Category Archives: Trends

10 imperatives for success – particularly but not exclusively in the digital economy

Rolf Hansen, simyo founder and CEO, started Germany’s first mobile no-frills provider. Based on his experience he formulated ten rules that are constitutional for success, particularly but not exclusively in the digital economy.

“The first and most important imperative for any executive in the business world is to be prepared the “dgital revolution “. This means to be informed about all developments in your particular business and in the broader business segment and to be ready for major, sometimes disruptive, changes.

Just as important is the second rule: engage with your customers. They can become everything from sales force to evangelists, but you have to be gentle to them and understand and serve their desires and needs. Always!

No matter how successful you are: avoid hybris. This is rule number three. You should never overestimate your own capabilities and search to cover all parts of the value chain – focus on your core competences and partner with the best.

The fourth rule to accept the marketing paradigm shift, instead of ignoring it. Executives should consider new media and new formats and use the power of (online) co-operation with other companies instead of prevailing in the old world of classic media mixes.

Rule number five: technology at any costs – do not take that bait! Solutions and user interface are king. If the product is complex and there is no joy of use – forget about it, as the customers will not approve it either.

Traditional advertising is no longer the best choice. Managers should be aware that customers are equal to them in terms of access to information and that they want to be treated accordingly. It´s the age of the adolescent customer – and the ultimate end of bullshitting in advertising. So rule number six is: quit traditional advertising now!

The seventh rule is to think “no frills”, to concentrate on real value at reasonable prices and to focus on serving the basic customer desires.

That leads to rule number eight: do not overstretch the internet-expectations as needs and desires will not be changed by technology. Consumers still want to consume – and they expect easy and fun solutions.

Rule number nine: trust is mission critical. It is hard (yet so easy) to build trust – but it is essential, as the age of the internet does not forget a single lie.

The last rule is to always act “human centric” not technocratic. One of the most important understandings for digital businesses is that human impetus and desires remain unchanged, and that the “analogue” aspects of human life will never disappear, no matter how much we love digital.”

What do you think about those imperatives, do you approve? What are your suggestions for companies in the digital economy? What is the key to success in your opinion – today and in the future? I am looking forward to your comments.

WEF: The Future of Mobile Communication

At the upcoming Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos 2009 the future of mobile communication is one out of many challenging topics at this years Global Agenda. You can be also part of the discussion by joining the Davos Debates on Youtube.

Future of Mobile Communications
Excerpt from the Global Agenda 2009

Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA, captured during the session 'Convergence on the Move' at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 26, 2007. Approximately 60% of the world’s population has a mobile device used predominately for voice communication;data still remains a small component. Mobile communications are a delivery and transactional vehicle that fosters job creation in emerging economies and can transform other industries such as health, banking oreducation. Adirect correlation exists between increased mobile phone penetration and increased macro-and micro-economic development.

The vision for the future of mobile communications is a fully interconnected world where every citizen will access, create and use content. This is the fastest growing technology in the history of mankind and is also the most effective technology known to date to enable individuals, particularly those at the base of the pyramid, to participate in the global economy.

The Davos Conversation Corner run by YouTube at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2008. The nearly 4 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world are realizing multiple macro- and micro-economic and social benefits. This will only continue as more individuals become connected to the global economy and more products and services are deployed. Council Members coined the phrase “Humanity’s Nervous System” to describe this interconnected and highly personalized world.

As an industry, mobile communications are relatively recession-proof and will continue to experience growth, create jobs and unlock innovation. Economic crises result in change – as such, mobile communications will play a huge role in reducing current inefficiencies and raising the productivity of both individuals and businesses.

Three fundamental dimensions impact the future of mobile communications:

1. Access: the ability for individuals to utilize both voice and data mobile communications ubiquitously

  • • Key enablers for access include:
    – cost reduction of services (infrastructure sharing, handset recycling)
    – a global regulatory framework with the removal of mobile specific taxes and over-
    regulation
  • • Key uncertainties include:
    – whether universal access is a fundamental human right
    – whether we should strive for regulated universal access or defer to market forces

2. Applications/Platforms: the value added services and capabilities available to end-users
which would be an extension of the larger public Internet

Key applications for improving the state of the world would include health, education and financial services.

