Archive for the ‘model’ tag
Delivered-to-the-door subscription services are a popular way for consumers to try out a curated selection of products they might not otherwise have come across, and we’ev already seen this model is especially prevalent in the food industry – with startups offering gourmet food for men, organic baby food and high quality coffee on demand. Offering a new twist on the concept, GothamBox is sending out location-inspired foods enabling those living elsewhere to enjoy the cuisine of a particular city.
As part of a monthly ritual to help her son feel at home after moving from the West to the East Coast, the mother of co-founder Jonathan Chim sent a parcel of food to remind him of his hometown. Based on this idea, the aim of GothamBox is to provide people who have moved away from a location to carry on enjoying its unique culinary treats, or for those who have never been to get a first taste. Subscribers to the service can sign up to receive a monthly parcel of assorted foods – from coffee and biscuits to ingredients for entire meals. GothamBox has teamed up with small brands from each location – currently New York and San Francisco – to offer a sample of products unavailable elsewhere. A subscription costs USD 20 per month and the company offers free shipping. What’s more, for each member who joins the service, GothamBox donates a meal to hunger relief charities operating in their city of choice.
It seems the subscription model is still going strong across multiple industries and formats. Are there any areas left untouched?
Spotted by: Murray Orange
Since the acquisition was finalized in May of this year there has been a ton of speculation as to what exactly Google will do to take the ailing mobile manufacturer out of its current state and into the future. The first step is the unfortunate elimination of about 4,000 jobs which is 20% of the workforce.
The New York Times reports
The cuts are the first step in Google’s plan to reinvent Motorola, which has fallen far behind its biggest competitors, Apple and Samsung, and to shore up its Android mobile business and expand beyond search and software into the manufacture of hardware.
The turnaround effort will also be a referendum on the management of Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, whose boldest move has been the $12.5 billion acquisition.
Though Google bought Motorola partly because of its more than 17,000 patents, which can help defend against challenges to the Android operating system, it also planned to use Motorola to make its own, better smartphones and tablets.
While I hate to see this kind of thing considering the human cost, it was bound to happen. When a company spends $12.5 billion to acquire anything, it will have a mission to make that entity work. Right now, Motorola Mobility is certainly broken as it is getting killed by Apple, Samsung and others. As a frustrated DroidX owner (yeah it’s old but I am changing soon but not to a another Motorola product that’s for sure) I can see that there is work to be done.
So what will Google do as it cuts people as well as 1/3 of the 94 worldwide offices the company has? Good question. Here’s some corporate speak to give an idea.
“We’re excited about the smartphone business,” said [Motorola’s new chief executive Dennis] Woodside, who previously led Google’s sales and operations for the Americas. “The Google business is built on a wired model, and as the world moves to a pretty much completely wireless model over time, it’s really going to be important for Google to understand everything about the mobile consumer.”
What is even more telling is that these cuts were not just aimed at the rank and file employees. In fact, it looks like Google is placing the blame on Motorola’s slide at the top.
In addition to the coming cuts, Google has gutted Motorola management, letting go 40 percent of its vice presidents. It also hired new senior executives. It will shrink operations in Asia and India, and center research and development in Chicago, Sunnyvale and Beijing.
It looks like the new CEO is also following a trend made popular by his new owner which is to streamline operations and get more focused on a few things rather than everything.
Mr. Woodside also plans to cut the number of devices Motorola makes from the 27 it introduced last year to just a few. He wants to make the company’s products cool again by loading them with things like sensors that recognize who is in a room based on their voices, cameras that take crisper photos and batteries that last for days.
That’s nice to say but it’s also ‘future-speak’. For instance, I will not wait around for the new ‘cool’ stuff promised by Woodside because I need a new phone now and I don’t see a reason to get another Motorola device considering my current level of discontent with my phone right now. If I were to stay an Android user the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or the Galaxy S III look a lot more attractive today.
This is going to be a long and difficult road to make Motorola cool again. I’m not saying it can’t be done. If nothing else Google has deep enough pockets to ride this out and accomplish its goal if money is the answer. Trouble is, it may be about more than money and then we all need to wonder whether this move will ultimately make Larry Page look like a genius or something much less nice and attractive sounding.
