Thursday, March 17, 2005

Mastermind in your pocket

The Independent has a technology feature on a new mobile company called AQA, (Any Questions Answered)which will attempted to reply to a question sent by text message for £1. More than just a call centre staffed by pale skinned uber geeks who can drive google faster than you it uses a number of researchers as well as search engine who are able to reply in 160 carracters.

The story has some simple comments about how the service can be used to cheat in pub quizes and no school exams. The examples given however seem to be more general such as "what numbers should I play in the lottery?"

Not sure if this is just a small opportunity or something bigger, but hey I said to the founders of Shazam that I did not see the business being a hit so what do I know about the future!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Blogs in the machine

Weekend FT has a feature on how some Blogs are not as trustworthy as those written by Journalist. Now as a well written article its well done it argues that the ability to take on the mainstream media(MSM) technology has allowed us all to post comment.

The issue is that how do we establish the credability of the writer of a Blog. Some of those bloging have stong principles however others can be bought. In the technology world we have the recent spat between Engadget and Gizmodo over sponsorship of CeBIT reporting. The guys at Engadget had declined the money and when their biggest rival took Siemens cash with strings attached they published just what they had been offered and why the turned it down. Now in the MSM when were we told that the wonderful luxury hotel holiday was the reult of a free trip from BA?

The difficult issue is that we all have our price, the question is one of context. You can get we to evangelise your technology for a realatively small amount my soul costs more!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Didn't see that coming, did you?

Weekend FT has a great article on Futurology - the business of looking at the future and attempting to predict it. Following the demise of the empire we see that a number of businesses have given up thinking wht might be and how we can achieve it.

Orange at one time had a Chief Imagineer, Head of Prophecy, Visionary Planners all working in Futurology. They had the ear of the CEO and his board and so were able to help the business put together the technology needed to make "the future bright". Not only were they able to wisper thoughts they had money to burn on fancy office space and other businesses such as Wildfire.

Now that they are part of France Telecom the Prophets have become Product Managers, the Imagineer has gone off to write and play music. They now have a Strategy Group staffed by clones from the leading business schools. It is my opinion that it is worse off for losing the people who were prepared to question and think big thoughts. Now instead we have a business full of Product Managers who are not interested in being the best, all they want is to be better than the others! In doing so I as a customer am frustrated that some of the best technology I see is not available to me. Others are not happy that the customer service ethic has declined and so hope that the grass is greener on the other side and are leaving to join David Beckham!

Why does this happen? Because those with passion have been replaced by engineers who think that they can segment me into a box. The problem is that in the course of the day, I have a number of roles, parent, employee, consultant, consumer, communter, parent and as such have different demands on my mobile network. It is no longer a function of price it is a question of service and coverage, after 20 years I do no expect to have ubiqutious connectivity, I want data as well as voice services, as for messaging how about working out the best context to deliver them to me.