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Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

(Still The) World’s Most Powerful Medium! – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on April 19, 2017

#TelevisionIn4Words is a trending hashtag on Twitter right now. I contributed to that stream with:

“World’s Most Powerful Medium!”
Yes, better believe it, it still is.
You get, as I tagged the post, “#media #news #entertainment #opinion #history #music #comedy #politics #sports #weather” all in one ‘box’!
How many heads of state, or sports champions, or politicians, or businessmen, refuse to be interviewed for TV and say, “No, no TV interviews, tweet me or ask me on FaceBook.” ?
Much that many of us complain about how TV quality sucks these days, very few spend hours daily watching TV reruns from the ‘good old days’. If anything, more and more global citizens are now getting and experiencing the power of television.
Its influence will get even greater as even greater network bandwidth and Internet technology takes global TV to every corner where traditional TV antenna broadcasts could not reach.
And, news flash for those who claim that TV is dead. When you watch video programming, dramas, sports, music, and entertainment on your iPad or smartphone, you are still watching ‘television‘ programming, even if you are not sitting in front of a television set.
Just because the shape and size of the screen change, it does not mean the medium has died.
Stay tuned… television imagery may become holographic or directly tuned into our heads one day in the future, but TV is here to stay. In many ways, it is up to the television industry on how much of the best is still to come.
What do you think?

Imran Anwar
http://IMRAN.TV

Posted in Business, culture, History, Imran, Innovation, Journalism, Media, Music, Opinion, Politics, Society, Strategy, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Workloads Should Or Shouldn’t Move To The Cloud? – IMRAN

Posted by imrananwar on May 30, 2016

Posted in Cloud, Cloud Computing, Fortune 500, Imran, Imran Anwar, Innovation, Management, Opinion, Strategy, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

To Achieve Greatness In The Digital World, Respect Intellectual Property & Innovate, Or Be Irrelevant! – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on December 23, 2014

The article (Tech In Pakistan 2014) in the reputable Pakistan newspaper, Dawn, makes good points lamenting the mind numbingly stupid, and self-destructive, policies and factors that make for such “tepid performance” in Pakistan. The author, Y. Brohi, points how one does not need an army of people to launch a startup. My personal experience proved that, indeed, even one person can start a revolution or entire industries for others to build on.

In the end of the 80s and early 1990s, I was fortunate and blessed to pioneer and launch Internet email service in Pakistan right from my home in Gulberg-III, Lahore, while I was studying for my MBA at Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York City. Together we, my partner & friend Ashar Nisar and I, were able to launch the .PK ccTLD, literally putting Pakistan on the brave new digital world’s map.

I later also had the opportunity to make another, less known but also important, humble contribution to Pakistan’s economic progress, by bringing and launching global credit cards in Pakistan, starting with issuing the first MasterCard license to a Pakistani bank in the early 90s. The availability of credit to the middle class can be a major driver to drive economic activity and the creation of products, services and related jobs.

Both of those industries were launched with no government funding (actually, we succeeded despite resistance and other tactics of the authorities of that time that I will not mention), and without venture capital, which at that time was near impossible to get in Pakistan.

My reason for writing this is not to boast on past achievements but to exhort the dynamic and hard working Pakistani entrepreneurs to learn from what the article says and what my experience shows.

You, one person, can start anything you want. There is nothing stopping the next secure identity and privacy solution to be created in Pakistan. There is no reason that artificial intelligence or secure cloud computing methods cannot be pioneered by Pakistanis.

If there is one thing that I have been frustrated by, and feel is a core reason for Pakistanis not creating world changing new things, is the disregard for intellectual property rights and concepts. From people ripping DVD movies to kids ripping games without payment, to the shameless way so-called respectable newspapers (excluding Dawn) steal and reprint others’ creative output, theft of intellectual property is commonplace, and almost something people boast about.

How then can people think in terms of creating intellectual property if they are themselves busy stealing someone else’s? That attitude is embedded in our culture and needs to be addressed. Without that, all the creative capabilities of Pakistanis will continue to be wasted on copying or reverse engineering others’ work, not creating brave new IP to change the world. 

I would love to see that topic get discussed at a national level. There are few nations that have so much creative entrepreneurial talent than Pakistan, as I have seen in my ~30 years of traveling the world.

Let us find ways to stimulate that and channel that and guide that for the greater good of the creators and the nation. That is why, in speaking to groups of Pakistani entrepreneurs and technology professionals, I say, “To Achieve Greatness In The Digital World, Respect Intellectual Property And Innovate With Your Own, Or Be Irrelevant!”

