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Category Archives: Ghost Writing


LinkedIn blog post

LinkedIn post

for Matthew Talbot, Senior Vice President, Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry

How Social Commerce Is Changing the Music Business

As Steve Jobs famously said, “The first iPod…didn’t just change the way we listen to music—it changed the entire music industry.” But it wasn’t just the iPod. It was the combination of the iPod and the iTunes music store that together introduced a new way to purchase and listen to music. Today, social media is completing the picture for digital music, giving us a new way to discover new acts and share our favorites.

Music marketing has always had a social aspect to it, whether it was going to live music clubs, playing records with a group of friends, tuning into a favorite radio program, or sharing a set of headphones. We’ve always learned about music through word of mouth, friends, and family. Now that we’re all connecting via social media platforms, of course, music has arrived there as well.

Building a New Model

There’s a sea change going on in the music industry right now, where the old business model is crumbling — mostly attributable to the digitization of music and the ease of stealing it through services like Napster. What will replace the old model isn’t yet clear, but there are promising ideas in the landscape. And social media will certainly play a role.

If you doubt the effect social media can have, just remember back to the summer of 2012. That’s when the K-pop super hit “Gangnam Style” by the artist Psy became an international phenomenon because of social media. To promote the song, Psy’s music label uploaded the video to YouTube and tweeted it to fans. The video quickly went viral, which led to articles in Billboard and The Huffington Post, as well as TV coverage on CNN. Soon, the song was everywhere. The video became the first to hit one billion views on YouTube in December 2013, and has garnered another billion since.

No Shortage of Ideas

Shazam, the app that “listens” to songs in your environment (playing in a café, in your car, on the TV) and tells you what they are, was a groundbreaking music discovery app. Hear a song you like, and you can “Shazam” it to find out the name and the artist, then click a button to Amazon, Beats Music, Google Play, iTunes, Rdio, Spotify, or YouTube to listen to the song or buy and download it. Now, Shazam is adding more social features, allowing you to share the songs you tag on social media platforms.

The subscription services are also leveraging social media platforms, posting the tracks you’re listening to on Facebook.

Facebook continues to experiment with different features that post to your timeline whatever you’re listening to. The company seems convinced that there’s a way to marry music sharing with its social platform, but hasn’t found the right one yet.

Besides Shazam, there are lots of apps vying to help you discover music you’ve never heard before, by having you tell them your favorite genres, bands, and artists, and then suggesting others you might like based on your favorites.

Labels Experiment

The “old guard” music labels know change is in the air, and they’re trying new things as well. Acknowledging that social and digital media make distribution more democratic, all the major labels have now split off divisions that offer services à la carte to independent recording artists, instead of only as part of contract, as used to be the norm.

Universal Music Group has also worked with a social analytics platform to help artists generate money from their social media followings.

Messaging Apps Join the Party

There’s now a whole class of music messaging apps, where instead of sending a text, photo, or emoji, you send a song. These include La-La, PingTune, Rithm, and Soundwave.

Established messaging apps are tapping into the devices they run on to publish what you’re listening to on your device with your contacts. It’s a great way to share, and doesn’t require any extra effort once you’ve set it up.

It’s not much of a leap to imagine that messaging apps, which are selling stickers and games, will also offer music purchases, or at least links to content providers where you can buy. That would really be a seamless and satisfying experience: 1) see that your friend is listening to a new band, 2) check out the band, 3) buy the song or album for yourself. All in a few minutes and a few taps.

As messaging continues to establish itself as the entry point for our social-mobile interactions, I believe these apps will become the key platforms for music fans to discover, listen to, and buy music. And as “Gangnam Style” proved, social media can take music to the world state faster, and in a more spectacular way, than ever before.


Read the post in situ on LinkedIn.


UberTech blog post

UberTech ZDNet blog post

for Diarmuid Mallon, Director, Global Marketing Solutions & Programs – Mobile, SAP

Speed Bumps on the Road to LTE

LTE provides consumers with a broadband-like mobile experience, and operators with increased network efficiency. So why isn’t it more widespread? Because there are still a few more speed bumps on the road.

The LTE conversation has so far been about two things: consumer devices supporting LTE, and operators building out LTE networks. Both are important aspects, but they’re not the whole story. The commentary that’s missing is the next layer down. (This is the third in a three-part series. If you haven’t already, be sure to also read part one on consumer benefits, and part two on operator benefits.)

If you’re one of the lucky few using an LTE device on an LTE network, you’re probably getting used to the “new normal” of your faster data speeds, watching video on demand and all that. What you may not have discovered yet is that if you go on holiday to another country, your LTE may not travel with you. That’s a fundamental problem right now: there’s little LTE roaming, because of spectrum fragmentation.

Spectrum fragmentation? It’s a technical mouthful. Let me break it down.

