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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologist Aptitude Test?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Gary Berg-Cross <gbergcross@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 19:59:30 -0500
Message-id: <f867f9b21001171659j39930c27x6d95e9653aaa50e7@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I see that Two Bell Labs N.J. scientists shared the recent  '09 Nobel Prize in physics for helping to create the technology behind digital photography and helped link the world through fiber-optic networks.  I think that the value of such creative people and the atmosphere they create often exceeds the small salary and lab costs they require.  Indded keeping these technologists seems much cheaper and more important than keeping corresponding financial types with 100 million dollar bonuses. 


And in this light there was often return for investors too. Companies like At&T that embraced new ideas were likely to have higher stock prices and to appear on ‘most admired’ lists. Both investment analysts and the press seem to believe that companies that adopt new ideas are better companies than those that do not. At least that’s the conclusion in  “The Invisible Advantage of Innovation” in which  investment analysts Jonathan Low and Pam Cohen Kalafut argue that 35 per cent of investment decision is based on non-financial factors, such as the ability to attract talented people. 

Gary Berg-Cross,Ph.D.
gbergcross@xxxxxxxxx      http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?GaryBergCross
SOCoP Executive Secretary
Knowledge Strategies
Semantic Technology
Potomac, MD

On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 12:26 PM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I don't have first-hand experience with AT&T, but I did work for
30 years in R & D at IBM -- a company that had a monopoly or near
monopoly, depending on one's definition or point of view.

I would say that the influence of IBM on computer development was
mixed.  It promoted a great deal of extremely valuable research,
but it also hindered other valuable developments.  From what I have
seen of AT&T's research and from Bell Labs' researchers I've known,
their results also seem to be mixed.  But on the whole, I believe
that the US taxpayers and the AT&T stockholders profited enormously
from the research at Bell Labs.

RC> Bell Tel spent telephone users' money (taxpayer money, not
 > stockholder money) - the money they had paid to the feds for
 > supporting that monopoly in the first place, for poor telephone
 > service that should have been far advanced to what it finally
 > exploded into after deregulation.

I'll avoid the political debates about regulations or whose money
was being spent.  But AT&T had consistently delivered service that
was superior to and cheaper than the services provided in most other
countries around the world.  It was also better and cheaper than
the service by the few independent telephone companies in the US.

I'll agree that the cost of telephone service everywhere has become
vastly cheaper in the past 30 years.  Part of that was due to increased
competition.  Some of it was caused by the reduced amount of research
by the Baby Bells.  But most of the reduction was generated by the
advances in computer technology.  Today, the US lags behind most
other countries in the world in telephone and Internet services.
Korea, for example, is far ahead.

RC> management is only acting in concert with stockholder interests
 > when they set budgets, strategies and tactics for market control.

That's what the Baby Bells did.  They used up the stock of ideas
and patents that Bell Labs had generated, and they did nothing to
replenish the supply.

I'd compare them to Dell Inc.  Michael Dell started the company in
his college dorm room by assembling off-the-shelf parts according
to the IBM manuals.  He consistently undercut the competition by
spending nothing on research, focusing on sales and distribution,
and letting his suppliers do the high tech.

That's the Walmart model:  Focus on sales and distribution, and
outsource research, development, and manufacturing.  For the short
term, it makes money for the stockholders.  For the long term, it
bankrupts the nation.


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