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The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything Hardcover – 12 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: CDS Books (12 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593157207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593157203
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 924,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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USA Today "The visionary picture he paints of the future is captivating, informative, and thought-provoking. The MIT-educated Saylor exhibits a deep knowledge of the mobile world, and gives readers a peek free of boring geek-speak. Readers will be able understand and appreciate his clear and engaging exploration of a complex, red-hot, and thoroughly up-to-the minute topic." Fortune "It is a thoughtful romp across invention and innovation -- and blessedly free of MicroStrategy sales pitches." Washingtonian Magazine "In The Mobile Wave his vision is clear-we face a future in which paper, devices such as phones, credit cards and cash, entertainment venues, doctor's office visits, and even the classroom will be obsolete, or nearly so. He wants everyone on the bandwagon, from toddlers to grandparents." With one month remaining until the presidential election, it seems every economic statistic is up for interpretation by each party. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the unemployment rate dipped from 8.1% to 7.8%, provoking both Democratic celebration and Republican consternation. Whether or not you believe former General Electric CEO Jack Welch is right to question the integrity of this number, both sides need to pay less attention to it altogether. The denominator in this equation, the size of the labor force, excludes people who have given up looking for work, people working fewer hours than they want (the "underemployed"), etc... It is a very misleading. A better proxy for employment health is the employment-population ratio. This percentage has been flattish year-over-year and anchored between 58-59%; brushing multi-decade lows. Moreover, the growth of two-income households cannot be blamed for the relative contraction of the labor force. Median household income has been stagnant since the twenty-first century began. These are just two data points, but in aggregate households are making less money now with fewer people working on a relative basis. Both parties are sparring to convince you its Obama's fault or Bush's or Clinton's or some other scapegoat, but the fact remains we have a serious long-term jobs problem in this country. Government policy may be able to affect these trends in the short-term, but what drives economic growth if you look beyond a typical two-year or four-year election cycle? Tax policy, entitlements, healthcare costs, and military spending are important, but deal with how created wealth is used. Technological progress is what matters over time because that's what drives wealth creation. Technology put buggy makers and typewriter companies out of business and explains why Apple is the most valuable company on the planet. The 2010 History (formerly the History Channel) six-part miniseries, America: The Story of US reaches back hundreds of years to show how the United States' development was primarily driven by technology, pure and simple. Do you know why the Union won the Civil War? Not better generals and or a higher moral ground, but because of better infrastructure, including a more developed rail system and the use of the nascent telegraph to communicate with commanders in the field. Do you know which invention spurred westward expansion? Barbed wire allowed ranchers to better contain their cattle herds and secure property claims. Urbanization could not have occurred as rapidly without mass steel production enabling skyscraper construction. The point is the key developments in American history resulted from technology and not from who lived in the White House or which party ran Congress. If we want to figure out how to prosper in the future we need to accept what the next major technological advance will be to transform the economy and absorb, adopt and it exploit it. Michael Saylor's book, The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything makes a valid case that mobile technology is that advance. Released in June, this book resonates loudly as we approach November. It is not another self-congratulatory CEO memoir, but a well-researched and interesting forecast for our economy. Saylor convincingly argues the growth of mobile technology marks not just another step in technological miniaturization, but an important evolution of software becoming an omnipresent force in our life in the coming years. He uses a scientific metaphor to illustrate this point. He compares desktop PCs to solids, laptops to liquids, and mobility to a vapor that envelops us at all times. Saylor is not just an ordinary tech industry observer. He co-founded business intelligence behemoth MicroStrategy, Inc. (NSDQ: MSTR) in 1989 and is still its Chairman and CEO. This book uses an incredible number of historical examples of creative destruction, recent statistical data, and bold predictions to make the case this mobile wave will "transform 50% of the world's GDP in the coming decade." Improvements in Near Field Communication (NFC) and multi-touch technologies will make mobile technology an integral part of our lives. Saylor predicts, "By 2025, we will see almost universal use of mobile computers as our primary means of navigating through modern society." How does this affect employment? Saylor references a McKinsey study which claims the Internet has created 2.6 jobs for every job it destroyed, small and medium-sized companies have increased productivity 10% via Internet adoption, and significant users have grown twice as much as other firms. I like this book because Saylor cogently takes a stand on where the economy is headed, and offers myriad examples of how mobile technology will transform various industries. It's a blueprint for impending change and a sober warning for the laggards who resist it. I wish our presidential candidates engaged in a more constructive discussion about the future of work instead of its current state. Corporate earnings may fluctuate quarter-to-quarter and employment rates may tick up or down each month, but the national discussion needs to be more far-sighted. While politics dictate a hyper focus on the here and now, I hope our current/next president reads Saylor's book and maybe even watches America: The Story of US if he has a spare twelve hours! Each party has favored industries but if Saylor's correct, all companies will be dealing with this mobile wave, either by choice or eventually by necessity. Higher education should pay attention in terms of how to adapt their curricula to better serve their students. President Obama and former Governor Romney have both mentioned technical colleges and trade schools often as logical places to improve the labor force and stimulate the economy. If the winner allocates federal money for job training programs, then this book makes a compelling argument that workers need to be taught how to use and understand mobile technology in order to be competitive in an increasingly cutthroat labor market. Business The Mobile Wave deals with one of our favorite trends we've been hammering on for the past few years. Here is USA Today, The mobile wave is coming. If you're not ready to ride it, you'll be swept away by a tsunami of change that will fundamentally alter the world. That's the theme of The Mobile Wave by software entrepreneur Michael Saylor. The book explores how mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads will change jobs, healthcare, banking, politics, law enforcement, and much more. Does this sound familiar? Consider what a trip to the doctor could mean. If you're feeling ill, Saylor says, you might be able to connect with a doctor in India via your mobile device. He or she could diagnose and treat you for a fraction of the cost of visiting a doctor in the U.S.- maybe only $5 to $10. Here is someone that understands that unemployment may be more structural than cyclical and therefore a must read for Chairman Bernanke. Ouch! He predicts that as many as 10% of U.S. service sector workers - roughly 12 million people - could be laid off in the next five years as a result of mobile efficiencies. Gotta get us a copy. Choice, February 2013 "Fascinating and thought provoking. Saylor clearly lays out the advances and future expectations in a wide array of fields related to mobile communications...Highly recommended."

