The Critical Path

The Critical Path

The Critical Path is a talk show contemplating the causality of success and failure in the evolving story of mobile computing and related industries. Using Apple as a lens to look at existing and emerging tech markets, we try to understand what it means to be great.

Hosted by Anders Brownworth and Horace Dediu.



#53: To Be First and Loudest

September 8, 2012 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 12 minutes

Horace is still out crossing the globe on secret missions, so Moisés Chiullan, host of Screen Time, fills in for Dan. This week, Horace covers his Swipe Conference presentation on the history of personal computing and the shift to new platforms that foreshadows the dawn of a new era, the state of the US mobile market and where Lumia fits into the fold, and how Samsung moves forward in the wake of the litigation.


#52: The Art of Making Money

September 1, 2012 at 11:15PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

With Horace criss-crossing the globe on various secret missions, Moisés Chiullan, host of Screen Time, fills in for Dan this week. In this episode, Horace follows up on last week's predictions now that the Apple v. Samsung verdict has been finalized ... or has it? Horace and Moisés also dig into the algebra needed to decode how many tablet units which manufacturers have sold, and what that means for Amazon's Kindle Fire in particular.

Special guest Moisés Chiullan.


#51: Product Portfolio Theory

August 23, 2012 at 11:30AM • 1 hour 6 minutes

We cover three topics: 1. Safety and air travel: the bases of performance that don't get credit 2. The unintended consequences of litigation: US v. Microsoft and lessons learned for Apple v. Samsung 3. Product Portfolio theory: is focus impossible for everyone but Apple?


#50: From Impossible to Inevitable

August 15, 2012 at 11:15AM • 1 hour 8 minutes

The crumbs of data falling off the Samsung v. Apple trial table get some scrutiny. Horace expands on some of the hints from the partial release of information and then continues with a discussion of how market data is collected and whether it should be trusted. That leads to a question of whether private (or paid) analysis is "better" than public (and unpaid). The benefits of having access to the vastness of collaborators online and the public sources of info might be tipping the balance. Finally, we talk about how big ideas go from sounding impossible to being inevitable and who gets rewarded for making them so.


#49: Fly me to the Moon

August 8, 2012 at 11:30AM • 58 minutes

Horace takes another look at the aviation industry and asks whatever happened to air taxis. Then we go back to the manufacturing miracle of WWII in order to ask what might be the limits to growth. That helps us describe the "top down" opportunity for iOS and mobile computing in general looking at the overall mobile phone market. Finally Dan asks what are the qualifications needed for an analyst to perform wide-ranging reviews of industries.


#48: Asymmetric Competition

August 1, 2012 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 4 minutes

We turn our attention to the notion of competition. It's a concept that has many contradictory connotations. What we anticipate as sporting or fair is never the way business or war is conducted. How should you think about this and why does it matter in every decision you make professionally and personally?


#47: Impatient for Growth

July 25, 2012 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 6 minutes

This episode is recorded on the day after Apple's second quarter earnings release. We go through all the income statement updates and discuss what went wrong (almost everything) and what went right (precious little). We use statements by management about India to answer the question of where the emerging market potential is for iPhone. Putting aside some of the missed opportunities or bad timings, the quarter is reviewed as less than the stellar performance we've become accustomed to but not bad all things considered.


#46: The Next Victim

July 18, 2012 at 11:30AM • 57 minutes

Dan and Horace cover the valuation question regarding Apple and tech in general as seen through investors' eyes. We also look at who is most vulnerable in the ongoing mobile computing disruption and who are the up-and-coming challengers. Finally, Horace introduces the Perspective app which he uses to do all his presentations and a new platform for publishing complex or rich data.


#45: Management vs. Leadership

July 11, 2012 at 11:00AM • 1 hour 11 minutes

We start with a discussion of RIM's latest quarterly performance and follow with a description of the inherent tension between managing and leading. To further illustrate this divergence we discuss the conflicting messages from Microsoft relative to the Surface.


#44: White Knights and White Nights

June 27, 2012 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

Dan and Horace reflect on the Osbourne effect of Windows Phone 8 on Nokia and how to value a company in distress. In particular, we talk about the potential of a Microsoft acquisition and the conditions needed to make it happen. Horace takes two reader questions: How did Samsung succeed while other vendors failed with Android and what are the pitfalls that could cause Apple to stumble.