What’s your take?
That’s one of the shocking conclusions of a little-known paper released earlier this year in Stanford Technology Law Review. The authors, professors Robin Feldman and Tom Ewing, argue that the “mass aggregator” business model of amassing huge numbers of patents is an entirely new species of company … and one that has helped the biggest example of this new type of company collect at least $2 billion in licensing deals.
Intellectual Ventures is generally considered a patent troll … a company that acquires patents for the sole purpose of licensing them to others, with no intention to actually create and sell products. Patent trolls cost the U.S. economy alone almost $30 billion annually.
The issue came back to the forefront just this past week as IV announced plans to hire a “VP of Global Good.” Mocked by writer Jeff Roberts (“it’s like Darth Vader doing charity work”), Myrvold fired back, claiming IV was a force for good and was helping to rid the world of malaria.
(In other words: It’s all for the kids. Cue violins.)
IV has spent over $1.2 billion on at least 1000 patent acquisitions, reportedly buying patents for an average of $40,000 each from companies, individuals, and up to 50 universities, including CalTech, Duke, Clemson, Brigham Young, Rutgers, and my alma mater, the University of British Columbia.
These patents are then held in a tangled web of shell companies, which includes over 1200 patent holding companies, 51 shell companies that simply manage assets, and 24 executive and investment shells.
Myrvold is convinced he’s creating value and doing the right thing, saying “we invest in invention.”
One has to wonder, then, why IV has “gone to great lengths to maintain secrecy,” according to Feldman and Ewing. And why IV holds its intellection property in hundreds of shell companies.
Image credit: Hellen Grig
I used to write much more about communication challenges and public relations in the early days of this blog.
When the number of inbound inquiries to do PR (the write the press release and spam the hell out of everyone kind of requests) reached critical level, I hit the “escape” button.
I’m not a PR person, even though I can play one in a pinch. You won’t like the way I play it. My first question in business dealings is usually: “is this true”?
And we’ll leave it there, because there are plenty of solid and experiences professionals who practice and advance the public relations profession the way it should be — and not just in the myopic, media-centered, oreder-taking, propaganda-driven press release churn. Would you like fries with that?
It is undeniable that digital media and social technologies have brought about a sea of change for us all.
Media companies have seen competition and disruption from new entrants they were not even considering a short few years ago. They were by and large dragged online kicking and screaming — and often crying, too due to the loss of ad dollars from their old model.
The press tribe didn’t see content itself as a product until the model was applied successfully by digital native publications. They did not catch on until recently (and some will say not even now) that a completely different way to understand what people think and worry about, what they want to say and do.
They migrated without moving in.
Corporations found themselves in a similar situation with regard to message control. They now need of more hands-on support due to the potential (and very real) upside of direct relationships with a greater number of publishers among their stakeholders.
What happens to public relations in an everyone is media world? Who counsels you on matters of public communication?
Why wait to have an issue to anticipate, analyze and interpret public opinion, for example?
Many are still getting caught unprepared.
On the bright side, think of the potential to conduct and evaluate programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of your organization’s purpose.
Today you can do that on an ongoing basis.
Business relationships are increasingly public, whether you make them so or not. There is probably more content about your products and services online than there ever was.
The digital footprint of your organizations and a permanent record of public relationships with your business become the information people find and use.
Understanding why people are saying what they are saying and figuring out how to help them be better informed about your business should be part of PR practitioners’ role.
How do you move PR to public relationships?
Great communicators are able to handle complexity through a combination of learning agility — you do need to learn the business you’re in to be most effective — and ability to help the business scope and accept new challenges, so they can trade better.
By delivering on its promises, a business gains the ability to make better ones and in the process develop relationships, gain loyalty, build trust, and get more flow dollars for their brand.
Every now and then someone asks me about communicating more effectively in digital media. So I wanted to bring up some of the older posts I wrote about it.
We’re just scratching the surface on connecting the stream with action. We haven’t done many of the things we talk about just yet, even as the market is fairly mature in terms of tools available for the choosing.
It was John Naisbitt (ref: Megatrends) who said that each innovation in technology, to be successful, must be coupled with a compensatory human response.
Relationships still take time to set.
