Archive | October 21, 2012

Are You Caught Up in Apple’s Reality Distortion Field?

When Apple became popular, I refused to buy an Apple product, purely because I didn’t want to ‘follow the crowd’. However, the features, design and ease of use have persuaded me, resulting in the fact that I now own an iPod Touch and an iPhone which I cannot miss for one day. There still are people who are refusing buying an Apple product or are not interested in using any Apple device, but how does this come? AYTM Research has made a beautiful infographic which give an overview of the mindsets of Apple users and those who have never owned an Apple device. Charlie White from Mashable has wrote a blog about it, which you can read here:

Do Apple lovers really “think different?”  What makes those who don’t buy Apple products turn away from them? This infographic gets to the bottom of why people buy Apple products, and what keeps them from buying them. And it shows how they feel about those products once they’ve bought them.

You’ll probably agree, there’s something about buying an Apple product that makes people act differently. It could be part of that famous “reality distortion field” associated with Steve Jobs, or maybe it’s just because Apple products are actually superb. The survey behind this artwork aims to quantify that thinking, measuring the differences of opinion between Apple lovers and Apple haters.

Some of you might say there’s no reality being distorted at all, and Apple products are just far superior to its competition. At the same time, many of the 48% of U.S. adults who’ve never owned an Apple device probably don’t think Apple products are insanely great, but point to Apple aficionados as simply insane. Others in that group just plain can’t afford Apple’s expensive baubles.

What’s the truth? It wasn’t the mission of market research firm Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) to find out whether subjective opinions and feelings about Apple products were true or not. The goal was to measure the difference in thinking between those who embrace Apple products and those who don’t.

Using its Ask Your Target Market research platform, AYTM Research tapped into its huge hoard of 4.5 million consumers to come up with the data behind this lovely infographic. Take a look at the full data set here.

If you’re having trouble understanding this unusual infographic, here’s a quick guide: On the left side are those who haven’t bought Apple products, and on the right are those who have been enveloped in Apple’s alleged reality distortion field.

What do you think? Are you trapped in Apple’s reality distortion field? Is there even such a thing?

Infographic (click on it to enlarge it):


Might Google be the winner that takes it all?

Winner-takes-all dynamics usually exist when 3 condidtions are fulfilled and I’ll try to point out how Google is slowly but surely positioning itself to beat the competition.


The 3 conditions are:

> Multi-homing costs are high: The costs in this case would be time, effort and inconvenience. Google is encouraging users to create a Google account, which they can use to log-in to and make use of the multiple google services, including YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Checkout and Gmail, just to name a few. In addition, Google assures quality so for the average consumer, it becomes quite a hassel to bother switching to say hotmail or PayPal, when they could just as well avail of Google’s services.

>Network effects are positive and are strong: Here again, the Google account engourages users to invite other users to create a google account to user services such as the Google Calendar which can be synced across all users’ calendars. This way, Google is attempting to further increase the number of Google acocunts in existence, thereby incentivising users to assist it in creating Network effects.

>Demand for differentiated features is limited: Google has a multitude of products on offering and if it isn’t the first mover in a market, it is almost certain to follow with a competitive product. When taking its closest competitors such as Yahoo! or eBay into account, Google is constantly challanging every initiative made by these rivals so as to reduce incentives for users to switch from Google, because it offers everything and more than its rivals can.

In time, Google could probably succeed and become the winner that takes all simply because its presence becomes so ubiquitous, while its offerings continue to improve with every day. It is (probably) aiming to be the winner amongst many differentiated rivals in numerous different markets by encompassing all web-based services under one giant and promising umbrella.

