Monday, September 16, 2013

Teacher's Day, Lesson Learnt

During my school days, I was given opportunities to present Thought for the Day during the assembly session. During one such opportunity I was looking at various proverbs to present. And I came upon this - Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach!

I shared it with friends and we had a good laugh. Of course, I refrained from sharing it in the assembly for obvious reasons.

Couple of weeks back, I realized how immature I was to have made fun of teachers. And how difficult a job they have.

On my visit to my parents place, I chanced upon my niece's Maths test papers. She is an excellent student and a very smart kid. But on that test paper I found a mistake. The problem involved division.

In my mind, it was simple. And I wondered why she could not solve it. I resolved to teach her division. After all, I know division; it is such a simple thing. I scored 91% in senior secondary. And at work, I had trained couple of my colleagues.

But in the process of trying to teach, I ended up scaring my niece and made her dislike me. I didn't have any patience. While I did the sums, I couldn't teach her the basics. I expected her to pick up things just by looking at how I was solving the problem. I ended up admonishing her.

Over the next few days, I realized my blunder. The little girl, who used to like me, now was scared of me. And I started to feel miserable.  

Then, I admitted to my little niece that I was wrong and was sorry for making her feel terrible. Thankfully, the situation was salvaged. And now my niece again looks forward to my visits. On my part, I ensure I don't get into teaching mode. 

Teaching requires not only the knowledge of the subject but also the skill to impart or disseminate it to the students in a manner that they are able to grasp it. A teacher requires enormous amounts of patience. I learnt it. 

Moral of the story: I now realize that teachers are also doers. They just create many other doers. Those doers shouldn't assume that teachers aren't doers.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nokia Android Phones! Why Not?

I am not sure who wants whom more desperately. But now I feel Microsoft wanted Nokia than the other way. And I am not sure why Nokia decided to marry one partner rather than bed with many at the same time?

As I wrote in my previous blog about the closed architecture and open architecture, I am not sure what Microsoft wants to achieve going forward. Did it want to go the close architecture way like Apple? Or did it want its own handset like Blackberry? Or it was just about the patents and technology of Nokia that they went after.

Whatever be the reason, I cannot understand why Nokia gave itself away so meekly.

Google's Android is a thriving platform. It has given fillip to many brands and a great chance to gather market shares. India's Micromax is a great case study. I certainly will write about the great Indian brand soon.

Nokia like its competitors in the market, Samsung, LG, HTC..., could have had a stronger play if it had kept an open mind to work with any environment. Its brand equity, reputation for making sturdy phones and great network would have definitely worked in its favor. HTC for example is quite agnostic. It produces models in both Android and Windows platform.

Somehow I think the Finnish owners took a rather easy way out. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Why Apple Can Never Be No. 1?

Android has 1 bn activations!

1 bn! That's roughly about one-seventh of world's entire population! Almost the entire population of either India or China. Android is the biggest, no doubts. 

Interestingly, history seems to have repeated itself. The architecture of PCs first was closed with each player having their own design, and then IBM standardized it. This environment was and is dominated by Operating System (OS) and Chip combination of Wintel who actually grew the market. The brands productized and marketed.

Mobiles were also segmented with each brand defining its architecture till iOS and Android started scripting the road map. 

In many ways, Android ecosystem is similar to IBM PC whereas Apple has retained its philosophy of being closed. The benefit of an open architecture is that the market is grown by many of its constituents. Whereas Apple is solely responsible for growth of its devices. Imagine a cart driven by many horses versus the one with just one horse. Which one do you think will run faster? 

I wonder if the Late Steve Jobs underestimated the power of the multi-horse chariot steered by Google. Even if he had seen, which I assume he did, I am sure nothing could have changed the way Apple approached the market. Being the sole owner of its ecosystem is at the core of its strategy.  

But I think Apple should do two things, differently. 
  1. Products at multiple price point: The problem with Apple is that we see only one product at a time. iPhone 3 has to be killed before iPhone 4 is launched. And iPhone 5 has to be over iPhone 4, itself. So at any point of time, a consumer has only one option from Apple, limiting the market size. Apple could do better by planning products at different price points. Why can’t 3 co-exist with 4, 4S and 5?
  2. Look East: America without a doubt will remain a strong market for Apple. But then there is a mighty chunk of willing fans in this part of the world. Though little late, Apple has finally started to focus on East, especially the big emerging markets. If you noticed, India got a special mention during the last results for being a high growth market. I personally know many acquaintances who jumped at the opportunity to own iPhone 4 and 4S.
Apple already has a great brand equity and its technology leadership is unquestioned. But it always loses out due to its close architecture. What Apple needs in my opinion is smart product planning. Products at different price points. 

It may still not be enough to beat Android base, but it would certainly shore up its numbers.