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We are attending / partnering with twtrcon. Twtrcon is a unique event focused on the use of real-time tools in transforming business, government and non-profits. It is built on case studies and wokshops in the use of twitter for business

As per their web site, the conference is designed to

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• Get actionable advice and new insights with workshops, deep-dive case studies and presentations from the frontiers of real-time innovation

• Network and share ideas with leading business, marketing, media, PR and technology executives

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Knock Knock jokes for telecoms ..

A bit of fun but with some serious insights I hope

Modelled on the Knock Knock jokes .. I used the following at a private talk for a customer to illustruate the many gaps in perception I see in the industry

Although I use ‘Operator’ here the same ideas to apply to others in the telecoms industry

An interaction between a Telecom Operator and a Customer
Knock knock
who is there?
Telecom Operator
Customer: What do you want to know?
Operator: How many appstores do you need?
Customer: You mean apps .. not appstores .. yes?
Operator: No. I mean how many app stores do you need?
Customer: Silence ..
Operator(again) .. How many appstores do you need?
Customer: Silence ..
Operator: Why dont you answer? How many appstores do you need?

Why no answer from the customer?

Have you ever seen a customer ask this question?
It is a question for the industry. Makes no difference to the customer. Customers like apps not appstores. Appstores are an industry abstraction ..

An interaction between a Telecom Operator and the Web
Knock knock
Operator: who is there?
The Web
Operator: The web who?
The Web: What do you mean .. web who .. there is only one web ..
Operator: But I mean .. Is it Google, Is it skype? Is it foursquare? Is it twitter? Is it facebook?

Skype is not the Web. Nor is twitter.

The point is: When the telecoms industry says ‘Web’ they REALLY mean ‘Over the top’ (services that use the telecoms network to deliver content but are agnostic – and often competing – to the network itself. Skype is probably the best example) . In doing so, they muddle up their own competitive positioning because the view of Over the top is really Telecoms centric. No one outside telecoms cares for it ..

Tablet sizes and sales: One size fits all? 10 inch screen vs 7 inch screen – insights and perspectives

Despite impressive Q4 results, Steve Jobs went to great lengths to justify Tablet sales and to kill rumours of the 7 inch ipad. The talk appears to be targeting the two nearest competitors – Samsung Galaxy Tablet and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook who have both launched 7 inch tablets. Combine this with Apple missing the analyst consensus figure with sales of 4.19m units (against analyst estimates of around 4.7m) and there appear to be interesting undercurrents to the tablet category as a whole.

Here are my thoughts with some questions I still have. Comments welcome:

Firstly, the figures. At 4.19 m sales, this represents a quarter on quarter growth of 28 percent. So, that’s good in any case despite the consensus predictions of the analysts.

Secondly, the argument for 7inch vs. 10 inch relates to screen size. Steve Jobs says that “The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a seven-inch screen is only 45 per cent as large as iPad’s 10-inch screen.”. In my view, this is an important factor but not the crux of the argument as I discuss below. In other words, focusing on only the screen size may be a red herring

As a category, tablets are not new. They have been around for a while with little success. This time round, there is a crucial difference with the iPad i.e. iPad is not just the device but also comes with content.. This sounds obvious but it makes a big difference and its a hard strategy to execute as I discuss below.

Late last year, Wired claimed that 2010 may be the year of the Tablet. This was based on two observations:

1) Subscription-based devices displaying newspapers, magazines and other media will be the main drivers for tablets


2) The adoption of a new business model much like phones today where the digital media content subscriptions will subsidise the device.

Most people would agree that, to some extent, this was a bit of wishful thinking and in the case of the magazine industry, clutching at straws for their survival. But nevertheless, content is the key here and we have to analyze not just specific devices and device categories(such as tablet screen sizes) but rather device+content combinations.

So, the real question has to be

1) What is the ideal content type for the devices? i.e. which content type is ideally placed to be consumed by the customer with the best possible experience? So, I am saying that – Content and device must be seen together for any analysis(including Steve Job’s analysis) to be relevant

2) How does that experience compare with other device+content combinations from the customer perspective

Based on this view, here are some thoughts and unknowns:

1) The iPad is primarily seen as suited for magazines. Of course, it could also be used for other content types like books etc. Magazine publishers have adapted to include features such as archives which do add value for subscriptions. There is now also a propensity to pay for content as demonstrated by iPhone apps. This combination i.e. iPad + magazine is the key driver for the iPad. Although this model remains unproven, it is still the best bet so far and the most critical element in the success of the iPad

2) The content industry has got wiser to Geeks bearing gifts! Most people attribute the success of the iPhone to many factors but they forget iTunes. iTunes came from iPod and iPod came under the spectre of Napster. Napster is relevant because content producers had a simple equation: 99c > 0c i.e. option to 99c was free. So they chose 99c. Since then though, content producers have become wiser. From movies to magazines to books, they have resisted attempts by the tech industry (especially Apple and Amazon) to set prices for their content.

