First rule of first principle thinking, do not use first principle thinking when a mental model is available

Category: n70

MoMo Demo Experience

Experience with doing the MoMo Demo on monday could described best as a little lack luster. It is little hard to say that for an event that you try to coordinate but that is how I would best describe it. But I think the best part of doing an open/informal conference is that you have room to experiment new things and make it better every time 🙂 and this was the first time we were introducing demos with regular talks.

The little bit of my disappointment stems from the lack of response from the audience during my demo after all that was my take away from doing a demo. The tough time that I had with the audience was that I was not able to engage most of them in the discussion as they had already moved out for snack time.

Any consumer technology product  can have  possibly two response only-  either users love it  or they hate it.  Any other intermediate response means that you are dead meat already.  Kathy sierra has very articulately this very clearly in her post long ago.

Now having obtained rave reviews from those who are alpha testing ‘wwigo’ an indifference from the audience came as a serious bummer to me.  What was a little comforting though was when I chatting with someone after the demo and he told me that I should not worry about it too much it because I was competing for attention with food ( most of the group had already proceeded to munching their snacks at the snack table  at the back of the room) which even the best of the speakers in the world  can’t compete well 🙂
It was little trying and hard for me to wear both the hat of  a presenter and as well a s a coordinator of the event. Couple of things that I wanted to articulate to the audience as a coordinator of the event would have been mistaken as an answer from the presenter.

For example  the demo was not meant for analyzing whether the product demo’ed is worthy of any investment. It was more for sharing a cool idea/concept, what it could be used for etc and feedback on what could be done to make it better. Rather than dicussing the coolness or usefulness of  the Inactiv service or how it could be made better the audience went in tirade against on how much money Inactiv is bleeding 😦
Lessons that I learned as presenter

  • Never announce what the demo is about even if people pester you to do so, the surprise/intrigue element goes away. I had at the request from a member mentioned what the demo was going to be about.
  • Never schedule your demo just before/after lunch or snacks time.

Lessons as an organizer

  • Repeat this to yourself – unstructuredness is good but unorganized may not be.
  • ALWAYS Check beforehand the presentation room for accoustics and lighting.

After recieving good and improvement feedback from the members to have a little bit of more direction & focus we will be trying to make the next time’s MoMo a little bit more structured during the discussion.

Smartphone bazaar

I don’t know the number of smartphone users (let’s say just Nokia) in India but I am sure that is not so low that it is economically insignificant. I have myself observed hundreds of people carrying a Nokia 6600 or 3230 and have also observed a few carrying an N70. Infact I have an N70 myself which I initially bought so that I could toy/play around with that phone and experient with few symbian applications (that I hopefully can sometime write) but of late have found that it is an extremely usable phone and I decided to use it as a regular phone as well ( Even though at it’s price I would have never bought it as a regular usage phone).Talking about N70 it is an interesting platform in which I can plug so many features which is what is what is impressive about the device but I have my fair shair of complaints in it as well as many of the features dump you when you really need them. But anyway this post is not about N70 or Series 60 etc. It is rather about smartphones and their usage in India and hurdles a user might face and also gaps which need to filled to make it a better experience.

A smartphone is a platform and a platform is another way of saying it is a two way market. Now any market will be a successful one only when there are enough buyers and sellers in it. The interesting thing though about a two market is that the number of sellers and buyers are interdepent on each other and which is what is that leads to a chicken and a egg problem in it. Any platform needs great amount of planning and coordination for it kick off but once it is fully functional then it kind sustains well mostly by itself.

A Windows OS is also platform which did not grow very big in India because that market had too much friction in it. Any application worked out to be very expensive for an average Indian, the cost of software in dollar was converted into rupees and sold as it is. There was no widespread payment mechanisms (credit/debit cards ) available through which payments could happen. So basically products were not findable and those that were findable were not buyable and this lead to creation of now very successful grey markets of Nehru place etc.

Now while looking for application for smartphone sitting here in India I find it extremely difficult to get it in a legitimate way. There are tons of extremely useful application which increase the usefulness of having a smartphone but I find that there is just no way I could get them. The only way I could obtain any application is either a trial version available at Handango or if it is a free to download application. If there is an application which can be used if only it can bought or if its trial version expires then I am kind of stuck. If I wish to buy an application then I have to pay in dollars (a credit card required for that) and also that works out to be 10 – 20 $ for each application. I have absolutely no intention of paying 500 – 1000 Rs for any mobile phone application. If it were about 50 Rs or even if it is Rs 100 then I might go ahead and pay that for some exteremly useful applications and if it were 10 – 20 Rs then I would absolutely pay for every application that I use.

If we have to avoid a grey market for smartphone application then we must take intiatives and create a bazaar for smartphone. We seriously lack a smartphone bazaar just like one is available in the US but this bazaar should be properly tuned to the Indian market realities. It should be sensitive to price points that works in India, should support a payment mechanism which is easy to use and would be very widely usable and acceptable in an Indian scenario, should have mechanism through which products can be findable. I find it surprising very surprising why is that any enterprising entreprenuer has not taken up this interesting market gap and turned it into a business opportunity when all the necessary elements for the solution is available and all it needs is someone to put it all together. The telco’s and the associated parties just won’t do this because it threatens their position.

Just to reiterate what is needed

  • A place where users can download an application and pay for it with the least amount of friction.
  • A place where one can upload applications to be sold in Indian Rupees ( Developed by Indian Developers and Products sold by US/UK in $)
  • A payment mechanism which works for paying small denominations like 50-100 Rs and which is ubiquitous
  • A place where conversations can happen and products can become findable.

To provide above it requires someone to build a simple site with very basic features like that of Handango, integrate with payment companies that are in India now like mChek or Paymate that allow you to pay via SMS and do payments of small denominations and then loosely couple this with a forum like allaboutsymbian.com or howardforums.com created specifically for India where people can converse and application can be findable.

Now if you are interested in this and wish take this further then you could complain saying that I have outlined all the easy part and what about the not so easy part of solving the chicken & egg problem. For that you should go figure out a way by yourself to seed the market, either by creating by your own a few compelling applications or go to talk some existing publishers or maybe even speak to handango.

Nokia Media Platform

Most of us would have seen the Nokia N series ad featuring Gary Oldman in which he quips “All the world is a stage and all men & women merely players”.

 

He has recently released a short film shot entirely using a Nokia N93 called Donut. It is available on Nokia studio.

 

I really love what Nokia has done with their N series as a platform, I am not super thrilled with N70 phone though (has good features but is very slow and keypad is hard, will post a long review on it sometime) but as a platform they have created an amazing setup. Nokia which has stopped calling the device it manufactures a phone and labeled them as a multimedia computer has not only created this device but has enabled in all possible ways other complimentary service/product that would be required for using the device. Nokia is one company which understands the 2.0 equation pretty well in the mobile & media space and has been positioning itself well by being the best at what it is best – a platform player. Check out

Nokia N Series Studio

Nokia MBlog

I am waiting for the day when the price of an N93 device drops to one third of its current price ( ie to current price of a 6600) from which point onwards a true revolution would ensue and we can expect to see a long tail in media very evidently 🙂

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