2006 Top Ten: Monkey Business
1) To start with some serious, not to say ponderous, doom-and-gloom, someone with the ludicrous nom de clavier of Drew Lanza (where do they come up with this stuff?) weighed in authoritatively on the anemic state of the optical startup scene:
The Government, the Carriers, the big box makers, the components guys, scientists, engineers, VC's and Investment Bankers.
We all share some blame for collapsing the food chain that was the optical telecommunications industry.
There are some surviving startups like Infinera, Calix, Force10, Neophotonics, and a handful of others who were started before the bubble burst and are doing well now.
It's enormously frustrating to hear carriers say that they wish they had more of the 'go-go years' technology now.
Engineers, scientists and VC's 'push' technology. Carriers 'pull' it.
The pipe falls apart if either side stops doing its job.
I'm afraid that the carriers aren't likely to see any of that great technology any time soon.
The network has moved into a low cost, commodity mode of operation. That mode suppresses R&D and is damn hard to reverse.
The carriers are pretty much stuck working with whatever comes out of surviving titans like Cisco and Alcatel and surviving startups like Infinera, Calix, and Force10.
And those companies, in turn, are stuck working with whatever comes out of surviving components titans like JDSU and Bookham, or the rare surviving startup like Neophotonics or Cortina.
Every surviving actor on this stage is thinking, "Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me."
Shame on us all, "Drew." That's Larry's personal motto.
2) Photonic phrenzy tersely seconded that emotion:
I'm sorry, I've had enough.
Innovate for a large NA Telecom Carrier again... I'd rather be hit by a brick. Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice and I deserve to be committed...
Drew, you are right -- Thanks, but no thanks.
You're welcome, Phrenzy. So many fools, so little time.
3) Materialgirl chimes in on the Net neutrality debate with her (or his who knows?) own doom-and-gloom scenario:
I agree that "Congress does not get it" and disagree that users need to "pay the freight."
With some 98% of access lines controlled by legacy vendors, one might argue that the market for last mile access is not exactly openly competitive. So, what is the correct price? A monopolist's high-margin dream?
The cost for getting this wrong will be high for the U.S. We are losing jobs to talented folks in other geos. It does not make sense to compete for the opportunity to perform any commodity task from here, versus a geo where folks still live on dirt floors. They will beat us every time.
The U.S. will therefore survive economically only through innovation. Innovation is served by cheap, plentiful communication. On the margin, the most extreme experiment is supported only of communication is the cheapest. It is this "option value" (ala David Reed of Harvard) of the next unknown use of the Internet that is killed by high prices. It kills innovation, the very life blood of our economy.
So, we can pay up for legacy services and lose out in economic growth, or we can leverage cheap bandwidth to create the next GOOG. Make no mistake, the GOOG founders would be dead or in jail of they were Chinese. The chances of RBOCs coming up with the next GOOG are about the same as those monkeys on keyboards coming up with Shakespeare. What is at stake here is the future of our children. Nothing less.
That may well be, girl, but I'll have you know, "I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw."
4) The tentatively named probably has a unique take on the key to tech success:
Porn was the rocket up the bum for both VCRs and the internet ;)
Wink wink, nudge nudge... There's more on Page 2, boys and girls!