#internet

Bill Gates in the summer of 1998 (from the same brilliant joint-inteview with Warren Buffett that I keep linking to):

Sometimes we do get taken by surprise. For example, when the Internet came along, we had it as a fifth or sixth priority. It wasn’t like somebody told me about it and I said, “I don’t know how to spell that.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve got that on my list, so I’m okay.” But there came a point when we realized it was happening faster and was a much deeper phenomenon than had been recognized in our strategy. So as an act of leadership I had to create a sense of crisis, and we spent a couple of months throwing ideas and E-mail around, and we went on some retreats. Eventually a new strategy coalesced, and we said, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do; here’s how we’re going to measure ourselves internally; and here’s what the world should think about what we’re going to do.”

That kind of crisis is going to come up every three or four years. You have to listen carefully to all the smart people in the company. That’s why a company like ours has to attract a lot of people who think in different ways, it has to allow a lot of dissent, and then it has to recognize the right ideas and put some real energy behind them.

The first bit is important because it shows that disruption doesn’t always completely blindside those in power. Often times it’s just a matter of something happening far quicker than an incumbent realizes.

A great example of this with Microsoft isn’t just the internet as Gates describes above, but smartphones. Microsoft had Windows Mobile in prime position, but it wasn’t quite the “right idea” as Gates puts it. And once they realized that and came around to the right idea, it was far too late.

Benedict Evans:

But you needed a PC to use the internet, and for almost everyone that PC ran Windows, so Microsoft’s failure to create successful online services didn’t seem to matter. Microsoft survived and thrived in the PC internet era, despite appearing to be irrelevant, by milking its victory in the previous phase of the technology industry. PC sales were 59m units in 1995 and rose to over 350m in 2012. Of course, that’s now coming to an end.

That’s the exact right way to look at it. Microsoft has been fine throughout all these years despite dropping the ball badly on the internet because they still controlled the delivery mechanism for the internet: the PC. Much more damaging to them has been dropping the ball on mobile and now tablets because well, no PC (and thus, no Windows) required. 

Steven Levy:

Mission Control also lets Loon engineers terminate flights. Two days earlier, Google had conducted its first New Zealand test, launching five balloons. After successful passes over the South Island, the balloons had continued east. Two wound up in the waters off New Zealand’s coast, the payloads recovered by a waiting Googler at sea. DeVaul’s tablet now shows that others are making quick progress across the Pacific. Google would eventually terminate the flights, because the company hadn’t gotten around to informing the authorities in Chile about the possibility of high-altitude Internet balloons invading its airspace, and decided not to risk an international incident.

Another bold, ballsy bet. More compelling thoughts by Kevin Fitchard as well.

Yours truly, a year ago writing about Paul Miller’s decision to “quit” the internet for a year:

In my month away from email, I didn’t miss it at all. Not for one second. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil of the modern world. But the internet is different. My guess is that in his year away, Miller will come to realize more and more that the internet is nothing if not one of the greatest achievements in human history.

It’s going to be a hell of a lot harder to live life without it.

I’m sure there will be a killer book deal on the other side though!

A year later, Miller’s own proposed titles for such a book:

No Internet, No Life: The Paul Miller Story

How To Disconnect From Reality In 365 Days

At First I Liked Not Using The Internet But Then It Got Kind Of Sucky

Does this mean that everyone who threatens to quit the internet now has to shut up? Please?

Such a great logo.
Oh, and a good post by Anthony Crupi for AdWeek: Legacy Cable Operators in Austin Are Terrified of Google Fiber.
Crupi:

On paper, literally everything about Google Fiber makes standard digital-cable service look like something that was cobbled together by members of a lesser phylum. Boasting gigabit download/upload speeds (up to 1,000 Megabits per second), Google’s connectivity is roughly 70 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s standard 15 Mbps plan. 

The incumbents are scared shitless. And rightfully so. For far too long they’ve coasted on their over-priced crap services.

Such a great logo.

Oh, and a good post by Anthony Crupi for AdWeek: Legacy Cable Operators in Austin Are Terrified of Google Fiber.

Crupi:

On paper, literally everything about Google Fiber makes standard digital-cable service look like something that was cobbled together by members of a lesser phylum. Boasting gigabit download/upload speeds (up to 1,000 Megabits per second), Google’s connectivity is roughly 70 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s standard 15 Mbps plan. 

The incumbents are scared shitless. And rightfully so. For far too long they’ve coasted on their over-priced crap services.