Category Archives: Addressing Retention

The Un-local Nokia

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

Thoughts from Nokia World 2011

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

Why am I Excited about Nokia World 2011?

Today I was challenged to share my anticipation for the next instance of Nokia’s landmark celebration of mobile ingenuity.  So, what will it take to excite me in London on the 26th of October?

Something big.

As regular readers will recall, in May 2010 I asked if 2011 would be make or break for Nokia.  While hoping it wasn’t, I feared it just might be.  Pessimism wasn’t helped later when at least one analyst answered.

This has been an interesting year for the Finnish giant.  It started with a singularity, was punctuated by an Elopocalyptic big bang, and has since churned in an expanding universe of naysayers.  I’ve lately been concerned about Nokia’s universe contracting.  I can’t recall any companies cutting their way to success.

So I’m looking for a great big MAKE from Nokia World 2011!  I’m expecting rocking revelations.  Passion-fueling presentations.  News that assures us a fantastic rebound is closer than anyone dared hope.  Something that restores universal faith in a company I know still has what it takes to not just succeed but exceed.

I’m convinced that much of the recent quiet hints at just that big surprising something.  Bring it on, Nokia!

Maemo, MeeGo, Mango and Me

Ever since the February 11 2011 Nokia event cheekily tagged as #NoWin and known colloquially as The Elopocalypse, I’ve struggled to cover Nokia’s present and abandoned strategies here with equal care.  Don’t be misled by my attempts of objectivity over Linux and Microsoft activities, though– it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve been moderating an internal conflict between a growing invasion of open source love versus a legacy of Microsoft development experience combined with strong curiosity.  Neither side has a clear advantage over the other for me and therein lies a conundrum.

I could have very easily avoided the whole controversy at the start.  When I assumed responsibility for Maemo internet tablet quality in the North American market, I could have taken the easy route and stuck to the basics.  That meant developing test plans, training auditors and inspectors, hosting Finnish and Mexican product teams, and making sure CES 2007 was supplied on time with 200 pristine N800s.  Nothing more.

But no.  I’m a device nut.  An admitted hardware geek.  As I’ve shared many times, laying eyes on the Nokia 770 tablet changed everything for me.  It put what I saw then as the future in my hands, literally and figuratively.  I could not just treat this product line as I did the various and sundry cell phones I also touched.  I took tablets personallyContinue reading

An N8 Charm

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?

original source: nokia.comBecause 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

The Nokia Phoenix

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 [1][2][3] .  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

A Tech Ecosystem for the Rest of Us

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