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Us: 8 months, 750 members, 1500 messages, 6 new messages each day

Picture of Tomi Ahonen
Us: 8 months, 750 members, 1500 messages, 6 new messages each day
by Tomi Ahonen - Friday, 5 May 2006, 9:41 AM

Hi fellow members of Forum Oxford

Its been eight months now and Forum Oxford has reached over 750 members. Our discussion board has become very active, we are adding 10 new members on average every week, our discussion boards feature 8.4 new topics every week and you will find on average 5.9 new messages every day.

If we start with who we are. Forum Oxford now has 757 members and we have participation from 62 countries from six continents. The largest group is still the UK, understandibly, but already 57% of our members are from outside the UK. The top 12 biggest countries by Forum Oxford membership are:

UK 325
USA 75
India 70
Germany 25
Malaysia 21
Ireland 20
Finland 19
Canada 15
Singapore 15
France 13
Norway 12
Australia 11

The country worth mentioning is Ireland, which has climbed to become the sixth largest membership with 20. By continent, when we exclude the 325 from the UK, the rest of Europe has 169 members, Asia 133, North America 91, Oceania 15, Africa 14 and South America 8 members.

Then about the postings. Our discussion board has grown to 286 separate topics and like I said, we are now adding about 8.4 new topics every week. Counting the initial topic postings and all replies to the threads, we total 1,587 messages on our Forum. That averages to 5.5 messages per topic thread (or 4.5 replies). And yes, while Ajit and I are of course very active in posting - in our roles as moderators - the total contributions of Ajit Jaokar and Tomi Ahonen postings are now down to 29% of the total message postings. So if early on this was a bit of "our private discussion club" - it most definitely is that no more, as more than twice as many messages are posted by the general membership, than are posted by Ajit and me in total.

What also pleases me a lot is that we have so many separate people launching discussion threads. Already 66 of our members have started discussion threads.

Now for the "Hit Parade". These were our most popular discussion threads over the past three months, in order of popularity (ie by most replies) and now also mentioning who launched each of these most popular threads:

Mobile TV is like sex in the open air (Ajit Jaokar), 23 replies
Surfing the web at a fair price (Rudy De Waele), 22 replies
What's the next BIG mobile services? (Audun Holme), 21 replies
iPod market share not 78%, is 19% (Tomi Ahonen), 20 replies
Seamless mobility, what does it mean to you? (Alex Gajano), 19 replies
Why not only browsing mobile applications (Ajit Jaokar), 19 replies
Will VoIP be end of traditional telecoms (Marcus Foster), 15 replies
Mobile TV or mobile video (JT Klepp) 13 replies
Some video game history and present comments (Glenn Greenblatt) 12 replies

Thank you everybody for being so active at Forum Oxford.

For all of those here who are only "lurking" ie reading messages, please do take the "plunge" and start to make postings. Drop a comment at one of the threads that interests you. Ask the question you have, or give us a viewpoint from your country, your own experience, or perhaps what you've observed in your company. It will help make this discussion forum even more rich for all of us, and trust me - YOU will gain more of it, when you get to engage with the rest of us. But equally, there is no forced posting. We are happy to have you here if all you do is visit us every so often and read the material we have here. It is good to have you here as our member even if you only stop by once per month to read a few threads of interest to you. Not everybody needs to be active.

A couple of practical points while I have your attention. Now is the time to consider your training budget and the Oxford 3G related courses. Please take a look at those courses here. Oxford University is our sponsor, and Peter Holland and Anthony Santiago have gone to great length to find the top experts to present the very latest in mobile telecoms at these short courses. If you enjoy the discussion here at the Forum, you will also enjoy the courses. And if you have any questions or comments about any of them, that is why we have the discussion board here, you can discuss with the course presenters and find out if the course covers the materials you want.

Needless to say, if you have any colleagues you'd like to invite, please feel free to do so - membership is free, will always be free, and all you need is to tell your friend the "enrollment key" for the first-time sign-up, which is the word "forumoxford". Bring your friends!

Also - please remember this Forum Oxford is a professional association. You can enter this into your CV. I'd suggest you mention it at the bottom of your CV with any other possible industry and professional participation like membership with an engineering guild or MBA association, etc, for example "Professional Associations: Member Forum Oxford"

And those of us who have not yet introduced yourselves, please do so here at the introductions thread, or if you have a blogsite, please list it in the blogs listing, or if you are speaking at a conference somewhere soon, please mention that for the rest of us to see.

But most of all, I am really proud of the active, high quality discussion we have set up here. Personally, for me, this is the place where I start my day whenever I possibly can (ie when I am not at a customer or travelling). You all have helped create a friendly place for us experts to share thoughts. At times debating, arguing, at other times agreeing; and so very often seeing a new point of view. Thank you all.

