Our thoughts and prayers for the people of Philippines

Philippine flood death toll rises.jpg

Our thoughts and prayers for the people of Philippines for flooding damage caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana

Two books that have inspired me ..

I was asked by a friend recently to name two books that have inspired me recently. After some thinking, here they are. Hope you like them. Comments welcome and my rationale below

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First book: A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life (Penguin Press Science) (Paperback)

- By Craig Venter

Nature magazine calls Craig Venter as: `maverick, publicity hound, risk-taker, brash, controversial, genius, manic, rebellious,visionary, audacious, arrogant, feisty, determined, provocative. His autobiography shows they are all justified’

His research and techniquies are very unorthodox and it makes a big impression on me as to how he managed to beat a govt funded project to decode the human genome by a full 3 years!

Amazon link for A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life

TED talk by Craud Venter for his latest work on creating synthetic life

Second ..

The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers (Paperback)

Very detailed. very scientific and applicable for entrepreneurs .. Think of it as Good to great for small companies ie. why some companies (startups) grow very big and what distinguishes them

There are a VERY few books covering this .. ie most are for big companies and hence not applicable to entrepreneurs.

Any comments – suggestions for books welcome

Carnival of the mobilists No 193 at Volker Hirsch’s blog – My post comparing the airline industry to the telecoms industry gets post of the week ..

Carnival of the mobilists No 193 at Volker Hirsch’s blog

My post comparing the airline industry to the telecoms industry (deregulation and competition) gets the post of the week.

I have won post of the week a few times before but it is always a pleasure since the level of competition is so high (see the posts this week and you see what I mean!)

By the way, I recommend Volker Hirsch’s blog. Lots of original analysis and thinking which I like

Pokarekare Ana – Hayley Westenra version

YouTube is amazing for its ability to create a shared global culture and here is a beautiful rendering of a very nice New Zealand song (the language is Maori but with English subtitles)

I first heard it when I was in New Zealand( one of my three nationalities!) but I really like this version

If you are interested in the history and meaning of this song see Pokarekare Ana

As for most people, this song has memories of a woman for me .. and more generally of my time in New Zealand.

I hope you also enjoy it

As per YouTube,

This version is sung by Hayley Westenra, and some pictures of her from the album “Odyssey”… The English translation comes from the booklet of her CD “Pure”.

For other songs by Hayley Westenra see her site

Hayley Westenra or on twitter @hayleywestenra

What can telecoms learn from the evolution of the airline industry

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I was reading a book called ..

The Evolution of the Airline Industry By Steven Morrison and Clifford Winston

And it made me think that both telecoms and airlines have a ‘network’ and by understanding the historical implications of the changes in the airline industry .. We can gain some insights for the telecoms industry at its current time of transformation.

This well researched book gives some interesting analysis which I summarise below and also add some of my own thoughts ..

The 1938 civil aeronautics act was to regulate airfares for 40 years. The 1978 airline deregulation act effectively lifted the restrictions. The industry dynamics changed for ever.

The deregulation unleashed new competition but existing carriers like American airlines and United developed new innovations like frequent fliers programs, computerised reservations and the Hub and spoke system(transforming airports like Dallas and Chicago O Hare)

So, innovation came from the EXISTING players in addition to new players

Excluding notable exceptions like Southwest airlines , many new/niche players like Laker airways and Braniff did not survive

But .. Even so .. The airlines industry is still a difficult industry and the authors conclude that it was not due to lack of competition or lack of innovation(both from new and existing players) but due to the inability of the large airlines to accurately forecast demand ..

This is significant since I think that the smaller niche airlines like Southwest could forecast demand more accurately but the large national and global players found that it became much harder to predict economic cycles especially in light of a diverse ecosystem.

So, investments had to be made in advance(airplanes, airports) but the returns were not guaranteed ..

Sounds familiar ??

The book concludes that the Primary reason for low returns was not competition or structural factors but a failure to adapt efficiently to the business model. Coming from a formerly regulated economy airlines suddenly had a lot to learn and the management techniques used under regulation did not transfer effectively to a deregulated environment.

As I write a report on LTE and telecoms innovation .. This gives a sense of Déjà vu. ..

