JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 202 : 6 February 2006
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
Click on any item to jump directly to that item
Steve Jobs will put the dazzle back into Disney
Steve Jobs is the co-founder of Apple Computer. He was fired
when the so-called "professionals" arrived to run the company.
Then he returned as a consultant when Apple acquired his NeXT
Computer. But Apple was still floundering and then again he was
in charge. He felt he KNEW what was wrong, "The products SUCK!
There's no sex in them anymore!" And he set about putting pizzaz
into Apple, till it's again pulsating with growth and success.
Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital (one of the early VC investors
in Apple and brought along Mike Markula and others to build the
company) tells a story (now a legend) about his first encounter
with Steve Jobs. Steve appeared in the lobby dressed in a T-shirt
and cut-off jeans. Don refused to see him, suggesting that
he should come back dressed properly. Well, Steve came back
dressed in a tuxedo. The rest is history.
Steve Jobs is now a 50-year-old billionaire. But he hasn't changed
his passion for doing, and saying, just about anything to create
the kinds of products that consumers love. In the nine years since
he returned to Apple he has sparked broad changes in the world
of music, movies, and technology.
And now Steve Jobs is stepping into Disney's Magic Kingdom as
the single largest stockholder. On Jan. 24, Walt Disney Co. agreed
to pay $7.4 billion in stock to acquire Pixar Animation Studios,
where Steve is chairman, CEO, and 50.6% owner. As part of the
Disney deal, he's now on the Disney Board. Plus Pixar's top creative
executive becomes the boss at both Pixar's and Disney's animation
studios, and Pixar's president is running the business side.
If Steve Jobs can bring to Disney the same kind of industry-shaking,
boundary-busting energy that has lifted Apple and Pixar, he could
help bring back life to the now stodgy Disney company. Soon you may
be switching on your Apple TV or using your Apple iPhone to watch
Internet-only TV shows. And who knows what else....
Steve Jobs is going to be a catalyst to make this an exciting
world in the next few years. Hey, I'm excited!
Business Week - Steve Jobs' Magic Kingdom
Disney Lands Its Prince Charming
Steve Jobs - you've got to do what you love
Return to the TOP
Market lessons - World communications growth
After my recent visit to Bangalore, my mind is still buzzing
with their cellphone revolution. In the place which I remember
as being far behind the times, everybody has a cellphone; and
those who don't soon will. It's as if India has jumped directly
into wireless connections, without the burden of the old copper
wire and cable infrastructure. Today there are well over 100
million cellphones in India, with an additional 100,000 being
connected every day - continued growth of about 20% per year.
Meanwhile, the market for cellphones is tapering off in the
US and Europe. Nearly everyone has already bought a phone with
a camera and color screen, and the next the big thing is not
yet here. So, since consumers have no compelling need to upgrade
to newer models, the mature markets are starting to slow down.
There's an interesting marketing twist here. For land-lines,
the global standard is that only the caller gets charged based
on the origin of the call. In the US and Europe cellphone calls
are charged twice - both the caller and as the receiver pay.
Of course, this generates additional revenue for the wireless
Well, in India, the received call is free - anyone who has a
cellphone pays nothing to receive calls. This means that virtually
any individual can have a no-cost cellphone (get old models for free).
So today, auto-rickshaw-drivers, plumbers, handymen and even domestic
maids have cell phone numbers. Which is why usage is increasing
There are a couple of marketing tweaks that are worth noting.
With the most common $39.99 cellphone plans in the US, you can call
anywhere in the US for free. Some wireless carriers limit the number
of total minutes, but it's usually 1,000 minutes or more. Cingular
even rolls over unused minutes - their marketing "differentiation".
Cable companies have started offering POTS (plain old telephone
service) with unlimited phone calls to anywhere in the US for
a fixed monthly fee: $39.99. And so, aunts and uncles and grandmas
can call from anywhere and talk endlessly for hours, without it
costing an extra cent. So all the other phone companies followed,
and the whole country has become one large "local" calling area.
