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January 22, 2009

IEEE Spectrum Technology Winner and Loser Pick Advice - Bet the Trifecta to Lose and the Favorite to Win

IEEE article has another article where they pick some of technology's winners and losers. I have left comments on some of their other articles asking them to more clearly define what a win for a winner would look like and what a loss for loser would look like. Also, there picks this year basically break down to small early stage companies are risky and more prone to failure and big companies with military backing are safer and likely to succeed if they are scaling up deployment with large financial backing this year.

They claim 17 out of 20 past picks for winners panned out. Given the conservative nature of their "winning picks" it is not surprising that they have a high ratio of successful picks. They also do not say with clarity what that means in a precise way for third parties to judge if they got it right. IEEE advice if are you are just counting win/loss picks then bet the trifecta to lose and the favorite to win.

What does it mean for Intel's Larrabee chip to win ?

You have the dominant semiconductor company making another new line of chips. If they don't introduce Larrabee then that could be viewed as a failure but what is the chance of that ? If they introduce it and it is second to one of Nvidia's GPU chips in market share is that a failure ?

Microsoft introduced Vista and many people view it as a failure but it still has 10% market share. If Technology Review had picked it to win or lose how would we know if they were right ?

What does their list of winners/losers for this year show ?



Engineered geothermal will be a winner if australian turns on a nearly complete 1 megawatt reactor ?
Intel will win with Larrabee ?
Darpa will win with Prosthetic arms that are already on and bieng used by some people ?
10 Ghz radar will be successful when the military already has field tests and they are just moving to battlefield deployments.
quantum dot lasers will be a market success when Fujitsu has already picked it for deployment ?
http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/jan09/7104/2

Versus losers which are all early stage and smaller ventures like :
An amphibious car startup

Blacklight power

Brain computer interfaces for games

Strawberry picking robots (maybe $1.5 million budget and currently only works in greenhouses)
- humans can do it better but if it finds a small niche market in japan and other places is that a failure

Face recognition for advertising TV screens in public places is a loser. Is it a loser only if the Minority Report situation does not happen or is it a loser if there are not more smart billboards than the one that has been on the 101 highway in the San Francisco bay area ?

E-fuel startup making ethanol from sugar is a loser.

There is not much risk that IEEE is taking with their picks. It is like saying if someone is playing blackjack in a casino and they say staying on 20 is a winner and taking a hit on 19 or higher is a loser. Plus they will not define an amibiguous draw as being winning or losing. Wow that is insightful. How do they get their great track record ?

Let me make some comparable non-technology predictions:
Winner: The Boston Celtics (36 wins, 9 losses) will make this years NBA playoffs.
Loser: Memphis Grizzles (11 wins, 30 losses) will make it this years NBA Finals.

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