Posts Tagged ‘NetFlix’

An Apple Real Smart TV – Next Week?

February 29, 2012

The rumors about Apple launching a “Real” TV appliance next Month make a lot of sense.

Apple quote is “We have something you really have to see. And touch”.

  • It is very easy to easy to imagine the features. Just think about a very big iPad. It needs internet access + Itunes + Applications + Local and Cloud Storage.
  • There are many “Smart TV’s” around. As usual, the hardware companies jut don’t get it. The user interface is boring, the CPU is too slow, the software is limited. Just like smart phone before iPhones and touchpads before iPad (think Window Tablet for example ).
  • The component prices are low enough that such an appliance can be reasonably priced.
  • It might have build in Camera, making consumer Tele Presence real, for the first time.
  • Apple has track record of selling large beautiful screens.
  • From the business side Apple can partner with one of the Big Cable vendors to handle the “boring” stuff. The same way it saved AT&T business it can save a cable provider. Instead of fighting the internet the cable provider would get access to a new exciting high premium market. Or they can just buy NetFlix.
  • Apple likes to take market away from Samsung and Sony 🙂
  • Big question mark is on user interaction.Might be something like PrimeSense or maybe “Just” smart usage of iPhone\iPad people already have at home. Or maybe a new kind of control which is a hybrid of iPad and iPhone.
  • I guess the stock would rise to $700 , if they do announce such an appliance 🙂

Here is an example of “Smart TV” from a company that does not “Get it”.

Is the new CEO a Chief Product Manager?

March 5, 2011

If you can be a product manager, you can acquire the experience of acting as a CEO. The skills gained in product roadmapping, prioritizing tasks, interoffice communications, customer understanding, and product marketing are absolute necessities for being an effective enterprise lead.
Mark Pincus(video on Product Management as CEO Training), CEO and Founder of Zynga,

Is the new successful Hi-Tech CEO actually a chief product manager?

While this may be an over simplistic view, I do believe we are seeing a trend in the industry.

Google recently decided to appoint its president of products as the new CEO. Steve Jobs is known to design Apple’s product features down to the smallest detail. But maybe he is just a Chief Product Manager ?

Looking at ten leading CEOs background, this might be a a sign of a new trend.

Company Name Previous Title Formal Education
1 Apple Steve Jobs GM Macintosh Division None
2 Google Larry Page President Products Ms. in Computer Sc.
3 NetFlix Reed Hastings CTO Ms. in Computer Sc.
4 Oracle Larry Ellison ? None
5 Twitter Dick Costolo Group Product Manager BSc Computer Sc.
6 Microsoft Steve Ballmer Assistant product manager (P&G) BA in Math and Economics
7 VMWARE Paul Maritz VP  of the Platform Strategy and Developer Group Math and Computer Sc.
8 Cisco John Chambers Senior VP,Worldwide Sales and Operations MBA
9 NetApp Tom Georgens VP Product Operations MBA and Computer Sc.
10 DataDomain Frank Slootman Senior VP of Products(Borland) Economics

In the past, CEOs came from a legal or a financial background. Later on they came from a scientific or engineering technical background.

Promoting the sales executive was  the key trend in the 90’s and in many more modern organizations the marketing leaders were “moved” upward.

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia

But some of the 20th century reasoning and basic  assumptions are no longer valid, at least in the technology sector.

Lets assume that the new tech and consumer markets are frictionless and all information is publicly available.

As a result we can observe that:

  • Sales people are less important  since products are sold directly of the web and personal relationships are less relevant
  • Finance is less critical as the standard financing options are pretty well understood and commoditized
  • Marketing is still important, but traditional outbound “tricks are less important. The “Gartner” marketing that does not say anything about the product, is much less effective. Product marketing, pricing  and daily analytics are much more critical. If everyone loves your product, marketing is easy, channel management is easy and awareness is easy. Nowadays the customers can try the product immediately and they are the ones who create most content about it.
  • Technical innovation is still relevant, but in many cases the big companies are not the ones inventing algorithms or new chips. Ask yourself who invented the iPAD battery,GPS or screen or compass and what’s their stock quote.

In these markets, the best product has a good chance to win everything. There are plenty of examples how a great product makes the rest of the company functions much easier and successful. Of course, there is no first degree in “Product management” and a strong technological  is definitely an advantage. However, it does seem that great product leaders, are able to drive few of the most successful  companies in the world (even, in some cases,  with a lack of great people skills:) ).