Category Archives: Innovation

Vinod Khosla on Retail & Emerging Payments

It was Vinod Khosla’s Cliff notes on “What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial” that turned me on to Dr. Saras Sarasvathy’s brilliant paper and other works on effectual reasoning vs causal reasoning. Likewise, he is prescient in his post on Techcrunch about the areas in mobile and internet today that are silent performers. And alongside the well known areas and ideas such as Big Data, Data Reduction, Internet of things, I found the following section(s) that I have reproduced below: Continue reading

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Google Wallet, Meet me at Camera 3

I really didn’t intend this to be my next post on the DROP Labs blog. I was not planning to write about Google Wallet – again. I have an unhealthy obsession towards it, evidence of which can be found here, here, and here. After the last one, which chronicled my On the road experiences, I pretty much decided not to write about it for a while. There were other things I wanted to write about – Issuer strategy on mobile wallets, Ongoing turf battles between Platform providers/Manufacturers vs Carriers, and then it happened again. Continue reading

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On the road with Google Wallet

I rode about 900 miles in the last four days, cutting across Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to be together with my family for Christmas. I figured this would be a good time to put my new Galaxy Nexus and the Google Wallet app through its paces. Following are my impressions from it, which as a whole was very cool and satisfying. But (and there is always a but..) it also brought to surface some serious handicaps, which though not Google’s fault, could bring its wallet initiative down like a lead balloon. Continue reading

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Trouble brewing for Google Wallet

I believe in Google’s capability to actually pull off mobile payments. I believe they do get it. With all its initial failings, its misplaced loyalty towards NFC and the existing payment rails, I believe they truly have a shot at fixing payments and closing the loop in local commerce. Let’s look at what is going right for them: Android is fast becoming the dominant ecosystem on mobile, with over 200 Million devices so far, and 550k activations happening each day. They have made Android a force of nature, that is now slowly eating away at Apple’s market share. They have a mobile wallet initiative out at front, at least more than a year before the closest competitor they have – in Isis. They have had some notable successes with retailers (for e.g. Gap) and has partnered with NJ transit for payments. Formidable partnerships with Citi, FirstData and MC should be all that is enough to prod more issuers in to joining Google Wallet. Despite all this momentum, Google Wallet does not seem to be having a good day so far. Continue reading


Apple’s next move, Courtesy of Siri –


Much has been written about Siri in the last one month. And a lot more, will. For those who want to learn about how Siri does what it does so well, this link should help. It does a number of things quite well today: its natural language processing capabilities, and its ability to interface with more and more third party apps – contacts, messaging, calendar, maps to name a growing few. And a Siri powered iTV experience just might be around the corner. That being said, what interests me is not what Siri the virtual assistant can do for me, or the million or so proud owners of an iPhone4S. What does interest me is what Siri could end up being, for the millions of others around them who may or may not even own an iPhone. Continue reading

How Microsoft killed Courier

This is a story about how Microsoft, encountering a disruptive product from within, opted to kill it fearing that it will cannibalize its OS profits. It is so rare that a company of its size can foster the spirit of innovation that it breeds disruptive ideas. And it is also indicative of the malaise that surrounds it that led it to smother it, instead of encouraging disruptive products even when it threatens to cannibalize existing product lines or profits. And then later to watch the same disruption take shape outside its borders and watch its profits erode. This is the story of the Courier Tablet. Read the CNET Story here.

Apple’s disruption of the Point-Of-Sale

Apparently, rumors are abound that Apple may be planning to launch an update to its retail store iOS app that will allow consumers to utilize self-checkout for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s retail stores. I believe that with this move, Apple is taking the first step to disrupting the POS, starting with its own stores. This may be Apple’s first volley in to the emerging payments space, at the same time drawing a clear distinction between itself and other stakeholders who has invested in mobile commerce. Continue reading


Google Wallet – A missed opportunity?

Google Wallet launched not so long ago, to a mobile payments ecosystem that is already fragmented and fraught with uncertainty. Instead of proving to be a disruptive innovator in the payments space, Google chose to partner with its entrenched incumbents. Instead of eliminating the point of sale experience altogether, it chose to be overly reliant on NFC at the point of sale, with very little progress to show for it. Continue reading here

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