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Early Indications

Early Indications is a newsletter written by John M. Jordan since 1997. It focuses on emerging technologies and their social implications.
Early Indications - August 2006
Enterprise computing is almost exactly 50 years old: the first purchase of a commercial Univac occurred in 1954. As the Economist pointed out recently, the personal computer is 25. This historical symmetry neatly sets the context for a problem that has been with us only a short time: software copying.
Early Indications - August 2007
At base, technological change and globalization cannot be cleanly distinguished, and thus will be interlinked for the foreseeable future. The shipping container is arguably one of the five great breakthroughs of the twentieth century.
Early Indications - September 2007
As managers of enterprise computing environments confront both perennial and emerging challenges, a new set of technologies is complicating the situation.
Early Indications, Issue 1 - October 2007
This month, we'll look at ten developments that, while feeling routine today, still lay in the future only ten years ago. We'll also review ten can't-miss technology stories that somehow went bad. Next month, look for a list of ten trends for the next ten years.
Early Indications, Issue 2 - October 2007
Earlier this month we marked ten years of this newsletter's publication by noting ten developments that quickly permeated the market after being nonexistent or invisible in 1997. This month, I'll list ten big failures that at one time or another looked like can't-miss propositions.
Early Indications - November 2007
As promised last month, here are ten information-technology-related areas to watch over the next ten years.
Early Indications - December 2007
How did we do? Last December I wrote that "we see a collision between systems based on old and new models of regulation, remuneration, protection, privacy, and so forth.
Early Indications - January 2008
At the start of a new year, we can assess a few areas of major uncertainty and activity. Somewhere in the next 12 to 18 months, I expect to see major news unfold in some combination of the following five domains.
Early Indications January 2007: A Different Kind of Prediction Letter
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." Before we can talk about systems, we need to start smaller.
Early Indications - February 2008
Anyone who has been to Paris in the last six months has seen a major change to the iconic city's landscape: a plan to deploy over 20,000 rental bicycles at 1400 stations is well underway.
Early Indications March 2008: Engines of Complexity
Any time a new technology is introduced, the market traditionally extends conventional modes of use and understanding from the new things nearest neighbor.
Early Indications - April 2008
It used to be an economic commonplace that value was added in increasing amounts the farther one moved from raw material extraction. Farms, fishing villages, and mines have often created less affluent locales and involve dangerous work, while factories paid higher wages.
Early Indications - May 2008
In many ways, Nick Carr and Clay Shirky are mirror images of each other. Carr attended and later worked at Harvard; Shirky graduated from Yale and teaches at NYU. Carr worked at Mercer Management Consulting, Shirky at a web startup. Both publish heavily visited blogs. Carr sits on the Encyclopedia Britannica editorial board; Shirky contributes to Wikipedia. Each published in "old media" earlier this year, their books appearing mere weeks apart. They address many of the same issues, but often draw different conclusions. In doing so, they situate themselves in a timeless dialogue about the nature and cost of technological progress.
Early Indications - June 2008
Rather than looking at the somewhat ambiguous "tipping points" that Malcolm Gladwell helped popularize
July 2008 Early Indications: The Story of a Gun
This month, we are reminded that technologies of communications have long developed in parallel with technologies of violence.
Early Indications - August 2008
It has been a full quarter-century since the publication of Edward Tufte's landmark book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. In that time, computer screens and other projection tools have emerged as a powerful medium challenging the primacy of paper, previously the default tool of choice.
Early Indications - September 2008
The surest sign that a phrase has entered broad usage is to apply the cliché test: if you leave the last word(s) blank and most readers know how to complete it, the phrase is best used carefully, if at all, in good writing.
Early Indications - October 2008
As economies around the world continue to wobble in the aftermath of the credit crises, the next American president will be faced with competing calls to "do something" both at home and in a global context.
Early Indications - November 2008
In the spirit of accountability, how did this year's reality fit prior predictions?
Early Indications - December 2008
Given a year in which oil prices inflicted broad economic pain -- then fell $100 a barrel, a Republican president nationalized key banks, and an African-American first-term U.S. Senator won the presidency, it's pretty tough to predict the encore.
Early Indications - January 2009
Writing days after roughly 60,000 layoffs were announced, it's difficult to look anywhere else for stories to analyze.
Early Indications - February 2009
Several recent developments point to the big questions regarding trust in social networks.
Early Indications - April 2009
When U.S. firms replace onshore technical and other resources with lower-cost labor in offshore markets, the logic is typically financial.
Early Indications - May 2009
The proliferation of so-called cloud computing platforms has been rapid.
Early Indications - June 2009
Early Indications - February 2007
Until recently, enterprise software came in one of two basic shapes. If the firm built an application from scratch, the process was frequently long and expensive.
Early Indications - March/April 2007
Can Steve Jobs, who in many respects IS Apple, duplicate the success of the iPod in a new but adjacent market?
Early Indications - June 2007
As technologies, cultural attitudes, demographics, and economics change, people have both the opportunity and the need to reinvent organizational models.
Early Indications - July 2007
In the past ten to fifteen years, many barriers between traditional industries have broken down.
Early Indications - December 2006
In January of this year, we published eight predictions. At this point, the score is six hits, an incomplete, and a slight miss.
July 2006 Early Indications: Web Video Update
As we predicted in January, video over the Internet is making a major impact.
May 2007 Early Indications: A Data Economy?
The following is based on the opening talk presented at the Center for Digital Transformation's spring 2007 research forum.
November 2006 Early Indications: Devices We Love (and the people behind them)
Coincident with the iPod's fifth birthday, Newsweek technology reporter Steven Levy produced a book that helps situate the importance of the iPod on several landscapes.
Early Indications - October 2006
"The network is the computer” - Sun Microsystems, circa 1983
Early Indications - September 2006
Starting in the mid-1990s, a growing number of investors, academics, and analysts have been calling for greater transparency in business and government