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Is Nokia Doomed?

There’s been a lot of discussion regarding whether or not Nokia is Doomed or not.   The people who say Nokia are doomed basically point out that Nokia doesn’t have any attractive products at the high end, and at the low end the margins are extremely thin.  The high end products suffer from the Symbian being essentially dead (even Nokia is recommending that developers not develop native applications for Symbian, but to use Qt instead), and Nokia doesn’t have much of a development community following it, and it certainly does have much in the way of 3rd party applications, either targetting Symbian or Qt at the moment. So what do I think of the whole debate between Tomi and Scoble?  First of all, I think there is a huge difference in American and European assumptions and perspectives, and a big question is whether the rest of the world will end up looking more like Europe or America vis-a-vis two key areas: cost of data plans, and whether phones become much more application centric. Tomi’s 2nd article, in response to Scoble’s, “Nokia is still doomed” post, was quite interesting to me, especially in the comments where he takes Apple to task for not having an SD card slot (how else would people share photos with their friends?) and for not supporting MMS in its earlier phones.   My first reaction?  Um, isn’t that what photo-sharing sites are for?    Is it really that hard to attach a photo to an e-mail?  And then it hit me.   In Europe, data is still like MMS a few years ago — a place for rapacious carriers to make way too much money.  Many European telco’s don’t have unlimited data plans, and charge by the megabyte — and even if you’re lucky...

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Working on Technology at Startups

Richard Tibbets has called me out for conflating Web 2.0 startups with all startups in my recent blog posting, “Google has a problem retaining great engineers? Bullcrap.”. His complaint was that I was over generalizing from Web 2.0 startups to all startups. He’s right, of course. The traditional “technology startup” by definition does have a large amount technology work that needs to be done, in addition to the business development work. However, things have changed a lot even for technology startups. Consider a company like Sequent Computer Systems, which started in 1983. At the time the founders had a key idea, which was to use multiple commodity intel CPU’s to create first SMP, and then later, NUMA minicomputers. But in order to do that, they had to design, build and manufacture a huge mount of hardware, as well as develop a whole new Unix-derived operating system, just to bring that core idea to market. These days, the founder or founders will have a core idea, which they will hopefully patent, to prevent competitors from replicating their work, just as before. However, these days there is a huge selection of open source software so there is much less technology that needs to be re-developed / re-invented in order to bring that idea to market. From Linux and BSD at the operating system level, to databases like MySQL, Apache web servers, etc., there is an awful lot for the startup to chose from. This is all goodness, of course. But it means that most of the technology developed in a typical startup will...

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Google has a problem retaining great engineers? Bullcrap.

Once again, there’s been another story about how Google is having trouble retaining talent.   Despite all Eric Schmidt’s attempts to tell folks that Google’s regretted attrition rate has not changed in seven years, this story just doesn’t want to seem to die.   (And those stories about Google paying $3.5 million and $7 million to keep an engineer from defecting to Facebook?   As far as I know, total bull.  I bet it’s something made up by some Facebook recruiter who needed to explain how she let a live prospect get away.  :-) At least for me, the complete opposite is true.   There are very few companies where I can do the work that I do, and Google is one of them.   A startup is totally the wrong place for me.   Why?  Because if you talk to any venture capitalist, a startup has one and only one goal: to prove that it has a scalable, viable business model.   Take diapers.com for example.   As Business Week documented, while they were proving that they had a business model that worked, they purchased their diapers at the local BJ’s and shipped them via...

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Proud to be a Googler

Although I obviously had nothing to do with Google’s decision vis-a-vis China, having only started working there for  a week, I was definitely glad to see it and it made me proud to be able to say that I work there.

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Why the Sony PRS-505/PRS-700 is a Better Choice Than the Kindle

Amazon can reach in and randomly destroy the books on your Kindle remotely over Whispernet, without asking your permission first.
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