Venture investor with an operating and entrepreneurial background. Interested in digital media, mobile, on-line advertising, internet infrastructure and all things related to India.
Advertising is a $ 500 B + industry globally, 20 % of which, almost $ 100 B, is digital today. With tablets, smart phones, and Connected TVs, consumers are starting to live in an “all digital world”. As that happens, all advertising will become digital. And the impact on marketers will be profound, especially as all TV advertising becomes digital (for those that doubt that TV will become all digital by the end of this decade, try out Barry Diller’s Aereo service in NY).
Let me give you an example of how profound these changes are for a marketer. When I started my career at Unilever, I used to buy TV advertising and it was a simple process. I would hire a creative agency that would come up with a bunch of story ideas, I would shortlist some ideas, and they would go ahead and create a fews ads. I would then pick a picked a couple of TV shows and after that, every week I would be able to reach 10s of millions of consumers. Today, with online video, the world is much more complex. Audiences are fragmented across sites, apps, and devices. Consumers view content on demand at a time and place of their choosing. Increasingly sites like Hulu are offering consumers a choice of ads that they can see. And then off course, with touch screens, consumers expect to be able to interact with the ads.
At the risk of over-simplifying this, a decade ago, marketers made a handful of big decisions. Today, in a digital world, marketers make 10s of millions of very specific decisions, almost on daily basis. Instead of being able to do a media plan on a spreadsheet, marketers now need all kinds of tools and technologies. And so, there has emerged a whole class of applications and services (e.g. DSPs, data management platforms, optimization tools) that enable advertisers to manage the purchase of digital media.
I believe that this transition is inevitable. The questions I think about are:
If you have a POV on these questions, I would love to hear from you….
Historically, marketers have played a limited role in driving IT spend. I believe that this is changing, and that selling technology to marketers is a huge opportunity. I believe that this is the decade of the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).
To set this in context, its helpful to take a look at how the priorities for Fortune 500 companies have evolved over the last 3 decades, and the impact that has had on IT spend.
Going forward, I believe that this (the 2010- decade) is the decade of CMOs. For one, marketing budgets are 3 X CIO budgets and growing faster. Second, social media, has moved marketing from the side stage to center stage. And, with the advent of digital marketing, technology is now at the heart of all marketing.
Already, this wave has created several large players including Google and Adobe. IBM, which has acquired (Ck IBm acquistions) CoreMetrics, XYZ and Tealeaf (which was an Foundation Capital portfolio company), is also building out a footprint in the nascent Marketing technologies space.
There is a school of thought that by the end of the decade, CMOs will invest more in IT than CIOs. So what does this mean for technology start-ups. I think that there are 4 key trends that CMOs are investing behind, and that start-ups should seek to understand.
In subsequent posts, I will take a crack at fleshing out each of these trends. In parallel, I would love to get feedback on the above.
…was the title of a recent Economist story on Microsoft (http://www.economist.com/news/business/21565225-microsoft-makes-its-pitch-mobile-age-tablets-high). The core thrust of the article is that while Microsoft still has 90% of the PC OS market, it has only 30 %of the personal computing market (factoring in tablets and smart phones). With Forrester forecasting that by 2016, PCs will account for less than 20% of the personal computing market, Windows 8 has to win in the tablet and smartphone market for MS to remain relevant.
I am typing this blog post on my MS Surface, and I think that MS has a shot. But it is touch, and go. Windows 8 has several redeeming features:
At the same time, Microsoft lacks the ecosystem that Apple has developed over the last decade. App and accessory developers offer a host of “add ons” that make the Apple experience much more compelling for most consumers.
Even if Windows 8 succeeds, by 2016, MS’s share of the operating system market will be well below 50%, probably closer to 30%. Given the uphill road ahead, what should Microsoft do ? Here are my 2 cents:
The Economist said it well, it is touch, and go for Microsoft. I wish it well.
