vrijdag 4 juni 2010

John Strand & The iPhone: A love story

Two things might seem a bit odd on my weblog. First, this is my first post in English, second, it’s about a person. This may sound irrelevant for this weblog, but let me just tell the story and then see what merit is has got.

It all started with a hyperlink. I clicked it and so landed on a page of Strand Consult and requested the report: The Moment of Truth – a portrait of the iPhone. It was around 25th of march in 2010. When I got the 107 pages PDF I was curious about its content. They were myths around the Iphone to be busted. I got my first iPhone 3GS just before Christmas 2009 and fell in love with it. I am used to not like smart phones at all and was most of the time pretty content with my nokia or SonyEricsson. A mobile phone is for calling and SMS I thought, but iPhone definitely changed that.

Now there’s something strange with the iPhone. It polarizes people into two groups: Lovers & Haters. And oh! What does it look like religion. If you love the iPhone you will be scolded at and usually be called a Fan boy. And if you denied being a Fan boy, then you just have convinced them to be a fanboy. You may call me a fanboy, but hear out my story.

So I got my report from Strand Consult and was curious about busted these myths:

1. The iPhone drives data traffic into mobile operators networks
2. The iPhone helps operators attract new customers
3. The iPhone is good business for mobile operators
4. The iPhone is dominating the mobile services market
5. App store is a huge success that has revolutionised the services market
6. There is money to be made by developing applications for the iPhone
7. It is iPhone customers that are generating the majority of online mobile surfing traffic
8. The iPhone has a large market share
9. The iPhone was the first mobile phone with a touchscreen
10. The iPhone is a technologically advanced mobile phone

Now, there’s some context here. John Strand is a Telco consultant, and as the report points out, the iPhone is no good for operators. The report is done with quit some research and is full of facts I did not check. However, the report is biased and it’s very clear that the writer is not a fanboy but a hater. So far so good. John has some potentially good points and I am pretty sure that he does have a lot of Telco experience. But as it looks like a common wisdom: Love and Hate are very related. Hate is not the opposite of Love though, indifference is, and John Strand is not indifferent if it comes to the iPhone, and that’s an understatement.

My first opinion about the report was that it was too much opinion and mixing facts with this opinion and so creating a distorted view. I felt compelled to write a reaction to Strand Consult and I did. The answer coming very soon from one of his employees. It was sharp as a tack. The first sentence was: Thank you for your mail regarding our iPhone report! We are glad that you took time to read the entire 107 pages report in the last 3 hours!

And this was true, I wrote my reaction in three hours of receiving the report and this amused me greatly. John Strand is not an Ivory Tower guy and soon started to reply e-mails too. I had a lot of work to do, though I couldn’t resist starting a discussion and as a side action subscribed me for his biweekly newsletter. This resulted in me writing e-mails after each newsletter I received. Somehow this newsletters had the same effect on me what Michael Moore has with his documentaries. It shocks even if only 10% is genuine or true, but if you look closer the pictures is just not right. I am grateful for the emotion that I feel, and it was just since the newsletter yesterday (June 3th) that I actually did Google John Strand, and found the intimate relationship he has with the iPhone. In some video he’s upset by the iPhone getting so much attention. How can a company that only has 1% of the market get so much focus? It’s like you want to learn about the clothes industry and looking at a company who makes clothes for dwarves to learn from.

I received no newsletter of Strand consult without at least mention the iPhone. He’s upset that the media gives so much focus on the iPhone, but he himself does add to that focus by bashing the iPhone on every occasion he has. If you talk so much about something you sure as hell have emotions for it. Why would you else bother? Now in his last newsletter he stated: No I do not hate the iPhone and in the end; In conclusion I have nothing against the iPhone, but all lines of the newsletter (over 50) prove otherwise. He’s clearly envious or frustrated by the iPhone effect. I bet he does give the iPhone more than 1 percent of his attention.

So, what is my point? Is this about love & hate? Is this about the iPhone? Is this about John Strand? No.

There’re other lessons to be learned. It’s about how the world can be changed in a few years. How a relative small new player in a matured market can change the whole market. Many like me wondering what the next big thing will be. Like Clay Shirky writes about “Here comes everybody” and a world getting smaller each year, just an idea can be worth billions of dollars and change how the world works (or used to work). Who would have thought ten years ago that Apple would be worth more on Wall Street than Microsoft? But also I try to write more stories, and not just write about what I think without putting it in a story like this.

How can someone become what he intended to avoid? John surely didn’t plan to be so close related (entangled) to the iPhone. Yet he is. And if I can make one prediction (spot on!) , he will feel the same thing what I feel when reading his newsletters and react to this.

Henri Koppen
June, 2010.


The Moment of Truth – a portrait of the iPhone

John latest newsletter:

Iphone and John making history:

The article who inspired me to write more (about love and the iPhone)

Clay Shirky: Here comes everybody

Signs that you *are* a Apple Fan Boy