The Critical Path
Summary: Critical Path is a talk show contemplating the causality of success and failure in mobile computing. Using Apple as a lens to look at both telecom and traditional computing markets, we try to understand what it means to be great. Hosted by Horace Dediu & Dan Benjamin.
The crumbs of data falling off the Samsung v. Apple trial table get some scrutiny. Horace expands on some of the hints from the partial release of information and then continues with a discussion of how market data is collected and whether it should be trusted. That leads to a question of whether private (or paid) analysis is "better" than public (and unpaid). The benefits of having access to the vastness of collaborators online and the public sources of info might be tipping the balance. Finally, we talk about how big ideas go from sounding impossible to being inevitable and who gets rewarded for making them so.
We start with a discussion of RIM's latest quarterly performance and follow with a description of the inherent tension between managing and leading. To further illustrate this divergence we discuss the conflicting messages from Microsoft relative to the Surface.
Dan and Horace reflect on the Osbourne effect of Windows Phone 8 on Nokia and how to value a company in distress. In particular, we talk about the potential of a Microsoft acquisition and the conditions needed to make it happen. Horace takes two reader questions: How did Samsung succeed while other vendors failed with Android and what are the pitfalls that could cause Apple to stumble.
Horace and Dan look at Microsoft's Surface through disruption colored lenses. First, the ongoing evolution of the computing value chain and how it foretold us of Surface. Second, how the economics of Microsoft's businesses makes Surface compelling. We also begin a new segment tentatively called "Reader Questions". This time it's education: is it disruptable? If so how can we tell and where will it lead us?
Having just returned from China, Horace gives his impressions which leads to a discussion about industrialization and innovation and how countries "mature" and what is Apple doing in China and the new relationship between Apple and strategic partnerships and the new stats from WWDC 2012 about developer revenues and how that differs from Android and the 400 million Android devices activated vs. 400 million iOS devices built, in China.
Dan and Horace talk about the distinction between what Facebook is and what its value is perceived to be. We touch on both the opportunities and the challenges for social media and how these are reflected in the IPO. We note how and why Facebook integration in iOS might happen. Horace has a few words about China, WWDC, and the future of apps on TVs. It's all about context.
This week, Horace follows up on his discussion of automobiles and road infrastructure by talking about how road networks were rebuilt in European countries to accommodate cycling. That leads to hints about the challenge of re-building energy infrastructure to support new power train technologies. Finally He and Dan also analyze comments made by Tim Cook at the recent D10 conference about Apple TV and disruption of the entertainment industry.
Dan and Horace take a nostalgic trip through the automotive industry. Horace asks why should a 20 year old car (which he happens to own) be replaced? Why are cars built to be disposed of and why aren't they meaningfully improved based on new jobs to be done? In this episode we look at the auto industry as a proxy for other "network-based" industries which reach plateaus of innovation and can go no further. Plus, Horace challenges readers to guess what car he drives.
Horace and Dan wade into Android Economics expanding on the series of posts on Asymco. We also give an update on The Critical Path Kickstarter project.
Horace and Dan talk about how the Critical Path (The First Year) ebook Kickstarter project began, and hint at an upcoming topic: how to analyze the Android market.
Horace interviews his teacher Clay Christensen to discuss his new book, How Will You Measure Your Life. We discuss some of the concepts of learning, jobs to be done and approaches to self-disruption. We also cover what Clay is working on next in his writing and research. Lastly, we talk about what Apple should worry about in its disruptive journey.
A review of Apple's performance in the first calendar quarter. Covering the iPhone's predictability, greater China and international opportunity swamping the US opportunity, the iPad surprise and what mobile means to Apple. Dan and Horace ponder what it means for the largest company in the world to also be the fastest growing company in the world. We discuss whether there is a mobile bubble and, as a bonus, Horace predicts the launch timing of the next iPhone.
Horace and Dan talk about the recently ended Asymconf 1.0 focusing on the risks taken and rewards obtained. We cover the concept, technical implementation, dynamics and where the show will go from here. Horace describes the fascinating "lost tapes" of Steve Jobs and Nokia's latest anticlimactic results.
Dan and Horace are back to discuss the latest news from Nokia, RIM, HTC and Sony and what they have to do with each other. We touch on the distinction between market and product orientation and meander into the question of what is the value of the enterprise vis-a-vis the product it sells and what management has meant and what it should mean. We even tackle the history (and future) of history.
Horace talks again with Dan Abrams about film budgeting, Kickstarter, pre-production, location, technology for production, and a surprise announcement. We also discuss the project-oriented nature of movie production vis-a-vis "pipelined" product development, the history of studios and how they evolved, Pixar and much. much more.