About the Author

Michael Saylor is the chairman and CEO of the publicly traded company MicroStrategy. With degrees in engineering as well as Science, Technology, and Society from MIT, he is a science historian, and a formidable intellectual whom Slate called "mesmerizing." He is not just a high-tech entrepreneur, but also a serious scholar whose success in business stems from his obsession since college-and really since childhood-with understanding what Thomas Kuhn called the "structure of scientific revolutions." He has appeared on TV interview shows including 60 Minutes and Charlie Rose, and has been profiled in Newsweek, Time, Slate, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Take The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler and sprinkle in a large dose of Marc Andreessen's "Why software is eating the world" and hey presto, you have The Mobile Wave.

Best part is Saylor's observation that Mobile is to the Digital Age what electricity was to the Industrial Age.

All in all, a good read but with a few too many shades of dot com hysteria.
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By Amazon Customer on 16 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I think mobile technology has huge potential. The book was written in plain English, & was bursting with enthusiasm; & also authority.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 79 reviews
98 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5 for Elegant Simplicity, 3 for Dumbed Down 13 July 2012
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a guy who once said he was worth $600,000 a hour, I was expecting a great deal more. This is a Classic Comic for the masses--now I used to own all of the Classic Comics [for those under 60, these were the Great Books of Western Civilization, in comic book form, all the rage in the 1960's].

The author starts off by saying that everything is becoming software, but there is no mention of Marc Andersson's famous article, "Why Software is Eating the World" (Wall Street Journal, 20 August 2011), and across the book I notice other inconsistencies. I conclude this is a book researched and written by staff to the signed author's general specifications. It is a good outline, and worth reading, but it is also disappointing. This is not the book that Michael Saylor could have and should have written. Having said that, I give the staff high marks for a clean intelligible coherent book good enough for the 80% that do not think about these topics very much.

The central premise of the book is that mobile plus social equals radical change; that application hand-helds (as opposed to cell phones) are hugely disruptive, and that if we have 5.3 billion with phones right now (out of 9 billion plus), imagine what happens when everyone has a cell phone.

As it happens, I have imagined this. I funded Earth Intelligence Network (501c3) before I lost everything in the crash, and we specifically conceptualized a path to OpenBTS, Open Spectrum, all the other opens, that gave the five billion poorest free cell phones and cell service for life, educating them "one cell call at a time." We also spent a great deal more time thinking about the reflections of Herman Daly (e.g. For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future) and C. K. Prahalad (e.g. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition. Crowd-funding/sensing/sourcing plus Open Source Everything Plus True Cost Transparency and Truth equals a prosperous world at peace.

The book in eight lines (and a very thoughtful book at the elementary level):

01 Destruction of paper
02 Instant entertaining
03 Intelligent wallet
04 Showroom world
05 Hyperfluid social networks
06 Worldwide medical care
07 Universal education
08 Jumpstart emerging world

I am moderately irritated to see the fulsome discussion of how the automated spreadsheet changed the world, with no mention of Mitch Kapor.

I like the itemization of the big changes between pre-history computing and application hand-held computing:

01 Touch
02 Widely affordable (wrong--he's thinking like a rich white kid -- five billion can NOT afford smart phones, and neither can the southern nations, absent Sir Richard Branson finally paying attention to "The Virgin Truth" concept).
03 Battery life (to which I would addambient energy)
04 Instant on (and no idiot Microsoft song)
05 Applications (never mind the lack of data)
06 Apps store
07 Sensing world nearby

The chapter on paper is ho-hum, reminds me of the term papers that one could buy back in the 1970's. He talks of the Gutenberg Project, which I admire (Dr. Greg Newby is now working that) and Google's digitization, which I despise because Google is trying to claim ownership of what it digitizes--the main reason they got thrown out of Boston.

The chapter on entertainment covers photography, games, gambling, movies, mobile TV, and shared media such as YouTube. Again, this is a book written with the one billion rich in mind.

The chapter on the intelligent wallet bring together the move from bar code to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to Near-Field Communications (NFC), talks about identity protection, anti-crime advantages, and the best part, mobile keys that can have all kinds of conditions attached to them. Also mentioned is a universal loyalty card and the rise of global banking that comes with the death of physical branches. Personally I think we are headed toward more local banks.

I certainly agree with the book's observation on how retarded the law is in relation to changing expectations of privacy and the need to changing standards to protect individuals from ubiquitous surveillance by other citizens, never mind the government.

The chapter on social networking is alone worth the price of the book. This is the best and most cogent treatment I have read, discussing:

01 Personal broadcast system
02 Social coordination system
03 News filtering system
04 Direct conections with and among consumers
05 Distributed sensory system
06 Harnessing wisdom of the crowd (no real grasp of the collective intelligence literature)
07 Universal identity system

The medical chapter is interesting but very lightweight. My own step-father just got hit with $375,000 in bills above and beyond what insurance would pay, and I am very distressed that I did not have a chance to get him to India, knowing nothing of where his health was going. Medical records, telemedicine, hospital at network, portals for deaf and blind, global medical network, Third world solutions. The chapter does not touch on the much larger reality: that health is a four-part matter comprised on personal lifestyle, environmental health, natural and alternative cures, and honest cost-effective medical (pharmaceutical and surgical) remediation. There is no mention here of the study, "The Price of Excess," that documents that one half of every health dollar in the US is waste.

Education is a good chapter in this book but it does not go nearly far enough--again, this is a simplistic book written to a low denominator. New textbook concepts, active learning, nobel lecturers reaching billions, one to one learning, breaking college costs, global education, all good. I know Saylor himself knows that smart devices will come with their own repair manuals, that call centers can educate the poor one cell call at a time, that regional multinational information-sharing and sense-making grids will change everything about politics, socio-economics, ideo-cultural, techno-demographic and even natural-geographic.

There is also nothing in this book about how education, intelligence, and research must be harmonized in all languages across all domains all the time. Put another way, this is not a book the Director of the National Science Foundation needs to read.

The final chapters are disappointing. There is so much more that could have been covered -- to include the thoughts of others who have taken the time to write books, not just Op-Eds that can be found online.

On page 233 the book observes that the mobile revolution is creating an upheaval requiring new rules and new cultural dynamics. Then the book plops.

Am sitting here thinking how best to close this. I am sighing, wishing that Saylor would bring a few people together -- including the Range Networks team that provided OpenBTS to Burning Man, Branson, David Winberger, myself, a few others -- and actually come up with a prototype for doing what needs to be done, breaking completely with the industrial era grid-lock and the congressional corruption that kill all we try to do now.

Here are eight more books I particularly admire, followed by my two general lists of reviews easily found online with all links bank to Amazon pages, and my signature line, where I am allowed to mention my latest book.

