You can't go wrong if you follow these.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Here's today's provocative thought.
Google is getting ready to release it's Gphone. We know that it will be ad driven. We know it's Linux based. We're guessing at whether or not it will include a GPS (I think it will) and what the browser will be (I think MiniMo from Mozilla).
So how are they going to deliver all these ads to support the phone.
- You're going to be asked to register you personal information at sign up. It will be "quite detailed". This gives them "Who"
- Next is "What". which is taken care of because they built the device
- Finally comes "Where"... if the carriers won't tell them, then it will come from IP lookup, cell tower triangulation, Zip code and or GPS
That's all they need... except for one more thing. Obviously you will do searches on the phone, however that's NOT enough to drive serious revenue. What happens when you go "off reservation" say like "Bed Bath & Beyond"?
Well that's where all those data centers kick in. Google is going to proxy the entire web through it's data centers. Every request you make for a web site OUTSIDE of google.com is going to route through their data centers, get the page, transcode it (fancy term for making it Mobile safe) and then sent on it's way to you - with of course some advertising.
If you don't think this is possible, then fire up Opera Mobile and watch where the requests go - all the way to Finland first then out to the web and then back to you. If Google do this it's seriously going to whack Opera and all the other browsers out there. Let alone what it's going to do to the carriers. They can't compete off deck (Wi-Fi - which I'm guessing this phone will have) and on deck they're just a pipe. And guess what? This scenario scales to Yahoo, Microsoft, and also to all the new tablets coming online as well as Intel's MID's (short for Mobile Internet Devices).
For extra reading on the Wi-Fi scenario then head over to this link
This guy has it DIALED... the title of the post is Permanent, Nearlynet and Wireless data.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This is the piece that caught my eye... "It has raised a small series B round of $4.5 million from angel investors"
A small B round... from Angels no less. VC's must be going after the $5m and up B round. It's certainly a sign of the times when Angels can do $4.5M B rounds.
Great article by John Dovrak. Pay special attention to something he calls "reverse timeline".
There are two problems with online servers... your (underline your) data is no longer local, and when you need it, it may not be there (Remember the Skype outage recently).
When you can buy 160GB of data storage that fits in your pocket for $88 I wonder why I need an online server?
If Microsoft can have problems running a data center then anyone can. Just remember to have a spare copy of the document you need somewhere local.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Just came across this article, Buying into the ‘real’ mobile Internet: link
My take from it is the following…
1. Customers want the real Internet not some subset of what either a carrier or portal thinks they should have
2. It’s about finding “relevant” information as quickly as possible
3. Nobody wants to pay for directory assistance
The next shock to the system comes when Google debut’s the Gphone… which will Ad supported and probably sold at or close to a loss.
How will the carriers respond? If people switch to them and watch Ad's in return for finding information the carrier will be cut out of the revenue loop. Won't be long now before the whole mobile industry gets turned upside down.
Of course all of this begs one more question... what's happening with the Enterprise? Where are the tools for them to enable web services on their employees or customers mobile device? (hint)
Couldn't let this one slide...
"Additionally Vodafone mobile Internet users will access compressed and rearranged content"
What a concept... they're going to compress content going to mobile. What will they think of next... how about making the content contextually aware of my location?
When everyone is looking for gold in the same river, the best opportunities are somewhere else. One of the problems with the Internet and a lot of startups in general is that they are all panning for gold in the same river. Nothing is really scarce anymore. In fact on a daily basis we’re overloaded with so much information that it’s simply becoming noise.
When was the last time you saw something truly innovative that solves a real problem? With the explosion of Web 2.0 (which really stands for 2 Founders, no revenue and an advertising model) we see new ways to tackle the same problem every day. I look at all these new startups and I either find something that was thought of years ago, or something that's free (advertising coming) or available through 1/2 dozen other startups.
I think the key to success is to obviously solve a customers real pain point, however you have to look for areas where resources or solutions are scarce. In those areas there are customers with real pain points who need workable solutions. Panning for gold in the same river as everyone else offers little in the way of reward as the upcoming (technology market) correction will surely prove.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
A long read, however I found it fascinating.
FOUR MAJOR WORLD TRANSFORMATIONS:
by Herb Meyer
Author : Herb Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council. In these positions, he managed production of the U. S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret Projections for the President and his national security advisers. Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U. S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union's collapse, for which he later was awarded the U. S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence Community's highest honor.
Here is a lot to think about without falling into the political conservative/ liberal name calling. This is an evaluation of where we are and where we may go. It is scary stuff when it projects the world my grandchildren are inheriting.
FOUR MAJOR TRANSFORMATIONS
Currently, there are four major transformations that are shaping political, Economic and world events. These transformations have profound implications for American business owners, our culture and our way of life.
1. The War in Iraq
There are three major monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In the 16th century, Judaism and Christianity reconciled with the modern world. The rabbis, priests and scholars found a way to settle up and pave the way forward. Religion remained at the center of life, church and state became separate. All these are defining points of modern Western civilization.
Rule of law, idea of economic liberty, individual rights, human rights These concepts started with the Greeks but didn't take off until the 15th and 16th century when Judaism and Christianity found a way to reconcile with the modern world. When that happened, it unleashed the scientific revolution and the greatest outpouring of art, literature and music the world has ever known.
Islam, which developed in the 7th century, counts millions of Moslems around the world who are normal people. However, there is a radical streak within Islam. When the radicals are in charge, Islam attacks Western civilization. Islam first attacked Western civilization in the 7th century, and later in the 16th and 17th centuries.
By 1683, the Moslems (Turks from the Ottoman Empire) were literally at the gates of Vienna . It was in Vienna that the climatic battle between Islam and Western Civilization took place. The West won and went forward. Islam lost and went backward. Since them, Islam has not found a way to reconcile with the modern world.
Today, terrorism is the third attack on Western civilization by radical Islam. To deal with terrorism, the U. S. is doing two things. First, units of our armed forces are in 30 countries around the world hunting down terrorist groups and dealing with them. This gets very little publicity. Second we are taking military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. People can argue about whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong.
However, the underlying strategy behind the war is to use our military to remove the radicals from power and give the moderates a chance. Our hope is that, over time, the moderates will find a way to bring Islam forward into the 21st century.
The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a world where a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly. They can use airplanes, bombs, anthrax, chemical weapons or dirty bombs. Even with a first-rate intelligence service (which the U. S. does not have), you can't stop every attack. That means our tolerance "for political horseplay" has dropped to zero. No longer can we play games with terrorists.
Most of the instability is coming from the Middle East . That's why we have thought that if we could knock out the radicals and give the moderates a chance to hold power, they might find a way to reconcile Islam with the modern world. So when looking at Afghanistan or Iraq , it's important to look for any signs that they are modernizing. For example, women are being brought into the workforce. The Iraqis stumbling toward a constitution is good. People can argue about what the U. S. is doing and how we're doing it, but anything that suggests Islam is finding its way forward is good.
2. The Emergence of China
In the last 20 years, China has moved 250 million people from the farms and villages into the cities. Their plan is to move another 300 million in the next 20 years. When you put that many people into the cities, you have to find work for them. That's why China is addicted to manufacturing; they have to put all the relocated people to work.
When we decide to manufacture something in the U. S. , it's based on market needs and the opportunity to make a profit. In China , they make the decision because they want the jobs, which is a very different calculation.
While China is addicted to manufacturing, Americans are addicted to low prices. As a result, a unique kind of economic codependency has developed between the two countries. If we ever stop buying from China , they will explode politically. If China stops selling to us; our economy will take a huge hit because prices will jump. We are subsidizing their economic development; they are subsidizing our economic growth.
Because of their huge growth in manufacturing, China is hungry for raw materials, which drives prices up worldwide. China is also thirsty for oil, which is one reason that oil is now at $60 a barrel. By 2020, China will produce more cars than the U. S. China is also buying its way into the oil infrastructure around the world.
They are doing it in the open market and paying fair market prices, but millions of barrels of oil that would have gone to the U. S. are now going to China . China 's quest to assure it has the oil it needs to fuel its economy is a major factor in world politics and economics.
We have our Navy fleets protecting the sea lines, specifically the ability to get the tankers through. It won't be long before the Chinese have an aircraft carrier sitting in the Persian Gulf as well. The question is, will their aircraft carrier be pointing in the same direction as ours or against us?
3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
Most countries in the Western world have stopped breeding. For a civilization obsessed with sex, this is remarkable. Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1. In Western Europe , the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement.
In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today. The current birth rate in Germany is 1.3. Italy and Spain are even lower at 1.2. At that rate, the working age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy.
When you don't have young workers to replace the older ones, you have to import them. The European countries are currently importing Moslems. Today, the Moslems comprise 10 percent of France and Germany , and the percentage is rising rapidly because they have higher birthrates.
However, the Moslem populations are not being integrated into the cultures of their host countries, which is a political catastrophe. One reason Germany and France don't support the Iraq war is they fear their Moslem populations will explode on them. By 2020, more than half of all births in the Netherlands will be non-European.
The huge design flaw in the post-modern secular state is that you need a traditional religious society birth rate to sustain it. The Europeans simply don't wish to have children.
In Japan , the birthrate is 1.3. As a result, Japan will lose up to 60 million people over the next 30 years. Because Japan has a very different society than Europe , they refuse to import workers. Instead, they are just shutting down.
Japan has already closed 2000 schools, and is closing them down at the rate of 300 per year. Japan is also aging very rapidly. By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be at least 70 years old. Nobody has any idea about how to run an economy with those demographics.
Europe and Japan , which comprise two of the world's major economic engines, aren't merely in recession, they're shutting down. This will have a huge impact on the world economy, and it is already beginning to happen. Why are the birthrates so low?
There is a direct correlation between abandonment of traditional religious society and a drop in birth rate, and Christianity in Europe is becoming irrelevant.
The second reason is economic. When the birth rate drops below replacement, the population ages. With fewer working people to support more retired people, it puts a crushing tax burden on the smaller group of working age people. As a result, young people delay marriage and having a family. Once this trend starts, the downward spiral only gets worse. These countries have abandoned all the traditions they formerly held in regards to having families and raising children.
The U. S. birth rate is 2.0, just below replacement. We have an increase in population because of immigration. When broken down by ethnicity, the Anglo birth rate is 1.6 (same as France ) while the Hispanic birth rate is 2.7. In the U. S. , the baby boomers are starting to retire in massive numbers. This will push the "elder dependency" ratio from 19 to 38 over the next 10 to 15 years. This is not as bad as Europe , but still represents the same kind of trend.
Western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands you need kids to have a healthy society. Children are huge consumers. Then they grow up to become taxpayers.
That's how a society works, but the post-modern secular state seems to have forgotten that. If U. S. birth rates of the past 20 to 30 years had been the same as post-World War II, there would be no Social Security or Medicare problems.
The world's most effective birth control device is money. As society creates a middle class and women move into the workforce, birth rates drop. Having large families is incompatible with middle class living. The quickest way to drop the birth rate is through rapid economic development.
After World War II, the U. S. instituted a $600 tax credit per child. The idea was to enable mom and dad to have four children without being troubled by taxes. This led to a baby boom of 22 million kids, which was a huge consumer market that turned into a huge tax base. However, to match that incentive in today's dollars would cost $12,000 per child.
China and India do not have declining populations. However, in both countries, there is a preference for boys over girls, and we now have the technology to know which is which before they are born. In China and India , many families are aborting the girls. As a result, in each of these countries there are 70 million boys growing up who will never find wives. When left alone, nature produces 103 boys for every 100 girls. In some provinces, however, the ratio is 128 boys to every 100 girls.
The birth rate in Russia is so low that by 2050 their population will be smaller than that of Yemen . Russia has one-sixth of the earth's land surface and much of its oil. You can't control that much area with such a small population. Immediately to the south, you have China with 70 million unmarried men, a real potential nightmare scenario for Russia .
4. Restructuring of American Business
The fourth major transformation involves a fundamental restructuring of American business. Today's business environment is very complex and competitive. To succeed, you have to be the best, which means having the highest quality and lowest cost. Whatever your price point, you must have the best quality and lowest price. To be the best, you have to concentrate on one thing. You can't be all things to all people and be the best.
A generation ago, IBM used to make every part of their computer. Now Intel makes the chips, Microsoft makes the software, and someone else makes the modems, hard drives, monitors, etc. IBM even outsourcers their call center. Because IBM has all these companies supplying goods and services cheaper and better than they could do it themselves, they can make a better computer at a lower cost.
This is called a "fracturing" of business. When one company can make a better product by relying on others to perform functions the business used to do itself, it creates a complex pyramid of companies that serve and support each other.
This fracturing of American business is now in its second generation. The companies who supply IBM are now doing the same thing - outsourcing many of their core services and production process. As a result, they can make cheaper, better products. Over time, this pyramid continues to get bigger and bigger. Just when you think it can't fracture again, it does. Even very small businesses can have a large pyramid of corporate entities that perform many of its important functions. One aspect of this trend is that companies end up with fewer employees and more independent contractors.
This trend has also created two new words in business - integrator and complementor. At the top of the pyramid, IBM is the integrator.
As you go down the pyramid, Microsoft, Intel and the other companies that support IBM are the complementors. However, each of the complementors is itself an integrator for the complementors underneath it. This has several implications, the first of which is that we are now getting false readings on the economy. People who used to be employees are now independent contractors launching their own businesses. There are many people working whose work is not listed as a job. As a result, the economy is perking along better than the numbers are telling us.
Outsourcing also confused the numbers. Suppose a company like General Motors decides to outsource all its employee cafeteria functions to Marriott (which it did). It lays off hundreds of cafeteria workers, who then get hired right back by Marriott. The only thing that has changed is that these people work for Marriott rather than GM. Yet, the headlines will scream that America has lost more manufacturing jobs. All that really happened is that these workers are now reclassified as service workers. So the old way of counting jobs contributes to false economic readings. As yet, we haven't figured out how to make the numbers catch up with the changing realities of the business world.
Another implication of this massive restructuring is that because companies are getting rid of units and people that used to work for them, the entity is smaller. As the companies get smaller and more efficient, revenues are going down but profits are going up. As a result, the old notion that "revenues are up and we're doing great" isn't always the case anymore. Companies are getting smaller but are becoming more efficient and profitable in the process.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE FOUR TRANSFORMATIONS
1. The War in Iraq
In some ways, the war is going very well. Afghanistan and Iraq have the beginnings of a modern government, which is a huge step forward. The Saudis are starting to talk about some good things, while Egypt and Lebanon are beginning to move in a good direction.
A series of revolutions have taken place in countries like Ukraine and Georgia . There will be more of these revolutions for an interesting reason. In every revolution, there comes a point where the dictator turns to the general and says, "Fire into the crowd." If the general fires into the crowd, it stops the revolution. If the general says "No," the revolution is over. Increasingly, the generals are saying "No" because their kids are in the crowd.
Thanks to TV and the Internet, the average 18-year old outside the U. S. is very savvy about what is going on in the world, especially in terms of popular culture. There is a huge global consciousness, and young people around the world want to be a part of it. It is increasingly apparent to them that the miserable government where they live is the only thing standing in their way. More and more, it is the well-educated kids, the children of the generals and the elite, who are leading the revolutions.
At the same time, not all is well with the war. The level of violence in Iraq is much worse and doesn't appear to be improving. It's possible that we're asking too much of Islam all at one time. We're trying to jolt them from the 7th century to the 21st century all at once, which may be further than they can go. They might make it and they might not. Nobody knows for sure. The point is, we don't know how the war will turn out. Anyone who says they know is just guessing.
The real place to watch is Iran . If they actually obtain nuclear weapons it will be a terrible situation. There are two ways to deal with it. The first is a military strike, which will be very difficult. The Iranians have dispersed their nuclear development facilities and put them underground. The U. S. has nuclear weapons that can go under the earth and take out those facilities, but we don't want to do that. The other way is to separate the radical mullahs from the government, which is the most likely course of action.
Seventy percent of the Iranian population is under 30. They are Moslem but not Arab. They are mostly pro-Western. Many experts think the U. S. should have dealt with Iran before going to war with Iraq . The problem isn't so much the weapons; it's the people who control them. If Iran has a moderate government, the weapons become less of a concern.
We don't know if we will win the war in Iraq . We could lose or win. What we're looking for is any indicator that Islam is moving into the
21st century and stabilizing
It may be that pushing 500 million people from farms and villages into cities is too much too soon. Although it gets almost no publicity, China is experiencing hundreds of demonstrations around the country, which is unprecedented. These are not students in Tiananmen Square . These are average citizens who are angry with the government for building chemical plants and polluting the water they drink and the air they breathe.
The Chinese are a smart and industrious people. They may be able to pull it off and become a very successful economic and military superpower. If so, we will have to learn to live with it. If they want to share the responsibility of keeping the world's oil lanes open, that's a good thing.
They currently have eight new nuclear electric power generators under way and 45 on the books to build. Soon, they will leave the U. S. way behind in their ability to generate nuclear power.
What can go wrong with China ? For one, you can't move 550 million people into the cities without major problems.
Two , China really wants Taiwan - not so much for economic reasons, they just want it. The Chinese know that their system of communism can't survive much longer in the 21st century. The last thing they want to do before they morph into some sort of more capitalistic government is to take over Taiwan .
We may wake up one morning and find they have launched an attack on Taiwan . If so, it will be a mess, both economically and militarily. The U. S. has committed to the military defense of Taiwan. If China attacks Taiwan ; will we really go to war against them? If the Chinese generals believe the answer is no, they may attack. If we don't defend Taiwan , every treaty the U. S. has will be worthless. Hopefully, China won't do anything stupid.
Europe and Japan are dying because their populations are aging and shrinking. These trends can be reversed if the young people start breeding. However, the birth rates in these areas are so low it will take two generations to turn things around. No economic model exists that permits 50 years to turn things around. Some countries are beginning to offer incentives for people to have bigger families. For example, Italy is offering tax breaks for having children.
However, it's a lifestyle issue versus a tiny amount of money. Europeans aren't willing to give up their comfortable lifestyles in order to have more children.
In general, everyone in Europe just wants it to last a while longer. Europeans have a real talent for living. They don't want to work very hard. The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans. They don't want to work and they don't want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies.
The summer after 9/11, France lost 15,000 people in a heat wave. In August, the country basically shuts down when everyone goes on vacation. That year, a severe heat wave struck and 15,000 elderly people living in nursing homes and hospitals died. Their children didn't even leave the beaches to come back and take care of the bodies. Institutions had to scramble to find enough refrigeration units to hold the bodies until people came to claim them.
This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America , yet it didn't trigger any change in French society. When birth rates are so low, it creates a tremendous tax burden on the young. Under those circumstances, keeping mom and dad alive is not an attractive option. That's why euthanasia is becoming so popular in most European countries. The only country that doesn't permit (and even encourage) euthanasia is Germany , because of all the baggage from World War II.
The European economy is beginning to fracture. The Euro is down. Countries like Italy are starting to talk about pulling out of the European Union because it is killing them. When things get bad economically in Europe , they tend to get very nasty politically. The canary in the mine is anti-Semitism. When it goes up, it means trouble is coming. Current levels of anti-Semitism are higher than ever.
Germany won't launch another war, but Europe will likely get shabbier, more dangerous and less pleasant to live in.
Japan has a birth rate of 1.3 and has no intention of bringing in immigrants. By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be 70 years old. Property values in Japan have dropped every year for the past 14 years. The country is simply shutting down.
In the U. S. we also have an aging population. Boomers are starting to retire at a massive rate. These retirements will have several major impacts: Possible massive sell-off of large four-bedroom houses and a movement to condos and an enormous drain on the treasury. Boomers vote, and they want their benefits, even if it means putting a crushing tax burden on their kids to get them. Social Security will be a huge problem. As this generation ages, it will start to drain the system. We are the only country in the world where there are no age limits on medical procedures. An enormous drain on the health care system. This will also increase the tax burden on the young, which will cause them to delay marriage and having families, which will drive down the birth rate even further.
Although scary, these demographics also present enormous opportunities for products and services tailored to aging populations. There will be tremendous demand for caring for older people, especially those who don't need nursing homes but need some level of care. Some people will have a business where they take care of three or four people in their homes. The demand for that type of service and for products to physically care for aging people will be huge.
