Hagel: Consumer Electronics Show – in Shanghai?

Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Consumer Electronics Show – in Shanghai?

"One thing that the media failed to cover was the continuing shift in production and design of more and more of consumer electronics devices to Taiwan and mainland China. It would have been interesting to do an analysis of how many of the products on display in Las Vegas were manufactured in Taiwan or mainland China and then to determine how many of these products were also designed in those countries.

A good news hook for the story might have been the recent announcement that “China has replaced America as the world’s largest exporter of IT goods” according to new figures released by the OECD. Actually, this happened in 2004, but it was just reported last month. Also, the statistic applies to all IT goods, not just consumer electronics.

OK, I know all the objections. Most of China’s exports are in low-end IT products. A lot of the exports are sub-systems and components that get integrated into IT devices sold by US companies.

Granted. But those of you who read my writings know that my focus is not on the snapshot. My focus instead is on the trajectory and relative pace of change."

Leander Churbuck

Leander Churbuck

I think this is the painter I have heard a lot about over the years. Falmouth-based. Died 1940.

CMO Magazine Ceases Publication

CMO – The Resource for Marketing Executives – Home Page – CMO Magazine

Sad days for a great publication: 

"CXO Media suspends publication of CMO magazine As we have chronicled in our print magazine and on our website, one of the CMO’s greatest challenges is balancing a plan for long-term growth with the pressures to produce short-term results. An inability to strike the proper balance is a key contributor to the CMO’s startling 24-month average tenure. At CMO magazine, we share your struggles – and your short shelf life. Current business realities require us to suspend publication of our 16-month-old magazine as of the January 2006 issue. The extraordinary feedback and support from the CMO community has not been enough to sustain and grow our advertising-supported business in what has become a severely challenged publishing environment. As a result, we have decided to hit the pause button, take a step back, and consider alternative business plans. It is my sincere hope that we will be able to return with an exciting strategy to invigorate the business and once again begin serving what has quickly become a faithful community of senior marketing executives and other marketing practitioners. We will keep the website lit up so you can continue to access our existing content. And Constantine von Hoffman will continue for now to offer his unique insights from his blog. In the meantime, I would like to thank you, our loyal readers, for your patronage, your thoughtful feedback, and your commitment to helping us build this new brand. I would like to thank our advertisers and sponsors for their staunch support. I would like to thank our publisher, Steve Twombly, along with the rest of the sales, marketing, operations and events staff at CXO Media for their tireless efforts in launching CMO in 2004 and driving it forward over the past year and a half. Most of all, I would like to thank CMO’s talented team of writers, editors and designers for producing a consistently high-quality magazine that surpassed everyone’s expectations. The flame burns brightest, the saying goes, just before it flickers out. CMO has never burned more brightly.

Rob O’Regan, Editor in Chief

Paul Conley blogs a nice tribute. 

Cringely on Pay-Per-Click Nuking Publishing

PBS | I, Cringely . December 29, 2005 – Stop the Presses!

Cringley takes a unique look at the effect of Yahoo and Google on traditional publishing models, offering a unique perspective that the challenge is the shift in ad spending away from "passive" media, ie a print ad which has no intelligence nor accountability, but real estate, arguing that there is no way a typical web page can duplicate the ad-edit ratio imposed on print by 2nd Class postage rates. While a stretch, he does hit close to the nerve — that the avalanche towards accountable pay-per-click is putting huge deflationary pressure on content value as publisher rush to make the online transition but find there simply isn’t the same economic margins from a page view on "glass" vs paper. 

"…pay-per-click, which is brutally honest, where every successful ad has efficacy and advertisers have a pretty darned good idea what they are getting for their money. This reality is precisely why magazines, newspapers, and television are losing revenue to pay-per-click. It is a trend that is likely to continue, and can only result in a degradation of production standards on the print side to match the reduced revenue potential of the online business, where BS gives way to measurable, though impoverished, results."

The play for publishers is to recast themselves as editorial creators and more as a marketing service firms — this is where lead generation comes in, the online equivalent of the old reader service bingo cards that cluttered the back of most pubs in the past. By becoming extensions to their advertisers’ marketing and sales efforts, publishers are putting themselves periously out into a frontier they are neither comfortable with operationally nor ethically.

I think the play for online publishers is to embrace the one thing that distinguishes them from marketing pimps — their editorial ethics and objectivity — and begin to provide a neutral haven for their audience’s information. Taking that information as currency and then acting as a blind drop broker in sharing it, and protecting it, from advertisers. By continuing to gate content, rent lists, and otherwise pimp their readers to their advertisers, publishers will diminish their credibility further, alienate the audience, and lose the one piece of credibility that distinguishes them from the herd — objectivity and neutrality.

I’ll develop the rant further in the future. 


Lenovo touts notebooks, Olympics push | CNET News.com

Lenovo touts notebooks, Olympics push | CNET News.com


Career Change – I depart CXO for Lenovo

January 16 will mark a major personal transition for me as I leave the world of online media for the world of online marketing and global technology. I will be joining Lenovo as Vice-President of Web Marketing, relocating to Raleigh-Durham and the Research Triangle, where I will be working under Lenovo’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Deepak Advani.