My first world problem: goes on Facebook to procrastinate, talks about study…

Just another nice example how Internet changes everything, is studying nowadays. Although Porter might not exactly agree with me, I believe the Internet has fundamentally changed the industry, and this includes the wonderful institute we call ‘university’. I noticed a lot of us Bimmers have participated in the Space Race, and more intensive than ever before, has Facebook been a center of my learning ritual. I will be the first one to admit it, Facebook is my go-to place when I’m studying, and always has been. Difference now, as compared last year, is that I actually use the channel to ask questions, give useful links to fellow students, and if I know the answer, help other students out. Of course, I’m still strolling Facebook, looking at the countless updates, and procrastinating now and then, but actually, Facebook has been very useful to me. Not only when it came to questions I had, but also watching movies posted by fellow students that related to the course content, and reading books from last year, because it may come in handy for this course, as suggested by other Bimmers. I believe that we are dealing with positive, same sided network effects, because the more people respond to discussions posted on Facebook, the more comprehensive my knowledge will become (or at least, I hope it will!). I started wondering, what if Facebook launches a search engine service, would you guys use it? How would you feel about your privacy then? Would you mind Facebook going through all your personal details, and dig up conversations you had months, maybe years ago?

Yahoo vs. Google with CEO Marissa Mayer

By now, we all should know a lot about Google. However, today there was this news paper article about Yahoo as a potential direct competitor of Google..

Marissa Mayer, the new CEO at Yahoo, wants the company to focus more on the technology side of the so-called Internet concern. Thereby, the company shall profile itself a little less as a media company. Based on anonymous sources, Reuters (2012) argues that the services like Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance are still quite the same as in the year 2005. Moreover, there is great need for change as the total amount of people using the company its services is decreasing and becoming less popular each year – total value of the company is about 19 billion, which is about 50% of the total value in 2005.

According to the sources, Yahoo would not only be willing to take over some smaller companies – like Caterva that is focused on social media – but its management also has the intention to directly compete with companies like Facebook and Google. For now, the content within these anynomous sources are just some kind of speculation. Tomorrow, Monday the 22th of October, Marissa Mayer will publish the official plans and one of the interesting questions is about whether or not to become a direct competitor of Google.

What I think is a little bit remarkable, is the background of Marissa Mayer; before her appointment at Yahoo she used to work for Google for 13 years! Mayer wants to position Yahoo squarely against Google and has been meeting with, among others, AOL Inc CEO Tim Armstrong – another ex-Googler. She is said to move on the personnel front, shelling out rich pay packages to attract ex-colleagous from Google. What to think about this? And, then, what about Google and Facebook? Didn’t they take the Yahoo consumers’ their time, the latter company its engineering talent, and about 20 billion of its market value in the last couple years?

What should Yahoo do? Do you think Marissa Mayer is the CEO Yahoo really needs? And what about attracting old Googlers in order to being able to compete?

You can find one of the articles placed here:

Microsoft offers Office 2013 University

Along with the new release of Office 2013, Microsoft will provide students with a tailor-made package of Microsoft Office. The whole package will include Word, Excel, Acces, Powerpoint, OneNote and Outlook that can be installed on a maximum of two computers.

This is not really new to the world, but Microsoft tries to serve the international oriented student by including 60 Skype minutes per month. Also, 20 gigabytes of Skydrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, are added to the package, where files you save from one of the Office programs will automatically be stored, thus accessible from other devices. Office University even offers you the opportunity, when you are away, to ‘stream’ the full Office functionalities to Windows based PC’s through what’s called Office on Demand.

Two interesting (possible) developments can be seen:

One thing is that Microsoft has changed its product. Office, what was a software product in the past, is now a more of a service. As a student, you can subscribe yourself to this service for a period of 4 years, monthly paying $1.67 ($80,- after 4 years.

Another thing is that Microsoft is really expanding to the cloud, they even state it on their blogging site. In the lectures and article we learned that bundling was a good way of bringing newly introduced products to the market, because they can lift on the success of the whole package. SkyDrive, a newly introduced feature, is now part of this package. Even better, all the programs store the files automatically in the cloud, in which case the customer is almost forced to adopt the product.

Of course, this information is irrelevant for us, because we all be graduated BIMmers long before the 4 year subscription has come to an end.

How much do Google, Facebook profit from your data?

