Feb 27, 2013

Book Review: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

I've wanted to know about Zen for a while now. I selected my first contact with Zen to be a book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. It's a collection of stories from Zen master who taught in US for many years.

It might be the first book ever which is hard for me to review. It's hard to say anything about Zen teaching, because of I'm totally new to Zen myself. Also saying something about Zen book somehow insults the way I understand Zen. And then also the idea in Zen is to keep always learning with clear mind.

Book was really interesting to read. Almost every story told in the book got me thinking. It takes time to read the book and fully have the time to think on the teaching taught in the book. Good thing is that these stories are just short enough to read in ten minutes and then stop to think a bit more on what was actually said.

All I can say about the actual content is that it at least got me much more interested on Zen than before the book. I guess it has done it's job on that sense.

If you have any interest on Zen, I definitely recommend to read the book.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 21, 2013

Why people need mobile, tablet and laptop?

It took me long time to realize the need for tablets. I admit I thought that those are just for replacing the laptops for home. Obviously that haven't been fully the case, there's a room for tablets and laptops at the same time.

The best explanation for the usage purposes for mobile, tablet and laptops I've read was from Google multiscreen report. Here's one page from that report to explain really well the differences.

Of course it's simplification, as all good explanations. Magic with tablet is, that it's not pushing you the connections that mobile and laptops are. At least if you haven't enabled mail, chat and other connection notifications.

Maybe the guys at Apple had all this idea figured out before everyone else. What is certain is, tablet has found its market and it is here to stay.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 16, 2013

Mystery of Subway success

You all know Subway. They make good tasting quite healthy sandwiches. It's the most popular franchise in the world according CNN study from 2010. There is more than 37000 restaurants all over the world.  They are growing by thousand of restaurants per year. And still, I don't understand why people like go there.

Subway has a clear concept of letting people choose everything about their sandwiches themselves. First person chooses their sandwich, then the main theme of the sandwich  meaning the main ingredients. After that person selects the fresh ingredients inside the sandwich and at the end the sauce and other spices.

I hate this selection process. I truly really hate it. I hate it so much, that I only go there if I don't have any other viable choice anywhere near. It always makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't want to choose all the things inside my sandwich, I just want a sandwich.

I'm wondering that am I the only one feeling this way? Subway is such a popular that people must like something about it. This bothers me. I've always thought that limiting choices is the way for better results. There's even many studies to proof for it. Here is for example one of those studies stating that reducing available choices will get people to buy more. For some reason this rule does not seem to apply with Subway.

I do know that people are irrational. Purchase decisions are not made rationally, but more with feelings. Brand building is exactly about feelings. Could the reason then be that Subway have been able to build such a good image to peoples' head about them being the healthy cool choice for a meal, that people go there even they hate the selection process. Or then they don't hate the selection process as much as I do.

It's always hard to accept the facts that are against your own point of view. Subway is one of these good learning lessons for myself. Even though I really hate eating at Subway, it's one of the most popular dining places in the world. They must have figured out the receipt for success. It's better to try to learn from them than to ignore them.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 13, 2013

Divided media is the new media

Most of people all multitasking all the time. Attention is lost to multiple medias and screens constantly. Part of this is about the raising lack of skill to focus attention to one task, but part of it is real multiscreen usage. There are so many medias available instantly and people are learning all the time using those better and better.

As an example, when I'm reading a magazine and there's something interesting there, I pick up my phone and google it. Then if there's more on it to read later, I most often send myself email to check it later.

Google has made a really good report and enjoyable report on how frequent and popular this is nowadays. Here's the direct link to the report and below it is embedded. I encourage to check it through.

The main message I got from this is that whatever you are working with, you need to get your stuff together in all different medias. This report was about usage with different devices, but that's not all there is. Other than just devices there are so many different medias inside web also. There's this search based discovery, social media presence and video presence.

Even though it might seem complicated and laborious, it's not necessarily. What it means at minimun, that you try those out. Try googling your services, products or speciality with different devices. Try searhing youtube or social medias with those same. Walk the talk, try the multiscreen and multichannel usage. That gives already quite a good idea if it working for you or not.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 10, 2013

Book Review - To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

The first book ever I have pre-ordered was this Daniel Pink's To Sell Is Human. I have to admit, that I am a big fan of Daniel Pink. I waited for this book for some time and it was well worth it.

As the title says this book is about sales. Dan Pink tells how sales has changed in recent years due to the increasing availability of information. He also explains how we are all more or less in selling business. At least we are all everyday trying to persuade others for something. So at the end we are all in sales.

As the previous books from him, this was really enjoyable to read. It's fluent and fun to read. Examples are good and text is interesting. He also dives in to sales world nicely. He gets himself involved and tells about those experiences interestingly.

Main idea in the book is that, selling is changing from stereotypical sleek car sales to more human listening and true understanding of the needs of a person. But the whole book is not only about soft values of moving people, there are also many good tips on closing the deal with certain behavior. Even if you would be in the traditional mindset of sales, this book has valuable tips to think of.

I enjoyed the book. I recommend this to everyone. It's easy to read and I can guarantee you get at least some behavioral tips out of it. If you think you are not sales at all, think again. There is always some situations where you need to sell your own point of view to someone else. That's as much selling as all the other selling.

Worth of mention is the inspiring pre-order campaign Dan Pink and his crew had created. They had exclusive webinar, exclusive material available and signed bookplate for those who pre-ordered the book. That got me to pre-order also. Only sad part is that I haven't received my bookplate yet, maybe they didn't post it to outside US. Still it doesn't change the way I feel the book, it was excellent.

Update 27.2.2013: I did receive my bookplate this week. Now I'm a happy owner of signed book.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 7, 2013

Market Analysis - Cloud storage in ecosystem war?

Even though the social network war isn't over yet, latest war ongoing with the big guys, is who gets to own the data of people. The players are not totally the same than in the social network war, but most of them are there still. Social network war is about persons connections, which can't be easily divided to many services. Data on the other hand is personal and what friend select as cloud provider is not that important than social network. Both social network war and cloud storage war play big part on the big ecosystem game ongoing between Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

The main similarity to these both wars is, that changing sides is difficult when you have picked a side. When you decide to store all or most of your data to some cloud storage, it will take lot of effort to change it another. Same is true with social networks, when you build connections to one service, changing completely to another is near to impossible.

The second similarity is that big part of the companies offering their services today, will not be there in five years. There used to be many social network tryouts there five years ago. Some of them lived to see today, most of them not. Same will happen to cloud storage. Today, there's hundreds if not thousands of players offering cloud storage. Doing it profitably is costly and many services will go bankruptcy in coming years. I just hope people don't lose their data on that point.

Ecosystems needs ways to lock or at least tie people closely to their ecosystem. Until now physical devices and operating systems have been good ways to lock people to ecosystems. World is changing to the direction that completing a purpose is more important than the tool used. For example when you want to check what your friends are doing, you do it with any tool available. Or if you want to show your photos from last years vacation to someone, you just show those through cloud. Data needs to be available always.

So, will cloud storage play a role in ecosystem war by the big ecosystems and players?


The market leader in social networks, Facebook, haven't gone to the cloud storage business yet. I see that as a bit of a surprise. It's not their core competence or not even close to core business, but still it's a pretty good way to lock people in. If they are not going for all the data, I would see owning the memories, like photos and videos would be a perfect match for their current offering. Connection with others are all about visual nowadays and what would be better way that to share photos and videos that having all those in the service already.

Definitely this would be big change on their strategy. Currently they are heading more on the knowedge business with open graph, than to data business. Still I wouldn't be too surprised if they would acquire some big cloud storage player.


Google, the challenger in social networks war has taken totally different approach. They already have people's email and now they are trying to get to own their data. When they get people to load their data including pictures and videos, people will be tightly connected to Google services. Maybe their thinking is something like this: If we get them to trust their data on us, we get people to use Chrome and Android first. Next maybe they will buy a Chromebook laptop, because usage of their data is so much easier that way. Then eventually people might change also Google+. People don't really care about what social media they are actually using, if only they get connected to the people they want. If everyone would be in google+, why wouldn't they use that.


