Archive for March, 2006

Capturing the Power: Week of 3/26/06

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Converged Products: Week of 3/26/06

Friday, March 31st, 2006

The most convenient way that mobility is getting built into products is through the convergence of capabilities that previously existed as standalone products into the cellphone. That way, those products are now with you and available for your use whenever you need them wherever you go.

Mobile Music: Ragamuffin Collection

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Here’s another collection of music I love when I’m going mobile. Most of these are old favorites, but I’m guessing you’ll find something here that’s new to you. The links take you to places where you can listen to samples to get a better sense then I could hope to describe:


Does this compute?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I often compare the Law of Mobility to Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law.  Like those other laws, the LoM explains the economic realities that are bringing about a new set of dynamics that will radically change how businesses operate.

But several folks have asked “what’s the equation?” 

Their point is that it’s easy to figure out an equation that goes along with Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law.  This is especially important if you’re working on a powerpoint presentation or a whitepaper (like this one) where you want to show impressive graphs of how things have changed over time.

The equation for Moore’s Law looks something like this:

processing power = original power *2^ ((# of years since original)/2)

The equation for Metcalfe’s Law looks something like this:

network value = some constant *(# of users)^2

 So – what is the equation for the Law of Mobility?  I doubt that we could prove the validity of any equation, but I think this one reasonably represents the truth captured in the Law:

product value = theoretical maximum value * (% of time product is fully available)^2

If the product is available 100% of the time, then the value of the product is its theoretical maximum.  If the product is avaliable half the time, then its value is about 1/4 the theoretical maximum.  If the product is only available 10% of the time, then it’s value is only 1% of the theoretical maximum.

That feels about right to me.  What do you think?

Enabling Technology: Week of 3/19/06

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

The Law of Mobility talks about value increasing with mobility. The impact of this law is being felt because the cost of adding mobility into products is falling, making it a no-brainer for mobility to be built into everything. Here are examples of technology advances enabling this to happen:

Managing the Danger: Week of 3/19/06

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

In order to be winners in the new mobile era, businesses will not only need to capture the power of mobility, but also manage the danger. Highlighted below are recent examples of the danger of mobiliity and how some firms are beginning to manage it:

Capturing the Power: Week of 3/19/06

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Converged Products: Week of 3/19/06

Friday, March 24th, 2006


Redefining Business Communications

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

When I talk to folks about why the Law of Mobility matters, I often start by explaining how the last two technology eras have dramatically redefined business communications, and that the mobility age will similarly radically change how we operate our businesses and how we communicate.

If you’re old, like me, you can remember what business communications was like before the PC and Internet eras. If you’re too young to have seen it, you probably won’t believe it. To me, business communications in the pre-PC era was characterized by two artifacts.

The first was the pad of pink paper that was on every secretary’s desk (we called our assistants secretaries back then). If someone called, and I wasn’t at my desk, the secretary would answer and would write down a message for me on that pink pad. I would get my messages when I returned to my desk, whether that be an hour later or a month later. I know – it’s hard to believe – but it’s true. Voice communications was entirely tied to a physical location – my desk – and a specific time – now.

The second artifact of this time was the routing slip. I had two metal trays on my desk, one was my In Box, and the other was my Out Box. All documents came to me as paper in my In Box. If there was a letter or magazine that I thought some other folks needed to see, I’d staple a small piece of paper on the front with their names on it, and stick it in my Out Box. Some time later that day, someone would collect everything in my Out Box and probably the next day that routed item would find its way to the In Box of the first person on the list. After they read it, they’d cross their name off and stick it in their Out Box. If that stapled paper didn’t get accidentally knocked off, and if no one on the list was on vacation, then usually within a month everyone who needed to see the document would see it. I know – hard to believe – but it’s true.

The PC era’s huge contribution to redefining business communications was a shift from analog to digital. Processing and storage costs plummeted, enabling broad adoption of digital communications technologies including voice mail, the fax followed closely by e-mail (within a single company at first), conference calling, and video conferencing.

The Internet era took this redefinition even further. Depending on how much of a geek you are, you can think of the Internet-driven shift as being from point-to-point to multipoint communications, or from circuit to packet, or from connection-oriented to connection-less communications. Or really, it’s all of those.

This shift enabled things like Intranets for communicating within companies and Extranets for communicating between companies – where lots of people could efficiently get information at the same time. It enabled things like Instant Messaging, where communications could be opened instantly and multiple conversations with different people could be active at the same time. It also enabled new, more collaborative forms of communications such as web logs and message boards.

Think about how radically different – and better – business communications is today because of these advances. Think about how it has changed and improved how businesses operate. Consider how those businesses that have adopted these technologies faster have been able to outperform their competitors.

Now think about how the mobility age is going to take us to the next step.

The obvious shift that the mobility age is introducing is from fixed to mobile. At its simplest level, this is merely taking the things we already do and moving them from our desk to whereever we are – our mobile device integrated with our company phone systemmobile e-mail integrated with our business e-mail. But I think it will go much further than that, and ten years from now I’ll be able to describe it clearly for you…

But to give you a glimpse of where we’re going, consider this quote from a large retailer I visited yesterday. “It’s all about the law of mobility. How do we take the things that are fixed in our business and make them mobile to better serve our customers? Instead of spending millions to upgrade our point of sale terminals at the front of the store, why don’t we focus that investment to give every employee in the store a mobile device that makes them a point of sale?”

As a retailer, their “product” is the customer experience in shopping for and buying stuff. Since all of us shop, I’m sure you can see how building mobility into this “product” would increase its value. What in your business that’s fixed would better serve the customer if it were mobile?

VZW Value Reflects Law of Mobility?

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

Apparently, Vodafone has turned down Verizon’s offer of $40B for the 45% of Verizon Wireless owned by the British company. Simple math tells us that, at this price, the 55% of VZW owned by Verizon would be worth $49B. Some analysts believe that Vodafone may hold out for $50B or more. That would raise the value of Verizon’s stake to $61B.

The market cap for all of Verizon is about $101B, meaning that the wireline part of Verizon is worth somewhere in the $40B – $52B range. Again, simple calculations tell us that a dollar of 2005 wireline revenue (total $42.8B) translates to a market value of 0.9x – 1.2x, while a dollar of 2005 wireless revenue (total $32.3B) translates to a market value of 2.8x – 3.1x. In other words, a dollar of wireless revenue generates about three times as much value for Verizon shareholders as a dollar of wireline revenue.

This can be explained by describing a number of factors about Verizon’s wireline and wireless operations. For example, wireless is growing while wireline is relatively flat. Profit margins on wireless are also higher than wireline. Wireline is also under tremendous competitive pressure on a number of fronts, including from Verizon’s own wireless services. Finally, Verizon’s stock has been under pressure largely due to the company’s huge investment in building out a broad and deep fiber network to strengthen the wireline business’ competitive position.

But it’s a whole lot easier to simply recognize that the Law of Mobility holds – Verizon stock is more valuable because it has mobility built in!