Podcast 30: Truth in Telecoms: Flipping the Bird with Robert Vis

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We were planning on bringing guests on soon, and when Robert Vis joined our conversation on Linkedin about renaming MessageBird to Bird, potentially taking over Twilio, and dropping SMS margins by 90%. Well, the opportunity presented itself. You can see below the impact Robert had on the market yesterday. Thanks to Mark Hay for the image

Using the British idiom, Robert certainly “put a cat amongst the pigeons!” See below the impact of Robert’s announcement on Sinch and Link Mobility. Robert is very much a kindred spirit of the Truth in Telecoms Podcast, so much so, Johnny adopted him during the podcast 🙂

Here’s the post Bird put out entitled “The end of CPaaS: A closer look at our pricing strategy.” Even though I wrote above ‘dropping SMS margins by 90%’, I was surprised how many aggregators struggled to understand this point, confusing it with price and then throwing dirt.

To survive in the current A2P ecosystem requires certain practices be adopted, some do it more than others. And Telcos are a source of the problem with exclusive deals and greedy prepayments, which must stop.

Change is required across the ecosystem for the benefit of enterprises, innovators, and consumers alike. Else SMS will die on the vine as people continue to move away from the mess SMS has become. Just like with the Messaging Monopolies and Telecom Triopoly in the US, the truth must be exposed and customer focus restored to the industry.

Robert is not able to talk about Twilio, for obvious reasons; however, Johnny more than made up for that. Reviewing the $280M Twilio is spending on sales and marketing per quarter, making the path to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) profitability challenging. Hence Bird could make a bid for Twilio once Wall Street understood this situation. But why would Bird want to buy that? Regardless, it attracts attention to Bird’s IPO and differentiates it from the rest of the pack.

Robert’s vision is to disrupt the tired old CPaaS business by delivering business solutions that integrate the channel and customer data. I couldn’t agree more when he said “CPaaS is dead,” and the “omnichannel lie of CPaaS – its different platforms”.

Bird has re-engineered its platform, focusing on delivering solutions to business problems, and charging on the value delivered, not per SMS, SMS will be at cost. For example, at point of sale in enabling a business to both transact (accept customer payment) and know the customer performing that transaction. Obvious stuff, but for an industry focused on monetizing APIs for SMS, voice, RCS, IP Messaging; it’s a highly disruptive to move away from how they’ve made money over the past decade.

We discussed the critical juncture the SMS business has reached, analogous to the calling card industry 15 years ago. Fraud and scams are killing the industry, the industry is complicit, and has become dependent on the revenue from it, for example AIT (Artificially Inflated Traffic). Bird is disrupting the industry, breaking from the CPaaS legacy, and focusing on delivering business solutions built on programmable communications.

We outro with a video from TNID showing the importance of Self Sovereign Identity in protecting your online data.

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