3) The success of the kindle demonstrates the device + content theory. Kindle is ideally suited to read books and Amazon has good content distribution for books. So, kindle sales continue to show traction even if Amazon is not fully transparent about numbers . Barnes and Noble also seem to be going down the same route with the nook colour reader

4) The iPad meanwhile has some limitations as a book reader since it is heavier to hold up unlike other ereaders.

5) Apps for Tablets could be a red herring (in relation to content) because unbranded/long tail Apps have consistently demonstrated the ‘first in category’ wins. This is good for the Long tail but does not really make a difference to tablets since they are primarily consumption devices

6) For the same reasons, much as I am an advocate of the Open ethos, if we view tablets to be mainly consumption devices, then Openness does not matter as much (in comparison to the experience the device provides for content)

7) Again for the same reason, deep integration across the stack matters for consumption type devices. So, deep integration is good for tablets

8 ) Google’s Android strategy has yet to be played out and will be known only after Froyo. But the principle of a generic (Android) device will not be enough unless it is packaged with a content type if the above analysis is correct

9) Do books /magazines need a community? i.e. should a community come packaged with each book? Yes. Does it need open devices (by this – I mean non integrated/generic devices)? Or can a community be leveraged on the Web? Too early to say.

10) It is not clear what content type would suit the 7 inch tablets? Only RIM has so far come out in defence of the 7 inch format . But even then, no one indicates what type of content is ideally suited for the 7 inch screens. This is especially relevant in the context of customer choice especially Smart phones.

If no specific content type is found, I suspect these devices may be similar to many of the last generation devices(hardware only). In my mind, price alone is not a good enough differentiation.

So, if the above analysis is correct, the Steve Jobs is probably right mainly because I cannot see any distinct content type (books, magazines etc) ideally suited for the 7 inch tablets

Comments welcome


@erichhugo suggested that a new format may be in order here(like Commando comics). As a kid I read them and I agree with Erich. Thanks :)

Commando For Action and Adventure, formerly known as Commando War Stories in Pictures, and colloquially known as Commando Comics, are a series of British comic books that primarily draw their themes and backdrops from the various incidents of the World Wars I and II. The comic, still in print today, is noted for its distinctive 7 × 5½ inch, 68 page format that became a standard for these kinds of stories. It has remained more popular than many other British war comics, and some would say British comics in general, despite its simplistic stories and simply sketched black and white artwork, with only the covers in colour.

Great news – Mckinsey quarterly now a register only free service ..

Mckinsey quarterly was one of the few publications I paid for recently

Mckinsey quarterly sent me the following email:
In an effort to make McKinsey Quarterly content more easily accessible, in November of 2010 we will begin phasing out Premium Membership. At that time, you will no longer need to pay to access content. Instead, all content—including articles, videos, podcasts, and multimedia—will be available upon registration. In future months, we will be enriching the site even more, adding new types of content and making content more accessible.

This is great news. Its great quality content and now it will be accessible to more people. I may event considering contributing to it as well :) But I think definately its worth a free subscription and following on twitter

To gauge quality of articles: Here are two good articles(both need free subs)

Why Europe lags behind the United States in productivity

Moving women to the top McKinsey Global Survey results

You can follow them on @McKQuarterly

Augmented reality app for the Andy Warhol Museum

There is now an Augmented reality app for the Andy Warhol Museum developed by Brunner works using Layar. The app extends the museum experience beyond the museum walls. It uses Layar technology to display real-time digital information on top of the real world locations as seen through the camera of the mobile phone.

Technical details are:
Offers a viewable radius range of 1,000 miles
Integrates the Google Maps API to pinpoint both user location and POI
Uses Layar ( technology to display real-time digital information on top of the real world as seen through the camera of your mobile phone.

From the development standpoint the challenges faced are (as per the developers)
The coordinates were simply a facet that took some research to ensure they matched up appropriately with the locations relevant to Andy Warhol’s past. The Layar platform is fairly straight forward. Our mobile developers had no issues building web services for Layar to consume. According to them, the most level of effort was brushing up on distance equations (Haversine and Vincenty) to know which records should be returned based on a search radius.

A wee milestone for futuretext ..

At CTIA San Francisco, we were in good company! you can see the futuretext logo on the CTIA entrance at the Moscone centre

Would we need wikileaks if journalists did their jobs?

Whichever side of the argument you are on, you have to wonder: Would we need wikileaks if mainstream journalists did their jobs in the first place?

It seems that all the journalists are left reporting on wikileaks when presumably they are paid for getting the truth ..

After all, in 2003, we have ‘embedded journalists‘ for the first time covering the war

Interesting that none of them seem to have discovered anything unusual and all their stories were remarkably consistent

The next time Rupert Murdoch talks of the value of journalism, we should remind him of this .. i.e. by all means journalism has value but what we saw recently was definitely not valuable journalism which is why charging for online news and content will be increasingly a poor model since in retrospect, there was little of value getting one sided information

The Web, thus upholds the values of society such as freedom and liberty much better than what the old media could

mydex – a very interesting personal data store and privacy management system

I have covered Identity, Privacy and Reputation many times before on the OpenGardens blog.

