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November 14, 2008

What a mess! Do we even have a clue?

ESPOO, Finland – I am trying to clear the tabs open in my browser. Every week I see a bunch of interesting articles and try to group them thematically and then share the links with you.

Today is dedicated to a big “WTF”, a list of articles about failed prognostications, lame products, attempts at understanding, and one of the best articles on opportunities in the mobile space I have read in a long time (ah, and that’s at the end of this article).

So read on and join me on this (painful) ride through the Web.

Failed and lame

Ouch. Stumbled upon this article of the five worst reassurances in tech from tech leaders. Nokia takes number one, but the rest of the list is also of heavy-hitters pronouncing something positive that bombed. From the original Ngage to HD-DVD, this list is a reminder that, well, sometimes us product makers don’t get it right (of course, the richest story is about Gizmondo).

I also saw an IHT article on Location Based Services (LBS). Probably second only to Fusion Power, LBS has eternally been full of, well, el BS. Correction: traditional LBS, as pushed for so many years, is what the article is about. And it’s great that both IHT and I have managed to get another article out of this non-starter.

What excites me though is the fusion of place and people, and I can say that Nokia is doing a ton in this space. I guess you could say, LBS is dead, long live LBS (albeit, in a totally new way).

Hm. I hope that last comment does not become the 6th worst assurance.

Location location location

With location of a different sort in mind, my pals at Yiibu pointed out an article on how Intel anthropologists (hey, we have some, too) were looking into tech adoption rates. Lots of interesting findings to chew over, having an impact on how products are created and released. As we know, even the most praised usability designers and product creators might miss some cues. Add cultural variance to that and you have a mess.

Indeed, with that in mind, we have teams all over the world designing local services and products to match local circumstances. Heck, while I am all gung-ho over emerging market mobile services, I won’t fool myself into thinking that a white northern European can best design things for emerging markets unless I am there and working with locals (like Nathan Eagle does).

Local versus global

What this is building up to is a comment on Mike Rowehl’s excellent (long) article on mobile development. No, you don’t need to be a developer to gain from reading this article, since it has lessons that hold true for whatever mobile business you are in. In the article, he destroys the myth of global mobile services and knocks down the idea that small, possibly niche, markets, say the iPhone, are not worth developing for.

It is well argumented and balanced and is by no means a rant. He makes a good point for all of us to reassess what we are trying to achieve, within the constraints we have, and the state of the market.

A must-read.

Do you agree?

Image by greefus groinks