  • • Key enablers include:
    – an open and interoperable system which creates opportunities for “bottom-up”
    innovation
    – the increasing sophistication of handsets and user experience
  • • Key uncertainties include:
    – why there hasn’t been greater uptake in health, education and financial service mobile
    applications given rapid global subscriber adoption
    – regulation with mobile banking and financial services
    – who pays: financing for health and education
    – the literacy challenge of those who only require a phone for voice services

3. Data Ownership (and Associated Personal Rights): the information generated and gathered on individual behaviours and transactions.
This wealth of information holds tremendous transformative potential but clear rules and
transparent regulatory frameworks are needed to ensure personal wealth creation and
the prevention of abuses.

  • • Key enablers include:
    – ownership: you own your own data
    – accountability: a “post-privacy view” using watermarks to create an audit trail of who
    uses it
    – use of anonymous and aggregated data to create new socially intelligent applications
    (i.e. health, urban logistics, government services)
  • • Key challenges include:
    – establishment of a global framework for data usage and protection
    – general awareness of this dimension and its broad and fundamental power
    – privacy and security of data and application
    – liability of data ownership or managemen
  • t

Of these issues, three are not sufficiently addressed by existing stakeholders or global governance institutions: (1) the standardization process could be streamlined to be more effective and efficient; (2) inter-industry challenges and regulatory constraints (particularly in banking, healthcare) are not sufficiently addressed; and (3) an international framework for personal data ownership needs to be created. If these issues are not properly addressed, fragmentation will continue and a unique moment in time to realize an integrated approach could be missed.

The World Economic Forum has unveiled the programme for its 39th Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. Under the theme “Shaping the Post-Crisis World”, more than 2,500 participants from 96 countries will convene, including a record 41 heads of state or government. Key finance, foreign affairs, trade and energy ministers will also join heads of non-governmental organizations, social entrepreneurs and religious leaders at the Meeting.

Sessions in the Annual Meeting programme related to the Future of Mobile Communications include:

  • Digital Asia: A World unto Itself
  • Power to the People — Politics in the Internet Age
  • Update 2009: Digital Convergence Continues
  • Social Computing — Transforming Corporations and Markets?
  • From Adoption to Diffusion: Technology and Developing Economies
  • Mobile Revolutions in the Developing World
  • Reality Mining: Changing Behaviour
  • Global Industry Outlook 3

The democratization of Mobile Telecommunication

The world of mobile media is full of surprises – and it is all the better for that!
Who would have thought at the beginning of 2005 that the per-minute charges for mobile phone connections in Germany would ever be in the single-digit euro cent range? Or that, as a result, practically everyone would be able to afford a mobile phone and make regular use of it? Or that retrieving emails and visiting online social networks via mobile phone would become standard, inexpensive practice for everyone – not just for people with company mobiles? Or that more and more websites would be specially configured for mobile phones, so that they can be accessed by users “on the move”?

At the beginning of 2005 these were still only remote possibilities, yet within a comparatively short space of time they have become reality: with the launch of simyo, the pacesetter for the new mobile communications generation. In the self-satisfied world of telecommunications, the concept of simple, fair and transparent pricing based on the lean online sales channel was nothing short of revolutionary. The primary focus on the customer’s wishes and requirements – that was and still is our recipe for success. Many companies have opted for our business model and have helped make Mobile No-Frills offers or Mobile Discount , as it is called in Germany, a major force in the marketplace.

But not only that, the steady decline in charges since then for both telephone and internet connections has not only meant lower prices: it has also been largely responsible for the surge in popularity of mobile internet usage. Four years ago, users were at pains not to press the key for online connections on their mobile phones because of the stiff charges they would incur. Nowadays they think nothing of retrieving emails, news bulletins or train timetable information wherever they happen to be.

