Horace interviews Anders about Goldman Sachs’ investment in Internet finance company Circle and we take listener questions over Twitter.
The Asymco Trilogy with Horace Dediu Part 2 – Apple in Asia & Luxury – Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong
Horace Dediu, current fellow of the Clayton Christensen Institute and founder of Asymco.com joined us for an epic and insightful discussion focusing on few key interesting topics: (a) new market disruption theories, (b) Apple in China and the luxury market and (c) the Japanese automotive industry and how it shapes up against disruption from Tesla, Uber and Apple. In the second part of the trilogy, Horace discussed how Apple has managed to navigate the Asian markets with a combination of building the best product and building strategic partnerships with patience and grow the market with the right timing of the correct localised product, for example, the iPhone 6 Plus. Horace also pushed against the notion that Apple is really entering the luxury market, by applying “Jobs to be Done” perspective (used by Bob Moesta in his interviews) to the issue.
When we think about how great theories are built, one pattern seems to pop up repeatedly: breakthroughs are preceded by the insight into one (n=1) insight. The key observation of an anomaly that disabused us of a false assumption leads us to a far deeper causal understanding.
I’ll illustrate with a simple history of astronomy. For millennia, the theory of astronomy was informed by data provided by our eyes. The human eye could observe celestial objects with great acuity, and with great patience and record keeping the recognition of patterns in movements allowed the building of a vast database of predictions about the universe. We see this in many societies around the world: from Nordic seafaring navigators to Mayan calendars to Greek scholars. They all built predictive models and associated mythologies around the observable night sky.
These models included a construct called the calendar, the horoscope, navigation charts and even rare event predictors such as eclipses. Computing devices were even built to allow the calculation of these events by laypersons rather than a priestly class.
Our eyes remained the observational instruments underpinning all these theories. The world (and otherworld) view was informed and repeatably tested through eyesight. It wasn’t until the technology of lenses was developed (initially for a completely different purpose) that new instruments could be used to augment the eye.
These telescopes (and their brethren, the microscopes) changed many theories profoundly. The information that optical telescopes could convey allowed the observation of anomalies (e.g. planets) which changed the earth-centric view of the universe which, in turn, challenged much of the balance of power in society.
Read more and comment: The Instrument Makers | Christensen Institute
From impressive iPhone sales to slowing iPad revenues, Horace and Anders recap the most recent Apple earnings. In the second half of the show, Horace answers listener questions from Twitter.
This is why is so hard to explain to outsiders what it is that I actually do sometimes. Sure, everyone on my team designs and develops but at the core we are constantly persuading with varying degrees of success.
We reflect on why the narrative on Apple has changed post-WWDC and analyze both the evolution and consistency of Apple’s culture. Furthermore, what elements of that culture/process/priority setting can be copied? In other words, what does it take to be great?
My thanks to Richard Gutjahr for taking time to talk about self-disruption. I met Richard as the Master of Ceremonies at the Censhare FutureDays event in Munich. He interviewed me for his blog and posted the results as a video and sound file. Richard is a journalist (Berliner Tagesspiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and TV personality (news presenter for Rundschau night).
Horace and I have met at a conference in Germany a few weeks ago. During a break, we were talking about the future of Apple. Horace made a statement, which I found quite intriguing: In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.
Hour-long conversation including audio and video: Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction.
My talk on the future of things from Censhare’s FutureDay 2014 in Munich.
Innovation Talk: Overuse of word innovation has blurred its true meaning – Business News | Latest News Stories | The Irish Times – Mon, Apr 28, 2014
“Innovation” is one of those words that, through casual overuse, has come to signify a wide array of distinct concepts – in some sense, the word is literally losing definition, like an out-of-focus photograph that manages to become blurrier every time you look at it.
These days, anytime anyone does something vaguely new, or a new feature gets added to some gadget or other, the innovation word gets flung about. Indeed, the word is used with the same reckless abandon as those other favourites of jargon-loving MBA types, “solutions” and “disruption”, rendering it increasingly meaningless.
When trying to assess the success of an ecosystem, the primary measure is the size of the user base or the “audience” for the product. Companies like FaceBook and WhatsApp and Twitter are measured first and foremost on this metric. Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are less so. When revenues are firmly attached to products the focus shifts to “follow-the-money” rather than “follow-the-users” metrics.
That’s as it should be, but for the sake of understanding the competition between ecosystems, they should be compared on some similar basis. If the basis of competition in this day and age is ecosystems how does one evaluate Facebook’s vs. Microsoft’s? Or, more poignantly, how does one compare WhatsApp’s valuation with that of iMessage?
It’s common to value a company which aggregates audiences at a multiple of that audience size. The implication being that each member of the audience returns a certain cash flow to the aggregator and the discounting of those flows is the net present value. Which is why, for example, a newspaper is valued in terms of its subscribers. As is a TV network and as might be a social network. Using this metric, a WhatsApp (i.e. free messaging) user is worth $40 and the average social media user may be worth around $100.
The implication is that users/subscribers/audience members are loyal and will stay with the programming for some time. There is also a second implication that businesses which are not measured by audience size don’t have this loyal and recurring revenue base. The absence of an “audience” implies transience and impermanence and results in deep discounting of long-term viability.Notes: