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SP360: Service Provider

Thriller 25th Anniversary album coverIt’s true. Some of you may not want to admit it, but the fact remains so.Why? Two reasons: Innovative use of Video and Redefining the ExperienceMusic videos were in their infancy at the time, and the slick productions of Thriller brought it right to the forefront. This visual component made the music all the more resonant and impactful. The innovative use of the video played a big role too, as past videos were mainly simple concert footage. However, the “œBeat It” video moved the medium into one that told a story, and later,”Thriller” introduced a long-form version of music videos, making the length and production value more akin to a movie than an afterthought. This resulted in brilliant appeal, as I remember the buzz at school be all around what times the video were to be shown on some new channel called MTV and around how well you could mimic the dance moves (Say what you will about Mr. Jackson, but man could he ever dance-I practiced the moonwalk for hours and Mike Kisch from our consumer blog can still do a mean”praying mantis swing” from the Thriller video-)This visual pairing of the music and dance, redefined the experience of the popular music for a generation if not more, and the result was record setting sales -- more than any album the Beatles, the Eagles, or any other artist had or has accomplished since. In fact, that experience prompted me to make Thriller the first album I had ever purchased.So maybe that is more detail than you wanted to know about my childhood, but what does this have to do about Service Provider? In addition to being the subject of impassioned debate amongst a group of us at Cisco last week, it represents the same ideals we’ve been speaking of about in terms of the service provider transformation to becoming experience providers -- innovation is key, as providers won’t thrive if they stick to the same business models and methods of delivery that they’ve used in the past. It’s not just what they are delivering but how, adding in some new twists to existing services. These services need to be wide ranging, some big, some small-some targeted at the whole market and some targeted to very specific niches or demographics-and all of them delivered quickly and cost-effectively. To do that, they need a flexible IP Next Generation Network, and at Cisco, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with hundreds of providers worldwide to help them achieve just that.Secondly, the focus needs to extend beyond the service”offer” and more towards the end experience. Video changes everything and is core to moving beyond offering one-way or staid transactional activities to more rich, interactive experiences found in a Connected Life whether the user is at home, at work, or on the move. This not only helps the providers increase their relevance in their customer’s daily life but also helps them increase their margin because the value of what they are delivering is expanded.I don’t expect everyone to fess up to owning one of the 40 million copies of Thriller, nor do I expect the one-glove look to be the rage at any upcoming service provider conference, but I do hope that lessons learned outside of telecommunications can be applied to the benefit of this great industry, too, and help providers achieve some new records of their own.

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11 Comments.


  1. completely disagree. Best alblum ever is Eagles Greatest Hits.

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  2. That was a good one… but just not necessarily the top selling one! Here’s a source link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums_worldwidePlus, do you really think Don Henley is a better dancer? ;)

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  3. According to Rhapsody the four most popular MJ songs on their service are all from the Thriller album (Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, and PYT) and when you consider there are at least two other songs that most people would recognize if they heard them (girl is mine and human nature) it is at least one of MJ’s best from a commercial sense, and if it is one of MJ’s most commercially successful then…(and I think Doug’s point is actuallty commercial success).>> … do you really think Don Henley is a better dancer? <    0 likes

  4. Perceptions can certainly change over time. Around 1983 or 84, I jumped from Thriller to Purple Rain, and discovered Prince’s complete music catalog. At the time, Prince was considered a freak and Michael Jackson was the shy sweet guy. Now, Prince is considered tame enough to play half-time at the Super Bowl and Michael is an outcast.In terms of innovative”" and timeless albums, I still keep three Pink Floyd masterpieces (Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, The Wall) at the top of my list. And the movie “”The Wall”" is a visual masterpiece. I believe it arrived before Thriller…”

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  5. BEst In World Thriller BEst singer Michael Not eagles Not their album it’s really popular as thriller only in USA , Americans are not this dude wich i wiil ask for music.So Thriller is the best and Michael Is the Greatest Singer Ever

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  6. Completely agree – Thriller best album ever produced by the King of Pop , face it! the men was a genius in this generation in many ways..

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  7. it’s about time to recognize Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the single best selling and NOTABLY the GREATEST album of all time.

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  8. I completely agree with Doug. MJ’s achievements and influences are far beyond music. He invented the concept of MTV, but the impact is far beyond that. The use of video is widely adopted by consumers and enterprises. He led a whole new generation of innovations and change. It indirectly expedited the speed of video adoption. Secondly, being the first American super start to do world tours, he embraced the culture diversity. Business do not talk about globalization until MJ’s era. Seriously!

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  9. lol hey we cant forget quincy jones who produced all da beats on the album. awesum producer da best of all time. Now if take the best producer of all time and u mix dat up with the greatest dancer/entertainer of all time, its bound to equal the greatest album of all time. THRILLER

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  10. Completely agree, Lee — whether it is an album or a service provider or most anything for that matter, there are a great number of people behind the scenes that contribute to make the ordinary something truly memorable.Thanks for your feedback and pointing out a key point,Doug

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  11. the thriller album rocks

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