As the holiday shopping season focuses attention on retail, persistent rumors have it that Amazon is planning to invade the brick and mortar space.
Is it going to happen? I think it’s very likely. As local pols move aggressively to tax Amazon’s online sales, the real driver is lobbying from big box retail as much as from the need for revenue. If Bezos and company are to be force to collect sales tax, why not compete with the big box players on their own turf? Then there’s #1 book competitor, Barnes and Noble that has surprised nay sayers by leveraging it’s storefronts to better compete with Amazon in the virtual space. The over consolidation of physical retail has left a shortage of shelf space for competing products. Apple and more recently, Microsoft began operating their own stores to combat this. With Amazon’s growth to major player status in computers and electronics, many more sales of higher priced items will be made if consumers can touch and feel before making a decision.
What would an Amazon store look like? What would it stock?No way of knowing for now. One thing for certain is that physical stores could bring more competition back to the brick and mortar universe. IF that happens, everyone except maybe WalMart wins.
Let’s face it, all but the largest enterprises would prefer to not to have any IT professionals on staff, or at least as few as possible. It’s nothing personal against geeks, it’s just that IT pros are expensive and when IT departments get too big and centralized they tend to become experts at saying, “No.” They block more progress than they enable. As a result, we’re going to see most of traditional IT administration and support functions outsourced to third-party consultants. This includes a wide range from huge multi-national consultancies to the one person consultancy who serves as the rented IT department for local SMBs. I’m also lumping in companies like IBM, HP, Amazon AWS, and Rackspace, who will rent out both data center capacity and IT professionals to help deploy, manage, and troubleshoot solutions. Many of the IT administrators and support professionals who currently work directly for corporations will transition to working for big vendors or consultancies in the future as companies switch to purchasing IT services on an as-needed basis in order to lower costs, get a higher level of expertise, and get 24/7/365 coverage.
2. Project managers
Most of the IT workers that survive and remain as employees in traditional companies will be project managers. They will not be part of a centralized IT department, but will be spread out in the various business units and departments. They will be business analysts who will help the company leaders and managers make good technology decisions. They will gather business requirements and communicate with stakeholders about the technology solutions they need, and will also be proactive in looking for new technologies that can transform the business. These project managers will also serve as the company’s point of contact with technology vendors and consultants. If you look closely, you can already see a lot of current IT managers morphing in this direction.
By far, the area where the largest number of IT jobs is going to move is into developer, programmer, and coder jobs. While IT used to be about managing and deploying hardware and software, it’s going to increasingly be about web-based applications that will be expected to work smoothly, be self-evident, and require very little training or intervention from tech support. The other piece of the pie will be mobile applications — both native apps and mobile web apps. As I wrote in my article, We’re entering the decade of the developer, the current changes in IT are “shifting more of the power in the tech industry away from those who deploy and support apps to those who build them.” This trend is already underway and it’s only going to accelerate over the next decade.
Please read the whole piece. Much of what is detailed in this piece is already well underway. Equipment has become smarter. Managed switches increasingly mesh themselves by default. Routers and ATM’s the same. Equipment manufacturers now have service arms to assist IT shops in deployment and long term maintenance. eMail services of all types are moving to the cloud in a land rush. The ability to contract out or build your own clouds means that there will be fewer needs for managing individual servers. They will be treated like disposable peas in the pod.
So is the future bleak? No. But it does ratchet up the competency level of IT staff. Twiddling a wrench will still be requried, but the chance one will use the tool bag on a regular basis for core staff will dwindle. More likely that staff member will spend their time using MS Project and Excel in program roll outs.
One of the issues with hardware design has been, either its a lone tinkerer at his bench or you are a member of a Hacker design group somewhere in your local area. Well that is now changing there is a new collaboration platform online –
A few years later the founders got back together and without knowing quite what they were going to do, they set out to solve a very real problem. It took them a little while to realize what was sitting there underneath their noses, but they found it in the end. A few pivots and a bit of time went by and they arrived at Upverter’s mission: to foster innovation in physical design and make it universally accessible and as frictionless as possible.
It’s what the founders had always wanted: a solution to the pain that scared them away from hardware; an answer to the isolation and to the reason hardware seems like black magic; a challenge to the reason there are 500,000 mobile apps and only a handful of hardware devices.
At Upverter, we’re trying to fix hardware and we’re starting with making it really easy to extend the limits of mobile devices. We’re trying to make it easy to collaborate, easy to build, and easy to share. We’re helping to build the tools and the lego blocks to snap together hardware. And there is going to be an incredible revolution in hardware and mobile as a result.
As a consequence, UpVerter will do for hardware what the Git service has done for software. Make it portable, shareable and collaborative. For example. Say you are dang good at doing Arduino controls but you need to develop a shield for the board that handles 4 120v relays. You put your design out on the Upverter site. Then you look around for someone with the requisite EE background in power circuits. They can offer up the proper schematics then drop off. You go on to CAD that up as a proto board. The EE pops on just for a review and sign off.
This site could be a revolution in Open Source hardware efforts. Now many people can offer their unique skills to many projects. Only being tasked when they are needed on their own schedules. I expect we will see more coming out of this side of the FOSS camp in the years ahead.
Prior to passage of the bill obligating collection and remittance in such circumstances, prominent online retailers including Amazon.com and Overstock.com had threatened to terminate relationships with affiliates, if the legislation became law. Now that it has, and affiliate relationships are being severed, something critics of the legislation say was entirely foreseeable is occurring: Online businesses and entrepreneurs are leaving the state, thus risking an actual reduction, as opposed to marginal increase, in California’s tax revenue.
Last month, news broke of one California-based online entrepreneur who had decided to ditch California and move to Nevada in the aftermath of Gov. Jerry Brown signing the law. ”I always figured that in California, home to Silicon Valley and a million tech startups, they’d never pass a law like this,” said Nick Loper, who formerly operated ShoesRUs and has now opened a new venture, ShoeSniper.
Per the piece in which Loper is quoted, more than 70 affiliates had at that stage already left California, according to online businesses.
Then, last Thursday, another online entrepreneur, Erica Douglass, posted a mock “It’s Over” letter to California on her blog. Douglass, who sold an internet company she had built for $1.1 million in 2007 when she was just 26, cited multiple reasons for moving to Austin. Among them were unnecessary paperwork requirements mandated by the state, and high taxes as well as business fees. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back, was according to Portfolio, Brown signing the Amazon Tax into law.
This is one of those, `I see the wall, I see the wall, Oooh where did that wall come from?` events. When will politicians learn that everything they do has an equally troubling reaction?
To give you some background, I not only play the markets but I co-founded an angel organization in Chicago that invests in start ups. We are starting to see a lot of deal flow that involve some aspect of social media. I subscribe to some angel email services from all over the country, and I see lots of companies today that want money to invade the social media space.
The answer on the bubble, it depends. I could make an argument that Facebook ($FB) at $100 billion is cheap. It is a legacy platform that other businesses are building off of. Facebook is sticky, even if you think it’s a time waster. A lot of this social media stuff just becomes background noise. There is so much of it you tune it all out and go with what you are used to. I think that is the appeal of Google+ for a lot of folks, you can tune out a lot of extracurricular noise.
Certain companies are trying to reinvent Facebook. They are riffing on specialized aspects of Facebook and compartmentalizing them. Small little apps that segment the market. Many of them are receiving money from angel investors. The bulk of them could be considered a bubble.
Companies that I like in the social media space integrate and work across platforms. They take the best aspects of social media and quantify it-or make it easier for us to interact with social media. It’s very hard to know who those companies are-or if you do invest, how they will pivot and grow. Help Scout is an example of a company that I would want to make an investment in if they applied to Hyde Park Angels. One of our companies, ReTel, developed the site favo.rs that looks really cool.
So is Carter right that social media as a internet genre in a large run up bubble that is going to pop? I can’t hazard a guess. A lot of these social platforms I don’t know how far they have gotten to date.
Take Twitter. Its Hot, with a cap H. But I shake my head. You look at the traffic and anywhere from a third to a half include some tiny url link. So that implies they want to say more. So why pick `that` platform to say it when the container is ill suited for the content? Eyeballs. I remember when the big I was bleeding out of the universities and going commercial email was the Hot Ticket. Then as a medium it became part of the backdrop of everyday life. The thing is it retained its usefulness. I don’t know if Twitter will.
Lets take another service, FaceBook. Me I avoid it like the plaque. The user is the only thing on sale on that platform. That reason alone I will pass. But I can see the utility of it for others. Its like a nonstop class reunion on steroids. For the most part you are free to personalize the sandbox and your message can be as long as you want.
Long term though? Many Soc Med newbies will die on the vine. I’ll put my money elsewhere.
Sony CEO Howard Stringer told shareholders that his company was the target of hacker attacks in April “because we tried to protect our IP (intellectual property), our content, in this case videogames.”
In April Sony was forced to take its PlayStation Network (PSN) offline for several weeks after hackers broke in and stole information from more than 70 million user accounts, finally relaunching it in May. A similar attack also affected Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) servers, which control Sony’s online role-playing games. Combined, more than 100 million user accounts were affected.
The hacker or hackers responsible for the security failure have not yet been named, though Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Kazuo Hirai – Stringer’s presumptive successor – implicated the hacker collective “Anonymous” in a letter delivered to a U.S. Senate subcommittee.
Strinker needs to be dismissed. Which some shareholders are demainding. Instead what we get is, “Its the other guys fault”. In a sense yes it is, the hacker I mean. But US law tends toward what I call the Pool Rule. One must show a modicum of restriction to access to the pool (eg servers) before one can claim immunity from culpability in the act. With 11 recorded instances of breaches, Sony’s claim of that defense seems thin at best.
Then Sony makes the thinly veiled umbrage that it is partly the fault of Linux. Excuse me, but YOU Sony provided that in your consoles then took it away. Your choice of course but don’t be surprised when people get a little peeved. The whole thing plays out like a 8yo whiny kid who just had mommy take away the coookie.