Around the world, the radio frequency that we use to make mobile phone calls varies. In the UK, we use frequencies between 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. In the US, the military uses that band, so consumers are over on 1900 MHz (or 1.9 GHz).

A decade ago, if you tried to make a call in the UK on a US phone, it wouldn’t work because the phone wouldn’t have been using the right radio frequency, or spectrum. So, Europeans had to use European phones. Americans had to use American phones. Asians had to use Asian phones. That’s spectrum fragmentation.

In the intervening years, manufacturers have developed “world phones” that work across the various spectrums. Apple’s iPhone is a great example. Before the iPhone 4S, there was only one phone, made on a single production line. Then iPhone 4S incorporated support for 10 different frequencies on both GSM and CDMA networks. It now costs a pretty penny to make calls and get data while you’re roaming, but you can do it—and without having to do anything special. The phone manages the frequencies and your operator makes sure your data plan travels with you.

Today, LTE has this same spectrum fragmentation problem. For example, a major UK broadcaster currently uses the same frequency as North American LTE networks (2100 MHz). When Canadians with LTE visit London, they can’t use 2100 MHz because EE, the only 4G provider in the UK, is over on 1800MHz. So, they’ll have to upload that video of the Buckingham Palace changing of the guard on 3G, which will take quite a bit longer than what they’re used to back home.

LTE spectrums are so fragmented globally that there’s no way one phone could possibly work everywhere. That’s why the iPhone 5 comes in three models with three different chip sets. All three support the global services of the 4S. Each of the three support 4G LTE in either Asia, Europe or the US. On the other hand, note that Google’s Nexus 4 doesn’t support LTE, and Google says the reason is that it doesn’t want to have to support all the frequencies.

The fact that Apple and other manufacturers are starting to solve the fragmentation problem is good news for LTE. When Apple introduced its first LTE mobile device—the “4G” iPad—it only worked on a handful of operators in North America. Today the iPhone 5 works on over 60 operators across the world. So increasingly, you’ll be able to connect to LTE networks when you travel.

The spectrum fragmentation is one issue. Another is whether or not mobile operators have the technical ability to offer LTE roaming services. If your operator doesn’t support LTE roaming, then you won’t be able to do it no matter what phone you use.

The build-out of high-speed LTE networks is different from that of earlier technologies. LTE uses a completely new signaling protocol, called Diameter. Completely above and beyond the SS7 MAP that 2G / 3G mobile networks use, Diameter requires mobile operators to establish new roaming connections. As operators launch LTE networks over the coming years, each one will have to set up new roaming connectivity. Effectively, the work operators have done over the last 10 years to upgrade to 2G and 3G will need to be repeated.

In fact, there’s a whole backend infrastructure improvement required to make this improvement. SAP Mobile Services (my employer) is working with operators now to upgrade their networks and make it happen.

Global LTE: we’re getting closer, but we haven’t yet arrived.

If you want to learn more about LTE roaming, don’t miss the free webinar, LTE Roaming: Making it Work. Making it Reality hosted by my colleague Bill Dudley. (See his blog here.)


Read the article in situ.


SAP (Sybase) blog post

SAP (Sybase) blog post

for David Dichmann, Product Line Director at SAP

What’s in a Model?

PowerDesigner is built on the concept of models, and when I talk to people who are new to approaching enterprise architecture this way, I get a lot of questions. “What’s the use of models?” they want to know. “What’s the value?”

A key value of models is that they give us a way to simplify, understand and explain complex topics. When you buy furniture at IKEA, for example, it comes with an instruction set — or model — of the step-by-step process you should to follow to assemble the thing. If it weren’t for that model, flat-pack furniture wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is!

Like those assembly instructions, many models are a type of graphic diagram. Those include information models, data models, business process models (we do this thing first, and another thing next, etc.) and context diagrams, which represents the environment that an organization’s IT system resides within.

There are also many types of models that aren’t graphical, such as business models, system models, business requirements documents, use cases and excel spreadsheets, as well as all kinds of lists of things such as people, inventory, and stuff we need to do.

In business, we use models to help us define and describe who we are, what we have, how we operate, and what we intend to do in the future, so that we can understand each other better, and work together more efficiently.

When we look at how models are used in industry — any industry — they’re much more than just diagrams or lists. Models also capture knowledge, which is what makes them different from plain old drawings. In this way, models become a kind of living knowledge base. You can reuse them, adjust them, and apply standards to them so that everyone who creates them follows the same protocol.

Another value of models, then, is that they provide a true common ground from which a group of people can communicate and collaborate.

When all of the different models in an organization come together, so that we can understand and explain how we do things in context with what we do, why we do it, and where we’re going in the future, the models and become an asset to every stage of every decision process in the entire enterprise. Now that’s value.