IMRAN™
http://imran.pk

Posted in Cloud Computing, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Internet, Media, Pakistan, Security, Technology, Venture Capital | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Keep A Finger On The Pulse Of Fingerprint Readers In Gadgets

Posted by imrananwar on September 12, 2013

By now everyone has probably seen the news about Apple‘s recently launched iPhone 5S. Even as an old time iPhone fan, I had stopped buying new ones since the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 had not given me any compelling reason to buy one either. Ironically, in that period of time, even as an old time Mac user and past critic of old versions of Windows, I joined Microsoft

I did not immediately get a Windows Phone (even though I was losing out an employee discount) and waited until the phone I really wanted came out….. The Nokia Lumia 1020 WindowsPhone 8, with its 41MP mind-blowing smartphone camera, which I bought without a discount or employee rebate. I still kept and use my iPhone 4S, because of the many apps I had bought over the years, and music that is tied to iTunes/Apple at present.

I was very hopeful for a truly innovative iPhone 5S, because, even though Apple’s phone is now a direct competitor to my employer’s recently acquired smartphone business, I believe innovation at one leading competitor benefits us all, as others have to work hard, invest in innovation and build great devices and services around them.

But, try as I might, despite being eligible for the new iPhone 5 upgrade from AT&T, I did not see any compelling reason to buy this one, at least yet, while my 4S is working fine. The only thing that I found of some interest was the fingerprint reader Apple built in, based on a company it had bought not too long ago.

I have always been a fan of natural interfaces or input devices. 

Ironically, my first fingerprint reader was actually a Microsoft branded one I bought for one of my PCs in the days I was a big time Mac fan.

A few years ago I discovered Authentec‘s USB readers and bought several, especially as they could work on my Macs and my PCs.

Some time later their prices dropped drastically and I found Apple had bought the company. So, predicting that the next generation iPhone would have fingerprint capability was not a leap of genius. 

However, I have to say my experience with the Authentec USB pluggable fob readers was frustrating, to the extent I do not use them anymore. Sometimes it would take half a dozen attempts of aligning the finger, the reader and Jupiter with Saturn before it would accept the print. I found simply typing in my complex password took less time and frustration.

Ironically, now that my current position is with Microsoft, I am happy that the technology is becoming more mainstream even if launched by a competitor. Such wide distribution of technology features leads to a greater pressure on everyone to improve the technology. (Remember how frustrating BlueTooth was early on?).

I have a fingerprint reader built into the new Lenovo Windows 8 (now. 8.1 🙂 ) laptop I got earlier this year, and it works smoothly, quickly and without trouble (so far!).

So, I am hoping to see more of that technology in other laptops and smartphones. Let the new game begin…. Touch And Go (Innovate!).

 

 

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Posted in Apple, Imran, Imran Anwar, Innovation, Microsoft, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From “Apple Forever” To “Apple? Whatever…”

Posted by imrananwar on April 18, 2013

A contact of mine commented on my light-hearted FaceBook post about it being time to stop using Apple products like iPhone etc. 

She wrote, “Apple til I die”.

That made me think how in 1996Apple was written off for dead, and my web post (before it was called blogging) Imran Anwar’s Opinion on The Future of Apple Computers told Apple users not to give up hope as Apple would survive. Yet now I have no love for Apple now, which acts far more monopolistic than Microsoft was accused of with its Internet Explorer domination back then. 

Today, Apple is steadily losing people like me. I’ve been a Mac user since Apple created them, and have been a loyal user ever since. There was also a certain exclusivity to Apple products, the same market share as Mercedes Benz and BMW was not a bad thing to have with a company that was still profitable and made really cool stuff. But, even before I joined Microsoft, I had been getting fed up with Apple.

In the interest of full disclosure, since last year I have been working with Microsoft, on a strategy consulting project at the Department of Defense. But, my frustration with Apple, which began a few years ago, and has reached total disgust levels, is easily seen from my posts (many even deleted by the criticism-rejecting-content-Nazis at Apple’s discussion boards) on the Apple customer fora. 

More and more often flakier and flakier services (including being ripped off by the class-action lawsuit worthy Music Match that never worked, and the promised refund that was never delivered), major bugs Apple idiotically tried to ignore (antenna gate, the known but never acknowledge static noise bug in iPhone 4S), stupid ugly apps (like GameCenter, PassBook, etc. that you cannot delete and can’t even push to end of apps lists off the phone screen, Apple deliberately shoves them to front screen on reboots), the Maps app that various police departments have called LIFE-THREATENING-TO-USE, Apple’s total lack of variety in phone models, making iPhone 5 a bit longer and with no truly desirable new features, … the list goes on.. would be enough. But even the air of exclusivity is gone… on top of the actual ability to deliver major innovation.

I am not a fan of Android at all, but, I have to give credit to Samsung for really shaking things up in more and more categories, while Apple is playing defense even in segments it made commercially successful.

So, I am not dumping my dozen old Macs and MacBook Pros, iMacs and tens of thousands of dollars in Mac OS based software I bought. But even as an Apple tech (not company) fan, I did not buy the iPhone 5, I did not buy the iPad mini, I did not buy the MacBook Pro Retina, etc. {Though I apparently will need to spend money because the 2010 MacBook Pro I use is apparently one that has a known manufacturing defect. Apple will quietly replace the logic board on it — if you can afford to part with your machine for nearly a week — but I can’t do that as I had since then upgraded to a larger hard drive and do not know where my original drive is). 

I am not the only one from the core Mac loving Apple customers who find the company is due to be kicked off its high horse, that has been limping even more noticeably since Steve Jobs’ passing.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Apple will right itself, go back to innovation, and actually building quality products again?

PS Note, these are my personal opinions. I do not even work on any products or software for Microsoft but do strategy consulting for one of its clients.

Posted in Apple, Innovation, Microsoft, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blind Emulation Of Industries Like Technology & Entertainment Can Kill Pharma Firms & People!

Posted by imrananwar on August 24, 2012

McKinsey Quarterly, a business and strategy  journal I respect and enjoy reading, did a recent article “Pharma manufacturing for a new era: The sector can restore lost value by focusing intently on manufacturing innovation.” This was one that I found logical sounding, but also found difficult to completely agree with.

It is an interesting analysis of what pharmaceutical industry players need to do, to be more like other big industries, in manufacturing operations. But therein lies the rub… pharma cannot completely be like other industries. The writers give examples of how it can learn from archetypical firms like Intel and Disney…. and the steelmaker, Nucor, which left me completely amazed.

Pharmaceutical firms face existential threats not because they do not have cool manufacturing plants like Intel, but when they spend billions in what can sometimes be nothing more than a scientific educated gamble. They can come up with something that “seems to work OK” and  then be denied the right to sell the resulting product — as it may have side-effects no one can predict — because the ultimate recipient, the human body, is still such a mystery. 

Keep in mind, I am no defender of pharma, much less any big industry. But, I want them to get a fair shake. Like many industries that get too big, and can (seem to) make “obscene” profits in the eyes of people, pharma gets the worse of both words compared to banking, oil companies, etc.

On the one hand people accuse them of exploiting suffering and on the other hand complain about the lack of more blockbuster drugs. That is not even counting the conspiracy theorists and others who suggest governments and pharma companies conspire to sit on cures for things like cancer “to make more money.” {How NOT selling a cure and sitting on it makes more money they are unable to explain}.

We want firms to fund billions in research at their own risk, but ask them to throw it away the minute one patient in a trial dies of a heart attack (as happened just this week with a major drug trial). We put them through onerous processes that can take years, if not decades, then we complain about the time to market for new drugs. We look the other way when they lose billions on a failed drug, but then complain when they finally make a profit on something that (seems to) work… at least until some unknown side-effect pops up years later.

Much that we like Utopian ideals of only launching drugs that have no side-effects, and cost very little, we cannot forget that we live in the real world.

Intel can design a new version of a chip, usually based on an existing architecture, or even a new one entirely, but most likely targeted at one of its usual areas… e.g. CPUs for PCs, or cell phones. Pharma does not have the luxury of saying, we will keep redesigning and launching new versions of a drug every 90 days going after the same sore-throat market as the existing product.

Intel can decide to enter a new industry, say, chips for car entertainment systems, but using almost all the same core knowledge, with the same known laws of physics, electronics engineering and manufacturing, that they use for their other chips. Even if they decide to go into some new type of ASIC (application specific integrated circuit), they can use existing knowledge, skills, processes, people, manufacturing and some levels of innovation to quickly bring the chip to market, seed it to OEMs, see how it works, and go back to designing the next version improving on the last one. They do not have to wait for a trial of 100,000 devices over 2-5 years while they await approval from a government authority (like the FDA in USA) before they can actually “launch” or monetize the product. 

The writers’ giving the example of Disney in a discussion on pharmaceuticals left me even more puzzled. Yes, DIsney went from a movies-based business into an entertainment conglomerate, but how does that relate to pharmaceutical manufacturing? Should pharma firms start selling soda, chocolates and cigarettes to move from being a medicine-based business to a “conglomerate of products that go down people’s throats“?

The final comparison the article above makes is to the steel industry, mentioning Nucor. I am sorry, but which one of us would like to have our medicines, that go into our mouths, stomachs, hearts, brains, and bloodstreams, be made by pharma companies that somehow emulate (no disrespect to steelworkers) the steel industry!?

Yes, pharma firms need to focus more on strategy (all industries do), and learn from every other industry what makes sense to learn and emulate. Yes, they need more innovation (all industries do). Yes, we all know, almost any known product or manufacturing process in the world can be improved. NO, you cannot emulate Disney, Intel and Nucor to somehow become more successful in creating, manufacturing, and delivering safe, reliable, inexpensive, drugs that will win approval, of authorities, doctors and the rest of us.

Such blind emulation of other industries like Technology, Steel & Entertainment can kill not just the Pharma industry, but real people, like us!

Posted in Imran, Imran Anwar, Innovation, Intel, Strategy, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan – Do You Need Help In This Economy? – “Help Us Help US”

Posted by imrananwar on January 8, 2009

Are things looking bad in this economy? Who’s bailing you out? Could you use $25,000 right about now?

Here is a working plan that will save us and the US.

Financial deregulation started under the Clinton era and, through the terrible mismanagement under George W. Bush, the economy melted. Now TRILLIONS of Dollars were given away by Bush to bailout industries that put you, me and our entire economy at risk. Even failing carmakers are getting Billions. Are you getting a dime?

Obama has good ideas but they are not enough to do anything for you, for us, for the US in the immediate situation. We need help NOW.

Here is the IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan.

It provides a specific way to trigger an economic recovery within 90 days. Ninety Days, not 9 months or 9 years.

Imran Anwar ( http://imran.com/media/blog/ ) explains the plan and the specifics on how it would work. Using a simple example with numbers, he shows how much money you would get, how you can spend it to stabilize your situation and help the economy. Finally, he explains how the government gets the money back – so we are not all paying trillions in higher taxes for money that makes bankers and other failed executives even richer at our expense while we lose homes, jobs, cars and our future.

This plan ensures legal American residents, citizens and taxpayers are bailed out. They can spend money on American businesses, so more Americans can be hired and the American government can get tax revenues again to ensure a stronger future for AMERICANS.

Would $25,000 to $30,000 help you today? If you want to get help, do something. Take action. It’s easy.

Please tell everyone you know about this ERP (Economic Recovery Plan).

Please share on FaceBook, MySpace, your blog, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon… call in on radio shows, email TV programs and hosts that you like. Write letters to editors.

If you don’t take action, no one will bail you out but you will be paying for years for money given away to bankers, oil companies, automakers and other sleazy businesses. It’s your choice. Watch now and please rate it positively so others can hear the idea and support it. Help Us Help US!

Tags: Economy, Recovery, Bailout, Banks, Banking, Taxes, Tax, Bush, Clinton, Obama, Money, Borrow, Buy, Shopping, IMRAN, “Imran Anwar”, ImranAnwar, IMRAN.TV, “Economic Recovery Plan”, HelpUsHelpUS

Posted in America, Automakers, Automobiles, Bailout, Bank, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush, Business, Citibank, Clinton, Congress, Consumers, Credit, Credit Cards, Democrats, Deregulation, Detroit, Economic Recovery, Economy, Entrepreneur, Future, George Bush, Globalization, Imran, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, In My Humble Opinion, Innovation, Loan, Merchants, Obama, Opportunity, Republicans, Rescue, Socialism, Strategy, Treasury, USA, Video, Washington, Wealth | Leave a Comment »

Pssst, Want To Make Money Monetizing Social Networking Instead Of Time-Wasting Social NOT Working?

Posted by imrananwar on June 20, 2008

FaceBook, MySpace, linkedin, and so many other social networking sites offer great ways to connect with people – and lose touch with reality (and the total time spent on a computer). That is even before location-aware GPS and RFID devices, married to addictive platforms like FaceBook, Twitter and MySpaceTime.net (more on that later) make social networking mean even more being social and not working even during working hours.

