Tag Archives: neustar

Global Carrier PrePay


Some ideas are stupid. Mine have a strong tendency to fit into this category. However, from the darkness, sometimes beams a powerful beacon light. OK, I exaggerated a little bit. I meant a twinkly faded one. Anyhow, I’ll throw some of those meteoroids at the internet sky, and perhaps one will have a magnificent shooting star effect one day for some one. Sit belt on.

We are used to “prepaid” mobile phone accounts, where it’s easy to control costs. But this service is often offered by a particular carrier to meet the carrier own services.

A possible extension, is a global PrePay. This service can be tied to a user or even multiple users, rather than the user and it’s service provider. While still not a mobile payments or mWallet, it allows a user, family or a small business, to control costs and allocate monthly (or otherwise) money for various mobile communication expenses together, or even control each seperately (e.g. different pool for SMS, voice calls, internet, and roaming):

  • A registry is created for families phones across multiple carriers, or a small business phones, or even a single person using multiple phones from possibly multiple carriers.
  • A prepaid services is offered, where unlike the carrier provided one – it is “shared” across carriers.
  • In addition it may even be provisioned to be shared across multiple users, e.g. the business partners, family members, etc.
  • The prepaid amount may be further allocated to different applications  (e.g. pool for SMS, pool for voice, pool for app download – or globally shared)
  • When one of the eligible users deposit – all can benefit.
  • When one consumes, overall balance is reduced
  • Policies can further refine this to multiple needs, domains and solutions

Note:  Direct integration to carrier prepaid solution as well as OTT are both feasible.

Some trivial use cases are:

  • Setting mobile phone pre-pay allowance for a family.
  • Setting media consumptions for multiple family members (one may use for iTunes music, other for android apps)
  • Small business communication costs control

This is primarily a consumer service, but can be linked with service providers, or target Enterprises of a small scale.

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Dan Pink: Panther


I had a great opportunity to get one hour lecture from Dan Pink. I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture, and want to congratulate neustar for organizing  this, and all the other innovation series events. What an amazing motivational speak  on his latest book: Drive. He surely practices what he preaches and showed some passion.

Dan started with the Candle experiment, showing how monetary incentive may indeed narrow the focus and hence achieve better results for some simple missions but fails on tougher ones (such as avoiding functional fixingness of the box in the candles problem demanding some creativity and… in-to-the-box thinking). This was further explored in an MIT students series of tasks, where money helped on the physical or mechanical tasks but failed to deliver on any “rudimentary cognitive” tasks. Dan argues “if-then” rewards are ill suited for creative tasks.

Dan then referred to Israel childcare fees for parents that come late, and showed again how it fails to achieve the desire results: removing the guilt and making being late an economical transaction that some parents had bargained for, and even having some damaging long term effects by creating a new behavior patterns (those being late, maintained this behavior after shedding those guilt feelings).

Simply controlling humans with “button alike” incentives seems not to always work – even if traditional wisdom is that it should. Surely some parts of our drive are biological, and based on punishments and rewards. However Dan offered three additional layers he demonstrated as highly motivational – he called them intrinsic motivators (to replace the extrinsic ones):

  • Autonomy – In time, tasks given, technique and team selection
  • Mastery – We naturally want to get better at things
  • Purpose – We achieve much more when we have associated meaning to the results

Dan followed with some concrete evidence. Some of the samples are well known (Google 20% do-whatever-you-want-we-keep-IP) but some were illuminating (call center without call recording, timing and monitoring becoming one of the most efficient ones…). Very good challenge to management “wish to control” and “fear of losing it” while strangling innovation in the process.

10 years ago, a well funded and incentivized encyclopedia (Encarta by Microsoft), got professional experts and managers, and pays them to write an online expert entries. On the other side, wikipedia was done for fun, without any monetary rewards. No (sober) economist could predict which of those would prevail…

Dan addressed another interesting related point: wouldn’t we do nothing if not “managed” – depicting the lazy and inept devil within us? Well he argued we are active and engaged (like any 2 years would demonstrate) so adopting an autonomic environment, with clear purpose guidelines would nurture our habits to become better to work for ourselves (and that management).

