Sunday, September 28, 2008

Link Share on how to train the husbands and on the Ghost Towns in US

Two articles as link share this Sunday 28/9.

This Sunday reading is somewhat outside the ordinary topic of this blog.

1 The first tip is from New York Times and Amy Sutherland’s article “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage”. Here you get the suggestion that you can think of your husband as an animal - and then treat him accordingly. This is probably provoking for some, funny for others, and instructive for most.

2 The second tip is from Wall Street Journal and Alex Roth’s article “After the Bubble, Ghost Towns Across America”. The financial crisis in US is brutal in its force. Left behind, is Ghost Towns.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What is the Swedish Mobile Phone Operator Tele2 Up To?

We have learnt that it is always important for a company to have a product and price strategy which is designed in such a way that you do not run the risk of losing customers to your competitors. Instead is should be designed in such a way that it attracts customers away from your competitors. To achieve this it is it important to put forward attractive offerings with competitive prices in the market. To be able to do that you need to have good business intelligence which helps you to understand what the trends in the market are.

I do not know if I have missed something here, but the Swedish mobile phone operator Tele2 seems to be an interesting case on how you should not go about concerning these matters. I suspect that something has gone terrible wrong here.

Tele2’s services and pricing seems to be out of phase with the trends in the market and with their competitors’ strategies. Competitors such as e.g. the mobile phone operator "Tre" seems to understand that the development on the market goes towards offering subscriptions which includes possibilities to surf on the web with the mobile phone and to sell discounted phones in relation to selling subscriptions. Here where the trend in consumer mobile behaviour is that surfing becomes more and more important relative to talk.

What has Tele2 done? Besides a fixed price subscription, they have only two subscriptions too chose between when it comes to talk in the mobile phone. In addition, earlier they offered the customer the possibility to add the service of surfing on the web with the mobile phone to the subscription. The possible maximal surfing speed for that service was 7.2 Mbit/second. The prices were very modest - 39 SEK/ month for 1Gbite and 99 SEK/month for free surfing.

Now they have abolished this offering. Instead they only offer the customer a surfing service for mobile phones with a speed of 0.384 Kbit/second. At the same time they have raised the prices radically. In addition to this, their allowance to customers who wants to buy a mobile phone in relation to a subscription is very low. This compared with a competitor such as "Tre".

So what is Tele2 up to? Well, I have to admit that I’m a bit clueless? This because the strategy seems to be plain wrong. The consequences seem only to be that Tele2 will give away their customers to competitors such as "Tre" and TeliaSonera.

I may be wrong here, but Tele2’s current strategy seems to be very dangerous. They do not seem to have grasped the current trends in the market. When the desires of the customers in the market changes, they changes very fast. If you then are not well positioned, your will lose customers to your competitors. And right now, I do not think that Tele2 has understood what a good future position on the market should look like.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Link Share on business platforms and tools for personal development

Two articles as link share this Sunday 21/10.

1 The first tip is from Harvard Business Publishing and Umair Hague’s article “What Apple knows that Facebook Doesn’t”. This is short but interesting reflection upon business platforms.

2 The second tip is from Flowing Data on “23 Personal Tools to Learn More About Yourself”. Here you get many tips on how to take care of yourself in an effective manner on the net.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The tragedy of commons and uncommons

The question about ownership and incitement for innovation has turned out to be very difficult and tricky questions in recent times. I think it is important here to not lock oneself into a corner in the discussion. Instead one should try to discuss the matter out of many different angles and perspectives.

Here is a one hour excellent lecture from the author of the book Gridlock economy – Prof. M. Heller. I think that he states the problems quiet clear.

When too many people own the same ting nobody can use it.
Private ownership creates wealth.
Too much ownership has the opposite effect, creates less wealth. This is the Gridlock paradox.

See also Paul Kedrosky's piece on this. He also presents good links for further reading.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Link Share on Windows mobile and The New World of Digital Intimacy

Two articles as link share this Sunday 14/9.

1 The first tip is from Microsoft Watch and the article “Android Dresses Up In Chrome”. Windows mobile is not a service up to date. Microsoft have not sorted out their priorities on this one it seem.

2 The second tip is from New York Times and Clive Thompson on “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy”. This is an interesting article on how lifestream changes everything and on how conversation on Twitter changes relations. An important article indeed.

