Alphabet’s mid-life crisis

MAGCA — Make Alphabet and Google Cool Again 

“Larry Page and Sergey Brin step down as things aren’t fun anymore. Now, Sundar Pichai has to pick up the weight,” says Jennifer Alias at CNBC. Google is struggling with a series of challenges, including; decrease in revenues from its core advertising business (driven by search); employee activism and backlash against some large but controversial projects; failure to derive material revenues from diversification efforts; a fall to third place in cloud services (behind Amazon and Microsoft); scrutiny and regulation from both the U.S. and E.U. governments.

dis-rup-shun:  As our parents told us, growing up is hard, and Google, like many fast growth companies that struggle to create new lines of businesses as successful as their core, is no exception. Alphabet is simultaneously struggling with mid-life pressures as well as “The Facebook Effect,” which I will describe as growing distrust and even disdain of the power held by Big Tech. Apple and Microsoft experienced similar mid-life crises before strong captains righted those ships. HP and IBM are still awaiting arrival of visionary new blood. Palm, Sun Micro, Yahoo! and so many others died while waiting. The next 18 months will be telling for Alphabet, which may decide to jettison the baggage of new ventures, and return to the core business of search in hopes that the magic will return.

The uglier side of electric and autonomous vehicles

Automakers are, collectively, laying off 80,000 workers as our cultures shift to electric, autonomous, and shared cars. Auto sales this year are off 6% from last. Bloomberg

dis-rup-shun:  Perhaps laid off auto workers can become shared ride drivers, taking advantage of the trend that is displacing them. As has been said many a time, the pace of change will never be as slow as it was today.

iPhone app of the year is photo app from Spectre

The app of the year for iPhone is one that enables your less than latest iPhone to take pictures like an iPhone 11 — creating special effects available previously only with a digital SLR camera. Spectre takes hundreds of pictures in a few seconds and overlays them to create long exposure effects — special effects employed by the pros. CNet

dis-rup-shun: Interesting that Apple would choose a camera app as “best” given that smartphone innovation seems to be limited to photography. It seems doubtful that smartphone makers will blow us away with amazing new capabilities in coming years, and will continue to try to entice upgrades with better screens and cameras. The arrival of 5G will provide smartphone makers with a non-camera innovation that should lead to upgrades. 

Remember when phones were for talking?

Robocalls are rampant. New legislation proposed by congress and the FCC will help, when enacted, but for now, a number of technologies, introduced by carriers, by phone makers and by third parties (apps) seek to block unwanted calls. iOS 13 helps users route unknown callers straight to voicemail, and T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have utilities for iOS and Android to help block likely spammers. 3rd party apps do the same. Some popular apps include Hiya, RoboKiller, Youmail, and Nomorobo. CNet

dis-rup-shun: We will tell our grandchildren stories of how people used to use their phones to talk to each other. Thanks to the rise of robocalls, people are simply about to stop answering calls from anyone other than their friends and family and trusted vendors. Voice calling on phones is now the intercom between a trusted circle of friends and family, driving direct sales to email, text messaging and social media. Sales managers seem slow to understand that that telephone is no longer an effective sales tool until a relationship is formed.