Taking requests for The Critical Path

What topics would you like to have me discuss on The Critical Path podcast? Put forward your questions as comments below. If you see a question already asked, vote for it by marking it up.

  • Education System, specifically what can be done to disrupt it.

    • This…specifically higher education though.

    • D Pauw

      And maybe a bit about the role of libraries and the information gap that mirrors the economic gap (bit off topic from what is usually covered but could be interesting).

  • Rob Burke

    Apple and “the Enterprise”.

  • I just finished watching Tim Cook’s complete D10 interview, and he seemed to allude to the fact that Apple would indeed be building a television (not just a module to attach to existing televisions). I gathered this because he essentially said that Apple doesn’t enter a market without being able to control all of the key components of the product. Just wanted your thoughts on what this could mean for the company.

  • nuttmedia

    The pending “Apple-esque” mystery announcement from MSFT later today. Speculation seemingly points to a B&N/NewCo tablet, though an exclusively Microsoft hardware tablet would be far more provocative move, and topic, if it comes to pass.

  • Kit

    I’d like to see some discusion about the mobile market for teens. How important are trendy devices? How sensitive are they to price? Do apps/services like iMessage help lure them in? How faithful to a platform can they be expected to be?

  • Charles

    I would love a show of the critical path where you talked about technology that is disrupting the education sector. Are the days of brick and mortar universities numbered? If so, what kind of impact will that have in our world, if not so, what steps will universities have taken to prevent being disrupted. I’m less interested in the particular technologies that could disrupt them, and more interested in the economics at play. Follow the money. Thanks.

  • Irina Sandu

    The mobile browser market. What is the future of mobile browsing? How big is the market for non-native browsers? What is the role of the mobile browser on the device? What about regional segmentation? How will the Web compete with the capabilities of native frameworks?

  • xtophr

    What does market maturity look like for smartphones and tablets and when do we get there? How separate are these two markets? That is, can a company be a viable tablet vendor without also being a strong smartphone vendor?

  • actualbanker

    If the status quo is maintained then what is the future of the industry? Status quo = Apple slowly growing share and making the profits, Google growing their share a bit faster but without profits, RIM/Nokia ending, Samsung/HTC hanging in there. Where would this leave us in 5 years? And what potential unthinkable events could arise? In short, a brief look at the industry through Wack’s scenario planning perspective instead of CP’s favoured Christensen Disruptive lens. Please.

  • N

    Recruiting. Of Steve Jobs’ many talents that’s the one I admire the most. How did he put together such a great team, some of whom flounder after leaving Apple?

    • Ian Ollmann

      How many of them continued to employ disruption as a business model after they left?

      • N

        Ron Johnson is trying to do that at JCP, but apparently there’s a fine line between true disruption and a failed lab experiment. Apple has something that attracts talent and enables these people to perform to the best of their abilities. Look at Scot Forstall. Steve Jobs scooped him up out of college and nurtured him for nearly two decades. Something tells me Forstall is smart enough to stay at Apple.

      • Don’t write off Ron’s experiment yet.

  • Steve

    Might be something about why Samsung is the only vendor to success in Android Camp? Everyone else seems losing the ground.

  • I would like to learn about how much and which parts of the whole tech supply industry (with that I mean the hardware component producers, e.g., processors, RAM, motherboards, RF-chips, but also the industry that builds the machinery necessary for manufacturing, e.g., robots and lasers) is “consumed” by Apple. I think during one of the past episodes you already mentioned that Apple was buying so many lasers, that it was getting more difficult for other companies to acquire manufacturing equipment.

    Also: When large tech companies like Apple/Google/Microsoft etc. succeed, or others like Nokia/RIM/Yahoo fail, what are the social consquences? (e.g., how many engineers/workers relocate, what are the consequences for the region, is the growth of one company compensated by the shrinking of another so that overall cities and regions don’t grow/shrink in population?)

  • Omri

    Can you talk about disruption in medicine?

  • Apple with its retail stores is providing a model for retail of the future.
    1) Product Showcase
    2) Full Ecosystem
    3) Retail is NOT about inventory
    4) Technology to Explain products (ipads with product info)
    5) Product Experts

    We see retailers complaining about “Showcasing” –

    With Circuit City gone and BestBuy on the ropes, Consumer Electronics retail is dying – save for Apple.

    Taking the disruptive model to retail that Apple has applied to Consumer Electronics, how will other retail sectors develop? As a single example, what should Ron Johnson (former head of Apple retail) do at JC Penny?

  • Paolo Poidomani

    Economics analysis of what’s happening in the TV market would be useful and interesting.
    Who are the relevant players of the old TV screen game? How big they are? Is it still an interesting market?

    And what about the new TV boxes as the Boxee, Apple TV, Google TV?

    The TV market as with the screen seems quite stale, the so called Smart TVs are probably more on the dumb side of smartness and screens appear to be something that families are not ready to swap every two or three years.
    Viceversa boxes like the Apple TV are cheap and compatible with any preexisting set, but are them profitable? Or, maybe, profits will come from the ecosystem?

    • sigaba

      +1. I miss the film industry analysis, as misguided and ignorant as it may have been… 🙂 SMILEY!

  • Andrew G

    Should Microsoft buy Nokia?

  • How relevant the “smartphone” is in a longer context? What happens when all the mobile communication needs are met with data-only devices, is the “phone” still a meaningful concept and does it become less of an economic driver?

  • Walt French

    Previous list should hold you thru maybe 2013, but one more:

    Not clear how the vision of iPhone as an App Phone evolved. Jobs blew it off in his first talk to developers; “do HTML.” Totally unforeseen by Apple, or were they just not ready yet at 2007 intro, but they knew it’d be huge, much more so than their Mac apps biz?

    • Horatio

      Upon this 5th anniversary of the iPhone and given the previous analysis by Horace and Clayton Christensen that the iPhone was a sustaining innovation rather than disruptive one, CP should follow through with an analysis of the true disruption by Apple: the retail stores and the online stores. Especially the (iOS) App Store and the Mac App Store seem aimed at redefining the business of software and the jobs to be done by apps v. hardware. The App Store model is modular rather than integrated. It is especially supportive of third-party disruptive innovation as well as price signalling to Apple about the post-PC computing world.

  • David

    Can the mobile semiconductor market be disrupted?

    • What exactly do you mean? ARM has been disruptive to Intel; are you asking if ARM can be disrupted? My guess is that Horace or Clayton Christensen would say ‘yes’ 🙂

  • gprovida

    What disruptive forces might bring manufacturing to US? For example, Carr has observed the ability to respond to market changes, e.g., fashion in clothes, shoes, etc. suggest large low cost manufacturing may be better suited to custom production locally. These seems different from Steel Mills where smaller was more efficient versus local.

  • torifile

    In the last podcast you mentioned the way Apple is integrating many other services into iOS 6. You related it to Apple learning to play well with others.

    What about this angle? How Apple is trying to marginalize Google by adding in all these services in iOS 6. Google is nominally a search company, practically an ad company but in reality a data company.
    By siphoning off users to various services, Google loses much of their data.

    Apple is leaving the search – in my view, the loss leader – to Google and taking the lower volume but higher profit stuff off its plate.
    But if Apple did want to flip a switch on search to another company by default, Google loses a very big chunk of even its mobile search audience. Another theme might be how adding Siri in as the middle (wo)man, Google becomes much less relevant.
    It’s almost like asphyxiation. I think Google should be very scared. Any thoughts on this front?

  • billyk

    What will be Apple’s next distruption?

  • Glimmerman

    One of your early podcasts addressed Apple’s cash. As it continues to climb what further thoughts do you have on how they can best employ it? Can it be used to strengthen the ecosystem, keep customers coming back to Apple, provide financial services of some sort, or other?

    On a separate but perhaps related topic, I’d love your thoughts about PassBook, which seems to me to have great potential. Could it evolve into a digital wallet? Could it serve as a purchasing tool without addition of an NFC chip to the iPhone?

  • FalKirk

    May I just say that most of the suggestions made so far have been excellent! I may never have thought of any of the suggested topics, yet the moment I read them my interest was piqued and I suddenly, desperately, unexpected wanted – no needed – to know more!

    The commentators on Asymco really are a superior bunch. Your collective insights truly are one of the best resources available on the Web today.

  • Igor

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on Apple and other companies, such as Netflix and Google, making deals with media content providers. What it takes to secure these deals, opposition and obstacles.