You probably all know everything about Google by now for the exam – but how much is the data we are giving to not only Google but also Facebook actually worth? CNN recently published an article about a Firefox and Chrome add-on which tries to actually calculate how much you are worth to Google and Facebook:

“Savvy Internet users know that all the great stuff they get from the Internet us for “free”—the searches, the social networks, the games, even the news—isn’t really free. It’s an exchange, where companies are able to take user data, sell it to advertisers, and make money that allows them to give themselves a paycheck while keeping you afloat in free digital services.

So that data you’re giving away online is worth something, but have you ever taken a stab at figuring out how much? A just-released privacy add-on for Firefox and Chrome, Privacyfix, gives it the old college try. Both Congress and the executive branch have been talking more about online privacy in the past couple years.

The estimates for Google and Facebook are imprecise, as the program’s creator, Privacy Choice founder Jim Brock, readily admits. “We wanted people to understand, it is a value exchange” when they use these sites, said Brock.

Privacyfix measures your last 60 days of activity on Google, extrapolates that to a year, and uses a value-per-search estimate. Analysts believed Google was making $14.70 per 1,000 searches in 2010, and possibly less in 2011. Of course, if you spend all your time searching for luxury hotels or mesothelioma lawyers—and then clicking through the advertised links—you’re much more valuable than the average user.

Brock says his estimated annual Facebook value was a mere $1.68. His daughter, perhaps unsurprisingly, is at $12. His Google value checks in at more than $700 per year, though.

The add-on also tells you how many of the websites you visit feed data back to Facebook and Google. I was surprised to see that Facebook is tracking me across 87 percent of the Internet, despite the fact that I’m a minimal user of Facebook.

Privacyfix has a checklist for Facebook privacy settings, with orange warning signs near settings that users might want to take a look at. Unless you’re a complete privacy hawk already—or you don’t care at all—you’ll probably find something new on that list that you weren’t aware of. Did you know Facebook automatically shares your profile info when you visit certain sites? Did you know your profile details are sometimes shared not just with your friends, but often with the makers of your friends’ apps?

Privacyfix also gives you a heads-up on things you should be doing anyhow, like deleting Facebook apps you no longer use so that they stop gathering data. The add-on links you directly to those Facebook settings so you can fix them immediately, navigating you through a maze of privacy options some find arcane; it has a similar function for Google. “I haven’t had anyone go through this process who was not surprised by something [they saw],” said Brock.

While it isn’t Brock’s intention that all users should tightly clamp down their privacy controls, that’s what most of the users of Privacyfix have chosen to do so far, he said. Future plans include similar privacy controls for Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as a mobile app.” – source


It is an interesting add-on I think and if you are worried about your privacy, this might help you! Then again, I am wondering if everything this add-on tells you after using it is true. Or perhaps I just hope it isn’t true.. How much do you think you are worth to Google and Facebook?

Work out or pay

Recently RunKeeper and Gympact partnered up to combine their resources. The first is a app which can be used to track workout activities, the second is a platform where people can commit themselves to a certain amount of workouts and put a price on it (see the video for more details).

The partnership brings together on the one hand the reach of RunKeeper and their capability to track activities via GPS on mobile devices. On the other hand there is Gympact that can provide the necessary incentive to get up and work out.

Gympact claims that 86% of the people who use their services actually succeed in their goals. This means that the financial gains for using this service should be pretty slim, the main motivating factor there for is not so much the money you can ‘win’ but in a larger extend the money you will otherwise lose.

So the effectiveness of participating largely depends on the amount you are willing to lay down. That notwithstanding, this is an interesting example of how the penetration of the smartphone is allowing for new business models as they take a 3% commission.


Analysis: Yahoo CEO’s comeback plan hones in on technology, not media

Analysis: Yahoo CEO’s comeback plan hones in on technology, not media

(Reuters) – Marissa Mayer, who earned a reputation for decisive action and intensity during her 13-year stint at Google Inc, has spent her first months as Yahoo Inc CEO quietly moving the Internet pioneer back to its roots in technology.

Long torn between whether it should focus on media content or on tools and technologies, Yahoo under Mayer is being positioned firmly in the latter camp, according to sources inside and outside the company.

