grouver

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: https://grouver.wordpress.com

On Flawed Market Research

There is a particular report that was recently released and has been heavily promoted through various publications. What I am referring to is a report by Strategy Analytics in which they claim that apparently Android has well over 30% of the tablet market because of some numbers that they collected. This post is not a rant about how iPad has a lot more than 65% of the market. Arguing about that is just silly. What this is about is how most companies collect statistics on business performance without even considering what it is that they are counting. Don’t get me wrong, it is not an easy problem and it’s made even harder by the fact that most MR companies offer relatively low salaries compared to actual consultancy jobs and hence they get employees with sometimes poor understanding of business. What blows my mind about some companies however, is that senior executives in those companies such as Neil Mawston don’t know any better and actually stand by crap like this. Oh and before I go any further I don’t know Neil and I am most certainly not associated with Strategy Analytics and never have been.

Here is the problem guys, you have collected shipment numbers for Android devices from manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, etc. and then compared them to actual sales numbers from Apple. In a stable (read mature) market that might be ok because you can use some reasonable assumptions for inventory levels. The problem here however, is that none of the Android table manufacturers know how much they are going to sell. They are manufacturers and not retailers and the numbers that you get from them are projections of shipments based on orders that they have received or expect to receive. Well I’m here to tell you that orders get cancelled if a device does not sell well and they most certainly get scaled down. And all that is OK with the Asian manufacturers because they are used to getting stuck with unsold products. If recent months are any indication, Android manufacturers have grossly overestimated their own importance on the market. There is a clear lack of understanding the stages of product competition if you will and they have all of a sudden decided that it’s all down to competition of price when clearly the features stage hasn’t been passed. But back to the MR problem, you cannot compare retail numbers (Apple’s) with manufacturer shipment numbers (Android squad) in a growing market such as the tablet one. You have no point of reference for the growth curve of the market and trying to predict it is nothing more than an exercise in time wasting. Furthermore, without knowing what the market growth curve is, you cannot predict the difference between products being shipped and products being sold. What that leads to is an unpredictable level of inventory and any forecasts based on data like that would be extremely unreliable. Further more Mr. Mawston I very much doubt that you have any reliable information on the inventory levels that Apple keeps. In fact I know for a fact that your assumptions are wrong and also that Apple requires you to sign an NDA before they show you any performance numbers. So conclusions like “Android captured [a] 30% share of global tablet shipments in Q2 2011,” are laughable at best. Please do you damn homework and for the love of God take some MR courses if you must. I don’t know how you got to be at the position that you are at but I really feel sorry for the people that have to work under you.
Yes, a manager does not have to be the smartest person in the team, in fact you have a problem if he/she is, but a manager most definitely needs to know his/her stuff and you Sir do not!

Advertisements

1 Comment

PSN – Lies, damn lies!

So after almost a month of downtime Sony’s PSN is finally up (kind of). What surprises me is that not a single major journalist is questioning what actually happened here.

I hate conspiracy theories as much as the next guy but here are the facts.

A couple of weeks before the supposed hack a firmware for PS3 was released which basically allows you to purchase content from the PSN store without actually paying for it.

Sony had no clue how to distinguish their own firmware from the hacked one.

In the financial world a situation like this will likely get you banned from payment operations and you will also be liable for the fraudulent transactions.

Not a single hacker or hacking group has come forth and claimed the hack. This never happens in the hacker world and for a hack like this you win some very major points.

The list of changes to the security system of PSN is actually a list of upgrades to the already existing system and while nice are nothing more than a scheduled update.

You have to install a new firmware if you want to use PSN, effectively making the older hack unusable for the moment.

 

I don’t know about you, but this looks to me like a very different story than the one Sony is feeding to the media and the world. Yes it is possible that there was a hacker attack, however, networks like PSN get attached every minute of every day. It is a lot more plausible that Sony took the network down so they can fix the problem with the payment system. Quite frankly I doubt that anyone’s information was compromised but I am changing my password nonetheless. Oh and that list of customer details that got published turned out to be from a marketing campaign from almost 10 years ago.

