Tuesday, 17 July 2012

My 3 points suggestions 4 @MarissaMayer as new Yahoo CEO, hires Google’s Marissa Mayer as its CEO | Firstpost

Yahoo hires Google’s Marissa Mayer as its CEO | Firstpost:

Well, it will be a big challenge, as she will lead 'as an outsider' on a military jet plane with jittery board who might have trigger happy fingers on her seat's eject button... 

plus internal politics and pressure in creating 'new vision' to consolidate now perceived disparate yahoo... turnaround is a different Kattle of fish. 

good thing is that seems like Marissa has a loving family and now as millionaire, she can stay true to her new vision for Yahoo and thus has a bullet proof parachute whether got ejected immaturely or not.. 

my suggestion? she need to be in it to win it, turnaround take time, probably 2-5years if not longer.. she therefore need time, and given the quarterly earnings pressure etc. it would be very difficult to implement and see results (except cost cutting which sadly is not good for long term future of company except cutting dead woods), therefore, my suggestions would be: 

1.) buy time, if it is cheap enough, and she is bold enough, take Yahoo private, (share price at all time low!?), with hopefully a decent war chest for acquisition that supports the medium to long term vision created (next point). 

2.) devise a medium & long term vision that has all the internal stake holders buy-in, and work towards that, and using her strength of products/design, and focus on what customers might not what they wanted in the first place... Yahoo is strong in rated pages (passed sell by date?) and even pictures (flickr) and even groups... thus, need a 'new ground'

3.) find a new ground that not any of the majors have a stake in vs facebook, google, microsoft.. seems to me secure enterprise could be one (google is trying the 'cloud' enterprise from scratch), maybe its time to buy & merge in some best in clase enterprise companies like blackberry?? (I trust Thorsten would not listen to my previous suggestions http://t.co/1K4UnFj . Yes, it would be easy picking if Blackberry is not under strong management! )  

Good luck with new job & new baby, good that Marissa is a lady, otherwise, there will be new mistress soon.. 

Joking aside, glad that most likely all my flickr photos & yahoo groups are now in 'safer hands'. ;-) 


Monday, 16 July 2012

my blog re challenges/danger, opportunities & responsibilities regarding Ralph's comment re Social gaming | Ralph Topping - William Hill CEO

Ralph, it’s very brave & right of you to take this stance, which I would also agree with & totally support & hope others would follow (no doubt your comments are targeting both the City & wider audience interested in the gaming world).  I’ve been a stern supporter of GamCare (www.GamCare.org.uk) since I started looking at the industry back in 2002 (for Camelot), who has one of the best code of conduct of the gambling industry we have seen worldwide (Ralph & WillHill has been a strong supporter/donor for Responsible Gambling Trust, but not on this years's list, yet..!? )  Therefore, no doubt this comment from Ralph is a very informed & considered one.

Raf's view is also valid as internet is evolving and in fact regulation might not help really given the speed it changes! And to be honest, there is already much ‘self-regulations’ within the internet world (there might be ‘self-imposed’ “eco-system” rules, like facebook, google, android, iTune, in terms of what can be promoted and developed  etc.)  However, we have seen how easily such rules can be changed based on public opinion or political pressure!

The reality is that like remote gaming/gambling 10-15years back, it was so new that people had no clue the likely effect the new category may have on
1.)  Games design (proposition, what they might like/prefer etc. would customers even like it!)
2.)  target audience (likely take up, behaviour, habit etc.) nor
3.)  whether it would cannibalise their original offline businesses..

All those worry were unfounded, as we have since seen many multi-billion turnover operators.. but this iGaming industry is unique, with typical CPA as high as £100-£160 means that based on supply & demand, some might argue that such high cost was due to combination of high competitions and too many providers vs availability of gambling friendly target audiences. Therefore, if either of these are true, then the arrival and availability of new ‘social-gaming’ would thus be very attractive indeed!

One thing is for sure, that based on hard research, like UK prevalence studies, 2010, 2000 (on UK market, which some may say the most gambling friendly jurisdiction), shows that the amount of people that gamble has only grown limited (in 2010, around 75% but including mostly national lottery), and the number of people that suffer from 'problem' gambling is only less than 1% (of 62m residence in UK) and that is with great works of GamCare (gambleaware.org ) etc... with certifying on and offline casino gaming gambling operators.. however, given likes of Facebook now claiming to be now 900million users predicted to get to billion, if we have 0.01% of them that might be susceptible for problem ‘gaming’, this will indeed be a major worldwide challenge!

