Zeit·geist = spirit, essence of a particular time

A collection of food-for-thought posts and articles on technology, business, leadership and management. 

Smartphone adoption, not even half way

Diffusion of technologies follow a bell curve, going from early adopters, on to majority, late majority and laggards,  to reach 100% penetration.  This phenomenon was studied and explained by Everett Rogers back in 1983.

An S shaped curve (logistic function) follows suit. The bell curve is actually product of the derivative of the logistic function.

WebCongress Miami 2013 Why does Superman wear his underwear outside

Stacking up the data of smartphone sales from last years, it´s amazing how accurately its adoption follows the pattern. The coloured area on the right part of the chart, corresponding to actual US smartphone sales gives you an indication of the maturity of this market today, well above 50% penetration, versus worldwide penetration sitting north of 22% only.

A similar pattern can be observed looking at top 5 European countries.

This post from the analyst Horace Dediu is the original source for the all data and graphs.

Now you can estimate where the growth (in volume) will come from, geographically speaking, based on adoption and relative audience available.

And this, regardless of manufacturer shares, as the theory demonstrates the different players will adapt their strategies accordingly, within the limits of the S adoption curve.

This theory can be applied to literally any new technology breakthrough; products, services, social networks....

Now, the task is to analyze the underlying reasons behind the pattern. The Why.

There are some theories out there linking human learning processes with it but I suspect there is more behind, specifically about the perceived benefit of a technology within the community (or the bigger entire human colony if you will), and the role of the brand as a fostering mechanism for adoption.

Fascinating food for thought.


credits: Horace Dediu. Asymco

The Sales Cycle Inside Out #toomuchtimeonplanes

sales cycle

The full picture behind a handshake, the universal expression of a successful transaction, a sale, has many similarities with other processes in physics, like the behavior of sub-atomic particles in a fusion process where atoms combine at the expense of energy to achieve a 'desired' new stable form. In a short-sighted view, a sale, is just a transactional consequence of the collision between a problem and its potential solution. Beyond the solution, it's about 'the job to be done', as analyst Horace Dediu many times refers to.

Problems belong to buyers, who are perpetually in active seek of solutions, in a dance surrounded of sellers.


In between problems and solutions, where they meet, there is, in 'firewalling' words, a DMZ area, the conflict zone. In the corporate world, this DMZ area is delimited by finance, business operations, business affairs and legal on one side, Brand & corporate marketing, channel marketing, Product Marketing, Technical support and PR on the other.

Picture yourself driving the Challenger spacecraft re-entering atmosphere. You can feel the heat below your feet, that burning side of the spaceship will be what we call sales in any company. This fringe, always in friction, is where I work, at the beginning of the end of problems, where the job needs to be done.

Problems and solutions belong to 'The What' of the story. The bigger picture becomes visible if we ask about 'The Why'. Why does a problem exist?, answers are not always evident.

Majority of the times, particularly in the tech word, and as a consequence asymmetric competition, it becomes necessary to reverse engineer everything from the visible impact in the market.

Smartphone sales, as an example, may illustrate this. A smartphone is actually a piece of hardware whose purpose is to materialize an interconnected multimedia experience for human beings (although we see also cats, dogs and other animals staring at screens). The problem to solve here, is to deliver intelligibly a stream of content&services to an UI, the solution (or the tool if you will) is a smartphone.

In this case, the problem belongs to different stakeholders in the value chain. Content and service providers want to reach end users, that's their problem. They ultimately rely on carrier networks to convey their products. Carriers, owners of networks, also want to reach end users and their problem is to make sure end users have something in their hands with a screen as big as reasonable to deliver their megabytes of data. But… why?.

Problem owners or buyers, carriers, content developers, service providers, share the same motivation, they want to monetize their products or services, that's why. In other words, they want to deliver something on to a recipient (at a cost) to obtain a benefit (at a profit), the delta between cost and profit speaks to the importance of the problem and fuels the determination to resolve it.

In our example, the solution is simple, go and buy an smartphone. In our story, those with bigger profits at a stake will be keener to dance with smartphone vendors, rules are simple, everyone will fight to maximize profit or reduce cost in the value chain but always within the limits to secure the new, aspirational stage, is not jeopardized. i

It's a sum-zero game in which everybody wins one way or another. We, users, enjoy our connected life in our never-leave-more-than-a-meter away smartphones, while carriers, content and service providers make commercial profits. It's all about the transfer of value and the transactions in between.

But, this is not over, no single solution can ever, never, serve entirely to solve the problem it is intended for. There will be always gaps. Gaps need to be filled in by means of innovation in products and services, ultimately serving better end users, us, for a richer and happier experience.

Is there a limit to this?.  I guess the answer is yes, if we, at some point of time, connect ourselves to an on demand endorphins delivery system.

