Thursday, September 26, 2013

Indistinguishable from magic? No, it's a platform.

I have been thinking about Oracle Team USA, and what they did this week, and the old quote "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".

Emirates Team New Zealand built a great boat. They sailed it extremely well. They learned and improved. But their opponents had a completely different approach. Oracle built a boat, sure, but they created much more: a platform.

And the platform was modified based on data. The platform included the engineers, designers, sailors, and computation. In 19 races they turned a mediocre boat and average Americas Cup crew into winners.

Yes, there were lucky breaks from rules created 2 years ago. Yes there were innovations in the ways that they monitored and controlled their foils.

In the end, it was the platform approach that won...and we see it all the time in business: are you listening Nokia?

It's not enough to build a great boat...even if it is one of the fastest upwind boats of all time...if your opponent has a platform and you need one more win.


  1. Mark, excellent comments on what was a remarkable and way entertaining regatta! We went to pier 3 a couple of times to watch, but then the app and TV coverage was also leading edge. Kerry and I listened to the last race on my phone, plugged into the car headed up to Mendocino. Anyway, good comments! Those boats are so hi-tech, that they almost look like they are from the natural world!

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