Disruptive to Mainstream
I dare say there will be skeptics who remember that Chudnofsky took over control of Comdex during the period when it shrank, faster even than it had grown. Anybody who remembers the absurdities of the Softbank takeover of the Comdex group at its peak, inflated by the dot-com bubble, will probably be inclined to assume that it really wasnt Jasons fault. Nonetheless, there also will be those who want to "watch and see" as he takes over. He certainly knows the convention and exhibition biz. But he will be the man in charge, not Jeff, and inevitably some will want to see him perform before they judge his suitability for the role. Pulver himself is resigned to seeing VON become mainstream rather than disruptive. I got the impression that this, more than any love of photography or music, is why hes moving aside, and Id guess hes right: The sort of guy who creates an exciting startup is not necessarily the right person to manage its transition into an employer organization with staff, politics and pointy-haired bosses.Id guess that Pulvermedia will grow sharply over the next year, maybe two, as the Dark Side of the comms world spends to spread the gospel of IMS. Theyll probably get some traction, toonot because IMS is actually worth jack, but because the network operators have to say something to their investors. They cant just sit there and cry. They have to say "we have plans!" and talk a good fightand Pulvers shows are a good place to do this. But the Empire is obsolete. The assumption seems to be that "there has to be a big, powerful, hugely profitable communications industry, and its just a question of who is biggest." Sadly, there is no such law. The infrastructure is becoming a commodity, and the term infrastructure is extending further and further out along the limbs of the Internet, down to the very client. Last week, a senior T-Mobile executive addressed a gathering of leading-edge comms pioneers, and at the end of his presentation, he asked, "How many of you here think that comms is an exciting place to work, with lots of new stuff happening?" He got pretty much a full house of arms raised. If hed asked the same question back in his head office, he admitted, hed probably not have seen a single hand raised. The Internet will bring its own problems, no doubt about it; but none of those problems can save the dinosaurs. "I dont know what good it will be to the network operators, but IMS solves no problems that I have personally," I remarked to Pulver in Stockholm. "Exactly so ... " said he. But it might make him pretty wealthy over the next couple of years, as people talk about it. Contributing columnist Guy Kewney has been irritating the complacent in high tech since 1974. Previously with PC Mag UK and ZDNet UK, Guy helped found InfoWorld, Personal Computer World, MicroScope, PC Dealer, AFAICS Research and NewsWireless. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
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