There's plenty of chatter about the global startup scene along with so-called 'innovation' opportunities and many challenges faced by players at all levels in that space. It would be easy to pepper this with a gazillion links to material describing how Japan is risk-adverse and/or has no VC base to build next-gen. companies.. bla-bla-bla. Such simplistic points, seldom well balanced, need another post to counter with a wave of my magic reality wand.
No, the tight focus today is two-fold: we are headed into a "Startup Renaissance" in Japan and, therefore, considering carefully near to mid-term road ahead with that being the case.
It was a great thrill, honour and my pleasure, to address delegates gathered for the 3rd Annual Mobile Marketing Conference in Manila on Oct. 25th. The IMMAP organizing team did an awesome job - loved the movie theater venue in Rockwell Power Plant - with a rock solid (ahem) Speakers lineup and fully packed 2-day Agenda, plenty of discovery opportunities.
A quick post to set the record straight. All too many times we have heard the urban legend that goes something along the lines that SoftBank brought the iPhone to Japan and that move directly translated into winning the so-called monthly net addition subscriber wars. However, the actual results - using official numbers from the TCA - paints a rather different picture.
It's Official: Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games! Clearly it will be an interesting road ahead over the next 2,510 days and, of course, that "Discover Tomorrow" campaign tagline resonates with our longtime efforts in Japan as well. While it's a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon here in the western suburbs, with local matsuri taiko drums and yokobue flutes in the air, I just wanted to mark this historic day with a few quick thoughts...
DoCoMo is always an interesting player to watch, and not just by comparison within our domestic market. Recently they made a clear 'Mid-Term Vision' statement shifting focus towards a so-called 'Lifestyle Services' company. Fair guess at first-blush on this for most folks overseas would be somewhere between 'sure, nice PR speak' and 'good luck with that' based on experience with their own local telcos. However, for those who have paid attention, again not just in Japan, the increasing action in OTT (as noted *importantly* below) and the 4th Wave concept are well upon us here.
This is not my direct turf per se, but thought perhaps it's about time to make a few points with respect to the on-going spectrum soap opera back home (disclaimer: I AM Canadian too). Simply put; a major amount of chatter related to their upcoming auction of 700MHz and continued efforts by the Fed. to attract foreign investment in order to disrupt the current cozy strangle-hold by three well-established domestic players.
While rumours of this news were circulating a few weeks ago, so we're not that surprised, maybe folks missed theseotherhints with regards to forecasting this ever evolving market. As usual overseas press, who could barely contain their delight, didn't bother to pay much attention in an effort to provide a balanced opinion.
Let's take a quick step back first to note my presentation at the recent Digital Media Asia event. While covering the Japan market, as requested, it actually focused on a niggly question for the several hundred attending delegates. Simply put: the legacy approach of their printing industry charged a cover price, say $1 for the daily newspaper, which did not cover the fixed cost of landing that product on the customers lap. The internet came along and "other people" took the PL risk to lay twisted copper and build base stations, while their "customers" paid the monthly connection fees - and - purchased hardware required to render all those digital bytes.
Just a few quick thoughts while we have a moment, as there is always plenty of background activity for us here, to note the musical chair action happening just beneath the surface. Let's peel a layer on the wonderful example of Game Theory currently taking place related to mobile operating systems and a predictable rise of Tizen over the months and years to come. For a decent current overview on this effort, including what's new in the 2.0 Magnolia build, see their FAQ section [.pdf]
For those who went, a record 72,000 delegates, guessing you'll have to agree: there was a certain 'shift' feeling at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year. If you didn't manage to attend there's plenty of material to review out there, suggest the Show Daily, simply put - as always - far better to have been there in person to compare the new vibe with years past.
Maybe good to start here with a defining quote by Benedict Evans via an otherwise confusing (innovative or not?) WSJ post: "It is a trade fair, but a trade fair for a $1 trillion industry." Yes
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