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Bacon ‘n’ Islam

I guess everyone of us know about swine in Islam—a forbidden creature. It is ‘haraam’ to eat or consume products made out of pig. But the big question is why!?

I don’t know what recently motivated me to put together my own outrages explanation, may be for my own self or may be just for fun. Although I have a feeling that the movie ‘Contagion’ has something to do. Anyways, the good news it I have the first answer-‘Its all because pig is an excellent vector and carrier of diseases!!.’ Sounds a bit off, let me show you how.

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Terrorism and Recession

Well it may sound a bit strange, but it seems terrorists’ world works in the same way as our world does during times of recession. They also loose their jobs as like we normal people do. They also get their funds cut-down and all new projects slashed when there is a economic meltdown.

I dont have any solid ‘market analysis report’ in hand as such. I’m backing it up with an interesting statistics published by the economist on their daily chart. The graph gives the number of people killed by Terrorist activities from 90s till today.

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Product Portfolio and consumer behavior: Are product variants confusing the target customers?

I’ll directly come to the point in this post. I believe that companies who follow the strategy of viral reproduction of self-competing products are actually digging their own graves. Their move to reincarnated  a variant do two things in the market. First, it conveys a message “what you bought is inferior and outdated” to the newly engaged customer. Secondly, it drastically reduces the resale value of the product. And the end result is unhappy customer.

Limitations: Here the idea is only applied to consumer products for whom the demand is generated and may not be applicable to ‘survival products’ such as soaps, bread etc. Thus, the products we talking about are all lifestyle products—Smartphones, Cars, Clothing, High-end TVs, DSLR Cameras, etc.

What I meant when I said ‘self-competing’ products is introduction of products which are similar but with slightly advanced or improves features. Also, these products which have relatively very little difference in introduction age (or time).

Let’s start with smartphones. Apple announced that they’ll come out with an iPhone in 2007. From 2007 to 2011 (4 yrs) they came out with 4 variants in total–1st generation, 3G, 3Gs, and 4. So in total 4 models came out in about 5 yrs which means an average gap of 1.25 yrs between the variants. This 1.25 yrs age difference brings in amazing advantages. Few of them are as follows-

1) 1.25 yrs is a good period for a consumer to cause decent amount of physical and aesthetics damage to a phone. Interestingly, 4% of the customer broke their glasses within 4 months[1]. Thus by the time a new variant is released, consumer is ready and willing to buy the new one.

2) 1.25 yrs period closely matches with recontract eligibility of 1.5 yrs for many telecom operators. So you make a small upfront payment and you get a new phone! Isn’t it lucrative? And again Apple gets a share from the operators.

3) And the most important part, 1.25 yrs is a good period for an average individual to get well-versed with the exiting technology and can easily move on to the to newer technology.

On the other hand for Android OS, Samsung came out with 13 sets within 1.5 yrs, Motorola 18 in 1.5 yrs, LG 11 1.5 yrs. On average they were  launching a new set every 2 months!![2].

Hardware wise most of them are similar, and the only difference other than the OS is the screen size, button placement etc. Although it may sound a good move to cover the whole spectrum to meet people’s needs, if one looks at it from customer’s need perspective then there is more confusion than convenience in these many choices. For e.g., I could spot 4 models with the flagship ‘Galaxy’ brand when I visited a Samsung store yesterday here in Singapore. It was quite a mental exercise to figure out the difference between them. In Samsung’s case the average difference in time of launch can be easily be taken as 6 months. Considering Samsung and Apple as a competing hardware manufacturer and iOS and Android as equally good OS, the only factor which is contrasting is the mean-lifespan of 1.5 yrs vs 0.5 yrs.

Could this also be the main reason for such a huge difference in brand image of Apple and Samsung?

Apps for Business (wo)Men

Until Sept 2010, I was yet another conventional mobile phone user carrying around so called communicating ‘brick’ in my pocket; Those simple 13+ key phones which alternatively could be used for playing a tossing game with your friends in your living room. I was also the one who use to laugh at a crying friend coz his(er) smartphone accidentally received a scratch at a beach. However, now I’m one of them carrying an Android phone and a subject of laughter for my other ‘brick’ carrying friends.

My motivation to write this post was the article on inc.com -’Best Business Apps in 2010‘. The article highlighted some interesting apps which came out in 2010 and helped businessmen around the world. Out of all the highlighted apps, I found the following apps useful for early stage entrepreneurs (which also means free apps only).

1. Dropbox [Android|iPhone|iPad|Desktop]
Dropbox is a new ‘in-the-cloud’ storing environment. It is a good replacement for box.net however the nice thing is that unlike 1GB free space from box.net, Dropbox provide 2GB free space along with a provision for receiving 250MB free space once you refer it to your friend. You can use a web access to download/upload file anywhere on the go (However the login function miraculously vanished from their website when I urgently wanted to print a document stored in the dropbox and end up installing dropbox at cyber cafe’s desktop client). Check out this article by Amit Agarwal if you want to remotely print file from your smartphone. Again, you can also remotely monitor you PC using Dropbox. Overall, its a great software and a free replacement for box.net, Microsoft Groove etc.

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