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Smaller, Faster, Cheaper – (Part 2)

Posted on Monday, Apr 9th 2007

By Lance Glasser, Guest Author

[Part 1]

For instance, we are seeing an exploding diversity in the number of materials that need to be measured. It seems that there is an unspoken race to put every non-radioactive material on the periodic table into an integrated circuit. Hafnium? Nickel? Sure.

Another aspect of this is that it is harder to predict the insertion node for new materials and structures than it is to predict linewidth shrinks. That means that the industry is often surprised by the push out of advanced materials, such as low-k dielectrics, and structures, such as FinFETs. This has added another layer of business risk. >>>

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MicroFinance and Rural Development

Posted on Monday, Apr 9th 2007

When I first started writing this blog, I wrote a series of pieces on MicroEntrepreneurship. Today, as the world is making giant leaps in embracing the entrepreneurship potential buried in the lowest rung of the poverty pyramid, I want to showcase a few of those pieces for your reading.

Tier 4 Market Definition : I invited discussion on this thread, but at the time, I did not have the readership I do today. So I would like to reiterate the invitation, now.

Coke, Pepsi, and the Indian Heartland : An exploration of Coke’s marketing strategy in rural India through the eyes of a boy.

Tupperware Party Around the Village Pond : Similar exploration around P&G and others.

How Big is the Global Candle Business? : Example of a product in global demand, and that can be manufactured for pennies in rural India, rural Africa, elsewhere.

Sick of Campbell Soups? : The opportunity in packaged foods.

These are ideas that could actually broaden the scope of microfinance from microlending to microequity, as ideas like candles and packaged foods, and many other products could actually become large scale businesses.

I would like to hear from the entrepreneurs focusing on these opportunities.

Tracking Progress: MIT OCW

Posted on Sunday, Apr 8th 2007

Great article from NYT about MIT’s Open Courseware effort: MIT Education in China, Minus the Degree. Read how a young Chinese millionaire translates OCW courses and evangelizes the program in China.

ZD Net reports on OCW: Six Years Later, Bigger Than Ever: “Celebrating its sixth anniversary, the OpenCourseWare Project’s goal is to put MIT’s course materials online, for free. The coursework is provided under a Creative Commons license which limits usage to noncommercial purposes only. According to Steve Carson, the project’s director of external relations, almost all 1,800 courses having some sort of representation online and the site is getting 2 million visits a month.”

OCW also has ambitions of creating the global knowledgebase for K-12 learning as well. If the topic interests you, you can read my interview with Raj Reddy from CMU.

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Smaller Faster Cheaper – (Part 1)

Posted on Sunday, Apr 8th 2007

By Lance Glasser, Guest Author

Craig Barrett used Smaller-Faster-Cheaper as a mantra at Intel for many years. This is truer today in the semiconductor business than it was even 10 years ago because the preponderance of the customers of the semiconductor industry has shifted from government, as it was in the early days, to industry to, in the last few years, the consumer. The semiconductor industry provides discretionary trinkets for jaded first-world teenagers, on one hand, and information appliances to the developing masses, on the other. Semiconductor companies compete on a global scale—Idaho competes with Germany competes with Japan competes with Korea competes with Taiwan competes with China. There is no shade from the blaze of competition. Price and margin pressures are enormous, and growing. >>>

Designs That Move: Louis Kahn’s Dhaka Assembly

Posted on Saturday, Apr 7th 2007

Louis Kahn preferred simple materials – brick and concrete – but worked with them with astonishingly facility, creating spaces that are both highly functional and spiritually uplifting.

For Kahn, architecture became the search for truth and buildings were living things. The Bangladesh project is a wonderful story in and of itself – a Jewish architect is brought to a Muslim country, building a 20,000-square-foot mosque for the National Assembly.

Read the review of My Architect, a film about Louis Kahn, made by his son.

kahn

TheFind: LifeStyle Shopping (Part 5)

Posted on Saturday, Apr 7th 2007

[Part 4] TheFind launched relatively recently, and has gained very good traction already. They are also generating some ad revenues at a $5-$10 CPM range via a partnership with Glam Media. Let’s hear more details from Siva.

SM: What stage are you at now?

SK: Our site has been open to consumers for the last five months and seeing very good user adoption. We have begun to generate revenues from CPC and will generating revenue from banner advertisements in a few weeks. We have also made significant progress on attracting key blog and content web sites as distribution partners.

With these market proof points under the belt, we are in the midst of raising a new outside round of financing which will take us to cash positive operations with the next twelve months, following which all options are open. Our company’s assets include the unique and patent pending technology we have developed and the broad market appeal we are seeing for our site among on our target audience. >>>

Newspapers: Industry in Turmoil

Posted on Friday, Apr 6th 2007

Alan Murray writes in the Wall Street Journal: “Last weekend’s “Billionaires Bid for Tribune” headlines were enough to warm the hearts of us Dickensian scribes who still seek to make a living from impressions on wood pulp. Savvy Chicagoan Sam Zell sold much of his U.S. real-estate empire at the top of the market; could his deal to buy Tribune Co., the big media company based in Chicago, be a signal that newspapers have hit bottom, and are ready to rise? Maybe. But it’s also possible that Mr. Zell is just joining the ranks of rich men who, having made their fortune elsewhere, are now ready to lose some of it in publishing.”

I have been reviewing the newspaper industry in a fair bit of detail over the last few months. Last July, I noted Yahoo’s discussions with newspapers around the Local offerings.

In August, the Washington Post announced their Blogroll program, to which I wrote, Newspapers, Wake Up!

I followed up last October with NYT : No Need to Wither, when talks of a buy-out came along. >>>

TheFind: LifeStyle Shopping (Part 4)

Posted on Friday, Apr 6th 2007

[Part 3] One of the questions I often explore with serial entrepreneurs, is how do they identify the next open problem to work on. In this segment, Siva explains his thought process on how he Found the Find.

SM: Under what circumstances did the company get started?
SK: The company was started in 2004 while exploring ideas to build a startup around the fast growing eBay ecosystem. In 2003/2004 eBay was doing extraordinarily well. In investigating what worked well with eBay and what did not, “search” came out to be far and away the biggest consumer problem preventing may people from using eBay; in fact it still is. >>>