  • Brian Wadley, M.D.

    It consumes a large proportion of our debt in the US.

    And it is broken.

    It needs to be disrupted.

    Can technology help push change? Especially mobile technology hooked into an iCloud/Amazon/Google scale?

    Or will this only happen politically?

    (In which case we can all just give up hope and go home.)

    • Clayton Christensen has talked about health care quite a bit. See for example and
      Of course I’d love to hear what Horace has to say about medicine and health care.

      • kankerot

        Clayton stuff on Disruptive Medicine is total rubbish. He rehashed Shumpters idea on creative destruction and just flew with it. Thank god he will never be up for a Nobel prize – he adds nothing to the debate.

    • SiMBa37

      The person Horace should interview regarding health care disruption is Dave Chase, CEO of Avado. He writes for Forbes and is known fondly as “Mr. Health Care Disruption.” I follow him @chasedave.

    • jubei_jc

      I agree this is a good topic.
      This American Life did a good two part podcast about America’s health care. It’s located under the 2009 (ep. 391 & 392) archives on their site.
      It would still be good to hear an analysis from Horace though.

    • JaneDoe12

      Dr. Eric Topol, the former chair of the department of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, has lots of ideas for mobile devices and cloud. Here’s two:

      In the medical arena, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) has been available for several years. A tiny sensor that penetrates the skin transmits glucose values based on the extracellular fluid every 5 minutes for at least seven days. The data accurately reflect blood glucose and not only preempt the need for frequent fingersticks but also provides around-the-clock tracking of glucose homeostasis.

      To date, CGM is mainly used in insulin-dependent diabetics with poor glucose control. But the technology might be well suited for the large population of more than 27 million diagnosed diabetics and 67 million pre-diabetics, even for a brief period of a week or month, to provide precise data for the individual’s diet and exercise influence on glucose regulation [1].

      The data could be uploaded to the cloud where it would be processed and alerts sent to healthcare providers. If pre-diabetics were monitored, it would be large scale but I don’t think it would be immense like iCloud, Amazon or Google.

      Last April, Dr. Topol visited Zócalo Public Square, and they made a video of 3 minutes of his presentation. It’s called “Your Heart Attack Ring Tone” and it was fascinating! He said that one or two weeks before a heart attack, there’s an artery that cracks and cells get sloughed off when the crack occurs. His lab has identified the DNA signature of these cells. And he wants to put a nano-sensor chip (the size of a grain of sand) into the bloodstream that will pick up the signatures of these sloughed off cells and send a message to your smartphone. And it will give you a ringtone of heart attack. He’s working with Cal Tech to develop the sensor [2].

      Sources with links:
      1. EJ Topol. Mobile-izing healthcare: Wireless technologies will continue to revolutionize the industry. July 25, 2011
      2. EJ Topol. Your Heart Attack Ring Tone. Zócalo Public Square. April 27, 2012.

    • Richpmd

      In my opinion, as a Psychiatrist in upstate NY where I am the Medical Director of a Psychiatric  inpatient unit, most of the problems with healthcare relate to the model of reimbursement which is mostly managed care and Medicare.  Insurance companies add significant cost but little value.  (Are people aware that in the US managed care firms are exempt from malpractice claims and thus can say “No” to maximize profits with little risk?)  Can anyone demonstrate that managed care has saved any money?  Secondary problems include the model of financing a medical education and the disparity in the cost of drugs in the US as compared with other countries.  I’ll be lambasted by my colleagues for saying this but what we need is a nationalized healthcare system with twice as any doctors who get paid half as much as now whose medical educations ave been publicly financed.  Without the massive burden of the current methods of financing a medical education doctors could maintain a high standard of living with lower salaries.

      • JaneDoe12

        Can anyone demonstrate that managed care has saved any money?

        There is one that has—it’s Rocky Mountain Health Plans in Mesa County, CO. They are a nonprofit, insurance cooperative, and the Affordable Care Act allows these to be created as an alternative to the public option. The advantage of the co-op is that the doctors can make the rules [1]. Here are some things they do:

        • RMHP pools the incoming fees for private, Medicare/Medicaid, and then reimburses the doctors the same for all patients. As a result, low-income patients on Medicaid are twice as likely to get preventive care — 88% compared to 40% in other health plans [2].

