The company looks like it’s dying—9mobile

Etisalat came into Nigeria with a splash, marketed themselves as though they were for the high class, and a special group with cool tastes. They were the last to arrive so they had the hill climbing task of building a customer base in an ‘old’ but still growing market; they needed to ensure national availability quickly so as not to detract potential customers. Their services worked well, and they attracted lots of users through their data service, but they made themselves the most expensive of the four. They wanted to be the Apple computers of telcos in Nigeria. Years later, they sold off, and a new company 9mobile took their place. Nothing changed, the core strategy of unique but pricey—relative to the competition—tariffs and appealing to coolness remained the same. They’ve been losing customers from before the sale, and still are. It looks like they simply don’t want to live anymore. Because of a false start and a false premise?

Here are some thoughts that have come up in discussions without regard to workability….

The mobile network business serves a commodity market requiring a delicate balance of price, performance and ‘coopetition’. Many people will cope with mediocre but managable performance if the price is low enough.

Forget coolness and high class, this is a commodity market where people don’t attach emotional highs to spending big with nothing for other people to praise. Your service is neither an iphone nor a mercedes.

Use the Chinese method, bring your prices down. However, don’t overdo it, and don’t reduce quality too much either. Matching the cheapest across the competitors may be sufficient. This may lower income, but hopefully stem the trend of losing customers. You may even get some old customers back. Providing free data will win you many fans, surely. Could there be a medium to long term benefit for doing this? How can you do this without upsetting the others?

Wouldn’t it better to give real tariff benefits that apply to all network, versus too much skewing to own customers. Most people use other networks already…. You want to both keep your existing customers and win new ones.

Look for a complementary side gig; it looks like the others are ahead, but there’s alot of space in the sky.

Sell off to the second biggest provider?

Close down the business and auction the property.

The Democrats are good but…

The Democrats are openminded. And that’s good. But they’ve been so openminded that they’ve lost their brains enough times to cause serious concerns about their sanity and America’s future.

That’s why the Republicans might have the better following by truly free thinkers. And why they’re probably better for the United States in the long run. The republicans have their own madness, looking for that good place only found in God: life, liberty, and (the pursuit of) happiness. Democrats as the opposition sounds just right for them today.

When you see democrats act undemocratic, uncharacteristically unfriendly, near foolishly, and according to some mundane philosophy and a hatred of one. Should one not also again fear their reign?

If you can give solid foundations to at least one of these statements, then you must have a case to vote against.

Re-evaluate

Change your name

Imagine Google apps as viruses or spyware

Maybe that’s not a fair analogy, but it is an interesting thought that Google apps would make fantastic viruses and spyware.

For one, you don’t need them to act like part of the operating system (Android) but they do anyway.

You can disable some of them though, but you do not get the option to uninstall them like regular programs. Not unless you root your phone, which voids your warranty. (Very convenient for phone manufacturers, I suppose.)

It’s interesting that Microsoft and Linux give you root privileges to your own computer. But for your ‘security,’ more likely the security of Google’s business, root privilege has to be wrestled from Android at potentially great expense. Google’s Android seems to give the user the ‘barest’ minimum of control. Like when task manager (on Windows) is disabled by a virus.

Then you notice that Google Play Services updated itself in the background without the option to give it the permission to do so. (Of course it is not the only culprit.) That’s classic virus/spyware behavior — doing interesting things under the hood.

You boot up the phone for the first time and you are asked to acknowledge (setup) the presence of Google. Then her apps encourage you to leave your door open in order to enable a better service experience for you. In real life, this is not smart.

(It’s okay that we have nothing to hide, but our private parts are still private parts. We might choose to bare almost all on the beach, but we leave the beach where it is when we leave it. It seems like several app builders just want us to live life fully as on the beach — for the convenience that that would provide them.)

Then, was there ever a sudden realisation that your phonebook was backed up to your Google profile for your convenience. That’s okay if you don’t mind. But was this feature on by default? You probably told it to. There are settings choices that the make easy to make, and may be useful. There are also menacing default settings, particularly those you cannot change (like the compulsory background updates using your data), or the option to change is blurred or discouraged (placed at the bottom of a scrollable menu, or ‘dehighlighted’).

In summary, it is possible, perhaps easy, to view Google’s Android as a hijacked opensource operating system. It’s just about their business though; nothing personal. (The article in the following link highlights the business: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/). It doesn’t seem like things have changed.

So I’m beginning to think that it is in the interest of the public, national security, and basic human rights, that Google’s Android come with root access provided, and better, easily accessible user control of access to the private. And if Microsoft lost an antitrust case, should Google not lose one too.

The Brexit is not reality until implemented

It has been a week since the history making vote by the UK to leave the EU. Going by all the buzz in the media, it would almost seem that the UK had left the EU already. Obviously not the case. Not yet, if at all.

Everything is getting hyped; hype being a specialty of the British. It’s as though the world would end for the UK if they left. Not so. There’s uncertainty, sure. But, so what?

Scotland asserted itself, being almost unanimous by local district and regional count, but their numbers were overwhelmed by those of the land of the Angles.
Scotland (their leader(s)) threatened some sort of breakup or separation, I hear. Again, so what? It forces England to look beyond oil? And while size matters, it isn’t everything.

The thing is, England has also asserted itself. And they have a queen.

London, being ‘extremely’ international voted to stay; not surprising. She got her current status from the historical Romans who had successfully unified Europe (for a while) and whose name for her still stands.

Let’s see how the politics will play out in this battle of the blocks.

Soon after the results were announced, the British Pound (GBP) lost a lot of its value, and there was a lot of upset in the stock market. But we know that stock prices do not measure the real value of their corresponding companies exactly. So any associated hype in/by the markets should be taken with a spoon of informed salt. (Now might be a good time to buy ‘great stocks’ for cheaps. Those who play the market well could make a killing.)

Granted that it might be that the UK’s trade with European countries would be affected (positively or negatively), but they all have two years to adjust at least. So why the suddenness in the market crash? Invisible hands perhaps. Algorithms, maybe.

And really, I think, the GBP going down in relative value to the Dollar, is just the GBP going closer to its true value. Its been kept artificially high for way too long. And the importers loved it so.

So what if the UK breaks up? Would there be irreparable losses? That’s one question for the hype machine against leaving. For the hype machine that supports leaving, if your motivations go much beyond reasonable concerns about sovereignty, the loss of identity, and tangible economic benefits, then you might fall guilty of some sins in the future.

When It’s Better To Owe A Thousand People And Not Just One

If you have many small credits, no single creditor can make a significant demand.

We know that the borrower is subject to the lender. That’s natural law. It thus seems better to owe a thousand people one Naira each than to owe one person a thousand Naira. Because if at all a creditor would make a significant demand, particularly in a near default, they’d have to negotiate with the others to make headway. If you owe a single country, then you might have created a threat to you national security. Because there’s no one else to help reduce their negotiating power.

Banks owe very many people; people not likely to make demands at the same time; people who will not demand all that they’re owed.

This is what it comes down to: negotiating power. However if the can all agree, you would still have likely bought yourself some time (during their negotiating period). It might be terrible short though, but there’s always that chance (and hope) that they would argue and squabble for a ‘long’ time, giving you some room to breathe.

If you find out that you owe too much to one country, diversify. Many normal companies try to diversify their product portfolio as in insurance measure. Diversify your debt portfolio such that one single country cannot try to claim your land without another crying foul.

This might be good news for China if the US can (or if they will ‘let’ the US) pull it off, because they can rid themselves of some of the, maybe, toxic debt stock they hold. On the other hand, it means China buys more from the US than they sell to them.

How is that going to happen?

It is possible, but I doubt that China would sit idly by.

What can other countries do?

Buy from others even though it might me more expensive. In the long run, you might actually save your country from its inability to not import certain goods and/or improve her overall balance of payments.

We sometimes do this at a micro level, buying from someone/somewhere for the emotional value of doing so when we had an equally easy option of buying the same thing cheaper from another.

PS:
In a popular Mafia, crime boss, loan shark scenario, what is the likelihood that one of the creditors would count their losses and ‘kill’ the debtor? Will the others sit by and let someone kill the hope of the return of their monies and get away with it?

Choosing Your Battlefield

If Ireland had left the decision about government recognition for homosexual marriage to the courts, and if the USA had left this same decision to a national referendum, what might have been the results?

When the battlefield admits only a one-on-one match, you’d better be like David—with the sling, skill, and speed to deliver the killer shot. And you’d better make sure your opponent has an exposed forehead or an Achilles heal you can place a fatal blow on. The government and people of Iceland where able, willing, and quick to cut off the heads of bad banks to repair their banking system.

Iceland had chosen to let their bad banks die after their financial crisis about the end of the twentieth century. They shrunk their battlefield to picking up the pieces, and it made the fight very short. They look like they came out with better results than the bail-out college, even if one might argue that the lighter you are, the lighter you fall.

Where there are many ‘enemies’ of similar ability and capacity as one, be very efficient; where they shall beat you, leave them; and make as little noise as possible when you’re just starting off in a territory where big guns already exist. That’s advice by Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn in ‘Competition Demystified.’ Fight where you’re stronger than your opponents; fight when you have what it takes to beat them.

So that key questions to ask are whether we can, or make ourselves can, and on which battlefield can we can. These questions aren’t mutually exclusive because what we do, the path we take, says much about the battle we envision and defines our battlefield.