Saturday, March 21, 2009

What I expect more from Amazon Kindle?

I still remember one of the interesting cases I did in my Strategy class in the 1st MBA year is on Amazon Kindle. Philip Leslie, a very smart professor, asked us the question in one of the exams on the business problems for Kindle.

At that time, I was still not a Kindle user, while I hope I was. I am in a trial with Kindle for a whole week, and there's so many things I expect more. Technically speaking, Amazon is trying to change the whole experience of reading a book, and it's hard imagine a person already read books for at least over 20 years before he or she tries Kindle. I hope Amazon does have a Chief Experience Officer for Kindle to actually design an enjoyable product.

(1) a bigger screen. Currently, there are only 12 lines in one page, which is such a pain for the fast reader like me. I get bored with pressing the "next page" button all the time.

(2) a touch screen. I do like drawing on a book, and i hope i can have a pen and draw on Kindle, just like my IBM Tablet can. If it is hard, then how about a scroll ball that my favorite Blackberry has?

(3) removing the keyboard. who needs a Key Board on a book reader? if you want to type an artcile, using laotop will be much faster. Removing the keyboard with definitely reduce the cost and make the Kindle available to more people.

(4) A folding screen. That will make Kindle more like a book.

(5) Move the power button and wireless button from the back to front. Come on, right now when I want to turn on or off the Kindle, I have to look for the button on the back, which is really not convenient.

The reason why users are crazy about Apple product is its super user experience. you can easily get addicted. For Amazon who is famous for its operation efficiency, there's still a long way to go on the product design part. Speaking of this, I believe Amazon will change fast. Look forward to trying the Kindle verson 2 and so on.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Google CEO: newspaper is dying

When radio was invented, people said newspaper was dying; when TV was invented, people said newspaper was dying; now when search was invented, Eric Schmidt said newspaper is dying.

It turned out people were wrong for the first two times; then how about this time?

Eric Schmidt, a lecturer in Stanford Graduate School of Business, gave a speech to all MBA students on Tuesday. The main topic is trying to inspire the frustrated MBA students that America still has hope. However, it is more like a lecture on Google's vision in the media world.

"(The traditional media didn't get it; Internet is built on the abundance, not on scarcity. It is a "max" system, and they should try to maximize the distribution". Schmidt said. "Online behavior is very important now, and the maching can learn what you like".

Coincidentally(or not), Google publicized that it will match online adverts with Web users' viewing habits today. It is another controversial technique on people's privacy, but hay, Google always has this in all its services such as Gmail and Google News. and soon, everything becomes a standard.

I agree for Google, it is a strategic and smart move. Advertisers would love this because right now not a lot of people click on the small ads on the right of search results. But this turned out to be a traditional model, just as ads on newspaper or on TV. Schmidt's saying on the traditional media model is definitely contradict to what Google is doing now. Internet is a media, not different from newspaper and TV, though it has a fancy name "technology".

Do people still need newspaper? Sure, but in different format such as on PC or mobile. Do people still want to read a piece of paper to read on the train or at breakfast? Sure. The need is lower, but still there. I have bias on newspaper, while every time newspaper turns to survive and be stronger. Finger crossed!!!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Behind-the-scene story of Jack Ma in Stanford GSB

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, was in Stanford GSB to give a speech to Stanford students and Silicon Valley engineers. I gave a welcome speech at the beginning, and asked Jack to do a MBA case with Stanford some time.

However, he didn't really like to do so. He told the audience: "all MBA have said are correct, but they can't execute it", or "professors are paid to speak". I respect a successful entrepreneur like him, but definitely he didn't realize the value of business cases. Chinese businessmen may think they are born to be successful businessmen, and don't have to learn from the history. Personally I don't think that's correct, a lot of business practices are the same from the old days to now. and hopefully people can learn from the experience to avoid making the same mistake.

Speaking of this, Jack is still an inspiring speaker.