Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The general public is unaware of Internet policy issues and their impact

Geoff Daily just wrote a blog post explaining most people do not understand broadband or bandwidth. As an example, he told about a friend who did not know how his apartment was connected to the Internet and was

pretty much totally oblivious to this language of bandwidth, bits, and bytes. And he certainly doesn't know anything about bandwidth caps or traffic shaping
His friend had invited a dozen people with laptops to his apartment for an online fantasy football draft -- would there be sufficient bandwidth? Would the extra usage exceed a cap and cause an unexpected jump in his Internet bill?

More important, most of the general public is unaware that US broadband connectivity is slow, asymmetric and falling behind that of other developed nations. As shown below, by last year the US had fallen to 11 th among OECD nations in broadband connectivity per capita, and we had very little fiber installed.

What are the implications of lagging connectivity in the US for our quality of life and economy? If all of the freeways in the US were two lane streets, would that effect the quality of your life? Would it effect the economy?

How fast is your Internet connection at home? To your cell phone? Do you have unlimited usage or does your bill increase when you exceed a cap? Does your connection bog down when more than one person in your home is online? Could two people watch a low-resolution TV show without pauses and glitches? Could you watch an HD movie?

For more on Daily's views on bandwidth and bandwidth requirements, click here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Excellent lectures from The Stanford Technology Ventures Program

The Stanford Technology Ventures Program Entrepreneurship Corner is a free archive of entrepreneurship resources for teaching and learning, including videos and podcasts of talks by successful entrepreneurs.

Many of the talks are by IT people. For example, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer and Siebel Systems founder Tom Sieble spoke recently. Balmer spoke about the early days at Microsoft, the patience and hard work required of an entrepreneur, and the great opportunities open to Internet entrepreneurs today. That was in contrast to Siebel who spoke about opportunities in health care and energy, and asserted that the time for opportunities in IT is past. In a third lecture, neuroscientist and IT entrepreneur Jeff Hawkins reviewed his career, including the creation of the Palm Pilot and other portable computing devices and the founding of several companies and a research institute.

They have over a thousand two or three minute video snippets from the talks. You can search through them by key word or speaker. For example, there are 24 by Google's founding CEO Larry Page. You can watch one or two, or stream all 24 together.

Balmer is optimistic about the future of the IT business, but Siebel is not -- what do you think? What personal lessons can you learn from these entrepreneurs?