Then there is Microsoft. They seem to be losing the consumer business war. They are next to non-existing in the social network war (did you know they do have social network called So.cl? ). Internet Explorer is dropping it's shares. Windows Phone share of smartphones is ridiculously low. Microsoft Account counts for nothing. Their competitive edge comes from the Windows platform. They are still dominant on that with over 84% market share.

As long as data remains stored in local drives and applications are running on local machines, Microsoft will be important player due to Windows platform. When data will be in clouds and applications are run from clouds, operating system doesn't really matter anymore. On that point Microsoft will be in trouble. I believe they know this and have been aggressively trying to get into people's life's with Skydrive cloud storage and Windows 8 ecosystem. They need to tie people to some Microsoft brand soon, Windows OS will not be the tie it used to be.


Apple ecosystem is strong. Their way to lock people to their ecosystem has been through the proprietary OS and devices and excellent services they provide. When person have come in to Apple world, it is not have been easy to switch out from there. Still Apple haven't been able or willing to try to get to own the social networks of the people. They have been locking people in with data previously with their own OS. Now they are trying to get people to use their iCloud services. Main question with iCloud remains, will it ever be fully functional and available for Mac user's other devices. That's a key question on the ecosystem game. Winning the game with fully Apple created products will be hard.

Case Dropbox

Dropbox is the hot potato currently. It is a successfull service on it's own currently. Soon still there will be pressure to enlarge even more. On that point some one might buy it to get to own important part of people's life.

Best guesses who would have interest to buy them are Facebook and Amazon. Facebook, because they currently "only" own the social network of person, but nothing else. Having persons data would make Facebook even much bigger part persons life.

Amazon then on the other hand, doesn't really own much of persons life. They are trying all the time to connect more  and more with people with Kindle Fire, own currency and knowledge what you might like. So they do have a drive for having tighter connection to people, even at the end their profit would come from sales of physical goods. And on the other hand they already host the service for Dropbox.

Other big players

Eventhough Twitter is social media, it's not in the owning a persons data game. It is a strong player in the persons brand came, but that's a bit different game.

Mobile manufacturers have almost miraculously lost the game. None, other than Apple, have persons data or social network at their hands. Nokia had a change one day, but it lost it.

The small new players

Like stated, everyone is offering cloud storage currently. Within few years I believe there will be even more player in the field. In this playground there is more room for variety, but not for everyone. Definitely there will room for niche players who get people to store their data either with cheap price, extended security, really good privacy, back-up features, excellent user interface or something else that makes them special. This market is not only for few players, but still amount of players is not infinite. Services need certain scale to be profitable.


I believe owning people's data will play a major role in ecosystem war between Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft ecosystems. Data about people themselves, even though it is opening up all the time, it is still valuable to person. Contracts, bills, pictures, videos, resumes, contacts, medical history and other similar will always be important to people. All of these will never be opened for everybody else. Whom people will trust with their data will be a long term contract. Everyone will not see cloud storage provider to be so important at first, but when big part, if not all, of one's data will be stored in cloud, trusting the provider is important.

It will be interesting coming years to see how the cloud storage market will turn out to be. I have made my own journey to the cloud already. All the personal data that I own is stored in Google cloud. I trusted the big player.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 6, 2013

The tempting "do not disturb" icon

In daily business usage of different chat engines have become a standard. I at least have google talk, skype and Lync open all the time for contacting people located currently elsewhere than I am. In these systems, green always indicates free, yellow about inactivity, red about being in a meeting and then there's this "do not disturb" icon.

This "do not disturb"-icon always gets my attention. There comes this little temptation to really go and ask whether one is really busy. It always gets me thinking, what is so important, that someone needed to change the status to "do not disturb". Is she in a meeting presenting something, is there something fishy ongoing or what's the deal.

Is it just me, but could this "do not disturb" icon, actually mean: look at me, I'm important. 

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen