Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The NexGen of NexGens

HTC, in my opinion, is the latest and greatest phone maker in the world. It makes me happy that they are not your typical manufacturer from Japan, Germany, Korea or even the US. In fact, they hail from a tiny island most know very little about known as Taiwan.

I had the pleasure of visiting Taipei earlier this year (see photo evidence of dinner at Taipei 101 - right - and the event venue with our hosts - Left) during a WiMAX conference. It was a great trip, I even made a few friends from the regional wireless industry.

Today I came to know about a concept phone that HTC is working on and it's known as HTC 1 - a revolution in phones. If this phone is what they show it to be, i think that Apple finally has some real competition for them.

This phone has everything from sexy finishing, UV light for killing germs, improved UI, LED screen, built-in kick-stand, access to google apps, etc. Maybe there was a reason why NexusOne has been stopped by Google...maybe this is why...

Have a gander at this link to find out what I am talking about:

Coolness in a phone should be like this...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Social Rage - Part 2

Since my last post, I've been doing a little reading about the evolution of marketing and how social media plays a vital role in that process.

Strangely enough, I'm not sure how many 'marketeers' know about marketing evolution, which can also be known as New Media - a conspicuous term that encompasses

I have a theory - and I'm not sure if anyone has actually touched on this yet, but with all the social networking fuss, perhaps most have not stepped back to take a bird's eye view perspective and assess the changes we are so engrossed by...

Originally (and i'll explain why I use this term), marketing was known by 4 principles or P's

  1. Product
  2. Promotion
  3. Price
  4. Placement
All in that same order. When was the last time you sat down to review whether this was still relevant or 'accurate' for today's marketing environment? Speculation, maybe, but still worth a look.

A quick wikipedia search reveals a new assessment and claim of the 4 P's and their evolution. There is a new guy in town and his name (sorry ladies) is SIVA. Yes, finally an acronym that can narrow down the universe of marketing into modern-day means of creating a 'thing', making it 'available' at a reasonable 'cost' and letting people 'know' that it exists to serve a need that they may (or may not) have identified.

As defined by wikipedia

A formal approach to this customer-focused marketing is known as SIVA [11] (Solution, Information, Value, Access). This system is basically the four Ps renamed and reworded to provide a customer focus. The SIVA Model provides a demand/customer centric version alternative to the well-known 4Ps supply side model (product, price, placement, promotion) of marketing management.

Product → Solution
Promotion → Information
Price → Value
Placement → Access

I wonder how many of our industry experts consider this to be worthwhile knowledge...
On this note, I was watching Biz Stone's interview with Stephan Colbert a couple of days ago, where Biz was quoted repeatedly for having said..."The messaging system that we didn’t know we needed until we had it.” To which Colbert responds: “That sounds like the answer to a problem we didn’t have until I invented the answer.”

Taking the arrogance out (which is minimal since Biz is just very cool anyway), that statement is something I had believed for myself when working in Tharparkar, trying to sell drip irrigation to poor farming communities with a company I launched in 2007 called Micro Drip - started with the support of Acumen Fund and TRDP. The farmers didn't know they needed to:
  • save water
  • earn more money but work a little harder
  • use technology that will not only make you the 'cool' neighbor, but also be able to provide a better life/future for yourself and your family
Interestingly enough, the technology itself is a 'twitter' of sorts - a replacement of existing, more prominent ways of doing things (mostly archaic) but the change aspect is like asking them to switch religions.

The bottom line in this lesson...is change something we should embrace or is it something that will embrace us? I was always told that the only thing permanent in life...is change!

Until next time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dad's book - flight of the falcon

My dad wrote a book not so long ago entitled the Flight of the Falcon, which has managed to penetrate the borders of Pakistan and gain much popularity in India, USA, UK and even Australia. Thank God for the wonders of online ordering.

This book was a monumental accomplishment because it took him nearly a decade to put the whole story together and have it published (with great strife, I might add). Having just gotten over the hype of the book (and it's highly controversial, yet exciting contents), he has neared an Urdu version, which we expect to hit the bookstores soon.

