Hugh Pickens writes writes: "America loves bacon. Now CNBC reports that Proctor and Gamble has announced the newest addition to its product line with "Scope Bacon," the mouthwash that tastes like bacon while killing 99.9% of bad breath germs and keeping your breath minty fresh five times longer than brushing alone. According to their press release a synthetic bacon flavoring is infused in the unflavored mouthwash formula during the manufacturing process and "no pigs are harmed during the making of Scope Bacon." Scope's commercial on YouTube describes previous "crowning achievements of bacon." It's first crowning achievement? Being bacon. Other achievements include carbonated bacon, "spreadable bacon," bacon shaving cream, and a bacon Kevin Bacon portrait. Now comes the bacon mouthwash, "for breath that sizzles.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Mercury News reports that Nolan Bushnell, who ran video game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s, says he always saw something special in Steve Jobs, and that Atari's refusal to be corralled by the status quo was one of the reasons Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old. "The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today," says Bushnell. "Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he'd just seem like a jerk in bad clothing." While at Atari, Bushnell broke the corporate mold, creating a template that is now common through much of Silicon Valley. He allowed employees to turn Atari's lobby into a cross between a video game arcade and the Amazon jungle. He started holding keg parties and hiring live bands to play for his employees after work. He encouraged workers to nap during their shifts, reasoning that a short rest would stimulate more creativity when they were awake. He also promised a summer sabbatical every seven years. Bushnell's newly released book, "Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent," serves as a primer on how to ensure a company doesn't turn into a mind-numbing bureaucracy that smothers existing employees and scares off rule-bending innovators such as Jobs. The basics: Make work fun; weed out the naysayers; celebrate failure, and then learn from it; allow employees to take short naps during the day; and don't shy away from hiring talented people just because they look sloppy or lack college credentials. Bushnell is convinced that there are all sorts of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today. The problem is that corporate managers don't recognize them. Or when they do, they push them to conform rather than create. "Some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari or Chuck E. Cheese's were from high school dropouts, college dropouts," says Bushnell, "One guy had been in jail.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that a college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement for getting even the lowest-level job with many jobs that didn’t used to require a diploma — positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters — increasingly requiring a college degree. From the point of view of business, with so many people going to college now, those who do not graduate are often assumed to be unambitious or less capable. “When you get 800 résumés for every job ad, you need to weed them out somehow,” says Suzanne Manzagol. A study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that more than 2.2 million jobs that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree have been created (PDF) since the 2007 start of the recession. At the same time, jobs that require only a high school diploma have decreased by 5.8 million in that same time. “It is a tough job market for college graduates but far worse for those without a college education,” says Anthony P. Carnevale, co-author of the report. “At a time when more and more people are debating the value of post-secondary education, this data shows that your chances of being unemployed increase dramatically without a college degree.” Even if they are not exactly applying the knowledge they gained in their political science, finance and fashion marketing classes, young graduates say they are grateful for even the rotest of rote office work they have been given. “It sure beats washing cars,” says Georgia State University graduate Landon Crider, 24, an in-house courier who, for $10 an hour, ferries documents back and forth between the courthouse and his company's office."
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Cromwell Schubarth writes that Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, thinks Apple, Tesla Motors, venture capitalists and most of the nation’s colleges and universities could be killed by less advanced competitors in the same way that many once dominant technology companies have been in the past. Christensen's theory of disruption centers around how dominant industry leaders will react to a newcomer: “It allows you to predict whether you will kill the incumbents or whether the incumbents will kill you.” If a newcomer thinks it can win by competing at the high end, “the incumbents will always kill you.” If they come in at the bottom of the market and offer something that at first is not as good, the legacy companies won’t feel threatened until too late, after the newcomers have gained a foothold in the market. According to Christensen Apple could be on path for a classic disruption because successful innovative products like the iPhone are usually based on proprietary technology because that is how the dominant business carves out, protects and builds its top market position. But at some point as they get better and better, they start to exceed what people actually need or are willing to pay extra for. “When that happens the people who have the proprietary architecture are pushed to the ceiling and the volume goes to the open players. So in smartphones the Android operating system has consummate modularity that now allows hundreds of people in Vietnam and China to assemble these things." As the dominant architecture becomes open and modular, the value of their proprietary design becomes commoditized itself. "It may not be as good, but almost good enough is often good enough.”"
