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Goodbye Samsung Galaxy SIII and hello Nokia Lumia 920

24/05/2013 Leave a comment

As mobiles go, I can safely confirm that the S3 is amazing so much so that it’s been the device that I’ve had for the longest period of time. Nearly 6 months I think. It’s a good mobile, it had a few moments of madness like when you aggressively use the the camera it just stops working until a restart and every time I opened the back cover I was afraid it would break a clip.

Apart from that, from a feature set perspective it was unbelievable. I do believe it is time for Google to upgrade the OS to a more integrated version, what’s the use of have Google glasses and a Smart TV and a Smart Phone if they all don’t work in an integrated fashion. I don’t meant communicate with each other, I mean integrate in the true sense of the the word. But that’s a post for another day. 

ImageToday we look at the Nokia Lumia 920 which has been Nokia’s flaghship device for a few months now.

Lets get the marketing speel out the way – The Lumia 920 was reader’s choice Smartphone of the year for 2012.

Nokia have stuck with Carl Zeiss lens for the camera and use PureView which give the device and amazing 8.7mp shot which I believe is one of the best on the market. It also feature a full HD screen which when you use the device, you will realise, how crisp and sexy it actually is. Funky features, include wireless charging and through it may seem like a non essential feature, the truth is, once you have it you never want to lose it.

How powerful is the camera, well Nokia claim that if you take picture or video in low light os with movement, you can still have blur free shots – impressive.

THe HD+ PureView screen has another very unique feature, you can decide on the screen sensitivity which means that you could use gloves and the screen would still respond. Now that we are moving into winter, I’m sure I will find this completely useful.

There is however a lack of apps and no matter what Nokia or Windows Phone developers say – this is a huge problem. My fustration with the Lumia 820 was the apps and was the main reason I got rid of the device after a few day, Nokia / Microsoft have improved but to no great extend. The strength and popularity of the devices given the experiential nature of the new economy means that customers are already accustomed to certain experiences on smartphones. The first irritation around apps I had was my bank – FNB – having an app for all the other platforms, including WIndows 8 but not for Windows Phone 8. This really annoyed me because I was comfortable with their app on Android and used it regularly.

Secondly from a gaming perspective, a great effort should be made to deliver a richer mobile gaming experience.

Specs:

1.5Ghz Snapdragon Processor
Weight: 180g
Display size: 4.5″
Network: GSM and LTE
OS: Windows Phone 8
Ram: 1GB
Memory: 32GB

 

 

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Mobility vs Mobile First

22/04/2013 Leave a comment

ImageA few weeks back I heard a group of digitally minded people talk about the question: “what mobile first means”. I think it was a bit of an unfair question given that most digital agencies would base their answer on experience and not objectively on the trend or pattern, they are in business of making money, mobile first websites are big money at the moment.

Nonetheless, the responses where as expected, that mobile first means, you design your content with the understanding that your audience will engage with the content on their mobile phones. 

While I agree with the approach to designing the content to fit mobile I don’t think the core of the question is answered.

Mobile first stems from the concept of “mobility” – if one were to take this view then answering the question becomes less about the device and more about the client.

The core of mobility is the changing needs of the client, through the advancement of technology consumers are more than ever empowered to be connected with the world around them and have ability to choose the lifestyle products they believe add value to them.

Mobile first should go back the phrase “Your brand should be where ever your client is and on whatever connected device your client chooses to use.” This would then mean that knowledge about your consumer becomes that much more valuable. Knowing that your client watches a lot of TV means that you can customise content for TV and deliver an richer experience, the medium (TV) is secondary, the client (the preference of TV) is the focus.

That being said, many at the managerial level would pipe up and say well, isn’t that a massive amount of work for generating content. Sure, that may be so, but think about the alternative, – what is the engagement model for a client reading the same content on a website, then a mobile site, then your app, then on TV… you get the picture.

Content should be complementary across mediums, making it easier and better for client experience, not necessarily easier for the author or content developer.

So what does mobile first mean – it should mean mobility in your mind. It should mean that tomorrow if Apple invented the protector watch, then your approach to engaging with your client will be to be on that device in the correct format with the correct content, not the piece you wrote for web.

Why companies can’t innovate?

04/10/2012 Leave a comment

 

Image representing Salim Ismail as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

 

A few weeks ago I heard Salim Ismail speak on innovation. For the most part those who attended the talks were amazed – and fair enough if you are hearing about nano technology and 3D printing for the first time it would be amazing. By no means am I saying that I am a know-it-all, actually the opposite, I love learning about new technology and seeing how humanity can improve.

 

The talks did highlight something very profound for me. It is very difficult for large corporates to innovate. These big companies are just plain stupid at being innovators. In every area of business within a large company the driving force is to be operationally efficient, this is sometimes confused with innovation.

 

The thing you learn quickly in the digital / online space is success is based on clearly identifying the problem and then building a solution that matches. Success is not just measured by how much money the company has made, which is the typical way companies think.

 

It’s really simple to prove as well, think about how you and your team or business is driven by top management. Is the motivation to learn, discover and make mistakes or are you driven to “deliver”, it’s all about delivery! How can we deliver faster, more efficiently, use what we have better and please and maintain relationships.

 

Big companies also don’t lack vision, as we might think, instead they have the amazing idea, but the idea fails because the red tape forces it to fail. The top management are to slow to see the value of the vision, and only really get on board after the opportunity is gone.

 

A major point of Salim Ismail was that corporates need to embrace disruptive innovation and get their organisations to do some of that. It means allows the experts they have hired to do what they are good at. Just make sure that they are good at innovation. What I find is that teams that are bad at innovation are excellent at execution or delivery, but that is not what you need now.

 

So how do we do it?

 

As with anything, the first step is to identify the problem, in this case, for a company to have the honestly to realise that a barrier exist. The Church of Christ has the next thing you need – a solid understanding of being autonomous. Clayton Christensen puts it well by saying “… for disruptive innovations to be pursued effectively, they require autonomous business units”. Most business have those team or units which at the first sniff of innovation, will find it a remove it like a cancer. This is way to build that innovation, you need to have it protected from such, for the innovative team to be save from the crazy doctors who are blind in the business.

 

Next, incentivise the team man! How simply is this, motivated people are further driven to succeed when they are given more reasons to. It’s not always about money but the pride of recognition, and offering value for value works well.

 

I also have a buddy at the office who is like a Nazi about testing everything. he has a point, yes Goolam does. You have to test everything you are doing, including this entire idea, if you are too lazy to test or too busy to test then you are bound to fail. You also need to take the innovation and ensure that it still does mean the requirements for the shareholders, at this stage you don’t want to go into production and then run a loss just to show your innovation. VW’s Buggatti Veyron is an example of this, amazing production car, so much so that even Top Gear called it the best car that we would ever see in our lifetime, the only issue is that VW runs a loss when it sells it. It cost more to produce the car that VW sells it for. So make sure you are testing your innovation so that it works and it’s affordable.

 

Finally, just think – while sitting in for the talk, Salim asked groups of people to explain how the world is changing and how it would affect us. This question came a day after he showed proof of the changes in the form of amazing innovation from all over the world in nearly every field. Every group could see the changes, could explain the impact, except one. One guys stood up and said “nothing is going to change in our world!” I sat there shocked, where have you been for the last two days, have you even listened to one word spoken. The speak just said everything is going to change and here you stupid person can’t even answer the question you’ve been asked.

 

There are lots of stupid people in the world, so make sure, you don’t have stupid people leading your business. If you do, then this blog is a waste of your time.

 

Efficient vs Effective

12/07/2012 Leave a comment

Work Life Effectiveness

Work Life Effectiveness (Photo credit: Mike “Dakinewavamon” Kline)

I often wonder why somethings fail and somethings succeed in life. It may sound like a profound and deep question but really at the most basic level, why do somethings succeed and some fail?

How about from a marketing point of view? It’s an interesting question because looking around at some of the brands out and the efforts made to market, you almost think that some just completely waste their time. Forgettable becomes an understatement and I’m forced to ask myself, has the objective been met.

Objective can be subjective depending on who you ask, some believe their little world is all that exists and on a larger scale that may be so, if you are Apple or Google! but if you are not, then interdependence, leadership, guidance, and trust become very important.

It’s also the case of “quick verses quality”, or more simply, “efficient verses effective”.

What’s the difference?

Those wanting to be efficient see it as the driver or purpose, you often hear the words streamlined or automated which are great if used correctly. But being efficient should never take the place of being effective. I could from a religious point of view explain this with ease by simply looking at how over time, very little has changed in the format of Christianity or any religion actually, why? Well because while we have had many enhancements, they do not always present themselves as effective.

Let me elaborate: a preacher could tell to you just read your bible on your iPad and that’s his sermon. But would it be effective in carrying his message to you, his tone, his zeal for the matter? What about those without iPad or those who cannot read. In an effort to be efficient, the preacher would have failed to be effective.

The secular world is just the same. So what’s the point of this? While we may think being efficient is the way to go, we have to understand that if what you are doing is not received as you intended then all your efforts on efficiency have been wasted because you were not effective.

Rather make an effort to make objectives higher than yourself, set goals just little beyond your reach so that you get out of the comfort zone and actually try. Instead of just wanting to be first in the class, try to be best in the class.

Cheers.