        • They emphasize prevention. For example, 98 percent of pregnant women receive some prenatal care whether they have insurance or not. The result: the percent of babies born with low weight is 7.3% compared to the state’s 8.9%. This saves on intensive-care for newborns [2].

        • They emphasize primary care, e.g. the primary-care doctor treats back pain in appropriate low-cost ways, and will “only send the patient to a specialist if they see red flags,” said Dr. Susan Hemley, who is a neurosurgeon and one of those specialists. “If there’s more than the normal amount of pain, or if the pain lasts a very long time, then it’s probably time for the patient to see a specialist.” [1]

        • At end of life, when a cure is no longer possible, patients are moved to a hospice to ease symptoms and pain. RMHP emphasizes palliative care and has found that patients actually live longer and in less pain [2, 3].

        • Specialists are generally paid two to four times as much per year as primary care doctors, but in RMHP they are paid less. Dr. George Shanks, a retired surgeon in Grand Junction, said he and his fellow specialists probably earned 20–30% less due to the accountable care system, but that was enough. He said that there are plenty of physicians who would rather work in a system that takes care of everyone, than make an extra $100,000 a year [1].

        • The percentages of persons with diabetes and obesity in the county are in the lowest quintile compared to other counties in the US. They also have low rates of other major chronic illnesses. It is not clear how much is due to original health and genetics of local population, and how much to the emphasis on prevention and near-universal care. But it might also be that patients with specialty needs move to big cities [2].

        Sources with links:

        1. Bill Scanlon. Replicating the healthcare model of Grand Junction. Los Angeles Times. February 26, 2010.
        2. Bill Scanlon. Grand Junction healthcare is a model of low cost and high quality. Los Angeles Times. February 25, 2010.

        This page doesn’t render properly with Internet Explorer. I use Firefox.
        3. Bill Scanlon. Giving honor to life and dignity at Grand Junction hospice. Los Angeles Times. February 25, 2010.

  • Ian Ollmann

    How the end of exponential growth will look, and when.

  • Dan

    More on the entertainment industry distribution system. Ultimately ties into apple TV.

  • teddo

    Can Apple continue to succeed in the mobile phone market using veritical integration or will the horizontal approach used by Android and Windows ultimately win out once the “good enough” point is reached?

  • Love to hear about disruption in currency (bitcoin), capital (kickstarter), finance, and government. Small, easy topics, you should be able to cover them all in an hour 🙂

    If I had to pick one for you to focus on, it would be finance. It seems to me that banks that are “too big to fail” may also be ripe for disruption by low-end products. Of course kickstarter-style capital is a related topic, but I’m thinking more of classic banking services (savings, debit cards, CDs). Any opinions on Dwolla?

    • Agree, this is a great topic about an industry that is just waiting to be disrupted.

  • graphex

    try to poke holes in Apple’s moat

  • Product maturity vs modularity, as you spoke of with respect to automobiles, in light of Apple’s trend towards tighter integration and less modularity in mobile computers.

    Does Apple’s success here indicate that its new mobile computers are a (novel) immature application of mature technology? How much of their ability to do this is effectively subsidized by novelty in software?

  • Mike Wren

    Can Google succeed with the Motorola purchase with a more integrated approach like Apple? But how do they do that without causing the other Android smartphone makers to put more effort into diversifying towards other operating systems like Windows Phone and/or Samsung’s open source Tizen? If Google didn’t want to take the integrated approach, then why did they buy Motorola (besides for the patents)?

  • I would love to hear more about the auto industry, especially if you could get Jeffery Liker as a guest.

  • I would love to hear more about the auto industry, especially if you could get Jeffery Liker as a guest.

  • Oak

    What are your predictions for the relative importance of iPhone vs. iPad to Apple, in the short, medium, and long term?

  • Huginn & Muninn

    If you wrote the headlines in 2018 for Apple’s newest hot product announcement, what would it be?

    How many years do you estimate it will take until the smartphone market share is >90% of total mobile phones sold?
    What probability would you ascribe to Apple entering the payments market in the next five years?

