Strategies for a discontinuous future.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Are you a clueless investor?

-- Mahashunyam // 6:58 PM //

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Breaking the Corporation

NYT piece about call-centers taking fast food drive-thru orders demonstrates the radical unbundling of the corporation.

-- umair // 4:47 PM //


The Costs of Scale

Excellent Post piece about the Wal-Mart effect - highly recommended; related to discussions from a few days back about the costs of scale.

-- umair // 4:45 PM //


Edge Competencies

Time Warner thinking about an auction mechanism for TV ads. Very interesting - it would be the smart move...

-- umair // 4:42 PM //


Branding 0.0

Reinventing Muzak - do not miss.

-- umair // 4:36 PM //



In defense of dirigisme. Highly recommended.

-- umair // 4:29 PM //


Less is (Gill)mor

Hey look, it's Steve Gillmor aiming a long, crapful tirade directly at me.


I wrote a long post in response, pointing out it's numerous untruths - but I've decided that it's better to let Steve's bizarre tirade speak for itself.

Click over, read, have a chuckle, enjoy - and note after spending hundreds of words attacking me, he concludes by by unwittingly citing my work (microchunking, etc) without even knowing it.

What a class act.


Oh yah, you may want to note that Steve launches another broadside on (John Hagel's) notion of infomediaries, which is astounding.

In case it's not crystal clear: if anyone is one of the fathers of 2.0, it's John. He wrote a series of books about all the stuff we're discussing today nearly ten years ago.

Many 2.0 plays - like Last.fm and Memeorandum - are, in fact, nascent infomediaries (if I can stretch John's original defintion a lil bit). In a sense, 2.0 is largely about infomediaries.

But Steve blithely dismisses the idea by saying something unintelligible about RSS. I have no idea what he's trying to say, but I think that's because he doesn't either...

-- umair // 7:08 AM //


More London 2.0

Guys, I am well into organizing London 2.0. The response has been pretty good. Thanks for all your emails.

I need a bit more info to kick things off.

1) You should let me know if you're interested in presenting something (paper/product demo/whatever).

2) You should let me know if you would prefer it just to be an open-form mixer (vs geek-out).

3) Finally, I am thinking of hosting it in conjunction with LBS (=London Business School). Please let me know if you think having beancounter MBAs around is going to freak you out and kill the vibe (or, possibly worse, turn you on).

4) You should let me know if you're interested in sponsoring.


0) The 2.0 in London 2.0 isn't Web 2.0. It's everything 2.0: = media, publishing, branding, marketing, etc. So tell your friends, colleagues, etc...

-- umair // 2:03 AM //

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Disney 2.0

Guys, I don't have time to do the justice to the huge Disney discussion going on at the moment (I've wasted too much time dealing with Steve Gillmor's idiotic comments instead, sorry).

So let me clarify. I certainly don't think Disney's move is dumb.

If we want to talk about dumb moves - let's call them by a nicer name, long-term errors - the ones that come most immediately to mind are things like NYTSelect, suing your consumers, media which can't by played in other countries, Sony's rootkit debacle, etc.

I just think Disney's move is wrong - in that there is a much better move to make the way the chessboard is configured right now.

Now, lots of people have responded with basically a riff on "big companies need time to find the right path" - guys like Jarvis and even [email protected] (who, I note, nicely refers to me as "some people" - thanks Mike some guys at Techdirt :).

Guys, I think that is a bit of a nonanswer to tell the truth. Inertia exists in every system. Finding the right strategy is often about overcoming that inertia.

The question I want to ask is Mike, Jeff, Fred (etc) is: would you guys say the same thing for the music industry - "they'll stop suing their customers, just give 'em some time?", or for the film industry, for newspapers, etc?

I doubt it. So why give Disney so much benefit of the doubt? They certainly don't have a history of innovation - if anything, the last 20 years have been a bit of a disaster for Disney.

And I also wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the discussion - it's been the most fun one for a while, IMHO.

Final note for all the commenters who asked for an example of rebundling. Please guys - come on. Surely you can figure this out.

-- umair // 4:34 PM //

Monday, April 10, 2006

Politics of the Day - Iranageddon

Let me just take a minute to point out that when Bush nukes Iran, the world as you know it will probably end for the next five years or so.

The price of oil will skyrocket; stock markets will crash; interest rates will spike; a credit crunch and liquidity crisis will ensue; creditors will pile out of the dollar with a vengeance, and the dollar will plummet to levels not seen in recorded history as value shifts decisively to Asia and maybe Europe; and the average joe (=you) will lose his house, car, savings, and maybe even a kid or two.

So, this is very, very bad news. And I haven't even talked about the kind of madness that will ensue in the Muslim world.