The Kia Cerato horror story

20/04/2012 Leave a comment

Cerato Crap

Kia Cerato Crap

I write in complete disappointment and hope that Kia is able to redeem themselves. We purchased a new Kia Cerato in August 2011, after a month, the clock and thermometer switched from the metric system to imperial and got stuck and could not changed. When the electrical gizmo’s don’t work it makes you wonder about the build quality.  The carpet on the drivers side is coming away from the floor exposing the road and the most irritating of all, they could not even put the number plate on straight. I mean at least take a little pride in your brand. I took the car in December and was told to come this year as the techie was not there. I took it in Feb they booked it in for the whole day and at the end of the day 8 hours, they told me they could not fix the carpet but they had fixed the clock. I thought well great at least one things got sorted. I took the car home and woke up the next day to go to the office and instead of the clock / temperature being stuck now the whole thing was off, I mean completely off! I took it in again booked it for the whole day and they said they have no idea what is wrong with it, further to this they said they have to book in the car to go the a specialist to fix the carpet. They need the car for a week. I asked for a courtesy car and they told me they don’t have any for me.

So the question really is can you trust a brand when you get treated like this? People purchase the car under the notion that this was a superb car yet so far, I have had nothing but grief. Due to the nature of my work I cannot be without a vehicle and worst have my vehicle gone for a week. I cannot understand how a new car can be so flawed and how Kia have no clue what to do.

Lets hope Kia can pull their socks up and get this right, I hate to think what else could go wrong with this vehicle.

Nokia X10 and W10 concept phone come out the closet

06/05/2011 Leave a comment

The Nokia / Microsoft partnership have been quite for a while now, I had mentioned in a previous blog post that I expected great things and that if Nokia were to get back in the game, this would be the dare to be great moment. I am throughly pleased to see that the Nokia fan club have revealed some specs and photos about Nokia real entry into the smart phone world.

The X10 will come with Symbian, so I have no interest in this as Symbian is not good enough as a smartphone OS.

The Nokia W10 will feature some standard features such as having a Super Amoled screen with 16 million colours, full hd video recording, proximity sensor and gyro sensor.

The “not standard features” include a 4.5″ screen, TV out via HDMI, 15mp camera by Carl Zeiss optics and here’s the killer for the tech junkies out there it will feature a 2GHz Quad-Core Processor with 32GB storage and micro sd of 64GB. It has 2GB Rom and 2GB Ram graphics card.

It sounds sexy and is making my mouth water.

Heres to Nokia and Microsoft – can’t wait.

“The YES man” vs saying “NO”

09/03/2011 Leave a comment

There is no designer on earth that can tell me he / she automatically does not become a “YES” person. At the very basic level within business, whatever you do is about pleasing the client and for the most part it’s ok because your client tends to relax around you knowing that they can share their ideas without too much of a challenge from you the designer.

But there will arise an occasion where you have to move away from being the client pleaser to being the person that says NO. At this point the client is no longer your friend and what you have to do is almost be weary of every step you take. It is never as simple as just saying NO.

It sometimes proves to be a real headache as in most cases, Designers are almost always in a subordinate role and whether you are the biggest corporate or the little man on the side-walk – the general rule in business is that the client is always right. It’s clear to me from working in different industries that being able to gently tell a client NO, is almost an art form. You don’t want to lose your client!

The other important note is that not all clients are deaf to advice, but if that one instance of “NO” is not handled well it could lead to your client having this negative perception about you and we all know perception becomes reality with people. It should also be made clear that sometimes your “NO” is actually an attempt at understanding the “WHY” from a client. What I sometimes forget as a designer is that clients are paying and imagine if it were myself paying for a service and the company tells me NO! That would not be a great feeling!

We should also consider such things as project status, what I mean to say is that it’s a very different situation if you are telling the client “No” when they are still briefing you in or at the early stages of the project to if the project was half way through and a problem arose. If you really think about it at the early stages, you could actually dish out the bullshit to tell the client no and they would buy it. If however you have started the project it would make more sense to be honest and ensure you deliver all the facts to the client.

With all of this “NO” talk there are simple guides that we could follow to help the client absorb what you are saying:

1. Say NO, but always offer an alternative – it makes you look useless as a designer if you say NO and then just leave your client hanging.
2. Say NO, but say it nicely – remember perception could kill your relationship with the client, so listen to the conversation and ensure that what you are saying cannot be perceived as you have disregard for the client.
3. Say NO, but still assure the client of your skill – This will help if you are going to work with this client in the future. It’s almost an assurance that you as a designer are good at what you do, however on this project the circumstances were against you.
4. Say NO, but show the client you are thinking about the end result – You want your client to know that you have their best interest in mind with the choices you make as a designer. I’m hoping clients would be more accepting of  a “NO” if they are aware that you are looking out for their best interest.
5. Say NO, directly and clearly –  Don’t beat around the bush, you want to ensure that everyone is on the same page, thus allowing to customer to do what they need to and still have time to do so.

Personally, saying “NO” is never easy and it’s even more difficult to remove the stigma of – you are just a designer that says “NO” for everything –  from your client’s mind. Whatever you do just be tactful.

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