Saturday, May 23, 2015

(The Big Disrupt) CIO and BYOD: The CIO's Nightmare That Is BYOD

Like any executive in the C-suite, life isn't easy for CIO's but with the myriad of forces pushing against the CIO from BYOD (bring your own device) and shadow IT, it's quite easy to argue that being a CIO is a thankless task.

You would think in the information laden age we live in today that Chief Information Officers wouldn't be one of the most undermined and put upon player in the C-suite as employees demand BYOD programs and other business units rival the IT department in IT spending, most notably marketing.

The challenge facing CIO to provide business value to their organizations while maintain a robust IT infrastructure are made difficult by the two head dragon that is BYOD and shadow IT as While BYOD may help CIO's save their organizations millions in carrier costs, it also opens up CIO's and their organizations to security and privacy risks which can end up damaging their organizations brand and may cost CIO's their job.

CIO's can negotiate the security risk BYOD offers with smart mobile device management (MDM) and even smarter polices regarding the use of devices but despite these remedies, CIO's still find themselves having to bend to the will of the management and employees of their organizations. CIO's clearly see the advantages of BYOD such as getting companies closer to the modern business nirvana of increased speed, productivity, agility and mobility of the workforce and the organization as a whole. CIO's see this as a way to add value to the business by giving their organization an competitive advantage which, in a context where most markets are more competitive than they've ever been, would make CIO's key players in their organization if they pull it off.

However, in doing so they risk also exposing themselves to catastrophe in trying to be innovative as there is no A for effort in business especially at the corporate level. CIO's have general embraced this new demand to provide business value by their CEO’s especially those in the tech space who generally tend to be more entrepreneurial and more inclined to embrace new technologies than CIO's in other fields.

Their enthusiasm to bring business value to their organization means collaboration with other members with the C-suite but in a number of surveys CIO's are failing to strengthen relationship with their marketing counterparts which is unfortunate given their relationship with their CMO is quickly becoming one of the important in the C-suite. CIO's have been so bad at making nice with their marketing counterparts that a number of organizations have had create new positions to bridge the gap.

The further adoption of BYOD may help bridge the gap between IT and Marketing organizations as marketing  organizations are arguably the most likely to benefit from BYOD. However, to a certain extent, it doesn't matter if CIO's are for BYOD as employees in their organizations already use mobile for work and personal purposes and great deal of employees do it without IT signing off on the practice.

This practice will only get worse with device savvy millennials entering the workplace in full force sure to tip IT's hand in adopting BYOD due to the demand for employees to use their own devices. Most CIO's want to be innovative and do see the productivity gains to be had by embracing BYOD but given their core responsibility to ensure their organization's IT infrastructure is robust, the embrace of BYOD can complicate matters.

The embrace of BYOD has complicated matters for CIO's so much that it has become a major priority for them in such a short space of time. The risks BYOD along with other security concerns open up CIO's and their organizations to is why new positions such as the CTO, CSO and CISO to deal with the implementation and security of new technologies which to a certain degree undermines the relevancy of the CIO despite in most cases these executives report to them.

In sum, forward thinking CIO's are more than prepared to embrace BYOD given its potential increase productivity throughout their organizations but doing so comes at the price of handing CIO's more responsibility yet making the CIO irrelevant as CIOs' find themselves at the pointy end of sharp irony that finds CIO's becoming more irrelevant in an age that's more IT driven than ever.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

(TV) True Detective: True Detective Season 2 Teaser Trailer HBO HD

Check this great HBO teaser trailer showcasing what's to last year's smash hit series True Detective with a new cast and new story. The new series stars Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughan, and Taylor Kitsch and will return to HBO on the 21st June.

(The Big Disrupt) Facebook: Did Publishers Just Give Up Their Only Edge Over Facebook for Ad Money?

Facebook deal with major publishers that allows Facebook to host their content is at once the smartest and dumbest move publishers could make as while they could take a bite out of Facebook growing ad revenue, they lose the prized commodity of any business in the modern age, the time and attention of their consumers.

Facebook endgame is obvious as the social network clearly wants to own it's audience as it makes it money from the time and information it users spend and share on the platform and the biggest impediment to that is publishers and other content creators who take their audience out of the Facebook platform and on to their own. Facebook Instant Articles CMS (Content Management System) serves as a way to get publishers to publish content on Facebook directly which allows Facebook to host the publishers content and gain leverage on them as they become dependent on the money they'll make either selling ads on the platform around their Facebook content or allowing Facebook to sell it for them.

