Friday, September 7, 2012

A Burning Platform: Education- Business or Social?

Its so good to see one of my predictions coming to pass. You know what they say - if you are building glass houses be prepared to chew glass? Well I have been chewing glass for a while. So I was thrilled to read the article "Cable TV's Discovery enters classrooms with digital textbooks" in San Jose Mercury, Aug 21, 2012, by B. Barnes and A.Chozick. If it is finally making a headline in print media, page 1 even, Business section, it must be true. "Educational content is core to our DNA, and we're unencumbered - unlike traditional book publishers, we're not defending a dying business" they quote David Zaslav, strategist, Discovery Communications.

I have been predicting for a while that it is the media businesses not print publishers that will enable the transformation. But the problem, why this transformation is slow to the point of not happening, is that the spending on books, while huge, is a fraction of an industry that is publicly funded.

Change is often inspired using the image of a burning platform: better risk jumping off (into the unknown) than stay standing (where death is certain) on a platform on fire. High cost and limited reach are burning platforms for educational institutions. Conventional K-12 textbooks are a $3 billion industry with additional $4 billion in teacher guides. Big $$s you say, but taxpayers, fund the enormous education industry not markets. Converting personal risk into economic risk can work in the private sector where markets are quick to react but in publicly funded endeavors, like Education, where market factors play a subordinate role, for established businesses, the burning platform doesn't work - the image is closer to that of a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heated: the frog does not or doesn't want to, see the danger till it is too late and you know what happens then. Digital technology addresses both issues - cost and reach and it has transformed television, film-making and even print media. Yet change has been lagging in education. Maybe that is about to change.
(Excerpted from: Digital Provide: Education Beyond Borders by Neerja Raman, in book Streaming Media Delivery in Higher Education: Methods and Outcomes by C. Wankel, J. Sibley Law, IGI lobal 2011) 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Brick-And-Mortar meets Bits-And-Bytes

Good news for small business owners everywhere, local boutiques like mine (Pashma) and mega shopping districts like Union Square in SFO which rely on real people with real feet that wander around, shop, eat, laugh and play to create ambiance and a festive atmosphere.

Amidst all the hype around the benefits of e-retail, Bonobos, so far only an online clothing retailer, recently announced a partnership with Nordstrom, embracing the brick-and-mortar selling model. 

Nothing replaces touch and feel when it comes to the joy of shopping and this announcement is a sign of times to come; back-to-the-future you might say. Change often generates a mentality of replacement - video will replace movies in theaters, online ads will replace paper advertising or e-selling will replace brick-and-mortar. 

Well not so fast! To quote Mark Twain, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated".

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sorry - My disc crashed - rebuilding

This is a test post - post disc crash

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stanford E-Week : Idea to Implementation - Media X at the intersection

Get an insider view of the Stanford research ecosystem where , technology begets social transformation -   Join us during Stanford E-week:

Monday, March 5, 6:00 - 7:30 PM #100 Cordura HallIdea to Implementation - Media X at the Intersection

Media X panel during the Stanford Entrepreneurial Week
Neerja Raman, moderator
Chuck House, Chancellor Cogswell College, Emeritus Media X
Franny Lee, Assoc. Dir. Stanford Intellectual Property Exchange
Chao King and Hiroshi Tomita, Konica Minolta Systems Lab

   How does a research project evolve to a product? The Stanford Intellectual Property Exchange provides an example.
Google, SUN Microsystems, Yahoo - just a few of the highly successful companies with research roots from Stanford University. Sometimes the business community pulls ideas out of the university. Sometimes the university pushes them out. Along the way from idea to success, many organizations and individuals get involved, providing talent, information and capital. This innovation ecosystem of relationships, catalysts and resources is part of Stanford's secret sauce. 
   This panel will highlight some of the critical entrepreneurial enablers that have given life to a research idea introduced in 2006 and developed into a technology that is transforming the way people can monetize and use online content created by themselves and others.