Chao Lam

Working on the next small things …

Archive for December 2006

eBay as leading indicator? A tale of two platforms…

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While professional analysts are still debating if Playstation or Xbox will win the console wars, friends will know I’ve been eagerly predicting that Nintendo will actually emerge as the victor with their under-powered, crappy graphics Wii.

I think the Wii represents both a low-end disruption and a new-market disruption in Christensen-speak, which is quite remarkable.

But that’s just my speculation, here may be early evidential support – from eBay! Below are two clips representing recently completed eBay auction listings. In the first clip, I list the most recent of 80811 ps3 system that were auctioned on eBay in the last month. In the second clip, we find the most recent of 38,978 Wii systems:

The results are quite remarkable. Most PS3 systems are not being sold! Even when hawked with photos of naked girl and dog 🙂 Of the 2 systems in the listing that are sold, one is being sold for merely $25 or 4% above asking! (I have to admit I don’t understand why the second system was sold for $1400, sucker bid?).

Sales of Wii systems on the other hand appear to be a lot more brisk. Most systems were sold, and significantly, were sold for $100-$200 above asking or 40%-80% above asking!

All this is in spite of Sony having far fewer systems for sale than Nintendo. And of course, in spite of the hefty price tag for a PS3, Sony is losing money for each unit sold, while Nintendo is at least breaking even on each unit.

Long NTDOY, short SNE?


Written by Chao

December 31, 2006 at 4:11 pm

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Dreaming in Code

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Scott Rosenberg, the thoughtful editor and cofounder of Salon, is coming out with a new book, Dreaming in Code. I can’t wait to get my hands on it (even more so than a Wii :))

Scott is trying to answer the question every high-tech startup wants an answer for: “Why is software so hard?”. Before Salon, Scott was a journalist and theater-critic at the SF Examiner, we can be sure this is not going to be your usual boring book on software methodology 🙂 I have a hunch we’re going to be treated with some very original insights and stories.

Why? Well, there’s another teeny reason for my interest in the book. Back when I was a product manager at OSAF, Scott literally sat in for maybe half of our meetings in design, development and planning. He came to know the Chandler team intimately and was witness to all our quirks, disagreements as well as a few flashes of genius (none from me, unfortunately). Hopefully, the book won’t be all embarrassing.

I believe there’s high drama in the creation of software, but it requires someone special to tell it, and I think we have that person in Scott.

Before Dreaming in Code is published, Scott has started a series of Code Reads featuring some of the seminal essays on software creation. The latest featuring none other than Mitch Kapor’s Software Design Manifesto. It’s an interesting project that I’ve just caught up with – hope you will too.

Update: Scott updates us with more reviews about his book here.

Written by Chao

December 30, 2006 at 5:06 pm

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A year with baby…

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Here’s Elaine’s sweet and poignant year-end newsletter…

Shuya - 2 months!

After 9.5 months in alpha and 12 months in beta, come January, we’ll be releasing our first original [;,mn,(that’s her wrestling the keyboard and putting in her comments) version of baby Shuya 1.0.

But for now, here comes Christmas, and Shuya is nearly 11 months old. Someone told us the days are long but the year flies by fast…how true.

I couldn’t imagine I’d get to this point. When I held Shuya during the first month she was here, she was either crying, feeding or needing a change. It wasn’t easy eventhough, I had lots of help from Shuya’s grandparents and Chao.

With Dada on a trip to Santa BarbaraBut through the months our tightly swaddled baby slowly unfurled and graduated from the tiny baby bassinet to sleeping with arms spread out in her own crib.

At four months I was despairing if I’d ever be able to communicate with our baby. We could understand our cat better than our own human child. But Auntie Veronica reassured me, don’t worry, soon at six months baby can point at things, she said. And of course she was right, and we began to see an inkling of Shuya’s thinking. Wearing booties her grandma knitted for her Mom as an infant

Meantime, Chao spent time with Shuya each morning to practise pushing up from her belly and rolling over from her belly to her back and over again, in preparation for crawling. They progressed so fast that at seven months, Shuya could stand holding on to her crib rail.

All that work is paying off now, because Shuya scuttles around getting into all kinds of mischief, standing up to grab stuff and letting us know when she’s bored.

All the lovely outfits and toys you’ve all given us came in very, very useful to clothe and entertain Shuya, so we didn’t have to rush out every few days to get stuff. It really helped keep us sane. Although, Chao still thinks of Shuya as our little bundle of chores.

But here we are, Shuya is almost talking. Her first real words with meaning are “Dada” and “,” when she sees our cat. Asleep, phew!She can feed herself small bits of fruit and steamed broccoli, and change the playlist on her Dada’s ipod. She always comes up with great mixes like a random shuffle of Erasure ballads or a selection of New Age music. She’s already surpassed my abilities with electronica.
We are enjoying her company and looking forward to Shuya discovering new abilities and leading us into adventures as she grows.

Happy Holidays, everyone! May 2007 bring you as much joy, learning, and adventure as we think it will for us 🙂

Written by Chao

December 25, 2006 at 7:31 pm

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