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The end of a dream: innovation in the hands of lawyers !

Probably the news is already in your mailboxes. Samsung seems ready to counterattack against Apple and its recent claims for patent infringement: Samsung may be ready to stop the long-waited availability of the iPhone 5.

It is a strange world the one in which we live. Economists (the modern form of sorcerer) instead of Presidents and Nations, drive the world. And, soon, Lawyers will drive innovation.

What to do? (“Che Fare?”)

Can a Social Business address some shortcomings from the first Web era?

I found an interesting article and slideshow here: The Web vs. The World : 9 Epic Battles. There are some really good thoughts in there and I would like here to quote the ones who most hit me:

  • Battle #2 : Personal support vs. Instant support.
    Some companies have even started charging fees for letting you speak to a live support agent.”
    Despite what is often said that the Web brought the customers close to the companies, I think we all experimented the degradation of service in customer-care. We often land to some Automatic Response System that is difficult to navigate. Talking to humans sometimes does not help given the poor knowledge of the outsourced staff…
  • Battle #3: Cheaper Flights vs. Hidden Costs
    To keep their ticket prices competitive, airlines break out add-on fees for seat assignments, baggage checking, and other previously included (or nonexistent) services. As a result, the listed fares seem relatively low, and most people don’t notice all of the tacked-on tolls until after they’ve clicked and committed. Sneaky fees are a shady way of doing business, and ultimately they negate much of the value to consumers of comparison shopping.”
    I think anyone who travels nowadays has a clear perception of the degradation of the service. Of course, travelling 15 years ago was expensive… but was a nice experience also. Today, budget limitations force even business travelers to adapt to very poor standards. (BTW: I am surprised to see that there are still Business Class and First Class seats on traditional airlines… which are the companies which allow their employees to travel Business Class?)
  • Battle #4 : Being Present vs. Being Connected
    how many times have you been at a concert or a movie and seen a group of teenagers tapping away on their phones through the entire show? Some people spend so much time telling the world about what they’re doing that they fail to experience it with their full attention.
    This is really evident with adolescents… but isn’t this also clear in the business world ?
  • Battle #8 : In-depth news vs. free news
    But regardless of how or where you read it, professional journalism fills a crucial role in our society that casual blogging cannot.”

Reading the previous paragraphs made me thinking about Social Business. I think that a Social Business, a company managing (and “living”) its business inside and outside as a community serving its customers, can actually address these  shortcomings and provide a different experience to its customers:

  • Battle #2 : Personal support vs. Instant support.
    Engaging the whole company and, also, its partners and customers, in the co-creation process would certainly help deliver products that address the customer needs.
    And creating strong ties with partners and customers would motivate a company to consider the “customer care” as an additional channel for co-creation. Customer support is not the last step of the sale-cycle but the  “first step” of the creation of a better product.
    This approach cannot be invented in one night. It requires the transformation of a company into a Social Business, both inside and outside!
  • Battle #3: Cheaper Flights vs. Hidden Costs
    It may be strange to talk about this when the economy is getting into a new low-cycle…. but as some expensive products prove, customers are ready to pay something more for an additional value they get (iPhones and iPads are not the cheapest products on earth… but they are in the hands on anybody, regardless of their income!)
    A Social Business understands the needs of its customers, makes the best efforts to please them and to deliver top quality because the relationship with customers becomes personal. And we all behave differently when we engage ourselves personally with other people!
    Are we seeking “margin” in the volume only or in the quality of what we produce ?
  • Battle #4 : Being Present vs. Being Connected
    In order to be a real Social Business, a company must be authentic and transparent. It is not just a matter of having some presence on the web in order to get more customers or to apply analytics to electronic interactions.
    We do not want to tactically use Social Media. We must strategically transform into a Social Business, living the customer interactions with an outbound focus.
    Otherwise, customers will consider us a we do consider people who do not behave coherently and who try to manipulate others.
  • Battle #8 : In-depth news vs. free news
    I think that not everybody has the luxury to in-depth reading and studying what they think is important. We do some in-depth reading normally, but this is not enough to give us the whole spectrum of information that is required to do our job.
    What we normally do in this case?
    We ask colleagues who are expert in a given domain to give us their interpretation.
    Why don’t we ask our customers to give us their interpretation of the things on which they are expert (i.e. how they use our products) ?
    You do not refuse to help or to share your insights with someone close to you, with whom you have some link. In a Social Business, people inside and outside the company boundaries will be likely to help you get what you do not know. Because the Social Business behaves like an organism where all the organs work together to ensure life.
    Because in a Social Business the synapsis between each cell work at the best speed and at the highest efficiency.
    And, magically, the intelligence coming from others is richer than the one I could discover myself browsing around….
    Let’s remember that we have been give two ears and one mouth in order to use them in that proportion.

