Why Five with Geoff Varrall

When we write a proposal for a technical book, there are five questions a publisher needs us to answer.

What are we writing, why, who will read it, where do they live and when will the work be ready.

Of these, ‘where’ is important to the publisher as it tells them where to market and sell the book. ‘Where’ is important to us because the application of whatever we are writing about is likely to be different depending on where it is applied. Readers will be more engaged if they feel we have researched and understand their local market requirements.

The answer to ‘where’ could of course be ‘everywhere’ but most things have to start ‘somewhere.’

Typically a science, engineering, technology or commercial innovation will initially be city and then  country specific, may develop to be continent specific and then become universally applied (going global). The process of commercial innovation often involves a change in business focus or cross subsidy from one business to another. Politics, regulation and competition policy may also be important.

Over the past month we have done two posts about companies that are making a country to continent to global transition in parallel with a shift in business focus.

Rakuten, often described as the Amazon or Ali Baba of Japan, has successfully combined its e- commerce business with an innovative and competitive 4G and 5G service offer in Japan and is now investing in a company working on delivering 5G from space.

Reliance, a company started 50 years ago to manufacture textiles, transformed itself into a petrochemicals business and then used profits from petrol to build India’s largest and most financially successful mobile network.

Rakuten and Reliance also have ambitions to build networks rather than merely manage them.

The coupling of commercial and technical innovation is covered in detail in 5G and Satellite Spectrum, Standards and Scale.


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