Some thoughts on Martin Wolf and Prof. Mariana Mazzucato assertions on state funding of R&D, and on the Times Higher Education Innovation Index – my article was published in the Irish Times on 19th August last….
On August 7th last, this paper reprinted with permission from The Financial Times Limited, an article by Martin Wolf entitled “Much-aligned state takes the boldest risks in innovation”. His piece reviewed the book ‘The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths’, by Mariana Mazzucato, a Sussex university professor of economics who specialises in science and technology. His essay noted that governments (eg in the USA and the UK) have funded, through their science agencies, major research breakthroughs using taxpayer funds, including the discovery of monoclonal antibodies by the UK Medical Research Council; the US National Science Foundation’s funding of what became the Google search engine; and all the technologies which make Apple’s smart phone ‘smart’ – the internet, wireless technologies, GPS, microelectronics, touch-screen displays, and even the SIRI personal assistant.
I wrote this piece for the Irish Times, which was duly published 29th July last. In it I note that the Irish Government has just produced a 5 year projection (they call it a “review”) of the public sector broadcasting sector in Ireland. I believe that the traditional broadcast TV sector is ripe for disruption, and mention a few indicators – not least Boxfish. This article was also written just before the announcement of Chromecast….
Five years ago, in July 2008, who would have predicted the precipitous decline of the PC business? For the prior year, industry analyst Gartner reported that 271 million PCs had been shipped worldwide; by 2012 this had risen to 353 million. However, the PC business is now in serious decline, and some are predicting perhaps less than 300 million units for 2013 – a decline of at least 15 percent from 2012.
Back in July 2008, the iPhone had been shipping for about a year. The first Android phone was not sold until October 2008. The iPad was not launched until April 2010: it has since made the internet accessible to the non-PC literate, including many young and seniors. Who knows what the next five years will bring ? Continue reading
I wrote this piece on Open Data for the Irish Times, which was published on the 24th June last. In it I observe some of the challenges entrepreneurs may face in building their businesses on Open Data, and how these may be addressed…
“A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated” – so wrote Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court, a couple of weeks ago. The Utah company Myriad had claimed 20 year patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are risk indicators for ovarian and breast cancer. Based on testing by the same company, the actress Angelina Jolie recently disclosed that she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, prior to her elective double mastectomy. Various medical groups, researchers and patient lobbyists argued that patenting naturally occurring DNA hampers research and innovation, including for diagnostics which currently – based on its patents – only Myriad offers. Continue reading
Published in my column of 3rd June 2013 in the Irish Times – what happens when tax avoidance is no longer a viable Irish industrial policy ?…
There is something exquisitely wry about a Republican dominated US Congress now questioning the global taxation policies of US controlled multinationals. On taking office, Republican President Bush quashed an earlier initiative taken by his predecessor, Democratic President Clinton, over this same issue. Continue reading
Published in the Irish Times in my column of April 29th, 2013.
Venture capital investment in the US has just had its worst quarter in the last two and half years, according to a report this month from Dow Jones VentureSource . Between last January and March, 752 venture capital investments were made across the US, with a total of approximately $6B invested. This represents an 11% decrease in the number of deals, and a 12% decrease in the total invested, relative to the same quarter of 2012. Continue reading
This piece appeared in the Irish Times on 8th April last.
“And not one of them speaking about recession!” So exclaimed Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell in her radio interview with Pat Kenny on RTE Radio 1 on Tuesday 26th March last. She was discussing the 2,500 staff in Google’s offices in Dublin’s Barrow Street: 64 nationalities with an average age of just 27, and with 46 languages spoken in the complex. Marie-Louise enthusiastically described the culture of team work, open plan layout, flexible hours, and with staff benefits including high quality food available at all times, a gymnasium, and medical and dental facilities – and soon to be augmented by a 25m swimming pool.
On the evening of Friday 22nd March next, at the magnificent Titanic building in Belfast, the winners of the Irish Times Intertrade Ireland awards will be announced for 2013. This brings to a conclusion a process started early last December when over a hundred companies submitted their entries; followed by an evaluation to produce a short list of eighteen finalists; and then a finalists’ judging day in early February.