Facebook and General and Google and Microsoft and Social Networking and strategychris on 21 Jul 2009 12:51 pm

I was catching up on some reading last night when a recent Roll Call story on Twitter’s need to hire a lobbyist caught my attention.  The article links Twitter’s success to the rise of Microsoft and Google and asks a key question – when do you hire a lobbyist in DC?  In Microsoft’s case, they moved quickly, responding to the Department of Justice’s interest in the company’s business practices.  In Google’s case, they built their office slowly before any major issues arose.  With that in mind, is it now time for Twitter to hire a lobbyist?

The answer is no. And the reason is clear: Twitter doesn’t need a lobbyist!

Twitter continues to be the hottest thing on the social web.  However, let’s not forget that the company is not making any money.  The resources necessary for representation would be better served elsewhere.  For instance, hiring more developers to strengthen the quality of service (think FAIL WHALE) or growing the treasury for more acquisitions (think Summize) to make Twitter more valuable as a service are better investments for the company.

Twitter also has something that many companies (many of which have huge arsenals of lobbyists) are trying to build now — an active community!  Twitter founders Evan Williams (1,129,147 followers), Biz Stone (964,023 followers), and Jack Dorsey (927,253 followers) could easily start a movement in response to a misguided attempt by a lawmaker to cripple the popular social networking website.  On a related note, @Ev, @biz, @Jack already have relationships with lawmakers on twitter.  They already engage in direct conversations with key policymakers without spending a dime at a fundraiser.  Not to mention the attention Ashton “Mr. Twitter” Kutcher (2,858,856 followers) would draw to the legislation.  He is already using his Twitter fame to mobilize around causes.  Let us not forget his talent for publicity – his achievement of 1,000,000 followers before Larry King did and his appearance on Oprah was all over the news!

Companies such as Twitter are changing the world, and the Internet is changing the way business is done in Washington.  Twitter allows us to connect directly with Congress and to build connections with people around the world among common interests.  This is good for our democracy.

Twitter will need to play the traditional Washington game at some point in the future.  It is a fact of life.  However, they can play it differently.  Once again, they have millions of users who can carry (tweet) their messages to Congress.  Ashton will lead their battle and not the lobbyists.

Follow me on Twitter – @mobilediner

Google and strategychris on 11 Jun 2008 11:04 am

TR Blogs editor Toni Bowers reports that Google’s 20 percent rule is getting a makeover. On that note, I thought this philosophy was brilliant when I first read about it in The Google Story.” However, I can understand that as the company has grown exponentially that it might need tweaking.

Goog’s 20 percent rule is a philosophy that Page and Brin encouraged during the early days at Google.  As the book details, the 20 percent rule allowed folks to focus on projects that interested them (and was not considered a part of the respective job duty) one day a week. Page and Brin wanted to attract the best and brightest as well as keep the creative juices flowing at Google. Accordingly, they thought this was a good way to do it and it differentiated them from other tech companies. Google news is a product born from 20 percent time.

I am a still a fan of the philosophy. In many instances, you cannot escape from the daily routine on the job. One becomes comfortable and competent doing a few things the same way until those methods stop working. At that point, it is probably too late – for your product, client, or business.

Mobile Diner arose out of my own “20 percent rule.” After business school (at night), I felt it was important to challenge myself and think about new ways to engage wireless enthusiasts and policymakers. Letters to the FCC from the same folks get old. Chairman Martin’s been ignoring them for years. Engaging consumers will keep the industry on its toes and responding to consumer demand will minimize “putting fires out” that so typically define careers.

With 10,000 (or so) employees at Google, Page and Brin do not personally interact with everyone on campus anymore. They used to do all the hiring. They used to know all their people. I understand that there now needs to be some guidelines on 20 percent for Google. However, it is a beautiful policy and I hope other folks embrace it in their respective fields. The benefits internally and externally are hard to ignore.

update – this post has been edited…

General and Google and Policy and Spectrumchris on 20 May 2008 09:54 am

As diners know, this is the district of communications and wireless is always a hot dish in this city.

On that note, Larry Page will be coming to town and discussing GooG’s vision for expanding broadband access across America with Michael Calabrese (New America Foundation). Mr. Page will also delve into spectrum policy too.

You can register here

Apple and CTIA and General and Googlechris on 11 Feb 2008 09:39 am

The Mobile World Congress kicks off today in Barcelona and is the place to be in wireless this week. Unfortunately, I’m stuck here in the diner but I know many from our community are at the show and I look forward to hearing their perspectives from Spain.

On that note, Google is showing off the Android platform at the event. I am very jealous and hope there will be some demos at CTIA’s show in Vegas.

As I have mentioned, Google has changed the wireless industry. Whether or not they are successful in the 700 MHz is irrelevant. Google, in many ways (along with Apple), has propelled the whole industry forward – and consumers’ dreams about wireless too.

The next revolution is wireless and I can’t think of a more exciting time to be involved with the industry…

at&t and General and Google and SprintNextel and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 05 Dec 2007 07:23 pm

The snow is falling and if you participate in the District of Communications, you are probably at the FCBA’s Chairman’s Dinner. I decided not to attend this year.