Her hires, acquisition musings, and other early moves hint at an ambitious, technology-driven comeback plan designed to revitalize aging but well-trafficked properties such as Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports.

Yahoo has been criticized for allowing these sites to stagnate – they look very much like they did five years ago, and do not have many bells and whistles to encourage users to spend more time on them.

Mayer, 37, wants to make Yahoo’s properties much more interactive, on PCs and on mobile devices, using social media tools to personalize the user experience and new technology to boost advertising sales. Her well-known focus on user design is expected to result in a simpler, less-cluttered email and home page, one source said.

Yahoo declined to comment for this article. Mayer, who gave birth to her first child weeks ago, will unveil details of her comeback plan when Yahoo reports quarterly results on Monday.

Mayer’s focus on technology in many ways reverses a course set by her predecessors, who had concentrated on media content deals, such as those that gave prime billing to Walt Disney Co’s ABC News or CNBC, or to bring an original program starring actor Tom Hanks to its website.

The new strategy is not without risks: it positions Yahoo squarely against Facebook Inc and Google. It also risks alienating a large, media-focused contingent that is already weakened by the departure of Ross Levinsohn, who had championed a media-centric approach when he was interim CEO before Mayer’s arrival in July.

Mayer has been meeting with Internet gurus including AOL Inc CEO Tim Armstrong, another ex-Googler; Silicon Valley lawyer Larry Sonsini; and Wall Street investment bankers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bankers have pitched Mayer and her team on a slew of potential acquisitions, and they appeared to show interest in restaurent reservation site OpenTable Inc and advertising technology companies PubMatic, Turn and Millennial Media, one of the people said.

Caterva, a small start-up whose technology analyzes social media activity, has also been in low-level talks with Yahoo, said another source familiar with the situation.

OpenTable and PubMatic declined comment. Millennial Media and Caterva did not respond to requests for comment.

With more than $2 billion in cash and short-term securities, Yahoo has the money to acquire engineering talent or bolt-on services. Two types of deals are under consideration: companies that will increase user engagement, including on mobile, and those that will boost advertising returns, source said.

“What they’ve signaled so far is that the deals will be more niche in nature, smaller deals that maybe have a lot of promise,” said Ken Allen, a director at Blackstone Advisory Partners.


Many industry insiders believe Mayer is Yahoo’s final hope for reversing a years-long decline from the pinnacle it once attained as the leading gateway to the Internet. Four of her predecessors have tried in vain to right the ship – Yahoo’s market value of $19 billion, is less than half its $44 billion value in 2005.

Mayer, who earned a masters degree in computer science from Stanford University specializing in artificial intelligence, has moved quickly on the personnel front, shelling out rich pay packages to attract ex-colleagues from Google and elsewhere.

She brought in ad technology systems guru Henrique de Castro as chief operating officer; a newfinance chief in Ken Goldman, who also has tech chops, to replace Tim Morse; and Jacqueline Reese to assume the dual role of hiring and acquisitions, suggesting the start of a train of “acqui-hires” or buying small companies for their engineering talent.

“She’s spending almost all her time with the product folks. She’s spending it on technology. She’s talking about engineering hires,” a person close to Yahoo said about Mayer’s early days.

Yahoo’s advertising technology products, headed for the auction block before Mayer’s arrival, are back in favor. De Castro, her highest-profile hire, is known for a deep-understanding of the complex advertising landscape, where dozens of businesses and technology providers are interlinked.

Mayer has also shown an interest in the company’s ad tech platform, including Right Media, an automated exchange that allows marketers to blast ads across a network of websites.

The group has been a long-standing source of division among Yahoo’s management, including with Levinsohn, who was keen on divesting the unit, according to two sources close to the matter. But shortly after Mayer’s arrival, Yahoo told AdAge that it had no intention of selling Right Media.

Yahoo’s advertising salesforce, responsible for signing splashy home-page ad deals and premium marketing campaigns, has received scant attention from the new CEO, say people close to the company. Michael Barrett, Yahoo’s chief revenue officer hired by Levinsohn shortly before Mayer’s arrival, recently announced his resignation, according to a source familiar with the matter.


