Friday, March 20, 2009

Kitchen PC

Asus recently just announced a touch PC that is kitchen friendly. Another PC maker goes after the kitchen crowd. I would love to get my hand on this PC and play around with it but with the budget constraint, I don't think I would be able to anytime soon. Asus... can you spare one for test??? Not to be left behind, Dell has one as well. And if you are not afraid of tinkering with parts, you can build your own.

Anyhow, I am not sure if the PC makers really understood about the purpose and usefulness of a kitchen PC. Kitchen is increasingly becoming the place for social gathering. At our house, our kids can do their homework, eating snacks or informal meals, or just hanging out in the kitchen. Every time we have guests, 90% of the guests will gather in our kitchen (good food and wine do help, by the way).

At the same time, PC experience is an "alone" experience. Think about it: one display, one keyboard, one mouse... When one surfs the web, that is basically it. The other person or people would just look over the shoulder. We just take something wonderful - social gathering - and destroy it with a PC. I understand the so-called benefits of a kitchen PC: downloading recipes, looking up something quick on the web, IM, calendar planning, scheduling, and so on. Believe me, I am a gadget geek and I'd love to have another gadget to play. But I think PC makers need to understand how the kitchen PC can fit with the social gathering aspect of today's kitchen.

I read an article in the past about Intel hiring anthropologists to find the keys to tech adoption. That's the step to the right direction - really understands the cultures and what makes people to use certain technologies. I wonder if Asus, Dell, and HP apply the same techniques - deploying their product managers and/or their own anthropologists to people's kitchens?

A parting thought: PC is not for the kitchen... It has to be something else... I'll share more in my next blog.... Stay tune!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wisdom of the Crowd

Lately I have been thinking about the wisdom of the crowd. With the recession is all around us, social networking websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are becoming more active. Since I am a very regular LinkedIn users vs. Facebook or Twitter, I want to share my observations on LinkedIn. With all the groups that I belonged to in LinkedIn, it gets very depressing when I see so many brain powers looking for new opportunities. It would be interesting for LinkedIn to run a little survey to see collectively how many years of professional experiences are now on the street.

That leads to my next thought. Would it be great if somehow one could harness this unprecedented level of expertise for the next wave of innovation? Social networking was born during the dot bomb which eventually led to Web 2.0. And that's because we wanted to leverage the Internet to create a highly linked community. So how can we do the same thing this time around?

We have seen that Linux and open source software benefits from the wisdom of the crowd. Social networking sites have great number of users but have companies taken advantages of this crowd yet? There are now books written about how to use LinkedIn or Twitter to your business benefits. That remains to be seen if and how successful that would be.

For now, I continue to ponder about the wisdom of the crowd. Care to join me?