Jargon watch: Makimoto’s wave

Dr Tsugio Makimoto is a technologist who has worked at Sony and Hitachi. He co-authored Digital Nomad with David Manners which was published in 1997 and seems to have been influential to executives in the semiconductor industry. The wave named after Dr Makimoto is a twenty-year cycle between custom design components and general components.

Like Moore’s Law it is used as a heuristic to try and understand what is happening within the industry. Dr Makimoto discusses it in this video below.  At the moment we are in the custom part of the cycle with the kind of silicon being created for smartphones like Apple’s and Samsung’s respective chips and we are due to see a swing to general purpose components from 2017 or so.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

China’s Hony ready to make more overseas deals after Pizza Express buy | SCMP – huge gulf in casual dining, China tends to have fast food or high-end dining

PC sales estimates: How the sausage gets made | Fortune – why don’t they have a look at slaughtered goats intestines whilst they are at it?

Chinese Search Giant Baidu Buys Pre-fab Modular Data Center from Schneider – interesting that they went to a western supplier

Online payments and prostitution: How the internet is transforming the oldest profession – crypto-currency does away with the creepiness of cash, the big problem with credit cards and PayPal in the US is the payment providers closing accounts and traceability

Amazon rewards Prime Members who choose slower shipping | Marketing Pilgrim – I wonder what Amazon will do with the data beyond using differentiated delivery, would this be baked in for future offerings?

CHART OF THE DAY: Most Of Amazon’s Income Goes Back Into The Company (AMZN) – the financial results almost reminded me of Intel’s ‘tick-tock’ planning and process change

Stream that bootlegged movie, go to jail | Silicon Beat – US government thinks that the new war on drugs is piracy basically

The traditional shopping experience can no longer survive in China | WantChinaTimes – department stores taking a kicking from e-tailing

Tencent reportedly downsizing microblogging platform | WantChinaTimes – interesting if Tencent Weibo is put in maintenance mode

Taiwan eager to tap into industrial robots market | WantChinaTimes – it would be interesting to see what Taiwan could do in industrial robotics

HTC’s brand awareness in China drops: report – HTC is an uncomfortable sandwich, it has Apple in the luxury brand position above it and Samsung et al as peers. The most danger comes from below with Lenovo, Oppo and Xiaomi turning out products that look increasingly impressive

How Ravers Became the New Flower Children | New Republic – how reimported house and techno brought about a rave like culture in the US

Throwback gadget: Apple iPod hi-fi

Now and again Apple makes some odd diversions in direction and focus. One of these was the Apple iPod Hi-Fi. The best way to describe it is imagine of Dieter Rams had made over one of Panasonic’s old RX DT75 with the motorised ‘cobra’ top.
iPod Hi-Fi
Hi-Fi as in high-fidelity is a bit of a misnomer, but it does a very good job on the electronica that I tend to listen to at home. As with most Apple products there were design details all over the box. It sits on a rubber pad that covers most of the box length with iPod written in the middle, despite the fact very few people will ever see it.

Many people decried its lack of features, but it was designed as an appendage to the iPod rather than a device in its own right. I use the line in on it to act as an occasional sound bar to the television which it does an adequate job of. Apple discontinued it just over a year after it was launched and now they can found occasionally on eBay.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Facebook Downplays Billion-Dollar App Ad Business | Re/code – the number of apps on there is quite scary

Is Moore’s Law Less Important to the Tech Industry? – NYTimes.com - the problem is that it’s hard to focus on performance per watt and define the difference. Way before this, the speed bumps were having less and less impact, partly due to poorly written software, you actually saw the lengthening of the product upgrade cycle on PCs years ago when people wouldn’t upgrade from XP and internet-enabled machines where perfectly adequate even when they were six years old (paywall)

Google has run away with the web search market and almost no one is chasing | Quartz – not terribly surprising, search is hard and it is difficult to move a customer away unless you have something radically better