It’s time to upload humanism.
I propose uploading humanism through commerce. This is the title of a dual session I submitted for consideration at SxSWi 2013 (voting starts tomorrow).
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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Editor’s note: Jay Jamison is a Partner at BlueRun Ventures where he focuses on early stage mobile and consumer opportunities. You can read more of his analysis on startups and Silicon Valley at his blog jayjamison.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @jay_jamison.
The highest flying of internet high-flyers, Facebook and Zynga, were laid low last week in public markets on weaker than expected guidance on their paths forward. What a difference public market scrutiny and forward-looking forecasts can make. Given the size, scope and importance of these two companies to the broader technology ecosystem, it’s worth analyzing what these reports might mean for industry trends.
According to Wall Street analysts, Zynga had a “dreadful” Q2 report. Several negatives converged to deliver an egg, reported the New York Times:
“A critical new game, the Ville, was delayed. Another new game, Mafia Wars II, just was not very good, executives conceded. The heavily hyped Draw Something, acquired in March, proved more fad than enduring classic. Some old standbys also lost some appeal.”
Zynga’s problems, however, could be characterized as broader than just a weak quarter. Financial analyst, Richard Greenfield of BTIG painted Zynga’s issues as more far-reaching, saying, “Right now, everything is going wrong for Zynga. In a rapidly changing Internet landscape that is moving to mobile, it’s very hard to have confidence these issues are temporary.”
Things weren’t much better for Facebook, which was reporting its earnings to the public for the first time. Given the symbiotic partnership between Zynga and Facebook, anyone paying attention knew Zynga’s weak results spelled trouble for Facebook. And as expected, Wall Street found Facebook’s earnings disappointing.
In coverage, three key themes of concern arose out of Facebook’s report. First, user growth is slowing. This is undeniably true: the growth of two key user metrics, Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU), is slowing. It’s unclear whether this is a useful concern. If the entire Western world is using Facebook, then Facebook probably is not going to showcase much growth in DAU or MAU until it cracks China. The land has been grabbed.
A second growth concern is revenue. Can Facebook convert all its social engagement into monetization? Facebook clearly has more to prove, but it’s a strong start. With a topline of $1.2B for Q2, Facebook beat analyst estimates on revenue. Its 32% Q2 revenue growth was equal to its year-over-year growth in DAUs. This revenue growth map to its DAU growth is where concern centers. On the one hand, having revenue growth equal to DAU growth shows that on a per-user basis, Facebook is monetizing effectively. At the same time, if DAU growth continues to slow, as it inevitably will, the question will be how Facebook can continue to grow it’s topline faster than DAU growth. The answer is not yet clear. Expect much hand-wringing here around the answer to this question.
These concerns around growth and revenue point to the third and most significant concern around Facebook (and Zynga): MOBILE. While we’ve known that mobile is the fastest growing technology wave the world has ever seen, it’s been a challenge to frame truly how important, impactful, and disruptive the mobile wave is. Last week’s reports from Zynga and Facebook make crystal clear the implications of mobile—two leading innovators and upstarts that basically created and drove the social computing wave are facing questions about their future earning streams on the basis of their execution on mobile.
So the broader story of what’s happening in technology is this: Mobile is what’s happening. Here’s one shorthand framework for the technology waves over the last roughly 20 years. Web 1.0 was about web connectivity, the giants of that epoch catalyzed by Netscape were companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Google. Web 2.0 was social, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, Twitter, and newcomer Quora as the foundational creators of the web’s ‘social layer.’ The power and impact of the social layer is difficult to overstate—existing industries and corporate giants (to say nothing of several repressive governmental regimes) have faced huge disruption on the basis of these companies.
Now we’re entering Web 3.0, which is mobile, and we are in the thick of it. The Mobile Web 3.0 has elements that build upon prior eras, but it also has several distinct and different elements from what’s come before. Some of these distinct elements of the Mobile Web 3.0 era include:
- ubiquitous (always connected, always with you)
- location aware
- tailored, smaller screen
- high quality camera and audio
These elements have two key implications for today’s leaders and tomorrow’s disrupters.
