Innovate and Disrupt – With a Slant On Sociology

October 2, 2009

Publisher App Store via App Store in future through iPhone? …maybe…

Did you ever notice that the “App Store” icon is listed with other Apps on the home page instead of at the bottom along with Phone, Mail, Safari and iPod? Did Apple decide to leave the “App Store” Icon along with other Apps because of lack of space at the bottom – too hard to put the 5th icon in there? Then again, they also short changed Settings, iTunes, Messages and Camera – by leaving them along with other Apps.

Regardless of where the App Store Icon is, I wonder if there is a future, where brands and publishers can create “Publisher Stores” – similar to “App Store” – where they Catalog all their own branded Apps – conveniently located in one location – for users to select all and download all and pay for all them at the same time.

For example Sony Music Entertainment has deployed 6 iPhone Apps on the App store. Instead of downloading each of those 6 Apps separately, wouldn’t it be cool to download all Sony’s Apps with one click?

Enter Publisher App Store !!!!

With Apps on App Store reaching 100,000 in next few months, it becomes critical for Apple to consolidate as well as make it easier for iPhone users to download Apps. Users don’t have to search for different sub brands multiple times. If you are looking for all super hero comic apps, all you need to download is Marvel App Store.

Then again, does the Publisher App Store need to be a downloadable App OR could it be an aggregated list of apps via a microsite available through Apple’s App Store?

Download or webapp – doesn’t matter – there is a huge need for such a feature. Its long due …..

Why limit this concept to just grouping within a publisher? Aggregator can group Genre specific Apps in one location and give option for their user to search, download through one interface.  There could be App stores for all free casual games, all card games, all music apps and all news apps ….

Ideation

There is a start up idea right there …..what are the challenges? Well, for one, Apple might not approve such an App!!!!

No harm in giving it a try. Create a shell App and let all these brands customize the Shell App the way they want to and list out their on deck Apps, Icons, descriptions, and hook it up to iTunes store.

Even if Apple doesn’t approve such an App, at least publishers can start creating such Microsites and let user’s download ….Disney has around 12 iPhones Apps on the App Store. Couldn’t Disney or Sony or some of these big brand names build microsites by partnering with Apple – giving options for fans to download all the Apps in one go?

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August 25, 2009

When Brand’s interests are competing against their Customers interest?

Filed under: Anti Trust, Apple, Bing, Competition, Google Voice, iPhone, Legislation, mobile — vsistla @ 1:49 am

Have you tried to open Yahoo! Mail using Google Chrome Browser? Try it ….try sending an email ……

Have you tried searching for the keyword “Google” on www.Bing.com? Try it ….. I urge you …..

google-vs-microsoft

With the recent spat of controversy – Apple pulling down Google Voice from App Store, what kind of decision process do Brand’s go through when their interests are against their’s user’s interest?

Did someone within Google Chrome product teams consciously made a decision not to optimize Yahoo! Mail for Chrome browser? Or Maybe they just thought it was not important enough?

Brands and organizations competing with other brands for customers has existed since commerce existed – but has there ever been a situation in the past history where Brands had to deal with competing interests of their customers – especially when their competing brands are involved?

I went on a tail spin searching Wikipedia on any historic precedence of what we are living through …….but no luck.

We have managed to coin few new words such as “Frenemy” that sort of addresses the strange relationships the current generation brands and corporations deal with but “Frenemy” doesn’t really cover the context I am talking about – where a brand’s product delivers subpar experience or limits access to their end user when the experience in question is a competing brands product or solution. While some of this might fall under anti-trust laws but there is no law against smaller and insignificant misdemeanors I am talking about. Can regular anti-trust laws be extended to smaller issues as well?

At the end of the day, do brands assume that by providing a subpar experience of a competing brands’ product, will their customers abandon the competition and adopt the brand’s own offering (in case of Google Chrome, Google hopes users will abandon using Yahoo! Mail and switch to Gmail on Google Chrome?)?

It worked for Microsoft in case of Internet Explorer during the First Browser Wars” but will this work for Google OR Microsoft in case of Bing.com? Hard to imagine.

While FCC is investigating Google Voice App denial on Apple Appstore, who will tie the bell to optimize Yahoo! Mail on Google Chrome?

PS: By the time I pressed this blog, someone pointed to me that even keyword “AOL” doesn’t result a whole lot of results when you type in http://www.bing.com

November 13, 2008

How to Serve the unbanked and underbanked sector using Mobile Networks?

For these unbanked and underbanked audience, I feel the money transfer feature has a higher value/benefit than payment (mobile commerce) model. Because they are not looking to purchase their six pack of beer or clothes or pay for their mobile bill (as they are prepaid – maybe for refills but that is not a major revenue driver) using a mobile handset.

While I don’t discount the potential of mobile commerce aspect, for this particular audience, money transfer becomes the primary drive followed by mobile commerce once MMT has penetrated significantly.

If we focus on money transfer –

Currently most of these are using Money Orders or Western Unions to transfer funds across. Even Paypal doesn’t address their context in the most convenient way – bank authentication and email (which is not as prevalent as mobile).

Then how does one go about build a money transfer functionality for mobile? Well there are many ways of doing it as long as these constraints are taken into account. Here are some of my thoughts …..but have written detailed business concepts around this topic over the past year …..would love to discuss offline if there is interest ….

1. Security and Identity – build security or process in place to make sure that the person receiving the funds is the intended one. How do match someone’s identity when there is NO social security card or government issued ID? This is a critical issue in most of the emerging and developing countries.

2. Eliminate Bank account or Operator dependency – This is very critical. One could start a service and do tie ups with Western Unions and Post offices. Post offices are practically in every village, nook or corner, across the world. If Post offices don’t provide a reliable option, there are many other institutions that might save the day.

3. Make it purely mobile – no dependency on email or PC access – make it completely mobile as the target audience for such a feature might have not access to a PC or have an email account. In developing countries, mobile is lot more pervasive than email/PCs. Or at least make this optional for those who might want to benefit from it.

4. Business Model – how do you make money? There are couple of ways of doing that – You can take the “build the dependency to become a crucial backbone for this use case and make money around this experience” model OR charge your user’s directly. Considering the demographic you are going after, second option might not be the best one ….

I have ran across few companies that are focusing on these aspects but are struggling to build the critical mass and traction ….. at the end of the day this is NOT a technology problem – it is identifying those “change agents” who could make mobile money transfer pervasive in the target demographic ………it is a marketing maven’s challenge to transfer the value and emotion to the target audience.

Thoughts …..

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