Friday, April 4, 2014

LinkedIn Appears to Be StrikingOut.

"Never take your eyes of the ball.  Never lose focus.  Or it will just blow right by you before you can react."

That's what my hitting coach used to tell me when I played pee-wee baseball years ago.  It was basic but sound advice that still applies to the software industry today.  If you take your eye of the ball, your customer base, they'll blow right past you so fast, you won't be given the time to take another swing to get them back.

What's the wild pitch, that's in my humble opinion, causing LinkedIn to be OutofTouch?

The "Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium"  nag screen that is holding your time hostage!  Seen it before?  It looks like this!

This timeout or nag screen literally freezes your instance of Linkedin.  Onscreen, a small yellow number counts down from 5 seconds.  (It seems more like ten or fifteen!)  When that's over, you then have to hit the close button to get rid of the nag screen in order to go on about your business.  Need to see another profile?  You get another nag screen, and so on.  No doubt this brainchild came from someone in marketing who's previous experience saw them work for a client/server software company in the 80's.    The theory was to sell more software product by providing full blown working copies of their software to prospects.  Then, after awhile, they would to use more and more nag screens until they nagged their prospects into submission and compelled them to buy their software.  Quite frankly I can't think of one successful software company who had made it big by utilizing this method.  Their more customer-centric competitors have driven them out of business. 

But what LinkedIn is doing, is worse.   For years, many faithful LinkedIn users have provided their contact and profile information to Linked, and perhaps provided free consultative information or taken part in some heated discussions in LinkedIn Group forums, for free.   In return they would receive access to one of the most useful tools in business today.  But without the historic content that users have contributed to LinkedIn, for free, LinkedIn would have no value.

What gives a company like LinkedIn the right to change the fundamental nature of their social contract with their install base, unilaterally?   Now, not only are they simply exploiting those who are providing content for free; they are forcing users to pay for a premium membership just to continue to utilize the tool, in the same historic manner to which they have become accustomed.   The ultimate, protracted, bait and switch.    Here's our free version.  On board?  Great!  Now how do you like our nags?   Want to get rid of them?   Well how about our Premium version? 

Perhaps it's time for someone in upper management at LinkedIn to take a walk out to the marketing mound and change pitchers.  The guy you have in there right now has lost control.  Before long, your competitor is going to hit him hard, knock one out of the park on you and put the game you once dominated, out of reach.  

Not showing mere respect for someone's time is considered to be very rude in business.  Not showing respect for someone's time, plus someone's historic contributions to your platform is way off the mark, not even close to plate.

A wild pitch.

Or so, it would seam. 

     If you agree with this post feel free to share it with business colleagues, friends or relatives who are being impacted by this change in business practices at LinkedIn.
Thank you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Video Gaming Industry Now Stands at $64 Billion

I read an article recently that stated that the video gaming industry is now worth about $64 billion dollars annually.

$64 billion.

Apparently more than half of that revenue now comes from games designed to run on smart phones and mobile devices.

I wonder how much of the mobile traffic AT&T feels it needs to "throttle" back is due to gaming?

$64 billion. Does that make sense to you?

This past December Zynga, who depends on over 240 million people who play its online games regularly, successfully completed a one billion dollar IPO.

Yes there is money to be made in gaming. Especially mobile gaming. And no doubt desperate hi-tech companies losing revenue in their traditional markets, might look to gaming as a way to turn the tide. At this week's Game Developer's Conference, RIM will be pushing hard to attract developers to support their Playbook tablet.

Quite the roll of the dice if you ask me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nokia. How can the stock markets get it so wrong?

Emotion not logic often drives stock markets around the world. Friday's plunge in Nokia's stock price of $1.52 per share to take it down 13.97% to $9.36 per share is a classis example. Wednesday evening Nokia closed at a recent high of $11.69 per share.

What caused the plunge? Merely an announcement that Nokia's smartphones would soon be supporting Windows Mobile 7 and that a strategic alliance between Nokia and Microsoft would be ready to go to "War" with Apple and Google for mobile device market share.

