Monday, January 22, 2007

Canadian IP Thought Leaders Series - Jim Harris on CES and Disruptive Technologies

Incredibly, it's been a month since my last podcast. Time sure flies, and between the holidays and 3 last minute cancellations the first week back, I've finally got my first pod of 2007 ready, and I'd like to think the wait will be worth it.

I've known Jim Harris for a few years now, and he's a very interesting guy, based here in Toronto. He wears a few different hats, and for this podcast, I've got him wearing his author/technology futurist hat. Jim is a best-selling author, best known for his most recent book, Blindsided, which is a great read about how the pace of technological change has caught many companies off guard, and in some cases put them out of business.


CES may seem like a long time ago, but I still think Jim's recap is worth listening to. I wasn't there, but when I found out Jim was going just before New Year, I said we should do a pod about it when he got back. Given my travel schedule, this is the quickest we've been able to get this done and posted.

We both love talking about the same things, and didn't actually get around to CES until later in the podcast. Until that point, Jim shared some very interesting insights about various types of disruptive technologies, with some surprising factoids about things like MP3 players and digital cameras.

In time, we got around to CES, and talked about the iPhone, but little about the event itself. Jim's key takeaways were two companies he found particularly disruptive - SanDisk and SpeechGear. Among other items of note at the show, what really stood out for Jim about SanDisk was their 32 Gigabyte solid state hard drive, which has all kinds of implications for laptops. SpeechGear is altogether different but equally interesting. Their focus is real time, bi-directional speech translation software, in 12 different languages. You don't have to think too much about how that could become a very cool app for VoIP.

You can download the podcast here, as well as read more about Jim. He's in a very interesting space right now - clean technology ventures (including a blog), and is a regular columnist for Backbone Magazine up here in Canada. Enjoy!

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