  • fring

    “There is no such thing as a dead cert in business” is often quoted and with respect to RIMM and Nokia, their fall from dominance is ample proof.
    Given Apple’s rise to prominence, is there benefit in working backwards using their successful products in order to recognise just what were the tipping points for success? Can a set of rules built on these points be used to predict future success? Would such predictions allow us to make ‘sense’ of disruptive technology rather than appearing as a black art? Could an alternative set of rules be applied to stave off disruption for incumbents?

  • mailermax

    I really enjoy your discussions of disruption to incumbents. You’ve touched on some other industries as examples of victims of disruption, but I’d be interested to hear what you consider to be some of the most dramatic examples of disruption and why they were so disruptive.


  • Would love a show about the issue of critical mass / network effects for emerging (potentially disruptive) technologies

  • Kit

    I’d like to see you take a shot at predicting how countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia and (of course) China will develop in the mobile space, countries that are leap frogging the landline and PC and jumping straight into the 21st century. Does Apple have any chance here? Will Android dig out the sort of moat that Microsoft once had and leave Apple to a niche position?

    • actualbanker

      Leap-frogging doesn’t always work as one might expect. Though developing nations have adopted mobile, the rapid growth of mobile is driving take-up of fixed line as well. Once you have a taste of communication you want the speeds that fixed-line brings. Similarly development brings with it the desire for payment services and ATMs etc. Nations do go through stages very quickly, but rarely is anything actually leap-frogged.

      Old technology is well and truly alive.

      See also Kevin Kelly’s “What Technology Wants”.

      • Kit

        I think I see your point, and perhaps ‘leap-frogging’ is not the ideal word, but I meant to suggest countries that simply do not have the physical phone lines in the ground and were unlikely to get them any time soon. In any case, it feels to me that starting with mobile technology should set a country down a different evolutionary path, and I’d love to hear what Horace thinks about this.

  • Chris

    I would like to hear your thoughts on how the tools for the jobs to be done originate. While you frequently talk about the jobs to be done, you never give us your thoughts (or questions) about how members of a society come to recognize the specific jobs they have to accomplish and thereby its tools. At other times people in previous generations have just coped with jobs using their old tools without realizing that there is a space for a newer, better tool. And yet other communities are able to come up with better, newer tools while other have not.

    For example, if the job that mobile phones really perform is to provide its users with affordable and easy access to the Internet, you could go into how this affordable easy, mobile access to the Internet first became imagined and better realized. Steve Jobs said the people that created the best tools had to have a background in the liberal arts (to understand the jobs that the tools would perform) and technology (to realize this newer tool). But that doesn’t give enough of an explanation of the process of innovation.
    For all that I have learned from your work and Christensen’s work, I think there’s still more work that can be done in describing the sociological laws of how innovation comes about. To this, I have my own thoughts after looking for answers in the work of Everett Rogers and Martin Heidegger. But I am very curious about what you have to say on the subject.

  • I would love you to talk more about disruption in history – technical, cultural and political. That could be fascinating – and potentially really enlightening.

  • newtonrj

    As smartphones depend on digital bandwidth, can we see some numbers on existing coverages, growth sectors and expansion areas? Essentally, expanding the envelope of the sector.

  • febsee

    SpaceX and the future of space exploration

    • KirkBurgess

      Elon musk would be a worth subject.

      Solar city

      All disruptive companies.

  • Padova44

    I’m not trying to ask a question about the future value of Apple stock. What I would like you to tell us is what is it about Apple that Wall Street cannot comprehend. “Wall Street expectations” is like waiting for Godot. If “Wall Street” crunches numbers for a living, what is their problem? Is Apple disruptive to capital or is Wall Street deeply stupid?

  • AV

    iPhone profits vs. Carrier profits. Huge subsidies + distruption caused by iMessage and iTalk/Call/Voice. What happens to iPhones sales when carrier margins are too thin and their core business is transformed too quickly? Carriers are already desperately trying to find alternatives to Apple from Samsung and others.

  • Walt French

    You tracked the movie industry for quite a while without actually summing up (not that *I* heard, anyway) how disruption might play out past the YouTube phenomenon. It’s not clear how YouTube has disrupted movies and/or TV entertainment. What would an asymmetric competitor to Hollywood and/or its distribution channels, look like? The latter seems heavily tied to older technology and pretty ripe; the former, ???

  • Jason

    Hi Horace,

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on how social media is disrupting businesses, from both internal operational and industry perspectives.