I am quite excited about the turnout since a large portion of his immediate audience is actually going to be educated by a lot of what he has written, rather than see a different version altogether.

It will be quite interesting to see how it translates into Urdu - I wonder if there are words available in the dictionary to replace what was expressed in English. And if so, how emphatic will they be?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Social Rage - Part 1

Man, been a while but it's like riding a bike. Once you've fallen a few times, scraped a few body parts, you just get back on like it was yesterday.

I've been busy with life. I got married, became slightly more important with a new profile at work, expanded my horizons, even got a new pet in between. The only thing that I realized had not changed was that I am considered an ancient when it comes to blogging.

Let me elaborate...

So when in Karachi a few months back a colleague of mine and I decided to setup a mini ad hoc blogger meetup, I wasn't sure what to expect, how to prepare or even what to take along. I did the next best thing, which was to take everything I could (giveaways, etc), a sample item from one of my CSR initiatives, a few printed copies of our corporate profile and my team. It started off okay, but that could have been because of the free snacks and shakes (or as one of the guests put it - you feed, they come).

Nevertheless, the idea was to extend ourselves to the 'blogging' community - to which I considered myself an Alien/new-comer since I haven't really 'blagged' seriously for a few years. The evening passed on, more food was consumed, more time was spent yapping away about how we would like to do this, that and the other from a corporate perspective but would also like to engage the community at large in ways that appeal to them.

After everyone left (some 3 hrs later), I spoke to a good old friend of mine, who also happened to attend the event. She gave me some feedback that I wish I had gotten prior to the event. However, what I reminded myself was that no way is the wrong way, just make sure you learn from each experience and improve each way as you progress.

Not only had I felt I missed the boat, I also jumped on the micro-blog bandwagon and left old school blog posts to the younger generation. See, I started blogging back in 2001 but I can't for the life of me remember the name of the hosting domain. I shifted over to blogspot a few years later and slowly life got busier and blogging just seemed to fade away.

I opened my first Facebook account back in 2004 - when it was limited to college networks, mine being one of the few on the panel before it became a public gathering for all the worlds personalities to come and 'digitally network'. Twitter was a recent phenomenon for me - July of '09 so the month is still etched in my brain. In between I remember something about having an Orkut account (while in college), but that only lasted a couple of years because of some constant privacy issues. Good effort though and certainly a model considered by Mark and co while developing 'the face book'.

The general idea for me was to increase my knowledge of each portal by becoming a member. Strangely, many people have many reasons for being at the networks we choose (of all the thousands available). Yet, Facebook has somehow managed to become the benchmark for all social networking, followed by twitter, youtube and LinkedIn in second, third and fourth place respectively. The rest just get lost in the dirt.

What I never imagined was that companies would also then consider the importance of these 'communication tools', as it were, and offer jobs for people to sit and 'blog' or 'tweet'. It's like getting a job as a game tester at EA Sports or Rockstar Games (a job I almost got long time ago!). As I sit here writing my new testament for taking blogging seriously again, I do so with the idea that I am connected everywhere with a profile on LinkedIn, a YouTube account, a twitter account, a facebook profile (private so bugger off!), a Google Buzz account as of late and now even a rejuvenated blogger account (under consideration for migration to wordpress).

Off all the accounts, the one I am still not comfortable publicly sharing is my facebook profile - even though I have water-tight viewing rights for non-friends, limited profile viewing enabled, etc etc...could it be that the privacy issue had an impact on me? What have I got to hide? Who am I running from? I mean...after all, every one of these accounts is integrated with the other, so what's the big deal? I mean, if I decide to run for President, I'll have to google myself a hundred times (using different search strings) to make sure there is no incriminating evidence floating in the 'world wide web'.

Something to think about? We will touch upon other elements of Social Rage next time. Until then, follow me on twitter and retweet my posts or i'll limit your viewing rights on my FB profile and post a video response to your digital blasphemy, condemning you for all googleternity!

Cheers :)

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