Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Power Of Nudge

The Economist is probably the most reputed magazine in the world. I have always wanted to subscribe it. But never did.

Then I started receiving the these emailers from The Economist. Just Rs. 500 for a quarter! Enticing, isn't it? Upon reading the mail, I came to understand that it was an invitation price and that the subscription rate for the following quarters is a substantially larger figure. The payment is automatically debited on the credit card one authorizes. And of course, if you do not want further subscription, just reach out to the publisher and it is done.

Easy, isn't it?

The Economists' marketing/circulation department have been brilliant in this campaign of theirs. They realized the important of Status Quo Bias which means that people have tendency to stick to their current situation.

I am no different. Now every quarter, my credit card is charged for the quarterly subscription of The Economist which I hardly find time to read. But then it is almost a year and I still haven't stopped the subscription.

If you are in a position where you have to influence the behavior of people, then Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein is just the book for you.

A fantastic read, the book offers tremendous insights on how people behave. So it is not necessary that you must be a professional to leverage the ideas in this book. You could be a parent trying to figure out how to make your kid eat good food. Or you could be a family man wondering how to secure the financial security of the family.

Even if you don't intend to influence or nudge others, you will certainly learn a thing or two about your own behavior.

Must read! Do visit their blog and follow them on Twitter

Monday, October 17, 2011

What is wrong with Nokia?

Nokia is still the world's largest mobile handset maker. That may change predicts a recent article in The Economist. Samsung is likely to take over as the new number one handset maker. Am not sure why Nokia is losing out so badly despite having a reputation for producing sturdy devices.

I don't care much about the lower end of the market, but Nokia's strategy in the higher end of the market is flawed. Simply flawed. Nokia has aligned itself with Windows for the smartphone segment. And I really don't understand the need for Nokia to be married to just one environment when it could have been in bed with Google, too. If I am not wrong, Windows phone has not made any cut, not even the Windows 7. In the technology market, it is more important to be aligned to the leader. Or be independent differentiated like Apple.

What stopped Nokia from following HTC strategy? The latter churns out phones both on Google and Windows platform.

What stops Nokia? If nothing does, what is wrong with Nokia?

Why Blackberry?

I have never understood why people may want to buy a Blackberry. People tell me it is the mail service, the others say messenger.

Does it really matter?

Now I have used a Blackberry in the past and use a handset even now. Blackberry service is more expensive than a normal GPRS service though it can be marginally be faster. Recently my employers provided me an HTC handset. I access my official and personal mails on that phone. Of course, both of them are Gmail service. It may be argued that the Blackberry service is the safest way to access emails using mobile service. But I am not sure if it sustainable advantage now. RIM started expanding its customer base and started targeting the youngsters and to me that segment may not be as worried as the corporate citizens about security. With iPhone and Android, RIM has also lost its the-email-phone status.

BBM is another app that is often cited for its success. But then with an app like Whatsapp, I am not sure if anyone needs a BBM like limited messenger.

Am I missing anything here? What is Blackberry's distinct competitive advantage? Someone please enlighten me.