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A while back, I had written a blog on the convergence of hand-held gadgets in which I had talked about the strategic implications as companies encroach each others turf. A recent article in the Economist shows how this convergence is leading to patent battles.  Another post by Nick Bolton in the New York Times includes a few more companies. These figures capture most of it although the semiconductor, mobile infrastructure and other application layer software companies are left out.


What are the implications?

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Have you ever wondered what some of the Logos mean? Companies spend huge amounts of money and  tons of hours in coming up with these Logos, which not only convey what the company is all about but also reinforce their mission, culture and guide their employees. More importantly Logos establish the brand for the company.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an interesting forward on logos and their meanings. While I knew about most of these logos, I wanted to post it here for others who maybe interested. Credit goes to whoever put these together…

FedEx Logo

Did you notice there is a hidden arrow in the FedEx logo (between the E and the X)? Apparently it is a hidden sign symbolizing speed and precision of this courier office. Also it is a motivator for their employees to look ahead.

Tostitos Logo

If you look at the center of this logo, you can see two people enjoying a Tostitos chips with a bowl of salsa. This logo conveys an idea of people connecting with each other and sharing.

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As spring sets in and the weather gets warmer, motorbikes are starting to get out of storage (I am yet to get my Yamaha out). These two motorbike Ads, while they are really hilarious, convey some important lessons in business.

The first Ad below is obviously about communication – “Make sure you get your message out clearly and don’t leave anything for interpretation“. Although this shows communication between two people… more often than not when communication trickles top down in a company, the key message gradually gets lost in translation at each level.

Motorbike Ad - Buying without Wife's Permission

The second Ad below conveys just one important message – “It is the experience that matters in the end… how you deliver it depends on your creativity“.

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The big news today was not the launch of “Droid”, the new iPhone competitor from Verizon and Motorola, but the  free Google Navigation App that runs on it.  Shares of  TomTom fell 20.8% to EUR8.11, setting a new 52-week low of EUR8.06 in the day and those of Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) fell 16.4% to $31.59 today.

This is probably the best example of disruption we’d ever see. However, although this was expected all along (Read my post “The convergence of handheld gadgets and what it means to you“), to see the stock market react so much in a day is amazing.

Does this mean the end of Garmin, TomTom and traditional GPS as we know it?

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facebook_share_iconOnline advertising market is estimated to be US $40 Billion by 2011 of which mobile advertising is estimated to be over US $14 Billion. Who is going to drive these numbers? YOU. Almost all of the money in this market today is made by advertising companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft (GYM as they are popularly known) and a few start-ups on the mobile front. On the other hand, the real enablers of the network – ISPs (Internet Service Providers), Wireless Carriers and network infrastructure companies like Cisco hardly make anything. What is surprising is  that these  companies which provide you the service and carry your data know more about you and what you do online than anyone else. Even more surprising is that they aren’t taking advantage of that information…right? Not anymore…

Also, they say you should be flossing more

Also, they say you should be flossing more

Advertising technology is evolving and it may affect your privacy. Read on…

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cisco_starentCisco agreed to buy Starent Networks for $2.9 Billion today. The acquisition which was probably expected, enables Cisco to make a strong push into Mobile and 4G. Starent products sit on the edge of the network moving data from an operator’s radio network to their core packet network. This is one area that Cisco has struggled to make a mark in and the acquisition gives Cisco an edge over competitors like Ericsson, Nokia Siemens, Sonus Networks and others.

“Cisco and Starent Networks share a common vision and bring complementary technologies designed to accelerate the transition to the Mobile Internet, where the network is the platform for Service Providers to launch, deliver and monetize the next generation of mobile multimedia applications and services,” said Pankaj Patel, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Service Provider Business.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the opportunity in Smart Grid technology and 4G is enormous and with this new acquisition Cisco is preparing itself to capture a good chunk of this emerging market. Moreover, the traditional mobile and handheld market is converging where every device  will get on the mobile network and also become IP enabled. So obviously Cisco wants to be the enabler for the pipes that carry this ever-increasing data.

Cisco has been doing lot of financial restructuring and raised $4 Billion in additional cash recently. Good use of capital to position the company well as we come out of the recession.

A great exit and congrats to Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Starent Networks and a TiE Boston Charter Member on the acquisition!

If you’ve analyzed the handheld market recently it is amazing to see how devices are converging. And you will be surprised to see how fast the market dynamics are changing.

Why is the convergence happening? As size of semiconductor chips shrink, you can add more of them into the same form factor  to achieve  new functionality. With better operating systems and APIs, software is making it easy to deploy many applications. Moreover, companies not only have to compete with new players in their verticals but are also looking to capture adjacent markets to grow their revenues.handheld convergence

While convergence is probably good for end-consumers (they can do with one device instead of many and have more choice), it presents the biggest  strategic challenge for companies today.  Probably the simplest way is to analyze the problem by using porter’s five forces for an external strategy and a kaplan map for the internal roadmap, but here are few things for business leaders to think about…

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