The One Where Brian Is Wrong About Everything

on May 26, 2014

Please allow me to introduce myself…

You likely don’t care and would not believe the volume of blog posts, research reports, technical writings and analyst studies I sift through on a daily basis.

This is necessary both to stay informed and to re-evaluate my opinions as new facts emerge. I refuse to let my initial reactions to the latest rumors cement my long term perspective. Though I consider my views well-informed, reasoned and likely to be proven true in the due course of time, my peers disagree.

For your reading pleasure, below are opinions I hold that currently run counter to conventional wisdom.

Who’s side are you on?

Sympathy For The Devil

Unlike all of Silicon Valley, it seems, I applaud the EU’s ruling that affirms an individual’s “right to be forgotten.” I expect this ruling to become the global norm by the end of the decade. Technology should be empowering and liberating. Of course, I should be able to require Google, Facebook et al to obliterate any digital data on me they possess. Everyone should.

I consider Apple’s iMessage – SMS “bug” to be a sure sign of corporate hubris. The absolute worst trait any large company can have is hubris.

I love that Microsoft is sticking to its vision despite the doomsayers. Surface Pro 3 is meant to be both iPad and MacBook. Comparing it to just one device is skating to where the puck never was.

Yet, industry analysts seem universally opposed to the very idea of the Surface. They are wrong. The market for paid software licenses is, to quote Bob Dylan, rapidly fading. Microsoft should not even consider reigniting the licensing ecosystem of its glory days. Such a strategy will fail, miserably. iOS, OS X, Android, Chrome and Linux are now good enough and are cheaper and readily available. Microsoft must create its own devices for a bold new world even as its OEMs fall to pieces. The Surface Pro 3 has the potential to become the device we all really crave: both a tablet and a laptop.

Someone — anyone — says the word ‘grok’ and my brain instantly screams: poseur! I cannot turn this off. I refuse to believe this is wrong.

This recent New York Times piece that glowingly praises a smartphone app, backed by VCs, that sends under-employed Americans on a mad scurry to fetch groceries for harried tech warriors is, I suspect, that singular article we will all point to ten years from now as the glaring, obvious symbol of the last bubble.

Think about an iPhone 6. Go on. If it’s not a larger form factor, why do you even care? Odds are very high you don’t. I have to assume Apple knows this. No iPhone phablet this year and iPhone’s market share will plummet.

I can’t fault a Samsung lawyer for calling Apple “jihadists” considering the Steve Jobs “holy war” email.

But Then My Homework Was Never Quite Like This

Your assignment, dear reader, is to map the decision-making tree that led the Microsoft Corporation to offer the Surface keyboard as a separate item. I bet you fail. It is inexplicable.

Fitbit hires design icon Tory Burch. Intel partners with Barneys. Apple hires Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts. Rumors say Apple is dangling billions in front of cultural trendsetters Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre. I think this is wise. Fashion boasts, fashion beguiles, fashion demands. Value and quality speak softly. It’s a big, noisy world out there.

Get a drone with a camera. Link it to your Oculus Rift glasses. Experience the world about you in profoundly new and different ways. Now, stream and share all you see and hear — on Facebook, of course. That’s Zuckerberg’s strategy.

One app, one task, one screen is a core value of iOS. If the new iPad allows two apps running on a screen, as rumors suggest, then we immediately know two things: 1) Apple is legitimately nervous about both Samsung and Surface, and 2) Apple intends to launch an assault on the enterprise. Smart and smarter. 

I have serious doubts Tesla can ever build a car the 95% can afford.

We are all rock stars with our cool mobile phones.

kurt

Still Crazy After All These Years

The Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 is pretty. It’s also quite functional — provided you own a Samsung Galaxy. I think the bad reviews are all wrong.

I think a co-branded Mickey Mouse “iWatch” would be awesome.

Within ten years, schools and HR departments will have us wear Oculus Rift or a similar device to experience how others feel, think, and react differently to the very same people, words and actions.

The GoPro IPO, the rise of wearables, the Internet of Things, the budding Maker ecosystem. Hardware is eating the world, not software. 

The best part of an iPhone phablet is it will create radically new experiences and app types. This Opera graphic reveals that phablet use is starkly different from smartphone and tablet use. No, I do not believe this is primarily driven by current phablet demographics. Rather, form factor.

phablet usage

I predict by 2017, apps will be made first for China for iPhone. Then for iPhone for America. Then Android. Then iPad. Then AOSP. Then Windows Phone. Then X or other.

Rhymin and Stealin

Dollar for dollar, there may be no better value in smartphones than the Lumia 630. And if I’m wrong, it’s because the Lumia 520, available for about $70, may be an even better value still. The Moto X and Moto E may prove me wrong yet again. Amazing, amazing technological evolution.

In 1997, Microsoft loaned Apple $150 million. Apple now has 1000X that just in cash. Also, one of these men is on the cusp of being a billionaire. No one saw either of those coming. We were all wrong.

dre

Apple hardware is beautiful, understated, austere. Beats hardware is big, bold, gaudy. I have to believe an Apple – Beats acquisition horrifies Jony Ive.

It’s hard to overstate how much Google must fear Facebook. Facebook has over 1 billion users, mostly on mobile. Hundreds of millions voluntarily give Facebook highly personal information about themselves every single day, sometimes multiple times per day. This is not the same as unknowingly handing over select personal information to Google bots. By the decade’s end, search will be nothing more than a ‘signal’ for Facebook’s massive knowledge engine.

The other day, Yahoo flashed a pop-up on my screen asking me if I wanted to make Yahoo my default search engine. This made me laugh.

I believe Yahoo is on the cusp of what could be its worst-run, costliest period ever — and that, dear reader, is saying something. In her tenure as Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer has proven without a doubt her greatest strength is spending money. Sadly, her signal weakness is getting a return on said spending. If you are an investor, it’s time to storm the gates, else those Alibaba lotto winnings will be gone — fast.  

Am I wrong? Share your thoughts.