Posts tagged “wired”

And what about the frog?

In the The Wired 40 I was intrigued to see

2005 Rank: 22
Singapore-based Flex-tronics pioneered outsourced electronics manufacturing for blue-chip customers like Motorola and Nortel. Now the sprawling company wants to own another link in the value chain: product design.

Pardon? Flextronics already bought and then sold frogdesign.


Seems like Wired is playing kinda loose (if not completely off the mark) with their glib faux-analysis.

Lego grabs ahold of customers with both hands

Great Wired piece about involving ardent fans/customers in developing future products. Clearly, having the right attitude about your customers, and a whole lot of letting go is essential to innovation (okay almost a bad pun there, sorry).

The one key difference between the four panelists and actual Lego staffers: a paycheck. For their participation, Hassenplug and his cohorts received a few Lego crane sets and Mindstorms NXT prototypes. They even paid their own airfares to Denmark. That was fine by Hassenplug. “Pretty much the comment from all four of us was ‘They’re going to talk to us about Legos, and they’re going to pay us with Legos?'” Hassenplug says. “‘They actually want our opinion?’ It doesn’t get much better than that.”


Some Lego executives worried that the hackers might cannibalize the market for future Mindstorms accessories or confuse potential customers looking for authorized Lego products.

After a few months of wait-and-see, Lego concluded that limiting creativity was contrary to its mission of encouraging exploration and ingenuity. Besides, the hackers were providing a valuable service. “We came to understand that this is a great way to make the product more exciting,” Nipper says. “It’s a totally different business paradigm – although they don’t get paid for it, they enhance the experience you can have with the basic Mindstorms set.” Rather than send out cease and desist letters, Lego decided to let the modders flourish; it even wrote a “right to hack” into the Mindstorms software license, giving hobbyists explicit permission to let their imaginations run wild.

Soon, dozens of Web sites were hosting third-party programs that helped Mindstorms users build robots that Lego had never dreamed of: soda machines, blackjack dealers, even toilet scrubbers. Hardware mavens designed sensors that were far more sophisticated than the touch and light sensors included in the factory kit. More than 40 Mindstorms guidebooks provided step-by-step strategies for tweaking performance out of the kit’s 727 parts.

Lego’s decision to tap this culture of innovation was a natural extension of its efforts over the past few years to connect customers to the company.

Wired on Reinventing Television

Pretty good Wired interview with Jon Stewart and Ben Karlin. Wired, being Wired, is pushing these guys to say brilliant stuff about the future, about technology, business models being revamped, distribution channels being introduced, utter changes in how we watch and how they make. But Stewart and Karlin continue to resist, falling back on their stance of hey, we just make a show; we’re show makers. But they get them to give up this quote

Karlin: From a creative standpoint, there used to be this idea that network was the holy grail and that cable was where people went who couldn’t work on network. That’s the old model. And now that there’s just as many quality shows coming out of cable – on FX there’s good shows, Comedy Central has good shows, HBO Ôø? I think the audience is going to cease noticing, “Oh, that’s got the NBC logo on it.”
Stewart: It’s the idea that the content is no longer valued by where it stands, in what neighborhood it lives. What matters is what you put out there, not its location. I think that’s what people have come to learn from the Internet – it doesn’t matter where it comes from. If it’s good, it’s good. Just because our channel is after HGTV and right before Spanish people playing soccer doesn’t make it any less valuable than something that exists in the single digits on your television set.

which just struck me as untrue. I think the networks (and by that I mean cable networks as well as network networks) have built pretty strong brands that attract people. HBO, especially. On one hand, I guess they’re saying that the network (ABC CBS NBC) is not the purest endorser of quality any more, that’s absolutely true, but the statement the location of the content has no meaning and the show is judged on its own merit, well, that doesn’t seem true at all.

Reminds me of some recent ethnographic work with consumers about food and groceries. Without revealing anything confidential, I think I can mention that I was surprised by how strong the grocery store brand was in conveying positive meaning about food choices. Far stronger than any indvidual food producer brand. Perhaps an analogy for HBO (the place you get Sopranos and Six Feet Under). Perhaps not.

looking forward, looking backward

You can’t look forward without looking backwards. LukeW writes about Web2.0 – a buzzword that some will be sick of already while others have certainly never heard before. Luke’s soundbites are likely only to confuse those outside the geekstream, but I’ll say that to me it refers to (and maybe this is obvious) the next era or (ulp) paradigm shift in dot-com companies. I suspect this meme is connected to the story about Silicon Valley being “back” (in terms of VC money, IPOs, new companies, jobs, and just general dot-com-type excitement).

An important and timely companion to thinking ahead is to look at where we’ve been. Kevin Kelly, writing in Wired, looks back at 10 years of the Internet in We Are The Web. Elsewhere in that issue is an excellent timeline that ironically doesn’t seem to be available online.

Wired immune to PR

In this Wired piece on Beck Steve Silberman writes “If you feel like you’ve been hearing about Beck’s new album everywhere lately, you probably have. Like most major-label hits, Guero’s ubiquity is the result of a carefully calibrated PR campaign that began long before the CD’s street date. But Beck and his label, Interscope, went way beyond the norm, supplementing the usual onslaught of TV, radio, and print marketing with a cross-platform blitz of iTunes exclusives, downloadable videos, and releases catering to digital consumers. This includes a deluxe CD/DVD-Audio package featuring a 5.1-surround mix and visuals you can control with your DVD player’s remote.”

Seems like he’s confusing PR with marketing and with product. PR is what got this piece written. We’re hearing about Beck right as we read the article. In a print publication. There’ll probably be a piece in the New Yorker, next weekend’s Sunday NYT, something on NPR, and of course Rolling Stone magazine and beyond. That doesn’t happen because of marketing – marketing helps create consumer awareness. The articles appear not because the journos are savvy and are tracking what’s hot, but because PR flack calls or emails or faxes to the right people at the publication and “sells” them on the idea of writing about it.

And Silberman knows that; he’s a professional journalist (ipso facto; he’s being published in Wired), so why this disingenous reporting on the technological innovation in product delivery and marketing under the label of PR? I guess it positions Wired as being immune to the machincations of the companies for whom they (and all of the media, including the “public” or “indie” media) willingly shills; rather we imagine Wired as investigative and cutting-edge. Which is of course, bullshit.

Wired News: Wired News Releases Source Review

Wired goes all journalistic on our blog-readin’ asses

In April, we assigned journalism professor and Wired News columnist Adam Penenberg to review recent articles written by Delio for Wired News. Penenberg and his staff of graduate students at New York University reviewed 160 articles, largely from 2004, but some earlier stories were also checked. Penenberg provided Wired News with a list of 24 stories that contained sources he could not confirm (links are included at the end of this story)

Wired 13.05: Seoul Machine

Wired has a nice history of Samsung

In his 1996 New Year’s address, Lee proclaimed the Year of Design Revolution. He was referring to design in the broadest sense – not just styling but consumer research and marketing as well. Engineers had once defined new products and decided what features to give them; now specialists in everything from industrial design to cognitive science would take that role. When Lee issued his decree, ‘most of us didn’t understand what he was talking about, ‘ says Kook-hyun Chung, the senior vice president who heads the Corporate Design Center in Seoul. ‘Now we understand that we have a new, bigger, broader responsibility.


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