Roughly 700 million users visit a Yahoo website every month – putting it in the top ranks globally. But the amount of activity people engage in on many sites is steadily declining, and its smartphone offerings are deemed lackluster.

“The largest change is to be deadly serious about mobile,” said a former Yahoo manager who remains in touch with people at the company.

Yahoo faces tough competition from Facebook and Google, two companies that have taken consumers’ time, engineering talent and market value from Yahoo. They are also trying to make the transition to mobile, but it has been difficult.

Some say the direction signaled by Mayer is not so different than strategies espoused by previous CEOs that Yahoo has consistently struggled to implement. A fragmented culture in which short-term finances usually trump product plans is to blame, according to those who know the company.

The recent departure of CFO Tim Morse could signal a change in approach, said several former Yahoo employees.

Morse was considered the force behind Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group and Yahoo’s $7.6 billion deal over the summer, which saw Yahoo sell about half of its 40 percent stake in Alibaba after years of wrangling over terms.

But now Yahoo’s Asian partners, including Yahoo Japan Corp, are not on the front burner for Mayer, one source familiar with the situation said.

Whether Wall Street has the patience for yet another Yahoo revival plan remains to be seen.

“Every CEO needs time to have their full vision articulated and understood,” said Dan Rosensweig, a former Yahoo chief operating officer, who now serves as CEO of online textbook rental company “To count Yahoo out would be an enormous mistake, because the users have not counted Yahoo out,” he said. “It’s not like MySpace, where all the users went away.”

(Reporting By Nadia Damouni in New York and Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco; Editing by Edwin Chan, Jonathan Weber and Tiffany Wu)

Wisdom of the crowds: Or how a simple 3D rendering fooled all the great tech blogs

Wisdom of the crowds: Or how a simple 3D rendering fooled all the great tech blogs

Wisdom of the crowds is always seen as very accurate. Or is it? This is an article about how a man fooled the internet and prominent tech blogs with a fake rendering of the “new” Sony Experia Nexus. It is surprised me how fast this news traveled with just a simple post of a couple of pictures on Picasa.

Don’t believe everything you read, stay critial;).


Confluence – A product worth sharing

I assume that most, if not all people who follow this blog tends to work in groups. I would recommend this product to you all. Confluence’s aim is to bring teams together, online. Working in teams can be difficult work, especially when it comes to sharing each other’s work. If you have experienced the nuisance of having multiple conversation channels and having your work saved on multiple platforms when working in a team then this product might be something for you.

Confluence is a product developed by Atlassian. Atlassian produces tools that help technical and business teams collaborate, plan projects and build software. The Confluence solution might thus be an interesting solution for each of us. So I would say check it out.

For an in-depth demonstration of Confluence follow this link.




Silicon Valley – Who will still be here in 10 years?

Silicon Valley – Who will still be here in 10 years? 

As we are all hoping that this years’ study trip will take us to the infamous Silicon Valley. Can you imagine what can happen in 10 years? The rise of Google, Apple, the birth of Facebook, meanwhile the giants in the tech world are in war with each other. In the picture shown above you can see, who is trying to survive, enter, conquer and win which platform. Apple, with the release of iOS6 with Apple maps trying to replace Google maps. And if they can’t win, they will just sue each other such as; the ever lasting lawsuits between Apple and Samsung, but now also Yahoo suing Facebook over patents. Meanwhile, the five companies also fight proxy wars over everything from GPS maps to book distribution.

“California is one of the most hostile places to do business on the face of the earth,” according to Cypress CEO T.J. Rogers

In the light of distinctive challenges in platform mediated networks, do you think that a winner-take-all will arise, or do you think that these giants will envelop? And who do you think will survive, evolve and still exist in 10 years?


