Quick housekeeping note: IF I write an e-letter this week it will be earlier in the week. There will be no letters next week, then we launch the first Saturday morning in January with my annual predictions letter. And just for fun, one of my readers said that the title of last week’s letter should have been “Kicking the Grenade Down the Road.” Better check that pin! Now, this week’s OTB.
I am fascinated to watch the world change at an ever-accelerating pace. Today’s Outside the Box looks at some of those changes, specifically the future of Apple, Google, and media in general. I found this to be a fascinating exchange. Whether you are an investor in tech or simply a consumer of media services (and since you’re reading this, you are), your world is getting ready to change in ways that will boggle your mind – they do mine, at least.
I shot this week’s OTB to my friend David Brin, the sci-fi writer, social critic, and one of the world’s leading futurists. Here is what he said:
“John, I found the Whalen interview brilliant and very informative. I always like guys who take the big, big picture. (Note: I bought AAPL in 1983 at 20 ... after splitting twice, it is now at 320, so I am biased by happiness.)
“It does seem to me that Whalen touches on a key point when he says: ‘It will be interesting how this all gets monetized.’
“He correctly sees the monopolistic control model of content-delivering ‘pipes’ collapsing into a vast lake of content. Though this won't benefit the content owners, either. Moreover, the makers of specific mobile hardware will matter less and less. Money will still be made by each year's best device maker, but it will remain a hardscrabble, highly competitive world. Device-making will not be a robust business model for steady and ongoing profit.”
This is an interview of Michael Whalen (see more on him below) that was conducted by my fishing-buddy friends at The Institutional Risk Analyst. Chris Whalen is one of the honchos there, and he rounded up his brother for the interview. Contact numbers for them (and a free trial subscription) are at the end of the piece.
So put on your thinking cap and let’s jump in.
Your thinking high-speed wireless broadband is the future analyst,
Those who know me well know that I am in incurable optimist. I think the world is going to be better in ten years than it is today. I thought that 20 years ago and 10 years ago and expect to think that 10 years from now. Part of that reasoning comes from the accelerating pace of change in the technology world. The next 10 years will see more change than the last 20-30 years combined!
And that means opportunity. Yes, with ups and downs and twists, but opportunity nonetheless.
This week’s Outside the Box is a short essay from my friend Alex Daley who writes the letter Casey’s Extraordinary Technology. I have had the pleasure of spending time and corresponding with Alex, and he is one of the smartest guys I have ever met. Alex had a VERY senior position at Microsoft and has a serious range of experience. In his varied career, he has worked as a senior research executive, a software developer, project manager, senior IT executive, and technology marketer. Aside from his technological prowess, Alex has been involved in numerous startups as an advisor to venture capital companies and a successful angel investor in his own right, with a long history of spectacular investment successes. Every month, he analyzes and recommends the best tech stocks to get in now – from biotech firms to cyber-security providers with innovative solutions.
You can get a free trial subscription to his letter, which I find very valuable in keeping me up to date on what is going on as well as providing some direction (his portfolio has done well!). Click on the link if you are interested. Read more here.
Your paying attention to tech analyst,
This weekend I wrote about the problems of being an entrepreneur in our Muddle Through Economy. I would like to follow that up with two brief (but somewhat controversial) essays on two aspects of starting up small businesses. The first, by Vivek Wadhwa, points out that start-ups account for all of the net new jobs, and is a summary of a paper from the Kaufman Foundation. (You can read the 12 page paper at http://www.kauffman.org/uploadedFiles/firm_formation_importance_of_startups.pdf)
The second is by my friend William C. Dunkelberg, the Chief Economist of the National Federation of Independent Business. He asks a very simple question: Why is thrift getting such a bad name? And if we take the potential savings from “the rich,” where will the savings come from to invest in start-ups?
Vivek Wadhwa is an entrepreneur turned academic. He is a Visiting Scholar at the School of Information at UC-Berkeley, Senior Research Associate at Harvard Law School and Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University.
The both make for thought-provoking reading, and offer some challenges to the conventional wisdom, which is what Outside the Box is supposed to do.
Your doing his part by creating start-ups analyst,