With regard to the dinner, I will definitely miss seeing and catching up with everyone in the telecom business. However, I will not miss Chairman Martin’s attempt at comedy this evening. Perhaps, everyone will attend late and inconvenience him as he does the hard working folks at the FCC at recent open meetings.

Here’s some additional rants from the kitchen -

Verizon & Openess – A bunch of folks are making a big deal out of Verizon’s announcement. This was not a shocker because this is part of the evolution of the industry. at&t and T-mobile have been showing signs of it with dual mode phones as well as T-mobile and Sprint supporting Android (Google’s Linux-based open handset platform). I expect at&t to join the cause too…

Sprint’s woes – Verizon’s move really hurts Sprint. As many know, Sprint has been bleeding valuable subs for many months. Verizon’s move will make it that much easier to leave.

Sprint’s got other problems too. Their 800 MHz reband effort has been a disaster. That initiative has proved to be more costly then originally estimated and is taking alot longer to execute. The company also has no CEO and they recently canned their WiMax partnership with Clearwire… With forty percent of their current subs predisposed to leave — the future is not bright.

New Venture – The name of my new business (drum roll please) — Tin Can Communications ™. It is a very exciting time and I really appreciate all of the support from the mobile dining community.

On related note, I plan on having a launch party after the holidays and all readers of the blog are invited!

This post was edited.

Facebook and General and Google and Microsoft and social media and Social Networking and YouTubechris on 25 Oct 2007 08:32 am

Google has had all the right moves. 

YouTube, Grand Central, Feedburner, DoubleClick and most recently Jaiku (although I like Twitter better).  The company is positioning itself to be the internet advertising company and extend its dominance into mobile (internet) as that market matures.  However, if you can’t beat them – you might as well go get the next Google. 

Congrats to Microsoft for winning the deal with Facebook! 

What do YOU think about the deal? 

Related Housecleaning - we’ve done some other posts on Facebook but I need to update some tags…

CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 07 and Google and Microsoft and SpectrumAshley on 23 Oct 2007 01:05 pm

I’m here at the CTIA keynote session listening to Steve Largent interview Steve Ballmer. Steve just asked Ballmer if Microsoft plans to participate in the 700 MHz auction, and unlike the ambiguous answers I’ve heard from certain Silicon Valley companies lately- Ballmer answered an affirmative “No.” He said, “We have a core competence, and the telecom industry has a core competence; it takes a real expertise to set up networks and provide customer service.”

Refreshing to get a straight answer :)

CTIA and CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 07 and General and Google and Microsoft and mobile diner video and Social NetworkingAshley on 18 Oct 2007 09:31 am

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On Tuesday, Chris and I went over to CTIA again to chat with Steve Largent. I had the chance to talk to him about the WMATA bill, the G-phone, and CTIA’s upcoming Wireless IT and Entertainment show in San Francisco, which I will be covering on their show blog.  Steve and I got into a little bit of a debate about the “old world” of Microsoft vs. the “new world” of facebook.

Check it out!

Broadband and General and Google and Policy and Verizon Wirelesschris on 26 Sep 2007 02:22 pm

George Washington University’s Institute for Policy, Democracy & the Internet hosted a discussion about the “Future of Broadband Wireless” last night. Rick Whitt (Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Google) was the keynote speaker but it was more of an open forum for questions regarding Google’s vision of wireless.  I enjoyed the conversation and look forward to future forums at GW (IPID will be hosting more technology discussions).

Rick began the conversation with his thoughts about 700 MHz and why Google has an interest in the spectrum. He did not say whether or not they will bid.  However, it is very clear Google has a wireless gameplan.  Link Hoewing (Assistant VP for Internet & Technology, Verizon) was in the audience and he was able to add to the conversation.  Accordingly, he offered his perspectives on having a “managed” network at Verizon Wireless as opposed to the open wireless network that Google envisions.

With regard to future spectrum allocations, the FCC recently released an NPRM seeking comment on the different technological approaches for the AWS III spectrum (2155-2175 MHz).  Chairman Martin also would like to have service rules released for this block in 9 months.  I asked Rick about his thoughts on the AWS III band.  He mentioned that Google is evaluating the band and thinking about the best approach for the spectrum (licensed model or unlicensed model).

Google wants the mobile internet to start with a “g.”  In some instances, it already does.  Google will be a key player propelling wireless broadband in America.  They key question is how do they do it…

What do YOU think?

General and Googlechris on 13 Sep 2007 02:05 pm

Larry Page and Sergey Brin clearly have gone “where no man has gone before.” 

In this instance, they’ve landed prime parking for their monster ride (Boeing 767-200) at NASA’s Moffett Field near company headquarters in Mountain View.

Great quote from NY Times article by NASA employee – “It was an opportunity for us to defray some of the fixed costs we have to maintain the airfield as well as to have flights of opportunity for our science missions.”  I guess FedEx and UPS had nothing to offer since they were turned away in the late 90′s.

