Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

The Software Revolution Will Be Televised

by Jon on June 6th, 2012 - Comments (0)

Last year, Internet luminary and entrepreneur Marc Andreessen wrote a significant essay in the Wall Street Journal, outlining the many ways in which software has become absolutely vital to our world. Software allows us to extend our reach even further than we did before, automating processes, accelerating the rate of change, and providing the sinews between people and data. It seems only natural then, that software has come to the forefront of business technology.

There few places more interesting to observe this shift to digital than in the tumult and promise of the cable television industry. If software is the new frontier — providing the critical guts and infrastructure, tools and products of the 21st century — then cable television needs to continue digitizing on just about every level. How this happens and how quickly, who dominates the next wave and who gets left behind, are open questions.

At the recent Cable Show in Boston, it was apparent just how intertwined the software and television entertainment industries have become. The theme for the conference, “From cloud to screen and everything in between” aptly demonstrates this new reality. Software and user experience design, in particular are critical to the nascent “Television Anywhere” revolution. On the show floor, this was most evident as cloud television platform companies and custom UX design firms shared space with more traditional players like HBO, AMC, Cisco, and Comcast. And, in the Imagine Park area of the expo, the Cable Show hosted an App Challenge for developers to “take an idea from the drawing board to a functioning, original app that leverages the power of broadband, mobile devices and connected communities” in just 48 hours.

Cable television is desperate not to suffer the same fate as the music industry, caught unawares by the rapid ascent of software technology. But, here too, the entrenched industry giants must find a way to move forward quickly or be rendered obsolete. No company epitomizes this sea change more than Netflix; once an upstart DVD by mail rental company, it is now a leading contender for the streaming video on demand business. The new and old guard mixed together a little uneasily on a conference panel where, Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer joined executives from organizations like Time Warner, News Corp, and Cox Communication. As Piers Morgan interviewed the panelists, it was clear that, while the screen that programming shows up on — from wide screen home theater to tablet — shouldn’t matter in theory, in practice, it matters quite a bit. The number of US household without a television set is rising and the ultimate question of “Whose user is it?” is yet to be determined. If the HBO GO and Netflix iPad apps are any indication of where television entertainment is headed, even more splintered audiences are in the offing.

For the cable industry, its future business may very well be defined by the choices it makes regarding software. More so than at any time in the past, software truly is strategic. The new age of software is upon us; as Andreessen puts it, “In short, software is eating the world.”

Conan O'Brien at The Cable Show

“My attitude over the past two years was ‘adapt or die’,” said Conan O’Brien, discussing software and technology at The Cable Show in Boston.

In a general session one-on-one, Piers Morgan interviewed comedian and new media darling Conan O’Brien about how software applications and content intersect. Conan has used Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, to build up strong relationships with the grassroots fans of his TBS late night show. “My attitude over the past two years was ‘adapt or die’,” said O’Brien. “People are viewing television in a vastly different way. The technology is going to change. You need to embrace it.” As in so many sectors, leveraging great software is not only becoming necessary to compete, but may be needed to even survive.

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SOPA, Job Innovation, and Creativity in Isolation

by Jon on January 16th, 2012 - Comments (0)

Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

SOPA: Anatomy of a Public Uprising
As most of us of are aware, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill in the US House of Representatives, while purported to protect content providers, in fact hides within its depths the chilling ability to freeze online businesses and tech innovation through a set of draconian provisions, that would, for instance, force search engines to filter their search results.

Last week, as the technorati voiced their dissent and decorated their avatars with black bands reading “Stop SOPA”, Representatives began taking notice. In the open forum of the Internet, people circumvented the Washington lobbying of pro-SOPA industries, and voiced their extreme displeasure.

The political situation reached an inflection point on Thursday, when legislators began to backpedal on their support for the bill as they saw public opposition rising.

Then the White House weighed in with a statement against the bill in its current form. In response, the House of Representatives shelved the bill, at least for the time being.

Talk about the bill’s demise is greatly exaggerated however, as it could be reopened again. Adding to the fear of a zombie SOPA resurrecting itself is the fact that its equally malformed Senate twin PIPA is still lurching forward.

Leave Me Alone, I’m Being Creative
Is the future of creative work a collective endeavor? The New York Times featured an interesting piece in their SundayReview opinion pages on “The Rise of Groupthink” and how open office plans, constant collaboration, and group brainstorming may not be the everything it’s cracked up to be when it comes to drawing out creativity and innovative thinking in a business environment. In addition to dissecting the current trends towards a more collaborative work environment, the article also explores explores the introverted nature of creative types, and asks whether the new focus on the group is supportive of the lone genius. In a related article, Business Insider takes a look at “How Larry Page Changed Meetings At Google …” to align them with better decision making. Not surprisingly, Larry limited the number of people in the group, and required a decision maker to be at all meetings.

Where the Wild Things Are
As our cities grow bigger and bigger, natural wildlife is getting squeezed out at every turn. One architecture firm from the Netherlands thinks it has a solution to providing sanctuary for the displaced plants and animals: Sea Trees, or floating wildlife oases.

Job Innovation at Lightspeed
There’s no question that the days of the long-term job are long past. In today’s volatile, technology injected, rapidly shifting economy, how can we expect to know what jobs will be around in the next five years, let alone the next ten? Fast Company takes a look at the new skill sets required for the new world of “quicksilver” work.

FTC Fires Back at Google+
As Google attempts to leverage its massive search traffic to give Google+ an edge in the burgeoning social network wars, the FTC is firing back, by expanding its antitrust investigation to include Google+. With such a juicy prize as social network dominance at stake, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a no holds barred approach from the search giant.

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Car Sharing, Comic Book Art, and Intellectual Jazz

by Jon on August 21st, 2011
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Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

Better off TED?
Richard Saul Wurman is re-inventing the conference format for the 21st century with his follow up to the wildly popular TED conferences. The new venture, WWW.WWW, is billed as “Intellectual Jazz” and will have no […]

Boston Talent Wars, iPhone Facial Recognition, and Freedom of Tweets

by Jon on August 3rd, 2011
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Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

Tech Talent Wars: Boston
The Talent Wars are heating up in Boston, as tech companies of every kind, from start ups to Fortune 500 firms, unload their best artillery fire in the recruiting battle. One of the most original […]

Facebook Domination, Driving Distracted, and NASA TV

by Jon on July 13th, 2011
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Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

Facebook Closes the Door on User Data
Facebook is racing to shore up the walls of its garden, in an attempt to keep Google+ and others from leveraging its social graph and contact data.

According to ZDNet, […]

Community vs. Connection

by Dirk on September 15th, 2010
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Remember Classmates.com? Arguably the first-ever social networking website it “connected” each of us to the people we went to school with over the years. Plagued by clumsy and poorly executed “Web 1.0″ thinking, and an absolutely atrocious pay-to-play business model, Classmates.com could have been Facebook. Instead, it unintentionally ushered in many thousands of social networking start-ups that, as […]

Facebook’s ascension reflects general ignorance of the web today

by Dirk on March 17th, 2010
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For the week ending March 13, 2010, and for the first time in its spectacular ascendancy, Facebook became the most visited site on the Internet. Already, analysts and experts are hailing this as a momentous event, one that validates the power of social networking in the rapidly evolving universe of the World Wide Web.