Let’s Get Small: Designing for Mobile First.The tailored, smaller screens of the Mobile Web offer new entrants the opportunity to deliver value and experience that differentiates from the existing leaders. Most leading tech companies today, with the exception of Instagram, were created with a PC web-first approach. Designing and building for the PC-centric web services packed increasing amounts of information onto ever growing screen sizes. Take a look at Facebook on your computer’s browser—it’s like a Bloomberg terminal full of fun—birthdates, events, status updates, advertisements, chatting. It’s a cornucopia of information laid out all around the screen.
For any company whose heritage is designing for the PC web, mobile is a big challenge in getting small. Compress a PC-web experience down onto a smartphone screen doesn’t work all that well. You may get the users—Facebook certainly has—but it is easy to overwhelm a user with an experience that packs in too much information into too small a screen size.
The challenge of mobile offers new entrants focused on a mobile-first strategy an opportunity to craft and tailor a user experience that is easier to use and enjoy on mobile. Instagram is the poster child example with its mobile-only, photo-centric social service. Rather than pack more information onto a mobile screen, for Instagram a picture was worth a thousand words (and a billion dollars). Instagram’s mobile-first, photo-sharing service created an alternative social network, and has since grown to over 80M users and its billion dollar acquisition by Facebook. Other mobile-first social services are following—Foursquare, Path, Foodspotting, Banjo, Pulse, and others—and each has an opportunity, through an approach that focuses on getting small to build a new audience and brand that stand out from the PC-web-based incumbents.
Getting Real: Mobile Will Drive MoreReal-World Commerce
Whether they’re a newer mobile-centric startup like a Path or an existing giant like Facebook, the key will be monetizing n a mobile world. Monetizing in mobile will likely evolve in new directions relative to what we’ve seen in the PC-web. Specifically: monetizing in Mobile is about getting even more real and concrete in the value delivered to customers.
Here’s why. In Web 1.0, Google achieved supernova momentum when it introduced its Cost-Per-Click ad model. With a dominatingly high quality search engine for users, Google gained share on search, and in effect knew what people were interested in. This was a break-through for advertisers in terms of measurability. Advertisers could escape the Mad Men world of spending on TV, print, OOH, and banner ads with their fuzzy efficacy and measurability. With Google, advertisers now could place ads in front of people searching on relevant terms. A huge step in terms of measurability, Google’s model had the added benefit of only charging when a user clicked on a specific ad. All combined to deliver a vastly more measurable and as such valuable approach to spending ad dollars.
Web 2.0 ushered in the social wave. Facebook now is showing ads of stuff we might like based on the interests we’ve indicated or based on referrals from friends. This embraces and extends much of the Google model, but provides potentially even more. Facebook knows what we like day to day (Graf Ice Skates, Breaking Bad, Crossfit for me), and what our friends like. Add to this the tremendously detailed demographic data that its users have willingly provided, and the opportunities for advertisers are pretty profound. While Facebook will continue to optimize its appraoch to ads, there should be little question that its current core business of ads is going to continue to grow.
With Mobile Web 3.0, the user experience opens the door for another level of innovation in advertising and promotion. Now technology services have the ability to leverage not just the social graph data from Facebook, but even more real-time / real-world information. Your current location, weather, traffic, local merchants other friends nearby, how often you’ve been to this specific store or location are available (or will be soon). And this in turn provides a whole new level of commerce opportunities for potential advertisers. Mobile brings advertisers and users closer to being able to close a transaction. It’s real-world commerce. Which leads to the question: Why pay for a click when you can get an actual customer? That’s the promise of mobile for advertisers, brands and merchants. The opportunity is huge: both in pure dollar size opportunity and for disruption. The internet advertising models of selling clicks to advertisers will need to evolve.
A few companies to watch in this new world are Waze, ShopKick and Foodspotting, to name just a few. Waze, the social mapping and GPS service, provides free turn-by-turn directions with real-time traffic information and routing to over 20m users. With users depending on Waze to help them find the fastest and least congested routes, Waze now shows offers for the cheapest gas prices along the way. Real value for users translates to real commerce for merchants.