Comments welcome

Meeting me at CTIA

I am at CTIA and chairing two events .. Mobile application stores and Mobile Web Strategies. If you are there, happy to meet if possible. My email address is ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

First Limo release 2 handset (Samsung H1) deployed on Vodafone 360

First Limo release 2 handset (Samsung H1) deployed on Vodafone 360

This is an interesting win for the Limo foundation .. not just for the handset .. but for the concept of Vodafone 360

Vodafone 360 is a much deeper play by an Operator into the services and apps arena with the converged address book at the core

I view it as a richer deployment of Zyb which Vodafone acquired some time ago and makes the converged address book the centre of Vodafone’s strategy

The Vodafone 360 is ‘open’(in the sense that it allows the customer to access web services that they are normally used to already) but also gives more opportunities through the Limo deployment to leverage richer native features through their OS and APIs

For example, to implement a feature like ‘proximity algorithm’ (bringing the most frequently contacted people closer to the front) – you need deeper integration into the stack and the OS – which Limo provides

Operators are still unsure as to how to react to the ‘apps’ phenomenon and hence this vision (of making the address book central to the strategy, allowing access to web services and social features but at the same time enabling deeper integration via the OS) is one to watch both for Limo and for Vodafone 360

Other operators may adopt this vision if it gains some traction – so this is a good development for the Limo foundation

The official press release is HERE

How to create a business plan for an appstore strategy

At the Mobile applications store event in CTIA

we have a special session on how to create a business plan for an appstore strategy

We will also continue the conversation in the Mobile applications business network – so please join it if you are interested

The session name is ‘How to create a business plan for a appstore strategy’. It covers what it says on the tin! and the scope can be fascinating

Jouko is a vc perspective

Sena and Kunal are developers

William is a business model, developer, industry visionary perspective

Remco is stats and numbers


there may be an additional participant

(see the site for bios and additional details)

First I am going to set the stage why this business is different. Then Jouko will give a quick 5 mins summary and the rest is Q and A (Remco already has a talk earlier in the day)

This can be fun and we will say that the conversation will extend in our network.

Here are some questions – but pls send me your qs as well.

1) Is apps really a business or a fad? (even the hits are one hit wonders)

2) VCs – are there any case studies for success stories for apps?

3) How is the VC model different for apps? will individual apps ever be funded?

4) Why is iPhone so successful?

5) free vs paid

6) viral marketing of apps

7) Battle scars – things you have learnt from experience

8) Where do you see the market going in terms of other appstores

9) Ringtones are no longer a growing market – will apps be any different?

Any more questions, please email me at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com. Better still attend the Mobile applications store event in CTIA and / or join Mobile applications business network

RCS release 2 may have some interesting features ..

Many people have been sceptical of RCS .. And indeed there has been some justification for that scepticism ..

My personal view is: Firstly, RCS applications like Enhanced Address Book, Rich Call, Rich Messaging etc are useful applications in any case and Secondly – even in an ‘open’ world – there is a place for bearer aware applications/QOS based applications.

However .. As I read the news of RCS release 2 being announced today .. There are two significant items which catch my attention ..

Firstly, the RCS managing the involvement of PCs in addition to mobile devices .. THIS has a much better chance of working in my view ..

Having broadband access to core RCS services such as in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management means that users will be able to access services and applications from both mobile and fixed terminals, resulting in a seamless experience across both mobile phones and PCs. Utilising mobile and fixed terminals when accessing RCS services will result in the use of multiple clients, even though the mobile phone will remain as the customer’s primary device, and will provide greater flexibility as well as enhance the user experience.

Secondly, the experience of LG in South Korea .. I will seek to find out more about LG’s RCS implementation – but it is certainly nice to see it working in a market like South Korea

“We believe that RCS will become the first real-world communication

package that will instantly penetrate the global market. RCS goes beyond traditional 3G multimedia services and successfully combines a number of exciting features together that consumers would like to use on a daily basis,” says Dr. In-Kyung Kim, Vice President and Head of 4G Development Lab at LG Electronics. “Customer feedback from Mobile World Congress 2009 has suggested that LG RCS was an outstanding implementation which correctly depicts what user experience for RCS should be like. LG is fully ready to dive into RCS commercialisation. We are looking forward to service providers’ deployment plans.”

I will try and cover this more

FCC applies net neutrality to mobile

FCC applies net neutrality to mobile

In detail .. this means (source telecom TV)

In detail: Genachowski has reaffirmed the long-standing (since 2005) broadband principles that will now be formalised by the FCC.

* That consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.

* That they are also entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.

* That they are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.

* And that they are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.

Genachowski has added two extra principles. Internet access providers can’t discriminate against particular Internet content or applications: and they must ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practises they implement.

Much has been said about AT&T’s woes by Seth the blogger man, and in my view, a lot of it attributable to AT&T’s network itself .. but the point remains that these regulations are beneficial to society as a whole.

The point is: If only telecoms had given concessions before .. it would not have come down to regulation on both sides of the Atlantic .. it took an outsider(in iPhone) to make us see the true potential of this industry and now there is no holding it back for the consumers.

The industry had a chance from the time DoCoMo created iMode to the launch of the iPhone .. and having lost that time .. it now finds itself fighting it’s own customers .. a battle that it can never win ..

Having said all this, we need to take a pragmatic approach and many Operators are transforming rapidly over the last few years

We live in interesting times ..