Euro Feedback and the Future of WWJ
WWJ subscribers did a great job of summarizing and opinion-izing on the state of the mobile Internet in Europe, and I would venture that the information contained below in today’s newsletter probably couldn’t be purchased anywhere – or if it could, the cost would be substantial. My overall take after reading, editing (slightly), and collating the responses is that – Wow! – Europe’s come a long way in the past two years. It strikes me that Europe 2003 is akin to Japan 2000, with new networks, data services, and innovative business models all being trialed, proven, and – in some cases (Did someone say “KPN i-mode?”) disproven.
I was absolutely overwhelmed by both the quantity and quality of the responses to my call for Euro Feedback (see WWJ No. 95).
My overall take after reading, editing (slightly), and collating the responses is that – Wow! – Europe’s come a long way in the past two years. It strikes me that Europe 2003 is akin to Japan 2000, with new networks, data services, and innovative business models all being trialled, proven, and – in some cases (Did someone say “KPN i-mode?”) disproven.
It also appears that the operators are taking a much more aggressive approach towards building the portals, owing the customer relationship, and amassing the content – very similar to what NTT DoCoMo and the other Japanese carriers were doing in Year II of the i-mode era (2000).
I’d like to offer my personal thanks to all of you who took time to respond (about 25 people in all). Today’s WWJ is one of the best ever thanks to your commentary and efforts!
I decided to keep all submissions anonymous; some of you asked for this specifically, others said it was OK to mention your name but not your company, and others weren’t clear at all on what you wanted, so the easiest approach by far was just to remove all names and corporate affiliations. Note, however, that comments came in from major technology vendors, analysts, consultants, media types, and at least one carrier, so there’s quite a wide range of expertise represented.
If, by chance, you don’t see your comments below, I had to remove some that merely repeated what others had said, or I merged two sets of comments together to save space (this is already a monster issue due to volume). Oh – the cheeky headlines are mine… 😉
Finally, a couple of disclaimers. All statements reproduced below are the opinions of the authors and are neither endorsed nor certified in any way by the editors of WWJ; use this information at your own risk. Also, WWJ makes no claim as to the veracity of statements off act rendered as such. Again, caveat emptor.
However, having said that, there’s a gold mine of info in today’s second-final WWJ newsletter from Daniel – enjoy!
It was truly wonderful to see the volume of responses that also made mention of my leaving Japan (and WWJ) – thanks! In fact, the expressions of support and encouragement for WWJ – both mail and video – really caused Lars Cosh-Ishii and myself to rethink WWJ’s fate.
The easiest tack (and the one that appeared most likely until a few days ago) was simply to shut WWJ down and move on to other projects.
But it appears that there is a wide base of support for keeping both the newsletter and the video series alive. It certainly appears that we have hit on some sort of interesting niche – whether you want to call it “open source journalism,” “microjournalism,” “narrow-casting,” or simply “Daniel and Lars Blog” – and if similar- quality content can continue to be produced, there’s probably an audience for it.
There’s one catch: convincing anyone else in Tokyo to join and maintain the project (and there are several professional journalists similarly passionate about tech in general and mobile in particular) will require something that WWJ hasn’t had much of – revenue.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and it appears that as we look at morphing WWJ into the post-Daniel-in-Tokyo era, we may have to rely on the consumers of this content to also pay for it. (Both Lawrence and I have beat ourselves senseless looking for advertiser/sponsor support: It just won’t work; the numbers are too small to interest an agency and the tech firms aren’t spending these days.)
It may be prudent to ask yourself the question: Would I pay for WWJ? Would my company support one or several subscriptions to a service that comprised weekly Web casts of interviews with people in the know here; lots of video coverage of terminals, applications, and services (and how real people use them); and, a weekly mail news magazine – plus (most likely) access to additional reports and Japan mobile facts?
That may be the only option for keeping this project going and growing.
— Daniel Scuka