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Neal Crocker

"I, Robot" is a book by Isaac Assimov with, if I remember correctly, a robot protagonist. I wonder if the people at iRobot are aware of this. I'm guessing that whoever chose the name is and that the naming resonance is deliberate. I'd be curious if there's any kind of intellectual property issues involved in naming a company after a book.

Con Tendem

1st to Neal: I am sure people at iRobot are aware of the Azimov book. I do not think you could work @ MIT AI labs and not read it. Since their name is not at all the same as the title of the book this point is moot (at least until WIPO and RIAA get to them)

Now to the blog entry:

I believe the reason iRobot is having trouble concentrating in just one or two verticals is two-fold. First, their mission statement clearly says, "3 - Have Fun

Building a great company takes time. By creating a business with a superior work environment, long term stability, amazingly talented coworkers, and fascinating projects, we remain fresh, creative, and determined. " The challenging applications for the military are fun. Fitting that same application into a doll is fun. Finally getting a robot to serve you drinks is really fun. While the markets are different, the technology is much the same for all of them.

Secondly, I think that iRobot people realize that other teams are close to them in product development. Today they can probably make the most money with military applications, but then a chance to establish themselves in the consumer or toy market may be gone. In the long term, large payoff will have to come from retail, not the military, but they cannot really abandon the military market right now as it is fun, pays the bills, and lets them develop the kind of advanced technology they can later squeeze into a vacuum cleaner. Abandoning the military would mean losing their testing grounds and that is at a premium when your competition is Honda and Sony.

Lukasz

when you look at iRobots HP in the "about us" section, you'll find "Build cool stuff" as number one within the mission statement. Numer 2 is "making money".

This might explain, why the tingle with multiple markets simultanously.

The question remains, if making more money would enable them to build more cool stuff more quckly...

Jordan Trunner

This post really had me thinking about this particular issue in way I havent before. Its something I do believe we need to talk about more. Thankyou.

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