Tag Archives: GM

Mobile Content : Case Study for Economic Recovery?

 

The deluge of economic doom and gloom in the news would make Chicken Little seem like a wide-eyed optimist.disney-chicken-little-sky-falling

Headlines scream at consumers with news like:

Auto Sales Plunge 45% to 27-Year Low

-Unemployment Rate hits 8.1%, Most Jobs lost in a short time period since they started keeping track in 1939

-Citicorp stock dips below $1

With all of this news you would expect that Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of the world’s leading anti-depression medication would be having huge profits. Their stock is down about 30% since the beginning of the year. I wonder if they hand out Prozac in their cafeteria?

In midst of all of these downward indicators, I saw several news stories in the last week about the forecast for Mobile Content Services.

The best the press could muster for a down beat story on the Mobile Content industry was “Under the worst case scenario, Mobile Content would grow by only 7% this year”. The worst case scenario for GM, GE, Chrysler, AIG, and the other former titans of American Industry is that they cease to exist, and for Mobile Content its only 7% growth. Wow!

Unfortunately the Mobile Content industry is not a trillion dollar industry and cannot impact the overall economy in a meaningful way. It can however serve to highlight what still works in our economic system.

When innovation is coupled with the right financial and human capital resources, true value is created for consumers, investors and employees. This has been the model for value creation in high tech for a generation.

During the worst economic carnage since the 1930’s, a new economic value chain has been created that is enabling unprecedented portfolios of mobile applications on a new generation of devices.

There are now over 15,000 Apple iPhone applications.

Twitter and Tweeting are accepted terms used on the nightly news.

Android (G1) is not science fiction and 10 year olds are carrying Blackberry’s.

I’ve been in the Mobile Content Industry for over a decade. The vibrancy of this new economic value creation system for mobile content is what we have been trying to achieve for a long time. Device technology, software, networks and courageous investors and management have finaly created the reality of what was once just a dream.

Despite the example of the mobile content industry, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of successful value-creating entrepreneurs presently on the bench. These are the leaders who have started, managed and sold companies. In the process they created tens of thousands of jobs, made millions for their investors and providing valuable services for businesses and consumers. Of course not every business was successful, but enough were to make a well-managed portfolio a good return.

I have the honor to personally know many of these industry leaders. I find their forced bench sitting, due to a lack of investment capital, one of the most staggering aspects of our present economy. Our nation never needed their talent more than it does now.

The U.S. Economy is going through a fundamental re-structuring. We have lived beyond our means because we have not created enough products and services that are valued on a global scale. The economy for the goods and services of the last century will continue to shrink. In my view the financial debacles of junk mortgages and the Madoff Ponzi schemes are symptoms of the underlying problem with our economy. Money was created with schemes that were in the final analysis, valueless.

We need new innovation, new services, new products, and new industries. We need real value creation.

The mobile content industry is just one example of such a value creation industry.

So here’s a note to all of you investors out there who have run for the hills.

“If mobile content and applications can thrive in this environment, what do you think will happen when the general e conomy finally recovers?”

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For those with the capacity and the courage to invest in the right opportunities now, the rewards should be extraordinary.

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Filed under Apple, auto sales, bailout, blackberry, citicorp, iphone, mobile, Mobile Application Stores, unemployment

Does President Obama Need to Bail Out Twitter?

obama tweets

During this historic week there will be many pressing issues for the new administration: The Economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Hamas, Global Warming, Energy, Education, Social Security, Health, and lastly Twittgm logoer.

Billions are being given to GM to build more car&trucks that the public really no longer wants. For a fraction of that investment we could save Twitter and the worlds premier micro-blogging network.

To Twitters credit they have finally hired a business development person. A good step in figuring out the revenue side of their equation. However, here is my New Year’s gift to Twitter.

Twitter has a large following and seems to have no way to make money, or does it?

One of my colleagues seems to have broken the revenue code for Twitter. Since she asked that I protect her identity I will call her “Mickey”. Mickey has been blogging with Twitter for a couple of years. Her Tweets have a modest number of followers: perhaps a couple of co-workers, friends, relatives and a few random lurkers. What was valuable about Mickey’s Twitter existence was her Twitter name. It seems that a company that wanted to broadcast their product messages on Twitter desired Mickey’s Twitter name. Similar to those who made money by domain sitting on website names, there is actually a real economy in Twitter names!

Mickey and this company negotiated a settlement with real cash exchanging hands.

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A recent article in Venture Beat revealed that 93 of the top 100 brands do not own their own Twitter brand names. Naturally this “opportunity” is not unique to Twitter. Clearly the same economy exists at Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.

All of these social networks have become large transmission networks for targeted content and thus have an obvious commercial value.

A big difference between Internet domain names and the private namespaces of social networks is that they are privately owned and reserved by the owners of the SN. The Internet has the Uniform Dispute Resolution Mechanism, while there is no such mechanism for Social Networks. These networks operate within the normal commercial guidelines of any business and are thus subject to trademark and copyright laws within the jurisdictions of their business. Namespaces for Social Networks are in a big gray area right now.

In the Twitter terms and conditions they state:

“We reserve the right to reclaim usernames on behalf of businesses or individuals that hold legal claim or trademark on those usernames.”

Now back to Mickey.

Why should Twitter allow their subscribers to barter usernames and not profit from the network that they own?

Here are my two suggestions for Twitters Commercial Business Model.

obamaFirst, Twitter should recover all trade names for companies that are owned by individuals who are speculators and not official company officials. (At least Mickey got her payment!) This move would signal that Twitter is serious about the business use of their network. Any company that wants to do business on Twitter and capitalize from their valuable network should have to pay a direct fixed monthly fee to Twitter. In addition, a variable monthly fee can be gained based on number of Tweets and followers. These businesses would pay for access to millions of subscribers, just like advertisers pay for television ads.

Second, Twitter should build a business-matching engine. This feature would suggest that users follow certain commercial channels based on their Tweets, interests and other fans and followers.

These suggestions are not going to garner 100’s of millions for Twitter, but they are the prerequisite to larger advertising and subscription models.

If they follow some of these ideas, Prsident Obama can spend more money for the bailouts of CitiGroup, Ford and GM.

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Filed under advertising, E-Commerce, economy, mobile, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, obama, politics, social networking, Twitter