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November 15, 2007

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» Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: MacroMyopia overestimating the short term and underestimating the long term from IFTF's Future Now
Don Dodge's blog at Microsoft has a good post on the "long live email" / "email is dead" meme whiplash circulating through Silicon Valley, and why we need to avoid "macro-myopia" in anticipating technological change: There is a severe case [Read More]

Comments

Sam Sethi

Spot on Don. People still use other older means of communication. One thing I have learnt is that new technologies don't totally replace older technologies.

People still fax, write letters etc. even though there is email. We are all learning which is the best form of communication to use for each occasion. Often a twitter, sms or IM conversation is all I need as I don't require to keep an archive or thread of the conversation.

Email may reduce in the volume we send - which has got to be a good thing - in favour of other communication mediums.

Robert Pease

Don-
Couldn't agree more. Email is the de facto workflow tool in the enterprise with everything else at least one step behind. The pain we all endure from email makes it ripe for innovation but it has to fit into how we work today and the sometimes bad habits we have created.

Meghan M. Biro

Right on Don. As a busy executive recruiter email remains my primary tool for business communication. I have been wondering the same myself regarding intersection points--good to know the wheels are turning. There is a huge opportunity here for additional email functionality and new channels of development. Cool stuff...

-M

Paul Saffo

About Macromyopia, s-curves and over/underestimating change.

Here is a link that details the origins of the over/underestimating concept, which should be credited to Roy Amara, who was talking about it in the mid-1970s:
http://www.rexblog.com/2004/03/05/12121/

The term "Macromyopia" was to the best of my knowledge coined by Ian Morrison sometime aound 1988.

For an essay describing how to use the s-curve in forecasting, see my recent Harvard Business review article "Six Rules For Effective forecasting" (http://www.saffo.com/essays/index.php ) or ( http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp?ml_action=get-article&articleID=R0707K&ml_page=1&ml_subscriber=true )

best
Paul Saffo
www.saffo.com

Edwin Khodabakchian

Don: may be what people mean is that a stand alone email experience like outlook/exchange is about to become dead and that email is going to morph into a more unified experience. More unified with the browser (gmail/yahoo), more unified with application (facebook, SAP, Oracle etc), more unified with devices/SMS/mobility (iphone/SMS), more unified with voicemail, video chat, etc...

What is Microsoft doing to help drive this transformation?

Don Dodge

Mr. Saffo,
Thanks for the comment and links to the origin of the various terms. I am not a scholar, historian, or journalist, so I don’t pay much attention to the origins of words or concepts. I appreciate that you do, and thanks for pointing it out.

It was not my intent to take credit for coining the term. I will be sure to credit Mr. Morrison in the future.

The notion of over/underestimating has been around for a very long time. It goes by many different names. Some call it Macromyopia, some call it an S curve, Gartner calls it the Technology Hype Curve, and I think Geoffrey Moore called it “Crossing the Chasm”.

Whatever label one uses, the basic concept is the same. New ideas and technologies go through fairly predictible cycles. Yet, many people tend to forget this and succumb to the hype.

My main point with this topic, and most things, is to look beyond the hype and focus on the longer term implications.

Thanks,

Don Dodge

Don Dodge

Edwin, Thanks for your question. Microsoft is doing a LOT to realize the "unified communications" vision. In fact we have a very large team at Microsoft called UCG - Unified Communications Group. Microsoft made some big product announcements recently. For details please see http://www.microsoft.com/uc/Default.mspx

This topic deserves its own separate post. I will try to do that in the next few days.

Sandeep Sharma

Right. I think the current phenomenon is quite similar to what we observe in stock markets. This is a consolidation phase full of volatility with no particular clear trend emerging. There is too much of noise (read new technologies) that require filtering before any prediction is made. Some old economy stocks (read email) would remain favourite for some time to come.

Email would be tool for quite sometime to come due to proven business value coupled by intertia to move to anything new. As rightly pointed by you eventually good and proven functionality would blend into the world of business applications including ERP applications.

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