Party on gentlemen!

best of the month and General and Google and Policy and Politics and Social NetworkingAshley on 05 Sep 2007 01:39 pm

We went lite in August here at the diner, but here are some of our sticky posts from the month for your dining pleasure:

- a true assault on reason…

- Rocking the net neutrality debate

- Chris Guestblogs on the Buzz Bin

- bring on the Gphone

As always, if you like what you see, feel free to subscribe.

General and Googlechris on 31 Aug 2007 10:37 am

A few weeks ago I discussed GooG’s growing dominance in the mobile web and why they will bid in the upcoming 700 MHz auction. Most folks seem to agree that they will participate in the auction.

On a related note, it looks like GooG is moving aggressively to reap the benefits of the mobile opportunity (whether they are successful in the auction or not successful). There are many reports on the internets that GooG has a prototype phone that – in theory – can compete with the iPhone. As I read over the rumored specs, it does look intriguing and it will be offered at a low cost.

Once again, the writing is on the wall. Consumers are interested in applications and devices not necessarily the service provider. The business model is rapidly changing and the incumbent carriers must evolve quickly or face the consequences.

What do YOU think? Would YOU buy a Gphone?

General and Google and Spectrumchris on 16 Aug 2007 02:08 pm

It is no secret that GooG is interested in the mobile market.  Most recently, they pushed their vision for how the 700 MHz spectrum auction should be managed.  As we know, they got some of what they wanted (open access and open devices) but not everything (wholesaling).  We also know that they have been in talks with other carriers and recently reached a deal with Sprint to provide services on it Wi-Max network. 

The question I get asked most frequently now that the auction and service rules have been adopted is: “do you think GooG is going to bid?”  The answer – YES.     

Google has to bid in the upcoming auction from both a policy and business perspective.  They were very aggressive in their advocacy and they have to make an effort to demonstrate to the policymakers and regulators that they are “true” to their word.  Some will argue that they didn’t get everything they wanted and shouldn’t feel forced to bid.  That isn’t going to cut it.  GooG tried to depress interest in the C block by advocating to policymakers that conditions on the licenses will bring a new competitor.  They didn’t get everything but they got enough.  Accordingly, as a winner in the auction, they can implement wholesaling.  In fact, one reason Chairman Martin gave in consideration of the automatic roaming order, was not adding broadband to the mandate because he believes that would undermine efforts of a new competitor offering broadband roaming as part of a business model. 

With regard to the business, extending GooG’s market dominance in search and web advertising to the mobile sector is a no-brainer.  With 62.5% of smartphone users (in April) visiting GooG, the mobile internet could start with a “G” too.  GooG has every incentive to dominate the mobile web market while it is still in the embryonic stages.

Whether or not GooG is successful in the 700 MHz auction – I just can’t answer.  However, I can say they have made a difference in wireless policy and stoked the creative juices in the carriers regardless of the outcome.

What do YOU think?  Will GooG bid in the auction?

Disclosure – I represent CTIA and the Wireless Broadband Coalition on spectrum policy.

General and Google and Policychris on 23 Jul 2007 12:03 pm

This week is going to be a busy one on Capitol Hill.  The FCC Commissioners are coming up for an oversight hearing in the House Commerce Committee tomorrow.  The Senate Commerce Committee is holding a DTV hearing  on Thursday and confirmation hearings begin for Jim Nussle to become OMB director.

With regard to 700, Google’s battle with AT&T about the rules has garnered everyone’s attention.  Bloggers, MSM (mainstream media) and policymakers have all been intrigued with the policy food fight.  The draft 700 MHz rules discussion has not only caused shockwaves in the wireless industry it has changed it.  Rural wireless carriers are the big losers and spectrum speculators are the big winners.  The big question is whether or not the future C-block licensee (22 MHz) will be able to deliver a viable alternative to the current wireless model. 

The winner of this beauty contest - if it is Google – may deliver for consumers.  Hopefully, their contribution would also spur wireless broadband in America too.  However, the continued use of auctions as a market-oriented way to allocate spectrum is over (by law not over until September 2011).  The FCC’s flexible rights model governing spectrum usage is cooked too.  We are returning to the old ”command and control” regime. 

Chairman Martin picked the winner of this pageant.  However, he didn’t need to.  Google could have bid on this block without the conditions.  They are only demanding more conditions (mandated wholesale and interconnection) to continue to diminish interest in this block.  A truly evil way to do business…

Dish Disclosure – Our firm represents CTIA and the Wireless Broadband Coalition on spectrum issues.

General and Googlechris on 23 Apr 2007 10:15 am

For many internet users, Google is the starting point of the internet.  It is where your internet experience begins.  Accordingly, their dominance in search (around 70% market share) and leverage in advertising continues to grow. With wireless broadband in its embroynic stages – in terms of take rate – Google is looking to extend their dominance in this sector.  There is an absolute opportunity here for Google and I have no doubt they will execute in this space.

GigaOM reports that Google is looking to hire some wireless expertise. As the article mentioned, whether this is to help develop a phone or to pursue other opportunities (muni or whitespaces) in accessing the internet remains to be seen.

Overall, I think this is good development for wireless broadband. We need more folks talking about accessing the internet via phone / device. A rising tide lifts all boats…

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