Yes I am thankful to Sony for upgrading PSN’s security but just come clean. The end result is still the same, a month without PSN and back to the days of PS2 …

,

Leave a comment

YouTube Movie Rentals

There is a rumour that YouTube i.e. Google is about to launch a movie rental service. As grand and nice this might be in Google’s executives’ heads they are about to be rudely awaken by the reality of the entertainment industry. As it stands, cable operators all over the world are looking into providing on demand movie rental service of some sort. Even if Google manages to get the content rights holders on board with their little scheme they will run into some serious problems with other content providers. Since, in quite a few cases your cable operator is also your ISP Google is going to get blocked all over the place just like they did with GoogleTV. For whatever reason, Google refuses to admit that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was indeed very much on the money when he said that creating a TV streaming service/device is a bag of hurt and it comes with some serious challenges which currently cannot be easily overcome. The YouTube service will compete in price no doubt. Well that will not go well with a lot of other providers. And at the end of the day, if I am going to use my computer to watch content, then why on earth would I pay for it when there are countless free sources that I can choose from. Yes 1080p is great but Google seems to forget that most laptop screens (i.e. over 1/4 of all computer screens out there do not actually support a 1080p resolution). On top of that you have another 1/3 of all computers in the world being in household which cannot afford to pay for online content or simply refuse to pay for such. And as a result Google will have to work with a much much smaller group of potential users than they think. Yes youtube is popular but how much of that is due to the fact that it is a free service?

I hate to be a pessimist but I think this would be yet another project that Google might have to scrap eventually.
There are some rays of light however. An increasing number of TVs are coming with a YouTube viewer and that would allow people to rent movies straight from their TV provided that the ISP is not allowed to block the content. However, the player that TVs use might not always be compatible with the latest and greatest of YouTube and would probably need modifications in order to allow for the rented content to play. YouTube will have to introduce a modified player as the current one allows for the content to be downloaded to your computer and played without any restrictions. That would not go well with movie studios. Updating the software on your TV will literally take eternity and I would bet you money that most users don’t even know that your TV software can be updated or that your TV actually does run an operating system. One of the hardest and most expensive things for a company is educating their customers.

It would be interesting to see how the new rental service stacks up in such a complex environment and I honestly hope that I am wrong about it’s future. And for what it’s worth I really hope that Google is not pitching this as an on demand service for computer users and that they have indeed looked at what cable operators currently do.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Ovi Maps

Nokia Ovi Maps 3D browser application
Ok I didn’t mean to post twice in such a short interval but man is this worth a post.
Ovi Maps has a beta demo for PC and Mac. It’s a browser application requiring a plugin and this is by far one of the most amazing things to come out. Not long ago I saw a demo by this Swedish company showing a very similar thing and I think it might actually be the exact same product. But yeah this is what Bing Maps eventually will look like due to the Nokia MS deal. I quite honestly think that Nokia got robbed blind with that deal considering what they actually have on their hands. This had the potential of destroying Google Maps and I am not exaggerating. The technology needed to create maps like the Ovi 3D ones is about 5-10 years ahead of what Google is currently using and there is very very little that Google can do about that. Yes street view is nice but the 3D maps that Google is using are a complete joke. It might be OK for a MS student, and most Ph.D. ones but Ovi Maps and Nokia have most likely acquired the Swedish military team that got axed not long ago. All this is patented and is literally technology that was never meant to be released in the general public. Except it did. It actually kinda gives you an idea of how intelligent missile guidance systems work. But anyway all the hype aside, come 2012 Bing Maps will have a new and shiny face and hopefully this time around Apple will let us switch the Maps provider too.

As much as I dislike MS I have actually started using Big recently as my default search provider. Most of the times results are cleaner and yes they are different but the search engine feels more powerful.

