Sunday, August 31, 2008

Link Share on feeding Frenzy and Mobile surveillance

Two articles as link share this Sunday 31/8.

1 The first tip is from Gina Pace and her article “FEEDING FRENZY”. It is an easy but interesting read about the contemporary trend of life streaming.

2 The second tip is from Daniel Sour and his article “Short Cuts”. Even if we all by now are aware of the risk of surveillance in relation to mobile phones, it is good to continuously remind our self of this problem.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is the right timing when it comes to informing the market? The case of the Mobile Phone Industry

When do you as a seller communicate too much or too little with the market? That is a question which not always is easy to give a direct answer too.

The reason for my question is that many consumers seem to be upset with the players in the mobile phone industry. This when it comes too the fact that many of the players have a habit of announcing new phone models a long way in advance. One example is Sony Ericsson and their launch of the mobile phone Xperia. They announced the launch of the phone one year ahead. At the time, potential consumers were excited and had great expectations. Now – just some months before it will be launch – there seem to be many consumers who feel that the phone already is old and outdated. This even before it has entered the market. During this ten months a lot of things have happen which have taken a way little of the lustre of the Xperia. New and even more desirable phones have been announced to be launched. Potential consumers are a little in despair and fed-up waiting for the Xperia.

This seems to be a general problem. When you read chat sites, many consumers seems to be very frustrated of being promised new phones and then having to wait a very long time for the phone to be available to buy on the market.

Why does the mobile industry do this? The obvious reason is of course that they want to capture potential customers and try to avoid that they buy a product from a competitor. What is the alternative to this behaviour in the industry? Only a month or a few weeks notice of a new model? No, I do not think that is in the best interest of the consumer.

Consumption is a lot about here and now. Not many people will wait days, weeks, months, or years to satisfy their instant needs. They want instants gratification. But many times, the in the spur of the moment consumption is not based on what we could call rational decisions. And this is not good when we talk about a mobile phone product. After all, mobile phones are expensive and their lifespan are rather short. Often this is due to fast technological advancements. So we as consumers have to make sure that we get as much value out of our money spent as possible.

Even if it is frustrating for us as consumers, it is good for the consumer to get information about different options well in advance. When the industry communicates with us well in advance, they help us too increase the likelihood of us making the right choice – i.e. a rational choice.

The point and answer in this case is therefore that it is better that companies communicate too much and too often than too little and too seldom. This as long as the information is relevant and correct.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Link Share on Andorid and if Google is making us Stupid

Two articles as link share this Sunday 24/8.

1 The first tip is an article in Wired, titled “Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web”. This is an interesting article about the history of Android and its future objectives.

2 The second tip is from TheAtlantic.com – “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”. Reading on the web is not the same thing as reading paper journals or books. The article discusses the way we read on the web and what consequences that may have on our brain development.

Update 1: Damon Darlin (New York Times) opposes the second tip above in the article "Technology Doesn’t Dumb Us Down. It Frees Our Minds". Very sound comments I think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TV-series on DVD is somewhat of a mystery to me

Marketing should be about offering products which satisfy the customer’s needs. Then it becomes important to understand the customer’s behaviour and to know the needs of the customer. However, this is often not so easy - quite the opposite, it is very hard. Many times a successful marketing campaign is more based on a hunch and luck than anything else. The times have been many when the marketers have been sure of a marketing success. This only to discover it too be a failure. What I what to say here is that despite all the refined research tools, marketing is a lot about chance. This is not something many within the marketing industry would admit though. The point is that what tick and not tick in the market is difficult to know beforehand.

Take the selling of TV-series on DVD as an example. If you look on the DVD section e.g. Amazon.com or similar it is literary littered with offerings to buy last season of e.g. Office, House, Sex and The City, or the complete box of Seinfeld. TV-series on DVD seems to have turned out to be a huge success.

For me this is somewhat of a mystery. I am puzzle over consumer’s behaviour here. Why do we buy TV-series on DVD when we can see them on TV? What need is satisfied with DVD which is not satisfied by TV? Here are some arguments for why DVD is better than TV which I can think of.

1 We can see the series on DVD when we have time. We do not have to adapt to the TV tableau. Yes, but usually there are many reruns so most of us should be able to find a suitable time to look at it on TV.
2 We want to watch an episode several times. Okay, but how fun is that and do you have so much time on you hand, really?
3 We think the series are so good so we want to collect them. Okay, yes that can be true for some but hardly for the majority of the mainstream market.
4 The price is low so we can afford it. Yes, that is a strong argument I think. But still, for many it is quite pricey to by a DVD box.
5 We want to look at all episodes in a consequently order – here an now. We do not want to wait one week to see next episode. This I think is the strongest argument so far. We as consumers seek instant gratification. We do not want to wait and that is why we are prepared to pay the extra cost of buying the TV-series on DVD instead of see it on the Telly.

To sell TV-series on DVD has been very profitable for the TV producing companies. I’m glad that I where not in charge of this selling because I may have made a flounder on this one. I still do not see exactly what the advantages are and what needs really are satisfied in this. Luckily, marketers do not work alone. There is always fellow markerters how can put you on the right track if you stray way on an unsuccessful path.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Link Share on 50 essays business models and 16 personal finance blog

Two link share this Sunday 17/8.

1 The first tip Andrew Chen’s article “50+ essays on viral marketing, social network monetization, product design and more”. This is a very impressive compilation of his articles concerning topics on marketing on internet.

2 The second tip is from Lifehack’s “16 Great Personal Finance Resources & Blogs”. This is a compilation of important personal finance blogs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The right balance between freedom of choice and filtering among those choices creates value for consumers on internet

How to satisfy real needs and thereby create real value on internet is a topic in demand – both among sellers as marketers and entrepreneurs and among consumers. This is an important question when many new services on internet only seem to be variations of earlier ones.

To understand real needs, new services have to understand what relevant problems is for the user on internet. One important problem for the user is the lack of time and attention. These are scarce resources. Sellers who can help save time or extend time, creates real value for users on internet. This is though not so easy as it may seem. Many times services which promise value out of this perspective, only turn out to consume more of the consumer’s time than they promise to save - in other words, they where not able to satisfy the consumer’s real needs.

One way to help the user to save time is by filtering. This is important when information overload increases on internet. The challenge is here then about finding a balance between freedoms of choice and filtering among those choices. By finding the right balance; you as a seller can create a lot of value for the consumer.

If the consumer has too much freedom of choice; they have to consume too much time to decide among the choices. This is not an ideal situation. However, filtering should primarily not be about reducing the variations of possible alternatives to choose between per se. Instead it should more be about making the possible choices clearly visible and comparable for the user. By finding this balance in your business model, the consumer can make rational decisions in a time efficient way.

The Iphone is maybe a good example here. Apple has found a way to empower the customers’ use of time. They have done this by creating a product which on one hand solves a variation of relevant problems (surfing on the net, talking etc) and on the other is easy and simple to use. The product makes the user efficient.

The “price” for this usability is that the consumer has to stick to and like a somewhat closed concept. Apple has filtered by deciding and simplifying a lot of things for the consumer. However, even if one can argue that there are a lot of things which the consumers can not do with an Iphone, the grades of freedom is still large.

Filtering in the Apple case is a balance between giving the consumer freedom of doing a lot of things and to do this with a simple and user friendly product. This value creation is one part in the explanation to the Iphone's success I think.

Ps. If you want a deeper understanding into the complexity of the Ipone's simplicity concept - watch the lecture of Peter Merholz: "Experience is the product".

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Link Share on benevolent dictatorship and whisky grotto

Two link share this Sunday 10/8.

1 The first tip is Rebecca MacKinnon's article "Silicon Valley's benevolent dictatorship". For me, it is a refreshing reminder of always be aware of the “Not invented here syndrome”.

2 The second tip is from The Whisky grotto, “This is how you shoot a bottle of single malt whisky”. Excellent video on how you go about to make a Arran bottle desirable out of marketing purposes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My misuse of the Like button on FriendFeed

The use of the Like and Unlike button is good on FriendFeed. But the problem is that I have to use this function in a way which can cause misunderstanding. My use can send the wrong signal to readers. In present circumstances I have to use the Like button more as a bookmarker than a Like button. This because I have a need to find and go back to post I have read earlier on FriendFeed.

This problem is due to the fact that two important functions are missing in Friend Feed’s tool repertoire. First, FriendFeed needs to help me sort or filter among the people I follow. Second, FriendFeed needs to help me sort or filter among the post I read. Concerning the first, Thomas Hawk suggests that FriendFeed should have a favourite scale button on the people you follow – e.g. a scale from 1-10. Something like that could take care of this first issue. Concerning the second issue, I need a bookmaking or favourite button. That would make it possible for me to find and go back to a post which I read earlier.

In a situation of information overload there is always a need among the customers to get help with the filtering. A service which wants to create real value for its users can do this best by inventing easy to use tools for filtering when such information overload increases.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Avoid writing long blog posts is easier said than done


It feels like I write to long blog posts in general. I try to writer shorter. But that is not an easy task. Why write shorter? To write long is a problem when becoming a blogger. This I have learnt by reading those advices which more experienced blogger gives concerning this matter. To summarize my readings one can say that there are first and most two important reasons for why you should avoid writing to long posts. Both have to do with survival tactics on Internet. One reason has to do with the author and the other with the reader.

1 The first is that you as an author have no time to write long texts. It is unmanageable. It messes up your social life. It will make it impossible to keep on blogging. You run out of steam after a while.
2 The second reason is that the readers have no time or interest to read long posts. They want the essence of the story fast – called “the point”. It is said that the readers on internet nowadays do not really “read” any material any longer, they only browse. These are the reasons for making the posts short.

So in sake of taking care of my self and my reader, I have to learn to produce short texts. To be shorter can function as a motivator. To write short has to do with the whole writing process – from choosing a topic, choice of perspective, writing execution and to what should be called a succinctly wrap up. An additional factor for me as a non native English speaking person is of course the language. To write short is about master the language.

On the opposite side of this is the space you need to say what you want to convey in your post. This objective can contradict the objective of being short out of survival tactics. Conclusion? The value of a post is not solely created in the convenience of being short but also in the conveying of an insightful content - i.e. interesting material. There must be a trade of where you always try to find strategies to combine these two objectives. This is the real challenge for me as a blogger.

How have it worked so far? Well concerning this post it became much longer then I intended. But I think I needed this space to say what I wanted to say.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Link share on slideshare concerning Mashups and Star Wars

Two Power points from Slideshare as link share this Sunday 3/8.

1 The first tip is about innovation, ideas and Mashups. Short but informative.

2 The second tip is about turning design into reality out of the case of Star Wars. Long but interesting.

 
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