Make sure the demographics of your business are attuned to where
the action is. For example, you don't want to be a baby food company in Europe or Japan . Demographics are much underrated as an indicator of where the opportunities are. Businesses need customers. Go where the customers are.
4. Restructuring of American Business
The restructuring of American business means we are coming to the end of the age of the employer and employee. With all this fracturing of businesses into different and smaller units, employers can't guarantee jobs anymore because they don't know what their companies will look like next year. Everyone is on their way to becoming an independent contractor. The new workforce contract will be, "Show up at the my office five days a week and do what I want you to do, but you handle your own insurance, benefits, health care and everything else."
Husbands and wives are becoming economic units. They take different jobs and work different shifts depending on where they are in their careers and families. They make tradeoffs to put together a compensation package to take care of the family. This used to happen only with highly educated professionals with high incomes. Now it is happening at the level of the factory floor worker. Couples at all levels are designing their compensation packages based on their individual needs. The only way this can work is if everything is portable and flexible, which requires a huge shift in the American economy.
The U. S. is in the process of building the world's first 21st century model economy. The only other countries doing this are U. K. and Australia . The model is fast, flexible, highly productive and unstable in that it is always fracturing and re-fracturing. This will increase the economic gap between the U. S. and everybody else, especially Europe and Japan .
At the same time, the military gap is increasing. Other than China , we are the only country that is continuing to put money into their military. Plus, we are the only military getting on-the-ground military experience through our war in Iraq . We know which high-tech weapons are working and which ones aren't. There is almost no one who can take us on economically or militarily. There has never been a superpower in this position before.
On the one hand, this makes the U. S. a magnet for bright and ambitious people. It also makes us a target. We are becoming one of the last holdouts of the traditional Judeo-Christian culture. There is no better place in the world to be in business and raise children. The U. S. is by far the best place to have an idea, form a business and put it into the marketplace. We take it for granted, but it isn't as available in other countries of the world.
Ultimately, it's an issue of culture. The only people who can hurt us are ourselves, by losing our culture. If we give up our Judeo-Christian culture, we become just like the Europeans. The culture war is the whole ballgame. If we lose it, there isn't another America to pull us out.
" America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, or loose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." - Abraham Lincoln.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Many thanks to Simon at Blackberry Cool for this article on 5o9.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Ok... get ready for a long post. I'd really appreciate any feedback any of you might have on this. To add context to the screen shots we've created the following use case scenario... Bottom line - the carriers should really fear this move by Amazon. By supporting Micro-payments it's a game changer.
A payment processing service such as Amazon FPS, Google Checkout or PayPal wants to extend its services to facilitate mobile e-commerce. They also want to ensure that branding opportunities for mobile payment processing exist, as the brand communicates trust, confidence, security and quality to the consumer, and is part of the value proposition to their vendor customers who pay for the billing service. Their goal is to support both content providers who require micropayment capabilities as well as traditional product and service vendors who outsource their payment processing for e-commerce transactions. Consolidating payment processing with a single provider for mobile and desktop transactions simplifies the business processes for both the vendors and their customers.
The Contextual Web Services Solution
Jim’s buddy emails him the link for the VOIP phone he’s been looking for. Jim sees the email on his Smartphone while waiting for his flight and clicks through. He enters his order quantity and selects checkout. The FPS icon appears in the top browser bar, letting Jim know that his purchase will be hassle-free and secure. Since he has several shipping addresses in his profile, he simply selects the UK office and overnight delivery and hits pay. His phone will be waiting for him in the UK office day after tomorrow. Just before returning home, he downloads several songs direct from a local musician’s Website who uses the FPS service. The local artist provides the option to receive concert and CD updates. With a simple “yes” selection, Jim’s email address automatically populates the musician’s email subscription list. On the flight home he sees a Sky Mall special for a plasma TV that expires at midnight. He rips out the page and when he lands, goes to their Web site and enters the SKU and promo code. To protect FPS, its merchants and consumers from fraud, this level of purchase (over $500) requires multi-tier authentication in the form of a login, password and fingerprint or voice authentication. He is already logged in which satisfies the first two criteria. Since his current phone does not have a fingerprint reader on it, he is prompted to speak his pass phrase. The credentials are verified and the TV purchase approved. Jim receives his monthly consolidated FPS statement, as does the VOIP phone merchant, Sky Mall and the local musician.
