US Leading Global R&D Spending
Nice interactive data set, from FT:
US ahead as global R&D spending up 10%
John Willman in London
FT, November 11 2007 18:21 | Last updated: November 11 2007 18:21
MicroIslet Board of Directors
Since this was announced this week, and so many of you emailed me, I might as well make it official: this week, I joined the Board of Directors of MicroIslet (MIIS).
I have for quite some time liked their bio-technology -- an area that is far, far afield from whatever expertise I have. My own lack of medical expertise notwithstanding, their approach to managing diabetes seems to me to have lots of potential promise to resolve some of the problems that Diabetics encounter.
Diabetes has run in my family (skipping a generation), has a genetic component, and hence, my interest in this space.
My prior issue with the company was never their technology -- it was the lack of communication by management. When the stock ran into trouble in late 2006, there was almost no public response from the company about it. The shares slid from $2.15 to pennies with not much said. I had previously recommended the stock, with a $1 stop loss (Its now 61 cents).
Over time, I had been in contact with some of the larger shareholders, many of whom also "noticed" the lack of communication from (the former) management. I made a few suggestions as to what they should have done, what they should do in the future, in terms of investor relations, etc.
When the new regime came in, we spoke, discussed the firm's needs, I made some suggestions as to what should be dine differently. Long story short, I an now on the Board.
NOTE: For obvious reasons, I will not be discussing any of the particulars of the company going forward. I am writing this now because I do not yet have any non public material inside information. This will very likely be my one and only post on MicroIslet.
Suffice it to say that this space is quite dynamic: Thanks to our increasingly fat planet, Diabetes has become epidemic world-wide, and whatever company develops a treatment and/or cure stands to make its investors a lot of money . . .
Those of you who are interested should do your homework into the various competitive Diabetes treatment companies, including this one.
How Microsoft Can Become More Innovative
"Throughout its history, Microsoft has been slow to grasp some of the computer industry's biggest technology shifts and business changes. When it decides to embrace an innovation, the company has often succeeded in chasing down the leaders, as it did years ago with Lotus Development Corp. on spreadsheets that allow users to organize data, and a decade ago with Netscape Communications Corp. on Web browsers that transformed the experience of using the Internet. For years, this catch-up-and-surpass approach worked well.
Early this decade, however, companies such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc. exposed holes in the approach. Microsoft was slow to see the potential in Web search and online advertising, and despite heavy investments, has so far failed to catch industry leaders Google and Yahoo Inc. It also was late coming to market with its own music player, and despite a push, remains far behind Apple. Today, a host of Web-based software services from Google and others threaten to reduce the importance of Microsoft's personal-computer software."
What is the solution? Craig Mundie, the man designated to replace Bill Gates, has quite the challenge on his hands:
"Mr. Mundie says advances in technology that represent "fundamental change" or "whole new business opportunities" are "more disruptive, and so people aren't as focused on them" at Microsoft as they are on developing new features for existing products. "When they encounter them, they are naturally a bit more skeptical."
Microsoft's product groups -- business units built around products such as Windows and Office that produce much of the company's cash -- have long had enormous clout in its corporate culture. Star product-group managers, the company's so-called shippers, get the big, profitable products like Windows out the door year after year. For them, meeting deadlines is all-important; longer-term thinking about technology isn't.
Mr. Mundie is trying to help shift some clout to the company's long-term thinkers and to gain more attention for new technologies and businesses. He nurtures small groups in areas he considers promising long-term bets for Microsoft, such as health care, education and super-fast "quantum" computers. During the past year, to attract foreign talent, he has opened more than 50 small research centers in such distant locations as Egypt, Chile, Malaysia and Russia."
Essentially, the approach is to tear a page from the R&D wizards at Google, and encourage greater creativity from the non-product groups (product groups are Windows, Office, Internet services, X-Box, etc.) to anticipate the next major shift in computing technology.
In other words, Microsoft, in seeking to become more innovative, is copying Google's model.
How Classic is that!
Behind Microsoft's Bid To Gain Cutting Edge: A History of Catch-Up
Mundie Follows Gates As Long-Term Thinker;
ROBERT A. GUTH
WSJ, July 30, 2007; Page A1