The US’s western states are guzzling water so fast they don’t realize they’re running out | Quartz – Bectel et al would probably be a great stock buy around about now

Top Retail Websites’ Load Times Still Slowing | Marketing Charts – this beggars belief

China Manufacturing Gauge Rises to 18-Month High on Stimulus  – Bloomberg – interesting since this data is focused on private sector SMEs, rather than SOEs (state-owned enterprises) that have benefited from government stimulus

Monetising user information without the privacy outrage – canvas fingerprinting

Yves Béhar sells his design agency to Chinese PR firm BlueFocus | VentureBeat – BlueFocus is looking more and more like the kind of fully rounded business Martin Sorrell should be worried about

How the Hammer Falls as China Nails Corruption – Caixin – interesting that the investigating body site is seen as a source and the audience goes there directly disintermediating news outlets

China regulator determines Qualcomm has monopoly: state-run newspaper | Reuters – from Bill Bishop’s Sinocism newsletter – how do Qualcomm’s planned China royalty rates compare with those it charges in Japan and Korea? And is the possible fine assessed against China revenue or global revenue? I have heard it might be the latter, which could be significantly larger than what shareholders expect

Waggener Edstrom launches WE Infinity analytics platform | PR Week – how does this match against Vocus etc

Apple’s iPad Problem | Slate – and those that do have a third device don’t need to replace it that often, especially since the iPad seems robust and perfectly adequate doing what it does, so the replacement cycles will be slower

Daring Fireball: More Amazing Xiaomi/Apple Design Coincidences – John Gruber’s Jobs-esque dis ‘Xiaomi copies with some degree of taste; Samsung has no taste‘.

What Type of Sharer Are You? Improve Your Social Media With Our Quiz – the study is link bait but they do have some good links to interesting academic research

Razer Integrates WeChat into its Nabu Wearable, Says Should Hit U.S. for Under $100 | Re/code – really like the messenger link and cross platform nature, now if they could make it more reliable than Nike’s Fuelband (on my second one in four months)

Qualcomm delivers blowout Q3, but cuts outlook over China woes | ZDNet – The Chinese government regulatory issues were well known if not well understood, however it was interesting that some Chinese clients feel that they don’t need to pay Qualcomm….

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Here are five things that have made my day over the past week.

An IBM video from 2000 did a pretty good use case and flaws of Google Glass. Good work (I presume by Ogilvy & Mather, but I maybe wrong). Looking on the bright side of things for Google, this probably protects them from IP court cases, given the ad could be cited as prior art

Five years ago I would have wanted to watch this because Oakley was some kind of engineering wonderland, now I watch it curious to know who Kevin Spacey’s voice over would clash with the conservative designs currently coming out of Oakley post-Luxxotica takeover. Funnily enough the voiceover would have worked almost as well with his appearance in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

My colleague Phee went for a Gorkana briefing with the Wall Street Journal, as a Storify embed.

Apple made a really nice 30-second spot to promote the MacBook Air range. The ad plays on how consumers personalise their computers as an analog for love

There is something WestWorld-esque about the faceless robots in this film about K-league baseball team Hanwha Eagles and their devoted supporters. The film also makes an interesting point about how fandom and participation have changed with online.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents – ConsortiumInfo.org – Microsoft would have been pissed a few years ago, now with the new management in place, who knows

Chinese Social Media Shrinks by 7% During Internet Crackdown – China Digital Times (CDT) – As Chinese authorities stage a crackdown on “rumor mongering” — the number of people visiting social websites dropped by 20.4 million, or 7.4 percent, to 257 million. How much of these were real accounts and how much were bots?

China Voice: More Internet companies should go abroad – Xinhua – these firms face limited (but growing) regulatory barriers in their overseas expansion while foreign firms effectively blocked from the Chinese Internet, especially as it becomes clear that some really are viewed as national champions. I wonder if results outside China will be harmonised as well?

