Apple & rise of the carrier antagonistic SIM

Today, Dan Frommer wrote a piece about the new SIM in the newly announced iPad Air 2 (and other iPads) and why it was disruptive. This is quite a big deal. 

It was almost four years ago when Stacey Higginbotham reported that Apple was working on a new SIM that would allow its iPad customers to seamlessly pick between various cell phone carriers. In a subsequent piece, European economist and policy expert Rudolf van der Berg (now with OECD) explained why this new SIM card (co-developed with Gemlato) was a big deal and could turn Apple into a new kind of variation of MVNO. Rudolf wrote: 

If I had to advise Apple, it wouldn’t be to use a fancy SIM card that can be remotely changed, but instead to use an Apple-proprietary SIM card that contains no changeable data and is fully controlled by Apple. Then, the consumer could buy access to mobile networks throughout the world either through post-paid or pre-paid options offered by Apple. Apple would manage the subscriptions and authenticate the users on the correct networks. The user could switch mobile networks but have all of it managed by Apple.

You should read Rudolf’s post to get a deeper explanation that what Quartz offers. Holland became the first country to offer carrier agnostic SIM card. The implications of the carrier antagonistic SIM are much more profound when you start to think about our data plans, connected car and other connected devices.

Mimi Valdés Makes Happy

“Happiness isn’t something out there in some fantasy land, it’s out there for us to grab” — Mimi Valdés, creative director for Pharrell’s i am OTHER, a multimedia company.

Happy has become a global phenomenon — 11 million copies of the song sold and nearly a billion video views of the song and its offshoots — mostly because at the end of the day people want to connect, share and be happy, Valdés said. It was a wonderful lesson I got from Valdés talk at FastCompany magazine’s Design Awards conference in Manhattan. Check out 24hoursofhappy!

Long Day

A long day awaits me! I start with a coffee with two of my favorite people — Hiten Shah and Brian Lam (not together) and then go down to Palo Alto for our partner meeting. And after that I turn back and spend time with a portfolio company, including a quick early dinner and then a RedEye to New York. I am really excited about tomorrow, for I will spend an entire day at Fast Company’s design conference — it would be a wonderful way for me to reset my mind around design and how the creatives are thinking. But that’s tomorrow! 

On Media & Growth Hacking

Dao Nguyen is the new publisher of Buzzfeed. She was their growth czar. One of the reasons I like Buzzfeed is that they are smart about breaking the rules and inventing new rules, when they need to. More importantly, at the same time they look into media’s past and find parallel roles that are juxtaposed to the web.

Magazines and newspapers had circulation people who would often rise to the top and become publishers as they would be the folks responsible for growth and ultimately fiscal health of the company. They would know where to place the magazines, what kind of promotions to undertake and who to partner with in order to drive attention to the publication, which in turn would lead to higher circulation. It was a thankless job in many publications, but at large magazine groups especially at trade publications or mega-market pubs it was a prestigious position, often leading to top positions.

Dao promotion to publisher has the same parallel. Growth czar is essentially circulation manager 2.0. I am surprised how many big media companies miss this little point: growth = circulation.

“She’ll lead publishing for the social web, in the most modern sense, where data science, the CMS, technology, and a deep understanding of social networks, mobile devices, and digital video matter most.” Jonah Peretti, Buzzfeed founder.

I don’t much care for what Buzzfeed has to peddle, but I am a minority — there are hundreds of millions who do think they are cat’s meow. I also believe that Jonah Peretti and his team are doing what others have failed to do — build a tech-company whose product happens to be attention.

Why blame others

I guess one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we’ll make a comeback.” Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister, Finland after S&P cut its AAA rating.

It has become habitual to see people blame others for their own mistakes and stupidity. The music industry blames Spotify, Pandora and Apple. The magazine trade and newspapers blame the Internet/Google/God. France blames Google. Kids blame parents.

I don’t know about you, but the way I see it — if I mess up, I got no one to blame but me. I don’t think others are responsible for our laziness, stupidity and inaction. I blame myself for not recognizing the problems or not trying hard to fix them. 

Perhaps the news industry should recognize that it is in the business of providing information — not limiting it based of screen, device or size. Maybe it is time for Finland to look hard at the core culture that led to implosion of Nokia — remember the company ignored iPhone and the importance of software-defined experiences.

The blogging challenge: Week One wrap up

Here is wrap-up of #30daysofbloggingchallenge’s first week’s posts from me, Hiten, Toni and Michael. 

20 years of SAJA

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Today is the 20th anniversary of South Asian Journalist Association — a group that was co-founded by Dilip Massand, MK Srinivasan, Sree Sreenivasan and me in New York. When we started the group, there was a handful of us who met at the Maharaja restaurant in Manhattan. It was hop, skip and jump from the United Nations. It was started because we felt isolated as we tried to find our way in the confusing and often difficult media landscape.

Dilip and MK, who co-founded Masala magazine have left the media business. We had a great time working on that magazine and I wonder how things would be now! My life took its path – I moved out west and concentrated on my own company, it was Sree who powered SAJA forward with his relentless energy and efforts. He used his office at Columbia Journalism School to turn SAJA into a movement and deserves a very special mention for his tireless efforts. He now works for the Met!

But SAJA is more than the founders — we provided the spark but the work was done by hundreds of volunteers who have spent a lot of time making SAJA what it is today. It is hard to name one person, for this has been truly a collective effort. Today there are hundreds of journalists of South Asian origin including many who are editors at influential publications. What was a desire to be a support group for a few people is now a group that offers scholarships and represents a growing presence in US newsrooms.

Looking back, I am really proud of SAJA and the role it plans in the modern media. Here is to a whole new generation of journalists and looking forward to celebrating their achievements every day!

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