The objective of this course is to give the students a thorough understanding of the information technology, economic, and organizational issues of doing business in a digital environment, such as the Internet. Students interested in pursuing careers developing and managing electronic commerce systems or participating in startup companies will receive an excellent foundation in the basic technologies of global electronic networks and their managerial implications.
Recommended reading
The following are recommendations - these books, as well as WiredFast Company or Business 2.0 is
excellent background material (and interesting reading, whether you are doing this for grades or not).
Electronic material: Some will be made available in Blackboard, otherwise, you may find at BRINT, Slashdot or other places on the Net with relevance for the theme of the day. For the Internet challenged, books and texts are almost too numerous to mention.  No real recommendations here, how about Internet for Dummies? At least it sells well... For any other book, well, try my favorite books page.

Class preparation
This is a graduate and elective course, so it goes without saying that students are well prepared and interested..... 

will be based on the following criteria::

Individual participation (50% of grade) will be based mainly on the individual student's contribution in the classroom and electronic discussion.

Group performance (50% of grade) is determined by a paper written by students in groups of no more than 3.  The content of the paper will be developed by the groups, but typically students write a business plan for a new company or a strategic action plan for a major technology initiative for an existing company.  Students can choose to write about how some technology might influence an industry, or vice versa.  Or you can choose to write a teaching case (with study questions and teaching notes) for use by future classes.

Detailed seminar plan
This is a draft.  Repeat after me: This is a draft....
Date/lecturer Topic & study questions Preparation
Internet and the new business connectivity

January 8, 1300-1600, Ekeberg

Espen Andersen

What is Internet technology? How does it really work?  What are the implications for business and organizations?

Study questions:

  1. What is different about competing in a digital world?
  2. (This is a hard one, but interesting and it goes to the core of this course): Information on the Internet is transmitted using a communications protocol called TCP/IP.  IP is packet-switched rather than a line-switched communications protocol.  What does this mean? What are the business consequences of these two different ways of transmitting information?
  3. The Catatech case: How much of a threat is e-Herramientas and the Internet to Catatech? What should Marisa Rivera do about it?

During this class, we will discuss what you will do for a project.  Some of you will want to write a business plan for a new or existing company, some of you may want to study one particular technology and its influence on an industry, some of you may want to examine an existing company and its uses of the Internet.  We will need to form groups and determine at least a few suggestions for projects.

Read and be prepared to discuss:  Further reading (for the especially interested):
  • Anything from the recommended literature, especially Cairncross' or Amor's books
In your spare time:
Competing in a digital world: Establishing a new business
January 15, 1300-1600, Ekeberg
Espen Andersen
We will discuss, a case of building a company from ideas on a napkin to full system implementation.

Study questions (aside from questions submitted with the case):
  1. Who are the stakeholders in a new company?  What are they looking for in a business plan?
  2. How do you judge a business plan?  What measures are appropriate when looking at a fledling company - and how do the measures change over time?
  3. What content is necessary in a business plan?
Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • The discussion will be based on material handed out in class - and the first part of the case is in Blackboard.  It is a good idea to review literature you may have on consulting and strategy process development.
  • .... but do check out Ernst & Young's guide to writing a business plan (PDF document, 760K)
In your spare time:
  • Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is a highly entertaining tome about technology, history, adventure and just about everything else - and the chapters on the creation of the Epiphyte corporation rings a bell with anyone involved in a startup - including a disillusioned take on what a business plan should contain..
  • Douglas Coupland's Microserfs is the story of a group of former Microsoft programmers and other cannon fodder in the war for technology supremacy that strike out and decide to start their own company.  Great descriptions of the culture of a startup - and the importance of Lego.....
The politics of technology
January 22
13:00 - 16:00

Espen Andersen
In this class, we will discuss various political implications of information and other technology - both from business and societal perspective.

