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Xiaomi: Pricing vs. Engagement

Last year, I wrote a post verifying Xiaomi's claim that their users are twice as active as those of other manufacturers, which also validated their long-term pursuit of a services-oriented business model. But as they moved to lower price points, we assumed that their engagement levels would gradually decline. However, based on some recent metrics revealed by the company, that may not be the case.According to Xiaomi, cumulative downloads on the MIUI app store hit 10 billion in November 2014, with …Continue Reading »

The Collaboration Pyramid revisited

There has been a lot of buzz on Twitter recently about The Collaboration Pyramid model that I developed a few years ago. It started when Helen Bevan shared a redrawn version by Jim Farrell.The model has received a lot of praise, but it has also been met with criticism. An image can be worth a thousand words, but an image such as this allows a lot of interpretation. It is hard to understand exactly what the model is intended for and how to interpret it just by looking at it. For example, model …Continue Reading »

HBR’s Makeover Needs a Makeover

Last month Harvard Business Review (HBR) announced they would be releasing a new makeover of the HBR web site. Last week the makeover was revealed and purely from a user’s perspective (is there any other perspective?) the new makeover needs a new makeover. Sorry. the makeover seemed to take away instead of adding value I visit HBR every day (or used to) and in particular the HBR Blog network. I found the authors and their articles informative, educational and enlightening for the most part but …Continue Reading »

Nokia N1: Dual Impact

Finland's Nokia made a surprising move this week as it announced a new Android 5.0 based tablet, coined the Nokia N1. Just to be clear, this is from the company that remains headquartered in Finland and not the "Devices & Services" division that was sold to Microsoft (now called Microsoft Mobile). This announcement caught most observers off guard and could have some interesting implications.First, this announcement doesn't really mean that Nokia is back in the consumer hardware business. …Continue Reading »

The Collaboration Pyramid revisited

There has been a lot of buzz on Twitter recently about The Collaboration Pyramid model that I developed a few years ago. It started when Helen Bevan shared a redrawn version by Jim Farrell.The model has received a lot of praise, but it has also been met with criticism. An image can be worth a thousand words, but an image such as this allows a lot of interpretation. It is hard to understand exactly what the model is intended for and how to interpret it just by looking at it. For example, model …Continue Reading »

Power to the People!

When the short history of smart grid is written someday, I predict it will include four chapters: Government industrial policy and political correctness Market rationalization of the policy mistakes Customer aggregation, choice and revenge The return to rational energy economic equilibrium In Chapter 1 we will hear all about the first phase of smart grid where the focus was on deployment of smart meters by investor owned utilities. The reasons were simple. The Federal Government was …Continue Reading »

Temperatures are not Rising over Climate Change except at the IPCC Conference in Paris

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SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28870988 Prepare yourself for wailing and gnashing of teeth as the UN International Panel on Climate Change advocates meet in Paris. The Telegraph newspaper article in the UK summed up the Panel’s view: “The world is on course to experience “severe and pervasive” negative impacts from climate change unless it takes rapid action to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, a major UN report is expected to warn on Sunday. Flooding, dangerous …Continue Reading »

A Fly on the Wall at OPEC’s November 27th Meeting

The next meeting of OPEC ministers is scheduled to take place November 27, 2014 in Vienna. It is not going to be business as usual. The stated purpose of the meeting is to set production policies for 2015. But we all know what the members will be discussing over tea or something stronger. “How do we get this problem under control?” A cartel is a group of companies or, in this case, countries who engage in collusion to limit or control the market price of a product. In many countries this …Continue Reading »

Making Sense of Falling Oil Prices

EIA net energy imports lowest in 29 years

SOURCE: US EIA World oil prices have fallen by 30% since their June 2014 high of about $115 per barrel. As I write this on October 15th Brent crude, the global benchmark, is at about $84.88 per barrel. WTI, the US benchmark is at $81.58 per barrel. This rapid fall in oil prices has spooked the market and set off actions and reactions that only contribute to the volatility. The predominant fear in the market is that prices will continue to fall and wreak havoc around the world. So what is …Continue Reading »

What to Make of Lower Oil Prices? Merry Christmas!

Lower Demand and Higher Libyan Supply

SOURCE: US EIA As I write this on October 13, 2014, the Brent crude oil price is $88per barrel or about 23% lower than its $115 year-to-date peak on June 19. For 13 straight months until July 2014 monthly Brent spot prices traded from $107 to $112 per barrel according to the US Energy information Administration (EIA). As oil prices declined  below $100 per barrel the herd mentality has been of display big time as the price of oil dropped and the herd started running faster---the question …Continue Reading »