Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mobility battlescape - the war for controlling your handset

With mobility becoming a commodity, how's a service provider or a phone vendor to differentiate itself ?

In recent years there has been an ongoing battle between the carriers, content providers and the phone vendors to gain access to the valuable real-estate in the palm of your hand.

They've all taken different approaches to gain access to the consumer.
Nokia recently opened two flagship stores in New York and Chicago so that it could control what features the consumers got on the phone - a plan that was probably triggered by Cingular disabling the WiFi connectivity on some of the Nokia phones it sold as part of its service plans.

Apple is opening up the iPhone platform for third-party developers and there is a legion of third-party application developers who are providing phone-independent Value Added Services.
Skype has launched a mobile service that does not depend on the carriers, there are services like Fring that can bypass the carriers toll service to make wireless VoIP calls and applications like Dashwire to manage your phone.

Mobile service providers who have traditionally controlled the network, the phones and the content on the phones and are probably as loved as second-hand car dealers and telemarketers, have been facing a lot of flak from users, vendors and regulators about the control they wield. The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg demanded "Free my phone !"

It's going to be an interesting battle to determine who will be the dominant player in the new marketplace. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Craigslist's Take on the Ephemeral vs The Eternal

Here's a dummies version of a discussion between the ephemeral vs the eternal (at least in relative terms). This post and the reply has probably been blogged and analyzed ad-infinitum on the blogsphere, but it channels a lot of economics and Buddhist philosophy ;-)

What am I doing wrong?
Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to
a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all. Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips?
I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level? Here are my questions specifically: Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms. What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my feelings. Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)? Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there? Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out? How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend?
I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY. Please hold your insults. I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

Dear Pers-431649184:
I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it. Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity...in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful! So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you! So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage. Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout. By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation. With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. Classic "pump and dump." I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Levitating Dutchman

The White House has received credible intelligence reports about a levitating Dutchman

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dealing with the 'Irrational' Negotiator

HBS's Working Knowledge has a great article on dealing with irrational negotiators.
Mistake 1 : They are not irrational - they are uninformed
Mistake 2 : They are not irrational - they have hidden constraints
Mistake 3 : They are not irrational - they have hidden interests

After having dealt with a couple of people who seemed to be irrational - this provides a good framework on how to approach these negotiations.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Corporate Slogans

There are corporate slogans that work:

Cisco has "Welcome To The Human Network",

GE has "Imagination at Work",

HP has the evocative "Invent" and we all know who has "Always Low Prices. Always".

And then there's this:

Who else but a bureaucrat at the Government of India's Airport Authority of India could come up with this: "Safety Culture Is Of Paramount Value"?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Blogging about Tractors

I don't think any non-IT company or for that matter any IT company in India has a company blog.

The blog run on the Mahindra website by
"Joel Combs – 32 years old, live on and farm 170 acres in Pine Knot, Kentucky USA. Gateway to the Big South Fork NRRA. I have 3 children, ages 5, 7 and 9, and I work as a Machine Operator for Kingsford Charcoal in Burnside, KY. I’m a 5-year member of LIUNA local 576, and my hobbies include hunting, fishing, boating, cars, barbecuing, and most all things outdoors."

Not a terribly interesting blog - but some good photos on how the non-IT world lives ;-)

Looks like Mahindra is trying to show how it's part of the American community.