I’ve been pretty easy on my favorite former employer lately, even to the point of gushing over Nokia World 2011 and pouring out pure fanboy praise over a fantastic phone that will only see limited release. But I don’t think I’d be performing my duty as a recently-renewed Developer Champion if I didn’t provide some much-needed critical feedback. Lovingly, of course.
Nokia’s physical withdrawal from certain locales is not a new subject for me, but it’s reached a point where I’m more concerned than ever. Of course most of my focus is on the United States, and more specifically, my home near Dallas, Texas. In just a few years Nokia as a brand has become a complete non-factor here and just about the entire country. I’m keenly observant of devices used by others and, outside of a small circle of open source enthusiasts, I’m seeing everything but Nokia phones in the hands of the general public.
None of that is news to most people. And Nokia has made it very clear that it expects its fairly new Windows Phone strategy, coupled with impeccable and compelling industrial design, to get its high-end products back into regions (like the US) where product sales margins matter.
The continued problem as I see it, though, is that Nokia seems to expect that they can concentrate all efforts on a few key cities. Its shrinking supply chain system has led to greater consolidation of localization activities at sites far removed from the end customers. Now, for core needs this consolidation need not be an issue; a phone engine is a phone engine is a phone engine. But as many companies are becoming increasingly aware, last-mile localization is an absolute must for finished goods.
This translates to customer Care activities as well. Contract employees at remote call centers just cannot identify with many of the diverse clientele they are called upon to support. It’s not just language barriers; cultural differences can be a real hindrance (not to mention cybersecurity risks). But more than that, trade customers (i.e., AT&T, Telcel, Orange, et al) will not tolerate delays in problem resolution. They will require local presence in key markets. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Ways of Rocking, Unusability, Addressing Retention, Delivering Quality, Inviting Change, Into Outreach
Tagged LinkedIn, Nokia, Microsoft, developers, outreach, forumnokia, Windows Phone
A few weeks ago, Nokia Connects held a media contest to award tickets, travel and accomodation for some lucky blogger to express why he or she was excited about Nokia World 2011. I already had all that covered, but gave it a shot just in case my wife or a friend could use the prize. Worth a try, right?
Granted, my entry began by addressing cynicism, some personal but largely general, which had to make it a long-shot. I walked readers through my Nokia journey for this year, with the aim of providing an objective yet ultimately optimistic view of the company’s prospects. Continue reading
Posted in Addressing Retention, Delivering Quality, Getting Qt, Into Outreach, Inviting Change, Mentioning Maemo, Mentioning MeeGo, The Process and Product Frontier, The Write Stuff, Views and Reviews, Ways of Rocking
Tagged LinkedIn, Nokia, Nokia World, 2011, London, forumnokia, Lumia, Asha, Excel Centre
Anyone ever watch the 1990 movie Crazy People? An advertisement executive (played with nutty magnificence by the late great Dudley Moore) cracks up under the stress of lying to people for a living and ends up in a mental institution. At some point he enlists the aid of residents to help him create marketing campaigns after the bluntly-honest-but-hilarious ads that landed him there become popular. You can read the wiki article to get an idea of the results, but watch the movie if you can to get the full effect. Other than some bad acting by Darryl Hannah, it’s cute.
Why am I recommending films to you?
Because when I think of Nokia’s flagship N8 smartphone, I think of how well it would fit into one of these crazy campaigns. I can picture a sharp photo of this beautiful handset on a blank background, accompanied by pithy captions like “The Nokia N8: Quirky But Cool” or “Cover the Logo and Everyone Will Love It”. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Ways of Rocking, Addressing Retention, The Process and Product Frontier, Inviting Change, Views and Reviews, Getting Qt
Tagged LinkedIn, Nokia, Apple, smartphone, N8, Steve Jobs, forumnokia, N Series
I wrote in May of last year asking, only partially rhetorically, if this would be a make-or-break year for consumer electronics giant Nokia. And like many other pundits, I’ve offered my previous employer sound survival advice on more than one occasion  . Based on recent financial reports, nobody listened.