Therefore, as Ralph pointed out, if we suddenly use same products (for fun or for fee and/or something in between) and now target much wider audience, given the likely small minority of ‘problem gamers’, the number of people that might have problems could expand exponentially… !!!

Raf is right in saying that self-regulation works, which of course it would, if all are VC funded AND have a conscience and has a dedicated career like Raf for games & gaming… but sadly without regulations or at least some common ‘world’ standard to protect the potentially vulnerable, the potential return is just too attractive for unscrupulous operators in the wild wide west of internet.. thankfully we are talking about small amounts I hear Raf and others saying.. agreed but thankfully people talk (but maybe not enough in sometime) as in a marketing conference just couple of weeks back, a dad told me he had to punish his daughter as she lost (well paid £191.00) on iPhone’s app by buying accessories (not gambling app!)…

Same is therefore true for even non gaming application providers, thus, even Raf is doing the right thing means that others would still exploit the opportunities! 

Regulations is the way to go I would hear Ralf and Jenny say, Gambling act 2005 is a world class legislation, sadly due to tax and other reasons we may have operations of major brands based here (some historic or offline reasons) but sadly now given the deregulations of US (!), rest of Europe, present & future gaming/ gambling operators have so many jurisdictional options to choose from that sadly even if UK lead from the front does means potentially unscrupulous operators could still claims they have a ‘license’.. what does the adults/teens of Indonesian or China, French or Spain knows the difference license from UK, Alderney to Antigua, or First Cagayan? Would they do a full research, especially for leisure pounds of social gaming to check the jurisdictional landscape!?  Its great that the jurisdictions are working together in their working group towards common standard, but intrinsic nature of the market is that there will for sure be varying level of regulations..and the regulations could easily be changed, and domicile companies could also easily migrate in weeks.. remember the mass exodus of a jurisdiction (won’t name names) a few years back?

This is very close to heart of my company GamBond®’s ethos which is about bringing Global Trust & Confidence for any remotely trading industries (gaming included, but also any financial services from pension to banking)

Therefore, yes, regulation by all means, but industry self regulations would also need to be done, but real key is having the right products AND due to potential addictions problems (yes I am mentioning this!) It is paramount to put in the right process and monitoring to ensure the potentially vulnerable is protected like the industry leaders like Ralph is doing. Do refer to the GamCare code of conducts.  You may say, that’s my personal opinion, Ralph, Jenny & I are not alone. See:

I quote below from an ‘games’ industry article that analysed reason for success of Zynga, from games industry website: Gamasutra, in the author’s own words:
Zynga proudly states that they are an “an analytics company masquerading as a games company”. We see this a bit differently: Zynga is a gambling company masquerading as a new form of games company – and a wildly successful one at that. Their ability to leverage gambling mechanics has earned them over 200 million monthly active users, almost $1 billion in revenue in 2011, and a potential $15-20 billion valuation in their pending IPO.”

Ralph is definitely right, just see the final paragraph of the article:
No matter the volume of Zynga Poker chips a player earns, or FarmVille resources a player accumulates, their real money has been exchanged for virtual currency, just like an other cash-for-goods transaction. The biggest thing that unequivocally separates social gaming from gambling is that the players have no ability to tangibly recoup the money put into the game. By giving players the ability to win back their investment of time and money in real-money rewards, that would quite literally be a game changer.” 

Having had a search though, the author works for a converged gambling enabling platform provider for non gaming developers, which make sense given where he comes from.

Of course, a ‘well accepted’ non gambling market like Japan is a good ‘mirror’ of this situation, where players play Pachiko machines using balls, but the balls are supposed to be exchanged for gifts, right?

This however highlights that we really do need to address “the responsible social gaming” & regulation aspect (ideally on a co-ordinated worldwide basis), and help
1.)  future users understand the differences
2.)  operators to instil business processes to monitor and
3.)  platform providers develop tools to help users and operators to prevent any potential financial & reputational tragedies (not only for individual operators but for the newly converged social gaming vertical)..
4.)  Ultimately, enable individual players to monitor/limit their play on a pan industry level (good aim to have)

This is not scaremongering, but has already happened, we don’t need to look far, for non UK reader, you might not be aware of another converged ‘gaming’ opportunity back in 2006-2008.. namely “Call-in TV” [using technology from the multi-million/billion of premium rate sector (premium rate phone lines & premium rate SMS)]. There was also call for regulation; sadly it did not happen before the whole future of the industry collapsed, see this guardian piece of calling for regulation.

