LIVE FROM 5G ASIA, SINGAPORE: To compete in the digital world and start to deliver “now economy” services, mobile operators must speed up their product release cycles and learn to fail elegantly, claimed Chris King, Oracle’s senior director of product marketing.

“Where do we need to be?” he asked in his keynote this morning. “We need to learn from our friends at Facebook and Google. We need to learn to run faster and pivot faster. And most importantly, we need to learn how to fail and fail elegantly,” King insisted.

He gave the example that hundreds of versions of Facebook are running at any given time, which highlights the extent of its constant experimentation. But Facebook, he said, is not afraid to scrap experiments.

“As an industry we are paranoid about wasting efforts, and we are extraordinarily cautious. Instead, we need to move rapidly, fail, celebrate failure and then move forward.”

Mobile operators also need to adopt a much different release cycle, moving from releasing a new version of a product every 18 to 24 months to a model where they release updates every week.

He said this might be too much of a stretch for most operators, so suggested starting with monthly updates and then working their way up from there.

Finally, he said they have to learn how to adopt the capabilities of other industries, particularly IT companies. “We can’t be so reluctant to learn from other industries. Take advantage of what the Facebooks and Googles have learned about cloud computing and apply to what you’re doing.”

Operators should be eager to participate in initiatives like Facebook’s Telco Infra Project and learn from them, he said.