For instance:

Mobile devices and privacy: Should we focus of changing behaviour of people OR changing behaviour of devices?

Solving the minimum disclosure problem: The significance of Claims based Identity system


Webinos – leveraging the Web as the greatest common denominator for multiple platforms ..

It is a part of my PhD research work.

So, in that context, mydex is an interesting initiative since it is a personal data store. According to their site:

Personal Data Stores are designed to restore to individuals control over the management and sharing of their personal data online. They promise to create a positive step change in the relationship between individuals and the organisations they deal with.

and as per the mydex FAQ

What is a Personal Data Store?
A Personal Data Store is a service for individuals that helps them collect, store, manage, use and share their own personal data for their own purposes. It is, if you like, the equivalent of a company’s ‘data warehouse’ except that it sits on the side of the individual, under the individual’s control. For example, with a Personal Data Store, individuals can decide if they want to share any information with another person or organisation and, if so, what information they want to share with who, for what purposes.
In short, Personal Data Stores are a tool to put individuals in control of their personal data.

How does it work?
A Personal Data Store is a database that’s under the individual’s control.
In one sense, the contacts list on your mobile phone is a ‘Personal Data Store’ – it stores your personal data. Personal Data Stores run with this idea and extend and deepen it in all sorts of ways: the amount of data you can store on it, the sorts of data you can store it, the things you can do with this data.
Personal Data Stores like Mydex are designed to be ‘platform agnostic’. You can have one on your PC. Or your browser. Or your mobile device. Or you can access it via the cloud. The important thing is that it is yours, and no one else has access to it unless you say so.

Tony Collins at Computerweekly says

Something like Mydex would work as an ID system storing authentication tokens provided by trusted third parties like, perhaps, the GP surgery. Or the local authority. Or indeed the IPS.

Mydex propose people will use it to get parking permits, guarantee their credentials for job applications, let people see the results of their CRB check, register births & deaths, make planning applications, prove their age, planning applications, update the electoral roll, get a TV license, and tell anyone who wants to know about a change of address.

Imagine the money saved on the census, says Heath, if it merely polled people’s personal data stores electronically.

(And imagine no longer having the embarrassment of the British democratic census being run by US defence industry giant Lockheed Martin – though it would be a convenient way to register deaths if we have the same company poll people as bomb them).

A good white paper from mydex is Mydex white paper (pdf)

Free research paper – An Assessment of Social Media Business Models and Strategic Implications for Future Implementation

Jeanette Carlsson spoke at the ForumOxford Future Technologies Conference 2010 last week and it was great to catch up with her insights as ever.

She recently wrote a paper called An Assessment of Social Media Business Models and Strategic Implications for Future Implementation which was a part of her Diploma in Advanced Strategy University of Oxford (Saïd) Business School

Jeanette had paper copies at the event but she has been kind enough to give me a pdf to upload on OpenGardens

This paper examines the growth of social media, their usage and value creation with future implications. A
review of current social media models and relevant academic literature, supported by interviews with leading
social media executives and thought leaders for this paper, shows broad diversity of categories, players
and applications.

The paper examines the main categories, business models and usage by different players (social networks,
advertisers/brands, businesses), drawing on early industry examples, including those that have failed.

The industry interviews and review of the scholarship on e-business models bring out key themes in social
media business models and future directions, and provide different perspectives on what constitutes value
in social media. Based on these insights, the paper attempts to assess what value has been created by/to
different industry constituents to date.

Key technology, media and organizational (TMO) shifts shaping the industry are analysed and implications
drawn for the future of the industry, player strategies, business models and value creation. The paper concludes that scale, learning, differentiation, (open) innovation and complementary players/ resources are critical to sustaining competitive advantage, and will drive sector realignment/consolidation, including across sectors (e.g. social media/mobile).
The key threats to current (mainly advertising-based) business models come from monetization challenges and potential user backlash on data privacy issues, which may be fatal for some.

With scale a critical competitive differentiator, the big players will likely get bigger and the small acquired. However, the industry can ultimately only accommodate a few big platform players. Winners will be those who do not only build size but also respond to user needs for ‘global’ connectivity, by offering gateways to other platforms, and take a broader view of value creation than purely short-term financial metrics, as today’s social media space, intrinsically linked with advertising, morphs into a social web which offers much wider value.

pdf link below. Many thanks Jeanette!

Jeanette Carlsson – An Assessment of Social Media Models

forumoxford – future technologies conference 2010 – many thanks

forumoxford future technologies conference 2010.jpg

On behalf of Tomi, Peter Holland and me ..

Many thanks for the awesome conference at forumoxford.

Especially commendable considering the recession and we continue to maintain the high quality, spirit and community the event has become so famous for

Thanks again

conference link
forumoxford future technology conference

Twitter feed forumoxford 2010 twitter feed

More soon on presentations. video streams etc