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!

Click Business Week - Steve Jobs' Magic Kingdom

Click Disney Lands Its Prince Charming

Click 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 carriers.

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 so rapidly.

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!

Click Cellphone makers bet on India to ring in growth

Click Youth drives India's mobile phone revolution

Click Falling revenue for cell phone makers

Return to the TOP

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 facility.

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!

Click Business Week - India's Media Wars

Click More Westerners are beefing up their resumes with a stint in India

Click 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.

Click The Rise and Fall of Empires

Click Why What's Good for India Is Good for Us

Click Ideas Float For Military Takeover Of Taiwan By China

Return to the TOP

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.

Click Bangalore Deccan Herald - Down memory lane 30 years ago

Click Mangalorean.com Story on Pinto family (Nov. 2004)

Return to the TOP


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!"

Return to the TOP

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 [dhall@wattworks.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."

Return to the TOP

JimPinto.com eNews - on the web

If you've missed a couple of issues of eNews, or wish to refer to earlier items, please note : You can see ALL past issues online at :

Click Index of ALL past JimPinto.com eNews

eSpeak to me

If smell something fishy in your pond, please e-let me know and I'll check it out. Please send your tips and alerts, your news, views and stews. I'd like to e-hear from you.

If you have comments or suggestions for Growth & Success News, please contact me directly at : Click Jim@JimPinto.com

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

If you got this eNews through someone else, you might like to subscribe for a regular free copy, direct to your own email. Just click your mouse on :
Sign up for regular hot news, views and stews

Or, if you're lazy (you may miss some privileges) simply send a blank email message to :
Click Sign-up@JimPinto.com
with subject line : "sign me up for JimPinto.com E-mail news".

To be removed send a blank email message to
Click eRemove@JimPinto.com with subject line "Remove".

Stay in e-touch!


Return to eNews Index Return to eNews Index

Return to Jimpinto.com Homepage Return to JimPinto.com HomePage

If you have ideas or suggestions to improve this site, contact: webmaster@jimpinto.com
Copyright 2000-01-02 : Jim Pinto, San Diego, CA, USA