Oh yeah and Playbook got released with less than promised battery life etc. etc. wooopty f***ing doo RIM! Starting at $500 and well …. it’s an overgrown smartphone except it is yet to receive a 3G module … oops

, , ,

Leave a comment

It’s been a while

So yeah it’s been a while since the last post. I got sucked into “real” life and it’s minutia … and I’ve also ended up stuck at this soul crushing childhood-dreams-destroying job but that’s another story all together. It always amazes me when upper management proves itself incompetent and absolutely oblivious to the importance of management tasks. Basically little by little I start living in an “Office Space” world [look it up if you’re not sure what that is, well worth your time plus Jennifer Aniston is smoking].

Other than that, well I gave in an got Virgin Media service. At the end of the day I mostly care about having a blazing internet connection and about having an alright TV service. Which is exactly what Virgin offered. I’ve also realized how bad reception actually is on iPhone 3GS and can’t wait until my contract is over and Apple releases the new and improved iPhone (please let it be in 3 month). I’ve gotten convinced that NFC payment are a pipe dream and while they might be all sparkly and glittery to the MNOs and SIM manufacturers, they are actually a complete joke. In today’s world £20 is way to little for it to be useful and banks are not going to increase the limits any time soon. I mean come on, if I take my other half out for a meal, 9 out of 10 times it actually costs me more than what contactless can pay for. Yeah thanks but we are not paying separately even if my bank account would love that. I guarantee you that certain other bits will not!

You get the point, contactless payments are alright cause you can pay a little bit quicker but at the end of the day there isn’t much that you can pay for with them so really no go at the moment. It might be great for corner shops and street vendors however, they hate paying for transactions and banks are not going to wave transaction fees. So yeah your £2.50 hot dog will still be cash only and no it will not cost you £2.60 just because!

There hasn’t been much on the Mac front either. It is a bit like silence before a storm. The Mac Apple Store is doing very very well and I’ve been using it quite a bit. Hey it made me actually buy a couple of apps that I’ve been delaying purchasing for a while (most noteworthy of which is Autograph). However, it’s got a big flaw, if you are going to allow developers to sell out of the app store you have to also allow them to import existing licences or essentially you setting them up for a bag of hurt. It’s shit having to repurchase software that you already own but at least with iOS software is cheap (mostly). Not the case with the Mac version at all. But hey maybe Apple is working on that.
Anyway Lion will be awesome and finally fixes some really really really old flaws of the OS ( like open application management and window management). Oh and on top of that, a lot of developers are not building application for 10.6 and above which is absolutely great. Not like the older ones didn’t work (this is not at all the Windows case) but hey I’d take the optimized version any day. Technically it saves you money cause less CPU usage = less power = less money out of your pocket (even if it’s a negligible difference).

Oh and Mac Desktop Update is still well worth it’s money even if some applications would only update through the App Store (no other version available for devel). I played with Mobile Me too and while it’s a great tool I find it hard justifying spending £60 for a year of service. Yes Virgin gives me an inferior service from a user perspective, but provided that you get the really fast internet, you also get unlimited online storage and pretty much everything that MobileMe offers … well a cheaper knock off of it at least. So yeah eventually I will go back to Mobile Me but for now I’d rather use my money for something else, like … well I’d rather not say actually 🙂

So yeah I’m back on my way to salvaging my digital life and will write a bit more in the very near future. Oh and in the mean time if anyone wants to get rid of an iPad 2 … I’m here and waiting. Those things are very impressive. Yes it’s missing about a laundry list of features that I’d like it to have but considering what it can do the way it is, it is fantastic. And yes I have played with the Android contenders and have seen the “not so final” version of BB and HP’s contenders. If that’s all you guys can do … BRING IT ON, and kiss your behinds good bye too 🙂

me out, peace!