Well, in Bangalore I noticed that most people already have Skype
on their computers - to make Internet VOIP telephone calls which
cost nothing. And every corner Internet cafe has the service.
So the US has become the equivalent of a free "local" call
for much of the world.
Interestingly, they can call us from India, but we can't call them.
It's a market restriction, not a technology problem.
When the first, bold company offers free incoming cellphone calls,
all the others will scream - but inevitably all the others will
follow suit. Extrapolate 3-5 years, and you'll notice lots of
similar subtle, but significant changes. It's exciting!
Cellphone makers bet on India to ring in growth
Youth drives India's mobile phone revolution
Falling revenue for cell phone makers
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Outsourcing will expand to innovation, design & marketing
Getting back to my visit to Wipro, arguably the world's largest
software outsourcing company, based in Bangalore. While I was
there my hosts took me to the "Wind River" software development
Wind River is the leader in embedded software, based in Alameda,
California; but this was their software lab, run completely
within Wipro and employing about 75-80 people. The entrance
signs and everything inside said Wind River, and many of the
employees sported Wind River tee-shirts. They have their own
management, schedules and budgets, all reporting directly to
Wind River HQ in California. There was strict security, and
only someone on the inside could admit us. The computer room
was a mass of wires and winking lights and I wondered whether
people knew whether the colleague they were communicating
with was at the next desk, or in Alameda, California, or
somewhere else in the world. It's an eerie feeling.
From this, I must make another point. There is a quaint notion
in the US and Europe (the traditional leaders) that their own
future lies innovation and marketing, while India and China will
be the providers of less skilled, lower-paying operations churning
out cheap products and services. They expect the outsourced coders
to simply follow the marketing spec like subservient minions.
But that doesn't ring true with what some Bangalore companies are
really doing. These globally oriented outfits are exercising their
own creativity. They are pursuing their own marketing concepts and
generating innovative designs, looking to develop their own iPods
and ROKR cellphones.
It's a mistake to assume that the "outsourcing" skills in China
and India are static, and that Western advantages are permanent.
If US companies really want to ward off offshore competition,
they must start by recognizing that their outsourcing partners
may quickly become their competitors. The Indians I met are
clearly aware that their subservience is transitional. They "feel"
that they can bring design, innovation and marketing prowess
to bear on new global markets, to generate new growth and success.
Another thing - worried about your job being outsourced to India?
Well, why not go there, to take advantage of the strong currents
flowing in that direction? A growing number of young Westerners
are making that choice. They spend some time at a booming GE
or Honeywell R&D centers in Bangalore, which satisfies the urge
to travel and see other parts of the world. It broadens their
own perspective, and prepares them for a new, global career.
Try it, you'll like it!
Business Week - India's Media Wars
More Westerners are beefing up their resumes with a stint in India
What Innovation Advantage?
Return to the TOP
Re-shaping the world in the 21st century
My discussions of how India seems to be growing in vitality struck
some chords - and discord. Many people in the US and Europe are upset
about sending jobs overseas - and here I am extolling the virtues of
some of those foreign job-magnets. Are we in the US losing vital jobs
to these low-wage countries, and sacrificing the ability to protect
ourselves? If this keeps up we may see the day when we ALL wish
we had been more careful and less greedy.
Let me tell you, I've lived in America for most of my life,
I'm an American citizen, and I'm as patriotic as any American.
I do NOT favor India, or China, or indiscriminate outsourcing
that debilitates the US economy. But I see the populations of
these countries coming alive, just as America came to prominence
in the early decades of the 20th century, and especially after
World War 2. And I've been incessantly sounding the alarm that
America needs to re-structure and re-energize at home to compete
in the new global environment.
Sadly, the US is generating the largest deficit ever, with China
the biggest lender. Meanwhile China, buoyed by US Treasury notes
and strong foreign investment, is already building the worlds
largest military with far more manpower and resources than
America can muster.
