Uncategorized

Valve & Facebook’s unique corporate culture (and they’re making >$1M revenue per employee with it)

Here are two great reads on corporate culture at two companies that are making well over $1M revenue per employee. And since they’re both in the software business, with very little to no production cost, and close to 100% margins, that’s a nice revenue number per employee to have.

Inside Facebook’s Internal Innovation Culture

Valve’s handbook for new employees

Besides their very flat corporate structure, the following two similarities stood out to me:

1. Learn by making

Facebook:

We’re very much a build and prototype culture. Ideas presented on slides just don’t “stick.” It can be hard to judge something if you’re not part of the process of making it.

Valve:

Everyone is a designer. Everyone can question each other’s work. Anyone can recruit someone onto his or her project. Everyone has to function as a “strategist,” which really means figuring out how to do what’s right for our customers. We all engage in analysis, measurement, predictions, evaluations.

The Lean Startup approach is similar, where the first step is to figure out the problem that needs to be solved and then develop a minimum viable product (MVP) to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible.

2. Move around

Facebook:

Teams at Facebook often physically move around their desks and furniture to focus on hatching fresh ideas by joining new groups. The new office space we’re building will have moveable walls and furniture so workers can feel nimble and ready to switch gears, building on the current Facebook practice of reconfiguring desks and chairs.

Valve:

You’ll notice people moving frequently; often whole teams will move their desks to be closer to each other. There is no organizational structure keeping you from being in close proximity to the people who you’d help or be helped by most.

And that just makes a lot of sense.

Mobile phones hit 3GHz

I’m very happy with my Macbook Air. It’s fast, small, stable, and looks great. The processor inside is a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5. Now, I’m of the generation that still vividly remembers replacing a 4MHz Intel 8086 with an 8MHz equivalent NEC part, so 1.8GHz is fast. I know, clock speed isn’t everything, and it’s just as important how much work the processor does per clock tick, but still. It’s similar with cars. The power-to-weight ratio says more about performance than the number of horses under the hood. But everyone still wants to know how many horses are there, and it says a lot about the performance of the car.

And now ST-Ericsson tells the world that they’ll be showing their latest mobile phone processor at the Mobile World Congress next week running at 3GHz. That’s quite a bit faster than my laptop! And it’s got a quadcore processor inside. And an LTE modem! And it’s a part that will spend most of it’s life inside the pockets of my pants running off a small battery. I’ve been saying it for quite some time, mobile phones are more powerful than laptops. Some things my mobile phone has that my laptop doesn’t: a high-quality camera, 2 actually, an always-on data connection, and GPS navigation.

ST-Ericsson has been struggling over the last few years, are they back now?

 

Mobile World Congress 2013

It’s that time of the year again, only a couple of weeks to go until the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona kicks off. I’ll be meeting many of my friends and old colleagues there, it will be great to catch up with everyone.

Some of the things I’m looking forward to:

  • Last year Nokia introduced their 41Mpixel camera phone. What’s new in camera land this year?
  • Huawei about doubled their presence each year, what did they do this time?
  • The Dutch Mobile Networking Event – the Dutch party to be at, run by Caroline Spek
  • What’s new in accessories? Will we see new wrist accessories? What’s next, a bluetooth ring?
  • How many new phones will be waterproof like Sony’s?
  • What’s up with the latest displays? Can we bend them? Will we go higher than full HD for mobile? Anything new that lowers the power consumption or increases the quality?
  • Is anyone able to challenge ARM? They’re pretty much a monopolist in mobile.
  • Will Imagination Tech position their recently acquired MIPS products for mobile?
  • How is mobile app development evolving?

Looking forward to see you there. Please don’t hesitate to contact me in case you’d like to meet.

 

 

Super cameras out of a spray can

Researchers from the Technische Universität München have developed a new generation of image sensors that are 3x more sensitive to light than the conventional CMOS versions, with the added bonus of being simple and cheap to produce. These sensors can be manufactured without the expensive post-processing step typically required for CMOS sensors, which involves for example applying micro-lenses to increase the amount of captured light. Instead, every part of every single pixel, including the electronics, is sprayed with a liquid polymer solution, giving a surface that is 100 percent light-sensitive. Changing the chemical compound turns the sensor into an infrared sensor for night vision.

In short, better and cheaper cameras that also work at night. Me want.

Read the full story

Internet numbers, numbers and trends

This is an excellent “State of the Internet” type of overview by Mary Meeker from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Some highlights:

  • iPad growth was 3x iPhone growth in the first 10 months after market introduction
  • Android adoption is 6x iPhone adoption rate
  • Only 20% of mobile phone users use Internet-enabled phones, still a lot of growth to go
  • Mobile Internet traffic is now 13% of all traffic. In India, there’s more mobile than desktop traffic
  • After 244, Encyclopedia Britannica went out of print in 2012
  • From asset-heavy to asset-light: Hotels to Airbnb, CDs to Spotify, and FTEs to Freelance
  • USA household debt about doubled in 10 years

Coolest iPad external keyboard.

I’ve found it! Here’s a video of the coolest external keyboard for the iPad in action.

Great job Austin Yang.

Retailers watching customers with eye socket cameras

Interesting article at Fast Company

As if store mannequins weren’t creepy enough already, shops like Benetton are peppering their storefronts and shop floors with dummies that have a camera embedded in a single eye socket, that will watch while you shop.

They’re at eye level, and customers tend to pay attention to them more.

I’m used to exactly the opposite: showing off the security cameras to deter shoplifting. The eye socket cameras are much more tricky, and are a clear step toward a future where cameras are embedded into many objects around us. Be prepared to be watched.

Continue reading

Samsung’s 4+4 core mobile SOC

From the EETimes article:

Samsung will describe the first mobile applications processor to use ARM´s big.little concept at ISSCC in February. [...] Samsung will detail a 28-nm SoC with two quad-core clusters. One cluster runs at 1. 8 GHz, has a 2 MByte L2 cache and is geared for high performance apps; the other runs at 1.2 GHz and is tuned for energy efficiency.

Intel’s CEO to retire

From Intel’s press release:

Intel, under Otellini´s leadership, achieved notable successes in areas of strategic importance. During this period, the company:

Nobel Pixels

This year’s Nobel prize for Physics was awarded to Kao, Boyle and Smith. According to the press release, Boyle and Smith “invented the first successful imaging technology using a digital sensor, a CCD“. We’ve all used digital cameras that include such sensors I’m sure, so indeed this was a major achieved. Interestingly, there’s a bit of controversy to this award, as there often seems to be.