Empirically, the way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things. Want to dominate microcomputer software? Start by writing a Basic interpreter for a machine with a few thousand users. Want to make the universal web site? Start by building a site for Harvard undergrads to stalk one another.
Empirically, it’s not just for other people that you need to start small. You need to for your own sake. Neither Bill Gates nor Mark Zuckerberg knew at first how big their companies were going to get. All they knew was that they were onto something. Maybe it’s a bad idea to have really big ambitions initially, because the bigger your ambition, the longer it’s going to take, and the further you project into the future, the more likely you’ll get it wrong.
I think the way to use these big ideas is not to try to identify a precise point in the future and then ask yourself how to get from here to there, like the popular image of a visionary. You’ll be better off if you operate like Columbus and just head in a general westerly direction. Don’t try to construct the future like a building, because your current blueprint is almost certainly mistaken. Start with something you know works, and when you expand, expand westward.
The popular image of the visionary is someone with a clear view of the future, but empirically it may be better to have a blurry one.
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From an article at The Verge: Vizio has 414 US employees who oversee a vast army of suppliers making their products at the manufacturing level. The founder says that 50 percent of their job is orchestrating.
And why are the TVs so low-cost?
“We’re here to make innovative technology a commodity,” Wang told Inc magazine at the time.“ We’re not here to build cheap product, we’re here to make the product affordable.”
You know Vizio for its affordable LED TVs sold at Costco and Walmart… and maybe for its tablets or monitors. But they also are making PCs.
“PCs aren’t going away,“ says McRae. “They’re still extremely important devices in people’s lives and they’re really becoming an entertainment product as much as a productivity product. And if it’s an entertainment device, it’s in our wheelhouse. We do entertainment devices pretty well.” Vizio first tried to expand beyond TVs into smart devices with the Vizio Phone and Tablet, which launched at CES 2011, but McRae killed the phone after dealing with carriers proved frustrating and expensive. PCs and tablets can be sold directly to consumers — something Vizio is pretty good at.
They have innovative ideas about the direction of PCs:
“The tablet has forced the PC industry out of its slumber. There wasn’t much going on. But the next three to five years in PCs will actually be very interesting. You’re going to see new form factors, you’re going to see touch embedded over time.
Modern digital time wasting has been studied extensively this past year… and the results are in: the “digital divide” between haves and have-nots has been closed, but people are using their new tools to waste more time.
“Despite the educational potential of computers, the reality is that their use for education or meaningful content creation is minuscule compared to their use for pure entertainment,” said Vicky Rideout, author of the decade-long Kaiser study. “Instead of closing the achievement gap, they’re widening the time-wasting gap.”
Danah Boyd, a researcher of digital culture, wrote:
“Access is not a panacea.” said Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft. “Not only does it not solve problems, it mirrors and magnifies existing problems we’ve been ignoring.”
Like other researchers and policy makers, Ms. Boyd said the initial push to close the digital divide did not anticipate how computers would be used for entertainment.
“We failed to account for this ahead of the curve,” she said.
A study published in 2010 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children and teenagers whose parents do not have a college degree spent 90 minutes more per day exposed to media than children from higher socioeconomic families. In 1999, the difference was just 16 minutes.
“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.
“And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”
Photograph by Ryan Pyle for The New York Times
Aluminum dust from polishing iPads caused the blast at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu.
Analyst Tero Kuittinen said that T-Mobile “must now explore more creative opportunities — for instance, seeking partnerships with media giants like Amazon, Facebook or Google. T-Mobile’s spectrum, not its customer base, is its most valuable asset.”
A commenter on a forum noted:
As a long-time T-Mobile customer, I can only say I am relieved to read that this is over, at least for now. The mere thought of one of the highest-priced carriers with the lowest customer service rating would be taking over the one carrier with the lowest rates and best customer service made me shudder.
T-Mobile is not “damaged” as AT&T claims… besides being four billion dollars richer, many T-Mobile customers were opposed to this deal, and are relieved that the company can once again focus on its customers.
Control of one’s creative works is complicated in the era of YouTube, rapid expansion of computing power, the shaken music industry, and Open Source software.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once wrote:
“The Framers intended copyright itself to be the engine of free expression. By establishing the marketable right to the use of one’s expression, copyright supplies an economic incentive to create and disseminate.”
Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985). O’Connor was joined in the decision by Chief Justice Burger and Justices Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist and Stevens.
A new book, “Free Ride,” by the journalist Robert Levine, discusses copyright, the Internet and the impact of digital piracy.
Copyright often encourages free speech. It sometimes inhibits free speech. The idea that copyright is the be-all and end-all of free expression is simplistic. The idea that it inhibits free speech is simplistic. I think this is true of politics in general, but everyone argues about stuff like a 4-year-old.