Benefits of 5o9™ Contextual Data and Common Web Services Interface
Payment processing organizations can now compete with the carriers, offering cost-effective, secure billing services to a significantly broader group of online merchants. By adding contextual Web services to the m-commerce ecosystem, these organizations can help their retail and content provider customers overcome the remaining consumer barriers to m-commerce adoption, such as reducing mobile data entry hassles, improving storefront and checkout navigation, addressing data privacy management concerns and improving transactional security with bi-directional, multi-factor authentication.
Benefits to Payment Processors
- Improved Value Proposition to Retail & Content Provider Customers
- High personalized service and consumer satisfaction levels
- Single source of payment processing for e- and m-commerce transactions
- Browser-based branding on all mobile transactions
- Device-resident branding that supports shopping and account management behaviors
- CAPEX/OPEX Efficiencies
- One Web services works for desktop and mobile customers
- All service functionality is field updatable
- Can integrate with self-service account management or campaign management systems via a Web services infrastructure
- Works with existing Web and Web services infrastructure, including SSL
Fig 1... Widget Control Panel
Fig 2... Web page
Fig 3... Contextual menus (1)
Fig 4... Contextual menus (2)
Thursday, August 09, 2007
More disruption in the ecosystem.
Goodbye Handango and the Telco's who charge ridiculous rates. The channel is going to love this. Now they can aggregate micropayments and keep pretty much all of the revenue. Up until now the Carriers had been charging 50% - 60% for this privilege. Now the vendors can keep the money.
I'm going to document a use case scenario for this utilizing our technology and post in the next blog
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
More grist for the rumor mill. It's hardly surprising that the Gphone would be using Linux - after all what else could it use?
The next guess is going to be around the browser - my vote goes to MiniMo. I expect the Google programmers have been busy hacking away on it to add more features.
Spring 2008 should be interesting.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
I just left the following comments on the above blog. 50,000 customers is a huge milestone, however the post lacks the context around What and How Long. I've added those with a little research. I think PayCycle is a great idea, and one we'll probably take advantage of. However it's still nights and weekends and over $29M dollars to get there. Which again is inline with what it costs to build a service these days... >$20M
What's going to be interesting is the exit. With $29M in the deal, the number of shares outstanding has to be around 50m or so, or maybe more and who knows what price the rounds were done at. Lets say it averages down at $5 a share and a buyout could be on the table for $150m which is the upper range of the M&A sweet spot. That would make the buyout price with 50m shares outstanding at $3 a share. Not going to happen because then the VC's would lose money. Which means we've got to go higher. Lets say a 3x return on $5 a share which would mean a $15 share price or a 3/4B dollar purchase price. Way to high. And they can't go Public unless they are throwing off at least $100m a year in revenue.
PayCycle is a great idea, however it's got too much money in the deal. It will all boil down to the average price per share * the number of shares outstanding. I expect they will have a successful exit at some point in time, however how much money is made on the deal remains behind the VC's closed doors.
Congratulations on hitting the 50,000 customers. It's a huge milestone. However I think in the interests of transparency it would also be fair to your readers to add a little more context to this post. Like, what did it cost to acquire 50,000 users and how long has it taken. A quick check on their web sites indicates that it's taken 7 years and over $29 million dollars to achieve this milestone, which equates to close to $600 per customer.
$29 million dollars is a very large sum of money and depending upon the exit strategy (and number of shares currently outstanding) will require a buyer to purchase the company for over $300 million which is outside the current sweet spot range (50m - 150m) for M&A.
All that being said, we may well be signing up for this service soon. It's an excellent idea, one that is sustainable as long as costs stay low and you (PayCycle) continue to extend the brand.
What's interesting from the Entrepreneurs standpoint is that it's taken 7 years and there's still no exit. This is more like reality for Web 2.0 facing businesses. Something which most of the community miss. It's still hard work, nights and weekends.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Great article talking about barcodes and mobile devices. As I point out in the picture below our company 5o9 Inc has been supporting 1d bard codes in a mobile browser for quite sometime.
Loose Wire - WSJ.com
Great article from PE Week talking about VC returns over the last few years. So much for betting on the jockey's vs. the horses.
