Thursday, December 09, 2004

Morally Bankrupt Business Plans, Part I

For a while now, I have been coming up with morally bankrupt business plans. Some of them are posted on my old web site, but since the life span of that site is unclear, I thought I would move them over to here. And post a few that I've come up with since then.

The plan for the day is: Free Cell Phones for The Masses.

Very simple. You give out cell phones. No cost for the phone. No cost for calling during certain hours. (say limited nights and weekends, or something like that.) Cell phones aren't too fancy, but who cares. They are free.

How do we make money? Same way we always make money in morally bankrupt business plans. Marketing! In exchange for these free cell phones, everything is on the table. We can listen in on your conversations, we can track where you are, we can call you with advertisements, we can sell your calling patterns to the FBI, and so forth. With location-enabled cell phones, we can roughly tell where people are. We can easily sell lists of people who walked into a "Hot Topic" three times in the last week. (Or, as a community service, we can also turn those lists over to either the local duly constituted fashion police and/or suicide hotline.)

The data aggregation is the really big thing here, I think. We'll get SMS -- that's easy text mining. Voice recognition is a little harder. Speech recogition is pretty bad right now, but I don't think that really matters. When you have thousands of hours of conversations, accuracy isn't the most critical thing. What we want is the high points. We'll have a data set that will rival the NSA's. (and possibly technology as well.)

Most Likely to Adopt: Google.

(large amounts written after the publication "date," one of the more troubling features of blogger.)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Distribution Lists, Part II

I've been put on a new project, which is taking a lot of my time. And it's the end of the year, which means I have training to take (6 classes put on my roster in the past 18 hours alone), and performance evaluations to think about ("I was able to not get totally lost in my first 4 months of work here. I also managed to figure out that we make really big things that fly.")

This means that the distribution (list serv) stuff I talked about earlier has been put on a back burner. I'm thinking about it, but that's about as far as I get. I promise there will be pretty pictures before the year is out. I was at a big-big meeting about one of the projects, and the project lead mentioned that there were about 4,000 company people working on the project, then about 1,500 people from other companies working on it. However, in looking at the distribution lists covering the project, there are about 6,500 people on them. Which begs the question, who are the extra 1,000 people? What are they doing?

My sense is that they are support people -- office assistants, schedulers (schedulers will no doubt be the subject of a future post. They're important, but I still can't figure out why), plus everyone who does tools & process support. Or, it could also just be people in other parts of the organization that aren't directly part of this project (supplier & customer management, shared services, and possibly the factory.) I'd probably need to spend some time running the DL list people against the company directory to figure out where people "live" within the organization. Which is not as easy at it may sound. People here have two homes, their organizational home and their accounting home. You may live one place, but the money for you comes from another.

Deep down, I know I'm going to have to learning accounting one of these days.