Live From WES: Day 3 Keynote

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8:47 – Just made the start of Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian’s talk. He’s talking about a directly proportional relationship between the continuous growth in mobile users and mobile uses. We’ll extend current systems to the mobile environment have, new applications, greater flexibility and security for the future.

8:50 – Who is Symbian? Formed in 1998 by industry leaders to create the leading OS for open, data-enabled mobile phones. Symbian OS licensees accounting for 85% of all phones released. 2002 saw them sell a million Symbian devices in a year, now it’s a Symbian phone every second in 2005.

8:55 – The important part of Symbian is that it covers the entire spectrum of handsets (high end, enterprise, consumer). Now he’s talking about their relationship with RIM and BlackBerry Connect on their devices: 8 products – Nokia 9300, 9500, E70, E61, Sony Ericsson P990 M600, P910. Just announcing the Nokia E50 business phone which will have BlackBerry Connect (first news of this in North America).

9:00 — He’s now displaying office application suits that run on Symbian phone. It’s mostly just running through a list of his business partners. He’s now extending it to using Bluetooth-enabled apps (like barcode readers) that work with their Symbian phones.

Now his talking about Symbian’s platform security: allows users to download apps, but puts them in a ‘sandbox environment’ so they can’t do any harm to the handset or the enterprise network if they haven’t been authorized. Cool stuff.

That’s basically it for Nigel. Very quick stuff. Now onto Dr. HP Jin, CEO of Telenav.

9:03 — He’s talking about the Internet (invented in the 60’s) and what made it take off in the mid-90’s (more affordable pcs and better browsers like Netscape). Now he’s talking about Bill Gates’ influence on driving pc costs down: focusing on new software (what they did best, and forced others to focus on what they did best (processors, chipsets). I guess specialization is what he’s getting at.

9:08 – The first killer apps of the Internet were email, eBay, Google and Skype. Now, how the history of GPS is similar to the Internet: developed in the 70’s and took 30 years to take off (starting at $20k per device and has now moved to phone based GPS).

9:10 – What is the killer app of GPS? Provides info on basic human needs: travel, eating, and sleeping. He’s talking about how Sprint execs yesterday used Telenav to find their restaurant after the conference. Funny stuff.

9:13 – What can we learn from comparing the Internet to GPS: both sponsored technology (DARPA vs. DoD), Moore’s law applies to both, keeps getting better and faster, backing from Al Gore (ha!), takes a long time (30 years) to take off. Don’t be too early to the market, or you’ll be killed!

9:16 – Today cell phones are more popular than pcs. They allow you to do almost as much, anywhere (like use GPS, for instance). GPS is now being pushed in prime-time with mobile phones.

9:18 – Three keys to bringing GPS and LBS into primetime: it must be usable, useful and ubiquitous. This relationship is built on a foundation of reliability, scalability and availability.

9:20 – Innovation is key! Today’s customers are harder to satisfy. They want personalized services, easy access to information, they’re less loyal to a particular brand, and word of mouth affects them greatly (i.e. forums on Internet).

9:23 – What drives innovation? Capitalism, because it provides the incentive for innovation in the business model. But innovation is only guaranteed by the right business model (healthy partnership among carriers and application providers, win-win for business and consumer, a healthy business ecosystem that allows for more growth in the space).

9:25 — And Dr. Jin is done (wow he really rocked it out at the end)! Now he’s introducing Dr. Michael E. Raynor, author of “The Innovator’s Solution.”

9:30 – There have been many authors to write books about the possibility of persistent, profitable growth. Most concluded that there is little to no real evidence that companies can achieve long term growth. Companies pursue growth is spite of the data. Relating this through Dilbert comics (awesome).

9:31 – Found out that studying companies’ failure is more interesting, because it provides more data. Two types of failure: a company being beaten by someone better than them, and a company being disrupted by a company worse than them.

9:32 – He’s talking about that for a product to be adopted by the most casual consumer (who is very demanding), it must be adopted by those who will pay for any incremental improvement in technology. Then the product must continue to innovate faster than the general technology curve to offer better products, cheaper and easier to use.

9:36 – Now he’s talking about sustaining innovations: moving from incremental innovations to sustaining breakthrough innovations. Using tires as an example: if you develop a tire that’s so great that no one needs another tire for a very long time, you’re gutting yourself of your own market. Hmm… it’s easy to see how other industries have combated this (i.e. the idea that we still continue to buy new light bulbs when they’ve developed and not released light bulbs that won’t burn out).

9:40 – Now, in disruption, you have companies that have mastered the incremental steps of innovation to prevent gutting their market. However, in doing so, they’ve left a lot of customers behind: people who don’t want their new innovations, they want “less for less.” This is where the disruptive force comes in (i.e. WalMart beating Sears by going into markets where Sears wasn’t and offering cheap products. This took a very long time to do, but the small growth that WalMart was able to build began to infringe on Sears business. Sears would make the choice of closing stores that were losing money, but by doing so, left the door wide open for WalMart). This is very good stuff, I hope I’m getting it across to you!!

9:47 – He’s now discussing the failures of the disk drive market, where over the past 15 years, companies have continued to fail under the disruptive heading. It’s not a case of them not learning from their mistakes, but forces that prevent them from doing anything about it (the same people running companies being disrupted in the 80’s are now doing the disrupting with new companies).

9:51 – Now he’s just using different companies as examples of different types of disruption. I’m going to shut down the blog until he ties it all together and abstracts to some higher understanding of business growth and innovation.

Aha! If you build a great company that pays attention to its customers, it’s doomed to failure. Uh oh, bad news for every single person at WES who has been shouting from the rafters about innovation.

9:58 – Disruption is never having to say your sorry. Sell your products to people who’ll take it as is, not those who demand 50 improvements a year before they’ll buy it.

10:00 – Intel is a company that’s responded well to disruption. This is basically the introduction the Celeron processor – not as good, cheap, and didn’t overshoot the innovation curve. The Celeron processor saved Intel before it needed saving, and that’s the point.

The process:
Identify overshoot
Find a foothold (overserved or underserved customers)
Improve what matters
March upmarket

10:06 – Disruption in the wireless market. BlackBerry is the disruptor! It found a foothold against the PDA market by offering simple and effective technology, and using the business attending WES and their applications to help drive their growth.