Telecom providers plans to strike at mobile ads

Recent news reveals that global telecom providers may “bomb” the mobile ad space by blocking ads on phone networks, in order to get a share of the Internet advertising cookie. The telecom providers believe that since they have paid for the infrastructure they are entitled to some of the profits reaped from mobile ads.

Never mind the CPM

Mobile ads are on the rise, no doubt. Across all channels we are seeing 50%+ mobile market share. The problem with mobile users is that they are generally a lot worse customers. E-commerce sites generally experience a significantly lower conversion rate from mobile users than desktop users and mobile ads are more often than not worth a fraction of desktop ads.

If telecom providers are going to demand a share of the smaller pie, well, we are going to see some very unhappy shareholders at Google and Facebook. Though I would argue that Facebook would suffer less than Google as most of Facebook ads are on facebook.com or their app, on an https connection. Unless the telcos plan to issue MITM prone certs, I don’t see how they will easily be able to extort ad money from Facebook.

Google has a significant portion of ads from off-site ads via their Adsense programme. These are the likely target for the bomb. I don’t doubt that Google with their technological prowess could work around this block but they may not want to play cat and mouse with global telcos who could, in a fit of anger, throttle mobile visitors to bandwidth heavy Google properties like YouTube.

What will happen?

If the big telecom providers decide to launch the bomb I suspect that we will see a string of lawsuits, probably anti-trust and net neutrality related. Even if the advertisers don’t bend to the demands for revenue sharing, the lawsuits will cost time and money for all parties.
With text messages decreasing rapidly and mobile data becoming ever cheaper, at least in Sweden, the telcos are feeling the pressure. It used to be the case that buying a phone off a telco was more expensive in the long run but these days it tends to be cheaper than buying the phones straight off, say Apple. Data is also way more expensive than texts for the telcos and this means that their margins are shrinking quite rapidly. We should expect more schemes like this in the future as margins and stable revenue shrinks.

It is unlikely that this scheme will succeed in the long run as the technical prowess of the big advertisers are like to be enough to work around the majority of blocking attempts like this but telecoms providers double-dipping may well be the future as shareholders demand growth in a soon to be saturated market.

-P

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Knowledge Sharing: Spread Knowledge to Reduce Risk

For most businesses the most important resource is their employees. Without the employees productions stops, things break and the company goes bust. This is where knowledge management becomes important.

Employee Of The Year

Employee Of The Year

Combine this with the all too common issue that certain key employees have unique knowledge, making them irreplaceable for the company. Ask yourself, does your company have an employee (maybe it is you?) who has mission critical knowledge that would severely harm the business if that employee would suddenly leave the organization.

“But Patrik, the employees at my company are loyal and would never leave” I hear you say. What happens if that key employee suddenly gets hit by a car and becomes hospitalized for a long period of time? Could your business survive such events without major repercussions for the bottom line?

Employee empowerment is, generally speaking, great for employee motivation and should therefore be cherished and encouraged but there has to be a plan in case the key employee suddenly leaves the company. This is one aspect of Knowledge Management.
There are significant organizational disadvantages when  specific employees has a monopoly on knowledge.  However, an employee may feel that they are losing their empowered status by sharing their knowledge.  This is an unfortunate attitude as an organization is little more than a collection of people and knowledge sharing is an important characteristic of an innovative company.

Knowledge is something that should be shared within an organization. Sharing knowledge increases innovation and can reduce costs. It increases innovation by increasing the knowledge of the employees, and thus enabling them to push the boundary of the combined knowledge.

Knowledge sharing also reduces costs by decreasing the time spent on implementing new solutions to problems already solved. If your organization has a good solution for a problem, then don’t bother reinventing the same solution. It is a wasted effort to have different employees spend time figuring out the same (or very similar) solutions to the same problem within different parts of an organization. Stroking the ego of an employee, while beneficial sometimes, is terribly inefficient use of time.

Knowledge sharing is hard, there is no question about it, especially in highly individualized companies. A focus on personal achievements, for example selling the most to get a bonus or a salary based entirely on sales, makes the employees reluctant to share knowledge. Of course the employees are reluctant to share their competitive advantage if they do not feel that they gain anything from the exchange, or even the opposite, they might lose out by sharing knowledge if their relative performance drops.

Reducing risk is an important concern for all businesses and employees leaving the organization is a fact of life.  If mission critical knowledge only kept within the head of one employee, then that is an organizational risk that should be mitigated. Knowledge sharing enables risk reduction for companies, especially those that depends heavily on knowledge workers.

Increasing knowledge sharing in organizations is a story for another time but a great place to start is to figure out if your company is at risk due to not sharing mission critical knowledge between employees.

[ShamelessSelfPromotion] Got any tips for jobs in the Stockholm Region, throw me an email at Patrik[at]pathy.se or on Linkedin.  [/ShamelessSelfPromotion]

-P

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Summer Reading List: Business, Startups & (Personal) Finance

It is summer! That means it is time for a summer reading list. I tend to mostly read during vacation times, and then I read a lot but this year I actually prepared for my vacation with literature. The theme of this summer is business, startups and (personal) finance. Not as casual as most literature I read but interesting. Without further ado, here is my reading list for the summer:

I Will Teach You to be Rich: No Guilt, No Excuses

I Will Teach You to be Rich

I Will Teach You to be Rich – cover off Amazon

I Will Teach You to be Rich (by Ramit Sethi) is a quite pretentious title but the book is well worth a read, I got the UK version of it which is not entirely applicable to Swedish situations but the core of the book is very relevant. It is basically a personal finance book with actionable advice how to start saving, easily and automatically manage your savings. The book’s author also has a blog with the same type of advice and more available for free, lots of good content on his mailing list. I have read about half the book so far and you can get most of the same advice from /r/personalfinance. I feel I knew most of the advice already but it is an easily digestible book with check-lists of what you should do to improve your finances. Well worth a read. For the gist of the book check out the video below, Ramit is talking about personal finance at Google:

This lecture is quite America-centric but has valuable advice for everyone. Check out the book at Amazon (Don’t worry! This isn’t a referral link!)  The book is well worth a read for anyone who is looking to sort out their finances in the near future, this is especially important if you need to get cash for a down payment on a flat in Stockholm….

 

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume

Personal MBA

Personal MBA

The Personal MBA is 400 odd pages MBA. That is the premise of the book. Josh Kaufman‘s book is a crash course into the world of business. Well written, to the point and actually extensive. It is not terribly in-depth but it will give you an idea of the most essential things that you probably would like to know about business. It can easily be used as a reference manual for business-stuff. Well worth a read for anyone interested in business. Is it a personal MBA? Perhaps, it sure is cheaper than a traditional MBA. The book has a vendetta against MBA programmes, which Kaufman thinks are WAY too expensive. And he is probably right. The book spawned from his blog PersonalMBA.com. Don’t think the book is in-depth enough? It is not meant to be, but Kaufman has compiled a list of the 99 best business books over at his blog so there is plenty of additional reading available!

I am half way through the book and it is really good. I am not sure it is an MBA replacement but it sure is a compliment that should be read by everyone who is involved in the business world. It is a great introduction/reference book. Well written and engaging but the vendetta against MBAs brings it down a bit. None the less my recommendation is: READ THIS BOOK! You can pick it up at Amazon (No referral this time either!).

 

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank is one of the most recommended books for technology entrepreneurs. I have so far only read a few pages but it seems great so far. All recommendations claim that this is THE book you should read as an entrepreneur.  The four steps of Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation and Company Building. I cannot yet recommend this book as I am only a few pages in but it definitely seems to be worth a read, not only for start-ups but for anyone within a company launching a new product, or developing a current product. I will report back when I’ve finish the book.

You can pick it up on Amazon.

 

The Intelligent Investor

The Intelligent Investor

The Intelligent Investor

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham was originally published in 1949 and is about investing, as you may suspect by the title. This 600+ pages book is a classic. Graham preaches Value Investing rather than focusing on hype. I have not yet started reading this, but by all accounts it appears to be a rather heavy read. To quote an Amazon review: in sum, this book is full of gold; but be prepared to dig for it. The book is a classic and regarded by some as the investment bible. It appears to be worth the time to read but it will probably be quite the journey. I will, as with the previous book, report back once I’ve finished it. Focusing on value rather than hype seems like a good idea though (I am looking at you Zygna, Groupon).
You can pick up the book at Amazon but be prepared for a heavy read.

 

That is it! This is my summer reading list

That is my current reading list. Subject to change! I think I will throw in a few relaxing fantasy books once I get back to Sweden but this is what I will spent my summer reading, apart from all the academic literature my Thesis requires.  Personal finance and business literature feels like a good thing to read now that I am finishing up my master and will soon be entering the ‘real world’.

I ‘borrowed’ all the images in the post from Amazon.

-P

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