Enterprise hits and misses – debating K-waves, disruption and Apple’s Town Squares


This week – debating K-waves and disruption vs incrementalism. Apple’s AI and Town Square ambitions get a workover – your whiffs include Twitter gurus from hell.

Cheerful Chubby Man
Lead story –
Once upon a K-wave, Oracle, Apple face economic transition – by Denis Pombriant

What is a K-wave? Well, it’s a surge of innovation, which, Denis argues, is now slowing on the tech side:

Let me stress again, this does not signal the end of IT. Just as we still make cars and airplanes, we still forge steel and mold plastics, IT has a bright though different future. We still do all of the things that were invented in earlier K-waves but they are now the background of the economy, not the forefront, and we do all of them for fractions of the prices they once commanded.

To make his case, Pombriant draws on two recent/different announcements, one involving Oracle’s news of a fully automated database (much more on that next week), and the other Apple’s extravagantly priced fanboy wonderful exciting new iPhone announcement. As Pombriant sees it, these announcements – however compelling – are product line extensions, not new products: “They are not disruptive innovations.”

We can debate whether or not these announcements – or the hundreds of AI announcements we are bombarded graced with daily – are disruptive. But if we’re more about automation and efficiency, then we’re at a different part of the K-wave. Perhaps the biggest danger of K-wave thinking is that we might fall into big trend passivity. I’d prefer to see Pombriant’s analysis as a challenge to raise our collective games. He wraps with a teaser:

This leaves us with a tantalizing question: What’s next?

That answer will have to wait until a future post.

Happy children eating appleDiginomica picks – my top four stories on diginomica this week:

  • 10 reasons why your IoT project will fail – Derek brings a contrarian IoT view back from ThingMonk: speaker Yodit Stanton. Given the rates of IoT project failures cited, discretion is needed. One of Stanton’s beefs? IoT middleware: “I refuse to take on projects where people say they need 50,000 sensors and ask for a price. No, we don’t want that. I know it’s not glamorous, but start with a few sensors, get it working, assess it, really understand the value.
  • Why skills and education are the real robot battleground – We’re in a record year for industrial robotics. Chris notes recent data, including an automotive example of jobs lost to automation versus a smaller amount of higher-skilled jobs created. He raises the education/skills quandry: “Two battlegrounds are emerging: education and skills, and the widening economic disparity between those workers who can adapt in a booming high-tech market, and those who will be left behind.” Ergo: countries that invest heavily in skills training will be better equipped. Me: not just countries – companies also.
  • CRM for sustainable growth – the Smart Works story – Cath on how UK charity Smart Works, which helps get unemployed women back into work, is tackling CRM to bring their works to more women (in this case, using Microsoft Dynamics 365)
  • Taking the fight to cancer – BRCA Foundation builds Big Data registry – A cool use case by Jessica about a cancer testing/prevention project from NetSuite founder Evan Goldberg, who last year established the BRCA Foundation with his wife Cindy Goldberg. Nice to be reminded that data volume, properly applied, has this type of potential.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

A couple more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon’s grab bag – Barb Mosher Zinck went on an online training binge – in search of marketing insights. She found some things she liked – and some things not so much. Stuart’s Disney CEO – why Spiderman and Darth Vader are ‘coming home’ away from Netflix made we wonder: how many paid content services are consumers going to put up with?

Count Den amongst the skeptics of the AI/Apple shiny new toy iPhone announcement. He brings a K-wave down on Apple’s head with “Apple just amp’d the AI hype with incremental improvements that might accelerate the run towards a consumer AI winter. Thank goodness.” A war on incrementalism sounds pretty good right about now. If you want to go further down my satirical rabbit hole, check The ludicrous press release awards – AI game changers edition.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Lead story – Tech companies and civic design – Here’s Why People Were Mad When Apple Called Its Stores “Town Squares”

myPOV: Now and again Buzzfeed finds the right balance with substance and provocation. This measured critique by Stephanie M. Lee raises the right questions about the role of tech companies in civic/open spaces.

Lee starts with Apple’s greatly mocked quotes about referring to their stores as “town squares.” Beyond the social mob is the bigger question: what is Silicon Valley’s role in civic spaces? Lee uses the provocative example of Black Lives Matter:

“What happens if Black Lives Matter wants to go to the Apple store … and they can’t, because the management of Apple says ‘You gotta get the hell out of here?’” said Anthony Maniscalco, a professor of government and public affairs at City University of New York.

This resonates after being in a new embedded Peets Coffee in Cambridge that doubled as a bank. It was both a comfortable and sterile setting, a welcome change from the overcrowded but also corporate-weird. As companies pursue “experiences” we are sure to see more of these retail experiments. And, perhaps, crave the small nooks where we can escape from branded experiences as well.

Other standouts:

Honorable mention


Overworked businessmanWackiest idea for a fundraiser winnerBare mountain: man who climbed peak in underwear gets hypothermia.

The “undermine your hurricane relief volunteer efforts” awardHulk Hogan calls Hurricane Irma victims complaining about no power, water ‘crybabies’.

As for: Hurray – Google Chrome will stop autoplaying content with sound in January, I hope someone is doing suicide watch on big tech site administators (and marketeers).

Finally, I’m seeing more and more peeps using the spammy Twitter auto-DM:

Get a load of this one I got:

Thanks for following! I’m among the hundred most Linkedin people worldwide (30K 1st-level connections: system limit). Since I’m up against the connection limit (blame LinkedIn), please follow me there instead.

-> Well gee – be sure to let me know when a space opens up! And yeah, I’m really disappointed in LinkedIn that I can’t be part of your 30,000 person mega-network. That’s like a whole hive in The Matrix! And this feel-good hooey:

Thanks for the follow! You can join me on LinkedIn

-> really? Thanks, I’m sure it’s peaches and picnic baskets hanging with you over there. Then this heartwarming advisory:

Leave everything you touch better than you found it!

-> well, except your DM – afraid I can’t improve upon perfection. These gurus sure are good at automating the hard work of human connection eh? See you next time…

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses – in a good or bad way – let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. ‘myPOV’ is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, Salesforce, and New Relic are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

    Comments are closed.

    1. Hi Jon,

      Via the public cloud and security encryption posts here. GDPR looks like a big deal by end of 2018. Clearly large enterprises with data centers need to comply and will be ready. Do smaller enterprise applications companies with on-premises customers who are based outside Europe but doing business inside Europe need to comply. Does it depend on where CRM data is stored. Are there penalties for non compliance, does anyone have a matrix of who is affected.


      1. Jon Reed says:

        Clive thanks for pulling out that GDPR deadline bit from the public/private security piece as I meant to mention it but the piece was long enough. You raise some good questions re: GDPR and SMEs etc, I’ll look into it and we’ll see.

        – Jon