I believe technology can be exploited to greater levels than we have allowed. We are constrained by 20th century business models and ideas. Collectively, we need to move past technology for the sake of technology and truly focus on moving markets beyond the status quo!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2006 In The Rearview Mirror
According to the Gregorian calendar, the December 21 equinox is rapidly approaching and consequently so is the end of the year 2006.

It seems fitting that as we phase out of our last 365 and in to our next 365 we should pause to remember the good and not so good. So, here is our interpretation of 2006.

The Pittsburgh Steelers win the 2006 Super Bowl! This has nothing to do with technology or business, but the Steelers are the ultimate in sports teams (OK, American football sports teams). The Super Bowl win is an exciting start for the new year, but as the Steelers return to the gridiron for the 2006 / 2007 season they certainly lack the grittiness and determination that made them champions in February. And, as any Steeler fan will attest, the three basic tenets for understanding the Steelers are: 1) never give up, 2) it is always the fault of the quarterback and 3) defense will win the game for you because of tenet #2. File this for 2006 under – the people on your team make a difference.

"An Inconvenient Truth" otherwise known as “the Al Gore movie about global warming” takes the nation by storm. As technologists, we should be in awe of the fact that one of the biggest movies of the year was a video of a person showing slides from his Apple notebook. We have all known for so long this was the ultimate form of entertainment – the rest of the world now knows watching slides on a laptop is the epitome of hip. And, Duarte Design of Mountain View, CA was in the credit roll for "An Inconvenient Truth." Anyone who has ever worked in Silicon Valley knows Duarte as the savior of all things presentation and communication related. File this for 2006 under – this really makes you think.

Sony ships exploding batteries and known software defects, yet Dell gets the bad press on the exploding batteries and thousands of people camp out overnight to get the Playstation 3 with its known defect. How good is Sony’s PR machine that these two incidents are not causing major backlashes around Sony products. The exploding batteries manufactured by Sony and found primarily in Dell and Apple laptops ignite a frenzy among owners. Dell and Apple handle the customer backlash in a professional way, yet Sony skates away. And, in November of 2006, the Sony Playstation 3 shipped with a known software defect yet still causes pandemonium (in a good way) leading up to its release. The big feature of backward compatibility in the Playstation 3 does not work! So what! say people willing to camp outside of stores overnight to get the latest piece of tech wizardry from Sony. How unsettling is it that a major software defect was known about, reported on, and ignored! File this for 2006 under – spin is an amazing thing.

Hawaii’s 6.7 earthquake of October 15 is out of the national news cycles within 48 hours of the incident. More shocking is that the media failed to mention the lack of backup electrical generators for airports sitting on rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. File this for 2006 under – ignorance is bliss and we want our Kona coffee without commentary or knowledge of reality.

VMware gets serious and acquires Akimbi. Virtualization is real (pun intended). VMware represents a serious threat to the Microsoft franchise business of Windows. VMware is not attempting to recreate what Microsoft has done, they are leading the way to a different and arguably less constrained way of doing things. Akimbi, the darling of virtual lab automation – an emerging technology play, is scooped up by VMware. Through this acquisition, VMware effectively plays in the enterprise application lifecycle market. File this for 2006 under – taking the long view of the world.

Mercury is acquired by HP and one of the last independent enterprise software companies falls. Mercury made a business of close to $1 billion by producing software to test software. Software to test software may sound like a duplicate redundancy, but Mercury really made a difference. File this for 2006 under – you can never go back.

voke, a modern analyst firm for the Web 2.0 world is founded by Theresa Lanowitz. This is our blog, so of course we make it in to the year in review! voke is about enabling collaboration and communication between constituents, gone are the days of “Monday morning quarterbacking” or “hindsight being 20/20”. voke is about challenging the status quo and moving markets. File this for 2006 under – change is good.

Boeing discontinues production of the C-17 and the last DC-10 leaves U.S domestic service. These McDonnell-Douglas engineered and built birds are leaving the skies after serving the world. As these two planes are heading into the sunset, we anxiously await the arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner is a technophiles dream plane. File this for 2006 under – evolution is mandatory.

The Tour de France is tarnished. The incredible sport of cycling is forever tarnished in this “did he or didn’t he” drama. One would think there would be enough science, technology, and common sense to determine what is authentic and acceptable. File this for 2006 under – just when you thought you could truly be inspired.


Bill Gates resigns in June from the day to day operations of Microsoft to focus his energy on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Stop for a second and think about this. Bill Gates has changed the world once with Microsoft. He now has the opportunity to change the world again. Bravo to Bill Gates – he is touching the life of every individual on the planet. File this for 2006 under – Bill Gates is cool and not just to the nerds of the world.

So there you have it, 10 events that made me think about how technology intersects with life on a daily basis. This is my 2006 in the rearview mirror.

And, as entertaining as it is to look back on time, it is of equal importance to think about what is ahead. Subscribers to the
vokeStream can read firsthand our thoughts and predictions in the Future Watch documents. Instead of looking in the rearview mirror, look ahead, far ahead subscribe to the vokeStream.
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