A Social Business is Person-Centric and, thus, Customer-Centric. It is not about changing the kind of business a company is in…. It is about changing the way in which that very same business is done. Making it Social, I think, helps re-discover the way in which humans built this world: working together, discovering new frontiers and new goods, embracing new ideas and facing challenges .

The price of cheap

I have read the article Suicide, stupidity, and the iPhone and, I must admit, it touched me. Nothing I did not know before, for sure. But something I do not like to think about.

I have to think better to this article before writing a post which would not simply be a plain and ineffective agreement.

Memorial

China has begun silencing dissidents and students ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre

It happened 21 Years ago, but still this information cannot be delivered in the place where it happened.

Nevertheless the amount and volume of economical transactions has increased, actually justifying the repression that occurred and the silence that followed.

Being an Actor or a Spectator?

One of the things that we all loved from the Web was that it allowed, over time, the empowerment of us.
If you want, you can become an actor; you do not need big means, you do not need PR, you do not need to be a famous star. You just behave the way you are, you just express what you think, you just irradiate out of your brain and heart.
So, after the very initial period, we saw the dawn of personal web sites which, then moved to blogs, and then to the myriad of social networking sites. And, in addition, we were finding the possibility to influence (little parts of) the outstanding economy around us, by commenting, putting “stars”, voting. Well, as much (or as little) as the current democracy gives us right, we were (thinking to be) empowered to change the world around us.
We tried to be one of the two variables in the famous Heisemberg’s principle. Our presence, our existence could affect the world around us.

I was thinking to this in these days after the launch of the iPad.
And this evening, in a newspaper, I found a very concise sentence that made me catching what was in my thoughts since a while:

Q: Can the iPad replace a computer?
A: No. An iPad is not a production tool, it is just a consultation tool

eh yes! The main goal of the iPad is to have people to consume information produced elsewhere (and delivered via iTunes, a new “controller” of what should and what should not). Yes, you have the virtual keyboard. But it is undeniable that the goal is to make the iPad a big remote controller, where I have different channels from which I can choose (140K applications).

I have an iPhone and I like its interface. Few months ago I also wrote that “The road paved by the iPhone of having dedicated applications delivered just to the point, remembers us that the new technologies for the web need to exploit the power of the devices on which they run“. Which is true, but only partially true.

I need mashups on the iPhone and the iPad. I need the possibility to express my own creativity and to mix together the information silos that are delivered to me via iTunes. But perhaps this is just what someone does not want us to have.

Google may pull out of China

If what I am reading today in this article is true, it is certainly going to be something significant.
I would rollback all my criticisms to the egemonic position that Google took so far and will openly, franly and wholeheartdly applaude this move. It proves to be courageous and deserves the maximum respect!

Towards a new year

A colleague shared with us these drops of wisdom. I would like to take them as part of my commitments for this new year:

  • Commitment
  • Honesty
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Courage

We will all need to give the best of ourselves in this difficult period. Not losing sight of what is important and lasting, is something that needs to be constantly present in my mind.

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