Stanford iTunesU class adds interaction

Digital communications technologies disrupt information industries. That's Craigslist siphoning off newspaper classified ads. It's Hulu helping 20 somethings cut the cord. It's Pandora (or Spotify, if you wish) facilitating micro-radio stations. One of the largest information industries in the country, higher ed, has had its hands full with state budget cuts; digital tech has not decimated the bottom line. (Yet.) …continue reading →

My Life With Apple

[caption id="attachment_5876" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell Jobs, 2011 by Lea Suzuki"]Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell Jobs[/caption] In 1984, I convinced my about-to-be (then) husband not to buy a Macintosh ($2,495/$5,440 in 2011 $). It wasn't just because it was expensive. It wasn't interoperable, you see, and the dairy cooperative we worked for was an IBM shop. Mainframes and IBM PCs (not clones) didn't talk to Macs. Heck, Microsoft Word wasn't around yet! Instead, we bought an Epson cp/m machine with 5 1/4" floppies, a green screen and a great software bundle (Peachtree). And a dot-matrix printer, of course. I can't imagine that it was interoperable either, but it was less expensive. And it was the gateway drug to the life I lead today.…continue reading →

“Jobs Made Apple Great By Ignoring Profit”

Via Posterous
From the Australian paper TheAge, Jobs made Apple great by ignoring profit by Clayton Christensen and James Allworth (Reuters):
Steve Jobs retires as the CEO of Apple with a reputation that will place him amongst the pantheon of history's great global business leaders. Many people have written about what makes Jobs and Apple special, but I think they're missing what truly set him apart. Jobs has succeeded by eschewing the one thing that most people view as the raison d'être for companies — profit. When I left the industry to come to academia 22 years ago, it was driven by a set of questions that had troubled me for some time. Why was it that the best run companies in the world — companies that have had incredibly smart leaders, following carefully detailed plans and with tremendous execution ability — reliably seem to come unstuck? The answer to this question is what has become known as the theory of disruption.
It's not often I argue with Christensen -- one of his books on disruption is a cornerstone of a class I've taught at the University of Washington since 2003. …continue reading →