Author Archive

The Facebook Effect

I cannot believe it is almost the middle of 2012 and I have not written a single blog post this year. So much has happened I would not even know where to start. I guess when you start a new business you do not have all the time you used to have as a freelance consultant. So for those wondering what I have been up to, check out DOTNXT FACEBOOK PAGE

So this post has been sitting in my ” potential blog posts ” folder for almost 6 months, and with the listing of Facebook this past week and all the buzz around it, I felt it was a relevant time to finally post it. The Facebook Effect is a presentation I put together for a talk I did towards the end of last year. I am always interested in reviewing presentations I did months ago, to see how much is still relevant.

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Secondly, I always enjoy a business / financial angle when looking at the various different social media and other technology phenomenon’s shaping the business world of today. Technology has been my world for the last 5 years, and I am slowly making up my 10 000 hours of analysis. Some interesting facts to note for today:

1. In the Global BrandZ Report done by Millward Brown – technology companies ( including telcoms)  now form more than 70% of the top 10 brands, with McDonalds being the only non tech brand in the Top5. No surprize Apple is number 1 ofcourse.

Locally in South Africa, the picture is painted with a couple of different colours, with Telcoms, Banking and Retail still leading the way.

Read more about the above here: MOST VALUABLE SOUTH AFRICAN BRANDS 2012

2. FACEBOOK IPO: Is the company overvalued? And when will the social bubble burst, if ever? These are questions I cannot answer. According to Reuters debates continue over what Facebook is really worth. With the company valued at about $85 billion at the market close Tuesday, and a P/E of 60 for expected 2012 results, who knows. But one thing will always remain true, the Finance will fail, not the technology. As a very smart lecturer once told me, after the .com bubble burst, the Internet did not go away, in fact the opposite happened, it kept evolving and growing into a key ingredient in all of our lives. The finance of the companies merely enabled by the Internet burst. No difference with the new wave of Social Technologies.

I found the below article ( by the NYT, The Facebook Offering: How It Compares)  really insightful and thought relevant to share here. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

3. Lastly, what does all of this mean for me?

As I always say,

I think we often get so wrapped up in the marketing and technology side of things, and more recently the focus on ” Human Capital ” that the only real missing link for me is ” THE FINANCE ” . We need more Digital Business Analysts. We need more finance people in the technology / marketing industry in South Africa.

Last night on the plane to JHB I read an article about Roelof Botha, and it made me want to find the Sequoia Capital of South Africa. I realize our financial eco system is very different here in South Africa, but to me that poses more opportunity than anything else.

Time to try something new.

A space to innovate, collaborate and close the gap between finance, technology, marketing and people. This new world of DOTNXT where I find myself living in these days.

Till next time,

A

Some Statistics for Digital in South Africa.

I have been meaning to write a blog post just after I got back from doing A Digital Masters in New York at HyperIsland. An experience that really changed me, not only the way I think or see the world but the way we are supposed to deliver work for a new digital world. That blog post will come, eventually. Below one of the Key Insights from Tim_Leake & Mark Comerford

It is definitely no longer a question, we are living through a digital revolution. It is about time my generation get to really live through something, from mobile phones, the internet, personal computers, digital cameras, social networks, augmented reality, online shopping! The list goes on.

We are also living through a Financial crisis, and it was very interesting this morning on Sky News – they were talking about increasing unemployment rates and the slowing economies globally, even Germany which has always been seen as the sustainable master of economies experienced below expectation growth. I couldn’t help but turn up the volume when the conversation turned – Digital Media Companies, Social media consulting firms, Digital Marketing Agencies, Mobile Application development houses etc these are all businesses experiencing tremendous growth, and I am not just talking about the tech / social network bubble with inflated  IPO’s ( Groupon, Linkedin, etc) we are all expecting to burst anytime soon. It is the entire eco-system, from ecommerce, ecommunication, IT, software houses, conferences, development houses, hardware etc – all together serving the modern consumers and business’s holistic digital experience need. The industry slowly infiltrating every single other industry on the planet, serving the need of everything and everyone going online, social, in the cloud and mobile.

Apple briefly became the largest listed company last week – overtaking Exxon Mobil. And American Express saw an increase in their share price after their deal with Foursquare. President Obama is on Foursquare now. And Social Software is exploding. The times of seeing everything in isolation is over, we have entered the era of Social Business Design where Technology, Business and People come together.

And yet, I have meetings here in South Africa where people are still asking the question – is this just a digital fad? Is this really where our country is going? It is completely understandable taking our current social and economic situation into account, majority of our population live in poverty. No one can see into the future, but we can have a look at statistics indicating the current situation and growth of Digital as a whole in Africa, and more specifically South Africa.