All facetiousness aside, here around the halfway point of this year it makes sense to look at the company’s situation again and see if any of Nokia’s remaining strengths can lift it up and turn it around. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Ways of Rocking, Unusability, Addressing Retention, The Process and Product Frontier, Mentioning Maemo, Inviting Change, Out There, Greening Up!, Views and Reviews, Mentioning MeeGo, Getting Qt
Tagged forumnokia, LinkedIn, Nokia
The choice buzzword since the February 11 Nokia-Microsoft deal (satirically tagged on twitter as #NoWin) is ecosystem. Stephen Elop’s vision apparently stops short of a Linux-powered mobile solution. Either the newly-minted Nokia CEO can’t see how to monetize it or thinks it hasn’t happened fast enough for him– pick your choice of pundit assessments here.
The strategy that Nokia had originally described when migrating their Maemo efforts to the joint MeeGo venture with Intel was that the added value for their corporate bottom line would come from a combination of lower internal OS development costs along with a customized user experience on top of the MeeGo core… one that was promised at one point to “knock our socks off”. Who could reasonably argue with such a concept?
Obviously, Nokia’s board of directors and their recent replacement for Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Ways of Rocking, Addressing Retention, The Process and Product Frontier, Mentioning Maemo, Inviting Change, Out There, Gamespace, Views and Reviews, Mentioning MeeGo, Getting Qt
Tagged LinkedIn, Nokia, Ovi, iTunes, Microsoft, Linux, Apple, Intel, RIM, Android, Blackberry, Xbox, Qt, MeeGo, Akademy 2010, KDE, ecosystem, forumnokia, iOS, disapora, WebOS, Windows Phone 7, WP7
The current analytical buzz about Nokia’s mind and market share issues tends to be pessimistic, presupposing that the company has no chance of reclaiming its former glory days due to the unwitting tag-team onslaught of Apple and Android. But this negative assumption arises from ignorance and forgetfulness.
It’s certainly true that customers have a stubborn inclination toward brand loyalty that can be difficult to unseat. But Nokia was once on the positive side of that equation in areas where it now struggles (or has given up altogether). What could keep it from returning to that former glory?
Nothing, actually. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Monday Musing, Addressing Retention, Mentioning Maemo, Delivering Quality, Inviting Change, Views and Reviews, Mentioning MeeGo
Tagged Quality, Nokia, HP, Apple, Intel, iPhone, Android, AMD, Epson, loyalty, fulfillment, Hewlett Packard, Artisan 835, Motorola, RAZR, ATI, Nvidia, forumnokia
Does this look familiar?
After my post-mortem on the Nokia N900 microUSB failure fiasco I received an interesting offer from Nokia: collect the Care experiences in a clear, objective format, and the situation(s) would be investigated.
An offer I can’t refuse.
To start this off, I am reintroducing the survey that galvanized the maemo.org community. That survey has closed but had collected a significant amount of data beforehand. The challenge here is to bring respondents back to the table. Even more critical, to obtain a reasonably accurate picture of the problem’s scope we really need response from as many people as possible, especially those not having any problems. More on that later in the article. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Ways of Rocking, Unusability, Addressing Retention, Mentioning Maemo, Delivering Quality, Mentioning MeeGo
Tagged Nokia, survey, service, poll, N900, CARE, customer, failure, usb, customers, forumnokia
I’ve recently chastised Nokia for various failures, some broad and some specific, and I also promised to get out of the negativity rut and start proposing solutions. So brace yourselves; the ride begins and (inspired by Tomi Ahonen) it’s a long one.
First though for the sake of those who don’t know me: I was a product developer, technician and change management guy who Nokia hired in 2005 to support process improvement activities under the auspices of Quality Assurance in the former US Alliance factory. When the factory closed I moved to a brief stint trying to bring the lessons learned into all American factories, and from there to a global role as logistics business analyst and application specialist. Even though my last position was eliminated and I fell out of Nokia in 2009, the time spent in various roles helped me get a big picture understanding of Nokia’s challenges, particularly in respect to struggles in the US. I think it helped that I brought in an outsider’s view– prior to Nokia, I had never even used cell phones! (for you Nokia employees, I had an internal blog called The Long Tail.)
With that out of the way, I want to share my perspective on how Nokia could improve its prospects here, for whatever it’s worth. Few of these ideas are new or original, but they all represent thoughts with which I am in agreement and consolidate some of my scattered-but-related thoughts. Continue reading
Posted in The Write Stuff, Ways of Rocking, Addressing Retention, Mentioning Maemo, Delivering Quality, Inviting Change, Views and Reviews, Great Governance, Mentioning MeeGo, Into Outreach
Tagged LinkedIn, Nokia, US, United States, market, N900, competition, suggestions, solutions, E70, forumnokia, smartphones