Tuesday, December 19, 2006

iPhone is here... from LinkSys

Well, iPhone has been introduced as the rumours told, but from wrong manufacturer. LinkSys iPhone is a VoIP phone used with Skype and similiar VoIP clients. Apple has not commented the release of iPhone in any ways. It will be interesting to see what cards Apple has in its sleeve.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The end of the course

Well that's it. Time's up and its time to leave the managing dynamics part of the blog alone. More pictures would have been nice and a new navigation system. Well, I'll just put the posts in order from the earliest and show them on one page for easier browsing experience. Hopefully I'll have time to come back to this blog soon, maybe in some new thoughts about creative commons and open source. Or maybe related to a J2EE dilemma I'm facing currently at work...

Interesting sites gathered

I have been gathering some more or less interesting links at my del.icio.us list for the Managing Dynamics: Creative Content Business course. Looking back to the links I've remembered to save shows the way I've been going through the course. At the beginning I've saved some definitions related to the early topics. I felt unease with the new things and didn't yet know what to think about the cases and the whole course.

While the course progressed, I felt that I made some progress too. I started to save things that interested me: Creative commons, open source, mobile phones and even Christo's and Jean-Claude's installations...

Well here's few top picks from the link list in case you don't have time or interest to browse them through:

Creative Commons comic: A Spectrum of Rights
A nice comic explaining the ideas and usage of Creative Commons license.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar
A great book about open source and the differences between commercial "cathedral" way and the open source "Bazaar" way.

Lawrence Lessig
A homepage of a person who has contributed a lot on Creative Commons license.

Website of Christo and Jeanne-Claude
An artist couple that creates temporary environmental installations. Nice looking pieces of art and interesting business model behind it

OpenLife.cc | Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source
An open source book about open source. Extremely interesting!

Individual readings and thoughts about open source

As two of my individual readings mainly concentrated on open-source, I'll try to reflect on my own ideas of it after reading some of these books. The Creative Economy by John Howkins takes a very traditional view on the creative content business with explaining different viewpoints. On open source Howkins mainly explains the basic licenses behind them and just touches the brilliant business and social models behind the whole thing.

The most interesting book of these three was Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture. It consists of many case reports about free culture, copyrights, open source and public domain. Interesting cases, some of them were already familiar to me, some of them were interesting smaller cases. All in all, the practical view and cases was just what I could think people would need to see the benefits of open source and creative commons. Also seeing that even open-source or public domain can make income to you. I must agree on Lessig on the potential of open source, but the time it takes for open source to grow will take long. As Lessig states in his conclusion:

"I’ve told a dark story. The truth is more mixed. A technology has given us a new freedom. Slowly, some begin to understand that this freedom need not mean anarchy.We can carry a free culture into the twenty-first century, without artists losing and without the potential of digital technology being destroyed. It will take some thought, and more importantly, it will take some will to transform the RCAs of our
day into the Causbys.
Common sense must revolt. It must act to free culture. Soon, if this potential is ever to be realized."

Creative commons seemed to be a license of choice for individual writings and open-source for small trivial software. Should I write something down every time I'm learning something? Should I publish software written for my own aid or just as an aid for learning? I can't think a reason why not. So I guess I'll license this blog under creative commons.

Back to the readings: The open life by Henrik Ingo was mainly chosen because I haven't had time to read this through before and this would force me to read it. :) The main point in this book is that it also concentrates on the social aspects of open source. It describes the actions of open source community and tells how the open source software projects are carried. Everything has a person centric start point and the results seem to be promising. The different business models in different cases are also a nice way to tell the reader that this "free open source thing" doesn't mean that you don't ever get paid for your job. The little practices for every day jobs from open source projects could benefit almost any academic worker.

Interesting readings and more thoughts on mind. Open source and creative commons feel natural choices right now. I'll guess I'll change this to Creative Commons right away.

Reflections on the fourth case study: Christo and Jean-Claude

The last case study was about an artist couple who create huge environmental installations. The brilliance of this case is still just opening for me. Christo and Jean-Claude create fabulous installations and as a side project the get some income from the preparatory works and documentation of installations.

This showed that art that breaks barriers may be also good business. The only way to make a living from art is not to paint paintings and sell them. Another thing that this has creative is the activity of the Bank Leu. They get an image boost, additional value to customers and publicity from the relatively unrisky line of credit they give to Christo and Jean-Claude.

This shows clearly that the traditional businesses have a lot to learn and gain from creative industries and creative content business.

Reflections on the third case study: AtomShockwaves

The third case study was about Atom Films, Shockwave and the merged AtomShockwave. The case descriped how the AtomFilms was founded by Mika Salmi and how the business model and business environment of AtomFilms and later on AtomShockwave evolved. The case was interesting example showing that just great creative content isn't enough, but also the management side and business model are important. Where to get profit?

Problem in this case was that Atom Films heavily depended on the income from advertisements. The advertisements markets have been down since the IT bubble and the Atom Films doesn't seem to have very good alternative business models. The Shockwave part seems to have potential. What should be done in order to make the whole company very profitable and maintain the growth?

I guess all of us on the course were thinking about breaking up the company and selling the Atom Films part. I agreed on this, but when coming back to the case for reflections I realised that one short film market has been existing only few years and will start growing rapidly: Mobile multimedia. Nokia has started its own line of products called Multimedia computers. This can be taken as a sign of time, effort and money that is currently put to make multimedia content truly mobile. Could this be one answer for the Atom Films?

Former CEO of Atom Films, Mika Salmi, has already made his own decision and has started his new work as president of Global Digital Media for MTV Networks. This really makes me think that which one is more important: quality content or good business model. An example on working business model with lower quality content is YouTube.

Atom Films was very creative business, but it failed to stay creative and adjust to constantly changing business environment. One creative burst isn't enough to create anything more than a fairly successful product on some niche market.

Reflections on the second case study: Apple iPod

The second case study about Apple iPod felt completely different than the first one. I personally can't find the point that makes the iPod so creative. In our portfolio workshop we were chatting about this and an idea about product not being creative but the ways the customers use it are. Well, I still can't think that this is the case with iPod. I more think iPod as an attractive looking product that has a certain image. The image has not been created by only Apple and its marketing department, but more by the customers who have bought iPod, or in fact any other Apple product.

Apple has large challenges ahead as the mobile devices are converging and the markets for plain digital music players are slowly fading away. I still feel that the only way to Apple keep its current pace is to broaden its product portfolio and in order to make this, it needs technology partners. Apple can't afford to do bad or mediocre products, because losing its image as a reliable high tech company with stylish and easy-to-use products would be a serious blow for Apple.

I also mentioned that I don't believe that Apple is yet able to develope a mobile phone. Soon after that there rumours about iPhone got stronger and it seems that Apple is going to introduce the new iPhone in next January. These will be interesting times for Apple. I'm looking forward to see what kind of mobile device Apple is able to deliver and have they done it all by themselves.

As I said in the beginning, this case was a bit harder than the first one. This was because I couldn't locate the creative parts as easily as in the first one and as the case itself wasn't very high quality. Well anyways, in my opinion, the strong image of Apple has been created by cretivity from customers and the marketing.

Reflections on the first case study: Cirque du Soleil

The first case study was something that I felt comfortable with. The case was about creative performing artist doing things in a new way, or in a creative way. For me the new way of working seemed at the beginning to be the result of the conditions of the circus business. However, thinking back to it, the new way of doing circus was something unique and the performances with more artistic touch transfers circus from average family thing to entertainment for more cultured adults.

The case study gave me a look about creativity as a merchandise (in form of performances) and as a way to sell the merchandise in a new way. This seemed to broaden my look on creativity and give a practical example on creativity in business.

Finally, I have to say that I was thrilled when I saw that the new Beatles album is used as a soundtrack for the Vegas show of Cirque du Soleil. They seem to continue creating new interesting shows with very entertaining soundtracks.