August 14, 2008


There is an Internet and mobile advertising conference underway, so these days the city is full of tech and Ad guys from all over the world. I was part of an interesting forum headed by the Yahoo team on where they felt mobile advertising was heading. I entered the meeting with some bias thanks to recent news of the pummeling Yahoo has gotten from the likes of Icahn and Microsoft, but I left feeling rather elated and encouraged about their future in the business. Of course, any good management team can sell just about anything to anyone, so I am reasonably more optimistic but not about to put my money in the Yahoo pot.

Yahoo is quite entrenched in Asia (hence Microsoft’s interest) offering services that I would classify as moderately interesting. They have a system that places banners on the different sites that you visit on your phone, promising correct placement and in some cases, a fun and interactive experience. They have little spider- bots (I don’t speak nerd) that make sure that when a topic is searched, your company is placed first when browsing online. You pay when consumers click on your link and you can bid for the price of your link placement (very efficient). Lastly and what I find most interesting, they have a platform that develops an online system that is both advertising and operations related. Ex:

Citibank signs up with Yahoo, whenever “bank” is searched online, Citibank comes up and gives the customer easy links to signing up via phone, SMS, or online. If I was browsing my online stock page, I might see a banner for Citibank that drops down into a video with links to learn more or speak to a representative. If I was searching for a new home-- I might see the Citibank link to “home loans and how to apply.”

These online systems are based on user profiles and demographics, which means that they can determine where and when to be placed-- which makes it RELEVANT for the consumer. When you are browsing the net and its world of information and junk, relevant can make all the difference.

Now, all of this is not new, but in the last few months it has become easier for companies to access/understand and consumers to use. As mobile phones get faster and easier to manage. As these websites improve and look better on our smaller screens. As individuals trust and become accustomed to going about their day to day lives through their mobile phones—this mobile advertising future looks all the more lucrative.

Will this mobile net, which needs to be developed and designed differently from the Internet, be the future for advertising? Absolutely. We are going to live in a world where road warriors of today with their blackberry’s and high speed Internet connection become the majority of the public. We will be accessing our stocks, buying homes, canvassing our vacations—all on the go, whether on our computers or phones. The millions of Iphones sold is testament to the fact that good hardware and good software when paired can move generations of technological dinosaurs. If the Iphone gets any better, i can see my 89-year-old grandmother trading in her Treo—and that will be quite the feat.

So if mobile online is becoming a reality, what is going to happen to all of these WAP sites, SMS based services, the voice based Ad-Phone? Technology is leapfrogging forward and a lot of very large invested companies are going to find them without a market. That is unless they can adapt and change.

I'm quite pleased with these developments. I love technology and I enjoy making my life more efficient (its the logistics blood that runs through me). Even at the expense of my eyes (getting worse), my fingers (getting worse) and my “moments of Zen: (getting less). I think a world of information at your fingertips can only be a good thing. It makes the business landscape a lot more competitive and challenging.

August 06, 2008


“China Surveillance may extend to taxis.” Front page of the WSJ Asia, a gripping reality to all free world born tourists heading to the Beijing Olympics. As it turns out, those little black microphones that started popping up in taxis a few years ago, were really part of the governments protective defense against terrorists for the planned summer Olympics. These days it is no joke. The majority of the friction so far seems to be coming from Xinjiang and Tibet, which both have just cause to despise the Chinese way of life, but there are still plenty more dissidents in line. Still, the massive Chinese surveillance system that spans cameras, phone bugs, cell phone/online tracking software, vast networks of informers and the low tech system of tracking where foreigners have traveled through our passport checks at all hotels, will exist for years after the games have left Beijing. China may be blossoming into one of the most culturally vibrant and exciting courtiers in the world, but it is still leans heavily on its controlled communist past.

With the games only a few days away, locals are quickly cowering in their homes in fear of the terrorist strikes to come. Personally, I would say that the safest place would be right by the Olympic venues. If there were any government that I would trust with keeping the peace (Americans, British, Australians), it would have to be Hu Jintao and his armed guard. There is something about the tattered velvet glove over the iron fist that is China that soothes my fears. They may be crude and rude, but they are certainly not sloppy. With one and a half days to go, I wish them all the luck with the coming Olympics!


EGG is an innovative company similar to Chikka, though facing fewer internal obstacles these days. Primarily a CP, this buyout must work out very nicely for them as the industry has been shrinking quite rapidly. It is not so much their fault as the fact that the market went in a different direction. The content required to entertain subscribers these days lies well beyond the traditional CP offerings of RBT's, News updates, Games, etc.

EGG's fate does not interest me as much as the deliberate move by Globe to expand its service offering by encouraging this buyout. Gerry Ablaza stated that: “globes strategy is to drive growth through expansion in adjacent spaces such as mobile content creation and distribution.” I think it is canny that he did not mention that this move by EGG has also opened up a number of possibilities for Globe to generate additional advertising revenue—the direction of the vast majority of mobile companies. With Globe acting as the content provider, developer, and telecommunications company, they are positioned to develop and support multiple platforms for their corporate clients.

I remember reading a few months ago about CURE and Mindshare and all the fantastic services that Smart was looking to offer its corporate consumers. Many months later, not much if anything at all has hit the market…I think that they are finding that it is quite difficult to merge the needs and expertise of content providers and advertising firms with what is best for Smart. There are just too any technologies, proprietary software and corporate clowns trying to protect their own little turf to the detriment of the whole. This move by Globe is the first right step in the industry and I would bank that many will soon follow. TELCO has realized that all of the billions they have spent on infrastructure and hardware, can be paid back much sooner with a little horizontal expansion. Who better to create and develop services for mobile consumers and corporate clients than the telecommunications company themselves?

On a side note, I briefly came across a discussion on WiMax the other evening. I'll need to do some digging around, but if WiMax does find itself implanted in major cities, how will telecommunications companies respond?

WiMax simply put, is WiFi on steroids, where broad areas like cities or countries are connected with high-speed Internet. Its been making some headway these days in the more technologically progressive countries-- even The Fort in Taguig! With Internet connection on demand and my road warrior of a Nokia Communicator linked to Skype, I would rarely need to make a traditional phone call. That is one less ultra Platinum globe and VIP China Mobile consumer to gouge. Think of the paradigm shift.


One of the greatest literary figures of the last century has passed. Interrned in Moscow, Solzehenitsyn completed what he always said he would do, to have been born and to die in Russia.

I was asked the other day how Solzhenitsyn died?

Well, he incurred the ire of Stalin by exposing the addled core of the communist system. His writings and US exiled presence (CT I think?) resonated loudly within the ruling term of Khrushchev and Brezhnev, culminating with the era of Glasnost and Perestroika under Gorbachev—who in many ways embodied the change from Solzhenitsyn’s Russia and the emerging new Russia. Sadly, much like the other great figures of the revolution though to a lesser extent, Solzhenitsyn’s continued existence was a ghost of an unwanted past. The new generation of Russians was too disjointed from the old system, too concerned about making a future in this new economy. Nevertheless, his mark on this world is undeniable and his portrayal of the communist machinery at its worst in the Gulag's, a chilling reminder of what humanity is capable of.

So, to answer in short—he died of old age.

The Jolly Jetsetter is in mourning.