India is the world's largest democracy, and so perhaps its growth
is less ominous. But, the growth of Communist China will almost
certainly move far beyond US control. The current administration
is financing US Mid-east escapades and deficit lifestyle with
Chinese debt, and the Chinese are smiling at our short-sightedness.
I've heard discussions on this subject on C-SPAN - Congressional
Committees discussing this very topic, and predicting the
inevitability of the results. And who is listening?
The first sign of loss of control will come within this decade
- China will take over Taiwan (which they believe to be part
of the Chinese mainland). They'll walk into Taiwan, with the
US totally powerless to do anything. And that will be followed
by other in-your-face transgressions and incursions as the
century unfolds. And who will control China? The UN?
In the GNP rankings, China and India will be No. 2 and No. 3
within a decade, after America, overtaking Japan, Germany, UK
and others. With populations 3-4 times as large, they'll overtake
the US in power and prestige within 2-3 decades (mid-century,
maybe sooner). Think on this: What is the intrinsic American
"difference" that keeps us ahead?
It's important to study the fall of the Empires - Roman, British
and others. Considered invincible, they typically collapsed from
within. Throughout history, no empire has remained dominant for
more than 2 centuries - and America has already past its second
century. Many historians are already seeing the early signs of
decline in American dominance.
There's one primary difference: American's primary power comes
from it's diverse population and ethnic mix of cultures and
peoples. With the original American Indians representing just
a small fraction, the roots of today's Americans are an eclectic
combination of English, French, German, Eastern European, Chinese,
Japanese, Korean, Middle-Eastern, Indian, Mexican, Brazilian,
and a host of others. Our sheer diversity is our strength.
The Rise and Fall of Empires
Why What's Good for India Is Good for Us
Ideas Float For Military Takeover Of Taiwan By China
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Personal memories of my family visit
My mind still keeps reeling and my memories resonating from the
experiences of my visit to Bangalore, India right after New Years
Day 2006. If I may, I'd like to give you some personal background
and share some more of my experiences.
I come from a family of 10 - 5 brothers and 5 sisters. The eldest
(Paul, who lives in England) is 81 and the youngest (Jude) is 58;
we're all in good health. We hadn't all been together for 20-years
- the local newspaper, Deccan Herald, published a story about us
meeting after 30 years. (See weblink below).
My father, Albert Pinto, was a successful lawyer and all his children
were educated in English-speaking schools. My Dad had a superb voice
and was quite famous in the local community for his songs. He had
auditioned for HMV Records (somewhere around 1940) and was told that
he sang Indian songs like an Englishman, and English songs like an
Indian. So, he wrote his own lyrics in Konkani (our local dialect)
for popular English tunes of the time, which were recorded by HMV
and became quite popular. One particular song, Rosalie (my mother's
name) is still well known and widely sung after all these years.
For some 55 years while my parents were still alive, our home
(named Rosemahal after my mother) was our central gathering place.
My brother John and his family continued to live in this stately
colonial two-storey mansion, while the area became more and
more noisy and crowded. At the end of 2005, John sold the home
(to make way for a high-rise) and he and his wife Clarrie have
moved to a nice condo in a much quieter part of town - they
were our primary hosts during our family visit.
Well, Rosemahal is empty now, and is due to be torn down within
the next few months. My niece Jenny Pinto (my brother Peter's
daughter) has been successful in TV and Film production for many
years in Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood). Well, she decided to do a movie at
Rosemahal while we were all there. The theme is our ancestral
home seen through the eyes of a young lady while she remembers
her grandparents' home and begins to see some things differently,
that will shape the way she thinks about her roots.
Jenny arranged to re-furnish Rosemahal with lots of pieces that
were like the originals. There was a huge dining table, similar
to the one that the 10 children used to gather around for meals,
and we all gathered around for lunch. Jenny brought in a well-known
cameraman with his TV-van and crew and they shot several hours
of film. There was singing in the living room (I did my old Elvis
rendition of "Jailhouse Rock") and chatting on the old front-steps.