BBC News – Five ways Aldi cracked the supermarket business – some of these things like store layout and bursts of unusual items are similar to Morrisons and Kwik Save

WILLIAM SHATNER — Facebook Mentions Versus Facebook Pages Apps – surprisingly good review

Indonesia 101 | PixelBits – great rundown on Indonesia from a start-up perspective

Forensic scientist identifies suspicious ‘back doors’ running on every iOS device | ZDNet – you can probably bet that this is also true in other devices

WhatsApp, The Anti-Marketing Growth Phenomenon – GrowthHackers – its more like the product being the marketing rather than ‘anti-marketing’ per se

Jargon watch: poor door

In New York with planning requirements forcing developers to build some affordable housing alongside their luxury developments, a separate entrance has been added which keeps lower income tenants away from the amenities that the full fee-paying tenants enjoy. This divide has spurred debate in the US. When I lived on a development in Hong Kong, I didn’t pay for access to the swimming pool and didn’t expect it, so I can’t understand the issue; but it has been tied to wider concerns about income inequality.

More information
New York City Approves ‘Poor Door’ for Luxury Apartment Building | Newsweek
Fancy Upper West Side Building Will Have a Separate Door for Poor People | Daily Intelligencer

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Air Force research: How to use social media to control people like drones | Ars Technica – you’re all sheep

Single Mom Used OKCupid To Make Friends | Social Networking Watch – interesting move and interesting trust dynamics

Huawei Announces 2014 H1 Operating Performance – Huawei Press Center – interesting that smart devices were given such a prominent placement. Smart devices could also cover mobile broadband and there is no indication of contribution to profit of smartphones

Messaging, Notifications, and Mobile – AVC – mobile OS have real power through control of notification

Why Do We Treat PR Like a Pink Ghetto? – The Cut – interesting US perspective on things. Interesting that diversity doesn’t make it into the article at all

The smartphone value system

Benedict Evans in his post Unbundling innovation: Samsung, PCs and China compared the smartphone industry to the PC industry where value began to be hollowed out and the market became commoditised.

Evans claims that this is already happening to Samsung. Part of the challenge is that so much of the design of the hardware layer in phones comes from reference designs by component manufacturers like Qualcomm and reference design work done by manufacturers like Foxconn. Globalisation outsourced hardware design innovation, a plus side of this is that there is a whole eco-system in southern China that can support anyone who wants to make a branded handset building on experience gained working with major technology brands.

As he quite rightly points out some businesses are looking to take control of their business by building beyond hardware and into the service stack.

A number of manufacturers put their own UI over Android like HTC’s Sense UI and Huawei’s Emotion UI. Whilst these contributed to a handset personality, they didn’t provide differentiation. Facebook even tried to get in on the act with Facebook Home, but the user experience left something to be desired according to reviewers.

Manufacturers tried to add applications in their phones, which competed with Google’s own application stack. At the present time, no Android manufacturer has come up with a killer application for their brand of phone, mainly because they replicated Google’s efforts and with the exception of Samsung, the application wouldn’t be sufficiently ubiquitous – particularly if it was some sort of communications platform like say Whatsapp.

Meanwhile, Google hasn’t been sitting quietly on the sidelines but has been using its power within the community to exasperate commoditisation by combatting manufacturers efforts at software customisation. This process has been rolled further into the Android efforts with strict guidance on Android Wear devices. All of this may feel quite similar to Microsoft Windows around about the time of their dispute with Netscape.
The ultimate budget phone shootout: Xiaomi Redmi vs Huawei Honor 3C vs Motorola G.
Deeper innovation requires a fork in the Android OS and a break with some if not all of the services. This break has been forced on Chinese manufacturers anyway as consumers wouldn’t be able to access Google’s maps, email or search. Which is the reason why Xiaomi’s MIUI, Jolla’s Sailfish OS and CyanogenMod have an opportunity to work with phone manufacturers.
Charles' Jolla phone
However, the ironic aspect of this is that any of these platforms became too successful they would wield as much power as Google does at the moment.

