New Energy Markets Set for Long Term Boom

4 09 2008

Two new articles piqued my interest today for their bullishness on cleantech, renewable energy, and alternative fuels.  In the first, Michael Butler of Cascadia Capital lends a macroscopic overview of the economic opportunity for new energy technology from an excerpt of an upcoming book Financing the Future and the Next Wave of 21st Century Innovation. Butler brings organization and a seasoned investor’s perspective to the cleantech sector – breaking down the separate needs and opportunities of the solar, wind, bio-energy, energy storage, clean water, energy efficiency, green building, and smart grid sub-sectors.

Private Equity HUB – Energy Markets Confront the Post-Petroleum Era

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An Appeal for Universal Preventive Care

21 08 2008

It’s campaign time and no matter who you’re voting for, you’re bound to see some change in Washington following this November’s election. I’ve never delved too deeply into public policy, but I’d like to suggest a public policy for universal health care. Not the uber-expensive, tax-you-50%-of-your-income version that guarantees full health care at any health facility (as in Germany, where they spare no expense to make sure you get the absolute best treatment but tax income heavily).

Rather, I suggest a universal PREVENTIVE CARE plan that guarantees every citizen will be afforded a personal regimen of preventive care treatment. Preventive care has a whole host of benefits, not least of which is reducing the ultimate cost of health care by eliminating high-cost failures before they happen. Preventive care is essential to providing individuals with the regular health guidance they need to make more accountable health choices and achieve early identification of potentially dangerous conditions. A national preventive care program could also push individuals to augment the national preventive care program with private emergency care insurance that could more accurately reflect the costs of riskier health choices – further encouraging individuals to recognize the high cost of smoking, overeating, and other dangerous health habits. Read the rest of this entry »

Growth Leaders | Jeanne Liedtka on

14 07 2008

I studied with Jeanne Liedtka in Darden’s full-time MBA program while we successfully proposed a new design-oriented Strategy Lab and executed a “blue ocean” consulting engagement with a major international architecture firm. Here, Jeanne discusses some of the bigger points from a forthcoming study on “growth leaders,” the individuals who consistently lead innovating organizations to better serve customer needs and deliver market-leading performance.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Jeanne and her co-authors, including Sean Carr, director of corporate innovation programs at Darden’s Batten Institute, recently produced an article in the Sloan Management Review detailing some of their findings on growth leaders as well.  Follow the link for the article:

In Search of Growth Leaders

Transforming business with open source models | Why Nokia Bought Symbian

9 07 2008

A couple weeks ago, Nokia surprised the world when it announced it would buy out the other partners in mobile operating system company Symbian for $410 million, repackage the software, then release it to the world under a business-friendly Eclipse Public License.  Why would this leading handset maker turn loose the market-leading mobile operating system, installed on roughly two-thirds of the world’s handsets?  And what does it mean for the LiMo Foundation and Open Handset Alliance, both of which are developing open source operating systems for mobile devices as well?

Scott Anthony, the President of Innosight and a Discussion Leader at Harvard Business Publishing, has offered one of the best analyses of Nokia’s business case for turning Symbian open.

Why Nokia Bought Symbian, Then Gave It Away – Scott Anthony

Essentially, the folks at Innosight reckon that consumers don’t purchase cell phones for the operating system – they purchase for the looks and, increasingly, the capabilities.  With new SDKs for the iPhone and the buzz around other open development platforms for mobile devices, Nokia could see its handset business threatened should a “killer application” be developed for a different platform.  Now Nokia is opening up the largest mobile development platform in the world, seeking to attract the best developers to Symbian so that Nokia’s handsets will be the most capable devices in the world.

I wonder if Nokia is also stepping down a path similar to IBM’s transformation into a services organization.  Could Nokia become a consultant and deployer of services when the platform is open?  Might Nokia become the preferred enterprise partner for mobile applications, given its expertise in handsets and operating systems?

What Nokia lacks is an integrated service tier, like that of Google’s mobile services, to make a concerted effort at becoming a leading mobile services organization.  Google, which is leading the charge on Android, has the potential to be the leader in mobile ad services for advertisers and publishers targeting Android devices as well as extend its reach of ad-supported services like GMail and Blogger to a world of mobile devices.

Google Mobile servicesGoogle Mobile Services

Google competes on the basis of choice every day, so it’s not likely to require use of its services in an Android deployment, but it is particularly well situated to benefit from wider mobile access to its web and ad services.

Stunning 3D navigation of photo and video | PicLens

5 06 2008

I’ve just begun exploring the immersive experience PicLens is creating for photos and videos on the web. This nifty plugin for various web browsers will add an unobtrusive, gray play button to images or previews of videos on sites like YouTube, Flickr, SmugMug, Google Images, Facebook, and more.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about this “PicLens preview“, posted with vodpod

The developer, a Menlo Park, Ca., firm named Cooliris, was founded in January 2006 with support from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Cooliris is part of a momentous upcoming trend that will redefine searching and browsing by eliminating heavy textual references and instead providing previews and rich media directly – allowing for a more consumer-oriented, user-friendly experience that engages rather than befuddles. Read the rest of this entry »

Strategy processes and decision making

16 04 2008

A repeated theme from my business school strategy courses has been to ask the right questions. The seeds of this learning were planted by Clayton Christenson and Michael Raynor who taught me:

  • To decipher contingent circumstances of a theory, ask “When doesn’t this work?”
  • To unmask a correlation impersonating a causal theory, ask “What is the causal mechanism?”

Ask the right questions

Some recent readings expanded my field of application to broader management and strategy development. Bazerman and Chugh’s notion of a devil’s inquisitor”[1] seems like an immensely practical and powerful practice for managers and strategy consultants (whose ranks I will join shortly). A devil’s inquisitor could ask “When doesn’t this work?” to objects far more diverse than a management theory; the inquisitor could challenge hidden assumptions embedded in sales presentations, marketing plans, hiring decisions, and financial forecasts. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cost Of Cutting Emissions | BusinessWeek

19 03 2008

Have you ever wished the whole world would just buy hybrid cars and be done with this global warming thing? It turns out that the price premium for hybrids also includes an enormous opportunity cost in regards to cutting emissions – far more effective alternatives exist that would also provide a much more enticing financial case as well.

Cost of Cutting Emissions

Charts by Laurel Daunis-Allen

The March 10, 2008 edition of BusinessWeek included this clever graph depicting the range of emissions-cutting activities spanning the financial range from money-saving initiatives like updating residential lighting systems to money-chugging activities like hybridizing automobiles. While the magnitude of the bars indicates the net cost (or savings) of each initiative, the width suggests the relative quantity of greenhouse gases each activity could conserve.

This relative analysis points out, among other things, that improving automobile fuel economy standards is a much more cost-effective and emissions-effective means of reducing greenhouse gases than car hybridization. This data should be an essential reference for any company’s corporate social responsibility plan, and person’s own reference for greener living, and any government’s pursuit of effective business and environmental policy.

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