We took some wonderful pictures of the 10 Pintos and the extended
Pinto family. The footage of the film (several hours' worth) will
be available as a DVD which we will all treasure.
Bangalore Deccan Herald - Down memory lane 30 years ago
Mangalorean.com Story on Pinto family (Nov. 2004)
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Chuck Savageau [Chuck.Savageau@jacobs.com] described some of his
own experiences during a visit to India with his family:
"In March 2004 my wife, myself, my son, my daughter and her husband
all set off to the wonderful country of India. We spent a week in
Chennai and then spent a week on our own in the "Golden Triangle".
The flight from Chennai to Delhi on Jet Airways was outstanding.
In coach we even had china plates with actual silverware - not the
plastic ones we get here.
"You are absolutely right about the driving. "Chicken" seems to be
the most prevalent game in town. It is especially unnerving since
the vehicles are notoriously underpowered. Before we went, I talked
with some of my Indian friends and they were adamant - "DO NOT DRIVE
IN INDIA!" We took the easy way and chartered a vehicle with a
driver. Smart. Very smart.
"But the driving is a very small part of the India experience.
Chennai is so different from Delhi, which is so different from
Jaipur, which is so different from Agra, which is so different
from Mumbai. We did not make it to Bangalore, so I can't compare.
"Each city has a beauty and poverty that staggers the senses.
The people are all the same, though. Their infectious smiles
are engraved into my mind. The colorful saris of the women are
so beautiful. My wife was amazed at the number of sari-wearing
women driving motorcycles. You don't see that in Cincinnati.
"It will be a challenge in the future to harness the energy and
spirit of the new generation in India as well as here in the States.
I believe that India's emergence will be a win-win situation with
the US. I spent almost two years in Manila with my family and there,
like India, the middle-class is emerging to move the country
forward. What a great time to be alive!"
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In JimPinto.com eNews (26 Jan. 2006) as part of my analysis of the
Citect acquisition by Schneider, I wrote, "I can't think of any
software companies that have grown independently beyond the magic
mid-size ($30-50m) where more companies get acquired." Larry Keefe,
[LKeefe@osisoft.com] Channel Marketing Manager for OSIsoft, pointed
out an exception:
"As a former Citect guy - now with OSIsoft - I can immediately think
of one industrial software company that has grown well beyond the
$30-50m range, while it has remained independent and innovative.
OSIsoft has 11,000+ users worldwide, has grown by double digit
figures year after year to over $100M annually, and still remains
a technology innovator.
"The OSIsoft RtPM Platform - comprised of integrated software
components like PI, operational data management infrastructure
and analytics, and accompanying thin and thick client visualization
- serves as the underpinning technology to solve a variety of
operations and business problems. Customers use it to do just that,
right out of the box."
Return to the TOP
Don Hall [email@example.com] a temperature controls engineer for
25 years, comment on the acquisition of Tridium by Honeywell:
"The recent purchase of Tridium, Inc. by Honeywell is interesting
in that Honeywell, Invensys, Siemens (Staefa), Carrier, Johnson
and/or Distech all have been using Tridium "Niagara" MMI products
for several years to provide integration solutions. Plus Tridium
has a wide distribution network of local system integrators applying
Niagara to almost any conceivable combination of technologies and
brands. The Tridium Niagara platform crosses LON, BACNet, various
Modbus flavors, many "legacy" RS232 and RS485 proprietary
protocols, HTTP, SNMP and other alphabet soup.
"An independent Tridium was easier to understand, and Honeywell
could provide the funding it will take to increase Tridium's
market penetration across vendors. But Honeywell could take the
technologies Tridium is developing internal and keep them away
from the others. There's a subtle line between holding on too
tightly and too loosely.
"The tension in the local integration market is between users
(building owners) that want everything to be a cheap,
interchangeable commodity, and the manufacturers and integrators
who want to make decent money doing the work. Price is driving
HVAC controls toward factory-installed (one size somewhat fits
all) controls, not custom-integrated systems."
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