Is the Cost of Innovation Worth it?

A great article explaining why focusing solely on a businesses current core strengths is not always a good thing. At least not in the long term.

I find it fascinating that many intelligent people fall into the trap of thinking that because their company has a competitive advantage in an area (whether  a market segment or a specific product) it means that they do not have to keep innovating. Often it’s born out of a fear of cannibalising the sales of existing products or what the market will think of their margins or a fear of competition. But look at three of the most successful companies going, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

First Apple is in no way shape or form afraid of cannibalising their own sales. If they were they would not have introduced the iPad Mini, the iPod touch or the iPhone 6 plus.

Second Amazon, Bezos has steadfastly ignored the markets desire to see Amazon’s profit margins increase. Instead Amazon continues to stick with margins that would barely allow others to continue operating. The strategy… grow market share. Amazon wants a share of every $ spent on line. This is the thinking that underpinned the Amazon Market place. Rather than competing with every online seller as well as with eBay, Amazon created a platform whereby everyone is a partner and pays them for the privilege. The pay off is starting to be seen as Amazon is now the first place most head when searching for products online.

Microsoft may not be first to the party but with pockets as deep as theirs they are able to play a long game. Don’t believe it? How about the Xbox it started out as the bit player in the console gaming market dominated by Sony and Nintendo. Now Nintendo are an after thought despite being the first to introduce motion sensors into gaming. Also the introduction of Office 365 subscriptions that include the right to install versions of office on multiple devices at no extra cost. Great for the consumer but not so good for the bottom line as they are foregoing revenue  on those sales in order to keep market share away from Google Docs (also Microsoft are still in the search game. Not nearly on the scale of Google but still enough for it to be worthwhile).

Speaking of Google it has been shown relying on advertising revenue to support a suite of free apps is not necessarily the best business model.

So next time you hear someone bemoaning the amount of money being invested into new product R&D tell them to stop being so short sighted and start thinking in terms of the long game!

A new player bringing Hadoop and Big Data to the massess

The Microsoft SQL Server team is not the only group looking to ​bring Big Data to the masses. Datameer has a desk top version of its eponymously titled 2.0 release that is shipping for $299 and a workgroup server for $2999. Unlike the MS solution this one doesn’t use Hive as the connector to the Hadoop MapReduce interface.

This now looks like Hadoop can scale in any direction. For more details check out the Big Data blog on ZDNet:;content

Blending Conventional and Big Data Access

In theory combining data access methods in a horses for courses concept is a great idea. It should allow data to be accessed in the manner most suitable for the task at hand. The one concern I have with it though is the increase in complexity it introduces.

If the approach taken by Hadapt helps to reduce that complexity as implied in this ZDNet Blog Post then it may be an approach that has appeal to business. If Microsoft are successful in bringing a similar concept to SS Management studio then business uptake will be rapid as it will provide that single pane of glass that IT departments (development and support) all crave.

Big Data – What is it and where is it heading

Gartner describes Big Data as being all about three V’s, Velocity, Variety and Volume and lots of each. Big Data is high velocity, high volume data that comes in many different forms from a diverse set of sources in a range of forms and formats (variety). The data tends to be unstructured or semi structured in nature making it difficult to handle through normal relational database structures and methodologies.

Traditionally much of this data has been discarded due to the cost of storage. This is a restriction that is coming to an end, and now that 20gb of Ram now costs less than a 20gb drive did 10 years ago the cost of keeping large data sets in memory is becoming a possibility.

Here’s a blog courtesy of ZDNet that aims to demystify Big Data and look at the trends and developments that are emerging.