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史蒂夫·哈蒙独家中文博客

互联网风投与管理者,创业企业是谷歌Adsense概念创造者之一

 
 
 

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我是美国风投创始人和管理合作伙伴,曾担任过Jupiter Media公司VP,Paul Kagan Associates机构分析师,我的创业企业Applied Semantics2003年被谷歌收购,是谷歌Adsense概念创造者之一。现着重投资互联网领域,对中国互联网和网络新媒体有深刻研究。我写的《零重力1.0》和《零重力2.0》成为彭博社最畅销书籍,比尔盖茨、杨致远也读过我写的商业报告。在中国,我给网易科技独家供稿。hapn.cool try it!

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PCs in 'Post PC Era'  

2013-03-13 05:42:02|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Steve Jobs was right about a lot of things but he was mostly right about how to market something. That's been my experience with him (I've dealt with him and the other Apple founder, the more geeky Steve Wozniak) and the computer industry he helped create. 

As a teenager I sold the first Apple Computers, DEC, Zenith Data Systems, Commodore, Amiga, IBM, Sinclair, and more. I got to know all about PCs of all flavors and what they could and couldn't do. I was the most important link in the chain: I sold them to customers. That meant I listened to their concerns, needs, wants, impressions and more.

PCs in Post PC Era - Steve Harmon  - 史蒂夫·哈蒙独家中文博客
 
 
I've been involved with computers since I first played on a mainframe as a kid ("Adventure" written in Fortran). And then as a teen I sold some of the first personal computers made. 
 
When the commercial Internet was in its formative stages in the 1990s, uncharted and largely uncreated, I was one of the first analysts to forecast how the new industry could shape up. Downloadable music? In 1995 I did a forecast for clients including AT&T, Viacom, Disney, Microsoft and others that showed that. At the time nobody downloaded anything larger than about 500k or so from the Internet. Modem speeds were just too slow, many at 9600 baud or maybe even "fast" 14.4 kbps. Photos were bad enough, but music? Never gonna happen the pundits said. In those days it took about 12 to 15 minutes to download 1 megabyte. Song files are about 3 to 4 megs each so do the math...
 
Of course, here we are today and downloadable music is the norm. Music retailers such as Musicland, Virgin, Tower Records, Wherehouse and others are all gone.

PCs in Post PC Era - Steve Harmon  - 史蒂夫·哈蒙独家中文博客
 
 
I did similar forecasts for ecommerce. When Amazon just sold books I thought it would grow up to be the "Walmart of the Web". It took 18 years but it's happened and continues to happen. Ecommerce is dwarfed by "offline" commerce but mobile is blurring the lines and now commerce is driven by Internet/connectivity. 
 
As an early Apple evangelist I touted its graphical user interface, mouse-driven ease of use vs. the clunkier keyboard commands of Microsoft. Visually-inclined professionals and students saw the advantage and bought one, for design or homework. The seed of a windows interface was planted and the Apple Mac became one of the first touch points for using it.
 
When Windows 95 finally came out (in 1995) the world of the PC changed. We entered the phase of PC as a product that more consumers needed at home vs. just at work or school. College graduates got jobs that started requiring computers at work. Used to the Mac experience, they were not entirely unfamiliar to Windows since corporate users had adopted IBM's PC platform as an evolution of the earlier IBM DOS platform they already had. Why? Cost. It was cheaper than Apple. The IBM/PC platform decision led to the growth of the entire PC industry and names like Microsoft, Dell, Lotus, Adobe and others emerged and became global enterprises.
 
When Palm led the market for handheld devices in 1999 I predicted that a handheld would fuse the phone/music/email/contacts/payments functions in one device. The logic was simple, we want to carry one device. Not a PDA, phone, calculator, etc. I didn't think Palm would be that device. Having used one I saw that the company wasn't focused on the "all-in-one" mobile device. It was stuck in contact manager mode.
 
When Creative Labs became popular for its MP3 player in the early 2000s it took the early market by storm. The problem was the device was closed off, lacked a place to purchase music easily. It was basically a storage device rather than connected commerce device. 
 
By that time Steve Jobs had returned to Apple by some sort of twist of fate. Music was his hook. iPod, iPhone, iPad. Like a restaurant owner getting you hooked on his pasta he then introduced you to his pizza. 
 
But getting back to Steve's statement of "post PC era." 
 
I think this is largely a marketing phrase rather than "fact." 

IDC and others all predict several hundred million PCs sold worldwide this year. But to me the PC is just a form factor. One of many ways to connect.
 
Worldwide what's driving technology, marketing, commerce, government and more is connectivity. Being connected is the "big picture" event of the late 20th/early 21st century and there's still a long ways to go. Far from simply hooking into the Internet, network, cloud, it's more about how, why, what for in connecting. Just connecting isn't a reason. The purposes are still being defined. And the opportunities are also.
 
In the US and Europe being "connected" involves many devices: PC/laptop, phone, TV, DVD player, camera, etc. In Asia, Latin America, Africa many people use mobile first and sometimes, only. That has to do with infrastructure as much as culture. In other words, for them the mobile phone/device/tablet is the primary access point.
 
Is this a "post PC era"? No.
 
I think a more accurate statement is "multi-device era."

PCs in Post PC Era - Steve Harmon  - 史蒂夫·哈蒙独家中文博客
 
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