The evolution of phone calls

This weekend I’ve experience the evolution of phone calls… Whatsapp calling. Although I’ve placed numerous VoIP calls (Skype, SIP etc) before, I believe Whatsapp is changing the game dramatically. With over 800 million users as of this month, no additional installs and a feature that just works it’s a matter of time before it will impact the voice minutes business of carriers just like it did to sms text messages years ago.

It’s not a revolution but an evolution and it will take one to two years but carriers that rely on minutes for the majority of their current revenue (especially when these are roaming minutes) better prepare. You’re becoming a mobile ISP, a homogenous service provider and that’s it. #innovate or watch your margins carefully!


The business model of the cloud age

Yesterday TNW posted a video of their TNW Conference of 2012 of Phil Libin. Nice talk with an interesting insight on the three business models of the various ages:

  • Industrial age > perceived value decreases over time > transactional revenue model
  • Information age > perceived value remains constant over time > subscription / advertising revenue model
  • Cloud age > perceived value increases over time > Freemium revenue model

The key is to synchronize monetization to the point of greatest perceived value.

Interested? Watch the video starting at 21:50 at TNW.


The dead business model of physical bookstores

The first time I entered a book store after I bought my iPad I realized the current business model of physical book stores is dead. It’s like walking into a museum and realizing you’re witnessing something that won’t be there in a few years time. In a time where tablets and eReaders are becoming a real alternative to physical books even for the baby boom generation the clock is ticking for book stores like Barnes & Noble and Selexyz (in the Netherlands).

Selexyz Maastricht
Selexyz Maastricht – (c) by Generaal Gibson

And still I’m pulled towards browsing book stores. While shopping locally I take a stroll towards the book store and during my frequent travels I always pop into one. And there are some amazing book stores around the world! So I love the atmosphere and when I walk out I’m inspired. While Amazon offers suggestions, it doesn’t inspire me. There is something about holding a book, flipping its pages and loving the design.

So it’s time to come up with a viable future proof business model for a book store. Selling your own eRearder will add another revenue stream to the declining physical book sales but for smaller independent chains that is not an option and competing with the likes of Apple and Amazon is a red ocean strategy. No, physical book stores need to get connected. They have to embrace the Connected Business Model.

Each and every item they sell needs to be linked to an online store or mobile app. By scanning a QR code or by touching an RFID tag using their mobile phone equipped with near field communication the item could be saved immediately in the shopping cart of the online store. For each item the shopper can then choose to have it delivered as an eBook for their Kindle, Nook or Sony reader, as a PDF file for reading on their iPad or have the physical book delivered at home. They can pay all at the same time (maybe even in store) and enjoy their book when they arrive home.

Of course the above is just the beginning of a completely new business model, where small independent stores could work together with a shared website/app and the store itself can be geared even more towards the experience by including a café, small library where you can borrow books and organize small scale events. There is plenty of opportunity but as always, it’s easier to stick to your current business model and get out of business (as happened to the Selexyz chain in the Netherlands) than to innovate your way into a new sustainable business model! Feel free to let me know if you want to work out the business model in more detail for your store!