I am attending the Strategic New Service conference Future In Review. I’ve wanted to attend this since Simon Hackett first started telling anyone who would listen how amazing he found it.
So, has it up to Simon’s hype?
Well, yes, yes it has proved to be amazing and I understand why Simon loves it.
The attendees come from a wide range of backgrounds but broadly it’s an older audience, mostly C level execs from business, corporate and government. There is also a large contingent of business analysts from the finance world and lots of high nett worth individuals who got that way by making well informed investment decisions.
People have talked about Internet of Things, Materials Science, Medical Diagnostics, Net Neutrality, Security vs Privacy and all sorts of other ways in which science, technology, money and government intersect.
To really appreciate the event you need to have been reading the regular news letters SNS publish. Now I’ve met a bunch of the people who contribute to the news letters I have a better measure of the deeply rational place most of these people come from.
This is not a room full of stereotypic Americans.
Mind suitably expanded.
In Australia companies that sell telecommunications services are called Carriage Service Providers. They don’t have to hold a “carrier license” to sell services.
A carriage service provider that wants to own cables or run radio links must hold a carrier license in Australia. This costs money and comes with compliance overheads. In exchange the government gives carriers certain rights, particularly “land access” which means the carrier can install cables on crown land like footpaths and even on private property like farms, basements and even your back yard.
These access rights are limited. For instance building owners own the cables in the risers in buildings unless they were installed by a specific carrier who has labelled them as their private property. The right is specific to servicing a customer so you can’t demand to install your cable on the off chance of landing a customer later. Finally, the carrier doesn’t have a right to have power delivered to active equipment. The access powers were designed in an earlier era of copper cables.
Of course carriers have been able to strike access agreements with building owners to provide access to power and building cables.
Where all of this gets interesting is when a carrier like NBNCo or TPG wants access to a basement. They are entitled to serve notice that they need to install cable to service one or more customers. The building owner has limited rights to refuse access but isn’t obliged to provide access to power or in-building cabling.
So when a carrier comes and demands access to your building and the terms of their access agreement state no other carrier is entitled to “interfere” with their services when they use your building cables and that you are obliged to provide them with electricity think carefully before signing the agreement. The TIO arbitrates land access disputes so you might like to call them if you think you’re being treated unfairly. You must allow licensed carriers to access their customers in your building but they must pay for power if they need it and they can’t demand exclusive access to your riser cables. They can install new cables in the riser at their expense.
Of course the whole issue of in-building interference is mostly a reason to insist on access monopoly. The real reduction in speed over sub 200 metre loops inside buildings is negligible, from 100Mb to perhaps 90Mb but that isn’t the narrative most people want to hear. That avoiding this reduction in potential maximum speed comes at a premium cost of say $200 per year of lost competition won’t dawn on them until they get the bill.
Don’t believe me? Go read Ericsson’s document, page 9.
The image at the top of the post is from that page and shows performance of VDSL2 over 0.5mm copper loops commonly found in riser cables.
Market Clarity Interview Part 1
The wonderful Shara Evans from Market Clarity interviewed me in the first in a new series exploring what the next decade might look like. Shara is a smart interviewer who does amazing background research and asks really interesting questions. The series will help provide material for a session she is presenting for Grahame Lynch’s CommsDay Summit in Sydney.
When setting up a business one of the critical elements is a good accounting system. Before GST it was possible to run a single employee consulting business from an invoice book and a shoe box for receipts but that was last century.
I have used single user and multi user accounting systems in businesses before and they have all sucked not least because the database needs to travel with the user. A business with two mobile users needs some sort of remote terminal access using Windows Remote Desktop or Citrix or the lovely built-in mechanisms in OSX.
Given the need for Internet access to use this you might as well do the entire thing “in the cloud”. Enter Xero.
You sign up for a free trial, tell Xero some details of your company and banking and you’re under way.
Then things get very interesting. Humans call you to check on your progress and offer help. They’re very keen to get you talking with accountants who are experts at Xero to ensure you have set up a good chart of accounts. The human support side of Xero is done very well.
You can record purchase orders, send them to suppliers, enter bills from suppliers, process payments to them and raise invoices to customers.
The entire service so far is working nicely. I must send some people some invoices 🙂
The next step is to get the automation working with the bank so that customer payments are processed automatically.
I have a shiny new Fritz!Box 7272 from Internode. This is the just released model. I connected it to my Internode service, set it up myself and in the best traditions of Internode it just worked.
Yes, Internode offered to set it up for me but I like messing with technical stuff 🙂
Contrary to the statement on the Internode website, I had no problems with caller_id on the legacy PSTN line.
I get 18.9/2.5mb from the ADSL2+ AnnexM service. That’s a bit more than from the old Billion.
One of the two gigabit ethernet ports are happily talking to my gigabit LAN and the two 100 meg ports are talking to media devices.
I have moved my iiNet VOIP service onto Fritz (it can handle heaps of VOIP services at the same time) and will set up the VPN (handy for connecting to the home network while I’m away to provide tech support…)
It’s a pity the NAS doesn’t do DNLA so I’m probably not going to try the fileserver.
The range of the DECT seems slightly less than my old Siemens A580 but the 7272 is quite happy driving the old Siemens handsets.
The key feature I wanted was time of day access control for the kids and setting that up was super simple.
IPv6 came up automagically without any set up required.
Sadly the 7272 does not have 802.11.ac but since I leave the WiFi turned off and use an Apple airport network this doesn’t matter to me. The wifi can also be turned off by time of day which was plan A for the kids but the MAC address based blocks are easier to admin and means I don’t need yet another SSID in the house.
AVM have created a winning product here.
I was chatting about unemployment back in December with my friend Simon and he observed that he has invested in a number of companies and that a few of them would benefit from some attention.
So the day after I left iiNet I sat down with Simon and agreed to do some work for him.
I can’t talk about all of the businesses I’m working with because some of them are still in stealth mode but those I can talk about I will.
Welcome to the beginning of Lindsay Strategic Advisory Pty Ltd.
The company was incorporated on January 16 2014.
I will blog the process of how I am creating a consulting business.
The company exists because I asked my accountant, Frank, from Wright Evans Partners what I should do. Frank runs all of the back end of my investment companies and makes sure all the formal stuff like tax and ASIC paperwork gets lodged. Frank advised that I set up a stand-alone company just for consulting. It won’t own any other assets.
So now I need to get a bank account, register for GST, register as an employer with the ATO and Workcover, get insurance and create an accounting system.
I need a regular office because working from home may be glamorous but I find it inefficient in the long term because my home is full of distractions.
Oh, and I need some clients to work for so I can generate some income.
The swan has been a part of clan Lindsay crests for hundreds of years. The tartan is of course Lindsay. If I have an artist create a logo the swan will be black 🙂