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Friday, October 2, 2009

AMD Once More the Aggressor

Roughly four years ago, AMD took out full page newspaper ads challenging Intel to a dual-core server duel. Intel declined the offer. CNET, however, decided to hold a shoot-out between the two leading microprocessors to see which chip performed better.

CNET put the chips through a series of seven tests, and the results showed the AMD Athlon a clear winner over the Intel Pentium Dual Core processor.

That’s the good news for AMD. Unfortunately, as of 2008, AMD still held only 13 percent of the microprocessor market compared to Intel’s 80 percent market share. AMD was able, however, to chip (pun intended) away at Intel’s lead.

Now AMD has its sights set on another market leader, this time in the market for graphics chips for PCs – nVidia. With its introduction of the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series of graphics chips, AMD claims it now has the fastest graphics processor ever created, and they’re shipping in PCs today.

It will be interesting to see how nVidia responds. It will also be interesting to see if AMD’s newest entry begins to win it additional share in the graphics chip market. Currently both nVidia (with 29 percent market share) and AMD (18 percent market share) both lag considerably behind market segment leader Intel (which boasts 51 percent market share).

But AMD aims to make it a three-horse race.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Too Old to Change?

I am a product of the Baby Boom -- a member of the generation born in the euphoric decades immediately after World War II. I take pride in my generational badge. We are acknowledged as the generation of change -- not just technological change, but massive, scaleable social change that has impacted race, war and peace, politics, philosophy, education, investment, art, music, fashion, transportation and so many other aspects of our nation's collective DNA. However, I now wonder if our last great social contribution to the world may have been the democratization of information via personal computing and the Internet. Not a bad track record, but having brought that double-edged sword to global prominence and daily addiction, we now seem to be sitting on our hands ready to enjoy the fruits of our past labors but hesitant to embrace what might be the greatest social change agent in the history of man taking place right before our eyes. Rather than jumping in and mixing up, we are starting to sound like our parents did when they heard our music and intuitively understood that crossing the gap from what Frank Sinatra sang about to what Neil Young rebelled against was probably a bridge that was culturally too far to cross.

I'm speaking of social media. Daily, I encounter conversations with affluent, avidly online Boomers astute in technology who rail dismissively against social media. Their description of the value of Twitter, Facebook and other means of enabling global conversation is a consistent scornful drumbeat that often sounds like my parents did when I tried to let my hair grow long. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'd rather be forced to listen to the Carpenters Greatest Hits than read minute-by-minute reports from someone at a conference -- regardless of the subject matter. But to view social media in that narrow window of understanding is akin to interpreting the Internet as only a vehicle for pornography. And yet, that seems to be how my "demographic" looks at it. A recent study by Burst Media found that only 8 percent of Baby Boomers feel social networks are focused on them. Put another way, 92% of the most affluent demographic -- one that makes up more than 25 percent of all U.S. online traffic -- feels disconnected from social media. This includes people who engage in social networking. The chart below shows the key findings of the Burst Media study.

Source: Burst Media

One of the questions this raises is whether we, as a generation, have become disconnected, irrelevant or just curmudgeonly. Clearly something is missing. Either the network providers don't value the generation enough to figure out how to appeal to them (which I consider unlikely given that most social media is based around highly customizable platforms) or the generation doesn't value social media. More likely, we simply don't understand how to engage. As one boomer explained to me, "it feels like jumping on a moving train and it just isn't important enough to me." Thus, a generation known for progressive change has become too tired or too comfortable to participate in a disruptive technology that has played a major role in electing a President, stimulated massive protests to combat tyranny in Iran and serves as a tool to continue building awareness of key ideas and issues around an ever shrinking globe. Boomers can not be disenfranchised from this phenomenon. We need to stop thinking Bee Gees and start thinking John Lennon again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Social Media Policies

Establishing policies to govern social media is a significant challenge in many organizations on many levels. Nowhere is this more complex than at large, diverse organizations. We have seen this kind of issue often over the years. Yet it is even more complex today. Within minutes of any discussion of social media, complicated debates arise over areas such as security, use of customer information and references, privacy, regulatory issues and the sheer determination of who in the organization manages social conversations for which part of the organization. Those debates are usually accompanied by a fundamental ROI question: how does the company create a meaningful set of metrics to make stakeholders accountable for performance of social media and social application investments.

Sometimes the best starting point is looking at what other organizations have developed. Chris Boudreaux is a consultant who is writing a book on this topic. He has developed a database of examples from more than 80 organizations, ranging from local government to media and large corporations in several different companies. It is one of the more comprehensive lists we've seen. You can order a preview of the book, access his database with links to the actual policies or contribute your own or your client policies at: