Originally Posted by ramuman
I think we're drifting quite a bit from my initial point.
The Chinese guys are doing well because of - a Chinese firewall.
What Brin and Page did with Backrub/PageRank was fundamentally different and innovative; I doubt any comp sci or math person would take that away. What Zuck did with FB's social media curation was fundamentally different. What Jobs did...well, nearly wherever he tried was different. What Gates did in making command line and GUI OSs mainstream was fundamentally different. I could go on and on.
Thing is, there is next to no innovation that comes from what the Chinese are doing, other than their population being a great starting point - which I think is important and they're doing a better job than the other 3 BRIC countries in getting that.
True. My point was, there are empire builders and there are wolves; Musk is in the latter. The empire builders takes are expansionary industrialists going for adjacent markets with what's already in the bags, i.e., Gates going from OS to productivity, Jobs going from PC to cell phones, Zuck buying Instagram (brilliant move btw, we had a discussion back in '12 about how FB protects its moat - billion dollar acquisitions). The wolves pounce on opportunities in non-related markets, i.e., Alibaba went into banking, Giant went from selling vitamins to gaming, LeTV went from streaming movies to selling cell phones, etc.
Google is an engineering company at heart, but so was Inktomi except it went belly up and got acquired. We could go on and on about technology innovation (INTC, SNDK, GOOG, VMW, Palantir, etc) vs. design innovation (FB, AAPL, etc) vs. business model innovations (AMZN, CRM, etc). The unfortunate thing about this boom is more WebVAN 2.0 than, say, PiedPiper.
We excel in technology innovations as we have large influx of foreign scientific talented to top Universities. Cal/Stanford/MIT EECS program is like a reunion for top IIT/Tsinghua students when I was in school back during the last boom.
China excels in the business model and now design innovations with their wolf like moves supported by a huge domestic market, the Great Firewall is merely an argument undermining their success. Tencent was monetizing chat long before there's FB. Nowadays, hardware technology innovations are shifting heavily to China, see: selfie sticks, electronic cigarettes, consumer drones, hover boards, etc. The Chinese audiophile products are even winning heart and souls on HeadFi.
AAPL, there's this little Curse of Silicon Valley - building of new big campus typically marks a peak of the company valuation, temporary or fatal. Apple is building its Spaceship on Wolfe/Homestead. Now, it's probably going to do fine with its huge war chest, but there's always risk that they become Kodak. This is tech after all; there are only a few 40+ years old companies swimming around seas of unicorn corpses.