Dan believed management in its “full control” manifestation is a legacy 18th century technology we invented to enforce others doing what we want, which is nowadays obsolete.

Dan also objected only monetary incentives – they may be useful as a form of recognition, but not as sole motivation tool.

I also liked his sports/arts analogy for feedbacks – where annual (or bi-annual) feedbacks for a professional seems ridiculous, and semi automatic text is often given instead of a reoccurring personal feedback  and personal.


PS #1

I have special interest in his views, as they seem to repeat findings we had previously forming an Innovation Program. It was based it on 4 pillars manifested in tools and procedures for – ideation and knowledge creation, idea collaboration and sharing, immediate feedbacks, and rewards and recognition. We have found similar things – people wanted more autonomy to deliver their ideas, and we did experience the challanges of losing control and faced some natural reluctancy to move forward even for a moderate 8% do-something-new (one short afternoon a week) for a subset of the groups.


PS #2

Dan immediately caught my ear when he argues that people want to contribute in something bigger than themselves, as I use the following in my CV for ages now: “I seek to share my technological leadership within a superb team, reaching broader realms than my own humble shoulders can carry, or the head upon them can dream of.”


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Free D #2 – 2D Barcodes – Another step at making the world Digital, Online & Dynamic


Mobile 2D bar-codes are becoming accessible across handset technologies, formats, carriers and advertisers. But if we dig deeper, I believe it helps to expand an even bigger market: Digitizing and onlining the world, and making it Dynamic. I’ll try and explain what I mean by that.

Digitizing / Onlining

The revolution of information accessible and searchable in the internet, progressing to images, music (iTunes), video (YouTube), voice recognition (shazam), books (google) is continuing. By making everything online, we can navigate in the ever expanding world offering more choice. More choice traditionally seen as freedom, is heavily debated to be chains as well (see the Paradox of Choice – Why more is less), forcing us to spend a lot of time and resources, doing things that were trivial and equally enjoying in the past. 285 types of cookies to choose from in a supermarket? Surely it would drive monster cookie from sesame street insane, as if it does not already have popularity issues being a monster. So more choices, but with ability to filter and narrow down, potentially offers the end user both sides of the stick.

2D barcodes allow neustar to convert traditional media and product, and make them online. This makes it not only searchable, but accessible later, and from different consumption points. I can scan a window shop, of a closed shop, and later purchase it online from my PC. Very simple use cases is often something that helps drive massive usage. Time will tell.

Dynamic

As a past programmer, I’m “trained” to see the evolvement between “constant” (hardcoding), variable (placeholder for something that may change), and even higher level of pointers (a link to something, that links to something).

The trick is the trade off between simplicity of seeing something immediately recognisable as such, while still allowing our constant changing world, to adapt that representation to what is relevant the most, for a particular party, and a particular time and place.

Didn’t I just outline what is trivial to any advertising and media company? I apologise for the inconvinience (that’s what people here at UK do when they step on someone’s toe). And yes, by creating easily recognisable bar codes, we help the consumer feel a somehow consistent (“constant”) representation, and by having neustar registries, we actually allow this to reference something that may change in time, place, and fit itself to the end user consuming it, in the most relevant way to him: fit his device, location, environment and needs.

Another interesting aspect of it, is that the dynamic nature even of stable brands, in challanging economics that favour scale at certain times, and trending in general – allow us to to point a bar code of Pepsi Max toward (1) http://www.coca-cola.com website (if a future M&A will so dictate, and no – I have no inside information of CocaCola buying Pepsico, and no – this post does not constitute a recomendation to buy or sell certain stocks the reader may have own), that is (2) local to the country or current location of the person and (3) is fitting the needs of that consumer (a can, a 2L family bottle, or a container full of that black gold liquid for the addicted ones). This is a result of “server-side” value adding, that can link information together before actually targeting the given URL.

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