Keep on posting !!

Your friendly "stats police"

Tomi Ahonen / HatRat :-)

Picture of Ajit Jaokar
Re: Us: 8 months, 750 members, 1500 messages, 6 new messages each day
by Ajit Jaokar - Friday, 5 May 2006, 11:03 AM
many thanks Tomi. and to add ..
we have the journal coming up/ an event being planned and more invites soon. So, we hope to reach 1000 members in the next three months. thats  a good landmark!

But as Tomi says ..
we have always been keen to encourage quality(postings) than anything else ..

So, many thanks for all your great posts!

Picture of Anne Marie McEwan
Re: Us: 8 months, 750 members, 1500 messages, 6 new messages each day
by Anne Marie McEwan - Friday, 5 May 2006, 11:20 AM

Hi Tomi

I just want to add that I am a quiet lurker in this community. This is where I come to try to learn about technolological and market developments around mobility . Even having read Ajit and Tony's Open Gardens book, I still find myself overwhelmed by the acronyms. I am gradually making sense and following most of the discussions.

I co-founded the Mobility and HR Network with Dr Marie Puybaraud last year. I attach a short description of the network, which is currently very informal. We do not have a web presence but I am working on that just now.

The issues arising from this forum will provide fabulous discussion material for the network (of course, permission sought and the source accredited) - that is when I have made sense of them.

I will start contributing once I stop feeling like such an impostersmile.

Picture of Tomi Ahonen
Don't worry Anne, we won't bite - 8 months, 750 members, 1500 messages, 6 new messages each day
by Tomi Ahonen - Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 9:40 AM

Hi Anne

(I am so conveniently ignoring my dear friend Ajit ha-ha)

Great to have you onboard and now you HAVE posted, so it gets easier every time. And we're a nice bunch here, so I promise we won't bite ha-ha...

What I would really hope to achieve - is for our membership to learn to trust this resource like a virtual team - so whatever is on their desks for that week as the top project, to approach the Forum with related issues. Sometimes it is straight-forward market research (has anyone heard of an idea like... or does anyone have statistics for... etc). At other times it may be more cautious approach for something more sensitive, but then ask for what people happen to know of around a general group of topics, say LBS or MMS or mobile-TV or whatever. And still at other times, it could be more relevant "advice" requests - we have this kind of general idea, what do Forum members think...

Why? For me as an "expert", speaker, columnist, blogger and author on mobile telecoms, I need "early warning" on emerging topics, to help me prepare. Inevitably when I talk to any conference producer (at least one per week) or a journalist (also about one per week) - they will ask "So Tomi, what is the latest?" and I am expected to give a clever remark ha-ha, or help find a good source of a breaking story.

For me, therefore Forum Oxford would be that early-warning radar, of what is on the minds of our colleagues.

And in that "selfish" way Forum Oxford has already been a golden mine of a resource, producing topics to blog about, write about, speak about, and produce many of my "pearls".

But I would imagine that in many cases of any emerging areas of mobile telecoms, the work is rather "lonely" - there is perhaps your team at your employer, but beyond that, there are very few experts you could consult. Maybe the symbiotic relationship between operator and supplier or application developer or content provider. Maybe a consultant or two. But most of the experts in mobile are rather locked into their little worlds. What I really hope for this Forum to become, is that virtual meeting place, where we can meet with our friends and share thoughts. Not unlike the coffee pot at the office, where we might meet with colleagues in the morning of early afternoon and just toss ideas around.

Anyway, am babbling, sorry. Very nice to have you here Anne (and all 756 others of us) and it is totally my pleasure to engage in discussions with you...

Tomi Ahonen / HatRat   :-)

Kore Pic
Re: Don't worry Anne, we won't bite - 8 months, 750 members, 1500 messages, 6 new messages each day
by Alex Gajano - Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 5:22 PM

One of the great things about this forum is the exceptionally high quality of user's inputs and insights that I don't seem to find anywhere else. I think in many ways the low-key manner in which the forum is advertised and cumbersome login procedure has served as a filter to capture quality vs. quantity. As steps are taken to facilitate access to the site and increase membership, it might be worth keeping an eye on that value proposition to ensure the quality of the content is not diluted.


I don't think it would be too difficult to cross the 1000-user mark this month if we simply decided to launch a recruitment campaign. If each of the existing Forum Oxford users were tasked with personally inviting and ensuring 1 colleague signs up, we'd get there in no time. I don't think an active recruitment campaign would be a bad idea if we specify to the community the focus is on quality vs. quantity. We may want to first implement the website's "user-friendly improvements" before pursuing such an effort in order to achieve maximum return and usage.


Viral marketing seems to be a hot topic in the forum as of late...we may as well put into action what we've learned and make it work for our benefit :-) .