Nokia: Dis-N-Gage

In the Hutong after a Long Day

The capacity for institutional self-deception powered by hubris grows in direct proportion to your greatest accomplishments.

It is for that reason, perhaps, that just under a year and a half after the introduction of the Finnish Taco Game Phone, better known as the N-Gage, Nokia is still telling itself the thing can be saved. Despite lousy sales, a lack of titles, and just plain stupid features, NokNok still thinks its a good idea. The Espooians are about to spend a chunk of their shareholders’ money redesigning the ugly beast (2 years too late).

Which means they’ll probably get a whole bunch of guys who spend their lives commuting from one end of Espoo to another to sit inside a glass room and brainstorm what it should look like, what it should do, etc.

I hope Nokia has learned a few lessons. Lessons like, well, getting feedback from the rest of the world – end users, hardcore gamers, game designers, retailers, and a whole lot of people who would love to provide Nokia with feedback.

Finally, I hope Nokia has started to learn that it cannot possibly hope to do everything, from design, to components, to manufacturing, to marketing, to software, to services and hope to succeed. Not even Apple does all of that anymore.

But I have a funny feeling that as long as the company’s current leadership stays in place, Nokia will still try to do it all.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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