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has announced plans to launch the nation's first ever bachelor's degree in Commercial Space Operations tosupply the commercial spaceflight industry with skilled graduates in the areas of space policy, operations, regulation and certification, as well as space flight safety, and space program training, management and planning."As a leading innovator and service provider within the aerospace industry, Embry-Riddle is committed to building an academic program that supports the emerging needs of commercial space enterprise," says Richard H. Heist, chancellor of Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus. "This first-of-its-kind degree program would continue to solidify our students’ spot at the forefront of an industry that is sure to grow for decades to come."The rapid expansion of commercial spaceflight operations is fostered by NASA's commercial cargo and crew development programs and by entrepreneurs developing capabilities for suborbital spaceflight, orbital space habitats, space resource prospecting and other commercial ventures."Embry-Riddle's new Commercial Space Operations degree is one of the most innovative non-engineering degrees in the aerospace industry," adds program coordinator Lance Erickson, a professor of applied aviation sciences at Embry-Riddle."When we were planning this degree, our advisors from the commercial space industry said they couldn't wait to hire our graduates.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Want to buy a 15,000-foot landing strip? How about a place to assemble rocket ships or a parachute-packing plant? Have we got a deal for you. The Orlando Sentinel reports that with the cleanup and wind-down of the shuttle program, NASA is quietly holding a going-out-of-business sale for the its space-shuttle facilities including Launch Pad 39A, where shuttles were launched; space in the Vehicle Assembly Building, the iconic 526-foot-tall structure first used to assemble Saturn V-Apollo rockets; the Orbiter Processing Facilities, essentially huge garages where the shuttles were maintained; Hangar N and its high-tech test equipment; the launch-control center; and various other buildings and chunks of undeveloped property. "The facilities out here can't be in an abandoned state for long before they become unusable," says Joyce Riquelme, NASA's director of KSC planning and development. "So we're in a big push over the next few months to either have agreements for these facilities or not." The process is mostly secret, because NASA has agreed to let bidders declare their proposals proprietary, keeping them out of the view of competitors and the public. Frank DiBello, thinks the most attractive facilities are those that can support launches that don't use the existing pads at KSC and adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. "Anything that still has cleaning capabilities or satellite-processing capabilities, the parachute facility, the tile facility, the OPF, all three of them, they have real value to the next generation of space activity," says Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida, an Independent Special District of the State of Florida, created to foster the growth and development of a sustainable and world-leading space industry in Florida. "If the infrastructure helps you reach market, then it has value. If it doesn't, then it's just a building, it's just a launchpad, and nobody wants it.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that it has taken years, but Google seems to be cutting into Microsoft’s stronghold in business with Google scoring an impressive string of wins in the last year, including the Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche, where over 80,000 employees use Google Apps, and at the Interior Department, where 90,000 use it. “Google is getting traction” on Microsoft, says analyst Melissa Webster. “Its ‘good enough’ product has become pretty good. It looks like 2013 is going to be the year for content and collaboration in the cloud.” One big advantage Google has is price. Google charges $50 a year for each person using its product, a price that has not changed since it made its commercial debut, even though Google has added features. In 2013, the list price for Microsoft’s Office suite of software will be $400 per computer, although many companies pay half that after negotiating a volume deal. “When you add it up, the numbers are pretty compelling,” says Jim Nielsen, manager of enterprise technology for Shaw Industries whose 30,000 employees switched to Google Apps this year for communication tools like e-mail and videoconferencing. Nielsen estimates that using Google instead of similar Microsoft products costs, over seven years, costs less than 10% of Microsoft’s price. Microsoft has responded with Office 365, which starts at $4 per user per month for e-mail, but the version with desktop productivity applications lists for $20 per user per month. “Office 365 has cloud elements but it’s more of a hybrid that remains tied into Microsoft on-premises software," says Michael Cohn of Cloud Sherpa. "When companies move to Google Apps, it’s their last migration. They won’t have to deal with upgrades every three or four years.