We had seen the launch, promised potential success and close down of ITV Play in just one year (the aftermath reputational challenge for the ITV brand was probably even worst!)… see ITV Play (wiki), result of the closing down of ITV Play (Guardian).

Therefore, I personally think Ralph is doing the right & honourable thing, no doubt Jenny & the gambling commission will doing the right thing also (although she can't be too strict & scared the present & future licensees' off!?) , challenge is hope other world leading regulators and gaming companies will follow suit.

Definitely must read piece from Ralph, do click through above link to read the full article, if you are too busy, below is the last paragraph, essence:

"So there you have it. The leading British gambling company  has chosen to forgo a potentially lucrative business opportunity until appropriate regulation is in place. Why? Because we take the Gambling Act and our social responsibilities very seriously. We are well regulated and we have no problem with that. You can’t gamble in our Retail estate or on our websites unless you are over 18 and we have stringent policies in place to make this happen. I would certainly hope that John Penrose as the Minister charged with responsibility for protecting the vulnerable and Jenny Williams the CEO of the Gambling Commission are as resolute as we are at William Hill.

Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff | Fast Company

Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff | Fast Company:

Well worth the read but below is KEY!

"3. People buy things because of what having it says about them. This is what The Atlantic author mentions when he talks about the desire of Millennials to live in urban settings. Though I don’t pretend to speak for everyone in my generation, for me this choice has almost nothing to do with being anti-car. Instead, it's about all the other things a "non-car life" represents: it helps me be more environmentally conscious, socially aware, and local. This distinction of purpose may seem nuanced, but motivation is a powerful differentiator (perhaps one of the most powerful).
WHAT TO DO: Connect people to something bigger than themselves through your product or service. A bigger impact is almost always there, we just tend to forget about it.
As we watch the old definition of "ownership" go extinct, how will you leverage the unique connections your product or service could create? It could very well mean the difference between life and death for your business."

Saturday, 14 July 2012

my short thoughts on Restrictions on cross-border casino advertising are not prohibited under EU law - Articles - Olswang LLP

Restrictions on cross-border casino advertising are not prohibited under EU law - Articles - Olswang LLP:

Like any cross boarder industries, only a worldwide harmonised rules would work.. as otherwise, it would be either

1) compliance for some and
2) lets find the best loophole for some..
3) or combination of the two..

however there is no escaping a universal fact:  "No one country can legislate for the world" and therefore, sadly this will be the status quo going forward for the future unless there is some catalyst for change, to bring some #common standards and measurements..

Only when there is a common benchmark, would industry players can compete fairly and thus can focus efforts on creating new and better products and also adopting best practices to protect consumers, like responsible gaming and supporting charities like GamCare etc.

"The ruling highlights once again the fragmentation of EU Member States' approach to gambling regulation and is a reminder that while outright protectionism will not be tolerated, there is still room for some Member States to take a more zealous approach than others. Reacting to yesterday's judgment, the European Gaming and Betting Association is reported as stating that the ruling "confirms that Member States cannot regulate the gambling market in isolation but need to take into account protection guaranteed by other Member States". With Michel Barnier's recent commitment to pursue Member States whose gambling legislation infringes EU law and the upcoming publication of the European Commission's gambling action plan (see our recent update for further detail), we will wait and see whether this judgment has any impact on the future harmonisation, or divergence, of EU gaming regulations.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 12 July 2012

must watch, still same after 3years! "Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction"

"Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction":

its incredible indeed... 3years now and nothing has changed!

Or listening to NPR interview of Dr. David Kessler, former Commissioner FDA.

Friday, 6 July 2012

My revised suggestion short blog for Thorsten CEO & Frank CMO of RIM, Saving RIM in Three Easy Steps | Mobile Industry Review

Saving RIM in Three Easy Steps | Mobile Industry Review:

I would agree totally with points 2 and 3 as previously tweeted before 

however, I would change number 1 to something different, which will enable 2 & 3 and more, which is: 

1.) Take RIM private by a 'strong business leader' (as a second option with present CEO & board with some strong visionary to support and lead them strategically)

this will: 

a.) give them time to sort itself out without the demand of public market shareholders, lets be frank, share price and market cap does not necessary equates to viability of company, but mostly short term 'sentiments' of it.. 

b.) as it is a cash flow rich company, with good IP, good contracts and revenue streams directly with MNOs/MVNOs and enterprise distributors, after cost cutting, and bringing it private, it should have enough time to review.. yes, focus on 2. & 3. but review the proposed 1. maybe getting rid of H/W but there are many ways to skin a cat.. 