The worst part is that I've been hearing rumours of this for the last year or so - just like I heard rumours of Abu Ghraib, etc. So I'm pretty sure it's on the level.

And I've gotta say, I am bloody frightened. Of the god-lovin' maniac who runs the USA the god-lovin' (30%ish of) people that continue to support him.

*buys oil, Halliburton, and euros*

-- umair // 7:16 PM //


Intention Economy

Something I've been meaning to post for some time - but never had the time...

A few weeks back Doc made ripples with a new idea - the intention economy.

At the time, I struggled to express why this was not a great perspective to understand the dynamics of attention. I said it square the circle back to marketing 1.0 and persuasion.

John Hagel wrote a great post much more eloquent and to the point than mine - pointing out that intention is a very vendor-centic perspective from which to approach attention, and frames the question in a way that misses the broader opportunities for revolutionizing value creation.

Highly recommended for anyone thinking about attention - don't miss it.

-- umair // 6:58 PM //


Why The Rumours of Google's Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

Just a quick note to dispel the hype - click fraud in itself doesn't matter.

If you want to think strategically about click fraud: it only matters when ppc/etc deliver smaller returns than traditional advertising.

And since audiences are hyperfragmenting - since the media mirror is fundamentally broken - click fraud is irrelevant, because search is still the best mass-market reconstructor around (unless you're trying to arb the 2-5% impact on Google's share price).

-- umair // 5:25 PM //


How Not to Think Strategically About the Future of Media, pt 193941

Disney to release TV shows online free the day after they broadcast (with ads, of course).

Good move?

You might think so - everyone in the industry is applauding Disney for having the courage to be so 2.0. Though Fred and Jeff are impressed, my take is different: I think Disney is making exactly the wrong move.

Certainly, unbundling TV from distribution is a good first step. It will provide a bit of a top line boost, etc. But it's the wrong first step to sustainably create value at the edge. I outlined and predicted this months ago in my TV 2.0 research note.

The point: unbundling media is only half the game: the value creation half. And it's exactly and totally the wrong half from a strategic point of view.

Rebundling is where value capture will happen - at communities, reconstructors, markets, networks - that direct people's attention to individualized 'casts. This is where branding will be reborn - and where advertising is already being disrupted, ripped apart, and reborn (viz, Google, PPC, pay per call, etc)

It won't happen overnight. But in the next few years, rebundling will be the future of connected consumption. Most often, it's why consumers connect in the first place: why do you think people <3 MySpace, Last.fm, etc?

By focusing on unbundling without rebundling Disney is getting edge strategy exactly wrong. They are handing market power to folks like YouTube and MySpace - literally just forking over market power.

Which is all fairly incredible from my perspective - because my work on edge competencies and plasticity tells me that unbundling without rebundling is worse than no unbundling at all. That's what plasticity is; the combination of both.

But, like other media players, Disney fundamentally misunderstands this.

Media strategy today is like an Ashlee Simpson record: entirely predictable, brain-crushing wrong. Newspapers like NYT and WPO made the same mistake Disney is make; ceding market power to players like Technorati, Memeorandum, Delicious, etc; record labels did it, ceding market power to players like Last.fm, Apple, and MySpace; and now, finally, we have TV guys doing it - ceding their market power because they don't understand the new economics of media.

These players aren't really making meaningful strategic moves - they're just giving the same old business models a nose job.

Disney guys, you should (IMHO) check my media economics presentation and possibly read my MySpace paper. You should rethink your strategy - it's out of sync with the economics of the edge and the new media value chain. Value creation without sustainable value capture is a recipe for domination.

Finally, also note how the buzz has built around "commercials that can't be removed".

How long do you think that's gonna last? Is the version of the show I download on my fav p2p network gonna have ads in it? Somehow, I strongly suspect it won't.

All of which tells us something very important: when you tack on a nose job to a decayed strategy, you stop yourself from being truly innovative. In this case, Disney had a golden opportunity to redefine marketing for a 2.0 era - to begin creating what I call zero attention ads; ads that don't waste your time, but benefit you; ads you want to see.

But this requires strategic innovation - the reshaping of the media value chain; the rethinking of media orthodoxy from the ground up. And so it's not surprising that the two players focused on this - the real opportunity - are Google and MySpace (to the extent Fox lets them); and that players like Disney are just essentially protecting ecayed strategies with cosmetic changes.

-- umair // 5:02 PM //




due diligence
a vc
tj's weblog
venture chronicles
the big picture
bill burnham
babak nivi
n-c thoughts
london gsb

chicago fed
dallas fed
ny fed
world bank
nouriel roubini


uhaque (dot) mba2003 (at) london (dot) edu


atom feed

technorati profile

blog archives