A sweet spot for hardware manufacturers would be a hetreogenuous OS environment, all of which will run Android-compliant applications. In order for this to work, you would need an equivalent of POSIX compliance for Unix-type operating systems for these mobile OS’ and a way of ensuring that platform innovation didn’t ossify either the OS or the internet services supporting it.

Where does Apple fit into all this?
DSCF6958
Could the HTC One have been built without manufacturers having invested in milling machines after the introduction of the iPhone 5 aluminium monocoque chassis? Apple’s process innovations / popularisation of production techniques opens up opportunities for the wider Android community. This is because of Apple’s focus on materials innovation as well full integration of the services and software stack.

This lends weight to a viewpoint that Apple has in some respects has become a ‘fashion brand’ as one of my colleagues put it, think a watchmaker rather than say a fashion house like Louis Vuitton and the analogy has a certain amount of merit. This also implies that when thinking about the iPhone the value decision lifts itself out of the economic rational actor. However there are also shifting costs. You don’t buy a DSLR camera, you buy into a system since the camera needs lens in order to work. Applications (particularly paid for applications) play a similar role, as do services.  There is an inherent switching cost away from iPhone, this is lower when switching platform from Andrioid to iPhone and practically none existent for many users upgrading their Android handsets.

So in many respects Apple sits apart from this in the same way that the Mac sat within, yet apart from the PC industry.

More information
Unbundling innovation: Samsung, PCs and China
Android and differentiation | renaissance chambara
Messaging’s middleware moment | renaissance chambara
The folly of technology co-marketing budgets | renaissance chambara
HTC One – gsmarena

Links of the day | 在网上找到

HTC ‘selfie phone’ to be launched in Q4: report – only a good 18 months after the Huawei Ascend P6 and probably several other handsets that I can’t remember

Qualcomm to face strong competition in China’s 4G chip market | WantChinaTimes – which explains why Qualcomm is trying to play nice with the government

GE has no business being in retail finance so it’s making a steady exit | Quartz – it makes sense to offload consumer debt

WeChat first: a new frontier in China beyond Android and iOS – interesting how WeChat’s app constellation is fostering new start-ups, the question is will WeChat kill them the way Facebook turned the screw on its own ecosystem

MediaTek No. 3 global supplier of smartphone chips in Q1|WantChinaTimes.com - 1. Qualcomm 2. Apple 3. MediaTek 4. Samsung 5. Spreadtrum

Edelman confirms Rui Chenggang held shares in Pegasus while at CCTV – ahh, this could get messy. Bill Bishop in his Sinocism newsletter pointed out that Rui flamed Starbucks Forbidden City branch on CCTV while Starbucks was an Edelman client. Edelman then bought Pegasus where Rui was a shareholder. The question is will China make this coincidence into an issue making 2=2=5? Will the backwash from all this hit Starbucks or other Edelman clients as well?

Internal memo: Microsoft to cut off all ‘external staff’ after 18 months, imposing mandatory 6-month break – GeekWire – this is an interesting move. I wonder how might it affect PR and marketing agencies?

Future Drama – IBM anticipates Google Glass(holes), from 2000 – interesting thought experiment by IBM which nails some of the issues with Google Glass

Baidu launches search engine for Brazil | PCWorld – interesting expansion by Baidu

Mini-Microsoft: 18,000 Microsoft Jobs Gone… Eventually? – a perspective from inside Microsoft

Rethinking Cold War America: An Interview with Fred Turner | Henry Jenkins - well worth a read

How I stay informed… — Product Club — Medium – Tom Coates on how he stays informed

IBM and Apple just not that big a deal – I, Cringely – probably the most level-headed analysis of the IBM Apple deal that I have seen so far

Microsoft Will Climb Past Yahoo In Digital Ad Share | WSJ – blame Carol Bartz and Carl Icahn, they fucked it up when they didn’t give Jerry Yang a chance to do it right and didn’t manage to sell the business outright

IBM and Apple: Catharsis | Asymco – Horace on the long view

Apple and IBM team up to conquer the enterprise market, and crush Microsoft, Blackberry, and Android – I am less convinced given Global Services trouble in meeting SLAs would I want them providing AppleCare?