The Exemplar: The Exemplary Performer in the Age of Productivity
The Knowledge Executive
Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era
Information Payoff: The Transformation of Work in the Electronic Age
Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century
The Tao of Democracy: Using co-intelligence to create a world that works for all
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive)

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative)

Robert David Steele
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
No meat 5 Sept. 2012
By Ricknewengland - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was one of the first to purchase this book as a result of a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal. I was extremely disappointed. The book offered no new ideas. Instead, it basically re-hashed the ideas that anyone can read about in the WSJ or on All Things Digital. I hoped for insight, ideas and intellectual speculation. I received nothing more than a warmed over review of everything I already knew. I'm no geek. Tech is not my industry. This book offers nothing new, at all. Save your money.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Old ideas, few ideas, this book could have and was written 12 years ago 25 Sept. 2012
By Mark P. McDonald - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disappointing is the word that best summarizes Michael Saylor's The Mobile Wave. The book was recommended to me by someone whose judgment I value and given the author's pedigree as CEO of MicroStrategy I expected much much more. Saylor has written a book or rewritten a book about the mobile world that could have been written about the introduction of the Internet and eCommerce. I say rewritten because much of what is here is the same internet based platitudes found during the dot com era with limited updates. I would strongly suggest avoiding this book as it says little and your time is better spent reading other books.

Saylor sees the future as being driven by mobile technology -- the mobile wave as he puts it. He sees the mobile wave as the technology that will turn everything into software from music, to media, to payments, etc. He organizes the book around the waves mobile technology will create in the following areas:

Computers - they will all be like the iPad, multi-touch and graphical
Paper - it will disappear saving time, money and the environment
Entertainment -- it will be come universal, user driven and shared
Wallet -- it will be smarter, virtual and full service
Social Networks -- they are the future mega cities with immediate and pervasive connections
Medicine -- it will be networked, paperless and global
Education - it will be personal digital, active and reset the cost structure
Developing World -- where needs meet new technology capabilities and an inventive populace

In each of these areas, Saylor spends the majority of his pages discussing the history of the particular area like the history of computing or paper or the wallet. This is interesting but not particularly informative as it clouds Saylor's argument and its implications. Any time the author spends pages describing the history of things like paper, the wallet, etc you have to be suspicious that he is just taking up space to make the book a proper length, ala 200+ pages. This woudl have been an interesting 30 - 40 page eBook with a focus on what is really different and what that means to all of us in our business, professional and personal decisions. Instead, we have a book is filled with 'old' news about what will happen in the future.

Not worth your time or attention as you have probably read this before back in the 1990's or already know it from living in the modern digital world.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A must read for Public Policy figures! Mobile will be a job killer 16 July 2012
By econNerd - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very easy to understand book with game changing ideas about mobile. You don't have to be a techie to grasp the Mobile Wave and the implications it might carry for your industry. The dismal unemployment numbers came out while I was reading this book and I really couldn't help but to connect the employment setbacks and the Mobile Wave as described by Saylor.

He argues that mobile isn't just technology converging into a smaller device, but highly disruptive to many existing industries. From education to healthcare, Saylor highlights a number of these industries where mobile technology will be a game changer. And, alarmingly, this change is happening rapidly.

If mobile technology is the locomotive for the economy, then I fear many existing jobs might not be on the train. Saylor makes a compelling case that "to create, you must destroy" - so new, unknown, jobs will be created in place of existing ones. This is why I give this book 5 stars, it gives a great heads up for business executives in any industry. It will help you rethink how your current activities will be integrated into the mobile economy.

With a little bit of imagination, you can apply Saylor's thought process to any industry. In fact, the people that might benefit the most from this book might be public policy makers because, if correct, the Mobile Wave is going to shake up the economy like a tsunami.

A great read!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Updated version of 'The World is Flat' 12 Feb. 2013
By Herb Hunter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The best way I can describe this review is that it reads like an updated version of Thomas Freedman's "The World is Flat" from a decade or so ago.

That is, it's not a particularly enlightening primer for anyone who's under forty and doesn't live in a cave. Even for those who are over forty, a lot of this book will leave the reader wanting for more detail, more in-depth predictions, speculation, what-ifs and ruminating over the possibilities versus the brief warmed-over treatment Saylor gives the subjects of this ostensibly forward-looking book. I gave it three stars for its readability and entertainment factor, but that's as far as it went. Though there were interesting tid-bits here and there (e.g., the median age of a television watcher is over fifty; the possibility of Amazon and even Apple getting into the banking business was something I hadn't thought of before), for the most part there just was not much a few good web articles couldn't cover in more depth. For free.