ShopKick is a mobile app that gamifies retail shopping. Users who open ShopKick gain rewards for different tasks or quests they complete on ShopKick. What ShopKick is starting to show retailers is that ShopKick tend to spend more money when they’re in store, because of the interaction and engagement the ShopKick app can drive while the user is at the point of purchase. Again, real value for users leads to real commerce for merchants.
Open Foodspotting, a visual guide to what’s interesting to eat near you, and the app will locate where you are and show you pictures of the best food at restaurants nearby. Over 2m dishes have been submitted to Foodspotting at over half a million restaurants in the US alone. Users can express that they love certain restaurants and dishes. As it has grown its community, Foodspotting can now approach restaurants with promotional offerings for people who are nearby right now, who are fans of their type of food. Real value for users, real commerce for merchants.
So Mobile Web 3.0 is super exciting. But a word of caution: delivering value and driving monetization in the Mobile Web 3.0 era is hard. The answer will not be for web-first properties to scrunch their ad platforms onto mobile. Monetization via mobile advertising will require offerings that do more to close the loop of commerce. Advertisers increasingly will ask of mobile: why buy a click when what I want is a paying customer or user? The services with the best offers here will be big winners in this Mobile Web 3.0.
Following an earlier appearance of benchmarks scores for an unreleased iMac and a presumed 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro (MacBookPro10,2) on the Geekbench website, a second MacBookPro10,2 score has surfaced this month to suggest the model wiill debut with 8GB of standard memory like its larger 15-inch cousins.
It’s a great blog headline that will get a lot of attention, right?
The Harvard Business Review had a blog post today titled, Marketing Is Dead, written by Bill Lee. Beyond the irony that Lee used a traditional marketing tactic (solid copywriting) to illicit a stream of actions that have made this link incredibly popular (thus debunking his own thesis), once again we’re in a world where definitions and explanations get confused. If I can understand what Lee is saying (and it’s not very clear), it sounds like he is saying that traditional advertising is dead (as we have known it to date). This is what the article says: "Traditional marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear." To add some clarity, marketing isn’t dead – according to Lee – but advertising is dead. For the record, that’s not a semantic error. Marketing (which encompasses everything from product, price, place and promotion) is not only alive and well… it’s core to a business’ success. In short marketing isn’t dead. Marketing is everything.
On death and dying…
It’s less of a red herring and much more of a chicken little to make the claim that marketing is dead. In fact, I would tell Mr. Lee, the Harvard Business Review, and anyone else who asks that advertising (as we have known it to date) is not dying. In fact, it’s not on life-support, it’s not sick, and it probably doesn’t even have the sniffles. Does that mean that social media and digital media has not disrupted the model or added new layers and opportunities? Of course it has. Does it mean that newer components like community management, engaging influencers, building social capital with customers, and engaging with consumers in more collaborative ways (the four core pillars that Lee argues have put the death knell on traditional marketing) hasn’t changed the game? Of course it has.
Not all brands are social. Not all companies need it.
I’m not raging against the machine because I think that traditional advertising offers more opportunity than any of the solutions that Lee prescribes. I am saying that advertising – as a way of informing the masses about a product or service – is not only relevant, it will continue to be an integral component of all strategic marketing campaigns. In short: everything is "with" not "instead of."
Who cares about breakfast cereal?
You are a consumer packaged goods giant. You sell 48 different kinds of cereal. One of your bran-based cereals is coming out with a new flavor (maybe it has less sugar in it, maybe you’re adding dried blueberries to the mix). How are you going to inform the mass populous about it? Community managers going everywhere and anywhere on Facebook that health nuts hang out? You’re going to get customers super-interested in liking and friending your brand because they spend five bucks a month on a box of cereal? You’re going to engage customers and have them crowdsource the next update to your 300-year-old product?
Who are we kidding?
Does anyone care that much about their breakfast cereal? Advertising is a catalyst to inform. There are other angles (direct response, engagement, brand narrative, etc…), but it still acts as an amazing (and cost-effective) way to tell the masses that you have something new to say. We may not like the ads that the brand puts out there. We may not like the repetition or placement of where some of these messages appear, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that advertising is no longer a powerful way for a brand to buy their way into the zeitgeist.
More choices and a lack of scarcity doesn’t change that.
Beyond the four areas that the Harvard Business Review blog post outlines as the "next generation" of marketing services, we can’t forget that the more media choices we create (and we’ve been creating it by the tonnage) reduces the scarcity (or value) of an ad. That part is, without question, a reality. Advertising was a scarcity model and we live in a world where ads can (and do) go everywhere. That being said, there is still scarcity (there are only so many slots available if you want to buy an ad on the Super Bowl or the homepage of The Huffington Post). Is the value still there? Has the value model changed? Without a doubt. Still, if you want to inform a large audience about your brand, advertising is still very much alive (as is marketing, thank you very much). Saying that marketing is dead is like saying that product development is dead and that branding is dead. It may get a lot of clicks, but there’s no substance or truth behind it.
What do you think? Is marketing dead?
Meubeltrack.nl uit Goirle start een performance based model voor online meubelwinkels. Die kunnen hun aanbod inladen op het platform en dat naast dat van fysieke retailers tonen.
Regular Springwise readers are no doubt already familiar with the “buy one, give one” model of corporate generosity, and California-based One World Futbol has been using that model for two years to help put indestructible soccer balls in the hands of the world’s disadvantaged children. Now, however, the effort has greater potential than ever thanks to a partnership with Chevrolet that will distribute 1.5 million such balls around the globe.
Since its inception back in 2010, the One World Futbol Project has benefited more than 525,000 children in 137 countries with its soccer ball, which was created with the backing of renowned musician Sting specifically to withstand the harsh conditions in many developing countries. A One World Futbol can outlast and outplay hundreds of regular balls, its maker says, and it never goes flat or needs to be pumped up, even when punctured multiple times. Now, through a new, three-year partnership with Chevrolet, One World Futbols will be distributed to 1.5 million children in war-stricken zones, refugee camps, disaster areas and other disadvantaged communities around the world through a global network of organizations working with disadvantaged communities. The video below explains the project in more detail:
“Chevrolet is an ideal partner who shares our belief that football can not only bring people together through the excitement of the game, but can also help heal and rebuild communities impacted by war, disasters and poverty,” explained One World Futbol inventor Tim Jahnigen. “Through this partnership, we can truly influence millions more lives with the simple power of a durable ball.” Other brands around the globe: how could you get involved in something similar?
Spotted by: Murray Orange
The funding comes in the form of convertible bonds raised from Icelandic institutional investors, according to Chief Financial Officer Joe Gallo. Founded in 1997, CCP previously raised $20 million in equity financing.
Back in February, CCP executives told me that EVE Online saw $66 million in revenue last year. Chief Marketing Officer David Reid says the company is now gearing up for the launch of its next title, the first-person shooter DUST 514, which is currently in beta testing and is supposedly on-track for a 2012 release on the Playstation 3.
With DUST, CCP is experimenting with a new model for console-based first-person shooters — the game will be free to play, with players instead paying for in-game goods. Perhaps even more impressive than the business model is the fact that the planet-based action of DUST will be integrated with the space setting of EVE Online, so that player activity in one game can affect the world of the other. The two games were kept separate for the initial player testing, but Reid says CCP is currently in the process of merging the two worlds, allowing players in both games to chat with each other and EVE players to cause some havoc in DUST through orbital strikes.
In part, the funding will be used to promote the DUST launch. Reid acknowledges that it’s going to be a crowded fall for video games, with a number of big releases like Halo 4 on the schedule. CCP doesn’t intend to “go head-to-head with EA and Activision,” but since the success of an online game doesn’t depend on driving a massive amount of first day sales, Reid says the company can take a more patient, long-term approach to its marketing campaign.
The launch is also coming after the disappointing performance of the highly anticipated MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. Reid points to The Old Republic as a sign that “players by-and-large are consuming the content of triple-A games faster than anybody is able to develop them.” He contrasts that design- and story-heavy approach with CCP’s philosophy in EVE and DUST, where the universe is more of a “sandbox” and “the players become the content in the end.”
In addition to launching DUST, Reid says the funding will allow CCP to prepare for an IPO. The company doesn’t have any immediate plans to go public, but he says the money “allows us is to do some of the things you need to do for IPO preparedness,” such as building greater redundancy into its computer systems, so that it’s ready to go public when and if the time is right.