Here's a snippet:
Through the end of Q1 07, funds raised between 2001 and 2007 have a median IRR of -2.6 percent. Moreover, the supper quartile benchmark was at just 4.1%, which means that the vast majority of VC funds raised since 2001 have under performed a typical savings account.
Ouch... and forget the "carry" option. Most VC's haven't seen those for a decade.
and there's more bad news:
The data beginning in vintage year 2003 is even worse (which is probably to be expected with the J-curve). The median for these funds is -5.7%, with the upper quartile benchmark at -0.2 percent. That’s right, more than 75% of VC funds raised since 2003 were underwater through the end of Q3.
and the final snippet:
This is simply unsustainable, and the endgame scenarios are troubling. VC's were paying relatively low valuations for companies between 2003 and 2005 (or at least should have been), and the IPO and M&A windows have been steadily improving. If most funds are losing money in that environment, then what happens when some of today’s inflated valuations – particularly in clean-tech and later-stage deals – come home to roost?
Thursday, August 02, 2007
This ties into my previous post (link) about Google pulling the plug on MGMaps.
However the piece that caught my eye was this...
"Mobile everything. Here is another concept that has been in play since the mid-1990s. It cannot trigger a collapse since it will never fully get off the ground, although the iPhone mania may be a bad sign of something."
Why hasn't Mobile got off the ground? It's actually pretty simple although most people haven't figured it out yet... it's Infrastructure. The Web is a client server architecture running on two dominant web servers (Apache and IIS). Neither one them really supports mobile devices.
And guess what the hardest problem of all is to solve? "What's the client doing right now, this instant". What's the current screen position and resolution? You can't find out because the current Internet protocol doesn't support and there is nothing I can download for Apache or IIS or a mobile device that will tell me.
So if that's one problem that needs to be solved... what's the other? It's all about how people use mobile. It's a contact device that now supports content. What's missing is a way to overcome the device limitations (small screen, lousy keyboard and no mouse) when trying to do something.
Mobile really is about Finding vs. Browsing... everybody intuitively understands that, what's missing is the comprehension behind it.
To find, you need context.
What is required is a simple and elegant solution that enables the current Internet's infrastructure to support contextual data without the requirement for behavioral changes from the two constituents - the content provider and the consumers web client.
Any solution that doesn't involve these two components will fail.
Interesting post from GigaOM... the piece that caught my eye:
Tero, during our fireside chat, pointed out that while these N-Series phones represent the cutting edge of Nokia line-up today, in three years their features would be common place in low-end budget phones that sell in the emerging wireless societies. In his opinion, when that happens, the impact on web, Internet and mobile experience is going to be huge.
The big feature of the N series is a GPS. Once it reaches the mass market location based services will explode, although those without licensing deals in place for mapping content will be in trouble. As for the three year time prediction - how about 18 months, if not sooner
"Google requests removal of Google Maps support from MGMaps (July 31st, 2007)" (link)…
From: Google Enforcement Team <tmdisputes at google dot com>
Subject: Unauthorized use of content - Mobile Gmaps
Dear Mr. Streng,
We understand that you have developed an application, Mobile Gmaps, that displays maps tiles from our Google Maps for mobile application. You probably did this to show support for Google, but this use of our map tiles violates our rights and the rights of the entities that license those map tiles to us. As indicated in the Terms of Service accompanying Google Maps for mobile (http://www.google.com/gmm/tc.html?hl=en), you should not create derivative works, such as your application, without contacting us and obtaining our permission first.
Because your use of our content is not authorized, we must ask that you stop displaying maps tiles from Google Maps for mobile in your own application. Please confirm immediately that you will do so.
Google Enforcement Team
The original creator of content who finds that a whole bunch of businesses are profiting from their investment will shut off the water main. When you can no longer get maps for free (from Google, Microsoft, Navteq, etc then all those cool little location-based service mash-ups dry up – along with the investment money. It's not a business model (emphasis on business). It's no different than me building a business upon delivering Beatles music at no cost to anyone who visits my Web site (content is content – maps, music, video). It costs money to create and the creator should benefit from its use. MapQuest did it first, now along comes Google and does it. The others will surely follow suit.