I'll spare the perspectives covered in excellent reviews elsewhere but highlight two major areas where I thought the author was wildly optimistic or perhaps downright delusional, particularly in the last few chapters, which in and of themselves brought the book down a couple of stars:

Currency: Yes, we all know cash sucks and it can be replaced by digital currency. But possible versus probable are two different things - the developing world (ok, stop it already - let's just call it what it is: undeveloped) will not be so able to move to a digital version if it involves technology. One visit to some of the places the author mentions in parts of the book should convince people the age of the world wide digital coin, one which replaces currency altogether, is a long, long way off. These people are lucky to get thirty minutes of pre-paid voice on an obsolete Nokia cell phone and a monthly visit to an internet cafe. Hardly the climate we Americans are used to while we belly ache about no 4G service down at the local Starbucks.

Another dismissive declaration was Saylor's contention that cash aids and abets tax evaders. True, but it also preserves privacy. Those who may not want to publish, announce or otherwise catalog how much wealth (that is, power) they've managed to accumulate secretly from the prying eyes of government will not as easily be able to do so under a fully electronic and monitored system as they can with cash. Although criminals use cash, news flash, Mr. Saylor - large amounts of cash in ones possession does not, ipso facto, make one a criminal. Why would someone want to keep large amounts of cash or travel with it? Because they ought to be able to, that's why. And yet again, he forgets much of the undeveloped world will still need something as wretched as cash in the absence of a first world electronic banking infrastructure and a private property respectful legal environment.

Education: Give every student an iPad and watch them all turn into self-styled Einsteins. Yeah, and I remember similar arguments when they set up microcomputer labs in high schools in the early eighties. Yawn. There's always a revolution around the corner, and it always seems to cost more money and grow the existing bureaucracy. Regarding cost - which is more than Saylor estimates considering the too-frequent updates and inevitable replacements are factored in - he assumes none of the devices will be lost, stolen, dropped, broken or eaten by the dog.

Saylor suggests the ease of teaching 'important' subjects like Chinese, forgetting the impact of advanced analytics, predictive analytics and other technologies which will likely obviate the need to master difficult second languages like Chinese. Why learn a very difficult language when the technology can get to the answer you need, in English, before you're past how to correctly pronounce 'ni-how'? We are not far off from a day where translation will be real-time, and audio. So why is it important to spend any time learning Chinese as a second language at the expense of value added education? I was also a bit floored at his blatantly obsequious suggestion that Bill Clinton could remotely teach "politics" (the subject is political science, Mr. Saylor - not "politics.") Quit pandering to the NYT reviewers, already.

Of course, there is the obligatory discussion of cost savings and how much all of this will save the taxpayer. Really, now. Why is it we fall for predictions of cost savings each and every time somebody introduces the big plan, yet year after year we see the federal debt increase to (I forget how many) trillion dollars? In the unlikely event any money is actually saved on the initiative, chances are government will find a way to blow the difference on some other program - there's just no changing that.

It isn't that I think high tech in education is a bad idea, it's just that the author does not effectively address the fundamental problem - the content of our education stinks and it's because it's based upon the preservation of the status quo and those who benefit from it. He makes it sound as if getting rid of the teachers unions will be like swatting away a fly (hm, maybe he should get Bill Clinton to explain politics after all). I'm skeptical of the massive claims of what it will do to catapult our kids into the next century. We could wind up with a bunch of experts in youtube (and youporn) with no appreciable increase in the numbers of trained (and marketable) scientists.

Saylor tried but did not complete the explanation of college costs increasing exponentially, since he left out one key factor: parental egos of "putting my kid through college." The fact is, even if said kid is dumb as a rock, totally disinterested or hasn't a clue as to what they want to do in life - just put them through so mom and dad can save face down at the country club - let the kids worry about their major once they get there! All of this (and the concomitant high prices of college) are made possible by the federal student loan program of easy money. Politicians want to get elected, parents want to brag and kids want to go screw off for four years before they glide into an upper middle class lifestyle (so they think).

Along the way, nobody did a calculus of how many literature majors the country should be financing versus nuclear engineers, mathematicians and systems engineers. This, folks, would be political suicide for any politician to suggest, so they pledge to "make college more affordable" and loosen up more funds - hence, the 'college at all costs' mentality continues and will continue, regardless of any well intended remedies Saylor suggests.

Alas, we Americans just can't handle the truth that saying "my son the truck driver" bothers us much more than "my son the lit major, who works at Starbucks, who hasn't found a great job yet, but will someday..." And so it continues. I guess I can't blame the author for not getting too close to the comfort zone of his readership or that of his reviewers.

Overall, an entertaining and thoughtful read, if a bit on the shallow side.
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