I have been saying a long while (yes, I emailed unsolicited advice to Thorsten).. Sadly appointing bankers would only do one thing, which is advising how to break up the company and sell as it is obvious and easy thing to do (& profitable for all, except the real stake holders of RIM, namely devoted users like myself!).. they would not have advised him to keep his nerves, take on the responsibility, risking personal reputation and future jobs and take the company private and try to rescue it. 

It is very stupid to fight the fight of APPLE in the game it created called the iPlayground.. RIM should stick to what it does best, does it 10x and 100x better and let others emulate them. it will take a year or so but being private, it can have enough time to do so! 

Definitely do: 

I.) looking at productising AND improving reliability of BBM which some might argue it is RIM's crown jewel.. 

II.) definitely emulate the success of app store, but focus on security, quality and efficiency of the apps, as I see the size of the apps typically goes up exponentially which is stupid (may have technical reason and it could be RIM's platform's fault!? or lack of good application developers!?) 

III.) marketing need to be much more savvy.. like in UK, BlackBerry sponsored the whole Sky Atlantic channel.. great, but hey the sky mobile app does not work on blackberry!! surely they could have used deals like this to ensure that there is a coherent marketing strategy.. 

IV.) or maybe it is really time to cut all marketing and focus 100% on products and services, learn from likes of Zappos & others, Thorsten & Frank should ask Jeff to watch the to be launched movie http://thenakedbrandfilm.com/ it might fire them up. 

but all the above is meaningless however, if they are taking the easy way out to break the company and sell them.. 

It would be a tragedy.. akin to during the dot.com boom when PCCW bought HKTelecoms, no doubt in this case whoever might buy RIM's asset would not be paying as much as PCCW did for HK telecom in 2000. 

RIM breaking up and selling is good for the short term, shareholders and easy for the management but from stake holders (like me, loyal BlackBerry users) and also in fact the telecom operators' point of view, RIM keeping faith, sorting itself out, and helping the telecom world to fight the upstarts of likes of iParty is key.. RIM's management might find they may have more friends in telecoms world (esp. MNOs/MVNOs) if they can help maintain a viable and equitable revenue sharing with the operators and rest of value chain.. maybe a pan industry open-standard app-store? 

some leadership from RIM could in fact save not only themselves but also loyal customers and in fact the telecom tribe (who is more into capital intensive and highly regulated business).  Google/Android/Apple will NOT be sharing & paying for data.. just that point will get the MNOs thinking! 

I am telecom guy through and through, this should maybe form a warning for other telecom firms. 

Happy to hold Thorsten's hand if needed, call me. 

Good luck!  


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Brilliant insights re e-book publishing and Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know | Fully Equipped - CNET Reviews

Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know | Fully Equipped - CNET Reviews:

Big thank you to David.

Brilliant article with tonnes of great tips. must read.. also do read this one also re e-book: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-20010547-82/how-to-self-publish-an-ebook/

I learnt most from below but not sure if I can get ISBN for Europe/Asia!? anyone knows?

"11. Buy your own ISBN -- and create your own publishing house.
If you have market aspirations for your book, buy your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and create your own publishing company.
(Credit: www.isbn-us.com)
Even if you go with one of the subsidy presses for convenience's sake, there's no reason to have Lulu, CreateSpace, iUniverse, Xlibris, Author House, Outskirts, or whomever listed as your publisher. For around $100 (what a single ISBN costs) and a little added paperwork, you can go toe-to-toe with any small publisher. Lulu.com sells ISBNs, other self-publishing companies don't. The complete list of sellers is here.
Note: Most self-publishing operations will provide you with a free ISBN for both your print book and e-book but whatever operation provides you with the ISBN will be listed as the publisher."

Fascinating to see Mark's presentation:

How Data-Driven Decisions *Might* Help Indie Ebook Authors Reach More Readers
View more PowerPoint from Smashwords, Inc.

and don't forget Mark's free book on secret to ebook publishing success: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/145431