Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Middle East Memoirs

I've been travelling quite a bit in the region, talking to local people about culture, religion, revolution and the likes. I must confess I've become a more matured human over the last 2 years of "international" living. It gives one a much better perspective on these regions than the usual fly in, live in hotel, fly out that I was doing thus far. Your life in such a case is defined by the boringly standardized Hotel breakfast, Starbucks coffee, Pizza Hut working lunches, Starbucks coffee and cookies and Hotel Dinners.
While world is diverging at many instances, it is also converging in remarkable ways. Public ownership in many instances is deteriorating while private ownership seems to be becoming better. The rich in many countries are living in an increasingly convergent life - in New York to London to Singapore to Dubai to Mumbai- they all use similar phones, Ipads, watch same movie pretty much same day in similar looking Theatres drinking similarly carbonated drinks and munching pop corns in similar looking cups ! And ofcourse every one is on Facebook !
This does have far reaching consequences for consumer goods, media, retail, design and anything to do with user interface. This is also where companies that can customize based on regional preferences will have premium valuations - it's a bit lame to say that at a time when Facebook is going to have a grand IPO or Apple's valuation seems to be going sky high !
Customization will be driven by an in-depth understanding of customer needs / wants- that's why we trust big data is going to play a large role in most companies around the world. You can read a bit about that here