Telecommunications, Automotive and Market Research

More than 15 years in the mobile telecommunications industry and an industry analyst since 1998.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My rules for thinking about technology

I spent more than a decade working as an industry analyst covering telcommunications, wired and wireless.  I was part of the emergence of cellular systems, mobile internet (which we called "wireless data"), and witnessed the rise and fall of the competitive local exchange carriers during the ill-fated dotcom boom.

During those years, I developed ten rules for people who were doing my job and had the chance to witness first hand the benefits of following those rules and the problems caused by ignoring them.

Here are Chamberlain's Rules for Assessing Technology:

  1. Ignore either/or beliefs about technology (e.g., Remember "WiMAX thrives therefore 3G dies?") 
  2. Reality-check your assumptions by looking around you. Would YOU adopt the technology that you are expecting millions of people to use?  Would your friends?  Your Mom?
  3. It is dangerous to drink Kool-Aid when technology vendors are serving. 
  4. Incumbents, especially highly regulated ones, are extraordinarily adept at protecting themselves from competition.
  5. “Success” for a new business or technology does not necessarily require mass consumer adoption or the creation of a publicly traded multinational corporation.
  6. Remember the better mousetrap: The world, not the inventor, beats the path to the door. There are very few true technology revolutions. 
  7. “Cheaper” or “free” is not a business plan, let alone a recipe for world domination. 
  8. If the most compelling argument supporting a new technology includes the words “bits per second,” it isn’t very compelling.

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