Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Shot Hurd Round the Tech World

Let’s get back to selling and making things, not rules. Online video consumption surging. Adults texting too.

While the ranks of America’s long-term jobless climbs, at least one terminated white collar worker found a new home in a hurry – on Labor Day no less.

Late yesterday, Oracle announced that former HP CEO, Mark Hurd has joined the company as co-president. Despite engineering a remarkable turnaround of the company in the wake of its ill-fated Carly Fiorona experiment, Hurd was forced to resign last month after the HP board flagged him for fudging expense reports related to an extramarital affair he was having with an independent company marketing consultant/ex-adult-film actress. Nice.

While we don’t condone Hurd’s alleged actions at the helm of HP, it’s refreshing to see leading global brands recognizing leadership talent as a way to drive companies forward, not their cowardly boards or HR and legal policymakers. We think this trend will continue (albeit more quietly) throughout the ranks of corporate America.

And so naturally HP sued, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

If we’re going to get out economy out of first gear, entrepreneurs and small businesses can’t do it alone. We need the Fortune 1000 to step up too and that means bringing back people on the revenue side who actually make things (engineers, developers, content creators) and sell things (sales, marketing, business development) and start trimming back on cost-center departments that make nothing but rules (HR, legal, accounting). As perhaps a sign of the times, investors and discussion forum posters seemed overwhelmingly supportive of Oracle and anti-HP, Hurd's alleged confidentiality breach notwithstanding.

“Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle as there is no executive in the I.T. world with more relevant experience,” said Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison in a statement. While many in the tech world say both leaders can be difficult to work with, it’s hard to argue with their overall results. Ellison, a friend and long time business partner of HP’s, call Hurd’s dismissal in an e-mail to The New York Times “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

While Hurd’s hiring can’t be credited for a better than expected job(less) report on Friday --stocks rose as nonfarm payrolls shed 54,000 jobs last month, roughly half the 110,000 drop economists had expected and matching the level of revised losses recorded the previous month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices climbed over three percent for the week. Friday's employment numbers followed recent reports on manufacturing and housing that also came in above expectations, extending a notable reversal from a long string of disappointing data that had driven the Dow's biggest August drop since 2001.

Online video consumption surging

The amount of time American audiences spent watching video for the major live video publishers has grown nearly seven fold over the past year to more than 1.4 billion minutes, according to comScore. By comparison, the amount of time that American audiences spent watching YouTube and Hulu increased 68 percent and 75 percent, respectively, over the same time period. Along with Justin.tv, other top live video publishers include USTREAM, Livestream, LiveVideo, and Stickam

According to Comscore, Live online video sites have been successful in building audience and keeping that audience tuned in. The average live streamed video view is seven percent longer than the average online video view. As expected, live video sites are 72 percent more likely to deliver the elusive demographic -- males age 18-34 -- than the average online video site, says Comscore.

Experts say live streaming video’s success is due in no small part to sites' willingness to build out their technology infrastructure to provide a better user experience. For instance, Justin.tv recently announced mobile applications for Android and iOS, the former allowing users to live stream from their mobile device. The growth of broadband (both through regular and cellular networks) has made features that were unthinkable two years ago a reality today.

Adults texting too. Are you LOL? OMG!

Adults aren't as text-crazed as their teen and tween offspring, but the proportion of U.S. adults who send and receive text messages has grown from to 72 percent from 65% a year ago, according to a new Pew Research Center study on mobile use. But adults still have a long way to go to match the under-20 crowd who typically exchange 50 text messages a day compared to 10 for adults. The study found that heavy adult texters tend to be heavy users of voice calling, while light texters -- those who exchange one to 10 messages a day -- don't make up for less texting with more calling.

Voice service remains the primary cell phone function for most adults, who exchange five calls a day. Looking at how use varies by gender, the Pew report found that women make slightly fewer calls per day. More than a quarter (26%) otf men send and receive 6 to 10 calls a day, while 20 percent of women exchange that many calls.
A recent Nielsen study found that women on average spend 22 percent more time talking on cell phones (856.3 minutes a month compared to men's 666.7). In terms of behavior, women are slightly more likely to place frequent calls to just say hello and chat and report on where they are or find out where someone else is. Men are more likely to make calls about coordinating where to meet others, and to exchange calls about work. Both men and women were likely to have long conversations to discuss important personal matters on the cell phone.

If you’re still wondering whether mobile should be part of your 2011 marketing mix, we suggest you check out these and other reports from reliable independent sources. Now get back to work and reach out and touch your customers.


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