Study questions:
  1. Two of Friedman's terms are "the golden straightjacket" and "the electronic herd" - and these two concepts create problems for finance ministers the world over.  What are they? (they may not be in this chapter, but you can guess.....)
  2. The central point in Klein's book is that multinational companies have more power than democratic institutions, and that they exploit that power to their advantage.  How powerful is a company such as Nike? Starbucks?  World News Corporation?
  3. What have question 1 and 2 got to do with technology, anyway?

Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Chapter 10: “Information Policy” in S&W
  • Landes, David S. (1998). The Wealth and Powerty of Nations. New York, Abacus, chapter 14 and 15
  • Winner, L. (1986). “Does Artifacts Have Politics?”, from The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
  • Klein, N. (2001). No Logo. London, Flamingo, chapter 9, “The Discarded Factory”
  • Friedman, T. L. (1999). The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York, Farrar, Strauss Giroux., chapter 3 and 4
Further reading for the especially interested
  • Lessig, L. (2001). The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. New York, Random House.  Check out Lawrence Lessig's blog and the article about him in Wired Magazine.
  • Eric Raymond: The Cathedral and the Bazaar, excellent piece on the relationship between the open source and the free software movement.
  • Howard Rheingold (2002): Smart mobs: The next social revolution.  New and interesting book on the self-organizing impact of mobile technology.
In your spare time:
  • Stephenson, N. (1999). In the Beginning....Was the Command Line. New York, Avon Books.  Available for free here.  Excellent treatise on what technology really means. If you understand and like this article, then you really grok tech.
Competing with technology: The case of Opera
Sandvika, February 7th, 0830-1300
Jon S. von Tetschner, CEO
 and/or Rolf Assev, EVP Sales and Marketing.

Espen Andersen
Opera Software ASA is a small (120 employees) software development company from Oslo.  The company is famous for its Opera browser, available for most computer platforms, and is now on the treshold of doing great in other markets, such as mobile phones.  The case illustrates the challenges facing a company in the commercialization phase.

Study Questions:
1. Which markets are Opera aiming for, and what are the critical competitive dimensions in each market?
2. What are the main threats and opportunities for Opera.  Do they have a technology-based competitive advantage?  If so, what is it?
3.  What does it take to make the next generation of mobile phones take off?

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • The Opera case (to be distributed).
  • Chapter 8 (Cooperation and Compatibility) and 9 (Waging a Standards War) in Shapiro & Varian
  • The Opera home page.
  • This article about the battle for the mobile browser in Salon magazine.
Further reading (for the especially interested): In your spare time:
  • Check out Slashdot, an online community that gives a good example of the technology audience to Opera's products and evolution.
Turning a company around with technology: The case of Glamox
Ekeberg, February 10th, 1300-1600
Guest lecturer: Christian Thommessen

Espen Andersen

We will read and analyse the Glamox case, in which a small Norwegian industrial lightning manufacturer goes through a dramatic change process.  However, despite their efforts, sales slowed down in 2001 and Christian Thommessen, the CEO, left the company in June.

Study questions:

  1. What is a SPOC?  What are the responsibilities of the SPOC?  What technologies and information is required to run a SPOC?
  2. What are the differences between the “standard” way of producing lamp fixtures, and the new, componentized process in terms of
    a) lot size
    b) reset time
    c) product design
    d) management
    e) long-term market position?
  3. How does Glamox go to market (market, sell, and deliver its products) for the EPL and GMO divisions.  Who has market power and why?  What can Glamox do about it?
  4. What is Glamox' strategic position and outlook at the end of the case, and what strategic options does Christian Thommessen have?
Is Glamox a typical Norwegian industrial company?  In what respects is it different from others?  Similar?

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • The Glamox case.
  • Chapter 10 (Innovation and corporate renewal) from Utterback.
  • Kotter, J. P. (1995). “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” Harvard Business Review (March-April): 59-67. (In Blackboard)
  • Hammer, M. (1990). “Reengineering Work: Don't Automate, Obliterate.” Harvard Business Review (July-August): 104-112. (this one you have from the IT management course.)
Further reading (for the especially interested): In your spare time:
Feb 19th, Telenor auditorium, Ekeberg
Doug Neal, Research Fellow, CSC

Espen Andersen

Collaboration, signalling and quid pro quo: How do you get value from all the crap you already have bought?  Doug Neal will discuss this and other issues through a medium he is one of the world's experts on: Videoconferencing.

Read and be prepared to discuss:  Further reading (for the especially interested):
  • Hafner, K. (1997). "The Epic Saga of the WELL." WiRED (5.05). Life and death of the original Internet community.  The company  and the community still exists, but much of the culture, apparently, is lost.
  • Howard Rheingold (2000) The Virtual Community, MIT Press. History and sociology of virtual communities from author who also has written Tools for Thought, an important and early book on information technology as an extension of the human brain; Virtual Reality;and a very interesting recent book, Smart Mobs, on the mobilizing capability of mobile technology.
In your spare time:
  • see above....
Growing the technology firm: The case of BEA Systems
Sandvika, February 21, 0830-1300
Ramiro Montealegre
Espen Andersen
In this class, prof. Ramiro Montealegre, from UC Boulder and Institudo Empresa, Madrid, will discuss the case of BEA Systems, a remarkably successful software company that has shown an ability to adapt to technological and market changes.

1. What was the competitive environment for BEA Systems when the company was founded?
2. What were the critical factors that allowed them to grow so large in such a short period of time?
3. Who are their main competitors and to what extent are they a threat to BEA Systems?
4. If you were hired as a consultant, what would your advice to Alfred Chuang be?

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • The BEA Case (distributed)
  • Chapter 5 and 6 (Recognizing Lock-In and Managing Lock-In) from Shapiro & Varian
Further reading (for the especially interested): In your spare time:
  • Rich, B. R. and L. Janos (1994). Skunk Works. New York, Little, Brown.  (The history of Lockheed Martin's "skunk works," a highly innovative group of engineers who developed the U2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, and Stealth technology.)  Great for war stories on how to run technical teams.
  • Brand, Stewart (1995). How Buildings Learn. New York, Penguin Books.  (Great book on what makes some buildings great for living in--rather than just looking at.  A technology book -- about houses)
Talking tech: What can you do with technology and where is it going?

Espen Andersen
In this session, we will look at some of the technical debates going on at the moment, some details around what you can do with technology, and some new developments in Internet use that are taking off.

Consider these issues:

1. What is blogging, and what kind of technology do you need for it? What kind of consequences will blogging have for the publishing industry?
2. What are cookies? Take a look at your own cookies - what can companies do with them?
3. What is spam?  How can we deal with it?
4. What is public key encryption?  How does it work? What are the implications of the technology for governments?

Read and be prepared to discuss:  Further reading (for the especially interested):
  • Daniel Amor's book from the course literature list is good for most technical stuff.
  • Simon Singh's The Code Book: The evolution of secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots to quantum cryptography. Excellent history of cryptography, strikes a wonderful balance between telling the story and explaining in detail how various forms of encryption works. I particularly liked it because it is the first popular book I have read that explains the German Enigma code machine detailed enough that you can understand just what an achievement it was to for the people at Bletchley Park to break it, and for its detailed and very exciting story on how public-private key encryption was developed.
  • Stephen Levy (2001). Crypto. New York, Viking Penguin. This book continues where The Code Book is weak - discusses the discovery of secure digital communication, DES (by IBM), and public key encryption - as well as the NSA efforts to twart the spreading of the knowledge and the tools. More reportage than history writing, and a bit breathless in its heroic portrayals of cryptographers and crypto-anarchists, but does a very good job of explaining the tug-of-war between comercial companies, the US government, and various libertarian groups over cryptography during the 1990s.
In your spare time:
  • Po Bronson's Bombardiers is a breaking-out-of-the-mold novel, an intelligent spoof of Liar's Poker.  Good fun if you ever wanted to know what it was like to work in the financial trading industry....
Espen Andersen
We will discuss the term papers and sum up the course - including technology evolution and the view of managing evolving technology as a game of Tetris. Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Be prepared to speak about the term papers and to critique the course.

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Last updated: February 24, 2003
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