Below is a couple of my favourites to share:

Happy Wednesday 🙂

Apple iPad2, a whole new dose of magic!

I literally had to consciously stop myself from reading to eventually start writing.

The whole of the digital universe is buzzing with iPad2, comments, reviews, thoughts, notes, and I am sure tomorrow it will be all over traditional news in every state of America, and all over the world.

I could not help but ask myself why?

I remember the day the iPad ever so glamorously appeared on coffee tables in homes and in the hands of family, children, dads, executives, small business owners, artists, teenagers, grandparents, models, geeks, teachers, tennis coaches, priests, pretty much the whole world got a taste of the magic.

And now, the magic potion just got stronger. More universal. Wrapped in beautiful design, to help us share information, experiences and entertainment in a sleek simple manner.

A 33% thinner, lighter, black or white iPad2 features the world’s most advanced mobile operating system – iOS 4.3. Several new extra’s such as 2 x cameras (front and back), HDMI output, a sexy smart magnetic cover (iPad must have realized the amount of money made off covers for the iPad1 – and definitely the most talked about new feature of the iPad2), phonebooth, garage band, imovie and more applications now available on the iPad and a surprisingly early launch date next Friday the 11th of March 2011 in USA and 25th in 26 more countries world wide.  All for just $499.

Check out: http://www.apple.com/ipad/ – which literally launched minutes after the event.

Apple shares advanced after Jobs appeared, climbing as much as $4.63 to $353.94 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares were up $1.77 at $351.08 at 2:04 p.m. New York time. Which was less than with the launch of the iPad1. The iPad 2 will account for at least 20 million tablet computer sales in the U.S. this year, with the global tablet market projected to surpass 200 million units in 2014, if true the iPad may eventually generate $60 billion to $100 billion in sales for Apple, compared with Apple’s total revenue of $65.2 billion in fiscal 2010 ( via www.reuters.com) ( read full article here ) It is evident that Apple had to make something happen as new competitors quickly entered the market hoping to take some market share of the projected 200million strong global tablet market. The iPad2 and its early launch makes perfect strategic sense, as they continue to innovate with the user experience at the core of everything and unique to the iPad a featured up and priced down positioning over competitors. It will be very interesting to see how the market responds to yet another Steve Jobs moment of, I was going to say ” one more thing ”

But one thing that DID NOT happen when Steve Jobs appeared on stage –

So what was it exactly that gives the iPad such a universal appeal?

For many years before the iPad launched, the technical side of technology and software always out-weighed the mass appeal. Think of online gaming, gambling, blogging, fancy high tech devices even a gps and iPhone4, it was never for everyone, and it never felt so strangely normal, natural and easy using it.

But here we have a device that literally appeals to every person using it for the first time. The Internet was designed to share experiences, information and content. Today I tried to read the Elle magazine, and I kept finding myself tapping the page trying to click through. And it made me realize, the iPad was designed to take this sharing of online and any offline experiences, information and content – with those around us, anywhere, anytime in a beautiful, magical  but most importantly – natural manner.  But even more, it goes beyond sharing, as the iPad2 enters the world of creation. The iPad2 enables users to not only share, but create experiences, information, content, entertainment and I am sure it is this new theme that will get every brand, company and application developer excited to review their current iPad application strategy.

I am sure the critics will point out the flaws tomorrow, but for today I am happy to safely say, I cannot wait to own one. Even if it is just for a short while before I trade it in for the iTable…

So in conclusion, the iPad2 delights me to the point where I can only share what is probably going to be one of the best devices to be launched this year 🙂

Lastly, definitely an article worth reading and right up my ally – http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/02/ipad-2-preview/ – Definitely Read it!

2011 Trends Overview – round 1

As every now and then i like to just post and recap the top trends as per  Trendwatching.com – CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

Trends have always been one of my favourite things in life, I still remember the very first trend briefing I got at iKineo – my first job. I sat up an entire evening allocating different business models to each trend. Everything became evident, clear, the world started making sense again, as I realized us, consumers, people, we rule brands, not the other way around. And those brands still silly enough to not put people at the centre of their universe, will struggle to remain sustainable post 2011.

I will add more trends as they get released towards the end of this year, as everyone tries to anticipate what the future holds. But here is the thing, balance. It is such a well known word, yet mostly forgotten during everyday decisions where we get so wrapped up with our immediate deliverables and top level expectations. We often forget the first place to start is with your own people.

You would be surprized how much you can learn spending the day in the field, with sales, with operations, with journalists, with developers, with trainers, with finance, with buyers, with the media, just reading all the insignificant buzz about your brand on google.com/realtime.

Never forget the power of the people on the ground.

Another one of my favourite Trend Reports –

Happy Monday everyone!