Random Thoughts of the Day #19

Choose any floor you want

This is an elevator at the downtown Helsinki branch of Sampo bank.

Just like their customer service and web-bank functionality, it apparently has no clear way to go up.

Intimate customer knowledge?

As I’ve said before, people in the “industry” often keep pointing out the significant, intrinsic assets of mobile operators. With advertising being (undeservingly, I might add) hyped as the next big thing to save the falling ARPUs, people are falling over each other extolling the intimate knowledge that the operators have of their customers.

Except there’s a small problem – what intimate knowledge? In the best-case scenario, one is a post-paid contract customer who receives a monthly bill for mobile usage. In this case the operator knows your name, address, phone number and … and that’s it.

Then we have the pre-paid customers. Here, for example, is a photo of a vending machine at a commuter train station that sells chocolate, snacks, water – and SIM-cards. For €9,90 you get an instantly functioning SIM card for your phone. And in the pre-paid case, which accounts for 95% of subscribers in some countries, what does the operator know about you?


Sure, operators have call and messaging logs and all that, but it’s (fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view) unusable due to privacy regulations and restrictions.


There’s a lot of wind generation potential in Finland and the majority of the people are in favor of building more capacity. But then there’s a crucial group of people who are opposed to it – predominantly those whose backyards they would occupy.

So it’s a classic Not-In-My-Backyard-phenomenon. But there’s a very simple way of turning it around to a Put-It-In-My-Backyard: pay them. At a measly 16 inhabitants per square kilometer, there’s no shortage of space in Finland so could we just please get over the NIMBY-whines?

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