Monday, 1 October 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: maps inspires ill-advised Apple sniping, 27th level Paladins better Managers than MBAs and Android forgives Nokia

Digital media

I initially presumed that this article about when to fire your social media consultant was intentionally ironic... then I realised that it was serious advice. Worth a read just for the comedy value, but I wouldn’t follow much of the advice! http://www.fastcompany.com/3000052/7-things-your-social-media-consultant-should-tell-you

As a friend of mine who works in the mobile ad industry said to me, the reason agencies don’t buy mobile ads from these publishers is that they think they’re selling something special. And they aren’t, so they’re too expensive. Reduce prices, manage yield, ladies and gents. http://paidcontent.org/2012/09/23/frustrated-with-poor-mobile-sales-publishers-blame-ad-agencies/

Yale research on the costs of switching shows that even when the long term benefits of a tiny action like pressing the key on a remote control are considerable, people procrastinate and don’t do it. Still think a future where everyone self-selects their TV viewing is close at hand? http://www.futurity.org/society-culture/%E2%80%98micro-costs%E2%80%99-can-make-us-resist-change/

A cute visualisation of where the information on Wikipedia comes from. Unsurprisingly, there is a great US/ Western European bias to it. http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/vis/?id=4e3c02dd

Adobe Social is an excellent product set, so I’m not surprised they’ve been selected by Facebook as a strategic marketing partner. Doesn’t make me more bullish about the latter though, there are plenty of other social networks and consumption continues to fragment. http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/digital-marketing/social-media/adobe-designated-as-a-strategic-preferred-marketing-developer-pmd-by-facebook/

Good to see the UK government persisting with its reforms of IT purchasing. Focusing on needs rather than departmental responsibilities seems like a no-brainer. http://central-government.governmentcomputing.com/news/maxwell-departments-must-focus-on-users-needs

A refreshing perspective on what makes good Managers in this day and age. Summary: look for World of Warcraft players, not MBAs. http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2012/09/25/big-think-925/

Technology

I liked the title of this so much that I did a presentation on it last week. Rather apocalyptic though – tablet hardware at the low end of the market may now be a total commodity but many people like the luxury end of the market as it feels good to own. There will be new formats and categories too. http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/15/hardware-is-dead/

Another positive 3D printer story. This tech is maturing nicely. http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/09/diy-lab-equipment-courtesy-of-3d-printing/

A great example of the convergence of cheap, fast processing and spill over from tablets / phones into other technology areas like imaging and screens. A $2,000 video conference robot. http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/21/double-robotics-investment-grishin/

X-Prizes are a great way of harnessing the academic community to great value in the commercial world. Qualcomm and Nokia have offered such a prize to create a hand held medical device that can detect 15 different medical ailments. http://gigaom.com/2012/09/23/qualcomm-wants-your-help-in-building-a-diagnostic-tricorder/

Apple communicates to potential customers in a positive way that emphasises the great things you can do with your phone. Samsung snipe at Apple. Weak. http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/23/how-apple-talks-to-non-customers-vs-how-samsung-talks-to-non-customers/

Sigh. More negative sniping marketing from the Android community over the maps issue. I presume that all their marketers are nerds who delight on scoring pedantic points on web fora. Funny in that context but I doubt it’ll win many people over in the phone stores. http://allthingsd.com/20120923/while-apples-maps-falters-the-android-ad-men-fight-dirty/

Nokia is still the leader in sub-$100 handsets and this latest touchscreen Asha device looks like it’ll continue that trend. A nice piece of hardware. http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/25/nokia-unboxes-cheapest-touchscreen-phones-yet-series-40-based-asha-308-asha-309/

One of my colleagues is convinced that BB10 will turn around RIM’s fortunes. It’s possible, but in my view they’ll need to demonstrate (now atypical) reliability and pair it with standout hardware. I doubt they can do it, but we shall see. http://www.slashgear.com/rim-blackberry-10-carrier-testing-begins-next-month-25249097/

An open letter from the Android developer community to Stephen Elop. If it was me I’d take them up on their kind offer to forgive Nokia’s previous statements on Android and launch a phone on that platform. The Lumia hardware is excellent and combined with Android I reckon it’d be a winner. http://androidandme.com/2012/09/opinions/an-open-letter-to-nokia-and-ceo-stephen-elop/

I think Olympus is a great buy for Sony at this price. Imaging will continue to grow as devices continue to proliferate. High end optics for things like cars seem like an obvious and lucrative opportunity. http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/25/sony-invests-642-million-in-olympus-becomes-largest-shareholder/

E-ink displays are a fascinating branch of display technology. This article explains how lessons from the animal world can make them better. http://gigaom.com/2012/09/27/how-e-readers-can-be-more-like-animals/

HP is another big company heading for basket-case status. What is their differentiator, besides being bloody huge? I dunno. They certainly can’t make tech’ investments, as Autonomy and Palm can testify. http://allthingsd.com/20120927/ahead-of-big-meeting-with-analysts-another-sell-rating-appears-on-hp-shares/

Emerging markets

Iran are launching their own walled garden Internet. Another way in which their fundamentalist government are reducing a former hub of thought and intellectualism into a feudal state. Shame on them. http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/23/iran-domestic-internet/

An interesting article about Huawei’s successes in smartphones. I particularly like the idea of them launching a separate high end brand for marketing in developed countries. I really liked the Ascend D Quad, but it took them 6 months to get it into stores after Barcelona. That’ll need sorting out if they’re to be a major player in the future. http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/huawei-devices-idINDEE88N0B520120924

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