Bill Gates on the second “digital decade”


Tonight at CES Bill Gates delivered his final CES (and perhaps final in the industry) keynote. The key announcements included a partnership with NBC to deliver video online for *every single sport* at the Olympics – some 3600 hours in total and I think he indicated close to real time. Also impressive was Microsoft’s work with partner “Tellme” and MS mapping to bring powerful voice and map navigation capabilities to the mobile space. They noted that mobile advertising will be some (11 billion?) by 2011, and that although they feel PCs will remain very important it’s clearly the mobile phone space where a lot of key innovation will be seen.

Back at MIX06 I noted that Microsoft had not yet embraced the social media revolution that clearly was going to dominate the online experience. I think they have now done so, but they may be too late. The demos of something called “Zune Social” were neat, but I noted the key feature was the ability to integrated with a Facebook profile. I’d argue that Open Social (or some variation on that theme), that is very largely company agnostic, will ultimately prevail. I didn’t get the idea Zune Social would be a big winner over time, but …

(posted from the CES Bloghaus! Thanks Seagate and Podtech!)

Update:  Engadget will have an interview up soon 

The rumors of PodTech’s death may not be greatly exaggerated?


Update:   As far as I know PodTech is doing fine as of December 2007, and the rumors back in July were bogus or exaggerated.   Just heard from John Furrier that PodTech will again host a “bloghaus” at CES, one of the neatest “social tech” ideas last year in my opinion.    I’m a big fan of all that Robert Scoble has done to evangelize quality corporate blogging and really wish PodTech the best.

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Mike Arrington is reporting that PodTech is in trouble. I think this is consistent with the idea that content is no longer king – it’s a pawn in the big game to leverage the flood of free content and social networking activity, a game where the winners will NOT be the product of doing the “right thing”, rather winners will be the survivors of the evolutionary process that drives our rapidly changing digital ecosystem. Biological evolution works *away from failure* rather than towards success, and it seems clear to me this is also how internet company evolution works.

Mike suggests that PodTech might survive in modified form by scaling back and lowering their “burn rate” and focusing almost exclusively as a production and advertising house focusing on their own clients. I wrote over there:

Good insight as usual Dr. Mike.

“… get their burn rate very low” ummmm – can you cite any examples of a companies that did this in time to survive?

I enjoy Robert’s perspectives and consider him a real blogging leader and a digital inspiratation to the rest of us, but I don’t have the time to invest in his videos or PodTech’s other rich content. (just the facts please!)

Producing quality content is now playing with pawns rather than kings, and for some time it will be the companies that leverage the flood of free content or help people process the maelstrom of content that will win. e.g Facebook, Google, and your personal favorite winner, TechCrunch!

The painful thing if PodTech dies is that they did so many thing exactly “right”. They saw video and blogging as sweeping new online paradigms, they hired Robert Scoble who is nothing short of a digital inspiration to bloggers and video folks – he’s one of the elite onliners who puts his blog, money, reputation where his mouth is and actually engages non-elites regularly and with gusto and stays about as Web 2.0 connected as you can without exploding. Also, PodTech sponsored what looked to me like CES’s best new idea – the Bloghaus.

But planning and quality don’t necessarily breed success in biology or business, and PodTech may be just one more example of the harsh new evolutionary realities facing any digital animal.

As Paul K infectiously notes business plans are overrated. Twitter’s lack of a business plan may be the flip side of the evolutionary challenges – disorganization won’t hurt them and might even be part of the reasons it’s looking like Twitter will be …. hugely successful.