Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Collection of Thoughts

I arrived in Dallas late last night and, when I got up this morning to check my email, I realized that I didn't write an entry yesterday. ("For shame!") What could I discuss today?

Apple. They are becoming a piƱata because of their missteps. Last week, they admitted there were issues; said they would give free bumpers to people who requested them; and then said that every phone has this same issue. Of course, the other phone manufacturers called bullshit on Apple and hit back rather hard.

Goldman Sachs. They settled with the government; paid a $500mm fine (which is nothing to a company that practically mints their own dollars); and admitted no wrongdoing. I will be the one to call bullshit on this one and wonder aloud how our justice system is so screwed up that a major player in the financial meltdown essentially gets off with barely a slap on the wrist.

These topics have been overexposed that I'm sure you're tired of them, so here's something completely different.

Recognizing that companies are making a fortune mining your personal preferences from your usage of the Internet without your consent, two gentlemen formed a company called Bynamite that allows you to control who gets what from a "wallet" of personal information. Better still, because this information is so valuable to the marketing engines of almost every company in existence, they are already talking about it in the context of a business transaction, i.e. "I'll let you know what I like if you'll give me a 20% on this purchase."

Will it fly? The concept is more than logical. But my concern is that they may be a little too late to the party.

Before signing off, I'd like to say goodbye to Lt. Col. Pete Scaglione. I counted myself to be a good friend of his, though he was more of a fount of wisdom to me than anything else. Mr. Scaglione, whose youngest son is one of my best friends from high school, was a very decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot; a sage adviser; and a wonderful person to have as part of your life. He passed away on Sunday night, and is survived by his wife and four children. "Semper fidelis!"

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