Some industry pundits were astonished that Nokia hadn't gone the open source route and adopted the Android operating system. But that's been done by other device manufacturers. Business hasn't fully adopted Android and actual standards have yet to be established as the Android operating system seems plagued by fragmentation through several different manufacturing paths to the consumer.

Nokia chose to partner with the operating systems manufacturer who won the PC Wars and has gotten out of the gate late with it's latest mobile platform. Historically, Micrsoft has stumbled in other markets only to recover and eventually dominate after a period of time. Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, Windows, are just some examples of products that did not start off as a market leader but soon became dominant thanks to the Microsoft brand.

Nokia's manufacturing economies of scale are still there, they are the most experienced smart phone manufacturer out there and while they may have gotten their nose bloodied by Apple, RIM and Android lately, they just called in the biggest brother possible to help them out in this fight!

Nokia is still profitable with earnings of 68 cents per share and a P/E of just 13.78. Nokia pays out a dividend of 46 cents per share for a return of 4.20% which isn't bad for a high tech stock. Since Elop's arrival manufacturing has become more efficient and costs have come under vigorous control.

Rather than doom and gloom shouldn't investors look at this move as a big plus? Wouldn't Nokia be the first device manufacturer acquired if Microsoft wants to get into this space? Last time I checked buyouts are usually done at a market premium not a market discount.

Willing to bet against Microsoft? Just keep selling your Nokia shares if you're a open source fanatic. Smart investors are seeing your knee-jerk, short-sighted sell response as a buying opportunity. Within a year or less Nokia's stock price will be back where it belongs at $18 - $20 a share or acquired at a premium of around $25 per share.

Just remember you heard it here first!

James Gingerich

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

HP and Mark Hurd

If you follow the news at all there has been yet another CEO banished from HP. Talk about a tough board! HP’s job of hiring their next CEO just got a whole lot harder. Who wants to be the third in line behind Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd? Not what you call a lot of upside on the good old resume or a wise career move. The best and the brightest may look elsewhere in the future so HP have you just limited yourself to a mediocre replacement at best?

But let’s face some facts here. HP you can't have your cake and eat it too! It's that simple. According to California law people have the right to work. Period. If a company dismisses you they run the risk of you going to the competition.

HP's legal filing was simply sour grapes. I wouldn't want to be the head of HP's legal team once HP ends up with legal "egg" on their face over this one. In business a corporation's reputation can depend a lot on how well they support their people. Does the company support their employees and treat them with respect or do they discard them quicker than a used ticket at the turnstile of a local carnival ride?

Merry-go-round anyone?

Hopefully someone on HP's board has the wisdom to take a step back and objectively look at the three-ring circus they've created for themselves. This frivolous lawsuit serves only to spotlight their latest act.

Kudos here to Larry Ellison. As seasoned a ringmaster as they come, last week he stated that HP was wrong in dismissing Hurd. Imagine that! A corporate leader who doesn't pull any punches! Not only that but Ellison then has the audacity to put his money where his mouth is and offers Hurd a job! That's no three-ring circus! That's a class act where I come from. If this were a boxing match Ellison's one-two combination would have HP down on the canvas.

But this is corporate America and rather than fight it out in the marketplace HP is intent on trying to win the next round in the courtroom.

Good luck HP! You'll need it. But realize this. Every potential HP job applicant will be second-guessing themselves before they come to work for you. Will I be arbitrarily dismissed if I go work for them? And if I do decide to work for HP will I too be sued some day? If given the choice will Joe Q Public buy a printer from a company that's quick to pull the trigger on firing their employees or from a company that treats their employees with respect? A better question. Why run that risk?

It's called public relations. So HP in addition to the legal team who advised you (or capitulated to your board's desire) to go after Mark Hurd you might want to be checking with your Public Relations department to ensure that this is the corporate image you want to be projecting in the marketplace right now. Listen to your PR folks. Ensure that HP continues to stand for Hewlett Packard rather than High Profile.

