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OLPC and the "Innovator's Opportunity" 64

viralMeme sends in a piece from OLPC News featuring a video interview with Pixel Qi's Mary Lou Jepson. The interview goes over some of the improvements in the company's extremely power-efficient screen technology that will show up in the next generations of the OLPC. The article links a video side-by-side comparison among Pixel Qi, Kindle, and Toshiba R600 displays in sunlight and in shade; Pixel Qi is arguably more readable than Kindle, and in full color. Jepson refers to Clayton Christenson's 1997 classic The Innovator's Dilemma, explaining a seeming paradox in high-tech: why companies that listen to their customers aren't the ones that innovate. According to the article it's mainly because "the next big market isn't with your current customers. It's with a vastly larger group of would-be users who couldn't afford your previous products, or couldn't carry around the huge devices of previous generations." Jepson says, "The cool thing about the Pixel Qi technology is, you know, poor kids in Africa got it first... It's the classic Innovator's Dilemma."
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OLPC and the "Innovator's Opportunity"

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  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @05:38PM (#29630393)

    According to the interview, Pixel Qi are still supporting OLPC, but they aren't designing just for -- or even primarily for OLPC any longer. It is neat that kids in Africa were the first market for the new display technology, but we're going to see the newer Pixel Qi stuff in commercial netbooks long before the XO-2 is out, most likely.

    The newest stuff does full color in direct sun, and apparently the generation after this will cut power consumption by a bunch.

  • by Unoti ( 731964 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @06:27PM (#29630773) Journal

    You should listen to your customers, but do so understanding most requests aren't for what they're asking for, it's for a more fundamental desire...

    That's fine. But the Innovator's Dilemma is a wholly unrelated to that form of customers not knowing what they want. Here is an excellent introduction to the Innovator's Delemma []. The article talks about the rapid changes in the hard drive industry over.

    This article isn't about customers not knowing what they want. It's about how over time, who your customers are can radically change as brand new markets emerge. For example, hard disk business with mainframes was all about cost per megabyte. But in the new desktop computer market, the criteria by which things are judged is totally different than just cost per megabyte. Overall cost for the unit is more important, and physical size. A mainframe customer wouldn't be interested in a drive that costs more per megabyte but is smaller and has an overall lower price per unit-- but a desktop customer would be interested. The topic of the article is that if you exclusively listen to your customers without contemplating how the world is changing, you can sink yourself. Same situation with the newspaper industry: over-focus on existing markets and existing business lines can cause you to not see the opportunity in emerging markets, as the Rocky Mountain News [] learned.

  • by FrostDust ( 1009075 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:20PM (#29631407)

    "XP mode" just lets you run older programs for which the developers haven't cranked out a Windows 7 patch/version yet. It's not like you can just dual-boot XP and ignore you have 7 or something.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser