Something I picked up recently in San Francisco. OK I don’t own it, but got to play with one waiting in a queue and talking to a developer waiting to get into a function at the conference I was attending. I was impressed. It looks a bit weird, but you ignore it until you want to look at it, at which point you look up and to the right a little and there, apparently a foot or so from your head is a little TV screen.
I liked the way they’d set up the interface which, as we’ve known ever since the Mac is the secret source of a great IT product like this. You talk to it and ask it to look stuff up, show you stuff, take pictures etc. And you can gesture to it by running your finger along the side of the black plastic near the eye-piece. This works like a scroll bar or dial and you can replay your day and generally use it to help you access files. One of the people in the queue said that it would likely replace a lot of smartphone use. One’s phone would stay in one’s pocket and you could use Google Glass to consult it most of the time, and you would then take out your smartphone when it was particularly apposite. I don’t know if that will happen, but I could see why he thought that.
Anyway, I was impressed. I doubt I want to be a leading edge user, but when they get it (even) better and cheaper, I might well be in for my chop.
Today’s column in the Age and SMH
Public private partnerships (PPPs) haven’t been such a happy experiment. Using private money to build arterial roads just increases their cost because private capital requires much higher returns than government borrowing.
But I’ve long wondered about a different kind of PPP that plays to the respective strengths of public and private sectors, rather than their weaknesses.
The economic textbook says governments must build public goods because private endeavour can capture only a tiny fraction of their total value to society. But Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia are all privately provided public goods. What’s going on?
People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why … you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company – it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be – I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!
I will miss you terribly.
Osper is a smart new London startup. Here’s its pitch to Angel investors.
Osper is a cash card for young people with a mobile banking app with login for mum and dad (with parental controls) and login for young people (which teaches responsible money management).
The cash card can be used anywhere, is setup within minutes and doesn’t require bank visits or complex paperwork.
The parent app can instantly lock the card, track transactions in real time, and manage loans from the bank of mum and dad! The young person’s app allows them to manage their own savings goals.
That’s all well and good. I’m surprised that the only mainstream parental ‘app’ that’s at all common in my experience is ‘net nanny’ type apps which filter out porn from websites. One of the things I’ve always wanted was software that would enable me to give my kids time limits for recreational use of a computer or a TV. Oh and software on the house wifi to enable you to check out what people were using it for, or, if you don’t like that, to impose download limits on different users. Alas, I think with enough savvy some of these things are possible, but they weren’t easy. And there are only 24 hours in the day.