, , , ,

1 Comment

Mac Gems – Part 4

(continues)

 

I recommended Rudix at one point as the easy to use unix tools package for OS X. While it is that, I found Homebrew. Yes it is not new (well not that new) and I am a bit late to the game but here is the thing that I really love about Homebrew. It installs everything from source (much like Gentoo did) and it is dead simple to use if you know anything about Unix/Linux. The configuration files are done in Ruby and Homebrew covers quite a few applications making it absolutely great. Oh yeah and it also minimizes storage space by reusing libraries. OFC that makes it unable to play with other package managers and very much OS X unlike. But I absolutely love it. I had quite a few other managers installed (MacPorts and Fink) and had installed stuff by hand. Well I went and deleted everything from /usr/local (in fact the whole /usr/local) and am now a happy Homebrew user. I actually ended up removing htop and reinstalling it through Homebrew. Took virtually no time since I was writing the first could of sentences of this post while doing it. Keep in mind that some packages are missing and this is not quite as good as gentoo or ubunty but hey this is the best that I have seem. No offence to MacPorts and Fink but if you ever run into a problem with an installation you will know why I dislike both. Plus I suppose I have a bit of sentimental feelings for gentoo like installers.

 

Anyway, if you need console utilities/Unix programmes give Homebrew a shot.

https://github.com/robolson/homebrew

 

Oh yeah use the script installer if you don’t have git installed as the gui one installs everything with sudo. This effectively goes agains the idea that you don’t use sudo with Homebrew and could compromise your security.

the command is

ruby homebrew-install.rb (just in case you were wondering). And yes OS X does come with Ruby installed by default. (10.5 and up)

, , ,

2 Comments

The data analytics age

I remember years ago when people were telling me how the information age is over and everyone was trying to come up with a name for what was to follow. Well guess what, the information age is not over. We are finally getting to the point where the Internet dream of having access to all sorts of data from anywhere is being realized. Increasingly companies and individuals are tracking their every day lives and creating digital records of their activities. Life hasn’t really changed much (well sort of) but what has changed is the fact that now you have a digital trace of most of your activities which makes data analysis of your life possible. If you are under 25 (or so) you can actually create a digital footprint of most of your life (well the bits that actually do matter) and if your are under 15 then your whole life has a digital footprint. You can analyse things like the amount of money that you spend, the types of activities that you like, your friends, the social groups that you belong to, and the list goes on. It is actually possible to analyse your own decisions and sometimes even predict your next one. And things are only starting in that aspect. Advertisers love it and so do marketing people. We are only experiencing issues related to ownership of digital content but what I thing is more important is that we have actually entered the age of data analytics. 10 years ago, history was only used as record of past events. You record events and maybe one they it is being passed down to the next generation as an account of what happened. It was a bit of an identity building tool. Today however, the history of your life is being recorded as it happens and we are getting closer and closer to actually being able to obtain real time analysis of those events. History is actually used more and more as a decision making tool and it even seems like you are having a communication with other people through their historic records. You read tweets, blogs, facebook messages and you comment on them. Within seconds the words knows what you think and you feel important and in control.
Fair enough, it doesn’t work the same for everyone and you still have a lot of people who’s voice is never heard just because they are poor but hey you get to hear the opinion of a lot more people than you use to even 5 years ago and that is another step towards freedom. Of course you realize very fast that you don’t really want to listen to 95% of the people out there because they don’t really have anything of value to say but hey freedom has it’s price. Anyway back to the analytics question. Like I said we are in the age of analytics and it is scary though that your life is simply being turned into a digital record of it and that whoever controls that digital record de facto owns your life. This is where governments need to step in and they really need to catchup fast. Now more than ever is true freedom at stake. Forget the constitution and all those innate freedoms listed in it. I think both Hobbs and Locke would find it very hard to explain who the enemy is today. Does Google really control the world or does the world control Google? What right does and advertiser have to know then was the list time you purchased toilet paper and what brand it was? Do you really want your car to know what music you prefer and does your car send out that information to someone else? Questions like this would become more and more important as we slowly move to cloud computing and as collected data becomes too large to be stored locally. I’m not saying that there are no solutions, but designing services should by law be made a lot more responsible job and there should be some universal data storage and sharing laws that ensure that you don’t become a victim of your virtual presence.

, ,

Leave a comment