Archive for August 7th, 2010
Businesses exist solely to make a profit, and to that end they will do anything.
It has long been noted that technologically backward companies become extremely advanced technologically overnight, in terms of their infrastructure. For example, having no phone service at all means having no out-of-date infrastructure to maintain and milk, so the country moves immediately to the leading edge of mobile phone technology, with all the bells and whistles—far beyond what the "advanced" nations have.
Here’s an example: Read this story on how telecoms are cooperating on enabling smartphones to make charges, which would be billed as part of your mobile phone bill. Interesting idea, and it made me suddenly realize that of course a major core competency of any telecom is efficiently billing and processing monthly payments: they are experts in that area and know how to get the job done, even if portions are contracted out. That’s obviously true, but I never really thought of telecoms as being primarily (in terms of labor effort?) billing and payment-processing machines.
At any rate, people are excited by the idea. The first comment:
Aug 6, 2010 5:47 PM GMT
Yawn…we’ve had mobile phone cash transactions in Kenya (East Africa) since March 2007. That was the first of its kind in the world. Google Safaricom M-PESA (mobile-money)
That put a new spin on this bit earlier in the issue:
"If you have to create a new company in an old industry, you want to reexamine what people have taken for granted. Why would you want to inherit the mistakes of the past?"
– Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors, on why he didn’t adopt Detroit’s business model to make and market his new Model S electric-powered car.
What Musk realized is that there is no residual value in ideas (such as organizational structure and approach): phone companies in the US couldn’t just toss out the existing technological infrastructure to leapfrog into new technology—they’re still writing off the cost, and dumping it would cause a massive writedown, if I understand it correctly.
But Musk, in creating a new company in an existing industry, could (and did) dump the old, existing organizational infrastructure in a heartbeat—he could act as if he is starting up a company in a totally new country, called "from now on".
It hurts, dag nab it. But I’m putting ice-packs on it: those plastic fake ice bags you get when you order perishable food on-line. I save them in my freezer to keep the freezer full (and thus more energy-efficient). They’re finding a good use now: leave it on for a while, then off for a while. (I also use them to chill the big bowl of water when I make boiled eggs.)
I have tried and tried to figure out the thinking behind the idea that allowing gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage. People say that it will, but they are amazingly unspecific about exactly how.
I believe I have figure out what they’re thinking: they apparently think that there are only so many marriages possible, and every gay marriage takes up a marriage that would otherwise go to a heterosexual couple, and eventually we’ll run out of marriages and heterosexual couples will be left holding the bag.
Or maybe that’s not it. Any ideas?