Victor Meldrew (Grumpy Old Man) Moments

I try not to prejudge, to write-off, as we all suck at predicting the future.  But I sometimes just need to rant, here are a few.

Connected Car. Why when everyone in the car already has a smartphone / tablet that’s up to the minute and customized to their needs.  Not 3-6 year old technology and shared.  There are applications like remote diagnostics and remote viewing of the car’s cameras, but that’s niche to luxury cars for the rest of this decade.

LTE’s tag line should be: “Experience what you’ve been experiencing with WiFi at home and in the office for the past 10 years, and with HSPA+ for the passed 2 years.”

Connected Home.  Only for the cribs of the super-rich and geeks.  For the rest of us it will be a slow incremental path of silos, e.g. connected TV, WiFi-cams (standalone) to monitor home / pets / children / elderly parents (they’re sometimes worse than the children), and possibly the central heating / AC controller.

Smart Cities.  Yet more stuff to get vandalized in the city.   I see the value of shared services like bus tracking and the signs with the number of spaces left in a parking garage, but that’s been around for more than a decade.

Calling it mobile when they mean wireless or portable.  Most, between 80-90% depending on how its calculated, of the Tablets and eReaders sold are WiFi-only or are never activated.  So most tablets are portable or wireless devices (remember those words before mobile became trendy) NOT mobile devices as they never connect through a mobile network.

Instagram!  $1b for a little picture filtering app that wasn’t even making money, seriously something’s broken.  The argument that Facebook is limited to old-world internet of browsers – you know, the thing you’re likely reading this weblog entry on your portable not mobile device (because you’re using WiFi – unless you’re an operator and then you’ve never paid for telecoms and are hence a market niche).  Rather ‘they claim’ Facebook was not winning in the “bright and shiny” mobile internet, that is using apps that make the internet possible on your smartphone as you only use the smartphone’s browser when you’re desperate.  Which I do not get as most people I know use their Facebook app most of the time, so Facebook are clearly on the “mobile internet” and winning.  Facebook was made to make an emotional decision so some fat-cats could get even fatter.  It reminded me (on a far smaller scale) of GroupMe that was lauded as revolutionary but had a fundamental challenge in its business model and exited before the business model issues were revealed.  When is reality going to hit?  Reality is the thing the rest of us live every day were we cannot spend more than we earn without getting into financial difficulties; where we have to deliver, not claim we delivered, else we get fired; where giving away stuff for free costs us money not makes us money.

The Mobile Internet is a con.  Which brings me to a key point I’ve made before on this weblog.  There’s no such thing as the mobile internet, it’s the internet and we access it through multiple devices: desk-tops (old school!), lap tops (big and not so big) generally via WiFi, tablets (Apple (big) and Android (big and small)) generally by WiFi, smartphones (Apple and Android) generally by WiFi and mobile (in that order by MB used), and even feature phones (WAP and SMS).  Apps make using web services possible as its dumbed-down for the limited real-estate of the smartphones, and even on tablets when you just want to quickly check something.  Note, an app can be just a link to a website (HTML5 page or widget).  It is just about the user interface not some fundamental platform or network or middleware or other ‘game changing nonsense.’  There are a group of fat-cats peddling “revolutionary” ideas to promote companies for M&A that takes wealth away from companies not adds to it.  CTOs need to start doing their job and openly criticizing the BS-peddling fat-cats who are simply out to force bad M&A deals on companies that should focus on their customers and keeping them delighted.  And companies should hold the CTO responsible for ensuring their future success as no one else in the company has that responsibility (unless the CTO role gets split with a Chief Strategy Office role), not treat the CTO as a geek they keep in the closet to occasionally bring out and translate when people start using acronyms.

I could rant on, but it would get very boring for you, so I’ll continue ranting to myself.

One thought on “Victor Meldrew (Grumpy Old Man) Moments

  1. Tsahi Levent-Levi

    Alan,
    Mobile or portable is the “same thing” depending on how you define it: switch mobile to mobility, and you’ve got netbooks, and WiFi enabled devices and whatnot – mobility usually means “sans cables”.
    For some reason, mobile means cellular – to some – at least to the Victor Meldrews among us :-)

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