Friday, July 7, 2006

John Brown and supply chains

I just viewed a talk by John Seely Brown (of Xerox Park; former Chief Scientist) given at CTC 2006; yummy stuff.

He really highlights the detriments of traditional U.S. supply chain management; namely that focusing exclusively on price, over-time, ruins the supply chain. Sure walmart gets the lowest price to the consumer, but they destroy lower level industries (labor markets for example) in the process. I tend to think about "cost" in life, not price. This thinking comes out when I do personal vacation travel. Rather than use mileage-type "points" to stay places and fly places for free, I'll pony up for non-discounted rates so the supplier's cost (the airline/hotel) is much lower to serve me, and hence the quality of the product is much higher for me. If I book a hotel stay somewhere for free (using points), I'll get a crappy room, and won't have any leverage when I need it.

He gets into recording meetings for archival and re-use purposes. I've done some of this (fully disclosing my doing so of course) during some conference calls using a product called PhoneValet by Parliant Software. It's pretty useful. We do this with email all the time, but video and voice are generally not archived well, if at all. I don't do it regularly, but I think its just because I'm having trouble getting into the usage pattern. Also reminds me of something I saw a few years ago in which we would all be wearing small video/audio recording devices, perhaps in a necklace form-factor. These devices could be on 24/7, and could literally record our lives. Forget what you did last Tuesday? Replay it! Forget what Joe said at lunch? Replay it! Fun Big Brother implications of course, but kind of an interesting notion.

No comments: