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 Horace Dediu, Anders Brownworth, and Judd Rubin.



#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.


#43: We'll take it from here

June 20, 2012 at 12:30PM • 59 minutes

Horace and Dan look at Microsoft's Surface through disruption colored lenses. First, the ongoing evolution of the computing value chain and how it foretold us of Surface. Second, how the economics of Microsoft's businesses makes Surface compelling. We also begin a new segment tentatively called "Reader Questions". This time it's education: is it disruptable? If so how can we tell and where will it lead us?


#42: Full Circle

June 13, 2012 at 12:30PM • 1 hour 20 minutes

Having just returned from China, Horace gives his impressions which leads to a discussion about industrialization and innovation and how countries "mature" and what is Apple doing in China and the new relationship between Apple and strategic partnerships and the new stats from WWDC 2012 about developer revenues and how that differs from Android and the 400 million Android devices activated vs. 400 million iOS devices built, in China.


#41: Contextual Inquiry

June 6, 2012 at 12:00PM • 53 minutes

Dan and Horace talk about the distinction between what Facebook is and what its value is perceived to be. We touch on both the opportunities and the challenges for social media and how these are reflected in the IPO. We note how and why Facebook integration in iOS might happen. Horace has a few words about China, WWDC, and the future of apps on TVs. It's all about context.