps on the first day of your job, you'll be given a laptop, a keycard - and a public blog you'll be expected to post 10 times a day." Thompson argues that the reputation economy creates an incentive to be more open, not less, and refers to the power of Google: "Google is not a search engine. Google is a reputation management system.