Publishers however aren't stupid and are fully aware of the risks of allowing Facebook to host their content directly. Publishers see their use of Facebook new CMS as a way to get their hands on the mobile ad cash Facebook has been earning and they've been largely losing out on. However, letting Facebook host their content directly for more mobile ad cash is not a great trade.

In fact,  it just might the worst trade in history of publishing as like it or not publishers are in the same business Facebook are in and with a gang of publishers signing up to use Instant Articles, it's clearly a sign that publishers have waved the white flag. Facebook are much better at attracting and holding the attention of their users than publishers ever were and the fact that Facebook are making Publishers give up their content, the only edge they have over the social network who produces none whatsoever, is a quiet omission that they can't win or even hold their ground in the battle for the consumer's time or data.

Facebook real competition is obviously Google as search and social media advertising giants square up against each other in the mobile ad space but with Instant Articles, Facebook has managed to what Google has failed miserably to accomplish, get publishers on side. It's one of the most delicious ironies of our age that two companies that produce no content have a grip over content creators in general with Google, through its ownership of YouTube, dominating the online video market and Facebook now beginning to tighten their grip over publishers.

Expect this trend to get worse as both companies continue to flex their muscles and both content creators and publishers find themselves having to grin and bear the consequences both companies slowly asserting themselves as media owners. 

In sum, the decision of publisher to trade their content for better mobile ad performance may prove to be a poor long term decision but in truth, Publisher are just a pawn in Facebook larger chess game with Google in the battle over the time and attention of consumers on the web.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

(Sport) Boxing: Why Mayweather v Pacquiao Was the Best and Worst Thing to Happen to Boxing

While the history books will record that Manny Pacquiao lost his " fight of the century" bout with  Floyd "Money" Mayweather, the real loser of the disappointing bout might be the sport itself.

Part of the allure of the fight was that many saw Pacquiao posing the toughest challenge in Mayweather's career and had waited five long years for the fight to be made. Both fighter had their legacies on the line but Mayweather especially given that the fact that Mayweather's legacy by many boxing aficionados (including Mayweather himself) is solely defined by his 48-0 unbeaten record.

What we all witnessed last Saturday may not have been the greatest spectacle by anybody's standard but it was a 12 round masterclass in how to win a fight by controlling the pace and distance. In most combat sports, it's damn near impossible to win a bout without either controlling the pace and distance of a fight and Mayweather, a master at gaining a stranglehold of both, knows this better than anybody else. It's why almost all his fights get hyped to the hilt then end up being borefests as he quickly gains control of both the pace and distance then the fight is over as a spectacle.

It's also why people hate the pants off the pound for pound champ outside his brash public persona, insensitive public statements, and his extensive but shamefully under-reported history of battering women. Boxing fans across the board will praise his ability as a boxer but are left bemused when he calls himself "TBE" (shorthand for "the best ever") and lose their minds when he has the nerve to commit the blasphemous act of saying he's greater than Muhammad Ali then criticize the great man's legacy in the same breath.

All the hate Mayweather attracts and encourages is why he's the sports main draw and why many thought Mayweather would win the bout but still hoped that Pacquiao would beat him up badly enough to make him retire. Mayweather would have had to retire if he did lose because he would no longer be the sports biggest draw and his main legacy (his unbeaten record) would be in tatters.

But, in truth, it would have been difficult for Pacquiao to win the fight. Mayweather is  the bigger man, has a larger reach and is just as fast as the Filipino pugilist which means Pacquiao would have push the pace of the fight and close the distance in a sport where simply, in the words of the legendary boxing coach Emanuel Stewart, " the good big ones usually beat the good little ones".

The moment I knew the fight was over as a spectacle was when Mayweather landed a straight right in the first round, squared up in the center of the ring with Pacquiao and nothing happened. From there, Mayweather took control of the pace and distance of the fight by being elusive, throwing a ton of spoiler and stiff jabs, and landing the occasional straight right.

The only times Pacquiao found success was when Mayweather gave up the distance but was still in control of the pace of fight as Mayweather simply circled off the ropes after Manny unloaded then preceded to take over the pace and distance of the fight like nothing happened.

Because the fight was so boring to watch except among the few real boxing fans who appreciate what the sweet science is all about, boxing might have just suffered the biggest poke in the eye it's since Mike Tyson got peckish and took a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear. Never has boxing had so many people pay attention to sport expecting to see Hagler/Hearns only to get a less entertaining 12 round rehash of Duran/Lennard II.

Casual fans of the sport took to twitter to register their disgust towards the fight after they felt they were cheated out of their hard earned money to watch a 36 minute boxing exhibition.  The reaction to the fight gotten nasty as Pacuiao, HBO and Showtime are now subject to a lawsuit from angry fans less than pleased with bout they saw and incensed with the revelation that Manny went into the ring with a tear in his shoulder.

While Mayweather v Pacquiao wasn't the greatest fight to watch, I've seen worse fights and if the world was paying attention to those they probably wouldn't want to watch boxing, ever. In sum, we all expected the fight of the century but what we got was a fight the century will quickly forget which is not only a stain on the fighters involved but a black eye on boxing in general.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

(The Big Disrupt) ESPN: Verizon Just Heated up the Coming Battle Between Cable Providers and Networks

While it is no surprise that ESPN are suing Verizon, it is a surprise to see Verizon actually take action in the battle between cable providers and TV networks over the future of television.

In truth, the real surprise is why Verizon is the first cable provider to take such an action after powerful and popular networks like HBO and ESPN have launched standalone services (ESPN became part of a smaller sling TV package) separate from the cable bundle while benefiting from the ever increasing re-transmission rates cable providers have to dole out to keep them there. What ESPN is really mad at is that cable providers like Verizon are now doing what they should have been doing years ago: making their bundles smaller.

Cable providers are not stupid and know that consumers have gotten sick with the travesty of paying ever increasing cable bills for channels they don't watch which makes Verizon's FIOS service a masterstroke as it shows consumers that cable providers are paying attention to the consumer while calling the bluff of networks like ESPN launching standalone services while still in the cable bundle.

While Verizon's new service won't exactly check the growing demand for an a la carte model of television, It sends a clear message that cable providers can no longer play defense. It also shows cable networks that other cable providers may be preparing to make the same move as cable providers are surely not in love with networks dangling their feet in the a la carte pool while nestled in the safe harbor of the cable package.

Cable providers (as well as cable networks) are well aware that if the a la carte model was as lucrative as staying in the cable bundle was cable and broadcast networks would leave the cable package en masse and put cable providers like Comcast and Verizon out of business. Comcast may well be the next cable provider take a hint from Verizon and start making their cable package a little smaller after they gave up on a merger with Time Warner and have been subject to astronomical re-transmission rates over the last decade.

However, this process might have the effect of making already powerful and popular networks even more powerful as smaller bundles give popular networks like HBO and ESPN in a better bargaining position than they already have. We're already seeing this trend already with cable operators like Comcast and Verizon but it's more pronounced with services like Dish Networks's Sling TV where ESPN can choose to leave Sling TV's smaller bundle if the service gets too popular and takes away from their cable bundle base. In effect, this shows that cable networks and ESPN in particular are trying to have their cake and eat it at both the cable providers's and Sling TV's expense.

This type of scenario won't last forever as congress and the FCC are both behind making the a la carte model of television the new normal in the pay TV market. If it should happen, Cable providers and a host of networks are going to have to adapt or die a slow and horrible death as the balance of power in the pay TV market has swung from the traditional distributors to content creators and it's hard to see distributors getting it back .

However, this would be the cable networks worse nightmare the last thing they want to see is cable providers die out as the big cable providers is how they get their bread buttered. Without cable providers, cable networks would have to either build their own standalone over the top service and fight for an audience in the open market or partner up with a smaller streaming services who can't (or won't) cough up the large re-transmission deals a great deal of networks rely on.

So what we will see is networks doing their best to straddle the lines between the cable package and the a la carte model but with Verizon making their packages smaller and their rivals sure to follow suit, cable networks are going to find this balancing act harder to pull off.

In any case, 2015 is going to be a truly interesting year in the pay TV market with a host of networks either launching standalone services or joining smaller bundles via online streaming services as we get to the first draft of the future of television be written right in front of our eyes.


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