Yahoo’s Mayer: ‘We are not satisfied with our Q2 results’ – Media news – Media Week display advertising business fell 8% last quarter, to $436 million (£436 million), compared with the same quarter a year ago, as it continues to lose ground to the market leaders Google and Facebook.

Overall, Yahoo’s revenue fell 4% last quarter, year on year, to $1.08 billion, operating income dropped 72% to $38 million (£22 million), largely attributed to one-off restructuring costs, and net earnings for the second quarter were down 19%, to $270 million (£158 million) – I have a lot of love for the Big Purple, but in the internet world lightning doesn’t strike twice

Two Rail Operators Selling Rights to Advertise on Bullet Trains – Caixin – great ambient advertising opportunity

Is a PR Crisis Brewing For Edelman in China? – Advertising Age – so they may not be compliant at the moment. What does this mean for other large agencies in China and will this delve into some of the more interesting media buying strategies out there?

Welcome to the Everything Boom, or Maybe the Everything Bubble – NYTimes.com – so potentially we have a bubble in all countries in all classes of assets, what happens when it goes pop? Or is this a devaluation of currency across the global and if so why isn’t this seen as inflation?

New MediaTek Chip Aimed at High-End Phones | Re/code – LTE, 2K video, 64-bit

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Later than usual, here are the things that made my day this week.

Geometry Global Kuala Lumpur and the Lost Animals Souls Shelter animal charity on opening up their fan base to all be admins.

Digital Jungle updated their Chinese and western social media grid for 2014, great slide fodder

Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker – Harvard Business Review reminded me how great a lot of Drucker’s writing is

Japanese school girls with ninja skills brought to us by CC Lemon and Suntory. It has had over 2 million views already

Vintage footage of Kanye West before he was famous rapping over beats at Fat Beats record store on 6th Avenue in New York, is it just me or was his flow better back then?

Links of the day | 在网上找到

A Chinese internet giant has an app to help students cheat on their homework | Quartz – firstly is this cheating when we live in an internet enabled age and the collaborative aspect is a handy contrast to an education system that teaches kids by rote. Secondly it seems like a great way for Baidu to burnish its knowledge search credentials. Lastly what a great potential platform for ad targeting little emperors and empresses

It’s hard to put the scale of London’s property boom into words, so here are some charts | Quartz - looking at these numbers makes me feel really uneasy

Samsung, Nest, ARM and others say Smart homes need more than WiFi and Bluetooth, propose Thread IP6 mesh network | 9to5Google – interesting to see how this fits with ZigBee low-power Bluetooth etc.

Trust in Sponsored Content Runs Low | Marketing Charts – there are any number of reasons that this result could have occurred through poor survey design, however if it is true marketers, professional and amateur ‘media brands’ need to revise the way they do sponsored content to be more relevant and less salesy

StarHub encourages locals to donate unused talk time | Marketing Interactive – making a virtue out of the evils of telecoms bundling

China Mobile to quit WiFi rollout | The Register – didn’t make money

Your Selfie Idea Is Not Original. It’s shit. – Tumblr account says it so you don’t have to

Tencent’s WeChat offers personalized, real-world postcards in diversifying move | Shanghai Daily – interesting the ways in which Tencent is experimenting with integrating online and offline through baby steps

Retail review: J. Crew | SCMP.com – interesting issue around retail planning (paywall)

Are your Western Marketing Strategies Failing to Understand the Chinese Consumer? | LinkedIn – a lot of the time, yes

Just Like Facebook, Twitter’s New Impression Stats Suggest Few Followers See What’s Tweeted (Danny Sullivan/Marketing Land) – not terribly surprising given the stream of content

For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story – WSJ There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento “kids these days” want is a selfie. It’s part of the new currency, which seems to be “how many followers you have on Instagram.” 

