Celebrating Thanksgiving has always seemed a little strange to me. One day a year? There’s lots of reason, even in this crazy time we’re in, to be giving thanks a lot more often than that! But just as "news" is not defined as what’s going on that’s right, but rather what’s out of the ordinary, so too columnists are expected to focus more on the unusual stuff, the dangerous stuff, the bad stuff.
The good stuff you can handle all by yourself. You don’t need me to point it out to you, or do you?
Well, given that there’s just so much "stuff" going on right now, and we can already see that it will be overflowing in the coming months, I decided to just give you a preview today of some of the things I see out there that will take up time and column inches in this space in the near future.
It’s really hard these days to figure out what to focus on since I only get to talk to you twice a month, and the "stuff" is coming at us much faster than that! Here, then, is a quick look at where our conversation (I invite your emails!) is likely to go;
* The recession is going to be longer and harder than any we have experienced in many years, but cable is in an ideal position to weather it better than most. We, as I’ve noted before, offer the best value, the best bang for the buck, of any entertainment or information choice. I’ve often urged us to focus on this point, and especially to compare our value with others. You can expect lots of "comparison pricing" in the coming months.
* By the way, it’s not just our video delivery service, including video on demand and DVR service that provides a real value for our customers. The broadband data and voice services are also something we should not only be proud of, but tout! You can expect a lot of talk next year about the government having to get involved in "broadband policy" to assure that the US is keeping up in the "broadband race." I’ve long thought that was a poorly thought out shibboleth, misusing International comparisons, and we’re going to walk through those numbers some more to show why.
A recent academic conference on America’s place in broadband development underlines the point; one of the "consumer activist" leaders complained that we were "behind" by pointing out that "only" 50 to 55% of Americans now subscribe to broadband, but 80 to 90% subscribe to cable and cellphones! Well, think about that, as my column is entitled… Is it such a surprise that folks know how to watch television or talk on a phone but might not even have a computer in their home?
Doesn’t that say we should be focusing on education, not government subsidies, to build redundant competitive infrastructure?
Lots more on that to come!
* Finally, a real shocker, and a great jumping-off point to explore the policy issues around "big/bad" and "open/closed." Steve Wildstrom in his BusinessWeek tech column a few weeks ago (he’s a big "open" technology fan) suddenly noted that Apple and Blackberry (both "closed" technologies for smartphones) seem to work a whole lot better than the "open" ones! Wow! Gee! Maybe there really is a reasonable argument for end-to-end control of technology rather than that it’s (simplistically) only being proposed by rapacious "big" corporations!… at least sometimes.
So there you have it. Lots to explore, and be thankful for.