The Dark Side of IT: ‘Patent and Sample trolls’

Like Robert mentioned in his last blog, piracy is a big issue for many parties. The music and movie industry are finding way to counter attack the free spread of their products. Some firms do this through new business model like ITunes or video on demand systems or creating double side markets, were one side will subsidize the other side. However currently the most common way of protecting you products in the United States of America is by suing.

Of course as everybody knows America is one of the leading companies in technological advances and innovation. The United States are on the third place on the Global Technology Index, right after Finland and Japan. America is also a front leading company as regarded to the protection of intellectual properties. Just look at the enormous lawsuits Apple has filed over the years. I think it is fair to say this decisions to start this patent war with other companies was stimulated by ‘mister Apple’ himself, however the protection of intellectual goods are strongly integrated in the American culture. Two years ago I went to a zoo in San Diego, since it was extremely hot that day I took off my shirt. A zookeeper came up to me and asked if I could please put on my shirt again. Of course I immediately did what this authority figure asked from me. I asked her why? The reason was that some years ago a lunatic had sued the Zoo since he got sunburned, he won the case… This suing culture is well explained in this cool documentary. If you have some time to spare, please watch this part of the documentary.

‘Everything is a remix’ is a documentary about why we should allow ‘remixing’ (re-using of previous made systems, tunes, images and so forth) and why protecting intellectual properties with patent and copyrights will not work. In this video they explain how the US became so fixated on this sort of protection. This is, simple stated, because America does not have many tangible resources and needs to imports enormous amount of food, energy and other resources. Therefore the need for protecting their ‘ideas’ to sustain income is very important. These legislations are even creating new business forms. ‘Suing to make a buck’ firms can be divided into two groups; ‘Patent trolls’ (focused on software (62% of patent wars nowadays are on software disputes)) and ‘Sample trolls’ (focused on music). These companies do not produce anything, but acquire a load of intellectual property rights and start searching for infringements. Since in court most sued companies will eventually settle, due to enormous case costs. The most famous patent troll is Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), who sued almost every firm in Silicon Valley. Since he believes he is the owner of the idea of ‘related links’ and ‘recommendations’ on a website.

I believe this way of protecting your product and ideas has gone to far. Companies are redirecting their focus from their customer to their competition. Remixing would allow using the best parts of something and combining it into an ultimate product, creating superior products. I believe this protective culture will not work, since upcoming nations will not comply too these ‘rules’. Just like when America was an upcoming nation many years ago, and also did not comply to trade regulations set by other nations.

What do you think? Is this method of protecting your ideas gone to far? Should American companies not focus on suing but on adjusting their business model? Do you thing the entire world will be like this soon?

The Dark Side of IT: The Top of the Piracy Pyramid


My last blog already, time is flying! Let’s be honest, I didn’t start blogging out of free will but I actually kind of liked it. Just writing about interesting topics, giving my opinion and people joining the discussion. Can think of worse thing to do! I might continue blogging, but in the mean time follow me on you like IT and especially cyber security, be sure to follow we on twitter!

Now on to my last post! You all might have seen Jarro talking about Eriks piracy fine on this blog. For a while I’ve been interested in how online piracy actually works. When you occasionally download yourself (perfectly legal it seems) you might notice that a lot of ‘releases’ have a group mentioned and they even have there own information sheet (.nfo, this example of FAIRLIGHT). This got me interested into internet piracy and the fact I could not find any concrete information on this really triggered me. I did found this one clue, the pyramid of internet piracy in the image below. In this blog I will look at the top of the piracy food chain to find out what goes on in this dark corner of the Internet. So click read more below!

Read More…

Many small streams will form a larger river


Throughout the past six weeks, we have all heard, read and written about various digital payment systems and the business models they are based on. While all of these seem to be very promising – especially mobile ones for the future – I would like to share Flattr with you.

Probably best described as a mixture of Digg’s digg and Facebook’s like, the model makes money for customers and the company with every flattr.

Founded by Peter Sunde (co-founder of The Pirate Bay) and Linus Olsen in 2010, its mission is to help people around the world to share money. Faced with their own dilemma on how to easily raise funds online, they developed a method that lets you donate by just a simple click – just as a like.

