Tuesday, February 01, 2005

This scenario is not too far away

As noted earlier on BoingBoing, this link to the ACLU's clip may be closer to the truth that we can imagine. I've had the pleasure of working with different vendors on several technologies that come very similar to this all under the umbrella of CRM.

In a nutshell, we want to run a large company as a small business.How do we do that? By enabling all pieces of customer information in the hands of the company representative.

Let's say that you are calling your mobile phone carrier. It is likely that they have all the phone numbers you dialed. They also have your social security number. It is not inconcievable now that they can get a lot of information about - who you dial the most, or who calls you the most; they can link with a host of publicly available information, crossreference your email id with all public accounts and get consumer data from Axciom and similar providers about your details.

What will the company rep do with all this information at their fingertips? Something very similar to the video clip above. All the public domain knowledge must be balanced responsibly with commercial interests. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if taking a legal approach to this problem is the only solution.... shouls software vendors be held accountable for explicit violations of privacy?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Robert Cringeley's expansion on the Mac mini

As quoted here Bob Cringeley has a great theory that involved two companies that I greatly respect in terms of their innovation and business models - Apple and Netflix.


"You do realize that the MiniMac is the Netflix killer, and the next wave of the "digital content" revolution? With the MiniMac, a decent set of HD movies as well as old content, an iFlix client connecting to legal content and BitTorrent to transmit, Apple has eliminated the most costly part of the NetFlix model while maintaining all of the good pieces. When you examine the NetFlix annual reports you can pull out the fact that one of their most expensive costs is the handling of physical media. The man power, physical shipping, and multiple location warehousing is much greater than the cost of getting the content.

"Apple can use their existing contract with Akamai to deliver graphics to instead act as a collection of Torrent Tracker nodes. All they need to do is to start to build the actual content and then wrap it in a reasonable DRM solution. Tie it to a program that keeps the list of movies that you want to watch in a download order, and then keeps the top 5-7 on your MiniMac. You sign a subscription with Apple to pay $20 a month to have 4 movies. Since the top 7-5 on your list are down, you could instantly check in one movie and check out the next one.

Compelling? I think so!