Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leapfrog! All you need to know you learned from frogs!

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten - I haven't actually read Robert Fulghum's book, since I assumed the list below summarizes it's philosophy of living.

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don't hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: 
  • The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

The one I like best? Nap every afternoon! ...but despite having a nap pad outside my office at work, I haven't taken this advice. I even have unused massage coupons - I guess I did not learn in kindergarten. Have people noticed that what we learned - be direct and honest - doesn't always earn the best results in corporate life?

In Silicon Valley, others don't seem to have learned from kindergarten either - the philosophy seems to come from frogs - Leapfrog!
If you don't innovate, and don't leapfrog the first chance you get, you die! 
Given the recent news about Apple and Adobe, it looks like some folks played hookie from kindergarten and collected frogs instead - or maybe, they learned from frogs in school - (Eliot did ... in E.T., and learning toys from Leapfrog are popular...)

Leapfrog philosophy in action:

  • Mobile tech: Countries with poor communications infrastructures have decided not to waste time fixing the problem - they've simply skipped to mobile technology. 
  • Microsoft: Effectively created by IBM, they took their Windows-OS2 learnings and now effectively own the personal computer.
  • Oracle: Seizing on an opportunity created by IBM, they pulled forward in the database market.
  • Google: Given a conduit to succeed by Yahoo!, the original web directory, Google now owns navigation of the web.
  • Apple: Stuggling for years on the personal computer, they are now king of the hill with the iPhone, and taking the momentum to redefine personal computing with the iPad. The computer is personal again - and HP didn't do it!

Leapfrogging is not about sharing, saying you're sorry, and not necessarily about playing fair, or being nice and giving credit! It's about sitting on your haunches, and kicking off with the strongest legs you have and landing as far afield as you can.

Sharing? Qualcomm and Broadcom are looking to share nothing more than the word "com" in their names! Patent law is about not sharing! And while folks cry on about sharing (open source/open systems anyone?) most successful T-ecosystems - Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Blackberry, IBM are pretty proprietary, if you ask me.

Apple just about slapped Adobe, which, through the years has been pulling Macs with their products (or did Adobe screw itself?). Didn't Microsoft actually help Apple tide through some tough times, only to see them surging forward on phones, and now, personal computing?  Google settled a core search advertising Yahoo! lawsuit - for a tiny amount (in hindsight), and isn't really opening up the lane for the Apple-mobile to cruise - Android anyone? Oracle, through its acquisition of Sun, effectively chops MySQL off at the knees, just before it jumped ... frog legs for a snack! Kodak? Anyone use Kodak anymore?

Flush? Companies regularly acquire competitors, or use other means just to flush them down the toilet.
Amazon - Junglee. Microsoft - Sybase. Autonomy - Verity (after leapfrog!). When you play Frogger, you better watch for traffic!

Hey ...this ain't kindergarten! Leapfrog or croak!