  • vladiim

    The future of entertainment

  • Jim

    Microsoft in the mobile and tablet spaces. Apple in the software and peripheral spaces.

  • Bruce

    I enjoyed the shows on moviemaking and disruption of the Hollywood system of making movies. I also enjoyed hearing about the music industry. Hearing about the distributing music got me thinking about putting jukeboxes in bars, which in turn got me thinking about vice in general.

    Gambling is slowly turning into a government sponsored monopoly here in the US. Drinking is an enormous industry which, as far as I know, hasn’t changed much in a long time. Can either industry be disintermediated and/or disrupted? If so, how? Is there a way to make “end users” of these two vices happy without destroying their lives?

  • maro

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts on the potential of Apple taking themselves private. Thanks.

  • JDSoCal

    I’d be interested in how Apple can leverage its 400 million credit cards with or without NFC. How can Apple solve the (lack of) PoS adoption problem? It is inelegant as can be, but could Apple start with an actual physical credit card adjunct (or adapter) to the iPhone, until/if/when PoS widely adopts the tech?

  • normm

    What do you think about the value of secrecy in business? According to Cook, Apple is doubling down on secrecy. Is this a scalable idea? Isn’t secrecy harder and harder the bigger the company and its supply chain get? Doesn’t this cause problems for businesses using their products when there’s no roadmap? Doesn’t this cause morale problems when company employees can’t talk about their projects? Is some of Apple’s use of secrecy a symptom of our dysfunctional patent system, where we need to go back to trade secrets because patents don’t work very well?

  • I’d like to understand your take on the photography industry as a whole. Professional, consumer candid, print, and digital product. People still buy prints. Can you believe that? Seems like an industry ripe for disruption.

  • Pro/Con’s of GOOG/MSFT following in AAPL footsteps with vertical integration.
    -What do they need to do with supply chain (basically ground up) to build end to end and can they?cash/time?

    -Will Samsung follow suit and dump Android?

    -More on topic of where is tech going, verticle or modular, etc.

  • Doug

    Maximum total tablet market and percent of that market belonging to Apple, Same with smartphones.

  • HarveyMunchkin

    Love to hear your thoughts on the publishing industry. It used to be that the publishers were the big bad wolf to authors. Now Amazon is eating the publishers’ lunch. Is Amazon just a bigger, badder wolf? Do publishers actually provide value that Amazon cannot? When the Dept. of Justice rules against Apple and publishers and people say it benefits Amazon, do customers also benefit? Is it good for authors? Thanks!

  • With the announcement of MIcrosoft Surface, we definitely need a podcast about what it means for a software company to compete with its own licensees. Apple did it and killed them off. Google is doing it with the Nexus program with some middling success, and now Microsoft is wading it’s feet into that pool.

  • “Things work better when hardware and software are considered together.”

    That was not said by Steve Jobs, but by Steve Ballmer when Microsoft announced the Win 8 tablet, “Surface”, yesterday.

    I would like to see an exploration in to what kind of disruption we would see if Microsoft walked away from their legacy, and embraced the Apple philosophy of building the whole widget. Microsoft did that with the Xbox, and now they are directly stepping on to their customers toes, by releasing a tablet-compter that directly competes not only with the iPad and Android, but with various OEMs who were going to release Windows 8 tablets.

    This could also tie in nicely with the disruption Apple has caused, where Microsoft is basically compelled to make their own hardware in order to properly compete with Apple.

    As for Apple… The weakest link in the iPhone-experience is the carrier. What would it take for Apple to move in to that space? To not only provide the phone, but also the phone-service to the consumer.Apple wants to provide complete and excellent experience to the customer, and with the iPhone, the carrier is by far the weakest link there.

  • Jony

    Why is it that Apple’s designs are far superior then the competition ? Is it because they don’t care or is it because they don’t put as much emphasis on it as Apple does….or is it simply because they don’t have the talent Apple has…what exactly is it that gives them the edge?

  • RobDK

    The new Microsoft Surface tablet and its implications for MS business model in relation to software/hardware/OEM partners, together with a disruption analysis in relation to market developments.

  • GSM vs CDMA, and how the world picked GSM to built LTE on top of?

