Prediction #5 — Drones become Pizza-to-the-Neighborhood (PTTN)

I’ve already written one prediction about autonomous cars — that they’ll be far later to the market than most pundits and autonomous car inventors are suggesting. Today’s prediction is about a tangentially-related technology — aerial delivery drones. These drones are definitely coming just as fast as regulators will allow them, but I don’t think they’ll be implemented in the way people expect. What we’ll see, I predict, is something I call Pizza-to-the-Neighborhood or PTTN.

Aerial drones are a new type of distribution network operating in a new kind of ether. They don’t travel on roads and neither do they travel in what we conventionally think of as airspace. […]

Bob’s Predictions for 2019 — The Year When Everything Changes… Forever

Now, finally, to my predictions for 2019. This is, I believe, my 22nd and possibly last year of looking ahead, so I want to do something different and potentially bigger. Our old format works fine but I’ve been pondering this and I really think we’re at a sea-change in technology. It’s not just that new tech is coming but we as consumers of that tech are in major transitions of our own. It has as much to do with demographics as technology. So while I’ll be looking ahead all this week, coming up with the usual 10 predictions, I want to make sure we all understand that this isn’t business as usual. This […]

Remembering Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died yesterday at age 65. His cause of death was Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, the same disease that nearly killed him back in 1983. Allen, who was every bit as important to the history of the personal computer as Bill Gates, had found an extra 35 years of life back then thanks to a bone marrow transplant. And from the outside looking-in, I’d say he made great use of those 35 extra years.

Of all the early PC guys, Allen was probably the most reclusive. Following his departure from Microsoft in 1983 I met him only four times. But prior to his illness Allen had been a major factor […]

IT is urbanizing, McDonald’s gets it, but Woonsocket doesn’t (yet)

My favorite UK TV producer once had to sell his house in Wimbledon and move to an apartment in Central London just to get his two adult sons to finally leave home. Now something similar seems to be happening in American IT. Some people are calling it age discrimination. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but the strategy is clear: IT is urbanizing — moving to city centers where the labor force is perceived as being younger and more agile.

The poster child for this tactic is McDonald’s, based for 47 years in Oak Brook, Illinois, but just this summer moved to a new Intergalactic HQ downtown in […]

The space race is over and SpaceX won

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently gave SpaceX permission to build Starlink — Elon Musk’s version of satellite-based broadband Internet. The FCC specifically approved launching the first 4,425 of what will eventually total 11,925 satellites in orbit. To keep this license SpaceX has to launch at least 2,213 satellites within six years. The implications of this project are mind-boggling with the most important probably being that it will likely result in SpaceX crushing its space launch competitors, companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s United Launch Alliance (ULA) partnership as well as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. 

Starlink is a hugely ambitious project. It isn’t the first […]