Most businesses are obsessed with being the first to do something or release a product. However, it’s been proven time and again throughout history that coming second or even later in the list can be an advantage as you improve on what came before you.
As Anil K. Gupta and Haiyan Wang remind us in Wired magazine (Feb 2012), it was ‘Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who first brought computing to the masses in 1977’ but it was IBM that did it bigger, better and cheaper so they could dominate the market for many years. Since then, Apple has obviously reinvented itself with a range of stunningly designed devices and their iPhone has been the dominant one on the market (at least in the Western world) since it’s launch in 2007. More recently though, Android has been widely tipped to overtake total sales due to the cheaper price and wider range of devices running on this system.
However, thanks to a highly successful Christmas 2011 and huge marketing budget in 2011/2012, people are finally starting to take notice of Windows Phone as a real and worthy competitor due to the beautiful design, functionality, fun and user experience which is making even the mighty iPhone start to look a little bit dated.
Nokia and Microsoft have had the time (and resources) to take what Apple have done, and improve on it to create something really special and unique – Windows Phone’s are not copies of iPhones, they’re a complete reimagining of what it means to have (your) world in your pocket)! As I’ve said many times before, I absolutely LOVE my Windows Phone (Samsung Omnia 7 by the way) and predict a hugely successful year for Nokia and Microsoft in 2012.
Back to the topic of why coming first isn’t everything. Who invented the ‘Moonwalk’? Michael Jackson I hear you say? Nope, it was Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar who can be seen doing it first on the BBC’s Top of the Pops in 1982 (see below), almost a year before Jackson did the move on the Motown: 25th Anniversary which grabbed a global audience and propelled him to international stardom. (He was a big fan of Daniels and hired him to teach him the move). ;o)
Some tech / digital predictions for 2012 from me:
- SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) apps like Foursquare will really start to take off as more businesses start to see the benefit (and necessity) in offering useful and relevant deals and discounts to loyal customers. Foursquare has been around for a while now but heavy investment in the company, sharp uptake in smartphone use and more social media / tech savvy marketers will see it come to the fore, especially if users feel like they are getting exclusive and imaginative offers. I personally didn’t see the point until recently but totally love it now, although there’s still a lack of truly special ‘Specials’ on the system here in the UK!
- ‘Citizen Journalism‘ and political activism will increase through apps like Bambuser, which enables live video broadcasting through your mobile. Featured in Wired magazine a few months ago as one of Europe’s hottest tech start-up, this Swedish company has recently started to play a major role in sharing the struggle of protestors in the Middle East and North Africa. On a less serious and more fun level, the ’24hr Bambuser Challenge LIVE’ which saw Hans Eriksson (Executive Chairman, Bambuser) do a continuous 24hr broadcast from the streets of London on 9th September, asking viewers to literally guide him around has to be one of the highlights of 2011 for me. This was the ultimate in reality TV! (see http://bambuser.com/channel/HansEriksson/broadcast/1957435 for a taster).
- ‘Knowledge workers‘ will become increasingly mobile, with the ability to work from anywhere with a wi-fi connection through their laptop/tablet or smartphone, as everything they need is hosted up in ‘The Cloud’. However, despite this freedom, people will still crave being amongst other people so there will be an increased demand for flexible co-working spaces which offer something a bit more professional than Starbucks (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/pneworkspace/sets/72157627339827713/ for photos of the awesome Central in London for a fantastic example of how this will look).
- ‘Personal Online Branding‘ and ‘Social Influence‘ will become increasingly important as more businesses start to search for and pay well-connected people with strong social networks to blog, Tweet and share information about them online. Not only will your number of Twitter Followers and Facebook ‘Fans’ be seen as important by clients and employees, but a high Klout score will become a recognised tool for winning business and work. It’s already very cool but they’ve had a few hiccups recently with people’s scores going down drastically overnight but I expect this to be very big news in 2012, especially amongst digital marketing / social media experts.
- The Windows Phone / Nokia partnership will be a huge success for both companies, starting with a strong Christmas 2011. Nokia is still the world’s biggest handset manufacturer and Windows Phones are really beautiful to use (you can tell I’m a big fan)! Both sides seem to have a renewed sense of confidence and are putting everything they have got into some amazing advertising campaigns including the incredible live music event at Millbank Tower, London on 28th November with Deadmau5 (see http://youtu.be/SX2Gd-kqV5s).
- On a non-technical tip, I predict that South Shields (UK) singer-songwriter Lulu James will be the name on everyone’s lips by the end of the year. A cross between Grace Jones and Rhianna, this girl is seriously hot and talented with a great management team behind her (Dave Stone, Events Director of Digital, Newcastle). It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve been helping them out with their digital marketing / social media campaigns too! ;o)