Wednesday, May 31, 2006
- 96.9% were aware of the existence of blogs;
- 77.3% had read a blog;
- 67.3% stated that they had found genuinely useful information through reading blogs;
- 36.8% had created their own blog, and another 25.9% expressed an interest in doing so;
Key motivations in starting a blog, in order of popularity, were:
- To leave behind personal memoirs
- To share received information with others
- To get others to understand one's opinions
Somewhat curiously, only 6.6% of respondents with blogs said they publish under their real names. Key inhibitors are "fear of publication of my real identity" and "not wanting those close to me to find out."
Being self-effacing is a major part of Japanese culture traditionally (I can genuinely recall colleagues in Japan years ago saying things like "my children are stupid" and "my wife is ugly and can't cook"), so I guess this isn't particularly surprising. I would be curious to see some sort of comparative ethnological research in this area. This report on China last year contained a few fragments on blogging motivation, but it would be nice to see how/if cultural attitudes and values translate to the blogosphere.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
SKMap, a Japanese project which maps Skype presence icons onto Google Maps (I can see two users in Antarctica!);
Worldmapper, an amazing project which rescales the world map to specific themes - this adds a lot of perspective to certain issues, such as the concentration of intellectual property in a few hands (look how big the UK is). A communication map is forthcoming.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
This view seems to be borne out by a survey just out in Japan (Japanese only, ご免ね、外人さん). Japan.Internet.com and goo Research interviewed 1,011 internet users aged 20 - 59, and found that just over 11% of them (113 people) had downloaded and installed Skype, and 42% had heard of it. Of those who hadn't used Skype, once the application was explained to them, just over 42% expressed some degree of interest in using it. What I find most interesting and relevant is that, of those who had installed Skype, only 14% said that their use of fixed line and mobile phones had declined as a result, in contrast to 74% who said that their phone usage patterns remained unchanged. This is consistent with a similar survey carried out among Skype users last year, which found that 20% said their conventional phone usage had declined, while 78% cited no change.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
My slides for VON contain this view:
- This (the voice game) is ultimately not a battle for minutes of traffic (packetized or otherwise)
- It’s not even really about voice as a service
- It’s about voice as a feature, and your share of the consumer’s attention
UPDATE: I spoke about this deal at VON, and following my presentation, Jeff Pulver walked up and broke the news that Vivox is his baby!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Meanwhile, over on the Viacom call, management said XFire's user base is growing at 8 - 10% per month, and that one million of its four million users (heavy hitters) are on the service for an average of 91 hours a month. 91 hours a month! Two years ago at VON in London I put up some usage statistics from Social Networking 1.0 poster child, Friendster, which was hot sh^t at the time, and made the point that the time spent in the site was way ahead of time spent on any other "dating site" and more than on the PSTN typically. I made the point that communities of interest could generate this level of intensity of usage, provided they were tied to a compelling experience - and this made them fertile ground for IM and VoIP. I thought it was a no-brainer, but I think some people disagreed with me, and I'm not convinced the telecom industry has yet really grasped this, but old media seems to have gotten hip very quickly.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Tags: missed opportunities, dumb pipe
Startup costs 0
Monthly fee 0
On net calls 0
PSTN minutes 1 cent per minute + 10 cent set up (international calls are very competitively priced)
GSM calls 7 cents per minute + 10 cent set up
Calls to Saunalahti GSM network 5 cents per minute + 10 cent set up
Bring your own ATA or use softphone
Port your PSTN number or pick a new one in any area code
Use any Internet connection (i.e. service not limited to Saunalahti ADSL)
This is incredibly aggressive, to say the least, and as he points out you can barely get local minutes in Finland for 1 cent, let alone international. But check out the 3G tariffs:
Unlimited on-net minutes start at EUR20 per month
Unbundled minutes are 7 cents or 500 minutes for EUR18
Bundled, unlimited minutes on all GSM networks is EUR50 per month
3G data is EUR10 for 128 kbps, EUR30 for 384 kbps and EUR40 for 1 Mbps
Sign a two-year contract, get a 128kbps datacard for EUR10
What's the Finnish for "ouch"?
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
"I like to compare the old telcos to Polar Bears, strong and all-powerful in
their domain of frozen polar wasteland. However the ice-caps are melting and this leaves them with an ever shrinking domain while the rest of the world is taken over by the competition. This goes on until the ice sheet has melted completely and the bears drown."
Wish I'd written that.
Paul's message mirrors some conversations I've had with clients recently (the gist of which is generally reflected here), regarding telcos' ability to innovate and think outside the box, and the lack of confidence evident in the sectors' huge underperformance in the stock market. On every occasion, I see the ghost of Juan Villalonga sitting in the corner - okay, he was waaaay too early and maybe execution wasn't all it could have been, but maybe he was on to something. Whatever the ultimate answer is, I think what investors are looking to see is whether telcos are in fact polar bears on a shrinking sheet of ice, or Arctic Monkeys (for those unfamiliar with them, this is a group from Sheffield who have attained record-setting levels of success despite [or perhaps because of] their tendency to break every rule of conventional music business strategy).
Monday, May 08, 2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
UPDATE: Volkswagen is getting in on the act. Hey, I know, how about a feature length film built around a lovable VW car with some wacky friends and a vague love interest sub-plot?
"It would be absurd for each airline to build its own airport. But that’s just what we’ve been doing for telecommunications. Qwest has its set of wires in the ground, and Comcast has its own. We think it makes sense for a city or a region to build the airport, have someone operate it, and let as many airlines provide service as want to."
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Part of this was illustrated when I did my usual schtick of asking the telco-centric audience for a show of hands about their online behavior, something I have tried to do at every event I have participated in over the past two years. "How many have used BitTorrent or eDonkey?" Two hands. (I find this particularly alarming given the amazing amount of newsflow and innovation around P2P.) Later, in passing I mentioned Flickr! and asked for a show of hands of people who had heard of it - four. Still later, in talking about out-of-the-box thinking in telco history, I mentioned the development process of i-mode as well as SK Telecom's Cyworld acquisition, but no one had ever heard of Cyworld. To be honest, I didn't even see any delegates using laptops in the venue (hardly surprising given that there was only extortionately-priced hotel WiFi available). My summary point to the audience was that I suspected there was a major disconnect between the behavior of their customers and themselves, and that this is how telcos can get bitten on the backside.
Maybe I'm being too harsh, but given all the chaos of the past two years, it's strange to be getting the same responses in mid-2006 as in early 2004, when the industry was still wasting its time laughing at Skype. Maybe my audience was not representative of the industry as a whole (yet again)? A reader within a European telco recently wrote in to say that he believes the issue is not awareness, but rather implementation, due to organizational complexity. He's probably right, and I suspect it's also related to communications flows and learning curves within different levels of management and strategy/planning functions. I also know from firsthand experience that top-notch strategy people can simply be completely ignored by management who think they know better, to their eventual detriment.
Whatever the mix of ingredients, the clock is ticking, and 7% EuroTelco underperformance relative to STOXX 600 this year puts the sector in last place by a significant margin. I interpret this as a continuing vote of no confidence from investors that EuroTelco has what it takes to change its DNA and learn to deal with/benefit from innovation at the edge.
High: 20% of 12 - 15 year-olds claim to have set up their own website
Low: 33% of 12 - 15 year-olds believe that content on reality TV shows is entirely true or mostly true.
UPDATE: I spoke with Thomas this morning and there indeed is some exciting news in the pipeline with Nuclei Networks.