3 Clive Thompson answers all the comments on his Digital intimacy article here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some reflections about the service Rejaw.com

I have started to use Rejaw.com. It is another variant of already existing micro blogging services such as Twitter. What is my thought of the service so far?

When I added new friends on the service, my first reflection was how small the internet world really is. This at the same times as it is vast also of course. I recognized many people on Rejaw from other sites. That says something I think about how many similar services there are now out there and how quite few people there are who actively use these micro blogging services.

However, I like Rejaw. It allows me much freedom when writing a message – a shout as it is called – and I can very easily follow the flow of shouts. Overall I am pleased with the service.

But there are some things which I find irritating and unnecessary.

The first is that you can not follow the replies on a shout direct on the flow of shouts on the screen. Instead you have to click on the shout in question and then you can see all the replies. This is not so good I think. This because it is not often I bother to click on the shout. Thereby an opportunity to contribute to the dialog on the site is gone by. I think that FriendFeed has a much better solution here. On that site you very easy can see the comments under the question – without having to click on something. Such design function as a drive to contribute to the discussion I think.

The second thing is that if you want to go back in time of the shouts stream, you have to click for each page – i.e. first page two, three etc. It would have been much easier if you could go to e.g. page 10 immediately - if that was what you wanted to do.

The third thing is that it is not possible to mark some shouts or discussion as e.g. interesting. That makes it difficult to find and go back to a specific discussion later on. Again, compare this with FriendFeed's favourite button.

This was my immediate reflections about the service. But I think that it is as with all these types of services – Rejaw will develop and hopefully become even better than today.

Update 1: The fourth thing with the service is that the conversation around a Shout is closed after three days. The reason for this is that the Rejaw wants to have an active participation among the shouters. However, I think that this is a too short time frame. Not everybody can follow things in such a fast pace. The risk is that the opportunity of interesting inputs never becomes realized becomes the shout was read after three days.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Link Share on how to read and a blog as a magazine

Two articles as link share this Sunday 7/9.

1 The first tip is from Copyblogger and Brian Clark’s article on “how to read”. I see this as a following of an earlier link share concerning the article “Is Google making us stupid?”

2 The second tip is from Smashing Magazine’s Steven Snell and his article “When to use Magazine-Style Themes For Blogs?”

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On Product Development, Technology Trajectory, and The Phenomenon of Tunnel Vision

It seems to be tough times for Sony-Ericsson (where they even begin to doubt one another), Motorola, and to some degree also for Nokia.

The mobile phone industry is not the only industry where the product development is a battle though. That goes for most high tech industries. The battle is between one hand trying to understand and satisfy the consumers’ needs and on the other hand – and at the same time – work within those parameters which the current technological advancement enforces upon you. With that I mean that we for sure would like to transport ourselves as they do in the TV-series Star Trek. However, our current technological advancement does not allow us to do that.

An additional problem to the matter is that decisions made in the product development are made under uncertainty of the future market. Product decisions which are made today may be perfectly sensible in today’s situation but when they are a realised in a future situation, they can turn out to be very unpractical.

The challenge for the product development department is to handle the balance between develop products which the customer demands in the unknown future and at the same time focus on what kind of products you are able to develop with the technology you have at your disposal.

When the pressure is high on the product development department to continuously launch new innovative offering and to do this under a long time, the department run the risk of not being able to “keep their gaze upon the horizon” so to speak. Slowly under the pressure they “lower the gaze” and the phenomenon of tunnel vision becomes apparent. You become trapped in a technology trajectory.

The product development funnels into a technological trajectory where it becomes more and more about refinement of a specific technology and less and less about innovating out of that technology. When you get stuck in such technology trajectory, you become product focused instead of market focused. You refine and refine the same type of products.

This is the case with Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia I think. They have now launched many new models of mobile phones which more are variation of each other than major product advancement. They have reached a dead end in their product development.

Often the dominant players have big difficulties too break out of this trajectory of tunnel vision by themselves. Instead it is new players which enter the playing field. They find new ways of taking care of the customers' needs. In the mobile industry it seems to be Apple and Android, to mention a few, who gives the industry a reality check.

However, many firms have got stucked in trajectories before – e.g. IBM, GM, and Swedish FACIT. The “old” mobile phone producers seem to be in good company.

 
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