But, this is a standalone topic on its own…

@efernandez    from the series #toomuchtimeonplanes


Farewell & Flashback

Farewell: interjeccion utilizada para decir adios.



Used to express goodbye.
1. An acknowledgment at parting; a goodbye.
2. The act of departing or taking leave.
Ya he dejado mi querida y nunca bien ponderada España, eso si, he cogido el camino largo, pasando por Hong Kong donde estuve la semana pasada.
Blade Runner era verdad...
No tiene mucho sentido despedirse, no tiene sentido si en el fondo no te vas, pero sirve de excusa magnifica para recordar los buenos momentos.



  1. A scene in a movie, novel, etc., set in a time earlier than the main story.
  2. A sudden and disturbing vivid memory of an event in the past, typically as the result of psychological trauma or taking LSD
(sin lugar a dudas, la definicion numero 2 'disturbing vivid memory ... result of trauma or LSD' es la que mejor explica todo)

Hyperconnected: Scatter Cushion Computing

This article was published in MIT's Technologyreview.es, September 2012

Hyperconnected:  Scatter Cushion Computing

The title of this article, as strange as it seems, is intuitively familiar for all of us. It refers to the pervasive phenomena of mobile computing proliferation and the growing use of multiple screens in our daily lives.

I learnt about this concept, originally coined by Deloitte, during a panel discussion I participated at Deloitte’s European TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications)  summit, held in September, in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The multi-screen phenomena, i.e.: simultaneous use of different screens and devices is well known. Just peek into the living room of any house at prime time and you will see the family scattered around on cushions switching their attention among the telly, their smartphone, tablet or a PC/Mac.


According to a recent study from Ipsos-Sterling 90% of all media consumption happens across different screens versus a shrinking 10% still rendered on paper and over other traditional media, such as radio.

38% out of the 90% multi-screen media consumption occurs on a smartphone.

Furthermore, TV is no longer the main screen grabbing our attention, and more than 77% of the time we spend watching it we also use another device simultaneously.

In half of those cases, the usual suspect is a smartphone, however, as many as 34%, multitask on a PC or laptop instead of eating popcorns while watching their favourite movie.

Another use case of multiple screens usage can be found in youngsters and teenagers.

The typical set up of a teenager’s room includes a PC or Mac, acting as a mainframe, with one or even two monitors attached, one or even two smartphones, a tablet in some cases, a portable game console(Nintendo DS or similar),  a hardcore game console (Xbox, PS3 or Wii), and, in many cases, the house’s second TV.

Behind the hardware, on the apps side, they have Facebook, Skype, a Messenger app on their PC/Mac, and the browser open with multiple tabs, a search page and YouTube to start with. On their smartphone; WhatsApp, Viber, BBM or a similar IM (Instant Messaging) app and, if they are studying, they will have google docs, a pdf reader or word editor open as well, all of these running at the same time, and, on top of it all, they randomly look at TV or jump into a quick match on their game console.

78% of the time we spend multi-screening is dedicated to completely different and unrelated tasks. For instance, 42% of us browse social networks while watching TV, and an astonishing 60% send emails simultaneously.

In both scenarios, the TV centric living room, and the teenager multi-screen immersive place, the motivation patterns are similar. A combination of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and a self-realization need based on ego-driven content make us joggle among multiple devices, screens, apps and services.

In all cases, in the environment described, everything tends to gravitate around the smartphone. Beyond sequential use of screens (starting a task in a smartphone and finishing it in a PC), multitasking, or, managing  multiple apps running at the same time, the smartphone is increasingly becoming a critical factor from an end user’s experience point of view.

Current platforms and operating systems in smartphones today are not properly optimized to run multiple processes in parallel. Hardware resources (CPU, GPU, RAM, display) focus on the active application to appeal the user with sophisticated graphics flow, thus relegating critical multitasking processes like inter-apps invocation to the background.

Today’s in and out app paradigm, with users forced to turn to a central or side button to access dormant apps if they want to switch between them, won’t be enough to cope with the ever increasing need to handle hyper connectivity of the many devices and things around, aka IoT (Internet of Things).

Cars, home appliances, automation systems, TVs, game consoles, refrigerators, even coffee machines are connecting to the internet and the apps hub in our smartphone needs to handle interactions with all of those in real time, and on the go.

If you add the IoT factor, to the average 41 apps a smartphone user owns today according to Nielsen, the multitasking functionality becomes critical, thus forcing the industry to evolve current OS (Operating System) and mobile platforms to reliably, and securely manage heavy multitasking processes.

In the embedded OS world this is called RT OS (Real Time Operating Systems), and the ideal architecture is based on a nimble micro-kernel core managing hardware and software resources more efficiently to serve multiple parallel requests.

Welcome to a brave new Mobile Hyper connected X-multitasking world.