Tag Archives: business

Why Nokia is doomed and Blackberry (RIM) is failing

Yesterday, Robert Scoble posted a really good opinion piece on the problems with Nokia’s current business strategy. In his view, Nokia is doomed because the company still fails when it comes to attracting the attention of app developers and influencers, two groups which are fueling Apple’s iPhone and IPad platform growth.

Why is Nokia in a poor spot? Because I’ve had several mobile executives visit my home carrying Nokia phones. Funny enough they always are also carrying iPhones and Android devices. I poke at the folks carrying all these devices. “Do you like the Nokia N8?” The answer is always “no.”

The thing that Tomi and Marko don’t admit is that Nokia’s strategy is in a deep hole with influencers and developers.

Now, do these folks matter? Not in the short term.

But in the long term? Oh, yeah. Microsoft is already learning how important they are. Why? Sales of Windows Phone 7 haven’t been very good at all. And Microsoft is already way ahead of Nokia. How? They have an awesome user experience with a new, rewritten for the modern age, OS. Plus, Microsoft is WAY ahead of Nokia in developer tools. Building apps for Windows Phone 7 is easier than for other platforms, my friends, who include Zagat’s top developer, tell me. Nokia is, they tell me, a real mess to develop for in comparison (and RIM is even worse).

In a related article, Michael Mace, a former executive at both Palm and Apple, outlines on his blog how RIM, makers of Blackberry, are also losing the mobile war. Mr. Mace says,

In my opinion, RIM’s real problems center around two big issues: its market is saturating, and it seems to have lost the ability to create great products. This is a classic problem that eventually faces most successful computer platforms. The danger is not that RIM is about to collapse, but that it’ll drift into in a situation where it can’t afford the investments needed to succeed in the future. It’s very easy for a company to accidentally cross that line, and very hard to get back across it.

Mr. Mace analysis of RIM’s shortcomings is quite extensive and in his opinion, the company can still turn things around.

 

 

News on the growing African tech development scene

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I’ve been watching the African tech developer scene for a while and have begun to see steady, increased growth in the community and in government and organizational support. A vast majority of the growth has been within the past 18 months and centered around urban hubs like Ghana and Kenya. Here are a couple efforts and indicators to keep an eye on particularly if you’re looking to get or stay involved in the business of African tech development: 

 

For more resources and insights follow me on Twitter (@gkofiannan) or send me a message at info[at]annansi.com

 

 

Notes on leadership and innovation from 2010 World Business Forum (my notes)

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Recently I was honored to have been able to attend The World Business Forum, an annual business conference featuring some of today’s most influential business and leadership luminaries. The event, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, featured 18+ speakers – including Al Gore, Jack Welch, Vijay Govindarajan, and Charlene Li – covering a range of business topics from social media to innovation to government. As a featured blogger – along with writers from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post – I watched and listened for two days as global business leaders shared their insights on stage. I’ve outlined portions of my speaker notes for you to read below. You can also read through the archive of on-the-spot tweets from myself and fellow attendees in the #WBF10 Twitter stream for more context.

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Wal-Mart plans Africa debut with $4.2 billion buy of S. Africa’s Massmart

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The Guardian reports that USA-based Wal-Mart , the world’s biggest supermarket, is planning into Africa with a $4.2 billion bid e to buy South Africa’s third-largest retailer MassMart. Massmart has 290 shops, mostly in South Africa, with 24 stores in 12 other African countries including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. It manages eight wholesale and retail chains under various brand names. The group reported sales of $6.1bn last year.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is planning a major move into the fast-expanding African market, announcing today that it is in talks to buy South Africa’s third-largest retailer, Massmart.

The move, which would be worth $4.2bn (£2.65bn), will be overseen by Asda’s chairman, Andy Bond, who is responsible for operations in Africa. Wal-Mart is offering 148 rand (£13.40) a share for Massmart, which is nearly 10% higher than its last closing price.

The acquisition would be Africa’s biggest deal in more than a decade, and Wal-Mart’s largest since it bought the UK supermarket chain Asda in 1999. In May, it agreed to acquire 194 stores in the UK from the Danish discount chain Netto for nearly £800m, although competition regulators are forcing it to sell 25% of the shops.

 

Video: “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship” – Seth Godin

Inspiring talk from author Seth Godin about why we are hesitant to take action and complete projects/tasks. “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship,” says bestselling author Seth Godin, arguing that we must quiet our fearful “lizard brains” to avoid sabotaging projects just before we finally finish them.

Scarcity mindset in emerging markets fuels global innovation

Sohrab Vossoughi, founder and president of ZIBA Design, writes in BusinessWeek about how applying a mindset of scarcity and resourcefulness, learned from emerging markets, can bring about an innovation revolution. Points to keep in mind to keep product development costs down.

A mindset of scarcity and resourcefulness helps to cut costs. It’s also a mindset that can benefit change-makers in the current health-care discussions.

The health-care industry can use the lens of resourcefulness to focus its problem-solving on creating relevant solutions that create true value: lower costs, improved outcomes, and increased accessibility. It can take cues from a few companies that are already leading the way…GE learned two things about this new opportunity: First, those in emerging markets do not require the product bells and whistles that wealthier nations have come to expect, so GE can offer solid performance at a low cost…providing “a 50% solution at a 15% price.”