Two factors have made this possible. On the one hand, the internet sites had to be configured to suit mobile phones. This was not a viable proposition for the providers until there was an increase in demand, i.e. in the number of mobile users, which in turn only became possible with the availability of suitable, affordable hardware and, above all, low connection charges, which increased the appeal of the new technology for the majority of users. Now more and more people are using their mobiles to access the internet and the content providers have been adapting themselves to this trend. There have been rapid changes in the use of mobile media over the past few years. Practically everyone can avail themselves of the offerings available and practically every form of content can be downloaded by the mobile user.

We are proud that our company has played a decisive role in establishing the new strategic focus of mobile communication – and in the democratization of it. And we continue to pursue this strategy – because we believe “the best way to shape the future is to do it oneself”.

But where do we go from here? What can – or what should – telco carriers or the manufacturers of mobile equipment and content providers do in order to develop the mobile media still further? What is the present impact of the internet on your actual everyday life? Has your mobile internet usage via your mobile phone been increasing in recent times? Keeping in touch with friends – that works with more and more media (telephone, mobile phone, (mobile) internet, etc.), but which of them do you actually use? How will Messenger and chats hold their own against mobile social communities? Are prices to keep on spiraling downward – even if you then have to do without service? How much transparency do you expect from you mobile network operator and how convenient is self-administration via the mobile portal in the internet?

In your opinion, how much influence does the new “green” movement have on the use of mobile media? What can we learn from other countries? And: what would be your “negative” vision of a mobile future? What should therefore be avoided at all costs? The future will only work if you are part of it, so get on board – this is a great opportunity!

Mocom 2020 is the platform for all your ideas. They are not only collected here, they are also listened to, discussed – and understood. A vision for the future which could soon become reality. I look forward to discussing these things with you, so let’s be hearing from you!

Rolf Hansen,
founder and CEO of simyo GmbH.

Will the netbook play an essential part for mobile media in the future?

Netbook NewsIn this decade the mega-trend “Cloud Computing” will lead to a new era of the internet. Consumers will save their information, documents and content (fotos, videos, etc.) online, share it with others or publish it on the web. There are already many examples today to understand this major change of usability and consumer behaviour.

Besides mobile phones there is a huge potential for cheap and simple “terminals” to enter the “Cloud” online. Last year the first products in this niche-market had been launched: the Netbooks. Netbooks are often sold including a SIM-card and a data-plan for high-speed mobile connections.

Forbes.com wrote an interesting article why Apple is facing dramatic problems in the future due to this emerging trend: “Apple’s Real Problem: Netbooks”.

Furthermore the basic idea for a low-cost “Cloud Computer” can close the information gap on a global level. Nicolas Negroponte understood the potential of this idea and founded the non-profit organisation “one laptop per child” (http://www.laptop.org/en/) and started the developement of the 100 Dollar Laptop.

In combination with a smart “Cloud Computing Operation System” like David Liu’s gOS or Tariq Krim’s Jolicloud, low-tech Netbooks can become a very powerful device and shape the future of mobile media. “Cloud Computing Operation System” might be a “disruptive innovation”.

Wikipedia: A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is a technological innovation that improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by being lower priced or designed for a different set of consumers.

Last week I had the chance to discuss this question with one of the best-known experts on Netbooks: Sascha Pallenberg, aka the “Netbook King” (via Robert Scoble). Sascha is founder of Netbook News.

Here you can see what Sascha answered on my question:
Will the netbook play an essential part for mobile media in the future?

What do you think?
Join the conversation and give us your feedback.

Do you need an Ecosystem for Mobile Media?

Marco Koeder, MOCOM2020 Advisor, discusses the question if you need a Ecosystem for mobile media to be successful?

NTT Docomo has build a rich ecosystem in Japan and creates an environment where content-providers and network-companies can thrive and build a powerful mobile portfolio. We see similiar examples right now with the iPhone and its App-Store or the launch of Google Android.

Since there is an successful ecosystem already in Japan, there are a lot of success-factors and cases-studies where you can profit from in other countries as well.

Video Interview with Marco Koeder: