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Title: Om Malik
Description:refhttp:om.coosd.xml titleOm Malik
Om Malik
Things companies say and things they do
A few days ago when Nokia announced that it would sell it鈥檚 ailing handset business to Microsoft, I reached out to a few friends inside Nokia to see if they would share some details on how the deal came together, I got a firm no.聽I am guessing my criticism of the deal might have something to do with it. Confidentiality was touted as a virtue.聽Two days later we saw two behind-the-scenes story pop up 鈥 one by Ina Fried (better) and Nick Wingfield. It was another reminder what companies say and what they do are always too entirely different things. I also learned from those two stories that Steve Ballmer fell and cut himself during the negotiations. The shrieks accompanied the fall. I am not the only one who noted the strangeness of it all.聽
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Jambox Mini
Does the world need another portable speaker that costs a lot of money? And does the world need another mini-portable speaker that costs a lot of money? Answer for me personally 鈥 no. And that is why I find $180-dollar聽mini Jambox underwhelming, a solution looking for a problem. And not that we are short of 聽options. And this one for $85 looks much cooler and chic to match my iDevices, not that I am buying it anytime soon.聽
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What I am reading today
Five ways to do what you want, when you want. [Jacki Brown]
A global patent map reveals the structure of technological progress. [MIT Tech Review]
A conversation with Burberrry CEO Angela Ahrendts amp; connected culture. [Business of Fashion]
The ghost messages of Yahoo鈥檚 recycled IDs. [Tim Maly]
The case against Stephen Elop as Microsoft CEO. [Jason Hiner]
The 20 big questions in science. [The Observer]
The Internet鈥檚 next victim: advertising. [Andrew Leonard]
In conversation with Matt Mullenweg. [The Guardian]
Microsoft + Nokia: now we鈥檙e all like Apple. [Michael Mace]
The bridge and the water. [Candace Opper]
3 Replies
End of Nokia will create more startups in Finland
The Nokia-Microsoft blockbuster deal is going to be a bust, except for one thing:
If there is one upside, then I do believe that this just might be the best thing to happen to Finland and the Finnish startup scene. A lot of the talent draining out of Nokia will look for new opportunities in their areas of expertise 鈥 radio engineering, manipulating sensors and embedded systems. If anything, this is Finland鈥檚 big opportunity to become the epicenter of the Internet of Things.
The success of Angrybirds and SuperCell has shown that world beating startups can come from Finland. I am looking forward to more #8212; and going back to Helsinki will now be even more fun. (You can read my opinions on the Nokia-Microsoft deal over on GigaOM.)
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My new favorite font: Avenir Next
After using Optima Regular (12 point) for nearly three years as my default font (for Apple Mail, Apple Pages, MarsEdit, TextEdit and a sundry of other programs,) I have decided that it is time to switch to Avenir Next Regular (14 point.)聽Avenir was created聽by Adrian Frutiger in 1988. It is a geometric sans-serif typeface. In 2004,聽Frutiger (along with Linotype in house designer Akira Kobayashi) tweaked it to resolve some on-screen display issues and called this new version: Avenir Next. I don鈥檛 really know why but I like it. It feels fresh, more open and spacious. It seems to be ideally suited to the high-resolution Retina screen on my 15-inch Macbook Pro. It looks positively vibrant on my iPad (w/Retina) and iPhone. It makes writing a pleasurable experience.
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Further thoughts on founders amp; accents
A comment about #8220;founders and their accents #8221; by YCombinator鈥檚 Paul Graham in Inc. magazine, led to a minor brouhaha earlier this week. Graham, today went on to elaborate further on his comments to Inc magazine in an essay. His original comments (were also made to the New York Times earlier this year) promoted me to write, Patterns, Fallacies and why they have no place in my Silicon Valley.
This (accents) is and will always be a deeply personal issue for me. Argument I made in my piece from earlier this week still stands, regardless of Graham #8217;s elaboration, which is just that #8212; an elaboration and it totally misses the point of why people like me, LA-based venture capitalist Mark Suster and seasoned technology executive Nilofer Merchant were really dealing with the issue of conflating accents and capabilities.
#8220;We have a lot of empirical evidence that there #8217;s a threshold beyond which the difficulty of understanding the CEO harms a company #8217;s prospects. And while we don #8217;t know exactly how, I #8217;m pretty sure the problem is not merely that investors have trouble understanding the company #8217;s Demo Day presentation, #8221; Graham writes in his essay today.
Empirical evidence according to Wikipedia definition is #8220;evidence is a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation. #8221; It is a good (though debatable) approach in scientific experiments, but when used to make judgments about peoples (especially if you don #8217;t have a clear explanation for your own beliefs) then it is really worrisome. When an empirical observation is passed out as wisdom, all it does is set up a dangerous precedent and such thinking only reinforces certain canned beliefs and propagates fallacies as truths and maxims.
If folks want to help founders with accents or other disadvantages, then let鈥檚 find ways to help them and not rule them out because there is an arbitrary 2-minute-30-second rule. A speech expert can help and so can other experts 鈥 as a talent scout, your job is to find the best talent.
I don鈥檛 Yankees ever thought even for a minute that they shouldn鈥檛 pay top dollars for Hideki Matsui because he didn鈥檛 speak English or couldn鈥檛 communicate to the Steinbrenner family in English. All that mattered 鈥 he could hit home runs. Hell, he didn鈥檛 speak the language and still got endorsement deals from US companies.
Either way, I don鈥檛 think, accent is the only gating factor in communicating effectively 鈥 sometimes words spoken in plain unaccented New England english are also open for misinterpretation (as the recent brouhaha has shown) and thus requiring a need for better elaboration. Whether they communicate the point, is again debatable.
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It is simply too bad that Microsoft hasn鈥檛 realized what a powerful brand it had acquired. Skype as a brand represented a rebel, devoid of convention and totally free. It was about communicating with your network of friends and family. It was immensely social and modern.
Imagine if Microsoft called its Windows Mobile 7/8/whatever OS simply the SkypePhone, with Skype services 鈥 Qik, GroupMe, Skype IM, and Voice 鈥 as the core of its operating system. More than a billion people are familiar with the Skype icon. Even the Skype sign-in and incoming-call sounds are unique. Instead, Microsoft decided to superimpose a tired old brand 鈥 Windows 鈥 into a brand new market. Windows was never really personal in an intimate sort of way. Alas, for Microsoft, it was, and still is, a missed opportunity.
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About Om
Om Malik is the founder of GigaOM. He is a venture partner at True Ventures. Om is the author of Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist. He has been blogging for over a decade and in the past held various staff writing positions at, Red Herring and Business 2.0. He also has contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. He is the founder of His full bio is here.
About Om
Om Malik is the founder of GigaOM. He is a venture partner at True Ventures. Om is the author of Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist. He has been blogging for over a decade and in the past held various staff writing positions at, Red Herring and Business 2.0. He also has contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. He is the founder of His full bio is here.
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