Monday, November 21, 2011

Just because you is paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

As part of my MBA we had to write some blog posts, this is a adaptation of one such:

Can social media really be a force in the business world? Or will it remain an individual, personal interest?
As long as social media stay an individual interest it will remain a possible force in the business world. Let me give some example of what it could be used for.
In Norway when you want to change phone operator your number is ported to the new operator. Both operators are informed when the porting is initiated. The operator that is about to lose their customer have a short window in which to contact their customer and try to convince him to stay. In Telco, as in any business, retaining customers is important.
Other places in the world they do not have this system, but they would still like to make an effort to retain their customers. This raises the problem: How do I know when a user is about to leave my network?
Lets take a look at what we know, and lets assume we are company A. 

·       We know everything about a call from and A customer to another A customer.
·       We know about calls from an A customer to for instance a customer of company B, and from a customer of company B to an A customer.
·       However we know nothing about calls made from a customer in B’s network to another customer in B’s network or any other non A network.

Instead of looking upon our customers as one big pool of individual customers we could look upon them as a network of customers with many different clusters of acquaintances. When a customer call or receive calls from someone we will treat this as a relationship between these two customers. We store and analyze attributes of this call such as how long is the call, how often are the call made, is it always one sided? When we start looking at all this data we can start making a calling profile for each customer. From this information we can extrapolate a lot of information. Calls to spouses happen very often, but they are usually short. “Hunny, can you buy milk on your way home. Great, love you!” More remote acquaintances like an aunt or an old friend the calls are much rare, but they will last much longer once they happen. Call centers or sales persons only make out going calls and so forth.

If the call profile of a customer suddenly change one of two things have likely happened.
A.    the customer is on vacation and this disrupt their normal call pattern,
B.     the customer is carrying two phones, our phone for incoming calls from people that has not yet been informed of the change in number and the competing operators phone from which all outgoing calls are made.

Ok, we know that there has been a change, should we just wait a week and see if they will return from vacation and resume their call pattern?
By then it might be to late to offer them incentives to stay with us, remember there is only a short window in which efforts to retain them will work. What should we do? We look for a caller making incoming calls to customers in our network with the same call pattern as the one we suspect is either on vacation or deserting us. If we find a new caller with a foreign number making the same type of calls that our customer previously made the probability is high that we have found a deserting customer. Now, lets just call this customer and offer him an incentive to stay. One of the companies that implemented this was able to retain 30% of the deserting customers.

Do I need to explain what this has to do with Facebook? Instead of looking at outgoing/incoming calls and text messages lets consider friends, status, comments, likes, and relationship information on Facebook.
When you click become a fan of a company what happens? It is almost the same as becoming a friend of the company. Friends we know, have access to a lot of our information on Facebook. Consider for a moment if we could figure out which customers were about to desert us based on incoming calls think what can we discover from analyzing your friendship relationship, your status messages, your comments, your likes and so on? But hold on a second, what information is available to me about the friends of my friends? A lot?
Maybe a policy of non-sharing is not so bad after all.

How can Microsoft overtake Google in search? Is search a winner-take-all business?

For my executive MBA we had to write short blog post, this is a adaptation of one such:

How can Microsoft overtake Google in search? Is search a winner-take-all business?
These are two interesting questions from a users perspective. It is in Google’s interest to keep Microsoft focused on them as well, because Google have an advantage in the search business. I believe that the questions are the incorrect question to ask both from Google and Microsoft’s perspective. The correct questions are (IMHO): How can Microsoft overtake Google in the advertisement market? Is the (online-)advertisement market a winner-take-all market?

Search is just a means to an end. The end goal is to tap into the revenue potential of advertisement. To capture revenue in this market Microsoft can try to capture a larger portion of the search and this is what they have tried for some time. They can conceivably compete with Google as long as they manage to deliver the same perceived quality and are able to also capture the advertisement revenues. In the straight forward “googeling” business Google has several advantages: They are the market leader, the are better able to capture advertisement revenue, “googelig” is their core business and they have significant resources they can use to defend their position, and finally they are good at innovation. 

An option for Microsoft is to try to redefine search in order to level the playing field, or maybe even capture the high ground. Or they could attempt to carve out a niche market in search that they are better able to serve than Google.

In the end both these alternatives boils down to how can Microsoft capture advertisement revenue from Google. It begs the question; is search the correct arena? Can Microsoft in the future redefine the advertisement market to something better suited to their core competencies? It will not be easy and some will say it is impossible. Predicting what will happen in the technology arena has countless examples that some people have done what most people thought impossible. The question that remains to see if Microsoft is some people or if they are just like most people.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


People always write long blog posts when they are angry or dissatisfied with the service received. So I though I should do the opposite.

I had lost my root password at my slicehost. Thinking this would be a lot of hassle getting it back. I contacted suport 11pm on a friday (my local time). Assuming this would take a while. 2 minutes later I had an e-mail in my inbox. I figured it was just an autoreplay telling me they had received my support request. That was not the case. It contained instructions on how to recover it.

Yet again I'm a happy customer of

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Upgrading APEX to 4.0 on XE

No point in writing what other have written perfectly.

Following this guide works with my apex on slicehost guide:

Monday, September 13, 2010

OBIEE 11g: Import metadata, connection problems.

Importing metadata aught to be a simple: Hit File - > Import Metadata, punching in db and user name and finish it of with password then select what you want to import. It is if your lucky. The pitfall that got me was that OBIEE 11g install it's own Oracle client.
Fine, so what? It is in this clients tnsnames.ora that it looks up servicenames. Which means that you have to have the correct tnsnames entries in {Oracle_BI1}\network\admin\tnsnames.ora and not that of your database.

OBIEE 11g the first disappointment.

After about an hour of fiddling about and reading documentation I finally got the OBIEE 11g image to work. Even before I log into analytics I meet my first disappointment. Really it is a very small thing, but still annoying that they haven't fixed it.

So here it goes. When you come to the login page, you naturally start filling it from the top towards the bottom. So you enter user id and password. Then you notice that the server has a different default language than what you prefere. So you switch from default to what ever your preference is. The problem is that this trigger a reload of the page, so that your user id and password field is empty and you have to fill it out again. This is the kind of things that annoy user, and it is a bad first meeting with a product.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Deployment errror in Work Flow

RPE-02012: Internal error: Function P83_NAME_OF_SOME_MAPPING cannot be created or updated. Please try again. If the problem persists then please contact Oracle Support with the stack trace and details on how to reproduce it.
- ORA-00001: unique constraint (OWF_MGR.WF_ACTIVITIES_TL_U2) violated
ORA-06512: at "OWF_MGR.WF_LOAD", line 1402
ORA-06512: at line 1

This seems to be nothing more than a error telling that the workflow name i too long and when it is truncated it causues a name that is not unique