  • Why is mobile so disruptive to internet companies? We hear all the time how Facebook and Google seem both totally unable to exploit mobile platforms, but why is this? What makes mobile computing so disruptive?

  • Horace, I have only one request — Interview Jared Diamond of Guns Germs and Steel fame. Might the the greatest episode of all time. Perhaps a broader discussion of technological disruptions throughout history and their application to companies of today which will inevitably leave their mark on humanity.

    Mr. Diamond did Colbert Report a while back. I can’t see why he wouldn’t do Critical Path, as you have just as big of an audience, if not more engaged.

  • Stefan

    Initial thoughts on Microsofts new tablet.

  • Kit

    Any thoughts on how future upgrade cycles are likely to affect the industry? Some people upgrade every year while most (?) upgrade every two years, probably in response to service-provider incentives. I doubt this will continue more than a couple of more years. Does the PC market contain any clues? Who might win and who might lose?

  • stevex

    Surface would be timely. I’m really interested in how Microsoft sees this as a profitable device. Bundling Windows ($85 revenue for Windows RT, more for Windows PRo) and bundling Office means they just get the hardware profit for all this software, and the hardware margins can’t be that great.

  • Can you talk about emerging markets and impact of smartphones there. Seems like a Interesting area.

  • Mike1963

    You’ve alluded to it, but I’d like to hear about Kickstarter, the JOBS act, and potential disruption to VC of crowd-funding. I’ve noticed Clay’s hedge fund just invested in CircleUp.

    Disruptive analysis is much easier in hindsight, and would be an early call

  • The odd, intrinsic link between AAPL (Apple) and CMG (Chipotle) stock value.

  • Can disruption be applied to political change? If so, under what circumstances?

    Consider different modes of competition between political ideas in different political Systems.

    Will the West be disrupted by China or other partially capitalist states because freedom is a commodity when natural resources become increasingly scarce?

    How do political ideas disrupt societies and others don’t? What constitutes disruptive political ideas? What constitutes disruptable societies?

    Added as an afterthought:
    Do european pirate parties or the occupy movement represent disruptive ideas?

  • Ned Kelly

    Hi Horace ,

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on the world wide patent disputes between Apple and the Android OEMs .. 

    Clearly Microsofts new Surface tablets are staying well clear of Apples UI ( for fear of litigation ? .. I know they have a cross license agreement ) whereas Android doesn’t seem to care .. 

    I remember when SJ introduced the first iPhone in 07 and he mentioned something along the lines of ” oh boy have patented this ” (300+ ) Patents if I remember correctly .

  • jubei_jc

    There seems to be some confusion about the e-reader business. The question is always “how are the prices set for e-books?” & “why do prices for e-books seem high compared to the low cost of production.
    I really enjoyed your analysis of the Hollywood and the television industry. I would like to hear a similar analysis about the publishing business.

  • KirkBurgess

    Disruption in warfare caused by disruptive technology.

  • KirkBurgess

    What happens when computing devices can communicate with us in voice fluently, rather than having to display information on a screen, what sort of new use cases would arise?

  • lb51

    This is a late request, but how about AirPlay? Where is GOOG’s strategy? And, why are Android developers adopting AirPlay for Android devices? Each year, AirPlay becomes more significant, is this area becoming Apples new iTunes for iDevices. We won’t need an iTunes interface, just iCloud and AirPlay.

  • AMDGomer

    I would like for you to address John C. Dvorak’s article on PC Mag, “The Myth of Disruptive Technology”. I think that would be awesome. Love the show! Thanks.

  • vervaak

    This question compliments the question regarding education. With unemployment high in many places, how would the job market get disrupted? How would the Internet and mobil technology facility entrepreneurialism, change how people/businesses interface with each other, and alter people’s exactions from an education that is going to help them get a job? Hypothetical question: How would Apple use their skill in manage complex relationships between various parties (e.g. developers, consumers, telecoms, media, oems, etc…) handle complexity in the realm of facilitating businesses/people?

  • Jonathan

    Are there any countries/areas that are anomalies when it comes to iPhone/Android adoption? I’m thinking of places with an extraordinarily high or extraordinarily low iPhone:Android adoption ratio. What makes them an anomaly?

  • Simon Russell

    A while ago IBM sold thousands of patents, was it just for the money?