It is so ironic that just about 16 years I wrote an article contradicting people’s then assertion that computers and the Internet were going to make us all anti-social.

Having started what was considered the first online matrimonial sites, at http://imran.com, I dared to disagree.

I felt that though we may spend more time on our computers, the Internet would actually help us find that one in a million connection from places around the world we could never have gone or known or met that person.

Little did I realize how social networking would grow. Lesson learnt, something that you consider merely a social observation, or the earliest makings of a trend, must be pursued zealously even as the trend changes shapes and directions from market forces. If you are riding, even shaping, it along the way, your opportunities to start something huge are….well, huge.

Of course, as is my forte, I have a knack for starting new things. But, in the past I also had a “rebel without a cause” habit of not sticking around in such businesses long enough to become a millionaire off them. So, my advice is to never lose your idealism – as that is what will help you achieve the impossible. But, temper that idealism with pragmatism.

Wanting something to be a commercial success does not necessarily mean you “sold out” your dream. Take an alternate view. If you work hard and make Project X a huge money-making success, even if you have to sell the company to investors or venture capitalists, you did not sell out.

All you did was leverage Project X to give you the freedom to freely experiment and play with your many other some-crazy some-great ideas without being worried about getting funding for them. That can take you from being a “serial entrepreneur” to a “parallel serial entrepreneur”, capable of trying multiple new ideas and businesses and achieving success far beyond what Project X alone would have given you.

In my own case, idealism was a strength, but it was also definitely a huge liability. Usually, I sat back and a few years later watched someone else do the same thing, with funding instead of personal funds, and grow rich/er. I saw the same thing as online dating grow into a huge business with the likes of match.com and others many years after I had launched the first matrimonials database.

When I started Internet email for my native country of Pakistan, I also became “co-owner and co-founder” of the .PK top level domain with my friend and neighbor, the technical genius Ashar Nisar, who went on to establish PKNIC to manage the ccTLD.

Besides getting a kick out of being called “father of the Internet” (at least in Pakistan), I even gave many people free email addresses on imran.pk (the country’s first email provider and ISP) to promote email. But, never could I have imagined that sticking around giving something for free I could later have sold it to a giant corporation as hotmail.com did a few years later. Oh, well. Live and learn.

Today, FREE is a valid business model. If you grow a business large enough, no matter how much money it is losing, as long as you have enough users, someone will buy you out for millions of Dollars.

When I started writing an online journal and political opinions (Occasionally Obnoxious, Obviously Outspoken Opinions) at http://imran.com in 1995-96, little did I know that I could have built some sort of “blogging” empire on that.

Once again, despite having an MBA and thinking of myself as a savvy entrepreneur, I missed the boat. So, look around you – some of the very ordinary problems you are solving daily without thinking twice may hold within them huge business opportunities. First, recognize them. Then, go for them with everything you’ve got.

In 1995 I became a heavy GPS user in boating and later in aviation as a pilot. In 1998-2000 I became CEO of EverTrac, among the first out the gate selling RFID and GPS based solutions. Alas, as usual, like Panasonic’s slogan, I was just slightly ahead of my time.

Fortunately, EverTrac and my team survived the dot-com bust, but only because we were gobbled by a Fortune 50 level company – which did nothing with what they bought. Lesson learnt. It’s important to survive, but if you sell out to a big company, try not to feel heartache when they don’t make any use of the technology.

But, this current new momentum of GPS based devices we are seeing will prove I was on the right…. umm.. EverTrac?

Hopefully, this time, with my current projects, covering GPS, social networking and mobile-monetization – I’ll actually make some “real” money if I can sell something to a Google or Yahoo or, some even smarter business!

If that does not happen, I guess the pattern (or call it the Corporate Culture of an Entrepreneur) here is that I love to start new things, just before their time, that others make billions off later. But, so what? The sheer joy of starting something new, taking something from an idea that everyone says is dumb, or will never work, and making it at least take shape, get launched, and become popular is, in itself, a huge reward.

So, feel free to call me about what I an doing now. Surely I can help you become a Web 2.0 multi-millionaire doing whatever I am too lazy (or not smart enough 🙂 ) to make money from!

Good luck and God Speed, fellow entrepreneurs.

Posted in Billionaire, Business, Entrepreneur, FaceBook, Google, GPS, Innovation, Internet, Invention, Media, Monetization, Money, MySpace, MySpaceTime, New Media, Online, Opportunity, Pakistan, Revenue, Strategy, Technology, Time, Venture Capital | 5 Comments »

 
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