Fan Power 
A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers. I see this becoming a trend in the music industry. – This then begs the question what would a record label bring to the table for an artist?

Jellyfish Tank Installation Opens After Store Hours – PSFK – this is so cool, I like the mix of forms. It’s like something out of a William Gibson novel

Moves on social platforms

Over the past few years things have been set in motion that are changing social now:

  • The rise of smartphones. I have owned a smartphone for the past decade and a phone / PDA combo for a decade and a half. Originally I had a Nokia 6600 smartphone that nestled in the hand and used a joystick for navigation, but it took the touch screen of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy to really blow up the smartphone market
  • The rise of mobile messaging. By 2006, I had used Skype and Yahoo! Messenger on a mobile phone, but these were legacy networks that moved from the desktop on to other devices. At the time, messaging was more about presence, was a person accessible or not when I would go to call them; rather like Novell’s directory was used with early IP telephony office networks
  • The pitfalls of truly open social. Blogging had warning signs of what could happen with social that was too open. Heather Armstrong of dooce.com had been fired in 2002 for saying the kind of things online that would have made typical Facebook wall content. Secondly, Facebook moved from being the preserve of your classmates to including: parents, grandparents, siblings, work colleagues or curious HR people

Younger and not so young people are seeing the benefit of instant messaging that is designed around mobile devices. OTT messaging services like Kakao Talk and WeChat allow for group discussions allowing ad-hocratric decisions like what film to watch at the cinema to be made on the fly.

Probably just as important was that the lack of a legacy base in the applications allowed them to be designed mobile first, providing a focused elegant user experience.
engagement
All of this provided a compelling use case, which also meant increased engagement at the experiences of desktop-orientated social networks.

In Korea, Facebook has made slow steady progress, helped mostly by a security breach at local network Cyworld. In comparison, KakaoTalk came from nowhere to 90% penetration of the Korean market. This change has also happened in China, it is hard to understand how fast traditional networks like Sina Weibo and Kaixin001 have been left behind by Weixin (WeChat).

“This is a new phase for social media in China,” said Hu Yong, a journalism professor at Peking University. “It is the decline of the first large-scale forum for information in China and the rise of something more narrowly focused.”

In reality Sina Weibo hasn’t been social media in the way we understand it in the west. Most of the accounts tend towards passive consumption, Weibo acts like a stream of news. This makes it hard to estimate how many accounts were ‘real’ and how engaged the audience was. Anecdotal evidence suggested that riends still used Sina Weibo to get celebrity gossip and news but moved to private channels for interaction.  The New York Times considered this shift in China to be one of an issue to do with freedom of speech rather than a broader social movement towards conversations closer to the ‘email’ age.

More information
An Online Shift in China Muffles an Open Forum – NYTimes.com

Links of the day | 在网上找到

China operators form €1.2bn tower-sharing venture | TotalTelecom – smart move, though probably not as profitable for Huawei and ZTE as it could have been..

Minds and Machines | Information Processing – the singularity is a long way off

Classic Song ‘Stems’ Inspire Remixes – WSJ – great to see Luxxury getting some respect (paywall)

Kids still getting too much screen time, experts say – CBS News – we heard the same things about TV

Radio Tecnico: How The Zetas Cartel Took Over Mexico With Walkie-Talkies | Popular Science – the scale and sophistication of this network was impressive

Kantar: Chinese Consumer Goods Companies Take Share from Foreign Companies | China Internet Watch – interesting to see how western CPG companies like P&G and Unilever are losing ground in China

Li & Fung spin-off Global Brands wants China brands to compete globally | SCMP – (paywall)

From the editor-in-chief: The death of PR agencies – as we know them | PR Week – no real surprises

Tablet Magazine Ads Seen Garnering Recall Levels on Par With Print – but the reach of tablets is still lower