I’ve had a great eight months at IDG since joining on May 2, 2005, working with the CXO team to realize the value of CIO.com, CMOmagazine.com, CSOonline.com and Darwinmag.com. Traffic is up. Revenues are strong, and the strategy to really make the business takeoff and soar is in place.  CEO Mike Friedenberg has put the company on a solid course towards success, and IDG President, Bob Carrigan has imbued IDG’s global publishing operations with the kind of energy and direction that will insure IDG’s continued status as the preeminent global IT publisher. I’d like to thank my team at CXO Online for their dedication and passion. They are:


I offer my best wishes to Rob O’Regan, editor-in-chief of CMO Magazine and former McKinsey and PC Week colleague.  Lew McCreary, CXO’s editorial director, Abbie Lundberg, editor-in-chief of CIO, and the many colleagues within CXO and across IDG who have made the past eight months some of the most productive and fulfilling of my career.

Now to answer the question, "why Lenovo?"

Lenovo is best known in the U.S. for its acquisition in late 2004 of IBM’s PC business (that acquisition was completed in the spring of 2005),  taking over the Think line of laptops and desktops. Prior to that deal, the company had a low profile in the US, known in its former incarnation of Legend Computer, the largest PC company in China, a market that Lenovo still dominates with nearly a third of the market share. Lenovo markets its own line of PCs in Asia, separate from the Think line, and is a major player in cellphones and consumer electronics.

Part of my portfolio of responsibilities will be the blogosphere, to build the Lenovo brand online and develop an online strategy that emphasizes Lenovo’s commitment to "innovation that matters." I’ll be operating globally.

The combination of best-in-class products (I blog this on a ThinkPad and lust for an X41 Tablet), an incredibly dynamic global corporation, the  challenge of building the brand (my family and friends all ask, "how do you spell that?"), and my love for the online world ultimately made the decision to join Lenovo the right one.

I will remain reachable through comments here, and on my personal mail david at-sign churbuck dot. com. 



Jim Forbes: Intel to Modify Its Branding

My Weblog: Intel to Modify Its Branding

 The always-provocative Jim Forbes on Intel’s rebranding announcement going down at CES this week.

"I wish someone would take Intel’s Paul Otellini aside at CES next week and tell him that unless you’re Apple, almost no one buys a computer based on branding."

Hmm. Dunno if I buy into that theory. "Dude, you’re getting a Dell?" Cow boxes from Gateway? Charlie Chaplin? If PCs are toasters — as Forbes once postulated to me when he asked the question: "Ever wonder why there is no trade rag called `ToasterWeek?’", then why do people buy $300 toasters from Williams-Sonoma?

There is always a bit of a bling-bling contest in business class on any airline. Do you want to be Mr. Mediocrity with a clunky notebook that looks like something out of the former East German republic or do you want the thinnest, most platinum, most decked out little cutie on the fold-down tray? It’s all about minimalism, about sleek, about the unobtainable. The commodity in computing is the apps and OS — that’s why Apple is differentiated — but the differential is the quality of the box, the horsepower, and the status of ownership. Having lugged a woefully underpowered, but delightfully designed Fujitsu P2040 Lifebook around Europe, I can attest to the envy that little baby induced in my fellow passengers.

Forbes is right that Intel has to do something about impermeable brand designators like the "Centrino" – who knows what it means? 

Addictive Tool – Sony IC Voice Recorder

As a recent acolyte to the Getting Things Done (GTD) movement — living my life around to-do lists, inboxes, and open loops (read David Allen’s book) — I am always looking way to squeeze the most of the temporal situation. One of Allen’s tips is to organize to-do lists around settings, ie, have a seperate to-do list for when you’re home, running around doing errands, and another for when you are at your desk. Segment the items to the time and setting. Clear your inbox and catch up on reading on a long flight. Make phone calls at your desk when you have an open hour.

Car time is an interesting gap to try to fill. I use my commute to listen to podcasts, return some phone calls (I don’t use a headset and drive a stick-shift, so phoning is not my preferred activity), and thanks to a four-year old device, get some serious work done.

The device of which I speak is the Sony IC Recorder, specifically the ICD-MS1, which I purchased over the summer of 2000 when I joined McKinsey and had the crazed idea that I could use voice recognition software to dictate a novel. (voice recognition is well and good if you train it, but the amount of background noise in a car makes the recognition difficult at best).

The device gathered dust until I read Allen’s book and started using it to dictate my daily to-do list on the ride into work. The controls are intuitive enough to figure out in the dark. I hit record and blurt out whatever random thing I need to do into the microphone, hit pause, think for a second or two, hit pause again and blurt out another item. When I get to my desk I pop out the Sony Memory stick, stick it into an external USB drive, open up the voice recorder software on my Thinkpad, and transcribe the results into a Microsoft One-Note list.

It was pretty expensive at the time — more than $200 — but has paid for itself over the past three months.


Definitely a keeper and I’m sure Sony has a more modern version somewhere in its catalogue. A microcassette recorder would work as well, but the software that Sony provides is very amenable to transcription, with slow-down functions and the ability to archive files into folders. 

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