I love the saying “you get delegated to the people you sound like” - especially when it comes to selling.
At the end of the day, all of the work that goes on to build and support a product comes down to the discrete conversations your sales people have with customers.
This parody video is both incredibly funny (especially if you’ve ever carried a bag before, or work in a company dominated by engineers) and drives home an outstanding point – “you-centric”, jargon filled presentations more or less all sound ike this one.
In the face of overall economic turmoil, advertising spending
appears to be holding up a little better online than in other
media. Jupiter forecasts that US spending on online display
advertising will end up growing 12 percent in 2008 to reach $8.3 billion, then
slow to an eight percent rate in 2009, when it will reach $8.9
billion. Financial services spending on display ads will decline for the
next two years, while auto and lead generation will remain essentially
flat. (See US Online Category Advertising Forecast, 2008 to 2013.)
Vodafone announced thisweek a recommended cash offer to acquire Wayfinder Systems AB. This is not a done deal yet but my first take is:
- Wayfinder like other software vendors really pioneered the market for navigation on mobile phones. Initially, the Swedish company (at that time named Itinerary systems) started in as a R&D project in the mobile phone division of Ericsson in the 90s! It is thus no surprise that Wayfinder recently announced an intensification of its global collaboration on GPS handsets with Sony Ericsson, one of its main clients. Back in July 2007, the company acquired Finnish application provider Navicore.
- According to its interim report (ending September 30th 2008), Wayfinder wanted to focus on a small number of global partners and to planned to reduce costs by 30% in 2009. The company reported close to 2,5M activated user accounts but only 294,000 paying users, who had activated a paid for application in the past 18 months. Vodafone's offering value Wayfinder at around €23M. I am not a financial analyst so I won't comment the cash offer in detail but from an industry perspective, it seems to me:
* this is a small amount of money for a global operator like Vodafone
Following the publication of this article in Moconews, I had a call with Greg Ballard, CEO of mobile gaming company GLU.
Glu is adamant that despite a smaller size than EA Mobile or Gameloft, the company is very well placed in porting games on the balkanized mobile handset market. He righlty pointed out that if smaller in revenues, Glu has a scalable business and claimed to be ahead of its competitors in some regions of the world (n2 after EA in the US and after Gameloft in Latam, n1 in China and Australia). He also made the point that Tetris still represents a significant chunk of EA revenues. Looking back at the Jamdat acquisition in December 2005, I have no other choice than to agree.
So, let me precise that my comment "the larger companies have economies of scales that their smaller rival doesn’t" mainly addresses the smaller players in the mobile gaming industry. Despite consolidation that took place over the last few years, this market is still very fragmented. Also, it is fair to point out that Gameloft's developer/production/porting teams represent close to 90% of the workforce (and thousands of employees). But I am not a financial analyst so I can't really make a call here.
eApple recently released its top downloaded applications on the AppStore since launch in July 08. No mention of the split here between apps downloaded on the iPhone and on the iPod touch.
Top 10 Free Downloads (Overall). My comments in italic
1-Pandora Radio (music, 2 million iPhone subs who spend 90 minutes listening on average) 2-Facebook (social networking) 3-Tap Tap Revenge (game) 4-Shazam (music) 5-Labyrinth Lite Edition (game) 6-Remote (entertaining app) 7-Google Earth (only launched 2 months ago!) 8-Lightsaber Unleashed (cool and fun app, close to a game for Dark Vador fans...) 9-AIM (highlights the strength of AOL Instant Messaging in the US vs Europe) 10-Urbanspoon
Forrrester recently conducted a teleconference where I presented and spoke about what I considered the top best practices in financial services in 2008 to be. Many of the best practices I have written on in the past, but one that stood out is a tool developed by Compass Bancshares, a bank with 166 branches in Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Joost has produced a free iPhone app that brings the glory that is Joost -- videos of an oily Britney Spears, classic Star Trek reruns, and interviews with barely-clad Victoria's Secret models -- to the iPhone.
I've posted about this on my blog, you can read the whole post here. My overall take is that this not really about mobile video. It's about the future of video product strategy. I wrote:
“Many devices, many services” is the future of video. It requires the use of an open platform and open protocols. Joost, which got its start as a P2P video delivery mechanism, has since opened itself to wider consumption by going straight IP. Once it speaks IP, Joost can easily be ported to any IP device, including the iPhone. Including the T-Mobile G1. And so on. It has been so successful on the iPhone so far that it’s regularly in the top 10 free applications on the iPhone App Store.
I go on to explain what happens next. This kind of open-development platform has to be put on the TV set-top box. This is in stark contrast to what happens now. But in the end, this will change the way devices are made, services are provided, and consumers experience media, all thanks to what is a real revolution in product strategy. Can't wait.
Can we please put a moratorium on all the gloomy news? Duke just released a study of CFOs where the key finding is that we're in for at least another 12 months of stagnation. Will someone acknowledge that there is a glimmer of hope in, of all places, at least one part of the retail world which according to conventional wisdom, should just be getting pummeled? I've been maintaining that eCommerce is insulated from the worst of it because there continues to be channel shift because it's just easier to shop online and perhaps most compelling, it's a channel where consumers can easily find the best price for anything they want to buy. I have two sets of datapoints to support this. The first is the Chase Paymentech Pulse Index which captures actual transactions from 25 of the top web merchants. Through Tuesday, December 9, the last 33 days of online shopping have actually been great. In fact, consumers have, when measured on a YOY calendar basis, spent 15% more this year than last year. This is remarkable given that Thanksgiving fell later in November this year and we've had fewer days to build upon the momentum that Black Friday always creates.