Friday, December 19, 2008

Cometh the hour cometh the man.

Sitting to write my Predictions for 2009 for clients and I am struck by how disjointed the Mobile Industry is. Over the last year I have heard to oftan from Senior Executives the phrases "Bypass the Networks to get to the Consumer" and "X are Parasites after our Customers for free". To me this demonstartes limited understanding of the Ecosystem that has evolved over the last 25 years. It also forces me to ask who is the Figurehead for Mobile? The PC industry had Bill Gates, the Internet has John Chambers but who do we have?

2009 looks like a hard year for most, which will require cooperation from all if we are to survive the storm. To limit the losses and maintain progression someone needs to look at the WHOLE industry and see that if we are to deliver on its potential it at last needs a genuine leader. That person will have to have an understanding of the HISTORY of all in our Industry and see that we now face the third inflection point which means that it is no longer about a single player controlling the market but rather an ecosystem that requires all to be healthy. Once they understand where we have come from they will need to understand what we could achieve so that they can start to work on what will need to change to get there.

A Figurehead will be able to talk with the Mobile Networks, Infrastructure Makers, Handset Manufacturers, Software House and those who provide the Content and build a Federation that is capable of taking us forward. They will understand that in most countries Mobile is one of the Top 5 industries when it comes to share of the GDP and so will be able to talk with Politicians and Regulators to reassure that they are not forming a Cartel. If we can find our Champion they will be someone with the vision to grow the sector 10-15 fold over the next five years.

As our Champion they will need to talk with the Press in such a way that they explain how we have come so far so fast, the focus will not be on the gadgets but rather the the impact on people's lives and the benefits mobile have brought. It cannot be about the technology, too many of the Engineers in mobile grew up watching Star Trek and have devoted themselves to fulfilling what they saw on the TV. They will need to speak in Parables that educate and evangelise just what an impact the mobile has had in twenty short years. We have the potential to make the mobile phone THE remote control for life, but do we have the person who can deliver that prospect?

Talking to the Industry, he will need to be able to insure that the future is about mutual benefit rather than a zero sum game. A Mobile Phone Network might need to pay over the odds for base stations but the Equipment Manufacturer will have to deliver software that works to open application interfaces so that handset and services work on the equipment without the need to new firmware. Handset Manufacturers will need to understand that the days of milk and honey are over, they need to adopt global standards that allow developers to reach customers and thus stimulate usage. When it comes to selling applications there needs to be a better store than Apple, Google, Handango or Vodafone have managed to build so far. Handset Manufacturers need to better understand and work with component suppliers, now is not the time to destock but rather invest, a Chipset manufacturer needs a return on their investment or they will stop innovating the cost base does not work on a networking effect.

With a Champion for Mobile we will have someone who in Private can bang heads so that all can benefit and in public sells the Industry to the World. It has worked for the PC and the Internet the most successful with such a model has to be the Catholic Church. The CEO's of all the Major Players could form a "house of Cardinals" just do not let them ellect a leader. Those I currently see at the top of the tree lack the knowledge or charisma to be a Champion, as they are the second generation of leaders in the sector they do not have the understanding of the level of cooperation rather than competition needed for ALL to progress.

1 comment:

scott seaborn said...

Woweee.. I I have had one beer and so I may be a little over excitable.. But the MMA could do this, if everyone got behind it! That aside... Let truth be your sword, let fact be your shield, arm yourselves.... We are going FORWARD!