  • How do you think Ron Johnson is doing at disrupting department store retail now that he’s at J C Penny? I don’t follow it closely, but I get the sense that his ideas haven’t yet been a big hit there.

  • joshtheoak

    I spent many years working for and consulting with various Apple partners – Apple Authorized Service Providers, Apple Specialists, etc. I have watched them go from the best place to get Apple products to almost totally marginalized by Apple. Apple’s policies for these partners has been increasingly restrictive to downright hostile in recent years, though the main trajectory of the policies seems to be to force the partners to operate like an Apple Store. Which works for for Apple, who use their stores for marketing, support, customer interaction and product distribution and realize invoice margins of 30%-40%, but it does not work for the partners who must rely solely on retail sales (of predominantly Apple products at <10% margin) for profitability and have trouble developing relationships with consumers not wholly dependent on Apple products as the facilitator of that relationship.
    Apple doesn't talk much about partners or directly report their sales through that channel that I can see, but I would be interested in an examination of Apple retail sales from pre-Apple Store era through today from both the Job to be Done perspective (the difference between the jobs an Apple Store and a Specialist is "hired to do" by both Apple and the Consumer) but also from the perspective of Disruption (the partners being disrupted by the company they rely on for the bulk of their sales, branding, etc.).

  • oases

    If you look at Samsung’s history over the long term (top and bottom lines and phone units), it seems to be consistently inconsistent. They have a fairly regular record of boom, decline, boom, decline, boom, decline. Why is this, and will their current boom be followed yet again by a decline.

  • JerryK

    You briefly mentioned aviation in a recent podcast. I’d love to hear your take on technology’s role in disrupting the aviation sector, and the forces (e.g., government regulations, etc.) that might slow disruption.

  • JerryK

    You briefly mentioned aviation in a recent podcast. I’d love to hear your take on technology’s role in disrupting the aviation sector, and the forces (e.g., government regulations, etc.) that might slow disruption.

  • Prospects of monetary transactions on mobile devices (aka mobile money, mobile payments). (You said earlier that the burden is on the merchant. Can you elaborate on that?)

    Current best places to incubate disruptive innovations (considering factors such as political, economical, market dynamism). How could they improve?

    What aspects of life can be enhanced with powerful mobile devices in so many hands?

    Invite experts in other areas that could be impacted by mobile devices, and help them look through the lens of disruption, and Jobs-to-be-done.

  • mummey

    Would love to hear more of the potential impact of crowdsourcing. Kickstarter is on everyone’s mind but is there room for potential competitors. What would competitors in this space look like?

  • Jakob Mikkelsen

    Would like to hear what you think that apps actually means in the “battle” between iOS, Android an WP7. How important are apps when the users choose a phone or when business aliances are made?

  • Recently there seem to have been more articles painting Apple in a bad light, for instance Time on Apple taking advantage of China, NYT on various topics, most recently on Apple taking advantage of retail staff. @Gartenberg recently tweeted that he had noticed this. Could this be ‘societies antibodies’ attacking a company perceived to be too successful?

  • hgolden

    I would like a discussion on the connected home market opportunity. Is there an opportunity for a business model disruption? Who are best positioned to control that market? What would be the opportunity for game consoles to become home gateways?

  • Richpmd

    Would it make sense for Apple to develop it’s own data network? Think of the disruptive possibilities re: the traditional telecoms (who clearly see data as their profit centers of the future). Could this be done by acquiring Sprint ( market cap of approx $9.27 billion with approx. $7.57 billion in cash and $22.27 billion in debt) as the basis of an Apple universal data network that could be bundled with all mobile devices for a nominal fee (or even free? This would kill the traditional telecoms).

  • At some point will apple be forced to rely on app developers for innovation? Have they already reached that point? Was that their intention from the start, to provide a canvas for further innovation by others?

  • Is the global financial services industry ripe for disruption? It’s something you touched upon during Asymconf

  • professortom

    I have a question, one I blogged about here: Can Apple Disrupt Television Without First Disrupting This Network?

    Does Apple need to have a network that isn’t the internet as we know it before it can become truly disruptive in the content delivery business i.e. television?

  • Sylvan


    I’d like hear your perceived similarities and differences between Apple and the problems of the old generation of tech companies along Highway 128 near Boston. The context is given in Chapter 7 of Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer.