News 22.8.2011 - Digital Design and K Advisers Oy has signed a partnership agreement http://www.digdes.com/news/141-k-advisers-partnership22.8.2011 - Digital Design ja K Advisers Oy ovat allekirjoittaneet yhteistyösopimuksen. http://www.cisionwire.fi/k-advisers/r/digital-design-ja-k-advisers-oy-ovat-allekirjoittaneet-yhteistyosopimuksen,c9151928
31.3.2011 - K Adviser Oy's Facebook page opened. http://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Advisers-Oy/194696990569813. Shorter address will be released later on, check the links page.
24.12.2010 - The Man in red have been seen in Paloheinä, Helsinki.
12.10.2010 - Timo Kangas is now member of the Business Mentors Finland.
Funding the SMEs
June 8, 2013, 2:56 pm
How the SME's are financed is a big question. Bigger than you think. If we look the growth sector, no problemos. TEKES, Finvera and everybody are there. If they are already big TEKES gives grants, if they are small TEKES gives loan, taking a risk. But still quite funny guys who can loan gets grants and vice versa.
The current situation in Finland is really bad for the companies. Funding is almost impossible to get. Banks are very careful, they don't take any risks. You have to have minimum of 150% warranties and Excel-sheet which shows a hockey stick.
This has created an interesting business case. You can participate to kind of crowd funding, loan to the company. Typically the company is a AA+, loan is from 2 to 4 years. Interest rate for loan for the total period is 22-44%! Most likely the banker who organizes the loan takes 2%+. I've seen 3 cases. In theory, if everything stays like in the past companies can handle the deal, but no surprises allowed. Like they say, it is not the stupid who asks...
No we come to the real stuff. It is estimated that coming years about 50000 companies will need to do the change of the generation. Entrepreneur is going to retire. Statistics shows that majority of our business' are micro ones, less than 20 employees. Lets play with numbers. If in these companies are working with owner is 3 persons, we are talking about 200000 jobs! Owner is not driving Rolls Royce, but he/she is getting bread and butter from the company. So are the 3 employers. Owner wants to sell his/hers company and somebody wants buy it, good business, good reputation and steady customer base. Where to get the funding for this transaction? Banks? No hockey stick. TEKES? No new innovation. Finvera? No growth business. No possibilities to the crowd funding with mentioned interest rates. So, 200000 jobs gone!
Every day's news is that the big company (usually publicly listed) outsources part of it's staff. What happens after that, they'll be laid off after the some time. Does this mean that some of our major outsourcing companies are the major laid off companies, like Accenture, Tata Services and some others.
It is a fact that if there is a function that you have to have, it is cheaper to do it yourself. It is a big question mark for the benefits of the outsourcing. It looks very good in your balance sheet but how it looks in your P&L?
Our quarter economy thinking has generated very bad management behavior, there are no chances to have a long distance plans, only the cheese slicer and hoping that this quarter or maybe the next one looks nice. But how about the future?
The structure of our economics is very complicated. There are structures which which Jon Doe can't understand. Those structures can crash our economics. They have done major crises starting from early 90's and we are suffering one right now. If we go backwards, it means gold is the hard currency. If we go forward, it means... What? I don't know but we have to think something else.
Our outsourcing started from China and India. Then it went to Vietnam and some other countries. China is outsourcing to Africa. When is the date when someone is outsourcing to Europe. Not far away. There were news that the US companies are coming back to USA.
We want to have small companies, shops from where we get our stuff. Small specialised shops where we get service by specialist. It is a richness which big city can offer. All studies underlines this.
We want to take our car and drive to the supermarket near by, at least under 10 km away (no bad feelings of the carbon dioxide). This is a megatrend of today, we sleep on one area, we work on the other one and we go shopping to the 3rd area. For the consumer studies we have a totally different story. Why? Because we are lazy buggers, it is so easy to drive your (mine) car to the huge parking place and take the trolley and collect all of the stuff you need for the weekend. You can get everything by one stop shopping.
This development is maybe generated or at least supported the dual monopoly in the Finnish market. The two big ones are dominating the food chain of Finland. We don't really have competition in the grocery shops, the two are too dominating. Our hope is that the German one will grow enough to break the duopoly of those two.
Lip service is a nice expression, meaning you say yes but do nothing. When you have shopped from the small shop? Maybe now it is time to do that!
Still having stories of my favorite city in Ireland. There is a group of people of which we haven't seen much, actually 1st time in last summer . Travelers. It is a group people who has decided to stay outside of the normal (taxed) society. In Finland we can see of their culture by watching the TV show of their wedding. Small view we got last summer when group of Travelers landed to Porvoo.
My connection to the travelers happened in Galway. We were havig drink in the hotel bar and has been a wedding party. The show what they created was incredible. We had video camera with us because we wanted to look what we've taped in Connemara. The show around us was so interesting and we started to tape it. One them noticed and it caused a riot. We were smart enough and left the hotel bar before Garda (Irish police) came in. Every day I saw their camp by the dual carriage way from Limerick to Shannon, their caravans, horses and their everything. Quite interesting approach to the society.
One funny incident in Ireland was our gardener. Yes, I had a gardener. Came with the house rental. Anyway, once he saw a bottle of Paddy (Irish whiskey) in our house and he said that he knows where to get better stuff. From the mountains. Home distilled. He promised to bring me that stuff. Never saw him again. Hope that he had good craic.
The big discussion today here in Finland is the teacher. Teacher who pushed out the teenager out of the lunch room. The question is that how much power can be used to the management of the teenagers? Are they allowed to show the mid-finger to everyone?
The teacher was interviewed by the press and he mentioned that he has placed several complains of the principal. And by the way. Rumors are telling that she was on duty for the last day for that post. Now she is having new one. Why this part of the story is forgotten? This is a Lemmus Lemmus phenomena, pick the part of the story and follow it, forget the other parts. Forget the whole picture. By the way who benefits...
We all know the answers. But who knowns the question. I do!
It is bleeding simple, men has to distribute their DNA as much as possible. And the women, they have be involved to the project so long time that they have to be selective, find the best parts of the DNA. Everything we see is a variation of this fact. In our life.
Who is having the fastest car, biggest salary? Does it tell you something about the DNA?
Then it is a question of the selection. How we select the partner? One theory is that is a a question of the proteins. How we sense the proteins, by a smell.
When the company places itself to be public, listed in a public stock exchange. What happens? It looses its freedom to the possibilities. After the IPO it is really difficult to do strategical movements, the CEO changes be a chicken. I define strategical movement when you are planning to grow faster than the organic growth is in your business area. Usually the companies done the IPO are limited that can they do big things or not. The old public companies, if they are operated properly are I in the good shape. Like Kone Oyj for example.
Stock exchange is a good way to fund a company. If the company needs more capital, it can do the emission. Or if it is a question of a merger, the values are easy to calculate. Question is that how many companies in Finland has done it? To be funny and stupid and everything else, do we need OMX Helsinki?
But... There is a always a but. How these companies are analysed? Well there are a group of just graduated lads and lissies who has whee been educated to read key figures defined by the economists. No understanding of the business of the corporation.
I'm repeating myself, but the quarter economy sucks! Hopefully I'm trying to leave this subject! One day.
Wolfs, my next door neighbors. Waiting for them. (Canis lupus)
March 17, 2013, 11:02 am
WTF, like the teenager living in my house would say. I don't understand what is the reason for this hate. In the Spain there are 49 million people and 2000 wolfs. In Italy 50 million people and 1200 wolfs. In Finland 5,5 million people, 150 ones. Bloody hell. Will they destroy our current way of the life. And the space.
It is really interesting how we (not me) are still having the hate attitude to the predators. On the other hand, what we are? We are the predators!
When the wolfe has killed a human? In Finland? Somewhere 1800! When the Finnish person has killed Finnish person? Today... Now. Why? When Finnish person has killed a Wolfe?
If it is true that the heard of five wolfs is killed by the local hunters. I'm very disappointed to this country and I won't to be proud of my background. Are you proud?
This expression was introduced by former Finnish President Mauno Koivisto. He was describing how the press and media is working, especially in 90's. Somebody found a story and and everyone were following it. Nothing else mattered.
Do we have Norwegian Lemmings today? Yes we have. Today the big discussion in Finland is that how we reorganise the municipality field. The government doctrine is bigger is better. The problem is that the logic is missing. It is a question of the Excel sheet, not a question of compass. It is a question of the size of the municipality and its' capability to offer the services defined by the laws. It is a big joke when we are discussing what kind of combination we should have between Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and surrounding municipalities. It is quite obvious that these cities having +150000 taxpayers can handle the services. Yes, smaller municipalities might have challenges and they should openly think about how to fund the services.
Russia is making shouting about the Finnish way to handle parents who are not capable to handle their kids (especially Russian borne ones), North Korea threats by nuclear weapon. Finnish Government threat is the change in the municipality field.
For me it looks like that your, mine attention is attracted by something else that the real problem. What is the real problem? We know what it is in North Korea, we have the idea what it is in Russia. Do we know what it is here?
I have written of this earlier, this is not a question of mathematics, it is a question of common sense. There are EU level discussion that you have to raise the age when you can retire. On the other hand, show me the company which has recruited 55+ person. Yes, maybe public company's CEO. So how many vacancies there are for to be a CEO in a public company?
Part time jobs for new mothers? Where are they? Haven't seen part time job culture here.
Early start for students. Big joke. If you work, you will easily loose the government support for studying, which is not enough to stay in the main business, studying.
Sorry to say but when company has to lay off people, usually they will start from the oldest ones. The other fact is that the Finnish laws don't support part time jobs, it don't deny it but it makes it bloody expensive.
Conclusion. You can stuck your the Excel-sheet below zero. If you want to change the situation, you have to change the structures.
By the way. These Limerick stories don't have any wisdom or logic. They just are my experiences with the nice people. Here are some funny stories or just a notices.
The River Shannon. For me the tide was incredible. Living in the west coast of Ireland it was natural. The difference of low tide and the hight tide was about 6 meters. When there were winds from the west and high tide O'Callahans' Stand was flooding. This happened once or twice during my visit. It was a challenge to drive to the office. I had to drive via pavement to get out (I was living close to the river Shannon, small hill but the road out was going down towards river).
Driving left side of the street. It is quite easy to learn. Pedals are orginised same way, gears are on the wrong side, that causes troubles occasionally. I had Finnish visitors once and the noise from the back seat of my car was incredible when I drove through first roundabout.
One morning when I was going to office neighbour's wife and daughter caught me. Dad had gone to the work and forgotten to do the tie for daughter's school uniform. So I did it. By the way, I think that we should have school uniforms here as well!
We Finns are quite precise people (usually). We had a arrangement with our neighbour (previously mentioned, I handled the tie for the older one) that their younger daughter walked to the school with my wife because my son was in the same one. They (neighbours) generated stress of the their schedules, my wife (the woman as they called her) was every morning at the agreed time waiting for the girl to take them to the Salesian Infant School (Catholic school operated by nuns).
One weekend we were walking over the old bridge to the city centre. There have been snowed, nothing like here today but still. One of my colleagues was walking of the other side of the bridge and he shouted Go back to Finland and take this f.... snow with you. He was smiling.
By the way. These Limerick stories don't have any wisdom. They just are my experiences with nice people. Kind of document or just a stupid strories.
How kids learn the language?
When we moved in to Limerick my son was age of four. Just before Christmas like described earlier. He was signed in to play school named For ever Friends. They said that it not a problem if he don't speak English, they can handle the situation.
