COURSE TITLE: Strategy in Telecomm and Media



E-MAIL ADDRESS: jon dot metzler at berkeley dot edu


MEETING DAY(S)/TIME: Thursdays, 6:00PM-9:30PM
NOTE: Course will meet the first 10 weeks out of the 15-week semester for 2 credits. 

No a priori telecom or media industry required. Exposure to microeconomics and cost accounting helpful. Ability to read a 10K/10Q helpful. 

CLASS FORMAT: Blend of cases, readings, instructor material and guest speakers.

REQUIRED READINGS: Course readings and case studies. All readings are required unless explicitly described as optional. Optional readings will deepen student understanding of the course matter each week. Readings have been chosen quite carefully.

Attendance & Participation: 50%
Written Assignments: 30%
Group Project and Presentation: 20%

This course will be useful to students aspiring to careers in the telecommunications and media sectors, and in adjacent or partner sectors, such as consulting services, investment, advertising, software developers and Internet services. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goal of this class is provide students with industry fluency and frameworks for use in understanding and participating in the telecommunications and media industries, either directly or indirectly, such as through consulting firms, software firms, or content firms. Students completing this course should be able to clearly articulate trends in the industry and project forward; recognize and evaluate company metrics, beyond what’s stated in quarterly earnings releases or press releases; discern strategies and anticipate competitive responses.   A priori telecom and media industry experience is not required.

This is a business course, not an engineering or policy course. However, as telecom and media both are both (regulated) industries simultaneously dependent on technological progress and on policy frameworks, students will be exposed to both. Examples include wireless carrier spectrum holdings and the relationship with carrier competitive position; and policy issues such as net neutrality or spectrum sharing or consumer privacy protection.   Again, telecom and the media that goes over telecom networks are evolving at high speed, but telecom network operators also deal with jackhammers and shovels and hard hats and union labor. We will deal with the impacts of both.

Telecom spans fixed and mobile telephony; fixed and mobile broadband; data centers and hosting; services; devices and more. This course will orient more towards mobile than fixed. However, we will explore data centers as part of exploring what “the cloud” means. We will also look at areas of the world where the lack of fixed telecom infrastructure is enabling true mobile-first services, in payments, in information, and more.

Course content will be a mix of instructor material and discussion; case studies; guest speakers; and group and individual assignments.  Each week will have a Story Topic of the Week to focus on current industry issues and what they mean.   We will leverage three recent books on the telecom and media industries: The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation; The Master Switch: the Rise and Fall of Information Empires; and Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. 

Course material will follow the outline below.

Week 1: Telecom Carrier Innovation: From Watson I Can Hear You to There’s an App for That; AT&T Emerging Devices Organization case
Week 2: The Wireless Carrier Ecosystem: Scale, Network Effects and Value Capture; Nokia case
Week 3: The Plumbing (where is “the cloud”?): from ARPAnet to Data Centers, Internet Exchanges and more Week 4: Mobile First: Mobile in Emerging Markets; Bharti Airtel case
Week 5:  The Mobile App Economy;  Rovio case
Week 6:  Content Delivery and Access: cord cutters, cord shavers, the return of vertical integration
Week 7:  Platform Business Models and Identity: the graphs, monetization; privacy by design
Week 8: The Internet(s) of Things; GE case; Internet of Everything
Week 9:  Does Software Eat Everything?  Value capture in software and hardware; customer ownership
Week 10: final presentations

Jon Metzler is a Lecturer at the Haas School of Business in the EWMBA and CEE programs, with a focus on telecom, media, international business and innovation. He is also founder and president of Blue Field Strategies, a consulting firm serving telecom, media and technology clients, including wireless carriers, device makers, infrastructure providers and content companies, with market assessment and entry support.  Prior to founding Blue Field Jon was Business Development and Government Affairs Director at Rosum Corporation, a pioneering location technology company now part of TruePosition (Liberty Media). There he handled business development in the telecom and defense sectors as well as government advocacy, and represented Rosum in the National Emergency Number Association and Advanced Television Systems Committee.  Jon is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley MBA/MA-Asian Studies program. While at Haas, he co-founded the Berkeley Asia Business Conference and authored a thesis comparing new venture creation in Silicon Valley and Japan. He is a research fellow for KDDI Research, the research arm of Japanese telecommunications provider KDDI, and an advisor to various startups.