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The WSJ reports that widespread disruptions to Google in China over the weekend halting use of everything from Google's search engine to its Gmail email service to its Google Play mobile-applications store underscore the uncertainty surrounding Beijing's effort to control the flow of information into the country, as well as the risks that effort poses to the government's efforts to draw global businesses.The source of the disruptions couldn't be determined but Internet experts pointed to China's Internet censorship efforts, which have been ratcheted up ahead of the 18th Party Congress. "There appears to be a throttling under way of Web access," says David Wolf, citing recent articles in foreign media about corruption and wealth in China spurred by the party congress and the fall of former party star Bo Xilai, "that's their primary concern, people getting news either through Google or through its services." Beijing risks a backlash if it were to block Google outright on a long-term basis, says Wolf and such a move could put Beijing in violation of its free-trade commitment under the World Trade Organization and make China a less-attractive place to do business. "If China insists in the medium and long term of creating another Great Firewall between the China cloud and the rest of the world, China will be an increasingly untenable place to do business.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "With the 'fiscal cliff' just weeks away, Chris O'Brien writes that venture capital fundraising in silicon valley is down, the amount invested is down, the number of folks investing in venture capital is down, and the number of VC firms and partners are down. "The people I talked to in the industry sounded grim even as they tried to make the case for optimism," writes O'Brien. "Still, it remains difficult to identify a clear path for turning things around for the battered venture capitalists who make Silicon Valley hum." So what's wrong with the VC industry? The problems are many and complex but they can be boiled down to one thing: Not enough exits. For the size of venture capital being raised and invested, there simply aren't enough initial public offerings of stock or mergers and acquisitions to generate the returns that funds need. Venture insiders blame the global economic uncertainty. They believe that is part of the reason that giant corporations, which have amassed huge piles of cash, are just sitting on it, rather then using it to acquire startups. "The numbers are way down," said Ray Rothrock, a partner at Venrock. "All these companies with these fantastic balance sheets, and nobody is really buying anything. With all the uncertainty they're facing with the economy and taxes, buying little companies is way down on their list.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "With over 5 million iPhone 5's sold in its first three days after introduction and demand remaining high since, Foxconnhas admitted it can't keep up with demand for the iPhone 5, saying it's shipping 'far fewer' than requested. "We can't really fulfil Apple's requests. Our shipments are insufficient... given the huge market demand," says Foxconn chairman Terry Gou. One problem isthe device too fiddly to put together easily — especially given that the company's now got rid of all its nimble-fingered child workers andFoxconn's also been forced to improve quality control after customers complained that the phone's aluminum body was prone to scratches — often at the assembly stage. It's more bad news for Apple, which has already seen its share price fall 20% in recent weeks, thanks to concern over just these sorts of supply issues."
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jordan Kahn reports that the main building on Pixar’s campus has been named in memory of Steve Jobs who actually played a big role in designing the building itself as CEO of Pixar. Pixar’s campus design originally separated different employee disciplines into different buildings – one for computer scientists, another for animators, and a third building for everybody else but according to Jobs’ recent biography, the headquarters was to be a place that “promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.” Because Jobs was fanatic about unplanned collaborations, he envisioned a campus where these encounters could take place, and his design included a great atrium space that acts as a central hub for the campus. “Steve’s theory worked from day one,” says John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer. "I’ve never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”"
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jean-Louis Gassée writes that Apple and Samsung are engaged in a knives-out smartphone war but when it comes to chips, the two companies must pretend to be civil because Samsung is the sole supplier of ARM-based processors for the iPhone. So why hasn’t Intel jumped at the chance to become Apple’s ARM source? "The first explanation is architectural disdain," writes Gassée. "Intel sees “no future for ARM“, it’s a culture of x86 true believers. And they have a right to their conviction: With each iteration of its manufacturing technology, Intel has full control over how to improve its processors." Next is pride. Intel would have to accept Apple’s design and “pour” it into silicon — it would become a lowly “merchant foundry“. Intel knows how to design and manufacture standard parts, but it has little experience manufacturing other people’s custom designs or pricing them. But the most likely answer to the Why Not Intel question is money. Intel meticulously tunes the price points for its processors to generate the revenue that will fund development. Intel’s published prices range from a “low” $117 for a Core i3 processor to $999 for a top-of-the-line Core i7 device. Compare this to iSuppli’s estimate for the cost of the A6 processor: $17.50. Even if more A6 chips could be produced per wafer — an unproven assumption — Intel’s revenue per A6 wafer start would be much lower than with their x86 microprocessors. In Intel’s perception of reality, this would destroy the business model. "For all of Intel’s semiconductor design and manufacturing feats, its processors suffer from a genetic handicap: They have to support the legacy x86 instruction set, and thus they’re inherently more complicated than legacy-free ARM devices, they require more transistors, more silicon. Intel will argue, rightly, that they’ll always be one technological step ahead of the competition, but is one step enough for x86 chips to beat ARM microprocessors?""