Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Mobile IoT, Open Source Cloud

Mobile IoT: Article

Should RIM BlackBerries Be Rented?

Is the U.S. Mindset Fundamentally Different From Europe's?

So I was sitting under the hot lights at SYS-CON Media’s headquarters in Montvale, NJ recently, trying to mind my own business but expecting to get hit with some sort of surprise question by my SYS-CON.TV colleague Jeremy Geelan.

Jeremy, who serves as Publishing Director of SYS-CON, brings a wealth of journalistic and technological experience to the game, backed by the sort of elocution one would expect from a former BBC producer. And as a European, he often speaks from a viewpoint that, simply, can seemingly be designed to rub a solid U.S. citizen the wrong way.

He also likes to spring things on me. He and I were taping a SYS-CON.TV segment and talked of several recent developments in the IT business that particular week. Several minutes into the discussion, I could see by our clock that our time was almost up.

Then it came. “As an American, Rog,” he says, and the rest of his question became a blur. I dislike being characterized as “an American” or any other subset of humanity, be that subset aging bald guys, sports fanatics, or left-handed dog-and-cat owners.

As I tried to listen, I divined that Jeremy was talking about the increasingly popular concept of renting things of everything from bicycles to Blackberries in typically pioneering, savvy Nordic places such as Scandinavia and Finland. “Would such a concept work in the U.S.?” he wanted to know.

Or, listening between the lines, I think he was asking whether I would feel such ideas to be utopian, EuroWeenerish, even Communistic down to the depths of my red-white-and-blue being.

I couldn’t give him a short answer to this question, but did point out that new ideas are often adapted in the U.S. just as quickly as in, say, Finland, but usually in select places. The tiresome blue state/red state stereotype has some merit, and one can find what many Americans consider to be radical ideas being freely adapted in resolutely blue citdadels from Greenwich Village to Madison, Wisconsin to Berkeley.

That doesn’t make the ideas wrong or impractical. The first bans on smoking in San Francisco and Berkeley were considered lunatic fringe at the time, as were countless other issues and trends, some controversial, some not so. This will continue.

But the larger point that I failed to make, being as blessed as anyone with the ability to say the right thing a few days after it should have originally been said, was that the U.S. (and the U.S. market) should never be viewed monolithically.

Big Country
It’s a big country with a very large economy, and one can succeed by appealing to a very small percentage of it.

For example, 5% of the total U.S. market still represents a GDP that would rank in the Top 20 Worldwide, in between Taiwan and Australia. And appealing to only 1.3% of the total U.S. market lands you a GDP the size of Finland’s.

So, surely the idea of rented Blackberries—which despite my non-aversion to rented cars or flying in the same well-warmed airline seats as who knows who—sounds to me a bit like rented bowling shoes (yuck), could very well succeed in the U.S., even if almost 90+ percent of the population thinks it’s a bad idea.

The variety of opinion in the U.S. on all matters is diverse (or divers, as Jeremy would have it spelled), much more so than most people (including many Americans) think. This is due not only to the country’s multicultural stew and capitalistic orientation, but also to its federated nature.

By federated, I don’t mean the federal, unifying aspect of the U.S. government, but the fact that the country is a federated collection of states, which are in turn a collection of townships and counties, which in turn are broken into endless numbers of local and regional governmental and regulatory entities. In other words, an amazing percentage of the country’s laws and regulations are decided at various local-leaning levels.

Try explaining to an international visitor sometime why it may be OK, for example, to possess marijuana according to a city ordinance, sort-of OK by state law, and definitely not OK by federal law, and don’t forget to factor in littering laws that might be in effect if you try to consume said weed in a regional or county park that falls within the jurisdiction of a unified fire protection district and urban sanitation zone, or worse, in a business park patrolled by private security.

So as I said, it’s a big country. Lots of jurisdictions. And this "loosely coupled" mindset extends to the business world, with lots of segments, sub-segments, niches, and segmented sub-niches within almost any product or service category. Knock yourself out if you want to start a service to rent out Blackberries. Just don’t expect to take mine unless you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
trickster 11/04/05 08:58:23 PM EST

this blackberry idea is a communist plot. who owns the hardware in this scheme? the government? bad idea.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...