Registering with Flattr, users can set an amount they want to pay in. Next users set the amount they want to use per month. Now giving money to someone is just a button click away for users.

Content providers, such as bloggers, musicians, photographers, … can as easily as including Facebook or Twitter, also include a Flattr button on their sites.

As users set the amount they want to ‘flattr’ at the beginning of the month, clicking once, twice or a hundred times, does not ad to their fee. The amount you share per Flattr at the end of the month is calculated by dividing your set amount between all the ‘flattrs’ you set.

So why should I use it?

Since we are all business students here, I am sure that we have come to appreciate the value of work and even more the value of good quality. I strongly believe that authors, artists, and other content providers should receive some consideration for their work and also help them continue their freedom in providing good quality work. While making larger donations, using traditional payment services such as PayPal has always been an option, Flattr allows us to make smaller donations and easily reward the providers for specific content. Receiving large donations once a year, might help a blogger to run his server and sponsor his research and writing, but has no direct affect on individual postings. Using Flattr, consumers of online content can show their appreciation for specific content, and thus keep providers interested in constantly delivering content of similar quality.

I believe that by using Flattr, resonance marketing is not only a growth opportunity for physical products, but can also be the future for content providers.

How does the Business Model work?

As the focus of Flattr is on making sharing easy, registering an account is for free. While ‘flattering’ is for free, users pay a 10% fee on incoming revenues.

Does it work in practice?

With many of new and innovative start-ups and business models long-term sustainable profits have been an issue. Unfortunately Flattr does not publish any information on user base and revenues, but in an interview in March 2012 Peter Sunde explained they have more than 150,000 current users. While we have only little information on the users and revenues generated, the story of german blogger and podcaster Tim Pritlove should be encouraging enough for future users. Tim has implemented Flattr on his blog two years ago, and has since seen a steady growth in income. Within one year of usage he managed to earn 1.900 EUR (after taxes) per month and another one year later he now earns on average 2.500 EUR (after taxes) per month. Using Flattr as his only source of income he is able to devote all of his time on his blogging and podcasts – the things he likes best.

Finally I believe that Flattr shows us what the future of online payment combined with the value of crowds could look – very promising.

Dropbox’s intelligent differentiation


Dropbox’s intelligent differentiation

Follwing the presentation about Dropbox in week 3 when we compared Cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and SkyDrive it is interesting to see how Dropbox’s approach differs compared to the rest. They are all essentially offering the same service but Dropbox seems to have an edge when it comes to their marketing strategy and securing that loyal consumer base that virtually every such web-based file hosting (free) service provider is after. Like the rest, it operates under a ‘Freemium’ business model (where people can get started for free, but pay for more space as they want to host more files) but is luring in customers and increasing brand awareness with rather interesting pursuits, two of which are the ‘The Great Space Race’ (which we’re all familiar with) and the 50 GB free storage offered with Samsung smartphone devices (e.g.: Galaxy S3 and the Note 2).

Being an independent cloud storage vendor, Dropbox is making an impressive initiative to create an impressionable footprint amongst college students and adults alike with the Space Race that seems to have Universities hooked. It is interesting to note that the free space is offered for ‘2 years by default’ so they will probably rely on the Freemium model to generate cash flows from the very same Space Race participants two years down the line.

The alliance with Samsung could not have come at a better time with the Galaxy S3 selling over 20 million units worldwide and the Galaxy Note 2 being an even more striking device with enhances specifications, catering to the ‘phablet’ market. Consumers associate this free 50 GB to be an excellent ‘freebie’ along with the added advantage of all files being automatically synced and saved on the cloud in case you lose your device.  My friend and I were on holiday when is Galaxy S3 was stolen and it’s thanks to Dropbox that we have a few (3) pictures that we managed to salvage. The rest were lost because he didn’t bother connecting to WiFi (… long story).

In essence, I think Dropbox is doing a fantastic job of keeping themselves a mile ahead of the competition and finding more and more innovative ways to differentiate their essentially similar service. I’m curious to see what they do next and hopeful at the same time.