Friday, December 31, 2010

The numbers are adding up!

iPads made an impact this holiday season as sales topped all expectations. And I am now a proud owner as well. Will this fuel creative minds to come up with more new ideas? Will NonStop share in the success?

Walking back into my Boulder home this week I was truly appreciative of how fortunate I was to live in Colorado. With an uninterrupted view of Colorado’s front ranges as well as the Continental Divide, with the snow covered 14,000’ Long’s Peak clearly visible beneath a few high clouds, it’s proving quite a spectacle!

Readers of the comForte Lounge blog may have caught the most recent post It’s now in our hands! where I wrote of how I came into possession of an iPad over Christmas, and how pleased I am to become completely untethered, free to check magazines, newspapers, and even blogs no matter where my travels take me. The picture above is of me seated in my kitchen nook, checking the cricket scores, of course!

I’m not the only one in the family, however, with an iPad. Before I received my very own, our daughter Anna, very active in teaching technology, was given an iPad. In a recent post to her blog iTeach with iPad she wrote of how “as iPads gain in popularity, those in education are looking at ways that the iPad may improve teaching and learning in the classroom (and) I was given an iPad to test out!”

Unfortunately, she’s far from being as impressed with the iPad as I have become, and for good reasons. “It seems that there are not many good tools when it comes to teacher productivity. There are lots of educational apps that would be great for kids to use if each child had an iPad at his/her disposal, but virtually none that are helpful when there's only one iPad in the room.”

But it’s still early days and I suspect the iPad, is going to play an increasingly relevant role in business and the pool of applications available to tablet users will grow exponentially in the coming years. If the pundits prove correct, in time Anna may just see every kid with an iPad anyway!

In its last media prognostication contest USATODAY journalist, David Lieberman, did go so far as to suggest when it comes to which company will be selling the most netbooks in late 2010 – Apple? Dell? Google? HP? Intel? Someone else? responded with “the spirit of the question has to do with hot products, and one of the big stories of 2010 is how the iPad has reshaped the way we look at portable computers. So we’re going with Apple here (as it) dominates the mobile market …”

Social media will change, too, that’s for sure. While it’s not news to iPhone users to see an application, or App, for Twitter, Facebook, even LinkedIn available for their smart devices, embracing the iPad will see even more involvement.

To many industry observers it seems possible that sites like Facebook, with the support they provide for business pages in addition to wall space, may easily replace the need for a web site. Today’s up and coming business leaders will tend to look to Facebook for info, as readers of my generation checked out a web site!

This is not surprising as already I am accessing more and more sites directly from the Apps provided on my new IPad than from interacting directly with a browser. Perhaps what we are seeing from our young leaders should not be ignored.

Some of the numbers are amazing, almost overwhelming, but worth quoting in case you missed them. In naming Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, it was reported that Facebook added its 550 millionth member. Time then added “one out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account … (and) lavish 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month.”

More impressive yet, Time then reports on how “last month, the site accounted for 1 out of 4 American page views. Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 700,000 people a day.” Finally, and to pull it all into perspective, “in less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India.”

Facing criticism over its detours into green-tech investments, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins was under growing pressure to return to what it does best – picking winners when it comes to internet start-ups! In its regular Valley Talk editorial Fortune columnist, Adam Lashinsky, wrote in December 6, 2010 issue, under the heading of “Kleiner Perkins gets its’ digital grove back on” how “they have stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and are committed to coming back and focusing on making money again.”

This was a reference to what one investor had told the journalist, but then to clarify where the money would be invested, wrote of “the recent announcement of Kleiner’s trendy ‘sFund’ for social media companies at least signals where Kleiner’s heart is these days.”

In the same issue of Fortune that I referenced earlier, Intel ran a full page advertisement that sums up much of what has been covered here. Under the heading “from the mind to the marketplace” Intel promotes how they are “helping university students’ worldwide turn thinking into the business of the future. Because encouraging new ideas fuels innovation!”

Put aside for one moment the smart phones, tablets, and netbooks and whether one company or another will dominate their respective markets. Ignore also the explosive growth in popularity of social networks and the content being provided on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Be even less concerned about something as trivial as our kids’ texting each other pushing cloud computing to the forefront of technology discussions.

What’s more important than the simplicity, and ease of use, of these devices, and all the services being provided, is that there will be a generation of highly creative individuals empowered at a much earlier age than ever before. Their creativity will fuel the new ideas that drive the innovation that we so often talk about and struggle to embrace in our daily business lives.

When these new ideas translate to solutions and come to market, however, many of them will push into mission-critical markets where the attributes so highly valued by corporate IT managers and familiar to all where NonStop is deployed, will once again percolate to the top!

I really like my iPad and I have started to take it with me everywhere I go. It, and similar devices, will become the tools supporting many networks of creative folks. The information being captured and marshaled and then in turn, becoming the foundation for yet even more new ideas, lends itself for a new role for NonStop servers.

What we have taken for granted for so long with NonStop, and continues to create angst among those of us aware of opportunities even as we see so many oblivious of its potential should be fuelling an even more aggressive outreach on our parts. Free and untethered as so many of us have become, with little tolerance for outages of any kind, it seems to be ready-made for NonStop servers.

Perhaps it is already being pursued and perhaps there’s creative folks already tinkering with some new ideas. I am very encouraged by our daughter’s School District passing several iPads to the technology teachers to encourage creativity in the classroom. She certainly will put time into this research project, and you may want to follow her blog, Techie Teacher, to track the progress she makes.

And perhaps the message of NonStop will not be lost on this new community. Clearly, I have more work to do on this subject and as the weather over the Rockies worsens, I will just check out my iPad a little bit longer …

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