Thursday, February 11, 2010

Take Control over your destiny

I really enjoy reading Bijan's posts. They are very insightful, and, since there are mutual interests (consumer-facing tech, music and mobile) many times the advice or view given in his posts applies directly to me.

This morning's post is a good example: Take Control over your destiny. To summarize (I recommend reading the original post), try to control your dependencies on operators and OEMs on direct consumer plays, as much as you can.

Here's my thoughts on the topic:
I couldn't agree more, wouldn't that be terrific. However in some cases, the operators and OEMs control a critical piece to be worked around. I'm not suggesting employing a full-time BD guy to be in front of operators and OEMs, but you better be able to leverage the assets they own well. Let me give two examples: Mobile Payments and Mobile Enabling Technologies (from barcodes to speech-driven 'activities').

In the case of Mobile payments, the operators *own* the critical bits that allow for acceptable user experience. At least as it comes to mobile web (mobile apps are different). I hate to admit, but the Paypal/Amazon/Google checkout are simply not as friendly as the 1-click WAP checkout button that results in an on-bill transaction, that's been deployed and heavily used in the UK for years now. The UK operators realized the need and potential, and gathered to create a solution called PayForIt. I believe that every startup that wants to see mobile commerce on mobile web has a real problem exactly because of that.

Similarly, mobile enabling technologies have been proven to drive revenues through increased usage, device and plan sales. Enabling technologies, IMO, aren't best positioned on the device as a silo application. They really should be preloaded as an infrastructure background service with APIs to any application: then, let the user search the web using speech browser, play games and dictate. Use barcodes (or google goggles) to scan a real-world item and embed as recommendation to a friend in your FB app. Things like that. Getting preloaded, or embedded as infrastructure layer, as we know, is a pretty complex OEM play.

In some mobile consumer app plays you can provide a good service without heavy dependency on operators and OEMs, but not all. My 2 cents.

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