After a half a year, spring we were worried. Play school ended and our lad didn't speak English and Autumn he should go to school. We decided to speak only English at home. We changed the language and he responded, in English.
It took a small time when he started to talk with other adults than me and my wife but nowadays I'll check my writing with him.
I was about year ago in a event where was one Nokia guy speaking, if I remember correctly his name was Francois and he is working with the smart phones in Nokia. He was talking about the mobile ecosystems. He defined three types of ecosystems, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Bad is Apple, everything having a price. Steve Jobs hated free things. But it is openly bad. You know what you get. And you pay for it.
The Ugly one is Google and Android. They are collecting your personal information. Why? Because it is a tool to sell advertisements, profiling the targets. Who reads the terms of usage? It is very difficult to know how much Google knows about you.
The Good one is of course the Microsoft one. Why? Everything is open, no hidden agenda. Or is there? Indian security analyst Gaurang Pandya found out that the https-traffic of Nokia's Xpress browsers will go via Nokia's servers. They are also decoding the information. So all your private data like passwords and credit cars details is known by Nokia if your are using Xpress browser. Nokia has confessed this. The question is that where is the Good one. I'm using the Ugly one.
We are living in market economy. Are we? In theory, yes. In practice I wonder. There are couple of areas where the market economy doesn't work. One of them is agricultural. For example EU's budget for agricultural support is over 50 billion euros. Half of the EU budget. And still we are having rallys organised by farmers in Brussels. It also has created funny features and rules inside EU. It is forgotten now, but there was a rule inside EU that how curved cucumber may be! Today here in Finland if you are farming in the greenhouse and you want to be subsidized by EU you have to farm over the year. Think about what it means in this latitude. In worst times we are having in south around six hours, less than six hours where we are having big greenhouse farming areas. And the temperature. What a waste of energy. Interesting detail is that the Queen of England raises the biggest sum of the EU agricultural support.
Today the big discussion in Finland is the ship building industry. Especially STX Turku and how they lost big deal to STX in France. STX Turku asked capital loan (50M€) from the Finnish government. They didn't get it and they lost the deal to France. The deal stayed inside the same mother company. Of course shipbuilding docks are independent companies. What were the differences? French dock was in better position from the funding point of view. This business is very capital intensive business. Were there other tricks? Who knows. At least French government is a co-owner of the dock.
However, the fact is that the shipbuilding industry has been very subsidized industry for ages. Governments are thinking that it is a strategical industry due to the war history of the world, especially in Europe. Is it really today?
What if we would move to real market economy in agricultural and shipbuilding business? Would our world collapse?
STX, government supported corp. inc? And which one?
December 28, 2012, 10:41 pm
Yes, we Finns suffered a big loss. We lost roughly a 900M€ deal.
Here in Finland there has been a big discussion should government put 50M€ to this deal. Note, it should have been a lended money. Government gave some 42M€ for innovation support and STX thanked. But they asked as well 50M€ loan and then the Finnish government chickened!
We are coming to the basic things, how much governments should support local industry? Where is the free competition?
We Finns are chickens when you think how much you can could pull the rules, so I'm were much looking forward to see the French version, especially how they did it. I can guarantee that it won't pass the EU regulations, does it change anything? We'll see.
In the airline business we are in the end of the line. It is the situation which will happen to all of the businesses'. It has happened previously. What happened? There are few standard strategical movements in my collection. One of the tools is the change of the rules. It is one of the most difficult ones but seen few times. Budget airlines and iTunes. Is the SAS going to be next body?
Sorry to say I believe it is going to be one. Why? Because it is negotiating with pilots. Negotiating is not a bad thing but it tells that there are history which is a load from 60's. That history will kill SAS, maybe tomorrow. What about Finnair?
One of the most successful airlines comes from Ireland, Ryanair. Very colorful CEO, very interesting stories while I was living in Limerick in early 2000. But Ryanair was one of the players who changed the rules. Ireland's national airline Air Lingugus almost died.
Today airline business is a good example how the business is running, you can't stay still, you have to be active. All of the time.
One key thing what I've learned is that follow the teens! Especially if you want to understand trends around the new technology. I have one teen living on the 2nd floor of our house. He has deleted his account from the Facebook. Is that a trend? There are groups that are raising the flag towards that direction, actually recently published study said that 42% of Finnish users has thought about leaving the service.
When Facebook did the IPO its target valuation was 104B$. Then the value of the stock went down. In American way, rest of the story happens in court. Funny thing was that they said in IPO document that mobile is a threat to them, it is difficult to show advertisements is a small screen. The fact is that rating of the stock doesn't tell anything about the companies business, it is telling about the investors, The big question is of course that if you think of last IPO's of the new generation companies, which are real flyers? Maybe Google? LinkedIn?
The fact is that our teens are building the megatrends in the future. That is how it goes. The key point is that Google, Facebook and Micsoft has no bleeding idea of it! Do I. Nope. Just following the teens!
One big Finnish mobile company (guess which one) developed a new mobile operating system called MeeGo. They did a mobile phone using it. User experience was excellent. And it was time to dump it!
What was the problem? It is the same thing what I have mentioned many times. It is the bleeding quartal economy. Public companies are having very big challenges to playing in that environment, there is a too small window to do strategical changes. On the other hand, that big Finnish mobile player is doing a very big strategical change. The key change is that they are not controlling the whole value chain of their mobile business, they will be only hardware manufacturer, trusting on Microsoft's capability to deliver value to the consumer.
The MeeGo group left the company and established company called Jolla. They are developing mobile phones based on mentioned O/S. They are entrepreneurs believing their products, building future, especially ecosystem around it. Really interesting company.
Talking about RIM. It was a big player in North America. Even the President of USA was publicly telling using its' services. What is their situation today? Just about bankruptcy. Why? They didn't developed. One idea can carry the company to the one vision, to go further you need second goal. After the 2nd goal you need 3rd idea.
When you are really big and you face the change situation, do you trust yourself? Or bet the other horse.
People living in Rome had a term, Auctoritas. That told everything. It still with us. It is defining our position in the world where we are operating, Today, it is gadgets. Nowadays when I'm travelling (especially short trips), I'm having more electronics with me than the cloths. I am travelling with 2 mobiles, chargers for them of course, iPod and the charger and the laptop with a charger. One shirt and underwear per day, tooth brush and a razor.
Our new world specification started in the 90's. The 1st gadget was a mobile phone. It stayed quite long as a one or even most important toy, it was called as a yuppie teddy bear. Today the mobile penetration in the western countries is over 100%.
New gadgets are smart phones, MP3 players, GPS tools etc. With these toys we define our position in the society. How you define your iAuctoritas?
Or is there a business. Of course I'm observing what is happening in Finland, but it is a fact of whole business area. Everywhere, question is just about the time. And by way, there is a business, it's just a question how you handle it.
S-curve in Finland is in the saturation phase. It s very challenging phase for the operators. Telia-Sonera has more or less thrown the towel to the boxing ring. Elisa have taken the lead and DNA is following. It is obvios that Telia-Sonera's focus is not in Finland, it is in East-South where the growth is. Easy markets.
When analysing the mobile/telecom markets in Finland during 1990 to 2012 some things are very obvious:
Operators have difficulties to understand that they are in competetive markets. Actually they still have difficulties to accept it.
When marketing manager don't have ideas prices will go down
Or double services by price of one (ADSL + mobile)
Everyone offers the same, just price differentiation, no real ideas!
When analysing Finnish operators I have to give the 1st price to Elisa and the 2nd price to DNA. Looser is TeliaSonera which focus is somewhere else.
What is the moral of the story? This happens always, I mean the S-curve. The fact is that you've accept it and play accorringly. Wake up, you have to recover!
I visited my bank manager and said I need a new mortgage. I also said that my rules are this: intrest rate is -1% and payback time is 100 years. I can still hear his laugh.
Euro-zone is having a funding problem, surprise! Shit hit the fan in Spain and the Euro-fellows are trying to help Spain, pumping money to them. But naughty Finland wants guarantees. Awful.
Strange. In this case, inside €uro, why would well balanced north subsidised corrupted south? Especially with their rules? The fact is that some of the current Euro-countries twisted the rules to be able to join the Euro. I don't know if their target was to be saved, but it looks like that.
EU itself is not a organisation which is known of deciseve decicion making, vice versa, it will do a suicide one day because of lack of decicions, waiting for compromises. One good example its stupidity is that half of its time it is spending in Strassbourg. Why? Because France wanted. On the other hand, EU has brought good things, Euro is one and Shengen is other. But is has serious problems. Like they say that the camel is a horse which is designed by committee. That is happening in Brussels and Strassbourg.
Only way out of this situation is (if we want to keep the Euro, and we should in my opinion) that rules defined earlier has to be followed. If you don't follow, penalties have to be painfull enough.
Is the package. Mobile operators are offering them. Cable-tv operators are offering them, calling me almost daily. Why?
It is again question of the competition and the capability to work with the challenge. In Finland it was very obvious what happened. During early 2000 mobile operators were fighting of the market share and they didn't find out the Pandora's Box. Regulation of the mobile business worked well in Finland up to mid 2000 (around). Around that time mobile operators were able to convince the regulator that they need the packages to be able to roll-out the 3G. And the regulator bought the idea.
Package means that you have a device and you are connected to the operator for a X period. Why? Operators problem is that the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) was around 40€/month in early 2000. Those days are gone. Today it is something else but the operators have difficulties to cope with it. Their last life-line is the package.
Smaller operators in Finland have been agile. Elisa is the biggest one today and Sonera is loosing its position, maybe because of the fact that the HQ is in Sweden and the focus is in the other markets. But they all are offering packages.
But the package offering is still something which contains no value to the consumer, only for the offerer. If your marketing manager proposes packages, lay him/her off. In B2C business you have to deliver. B2B markets there are other aspects. Mathematics is different when you are talking about P&L and Balance sheet.
Mobile business today is the most dynamic business in the world. It is changing really fast. Where are the original big ones, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia? Nokia and Ericsson developed their skills in Nordic analog technology NMT and Motorola in the US based one. They were the big ones behind the GSM standard. Rumours are telling that if the was a hole in the standard, these guys quickly agreed the patch for it. Those guys were behind so-called 2G. Now we are just about getting 4G after 2.5G and 3G. G means generation.
The 1st body (at least heavily wounded) was Ericsson. They lost the track of the consumer behaviour. They tried to recover with Sony, especially Sony's strong brand Music Man, portable C-cassette player. If you are old fart like me you know the toy, I'm still having at least two of them. They didn't succeed.
In my opinion, Motorola was already half dead in the beginning of the GSM. There were nasty rumours about their technology. They had their moment with RAZR-phone but after that. Nothing. Sold out because they owned interesting patents.
Nokia's 1st problem was positive one. They developed excellent GSM phone called 2110. It was so good that they couldn't build them as fast as the markets were selling them. But they solved the problem and they are/were the logistics machine. This capability carried them to be number one position in the handset world. Today Nokia's future is really shady.
What happened. Shit hit fan? Nope, it is called S-curve. When the markets are saturating, new rules for the game are coming and these 3 lads didn't understand it, or didn't accept it. Originally the business was technology driven but today it is really consumer driven, especially how they behave and wants to use their mobile. In my pocket there are loads of high technology but I don't care. What it can deliver to me is important. Of course there is an other aspects in the markets. Everything around the one fruit is a religion. That is one way to take the markets.
As a Finn, I've been following about the discussion around Nokia. Unfortunately the discussion which been risen has been brought up by the people who really don't understand the facts.
1.Mr. Elop is a messenger, he is trying to clean up and recover already made mistakes. Don't shoot him.
2.Mistakes were done somewhere in between 2000-2010
3.And the mistake was.... arrogance and keeping status quo
What the competitors did?
1.Apple have the habit to change the rules in business, and they did
2.Google is following that path with its own strategy
The key point is in the digital world that it changes, really fast. Nokia had challenges in early 90's and they handled them. The challenges were mainly logistical, demand was bigger than their delivery capacity. Today, Apple built up a new type of business model, not just for mobile phone but the full ecosystem meaning application and the distribution channel for them. Nokia didn't react (or act) to it and now the shareholders are suffering of it. Nokia Store wasn't successful enough compared to its competitors. It was obvious that they had to do something.
Today the key thing is in the mobile world is the ecosystem. Lad from Nokia said in one event in Finland that there are 3 type of ecosystems, good, bad and the evil ones. He had point in his message, but still, I selected the bad one.
When you are developing software there is a one fact. You have redesign and code your system from the scratch time-to-time. Is this done? Nope. What is the age of Symbian? It was very obvious that Nokia had to something and the options were following:
3.Continue with MeeGo
My favourite was MeeGo but they decided differently. We'll see what happens, hopefully they'll recover.
Technician Jussi Kangas passed away in Vaasa, Tammikartano's hospital due to the long alignment at the 11th of April the 2012. He was born on the 18th of November on the 1936 in Ylistaro, Finland.
His working career started at 1952 in timber jobs and in 1955 he moved to Vaasa to work with Strömberg Inc (later on acquired by ABB) as a metal worker. He accomplished his national service in Kokkola and after that he returned back to Strömberg Inc. In 60's he started to study in the Technical College of Vaasa and graduated to technician, in electric engineering in 1963. That started a long career in Strömberg Inc. in various engineering posts. For example when using the metro in Helsinki, the sound of the electric engines of it reminds me of him, he was part of the team who designed the control of the engines of the metro in Helsinki.
He was very active in in labour union, also member of Vaasa's city council for many years and very active in local Lutheran church. Those organisations have noted his work by several badges of merit.
He had a wide collection of hobbies. He collected and work with stones, made jewels of them. He trained others to do it as well. Thing, which was very close to his heart was local history. He collected it, books and other material and documented it. In my opinion, that was one of his gifts to the Vaasa's area.
The thing which labels him in my opinion is his willingness to help others. There were no issues what he wouldn't tackle. If it is a question about the site policy of the city of Vaasa or snow works of grand ma in the neighbour. He delivered. I hope that everyone remembers this.
He got married in 1960 and this marriage delivered two sons of which I'm the 1st one.
Can you do it? Probably not, I just used the headline because it sounded funny and it rhymed. You have to be successful on-line. The question how you measure it.
If you are having a business, it is very obvious that you receive offers for the Google ads, there are shit loads of their agents. 1000 hits for price of x€. Not interested in. Here in Finland there are companies trying to cash hits and they have their case in court. Hits are nothing, I would pay something for real connections, like phone call or filed contact form on my web-site. Can I get that type of deal? Nope. Am I old stylish? Maybe, but I want value for my money.
The search engine optimisation is not a rocket science, even I can dot it. Type “liikkeenjohdon konsultointi strategia” to Google and the 1st non paid link should be … Because of the optimisation, I've received one RFQ, in two years (maybe I should write something to here).
On the other hand, it is quite funny what kind of search phrases will link to your web site, I'm surprised. Some examples of links to my web-site:
- telenor paperless office strategy
- 96% of the microsoft business actually is performed through partners idc
- runescape lottery logo
- economie when the shit hits the fan
- @pp.inet.fi @2010 txt emails managers -419 -eater -scam -scam -fraud -.co.uk
- to download free of charge advisers and indicators really
- guild wars lost my account info but i still got the cassete
Just to mention few. And these are more or less because of my blog. This means that the challenges in the new communications are different than we used to (at least my generation). We just have to cope with it!
This week I visited a seminar called Smart Urban Spaces. It is a project that has members from several European countries who are working around NFC-technology and how it can make our life easier. Of course, when it has word technology, in Finland it is like hard core sex. There are good examples, like the city of Oulu using NFC-tags to sign kids in to the kinder garden. An other application was city of Helsinki using a combination of a mobile phone having a NFC chip and a smart card provided by the public transportation of Helsinki for the European Championship sailing event participants to gain access to the event and the services in it. One story was about mobile payment and that was my motive to visit the event, and my blood pressure went sky high.
I wrote about it about 2 years ago. I spoke about it about 10 years ago in the ICT-event in Helsinki. Matti M, who commented on my blog 2 years ago, mentioned that the first trials of mobile payment were around 96/97. So how has the situation developed from 96? We have an organisation called Mobey Forum, http://www.mobeyforum.org/. What have they achieved? White papers and meetings! Interesting places like Cape Town, New York, Brussels and Amsterdam. Bloody hell! I hope that your company hasn't wasted its money to that BS.
Like I mentioned in my blog 2 years ago, this technology has been available more than 10 years, a secured one. What is the problem? The key issue is that who is the biggest loser? The banking sector including credit card companies have been pressing the break pedal, quite successfully. Who could have been the winner? Mobile operators. Why didn't they do it? Because of lack of courage(chickens!) and maybe some regulatory issues. Now the operators are building consortiums in some countries to do something in this area. Is it too late? My guess (educated one) is yes. What is going to happen? Someone who has big enough muscles will take the arena. Candidates are the Google and PayPal. And the biggest loser is.. Second price goes to...
Some time ago one lad from UK issued a theory about the development of the species. His name was Charles Darwin. It is called evolution theory. Still some people (read idiots) denies it, they believe something else, called God. Evolution has made us what we are and in the future what we are going to be. Unfortunately, there is a risk that we destroy ourselves due to the fact that we are destroying our environment. One interesting example is that there was a arsenic mine in Devon, UK. It was closed about 170 years ago and the area is extremely toxic. During this 170 years nightcrawlers developed to be able to survive in this environment. Where we are going to be in next 170 years?
From biological point of view, evolution is easy. It just happens, you don't need to do anything. Or maybe just get a son or a daughter or several of them. We are good in the position where we don't need to do anything.
In the business world we have evolution as well. The difference comes from the fact that we can't be passive. We have to monitor the world actively and act, not react. If we are in the reacting mode, it is usually too late. Evolution drivers are called megatrends which are the parameters for your strategy towards your vision. One of the key the megatrends is the time. Or actually lack off it. Eastman Kodak had 132 years from the beginning to the end. Who remembers Digital Equipment Corporation? We are still enjoying some of their inventions. It lived roughly 60 years. What about companies under label “new economy”? Like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. What is their expected life time? Most likely shorter than your or mine, especially if they don't develop all of the time. Yes, I am repeating myself but still, am I right or am I right ;-)
Company used to be a star, kind of Apple of its time. It is over 130 years old. They were the top player of the film industry. Their market share of the films in USA was over 80% and they were paying big bonus to their employers every year. They invented/developed digital camera, or at least they were one of the 1st companies to bring them to the markets. Something went wrong. Now they are under protection of chapter 11. Up to the 2007 they had laid of 27000 employees.
What went wrong?
Their down hill is estimated to start from the Olympics 1984 where main sponsor was Fuji. Kodak thinking them as a cheap brand. Film business started go down early 2000. Company didn't adapt to the change fast enough. They were already in digital business, but they didn't take it seriously. They tried to do business with Apple but they were not able to break through to digital business. The rest is history. Can they survive? Who knows.
The story is very important lesson that you have to be sensitive what is happening in the world. The only permanent thing in the business world is the change. Be sensitive!
My son was giving a presentation to his English class and he decided to tell about his time in Ireland, Limerick. It raised memories, really nice ones.
Story starts from the summer 2000. I was a Business Manager of a unit which was very stable, boring by my standards. I went to my boss to tell that I'm getting bored with this unit. After thinking 10ms he said go to Ireland, we have a business unit there with challenges (or he want to get rid of me, which is probably better guess). And I went.
Anyway, this story is not about business, it is about the people. Especially how nice the people can be. Especially in Ireland.
The start was a disaster. When family came to familiarise themselves to the place the 1st stop was Heathrow. Fire alarm and we were standing next to plane outside of the terminal. When we got to Ireland, whole weekend was pissing rain and the weekend was more or less disaster. Still the family agreed to move there.
It was Christmas 2000. One week before it family came to Ireland. We were staying in the hotel. The container with our stuff came on the 22nd of December. We were quite in a hurry to make a Christmas for us within 2 days. But we did, we had a Christmas tree, ham (very important for Finns) and house more or less in order. We were ready to enjoy about the Christmas. The interesting thing is that in Finland the key day is 24th, but in Ireland it is the 25th. Neighbours has noted our arrival, all of them welcomed us, our door was suffering about all of the knocks.
Two doors down were living grandparents of Conor. Their conclusion was that my son felt alone and needed a pal for playing, doing kid's things. Michael drop Conor to our house and since that they were best friends. They didn't have a common language, just the toys.
I was watching BBC's programme First life, obviously Sir David Attenborough was there. He was giving a lesson to the business people. Same old story what I've been preaching all of the time. What it is? You have to remember and accept that the only permanent thing in this world is the change.
Keeping a long story short. How we have developed to be as we are today, and I don't believe any external touch like God or UFOs. The history of mammals is describing the path very well. In the beginning of the time the key requirement for the mammals was capability to reproduce. The 2nd issue was to adapt to the changes in the environment. These facts are actually the same shit where we are living in today. The capability to adapt has brought us to where we are today. The funny thing or should I say the contradiction is that we by nature are trying to avoid changes. We want to stay in the comfort zone. This is a example how your business should do. Adapt. Move out from your comfort zone. Keep on moving all of the time, but remember to think why and where you are moving. Every step you take have to have a good reason.
It is a boring attitude from me, but still it is a fact! The message is that how and to what you and your business is going to adapt in 2012!? I wish you good luck what ever your challenges are!
I'm repeating myself so much that the readers (if there are any) will be pissed off. But the key message is that don't lie on the ground when there is a fire (weapons). Expression is difficult to translate from Finnish or at least the message is not easy to forward by an other language, but anyway, like I have mentioned million times or even more: the only permanent thing is the change. Most of the hassles in the world are due to the fact that people don't accept the change. It moves us out from our comfort zone. For example, would you have believed ten years ago that there would be discussions about the Internet etiquette or generations x, y and z?
All of the three previous stories are describing the change. Do you think that the change won't happen any more. Of course it will! More often and and with heavier effects! The question is that are you capable hang with it? I am. Just about. Hopefully. But how long can I cope with it, that is the challenge. Most likely, life is a b... But you have to live it!
Now we are talking about the megatrend! Late 80's I was working in a company which was importing IP-technology to Finland. At that time it was just a tool how your workstation was communicating with a computer. Then came Tim Berners-Lee. The change of our world started. We are now on-line, we have to be. Otherwise we don't exist.
SMS started the gap between my generation and the younger one. Maybe we are just about to be able to follow it, like terms lol etc. SMS created because of its 160 character limitation incredible amount of shortenings, credits to our younger generation. But it was a beginning.
Today it is a question of being on-line. What can you do there, how to behaviour there. There is a etiquette how to act there. That is the challenge. Me and my generation manages it, just about, but my parent's generation are challenged. Some of them manages the situation but some of them are denying it and its existence. When the public and private services are going to net more and more, this development is dividing the people in different categories. On-line and off-line.
During late sixties I was playing with the punch cards which my mum brought from the office. It was cool. Late 70's in school I had a touch of the 1st computer, Commodore Pet. 27Kb memory and c-cassette as a mass memory. Of course there were Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The one of the coolest game were The Dallas Quest and The Lazy Larry! Then came the PC, my 1st one was Ericsson PC with 8 inch floppy and 128k memory. Because I was engineer student, I built 128k more memory to it. MS-Dos was 1.0, later 2.11. Then came MS-Dos 3.x and the Windows. The big question at that time was that do you really need more memory than 640k. According to Microsoft, no.
Anyway, there was time of the minicomputers and the workstations like MicroVax and Sun but things came back to the PC. We had NT, Windows 2000 etc. and Mac lived its own life. Now we are looking what is going to happen with the tablets? Will they kill the PC?
Anyway, the trend is that the hardware is not going to be the issue. It is a standard. If we forgot the Apple.
According to physics, it is not constant. According me, there are time lines which are getting shorter and shorter. My generation has gone through many very big changes. My parents were part of the change from agricultural society to industrial one. Funny thing is that we still can see glimpses of the agricultural society, like lunch time at 11 o'clock. What are the changes of my generation? Some examples will follow.
If we start from the technological point of view, the 1st thing is the telephone. Although it is technology, it is obviously having effects to our social behaviour. One important milestone in the telephone history according to Finnish Wikipedia was 1876 when Italian inventor Antonio Meucci invented teletrofono, but there were issues with Mr. Alexander Graham Bell in USA. Obviously switches were manual in the beginning but the automated switch was developed/patented Almon Strowger in 1891. Or at least the key components.
Then came the mobility. Finland was the forerunner in this technology. The 1st network was ARP, analogue and the switching happened manually. Then came the NMT, 450MHz version and later on 900MHz version which introduced the 1st hand-held mobile, “Gorbachev”. When the GSM arrived, it was digital and European standard, our world was changed totally. Then came 2.5G, 3G, 3.5G and now 4G is raising its head. These technologies has change our world totally. They have also change our social behaviour. When you had last time your mobile switched off just for fun, not being in the aeroplane?
Psychiatrist and lawyers destroying mankind sung Procol Harum for ages ago. Today, I would say it is bankers and lawyers. On the other hand, I would say that the lawyers are only the tool, not the reason.
It is a fact that the banking industry has screwed up seriously. The question is that how much it should have been regulated? In my opinion, all of resources/businesses which are operating with limited areas should be regulated. Good example here in Finland is electricity. Basically you can buy electricity to your house from what ever company in Finland. Free competition. Bollocks. Then comes the transmission price which is defined by your local electricity company. And the electricity price won't rice, only transmission price. Maybe I should hire a lawyer...
Sorry, I went to sideways again. Back to the topic. I have a problem. Serious one. My mouth is faster than my brains. Time to time it is causing problems. Today it is causing more and more. Why? Our tolerance of bs. versus insult is narrowing. This means that we are going towards American extreme. Story goes that in Washington there are 1 lawyer per 1000 inhabitants. Do you want to be like that? I don't! Let there be bs!
When there has been major catastrophes important for me and when them happened I've been in Limerick, Ireland. One morning, on the 28th of September 1994 at the hotel after the breakfast I was watching CNN and there was coming story about the Estonia. 852 died.
The other story was of course 9/11. I was living in Limerick at that time. I was organising a golf event for WMA (Wireless Messaging Association) and I was visiting Adare golf club, one of the best clubs in Ireland and having a lunch in their pub. The place was full of American tourists and the TV was on CNN. My phone was beeping all of the time, colleagues were updating me of the situation. The atmosphere in the pub was incredible, kind of once in the life time. One story about the 9/11. We had one guy visiting from UK, subcontractor. He was preparing a big computer for a customer delivery. When he heard what happened in USA, he panicked. He took first plane to UK, left all of his stuff to Ireland.
9/11 caused tighter security to air traffic. 2002 I moved back to Finland but still I was visiting Ireland quite often. Around the Christmas I bought from Ireland a light sabre to my son, you know the thing used in Star Wars. No problems in Irish security check. But the security lady in Heathrow thought that it was scary! So it was left to London. Thanks to my friends in Ireland, my son got the light sabre in that Christmas by an other arrangement.
And what is the moral of the story? Currently it looks like that I should stay out of Limerick! Pity, I love the city!
Theory says that 5% of us is a natural leader or manager. Rest of us can be trained. Partially I believe in that. 5% yes. The training part I doubt a bit, yes you can improve your skills but you have to have the base.
There was a study among students in Finland, which is done annually. Study was about what are the best managed companies in Finland, or felt to be one. They interviewed 1700 persons in early summer 2011. It is quite funny what were the results. Loosers were the government, Lidl and Nokia.
Winners were Google, Nokia and the Finnish Army!
This is interesting. Army is a clean line organisation, very old type of organisation. The key point of the line organisation is that it delivers. Quality. In Finland we have one other big organisation which is working like the army, Finnair. It is very important for them that they are delivering quality, all of the time. And we understand that.
The point here is that are the young people waiting for a new management style? Bollocks. They are waiting for a management, good one.
Eric Schmidt from Google says that most likely Steven Jobs is the best CEO ever seen in the business. His track record is very dashing. And story tells that employers didn't dear to go same elevator with Steven. Not a nice guy but genius! And how is Apple organised? Sounds like line organisation with a strong leader. But what is going to happened now to Apple after Steven Jobs? It went down once.
There is a industry which are creating management isms and trying to cash with them. Keep your head cool when you meet them.
What is my ism? JFDI! Tracks are leading to Ireland! Try to find out!
Originally idea was a good one. Cover the good or excellent idea so that the inventor's idea wasn't stolen. Today it is a tool for big game for big companies. Motorola was a active member of the group when GSM was raising up (Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia where the drivers of that standard). Motorola loose their position in the mobile word, but because of the history and their activities in the pioneering time of the GSM they are having a good portfolio patents. That is the reason why Google paid $12.5B. Nothing to do with Motorola's business.
Then there are companies like Lodsys and Qualcom. Maybe I should not mention these companies in the same sentence but their behaviour pisses me off. The fact is that Qualcom has developed mobile technology, but their moral can be challenged. If your own business is not working, should you try to challenge everyone else in the business sector because of your patent portfolio?
Lodsys' strategy is clear, they buy patents and raises court cases. That you can define as a hyena strategy.
One aspect is also that in US you can patent almost everything, their rules are much easier than ours in Europe.
This is a sample again that life is a b... Says me who has a patent registered in US.
About the two fat birds which flight capability is not so good. Or about the other one.
August 21, 2011, 3:38 pm
I decided that I won't write any more about this subject. But still it is disturbing my attention. Especially because there was an article in local newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, about guy who was leading the development of Meego in Nokia. He felt that Nokia didn't put enough resources to it. The question is why should they, The answers is that you have to renew yourself time to time and now is time for Symbian. Is the answer Microsoft? Everyone is having their opinion.
Mobile development community has shown their interest in Microsoft environment. This is a good message to Nokia. On the other hand, Microsoft's market share in mobile world is quite sad, you can it is a looser level. Is it going to raise with Nokia? Possibilities are there!
On the other hand. Nokia started to distribute N9, Meego phone. It received very good comments about its usability and technology. Interesting thing is that it is not going to be sold in UK and Germany. Why? There is a rumour that it isn't going to be sold in the countries where Microsoft localisation has been done. And what is the logic here. I don't have a glue. Generally, I don't believe in Nokia's strategical movements. They are destroying their legacy.
Story is not a happy one. Guy in Meego development went to HP to develop webOS. Life is a b...
CEO Barack Obama, staff (population) over 540 million. Company's economy is 14500 B$ (GDP). It's debts is 14500B$ and raising. Company spends more money to the health care than any other, per capita or compared to GDP. Most common reason for private bankruptcy is the health care bill's. Post office is about in bankruptcy. Public sector is over 30% of the GDP. What if USA Inc. would go public? Would you invest? By the way, CEO's post is open in 2012. Are you interested in?
One third of the debts are to public institutions and funds. One third is owned by FED and other local investors and the last third are China (1000+B$), Japan (1000-B$), UK (0.300+B$) and other countries. Current CEO of course didn't generate this problem, he inherited it. Because of the CEO election, problem solution was very political game, and it didn't really solve anything. It just was pushing problems to the future.
In real world, can you operate a company this way?
And by the way, if you are interested in the CEO position in this company, there are some cool toys for you. Like world biggest and most powerful army and NASA.
Cool... Or is it worth of everything else around?
And the World Bank thinks that Europe is having a financing problem. Interesting.
It is funny how one's memory works. It can be sound, music, smell or what ever which can bring you to the history. For example, I visited first time in Ireland in 1994. It was winter time and still when I smell the burning turf that is Ireland.
Music is a one big reminder. Majority of those memories I don't dear to publish. I moved to Ireland in 2000 and music reminds of the time. Finnish music like Bomb Func Mc's Freestyler and Darude's Sandstorm was everywhere, even in Ireland. Of course U2's Beautiful Day was a big thing. Those are Ireland for me.
I have one funny memory. I spent few summers in my cousin's farm in Ylistaro (in the middle of nowhere). Every bleeding morning I woke up about 6 o'clock when the milker started in the neighbourhood. That sound I can still picture.
And then the car my dad had at the time :) (60's) (white one)
One thing which has changed in our world is the social media, actually there wasn't one in the good old days. Today we have to think what part of our life is public and what is private. It has open our society in a good way. I think although today Wikileaks is having a personal (or person) problem it has given us a path. Social media is generating revolutions. Of course, that development in a short term may shake our world in very disturbing way but in a long run, I believe it is going to be good development.
Part of the story is that how one sends messages to the crowds. Social media is a efficient tool for that. The other part of the story is that what it can tell about you. Are you behaving in a way that you dear to see it on-line? Especially if you are in politics and/or in a high position.
The negative side of the story is that where you can draw the line of your privacy. Especially when you here the news that your mobile and/or your navigator is collecting the data about your whereabouts and sending the data somewhere. What kind of data is collected by the sites where you have registered? Do you really read the terms of the service when registering to it? That is alarming! Be aware and use your brains when using the social media!
But today, am I public or private me? That is the question. At least I know I'm bleeding old, but starting to get younger ;-)
I've been critical about the marriage of the two turkeys. I've been positive of it. I've tried to analysed it without any biased attitude. There can be found logical reasons for turkey's marriage.
But in a long run, do I believe in it?
I have always operated in a way that I believe what I'm doing. Even if it looks like that I'm overestimating my capabilities and possibilities, shooting too high. I think that Nokia's movement is kind of surrendering. They don't believe any more to be capable to be in front line. If the company's value is more than 16 billion Euro's why they don't want to be a forerunner?
Nokia's engineers are still the same which took Nokia to the clouds. The problem is a management problem. The problem is the understanding of the markets and how it will change. Remember. Change, change, change and change. Or maybe recreate yourself time to time, that is the name of the game. It always has been. Publishing the N9 was totally understandable. Why to publish a phone with operating system which don't have a future inside Nokia?
Same thing happened to Motorola. They just didn't fall from so high. It happened also to Ericsson. Those three were the big ones in GSM business, actually they were the GSM. So is it time for death of Nokia? (Death might be a bit dramatic but serious downsizing anyway)
The difference is that when the business is changing from the technology business to the consumer sales, the rules are changing. I think that the 1st warning for Nokia was Blackberry, unfortunately they didn't recognise the warning signal. Of course, Blackberry wasn't a consumer service but it showed the direction, not only the technology but the service as well. Especially to the direction where Apple is good.
What is the root cause? Arrogance basically or laziness to change. By nature we are lazy and we have serious difficulties to move out from our comfort zone. That has killed many companies. Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia forgot the world. World and consumers don't follow them, they have to follow the consumers. When the gizmos are coming to be day-to-day stuff, rules are changing. Follow your teenager kids, then you might stay on the map. But what will happen on the 21st of June, does it save the day for Nokia?
inland is having a major crisis, our crown jewel Nokia is suffering. It has lost its position in high end (smart) phones and also it is suffering in the low end ones. If you follow Finnish discussion forums for investors (small/private ones, not the investors), they are pointing to two guilty ones, Mr. Ollila and Mr. Elop. Especially Mr. Elop has been accused very heavily. Mr. Ollila have something to do with the problems but Mr. Elop is a messenger, don't shoot him! Maybe he can fix the situation, one year is a short period in the company sized like Nokia.
It is difficult to accept the situation what we have with public companies. I have mentioned this earlier. Everything is evaluated per quarter. This means that it is very difficult to do strategical investments/movements, because effects of them won't be seen within one quarter. Then young investment analyst who don't have any experience of the real business life evaluates the company quarter basis. Discussion forums evaluates the company by daily price in stock exchange and the daily price don't have anything to do with the real value and performance of the company. If not anything, a little bit only but far away from the truth.
My first reaction to Nokia's Microsoft deal was very emotional, I didn't like it at all and still I'm sceptical. But if we simplify the situation, there may be sense:
1: Symbian is end of life or very soon anyway
2: Android gives very little possibilities to Nokia differentiate especially when the competitors have used it for long time already
3: MeeGo was my favourite but like we have heard in the news that it had serious issues and the first phone using it were too far away
4: Microsoft, maybe there are possibilities especially if Nokia has its own features in it
We will see what will happen to Nokia's mobile, is it going to be a new Motorola or is it going to fly. So don't shoot the messenger, yet.
I think that the 1st gizmo was Sony's Music Man, portable C-cassette player. Since that we've been addicted the toys what can be taken with us where ever we go.
I'm counting that my gizmo history starts from early 80's when I was summer trainee in PTT of Finland (although I'm still having a Sony). I was doing measurements between exchanges in remote areas and I was driving the car equipped by ARP or NMT phone (analog ones). At that time, it was really, really cool. Late 80's I was equipped with NMT phone in my car, 30*20*6cm size, not really a portable one. Me and missus did our honeymoon trip in early 90's to Scotland. We were equipped with a book named B&B in Scotland and phone card. Phone card was used for booking the next sleeping place and for reporting to a friend in London who was worried about us. Mid 90's came and I got the Nokia phone, 2110. Since that, I've been all of the time more or less on-line.
Then came social media and everything else. You can hang in the net forever. The world has changed quite dramatically during our life time. Today I can't even imagine the situation where I would be without my mobile or Net. What about the generation after us? Their life is very much on-line, like ours.
The obvious question is that can we and our kids be off-line? Do we want to be off-line? What if we try? (Says guy who is writing to a blog ;-)
Skype, the excellent Swedish/Danish service. Guys behind it are quite brilliant, they have sold it twice. That is really good way to make money. On the other hand, the service has so big need in the market that it is easy to sell, even twice. The story goes roughly like this:
- Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis sells Skype to eBay by 2.6B$
- eBay sells 70% of it to investor group by 2.75B$
- Investor group and eBay sells Skype to Microsoft by about 8.5B$
Owners (Investor group) gets:
- eBay 2,55B$
- Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis 1.10B$
- Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) 4.76B$
And what the f... Microsoft is doing with Skype? There are different kind of speculations, like that are improving MS Office's position against Apple's iWorks and Google's Docs. Integrating Skype to Xbox could also a good idea. I don't have any figures, but by following a in-house teenager, Messenger is loosing its market share for one reason or an other.
And now the Devil's Advocate part. Mr. Ballmer has said that Skype continues to work all of the current platforms, like Mac and Linux. Tony Bates, CEO of Skype seconds him by saying that that was one term of the deal. For how long? Do they have to develop it? Do they have to fix the bugs?
I really hope that this is not a nail in coffin of one my favourite service.
Europe is totally out of the picture. We haven't understood the game. It is not any more question about the gizmo's, it is a question about what we are doing with the the toys, and how we are doing them with them.
Apple has been always good on to understanding of the users and how they are using the toys. Apple and especially Steve Jobs has been incredible, I would be lying if I wouldn't admire his work. His talent to creating a fuzz around the products is incredible, and the creativeness around the products that also needs to be mentioned.
I'm a Finn so of course I'm having an emotional relationship to what is happening here. Nokia's problem is that they are doing perfect gizmo's but they don't know what to do with them (their customers). Hopefully Mickey Mouse will help them with that. This marriage is anyway having the potential to be a winner. Microsoft developed the general kind of industrial standard.
And what about our friend, Linus Torvalds? Then there is a 3rd party, Linux community. Question is that are they real players today? Especially because the they are scattered, too many distribution versions. Although, their communities are doing excellent work, even better than the commercial networks, can they be trusted? Should the community do something? Because the Linux community is not a commercial environment, it has a lack of management. I really hope that they will cope that.
The question is that is our world going to be Microsoft? Is our world going to be Apple? Or is our world going to be Linux?
These three environments will be our future, I hope that there will be at least those three, hopefully some more. We need possibilities, hopefully there are not a dominant one!
CEO of Xerox (sorry, I can't remember his name) said that there will be paperless toilets before the paperless offices. And he was right. Yes, there are paperless toilets in Japan. But where are the paperless offices? I had a friend who used to work in Telenor (Norway). She told me that early 2000 Telenor was declared to be a paperless company. What that meant. Everybody were printing all of the received documents at the end of the day they had to shred them.
What is the problem here? One of the problems is A4! It is a ISO 214 standard where w*h is 210*297, the relation is 1*1.41. Why that is a problem? My laptop display relation is 1*0.57 and the external display what I'm using is 1*0.79. Trying to read A4 documents having at minimum 2 columns with these displays is really paint in the below the zero! The challenge is that when the computer industry and the printing/advertising/media industries will use the same standards. Maybe then we are going to have real paperless office.
What about iPad and similar toys? In one of the local newspapers Ville (26) said that iPad is cool because you can read it on the sofa, can't you read the newspaper there? Will the tablets change the world? I doubt, but I can be wrong. As usual.
I am more or less repeating myself. Boring! But...
Iceland is voting for icesaving programme. It is again question of the issue that who owns the wins and who owns the losses. In my opinion the country of Iceland, especially the people (tax payers) are NOT responsible of the individual businessmen who have tried the lottery, in creative way. Netherland and UK should have strong enough regulation for their banking industry that this type of accident should not happened. Defenatelly it is not a problem or issue of Icelandic people.
And what is the moral of the story? What I've mentioned already wins and losses should be equal in market economy! Even in country level. Yes, EU can save the country, but it has to happen in the way which is acceptable, there has to be penalties for the party who has screwed up. Otherwise, the moral of the people, you and me, will suffer.
The hot stuff of today is ecosystem. Everyone is talking about the E-word. Some of the opinions which I'm going to express here are based on the seminars which took place in ICT exhibition in Helsinki on the 23rd and 24th of March. Sources are panel discussion which topic was: ''Was Finland's future screwed up or renewed? Nokia 2.0 - New ecosystem'' and presentations by ''Monty'' Widenius (Mr. MySQL) and Mikko Hyppönen (Mr. F Secure). And of course, views are filtered by me or even developed by me.
Family Microsoft is basing their story on the fact that 96% of the revenue to Microsoft is coming via partners. This means that they have to serve their partners, actually the revenue sharing is favouring the partners. It is also a fact that Microsoft is controlling or has a good grip of the business world. That is the reason why Nokia married Microsoft. Microsoft is having a good ecosystem to partner with it. Quite open and easy to join. But one interesting aspect was raised in the ICT event, what is the biggest bot-net in the world? Microsoft's one! What if the shit hits the fan a big way? Who will control the big net? In a big way I mean almost 3rd world war. What is possibility for it?
The Apple! Apple ecosystem is really interesting. There are good points and the other ones. I have to admit that they have done some really good movements to change the digital world, but also they are controlling their ecosystem really heavily, in business world that is called micro management. It is also very obvious how much they hate free stuff. Your freedom is limited, but secured.
What about Open Source? I've been using Linux (Ubuntu) about 2 years. I have had 2 problems. For the both them I have found temporary solutions (posted before I've noticed the issue) and the final fix has come usually with next update. It is a fact that this community (Linux) is so proud their development that they will fix all of the problems. The good point is that community will do good work with testing and it also very often secures the continuity the application although the original developer is out of the picture for some reason or other. The challenge is the business models, you have to accept that there are not any quick wins. All of the licensing models are based on the fact that you have to deliver good work for sometime and then you'll be awarded.
Question is that what is your camp? I've chosen mine and I'm a happy little camper!
Part one on the March 27th, 2010, 11:44 am (scroll down if you need a reminder)
Some weeks ago there was a interview of Bon Jovi in Sunday Times. He claimed that Mr. Apple Steven Jobs has full responsibility that the music business is in crisis. He (BJ) thinks that value of the recording in the eyes of the youth has collapsed. The sale of the sales of the CD's has collapsed.
There were also other stupid comments which are not worth of digital “air time”.
I'm not a fan of Apple, vice versa. But I have to admit that they have done good work in certain areas, for example they have brought the music industry to the new age. Record labels don't accept that. Of course because it means that they are more or less useless. The challenge in this new business model is that are the copyright owners getting the compensation what they have deserved.
Are we really living in the market economy? I don't believe. It is very often happening that when everything goes fine, all of the business men are cashing the results. But when the shit hits the fan (my favourite English expression) everyone are shouting nations and their central banks to help. Is it so that wins are yours and the risk is restricted and/or socialised? It is now the situation what we see in Europe's crisis areas.
This is our current problem, we allow people in banking area to play but when shit hits the fan and especially because of their action could disturb the monetary system, central banks are covering the situation. This means that the wins are private and losses are common. So basically we are not living in free market economy. Example, if I make a bet with you about who will win the American Idols about 100 Euros. If I win, I got the money. If I loose, you got the money but my friends will cover my losses (hopefully they'll be me friends after that). Is that how the market economy should play? Maybe I have read wrong books. For me this looks like something what Mr. K. Marx has written about. Almost. The key question is that what would happen if we allow big disturbance in our monetary system? Maybe that would educate the players!
I think the issue is that how the monetary system can be screwed up by 19 years old bleeding bankers without any consequences? Why we are accepting this? Do we want to solve this problem? It is not a rocket science!
About the marriage of two turkeys (expression borrowed from somebody)
February 20, 2011, 11:42 am
Nokia's move raised emotional reactions especially in Finland. It is very obvious when you are in small a nation with a big company. I'm trying to do analysis now without a emotional burst.
Microsoft is almost a monopoly. Nokia is the biggest player in mobile world, somewhere in 30 to 40 % market share. In theory this looks like a perfect marriage. So what is the problem? One Finnish magazine defined it as a marriage done in hell.
Today the real world is open or opening and I mean digital world. The philosophy/model of Microsoft and Nokia don't work. I'm actually surprised that all of the Apple's products are still so popular. It is more or less because their user experience but I believe it will not be permanent. Still, I believe that Linux type of approach will rule one day, it is not a question about the software purchased. It is a question about the service and support.
The question to Nokia is that what is your strong point? It is the mobile hardware and the logistics around it. If your weak points are applications and distribution of them, should you go to closed environment?
Nokia and Microsoft are talking about the ecosystem. Obviously, because that is their problem. Internet economy has changed the earning models in high technology area and both Nokia and Microsoft are not the key players in modern earning models. Are they bringing something new (even old) to the market? Nope.
Who initiated the discussions between Nokia an Microsoft? Mr. Elop (or eFlop like mentioned in the social media)? I don't believe on that, the beginning has happened before his time.
Nokia has loosed its market share. In smartphones Apple and Android-based mobiles has been pain below zero and Chinese vendors are coming to cheapphone segment. Microsoft hasn't succeeded in mobile markets at all. In the PC world it is having many different issues. First of all, it is trying to get monopoly type of position there, it is trying to kill players who are stepping to its toes, like we saw in browsers. Luckily regulators were awake. Open Source is generating pressure, like Linux and OpenOffice. So will marriage of two loosers make a winner. I doubt.
In my believe, this is not only lost for Nokia, it is a lost for whole mobile (software) industry in Finland. Here is quite big group of companies working with Symbian. Of course, Symbian is more or less at the end of its life so the industry is anyway in the crossing, a new variable don't make their life easier. The question is that should they go to Android camp or Microsoft or do they have capacity and skills for both.
Nokia developed MeeGo operating system with Intel. I think that was smart move if you want to have own operating system. One of the key points is that you are open, Linux based MeeGo is that, everything else is stone age, like Windows. Now CEO Elop is saying that it is temporary solution. So when and most likely if they get one MeeGo phone out, it is going to be flop. Who would buy temporary product? Who would develop applications to it? Good excuse to say that it was good idea to go to Windows.
One of the Nokia's problems has been that is hasn't been able to keep its time schedules. All of the recent models have been delayed, like the MeeGo phone. How long does it take to develop Windows mobile, especially when you have to design control-, alt- and delete-buttons. Luckily the blue screen is operating system feature, no hardware planning required.
Are we going to remember Mr. Ollila as a man who made Nokia big and down-sized it? Nasty rumours are telling that Mr. Elop owns Microsoft's shares but not Nokia's.
Anyway, most likely I'm using last Nokia phone, looking towards Android.
It is now middle-aged. I mean social media, if the beginning is calculated when the 1st email was sent, in 1971 when someone created application which could sent messages from computer to another in Arpanet project. The 1st kind of chat was BBS using dial-up modems during 1978 and the 1st social web-pages were GeoCities in 1994. 1997 we got the 1st instant messengers, Windows Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. 2002 started Friendster which was model for Facebook. Then came Twitter and the question is that what next? For example there are already trends which are hinting that Windows Messenger will die.
Social media is fun or at least entertaining. But... there is always but. It also important that one uses his/hers head when operating with social media. The 1st risk is that what you write, no business secrets, don't complain about your customers, avoid telling your exact travel plans (home empty, burglars are welcome) etc. The fact is that whatever you write to net, it will stay somewhere forever, almost the whole history of internet is recorded somewhere, earliest records are from 1980's. The 2nd risk is that someone tries to fish information from you, it can be harmless looking application in Facebook. Rule of thumb is that use your brains and stay alerted. Then there are virtual criminals like someone is steeling your furnitures in Habbo Hotel and hate groups for example threatening somebody's life in Facebook.
Then some interesting aspects, this was raised by Technology Review. A married couple was having common account in Farmville game. In the case of divorce, what will happen to virtual property? Should you add also virtual property to your prenuptial agreement?
What about comes social media and your business. Have you received loads of offers which are telling that it is must for your company be in Facebook, Twitter and where ever. Your business can't survive without them, you will die... Again, it is allowed to use your head. One of the key issues in social media, especially corporate communication is that the sent message is meaningful for the audience. This way it is going to be meaningful for the company and it will strengthen the brand. You have to choose correct channel depending of the nature of your business. For example, I don't believe that company doing paper machines needs Twitter.
The fact is that social (new) media is here to stay. It has and will change the world, we can't ignore it. We have to change our behaviour accordingly, like Wikileaks has shown that the old behaviour will have problems with new rules. Basically it is trying to be a honest media but occasionally some mistakes are happening so use your head, again. Interesting to see how many if any revolutions are agitated by social media in Africa and Middle-East.
Mari, age of 8 years decided to create business of her own. She started a ice cream shop/kiosk in Turku. It was shown in TV in the news as a lightening. What happened? Local healthy inspectors made an inspection to her premises. Licence to do business would cost +100 euros. This story happened in last summer.
I've mentioned earlier that bureaucracy has raised its head here in a bad way, is it a question of afraid or what? It seems that the old rule of government officers' is valid, if don't do anything, you don't do mistakes. Of the mistakes you will be fired. If they do something, it is really comma f... stuff.
Is this the way how we support entrepreneurship in Finland? This is an example why Turku is a synonym for a.. in Finland.
I've been a good boy. I have updated my status in Facebook, LinkedIn and all of the places where I've registered. I have also re-cycled my rubbish. Newspapers and all of the paper rubbish is handled, and I'm having a compost, bottles and other glass stuff, metals and batteries are collected. So the problem is not here. It is the question of the values. I hope that you are thinking the environment as well, feed your reindeer with organic food.
On the other hand there are places in this world which would serve better as a parking places. I hope that they don't spoil our Christmas.
Anyway, I wish you and all of my friends and others peaceful Christmas and happy New Year.
For me branding means something to sell. So how much you will you pay about Finland? It has very clean brand, water is excellent and it is very green oriented. That means it is future proved. It will educate you! No extra fee! The best education you can get! We are going to be international trouble shooter (like 007).
The other side of the coin is that here is bleeding cold most of the year. Cars are expensive. Houses are expensive. Booze is expensive. Mainly everything is expensive due to the taxation. Bureaucracy is raising its head. For example, you have a flat and you are planning to change the water tap in your bathroom. You have to inform the housing cooperative and they will charge you about receiving the announcement. Hopefully they will charge you under 150 euros. And talking about mother-in-laws...
On the other hand the people behind the branding underlined one important issue of the Finns. We are very result oriented people, we are not satisfied by the old solutions, we are always seeking new solutions even to old problems. One funny story which most likely gives you a hint of our mind setting. I was working in a Finnish company which had operation also in Ireland. One guy from Ireland came to work in Finland. He told once that Finns must have telepathic connection to each other. He was testing software with group of Finns and one guy came to the lab and said we should do testing this way. Other Finns said OK. And so they did. “Seamus” was surprised because no collective decision making, just goal to target with a new method.
This gives a license to kill for us! And now independence day's special offer... Veri gud prise, just foor u mi frend!
You think that we have experienced big changes in the business life. Airlines are suffering. Telecom operators are suffering. The world has changed. That is BS. That is called competition. Airline business used to be regulated business, no real competition. When it opened the budget airlines came to the business and they are having totally different strategy to the business and the old airlines which are carrying the burden of their history are suffering. Can they get rid of the burden? There are major obstacles, like unions which might kill the “old” airlines, at least some of them. Telecom operators are operating in the regulated area. If you are mobile operator the frequencies are limited. If you are fixed operator, there is no reason from national economy point of view to do double/triple fiber/copper network. In this situation the regulator should do its job and guarantee that the operators don't overprice their services. If the operators are whining, the regulation is working.
And now some facts about the 42. Industrialisation period is about 100 years old. From the marketing and business point of view it can be modelled this way, production driven, sales driven, demand driven, customer oriented and total (segmented). Without going to the details there are also other ways to model the business. I'm using very often the S-curve, which describes the life cycle of the product. The message is that the market will saturate and the requirements varies depending of the position on the S-curve.
And now the 42 fact. During the industrialisation period what has changed? Nothing much, really. Two nuances and one change or addition. Nuances are that the time frame of the S-curve is shorter and shorter and because of the internet you have a global distribution channel, which means everything is global, no boarders. The change is internet economy where Google is good example. Big amount of small (=cheap) transactions can create to you big income. This should explain quite many things what we have seen in the business life.
Bogeyman is back! Thanx for Khail347 of opening of the gaming world. Maybe old farts like me can learn something.
I'm bit repeating myself but I'm trying to bring a new angle to my message. When following the discussion forums which are looking especially stock markets and other financial issues you see occasionally that company is lousy. Like recently Nokia. How it can be lousy, it has made money for ages and is doing. It is paying dividends and has shit loads of cash. So what is the problem? The problem is that stock value is going down. Why? The same guys who complaining the quality of the companies are trying to make quick wins and they are following the analysis of the young stock analysers who don't have any experience of the business where the companies are. It is like blind is walking the blind. Of course there are also behind the issues what I've mentioned earlier, strategical changes don't really fit to quartal economy, results of the strategical changes can't be seen in a quarter.
Åbo Academi's professor Alf Rehn has raised an interesting discussion about the Finnish management styles. Swedish people introduces a term Management by Perkele, which should describe Finnish management style. Is it really so? I think we have gone more and more towards civil servant type of approach, if you don't do anything, you don't do mistakes and from mistakes you will be punished. Because of this attitude we have lost the creativity which partially comes from taking risks, don't over analyse everything.
My own thesis for creating the business team are as following, you need one crazy, one who applies the brakes, one who does it (R&D) and one who sales the shit. The link attached to this blog is Alf Rehn's interview, unfortunately it is in Finnish, but those who understands, enjoy.
Nowadays the most played games in the world are MMORPG's. Which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game. They have grown to incredible volumes in the last 5-8 years. For example the all-known game World of Warcraft. The company behind it, Blizzard, bases the game around addictiveness. Addicting a person is usually the only way to get them to pay around 15$/€/£ a month just for a game. Blizzard is in a good position now, since they have over 10 million people playing their game. Count 15x10 000 000 it is at least 100 000 000 is taking into count some possible discounts etc. But 100 000 000 a month is a lot. Of course there are the standard expences (running servers, company space and etc.) but still this would be a incredible amount of profit, and still adding the sold game copies would grow it even more. This is one earning model and also the most profitable one if it is done correctly.
Then there is the game without a subscription fee that is funded with sold copies and micro payments (buying small pieces of additional content for the game) for example Guild Wars. Guild Wars has approx. 5,5 million players, not very active anymore though because the game is quite old already. Which brings me to another detail, I myself played Guild Wars for a couple of years, and you clould see that when there wasn't a subscription fee for the game, they came up with less new content. They did make 3 games and 1 add-on pack for the series but after you grinded through those there wasn't much left other than Player versus Player but that was not the main attraction for most. Guild Wars 2 is coming up next year so until then...
After those there is still the free game with that gets the player addicted with a free version of the game with limited content and the full game and content for a subscription fee. For example Runescape is like this. Runescape is my MMO of choice since it has a lot of content and the company that made the Jagex brings new content for the subscribers all the time. Also the monthly payment is 1/3 of WoW's fee (5,95$/€/£). Runescape has around 20 million players of which roughly 15 million are free players and around 5 million are Paying for the game. A lot of Runescape is based around long time achievements for example if you want to max out a skill it takes anywhere from a few weeks to years.
The final one of the popular earning models is the completely free game that is funded by mere micro payments for example the finnish social media/game thing Habbo Hotel and the MMORPG Runes of Magic. These type of games addict people with the free game and then try to get people to buy little things within the game for a small fee (e.g. A new sword in Runes of Magic)
These are the current most popular earning methods in online multiplayer games. In the future someone might make an even more efficient one but that we will only see with time.
Don't go to Europe! You will die! One day! Anyway...
October 9, 2010, 8:12 pm
t looks like that USA is giving a recommendation that its citizen's shouldn't go to Europe due to the risk of terrorism. And now some statistics by Google.
Car Crash statistics: There were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005. The financial cost of these crashes is more than 230 Billion dollars. 2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States -- one death every 13 minutes
Gun deaths per 100,000 population (for the year indicated):
Homicide Suicide Other (including accident) USA (2001) 3.98 5.92 0.36 Italy (1997) 0.81 1.1 0.07 Switzerland(1998) 0.50 5.8 0.10 Canada (2002) 0.4 2.0 0.04 Finland (2003) 0.35 4.45 0.10 Australia (2001) 0.24 1.34 0.10 France (2001) 0.21 3.4 0.49 England and Wales (2002) 0.15 0.2 0.03 Scotland (2002) 0.06 0.04 0
What is the chance to get hit by terrorist in Europe to compared to the car accident in USA or something else. I'm very disappointed that Finland is only on the 5th position;-)
The point here is that you will die, I'm going to die. Like one Finnish singer sung "You don't survive of the life alive". And the conclusion, if you stay in USA you have bigger risk to die than in the visit to Europe;-) Sorry that this sounds like travel advertisement.
And where is the beef? It seems that the organisations funded by the tax money wants to proof their importance one way or an other. Is this the right way? Bollocks...
Do you want to know about my recent experience of customer service? No! I'll tell you anyway!
I booked the regular service to my car from Automaa company, Ford and Peugeot dealer here. I mentioned during the booking that I'll wait for the maintenance, so the lady said that you have to be there before the rooster farts. So I was there, yesterday morning at 7:30, gave the car key to the lad who said everything is O.K. He showed me the route to the coffee shop where I could spent some time, 2 hours were the expectation. I was working with my laptop in the coffee shop and after 1,5 hours and I ran out of battery. I haven't the charger with me because it should have been only 2 hours trip.
I went back to the service desk and noticed that my car hasn't move from the parking place. I mentioned it to one guy behind the desk and he said “I don't know, I started 8:00”. I said to him that I'm not interested when you started, I'm interested why my car is not under service. He checked the situation and found out that previous day's jobs were unfinished, so that was blocking the situation.
Question 1: Should they have told me about the situation day before or latest in the morning?
When I got car back (eventually) I asked about the compensation. They gave 10% off the spare parts. Basically it means it was roughly 5% of the service price and 10% of my lost of the working time/invoicing.
Question 2: If you/your company screws up, who should pay the price. You or your customer?
Luckily we are living internet time. Companies are having feedback forms on their web-pages. So I filled in the form. Have I received any feedback? Nope. After 24 hours and one working day.
Question 3: How quickly you should answer to the feedback received from the Net?
My answers/opinions are 1. Yes. 2. You. 3. Next working day. What are your answers?
I'm not meaning high hills or sea. It is the company management, especially CEOs. Those places are very windy, we've seen that, latest Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. There are enough examples like HP's Mark Hurd. CEO's post are like the coach in any team, like ice hockey or football. If the team don't deliver, you can't change the team you have to change the coach. It also method to shake or wake up the team. In this case, I believe that it is a wake up call. Nokia has been a market leader and still it is. But competitors are eating its crown jewels, high end mobile markets. Its image has suffered of that and the big money, rich pension funds of USA are leaving or has left company and that is big image loss. Is the N8 going to save the day, I don't believe. Most likely it will do some recovery, but Nokia has to change and start to listen the users and their wishes. One simple advise is that if you have teenager kids, follow their behaviour with the mobiles and then you start to understand future mobile megatrends. Will the new CEO from Microsoft save the day? I don't believe. It might give a bit credit towards USA, which might help a bit but the root cause will stay.
Still coming back to windy places. When CEO is recruited, he/she is having very often one mission. For example to expand the company by acquisitions or mergers etc. When the vision have been reached, CEO leaves the company as originally agreed. This means that all of the changes in top management are not due to unsuccessful operations, they can be also planned.
P.S. I'm writing this in train on Friday the 10th going from Helsinki to Vaasa to spend weekend with my old friends. Some of them I've known about 45 years. Friends are excellent invention. I'm expecting good craic (sorry about my Irish accent). BTW this blog is distributed from in the middle of nowhere.
I got pissed off to the Mickey Mouse operating system about two years ago. It was pain in the ass to clean all of the time the register when you have old installation of the operation system. Laptop was getting slower and slower. What I did? I changed to Linux.
Now my laptop boots up very fast, crashes very seldom if ever and is very stabile. Really good collection of applications are available and the best part the story is that they are free of charge. User interface is very good and logical and you get very good support/help from the community. Sounds like computer heaven. Sounds like everyone should use Linux but why they don't?
I'm using Ubuntu distribution version which is quite popular. I'm quite average user, I don't use any special applications, more or less my usage is Office type of applications. The limitations comes from the special applications, for example I can't synchronise laptop calendar to my mobile. Wammu doesn't support my mobile. The point is that very very niche applications are not available for Linux. Why? One reason is that Linux is having too many distribution versions and it is very expensive to create software packages to all of the distribution versions. For the smaller companies it is a show stopper.
In my opinion Linux community should think how many distribution versions there really should be. I think two, one for workstation and one for server. This would boost the success story of Linux.
Our world is simple. It is very simple to model it, meaning the market economy. Like I have earlier mentioned, no big changes has happened. S-curve is still very valid model of the business world. In the beginning, non competition phase, life is easy. But later on it is going to be tougher and tougher. Should it be this way? Yes, it is called the market economy. The nature of the beast is that. Especially we should enjoy it! For a consumer companies will produce products and services all of the time cheaper and more cost efficient way. The other side of the coin is the fact that the companies are having tough times, at least they can't rest too much. A one good example is that here in Finland there has been discussion about that should government support air companies because they are planning to close routes to certain destinations? Definitely not! Government shouldn't sponsor unhealthy business. Airlines are today in tough situation, but that is how it happens, all of the business' will go that way. Today it is the airlines, tomorrow something else, maybe yours...
Can it be helped? Should it be? I say NO! If we are claiming to live in the free market economy, we should forget ideas like that and do our best to live with it.
And by the way, I now the secret around 42. All of it. It is even more simple than the market economy. Maybe one day I'll share that information...
That is one of the worst things what we have ever invented. Especially in public companies it makes life quite hard for public companies. Why? When you are doing strategical actions, three months is too short time. Usually even in one year you don't get results of your movements. The headache comes from the fact that public company is followed in three months cycle. And who follows the company or analysis it? It is 25 to 30 years old company analyst working for investment bank. MSc in economics, no experience in doing real business and no understanding of the industrial section/branch. Yes, they can calculate key figures from the financial report, that is what they have learned in the university. And what is the problem? There are people who believes this crowd because they don't either understand. This creates situation that the price of the stock has nothing to do with its real value. In these conditions it is really difficult to do long term plans and actions.
Of course the other side of the coin is that the owners have rights to get good information how their investment is taken care of. In my opinion we should think about new type of financial indicators to companies because this way we make long term development extremely difficult.
This time of the year one can forget the business aspect, at least in Finland. Fact is that the country is closing down for the summer. Nowadays it is not so total total than it used to be, but still. It is our value in the quality of the life. We need free summer as long as possible, because winters and autumns are pain in the a... And the closing time is the mid-summer.
There is also other way to make your life (quality) better. Some years ago I was working in France in a tough project. Lots of problems and fighting with the agent and the customer. Anyway, the project had a happy ending, but I learned some important things from my French colleagues. Very simple but very important. One has to eat every day, even three times a day, or even more. Make all of your meals pleasant peaceful non hurry event that is the French way. And of course, three dishes.
This way I can guarantee, your life is much happier and the quality of your life is high! Enjoy your mid-summer, I will!
What on earth I'm talking (writing) about! This goes again back to 80's when there was MSDOS three point something. Then came Apple McIntosh and its shape was similar which is typical for birdhouse here in Finland, so it got the nickname. Nokia used to be a conglomerate in the 80's and 90's and it did also wellies and tyres. And now there is a war between birdhouse and wellies. So I'm trying to do a brief and simplified analysis of these companies.
Apple has been very good in user interfaces and they still are. Because of them, we are having windows type of user interfaces and the mouse. User interfaces in iPod and iPhone are very creative and what we easily forgot is that their market share in the computers in graphical user segment is about 90%. What is their biggest skill? They are brilliant to in creating marketing hype. They almost steel marketing ideas and according to some court cases also technology. But the company value in stock exchange has gone sky high.
What is Nokia? It is a shit load of engineers who are capable in creating excellent technology. They are also a logistics machine. They have learned their lesson when they created 2110 model which was a huge success and it created a positive problem, how to produce enough. Due to their logistics skills it is very difficult to beat them in low end mobiles. Their headache is the high end phones where iPhone and others are challenging them. They are active in court which usually means that the business is not in so good condition. Stock price is very low.
Apple can very well segment customers and be strong there. The question is that will their closed world be a problem? What about Nokia? They have to change. Either change the strategy so that they'll stay in low end phones only or change the approach in the high end phones towards direction that customers wants/expects. Copying doesn't help, especially if they are lousy ones. You have to have own bright ideas.
And here is a one bright idea, my latest and greatest invention, a double mouse! Patent is pending ;-)
This morning I watched one morning show from the telly where they were telling a story about the lost car keys and that remind me about the one event of my life. I lost my engagement ring to my kitchen in Helsinki and found it from the Hotel Savoy in Bern after a half a year! And this story is true!
One morning when I was going to office I tried to put my ring to the finger, it was a bit swollen and the ring got stucked. I pulled it out, I pulled it out but it didn't got out. I pulled it and 'bling', I got it away but it disappeared. I looked everywhere, even the central heatings pipe holes, but no. It was gone, no idea where it can be.
About half a year that that event I was going to a meeting in London and after that to Bern to meet the customer. In the evening at the hotel room I took a plastic bag for laundry from my suitcase. I noticed inside the bag there was a bit off litter (we had a chipmunk at that time), I shook the bag and 'bling', my ring fell off.
And the story. The chipmunk's litter was in the plastic bag which ended up to my UK-Swiss trip. So there is still humour in real life.
It is happening again. The same thing what happened in the music industry. My claim is that the big part of the piratism is due to the fact that the industry didn't transfer the price reduction of the media to the consumer prices. Of course, one part of the story is that the technology made it possible and easy. But the history seems to repeat itself.
What is happening in printed media, especially books. We are getting iPads and other cool stuff for reading eBooks, but what the media is doing, they are digging the bunkers. Example, one number of Popular Science costs to the iPad 5$, but the annual subscription of the paper copy is 10 to 20$. Even authors (some of them) are saying that they don't want to be published electronically. Why is that, authors/writers I don't understand. Maybe they are manipulated by the publishers whose concerns I understand but don't accept. Lets study the value chain of a book.
There is a writes/author who writes a book, in the best cases, the book. It goes to the publisher. Publisher has (1) a editor who cleans the book. Then it will go to (2) the printing house and we'll get books. Publisher also takes care of (3) the marketing (at least should do). Then it goes to (4) the distribution, (5) wholesaler and (6) to the retailer. So it is very obvious where is the bogeyman, steps (2), (4), (5) and (6) will disappear. Good for us (consumers), bad for those whose business is based on the mentioned steps.
What I'm saying here is that we should pay valid money for the valid phases and work, workman has earned his/hers salary. But the lazy buggers who don't want to change when the world is changing can die. One might be able to slow the evolution, but one can't stop it. In the worst cases, industry just will create new type of piratism.
We are recovering from it, hopefully. EU and IMF is promising a shit load of money just to recover Greece from its problems. There has been a lots of discussion that should we help Greece. In theory it is a fact that in this case the wins are private and the risk is socialised, meaning that Greece will be saved by EU and IMF. But think about the consequences if Greece would go bankruptcy. All Euro-zone would go to chaos and what would be the price of that? Hopefully EU learns the lesson from here and creates real control/follow-up tools to monitor Euro-zone countries so that this can't happen again. Greece has do a heavy clean-up operation to make its economy to healthy level, it is going to be painful but the it is always the fact that invoice will follow. I hope that there are no new surprises waiting in Mediterranean area.
Greece is only part of the story. Big part of the crisis comes from the financial markets. It seems that in that business everything is allowed, at least up to time when the shit hits the fan. It looks that all of the greediness and collect-money-to-my-pockets is normal attitude in Wall Street, there are no limits in greediness. People are developing new and creative financial instruments which are generating money for a while. But every in 10 to 20 years everything collapses like we just have seen. Unfortunately this is a one example of the fact that these markets should also been open and track record should be visible.
Traditionally the May Day in Finland has been a party of labour unions. In my opinion it is time to blow up those organisations or do you want to go marching in tomorrow with a heavy hangover, even with the hangover? Of course, employers counter part(s) has to be blow up as well. Come on, we are living in 2010 and those are relics from 1950's or earlier. We may see now some kind of changes but that is a Mickey Mouse stuff, because also old contradictions can be seen (for Finnish audience buses in Helsinki). In my opinion, our society don't go forward if we still keep this old stuff with us. I think the big question is how we can move our labour markets to the 2010+.
I would rather see May Day as a good summer starting party for a drunken students! Why? They are the future and if they can have a good craic (Irish term for a good party) once a year without any pressure of the society, its cool.
So lets enjoy one of the Finnish National Boozing Day!
Coming back to the ICT event in Helsinki where I did visit. I want to comment the social media also, especially its value in marketing.
I'm trying to to package my understanding of the issue. Of course one has to understand that in the business world the value of social media is not only a channel to where you push your ads, in the best cases it is also a community, which can help you to improve your customer service/experience and the product itself. Usually in that order. One of the key points is that this is not a change of the marketing channel, it is a question how the world is changing. This change has been already day-to-day stuff in some development communities, like Linux-word. Now it has come visible for you and me, average John Does by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and many more similar services. And it won't go away.
There are a couple of interesting features in social media, for example the community starts to regulate itself especially when it is big enough. What is the critical mass, difficult to say, it varies. The key point here is as well like in 'old type of business' is that you have to have strategy and proper plan to enter and keep your business in the social media. It is not enough to put page in Facebook and wait for your 1st 1M Euros. The strategy has to contain how you keep your community active, how you bring value to the community. If you do your thing well, (social) media will pay you back.
On the other hand, is the social media as a advertisement channel or generally customer relationship tool really what it is claimed to be? We saw in the event complicated formulas how to calculate the value of reached people (active in the group) and numbers of people who wanted to develop the product. As an old fashioned business man I rather would see difference how much I sold before and after the campaign. This might be nasty a comment, but at the end of the day that's the measurement. I don't say that social media doesn't work, but today around it is too much mystification. It needs more realistic measurement tools before it will really fly in the business community.
And I just have to say this (here we go again...). Country Manager of Google Finland was complaining that the Finnish companies are not very active in search engine advertising, could it be something to do with the value ;-)
I visited ICT event in Helsinki this week. Especially the keynote speakers and the panel discussions were interesting. Mobile Internet panel touched one of my favourite subjects, mobile payment.
The funny thing of the subject is that I was speaking of it in Mobile Expo (I think that was the name of the event) in the same place about 7 to 10 years ago. I was young (hah, very funny) and enthusiastic at that time and sure that it will fly any day. All of the technology and the business models were there. What happened, or why it didn't happen?
For a long time mobile payment haven't been question about technology, it has been question about regulation and stakeholders. Regulator in Finland wants to have very detailed information in your mobile bill what you have bought and operators don't want to invest in their billing systems. Either statements don't hold water. Question is that how big effort you should (operator) do to be able to invoice bottle of lemonade? This was also mentioned in the panel. The key in these micro payments is that they should be very cost efficient. On the other hand, the investment is not so huge. I was early 2000 in team which actually developed that type expansion to the billing system and it was prepaid system which means that it had real-time requirement. We used commercial rule-engine and the cost was under 50k.
The real challenge comes from the stakeholders. Who would be the biggest losers? Banks and credit card companies, they are trying to protect their business. Now the situation looks like they are trying to get in to mobile payment markets, trials are already ongoing. My concern is that if there are too many players, prices will fly sky high, not usage.
Still, I believe that mobile payment will happen one day, we'll see when that day is.
I've been talking (writing) about the fortresses but haven't explained what I mean. Clarification coming now.
Basically I'm talking about monopolies or same type of conditions where free competition is not working or can't work. In these conditions there are always some kind of regulation which should work and that pisses me off when the regulator don't work properly, lazy buggers. I have mentioned earlier one example, Finnish electricity markets. You can buy your electricity from where you want. So there is competition. Bollocks, you have to pay the transmission costs to your local company who owns the cable to your house. Funny thing is that electricity prices are not raising, but the transmission prices are. What is the solution? From national economy point of view it would be very stupid idea to build second cable to yours/mine house. Lets separate cable from the electricity production, lets nationalise the cable network or something to that direction. Then the real competition would start in the electricity production.
Same thing with the frequencies which are also limited resource. Competition worked for a while for mobiles. It was quite heavy (competition until operators succeeded to lobby package deals to regulator. With the package I mean that you get the phone by monthly fee and you are tied to the operator for a certain time. That killed the real competition. The transmission of TV and radio signals is monopoly in Finland and regulator is not really controlling the prices collected from TV and radio companies. Same time regulator's other hand is wondering how to fund our national TV and radio company (YLE) when the transmission money is flying to France via Digia, who takes care of the TV and radio signals.
I hope that everyone of us can build a fortress, life would be much easier.
Coming back to what I've mentioned earlier. Lets talk about the basics. Everyone is talking about the free economy, but is it? To be honest, everyone who is talking about the wonders and the beauty of the free economy wants to have monopoly. Why? In free economy you have to deliver all of the time, in monopoly life is easier. Luckily for you and me, it is nowadays more difficult to have a monopoly. There are still some fortresses like electricity companies. One interesting example is the record labels and what has and what will happened in their business.
Brief summary, in early 70's we had vinyl, mid 70's we got c-cassette and early or mid 80's CD started to be the thing. Cool, everyone were the winners. Music media became very handy, but something went wrong. The cost for the music industry went down but they decided to be greed and didn't transfer the advantage to the consumers. If you compare costs of the chain LP-C-cassette-CD. CD is the cheapest. But the selling price was opposite. CD is the most expensive! I believe that with this strategy record labels created or at least motivated markets to create pirate markets. Obviously the ease of technology was part of the story. What had happened if record labels had done the right thing, move their cost reduction to consumer prices?
Now record labels are facing the real challenge. Distribution channels are changing totally, again. We are having iTunes, Spotify, Nokia comes with Music and shit loads of web-sites from were you can download music. And the prices are reasonable. Question is that for what you need record label, maybe only for marketing. I wouldn't buy shares of a record label. This is an example of iBusiness.
I'm again sideways, just a bit, but still. But I have to say this because I hate stupidity more than anything else.
Finnish supermarket group S decided and published that they won't sell any more Valio's (major Finnish dairy producer) milk. Surprisingly it generated a small fuss. In practice we have here in Finland two major dairy producers, Valio (Finnish one) and Arla (Swedish one). Both are selling Finnish milk but Arla is also importing milk from Sweden. So what. Situation ended to our Prime Minister's statement (I think in his blog) that he wants to have Valio's milk in his local shop. For f... sake, is that really worth of Prime Minister's statement? Even our main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat organised blind testing for Finnish and Swedish milk! I hope that they had twinkle on their eye, otherwise I'm loosing faith in free journalism.
It looks like Finnish government is loosing it. Prime minister had 20.000 good reasons to make noise about milk, all of them were euros received party's election campaign. There are also other unclear issues of the funding of his and party's campaign. When combining big 112-centre to smaller one Ministry for Internal Affairs decided to close the bigger one because the smaller one was in her home town or county. When deciding of the funding of Finnish national broadcasting company (YLE) Ministry of Communications decided not to decide anything and transformed the decision to the next government. It is nice to have a good management.
I'm not a fan of the opposition, vice versa. I believe that we would be even in deeper shit if our opposition were under control. It looks that there might be light at the end of tunnel, some of the younger generation politics seem to have brains with them and I don't mean Mauri and Paavo.
And now I'll try to wrap this up and push it back to the main road. Somebody once asked me why I don't participate to the politics. She obviously thought that I have skills for it, big mouth, which is open all of the time and especially at the wrong time. In my opinion, majority of the people who ends up to the politics have the problem that their skills don't match to their ambitions. So they end up to following the old civil servant's rule: if you don't do anything, you don't make mistakes and from mistakes you'll be laid off. I prefer business life, you have to deliver all of the time.
I hope that the story doesn't remind too much of Creutzfeldt-Jakob's.
Director contract, what it is? Basically it means that you are on the employer's side when the war begins. It means also that if you screw up or the shit hits the fan, you're out, in nano second. That's why in the contract there usually golden handshake. Typically it is from half an year to one year salary. And unions hates it.
Or do they... Dockers are currently on strike here (Finland) and the main issue is about the golden handshake, they want to have one year handshake. They need it. When this strike can/may kill Finnish export industry, harbours can be closed and the lads needs the money. Fair. Or is it?
Unions are dinosaurs, maybe they were useful in 50's. I believe that they understands that themselves, but they just tries to hide it. It is again question of the comfort zone, it is really difficult to do things other way. That's why they try to show that they are important or meaningful. Even my 13 years old son asked that what is the point on strikes at these times when it is more important to keep everything up and running to avoid losses.
Conclusion: break the bleeding union infrastructure or hire 13 years old to manage them.
MS Excel is an excellent tool. I now it, been using it for ages. As an engineer I can use it for everything, I've used it even for recruiting. But it is very dangerous tool to give to idiots. They will believe that the result of Excel is truth, nothing but truth.
Some wise arse(s) in the Ministry of Finance decided to save Finnish economy. After playing with Excel some time the result was: retire later. Using lyrics from one song it looks in Excel f... fantastic. But, there is always a but (single t). Unemployment percentage in Finland was 9.5 in January, age group 15 to 24 same figure was 22.7, over 7% bigger than last year. It is also a known fact that when you are over 50, it is almost impossible to get a new job. So Ministry of Finance has ordered us to stay longer in working life, hopefully they will also tell us where that job is. My Excel didn't do that.... Oh shit, I'm using OpenOffice.
This went to sideways from the main topic, but I had to tell this. Sorry about that.
Few days ago I saw from the telly a good program about business. I would say that it is MBA level education. In this case MBA doesn't mean Married but Available. What was the show? It was Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (USA). There was guy who was having Italian restaurant in New Jersey.
Why it was so good? Although his vocabulary is limited (I think that is his brand) he is working with basics. The fact is that business hasn't changed in big way during last 100 years. One change and two nuances. The change is the internet economy, nuances are S-curve time scale is shorter and everything is global, no boarders any more.
And what were the lessons?
Manage/control your business properly (business is for the customers).
Cost control; price your product according your costs, no over sized storages, no over sized product portfolio.
Quality! Don't insult your customers with bad quality.
Know your target segment and market your services accordingly.