I wrote this piece for the 10th March edition of the Irish Times. My editor, Michael McAleer, is both innovation and motoring editor, and had just returned from the Geneva Motor Show, which got me thinking :-)
Smart phone apps abound for the car driver. On a quick browse of my app store, I found apps for route planning and traffic jam avoidance; car sharing; finding free parking spaces; finding the nearest and cheapest petrol stations; warning of speed traps; trip analysis, including CO2 emissions; on board diagnosis of engine performance; and even g-force indicators of acceleration and cornering. Some of these apps are applicable before and after a trip. But many are targeted for in-vehicle use, and so raise safety concerns.
Published by the Irish Times on February 17th last, I wrote this piece musing on what Satya Nadella may be strategising about now he is in his new role…
One of the first observations made by Microsoft’s new 46 year old CEO Satya Nadella was that “our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation”. Quite so, but Microsoft does have a well-deserved tradition of industry preeminence and influence. However, the industry is also all about perception. And today, whatever about its past triumphs, the widespread perception is that Microsoft has lost its way.
This little piece went in the Irish Times on Monday 27th January last. I had just been over to Hamilton, New Zealand for my elder son’s wedding (which was just fantastic!). In reading the newspapers over breakfast in the hotel over several mornings, I got to musing on some of the similarities and differences between New Zealand’s and Ireland’s innovation economies.
This article, in the light of the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden, appeared in the Irish Times on 18th December 2013.
The news this week that the US intelligence agencies and the UK’s Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) have being stalking around as avatars inside the online virtual worlds of Second Life, World of Warcraft and the Xbox Live gaming network brings me a wry smile as I write this. Just imagine the scene: a team of young 25 year old Edward Snowden-like geeks petitioning their senior 60 year old George Smiley-like boss to be allowed to spend their entire work time wandering around these virtual playparks – “you do understand Mr Smiley sir, it is purely just in case..” Apparently so many spooks are now doing so, that the spy agencies have actually had to put in place a “deconfliction” process so that secret avatars from different agencies do not accidentally virtually spy on each other!
This article appeared in the Irish Times on November 18th 2013.
The European Central Bank has just cut interest rates to a record low, of just 0.25%. Interest rates are similarly depressed, and for some time, in the United States. If – despite the recession blues, the property bubble, and the increases in both direct and indirect taxes – you still have some cash left to save and invest, where might you put it? Well, here’s what some people have just done: they have invested in a new publicly quoted company which is at least three times more valuable than Ryanair; twice as big as Hyundai; and more valuable than Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The thing is, this company has not yet made a single cent, and probably will not do so in any material way until 2015. At the time of the company’s initial public offering (IPO), for every share that was successfully bought, there were 30 other buyers also trying to buy it. The company is Twitter.
I wrote this piece as a commentary on the Irish Government’s 2014 budget, announced on 15th October last. My piece appeared in the Irish Times today.
Roll-over relief for capital gains tax for entrepreneurs was announced in the Budget. But still…
This summer’s film comedy “The Internship” features two wristwatch sales men Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Campbell) who find themselves out of a job when their employer goes out of business. “Everything is computerized now” rings in their ears as they pack up, leave, and seek new jobs. The pair ultimately end up in an internship programme at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley, where they are plunged into a younger generation fully conversant with the internet, and somehow try to convince Google to give them a job.
I wrote this piece a few weeks before Irish Government announced the national budget for 2014. It was published in the Irish Times on 7th October last. In my view, the current administration often pronounce on entrepreneurship, but fail to consider the wider picture and to follow through.
Capital Gains Tax has been increased by over two thirds by the current administration, and it is now (for example) over three times as much as is applicable in the UK (including Northern Ireland)….