Robert X. Cringely Keynote at WMW Las Vegas

  • Robert X Cringely created Triumph of the Nerds

  • he once lost a 96,000 word manuscript and there was no restore function. He created the trash can on Apple's project Lisa, making emptying it a two step process.
  • in 1984 he helped build internal and corporate communications for Apple. In 1991 Apple sold that to Quantum Data Physics (later named AOL)
  • spooks went to xerox parc and xerox offered a huge price for a computer. the price was too high. the went to Stanford, and although they never originally created computers to sell Sun (stanford university nework workstation) was born. stanford saw no intellectual property in sun.
  • cisco came out of the same building as Sun. It used same motherboard as sun. cisco started on credit cards
  • typically companies can go to 600K in monthly sales on credit cards then they typically fail if they are still funding on credit.
  • Robert could have got 15% of Excite for $1,800 (I think that was the number)
  • recently he has been working on PBS GeekTV
  • he tracks his accuracy, thinks someone should create something like accuracy in
  • talks about consolidation in the space... msn /goog /yhoo only serious competitors.
    • windows and office profitable...nothing else at msft is

    • msft has cost items
    • xbox 4 billion dollars lost
    • they spend tons of money on other stuff as case B if office & windws fail
    • extra expenses there so they can later cut them if profits from office or windows falter in profitable
    • thinks google wanted the 4 billion to buy / create something (but unsure what)
    • google sticks it to competitors
    • gmail 1 gig / user... around 3 million users
    • yahoo matched it with 154 million email users
    • google's largest advantage is their clustering of hardware (see Skrenta's post on Google's source of power)
    • Google has image problem where to busy trying to impress w their brain, not helping you think of how smart ur brain is
    • Robert believes Google will beat msft & define internet for future
    • yahoo will reposition to become something far different than google
    • google search appliance is important in what it represents... it "just works" ... you only have to plug it in
    • if msft tried it you wouldnt trust them or you would think they would screw it up
    • google offer life to struggling companies like the dark fiber ones...get 300 boxes on the network
    • perhaps something like google internet will be more secure etc, just plain works, Robert sees it coming in next 2 years
  • on contnet and monetization...
    • Robert has 200,000 weekly readers

    • archives gives him same amount of traffic
    • NerdTV costs $1,000 a show and hosting costs same amount
    • costs about 8/10th cent per download + $1,000 fixed cost
    • 130,000 downloads per show
    • people subscribe to 2-3 times as much as they consume, so sometimes it is not benificial to make data as convenient as possible to access
Published: November 15, 2005 by Aaron Wall in conferences


November 16, 2005 - 12:49am

Definitely a cool guy... but was he worth the duplicate content???

November 16, 2005 - 3:50pm

There must be a method to Aaron's madness! ;0

November 21, 2005 - 4:10am

"windows and office profitable...nothing else at msft is "

Unless MSFT is lying on their earnings:

At least 4 Business Segments made at least $405 Million in profit. Their server and Tools segment (which was apparently overlooked by Cringely) made $3.2 Billion in profits for the TTM - which is more profit (take home) than Google had revenue (total) for the same period.

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