Another weekend, another set of links. This time a lot of them to do with the media business:
What you don't measure is a blog post by Martin Geddes of Telepocalypse where he puts forth the notion that telcos need to track a whole different of metrics from the ones they've used so far to measure the performance of their companies. He contends, quite logically IMO, that measures like ARPU and churn are "lagging indicators tied to the old business model" (before IP-based telephony/services came along), whereas telcos need to assess their businesses for survivability in the new IP-based world. Short but interesting post. If you have any ideas, go and post a comment on his site.
Fast followers is another interesting post by Martin. First he indicts telcos for being naive enough to think that they can survive and prosper simply by copying innovators and by controlling access to the customer. Then he suggests three ways in which operators can reinvent themselves to be part of the new world order.
The economic arguments of redoing telecoms is a superbly written piece by someone called Bob Frankston who points out that the telecom business is based on artificial scarcities, which are a huge weight on the economy as a whole. His major point: connectivity should be viewed as infrastructure and funded as such. The current system traps value within the networks business, which, if released, could result in enlargement of the pie as a whole. Visionary article, and I am not doing a very good job of summarising it. Go. Read.
What is Web 2.0 is an article by Tim O'Reilly that explains how the second generation of Internet companies are different from the first crop. This article has been around for a while (*gasp* all the way since September '05!) but I've only just read it. A must-read for any media businessperson that wants his company to stay relevant in the years ahead.
Disney, Pixar and Jobs by John Hagel is a blog post where he outlines his vision for the future of the media business and incidentally, why buying Pixar may not necessarily have been Disney's best move. I don't really care about the Disney-Pixar-Jobs story but I think he's hit it right on the head with the more general points about the media business -- about it being less about products and more about relationships, about it morphing into a platform business and so on.
Umair Haque writes on his blog about Edge Competencies. Now, this is an article that will appeal to business strategists, geeks and scientists alike. Haque's main point: "Edge competencies are about how to link external
modes of coordination, like markets, networks, and communities –
sometimes to the firm’s resources, skills, and activities, and
sometimes directly to each other. Edge competencies are about knowing
how to most productively use cheap coordination." Similar to John Hagel, Haque believes that firms cannot hope to always run tightly integrated operations entirely within their own four walls and need to learn how to tap external sources of innovation and competitive advantage. (Surprisingly, though, his blog doesn't support TrackBacks, a feature that allows bloggers to link to each other automatically. That's such an un-edge competency thing to do!)
As usual, these links are all from On Murli's Radar at the top-right of this screen and are also available by RSS. Feedback appreciated.
Conversation supposedly between Garry McDougall of HSBC and one of his traders:
'I eat breakfast three hundred yards away from four thousand hedge funds who
are trained to pick me off. So don't think for one second that you can come down
here, flash a client relationship, and make me nervous.
Son, we live in a world that has risks, and those risks have to be avoided by
men with models. Who's gonna do it? You? The Sales Force? I have a greater
responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for your client and curse
the desk. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know:
that your client's loss, while tragic, probably saved p and l. And that my
existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves p and l.
You don't want the truth - because deep down, in places you don't talk about
at parties, you want me in those screens. You need me in those screens. We use
words like roll-down, carry, gamma. We use these words as the backbone of a life
spent defending something. You use them as a punch line.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who
rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very bonus pool that I provide, and
then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said "thank
you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I'd suggest you pick up a prop book and
stand a post.
Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!'
[Update on Mar 26] This "conversation" is a parody! Hence the title of the post. Just imagine Jack Nicholson, Big Swinging D of the trading floor, rasping out this harangue.
Borrowing an idea from Barry Ritholz, I've decided to periodically feature a "linkfest" on my site, listing the interesting articles I've come across in the previous few days, along with a brief description.
The Hidden Costs of Clicks is from Strategy+Business, the journal of Booz Allen Hamilton. Contains some good analysis about what sorts of businesses succeed on the Internet and why -- primarily linking this back to the cost-to-serve for different items. The article is also a little self-congratulatory ("The flaws in [Webvan's] economic model were highlighted in a Booz Allen Hamilton study more than a year before its collapse") but it's not a huge problem.
Meet Your New Bankers explains how hedge funds are venturing into areas traditionally occupied by commercial banks. Also explains what these hedge funds are doing differently from their banking counterparts.
When You Can't Earn An MBA (PDF) contains some good career advice, targeted primarily at those who want to get ahead without an MBA but equally applicable to those with one.
Are VCs the Real Chasm In 2.0? suggests that venture capitalists are not necessarily the best people to help develop Web 2.0, perhaps because they don't understand it as well as other pet areas (such as semiconductors and enterprise software) or perhaps because of organisational weaknesses.
Creators, Synthesizers and Consumers is written by a Yahoo! executive, where he argues that the world is overwhelmingly made up of consumers of media content, with creators and "synthesizers" forming a small minority. An interesting read, which has generated a lot of comments.
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