2011 has been an amazing year on so many dimensions:
As I was reflecting on the whirlwind that 2011 has been for me, I came across a blog post by Elliot Ng which really struck a chord. In it, Elliot describes his “3 words to help guide 2012”. What appealed to me about the concept of the 3 words was that they were guiding pillars vs. specific goals or objectives. Chris Brogan who introduced the concept to Elliot described them as “helping you the way that a lighthouse helps a ship in a storm”. Ideally they are themes that are evocative of a personal vision, and a compass by which to set direction for day to day goals, and tasks. As soon as I read Chris’s post, I set about to identify my 3 words for 2012. They may not mean much for you. Or they may mean very different things to you. That’s OK. These words are only meant to guide me on my journey.
My 3 Words for 2012: Introspect, Intentional, Re-wire
In my universe, Introspect ties several concepts together – self-reflection, Deliberate Practice, blogging, and learning from every interaction with the entrepreneurs and CEOs I work with every day. I have always been a fan of self-analysis tools like MBTI (if you are curious, I am an ENTP) and StrengthFinder. I find that they create a framework for a dialog with myself. They help pull together and verbalize insights and observations about myself that I have put away in some corner of my brain. Yet these tools are just a starting point. In 2012, I want to find a way to do a better job of learning from every interaction that I have. I want to learn from every entrepreneur that I chose not to fund. And I want to learn from every time that I blow my top. Most of all, I want to distil those learnings to do better the next time.
The notion of Deliberate Practice is something that I am still getting my arms around. I have always been somewhat skeptical of Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory, and very dubious of the idea that with 10,000 hours of effort, anyone could come up with the Theory of Relativity. Given my skepticism, this post about Deliberate Practice really struck a chord with me. The post cites a 2005 study of chess players that found that “serious study“ — the arduous task of reviewing past games of better players, trying to predict each move in advance — was the strongest predictor of chess skill. The article makes the case that key to exceptional performance is identifying what constitutes Diliberate Practice in your chosen field of endeavor. I have chosen to be a venture investor, helping exceptional people build enduring and valuable companies. And so, as part of introspecting in 2012, I would like to better understand what constitutes Diliberate Practice for a venture investor.
I am an infrequent blogger. Its been almost a year since I wrote something. As a result, people often ask me why I blog at all. After all, given how infrequently I post, I am unlikely to ever develop much of an audience for my blog. For me, that’s irrelevant. I love the fact that you are reading this blog post and hope to get feedback from you. Yet, I write for myself. I blog as a way to synthesize ideas floating around in my head. I blog to force myself to take a stand, to expose what I am thinking to others and get feedback. Well, in 2012, as I introspect more, I hope to blog more often.
Elliot also used the word Intentional and so when I started this process, I tried hard to stay away from it. I came up several words that evoked the theme that I was looking for – Deliberate (the adjective), Organized, Purposeful, Prioritize, Pro-active, Balance. Yet none of them fully captured the idea or also evoked concepts that did not resonate for me. For example, I liked purposeful, but for me, it also minimizes the serendipity which is so core to who I am and what I do. I liked Deliberate, but as a verb, its meaning is similar to introspect. And so after a lot of meandering, I finally settled on Intentional. For me, Intentional evokes 2 broad concepts – the notion of being proactive and the notion of balance.
I have always been fascinated by the idea that the human brain is capable of constantly re-wiring itself. I have always been paranoid about being struck in my own little box, about developing blinders over time. And so, I have sought and reveled in new ideas, people and fresh connections. I am fortunate that my job as a venture capitalist exposes me to new people and ideas every day. And yet, over time, those networks tend to get incestous. In fact, the more “intentional” I get, the less likely it is that I will invest time/energy in engaging with a random person or idea. And so, even as I seek to be more intentional in 2012, I hope to engineer more serendipitous encounters with exceptional people out-side my networks who are working on life changing ideas in areas that I know nothing about.
Re-wiring may mean being more deliberate about attending conferences, something I have generally avoided in the past because of the needle in a haystack problem. Re-wiring may mean diving deep into a completely new area of technology. Or it may mean learning to play chess or swim in my 40s.
I will figure out I will do as the year unfolds. And that is the beauty of the 3 words process. Its about defining guiding pillars upfront, while giving yourself the flexibility to make lots of decisions along the way.
And so, to wrap up, my 3 words are: Introspect, Intentional and Re-wire. I am excited about using them as lighthouses, helping me navigate the storm that is life. If you are excited by the idea, and do end up writing your own 3 words for 2012, do tell me about them.
With the recent Nokia deal, Windows Mobile is back! While Nokia seems irrelevant in the US, Symbian still has 37.6 % market share globally (amongst smart phones), and more importantly, Nokia has 40+ % of the global cellphone market (of devices sold by the top 10 cellphone makers). So, while Nokia will continue to loose share in 2011/2012, it will remain the largest cellphone maker (in volume terms) for a while.
I think that Windows Mobile has a credible shot at 30 % + market share of all cellphones by 2015 up from 4.2 % of all smartphones today.
The Windows-Nokia alliance could be the new WINTEL, and in time may be remembered as pivotal as Yahoo’s decision to out-source search to Bing or even IBM’s decision to out-source the PC OS to Microsoft. In particular, this is bad news for RIM’s platform and HP’s Web OS (formerly Palm), both of which I suspect will be history by 2015. Google will continue to be the market leader with 50% + of the market and Apple will end up with 15 % in volume terms and highly profitable.
Off course all this assumes that MSFT and Nokia can execute together, which is a big IF! What do you think? Does Windows Mobile have nine lives?
While 2010 was a banner year for online video, it was also a year of missed opportunities.
Online video came of age in 2010.
However, content availability continues to be an issue online. Content owners are rightly concerned about replacing analog dollars with digital pennies. Yet 28% of US consumers say that they are considering cutting the cord, and HBO recently reported a decline in subscribers in the same year that Netflix doubled its subscriber base. Doesn’t it feel like they (content owners) are plugging holes in the dam with their pinkie fingers ?
Content owners should instead take embrace online video and work with players in the ecosystem to develop a viable business model.
Advertisers are not standing on the side lines. Several well know brand advertisers have taken the plunge and moved substantial budgets on-line. Some even talk about moving 100% of their budget from TV to online. Managing this transition is hard though. Harnessing the power of the medium requires a technology platform like TubeMogul to track where they place ads, analyze how consumers engage with those ads and then make decisions around creative and media buying based on that data.
The transition to online video is challenging for content owners, yet inevitable. At the same time, by making advertising more effective and accountable, this transition has the potential to increase total (TV+ online video) ad spend. I guess, the real question is which content owners are going to say, “fortune favors the bold”, and take the plunge!
PS: Through Foundation Capital, I am on the board of/or involved with Conviva, TubeMogul and FreeWheel
…on the impact of tablets on the PC ecosystem and Android vs. iOS. Well worth the read. See The key mobile trends emerging from CES 2011
Thanks to Srinivas Mantripagada for sharing this.
…so said a senior consumer electronics executive in India. He went on to say that electronics retailers in India are bullish on the market opportunity for tablets, and are gearing up to work with both OEMs and mobile carriers to launch a host of android tablets in the coming months. The first few launches, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and the OlivePad are both selling well. In comparison, netbooks have not done well in India as they were perceived to be inferior PCs.
In general, the sentiment in India seems to be that wireless broadband enabled tablets will do for internet access what mobile phones did for telephony. Far from being crazy, predictions of 200M+ broadband users by 2015 are now commonplace.
A leading indicator of the potential is recent announcements by Indian tablet vendors.
“Not a cheaper PC, but a better mobile phone…”. Maybe, perceptions do change reality. What do you think ?