As for your vacant CEO position HP? I hear Charles Phillips recently became available.

James Gingerich

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nokia Fends Off Google by Purchasing Symbian

Nokia recently announced their intention to purchase the remaining shares of Symbian and make the Symbian O/S available for free.

As stated in the Reuters piece this was an obvious move by Nokia to head off Google's entrant into the free mobile O/S space; Android.

Device manufacturers, large corporations and even consumers now will have additional choice of mobile O/S because of this move. But is it necessary? Or desired? MySQL was purchased by SUN last year and has seemed to lose momentum. It will be interesting to see how Nokia attempts to invigorate the Symbian O/S.

If you are a mobile application developer wondering which O/S's you should be supporting take note of Symbian with it's European market share and keeping the geographical location of your target markets in mind; act accordingly. Android by Google is already delayed in its release. Remember never bet your business on vaporware! Build your apps for operating systems that are available today. Let your competitors ride the "bleeding" edge. Settle for the leading edge within a conservatively defined market space.

James Gingerich

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Microsoft Won't Be Saying "Yahoo!" a Year From Now!

By now everyone has heard about the $44.6 billion takeover Microsoft is making of Yahoo!

But isn't this just the mere mating of two dinosaurs in the online advertising space?

According to Forbes, ( ) Microsoft's online business racked up $248 million in losses for the past quarter in December while Yahoo's income fell 23% from the prior year's Q4 to $268 million.

No doubt this is Microsoft's counter-punch to Google's left hook ... Google's web-based office application suite that has scored a direct hit on Microsoft Office's soft underbelly. Google also tagged Microsoft with a stiff uppercut by announcing this past Wednesday that its own earnings, largely from online advertising revenue, jumped 17% over the previous year to $1.21 billion! Any boxing fan knows that if you move in on an opponent too soon you're going to get tagged!

Perhaps one day Microsoft will be historically viewed as no more than a Mike Tyson ( ) of the software industry. "The baddest software company on the planet" who viciously knocked out early 19 or so opponents (Borland, Apple, Netscape, etc) before running into Buster Douglas (Google) who handed Iron Mike his first defeat. Any school yard bully is never the same after his first defeat.

And Microsoft will be no different. Yahoo plus MSN does not a Google make! Without a haymaker acquisition of a real quality search engine Microsoft will lose its fight with Google. Microsoft's acquisition of Yahoo is nothing more than a desperate weak jab thrown in the last round of a fight that has already been decided.

Bill Gates' biggest fear during his long and successful career was that the next Bill Gates would do to Microsoft what Bill had done to IBM. Make a huge fortune on something the incumbent giant overlooked. With IBM it was Gates not the incumbent giant who understood the value of an operating system.

$44.6 billion for Yahoo clearly shows that Microsoft doesn't quite understand the concept of "value" in the online advertising space.

Could it be that Bill Gates' upcoming retirement is his way of throwing in the towel early to avoid the eventual knockout he forsees coming Microsoft's way?

James Gingerich

Sr Partner Account Manager
Sybase iAnywhere

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Do as I Say Not as I Do.

The Winner of the 2007 "Do as I Say Not as I Do" Award goes to Forrester Research.

Turns out that in November 2007 an employee of Forrester had their notebook stolen from their home.

Problem. The names addresses and Social Security numbers of past and present employees were on the notebook. Was the file encrypted or the notebook password protected? As yet we don't know.

Read the article for yourself at,1895,2228887,00.asp .

If you google the terms "Forrester Research" and "Data Breach" ( you find out that Forrester is one of the high tech industry's consultant companies. A Gartner competitor. They sell hi-tech consulting and research reports to large firms. They have published quite a few papers on the subject of data breaches and security and one would assume that they would have taken a little more care with their own data.

I wonder if any of the Fortune 1,000 firms who spent good money on data breach and security reports from Forrester will be asking for a refund?

James Gingerich
Sr Partner Account Manager
Sybase iAnywhere