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As a Millennial, I have been fortunate enough to reap the benefits of the invent of the internet for basically my entire life. While I do know of a world without the internet, smart phones, and Jimmy Johns online ordering system, I recognize the value that these seemingly small conveniences add to my life. Flashback to the fall of 1997. It’s an ordinary Monday morning and my mom’s getting me ready for my first day of Kindergarten. How will she know exactly what time it’s going to rain today? Will I need my rain boots for recess? Will she know what time to leave to beat the traffic and ensure that I’m not late for my very first day as a kindergartener? After all, Waze won’t be invented for nearly another decade! If we get a flat tire on the way to said school, how will she call for help without the Progressive roadside assistance app, let alone, a cell … Continue reading
Because we live in the future, I wasted very little time trading in my two-year-old iPhone 4 for a shiny new iPhone 5 when it was released in September. There was nothing wrong with my old phone, but as a designer of software and websites destined to be used on the new device, I have a reasonable excuse to perform a ritual upgrade every two years. As of today, I’ve been using the new phone for one month. In almost every way, it’s a beautiful device. It’s thin, light, fast, and handsome, yes. More importantly, the iPhone 5 preserves the vast majority of behaviors and elements of “feel” of its predecessors. As a thing like this evolves, it’s actually critical that it strike the right balance between retaining familiarity and introducing new patterns. Favor familiarity too heavily, the thing feels stale. Zoom too fast to the new, users get impatient with being required to relearn new ways of doing things … Continue reading
Earlier I had posted my review and critique of Stephen Baker’s book ‘Numerati’, noting that he doesn’t give b2b examples. Since the, I have been on the hunt for b2b examples. I just found another one by Otis Elevator company, which offers the following service on their website: REMÂ® Remote Elevator Monitoring Otis developed the REM system to optimize elevator performance and minimize elevator downtime. It is a sophisticated interconnected system of sensors, monitors, circuits, hardware and software to collect, record, analyze and communicate data about elevator operations 24/7. If the REM system detects a problem, it analyzes and diagnoses the cause and location, then makes the service call and helps an Otis mechanic identify the component causing the problem. Elevators are often back in service before owners or tenants even know there is a problem. Interesting indeed.
I just finished Numerati by Stephen Baker. Enjoyed the book with chapters on how Numerati are watching, monitoring, and modeling people as workers, shoppers, voters, bloggers, terrorists, patients, and lovers. Not much here if you are interested in B2B space, but I met two people recently who I would classify as B2B Numerati. The first one works for a GE team, which monitors data streaming from worldwide turbine installations, and generates maintenance alerts and senses imminent GE engine and turbine failures. If you think that is cool, I met another person who works for Industrial Scientific who generates maintenance alerts and senses imminent failures of gas detection sensors in mission-critical applications. Love to hear any B2B Numerati stories and examples that you would like to share.
In this day and age of the algorithms, everyone including me is gaga over algorithms. However, algorithms have limits, especially in matters of inalienable rights such as healthcare, education, liberty and justice. For instance, if algorithms are applied to increase healthcare insurance costs for select individuals/organizations based on sex, age, past use of health benefits, something has gone wrong. This is where ethics need to kick in to ensure that algorithms aren’t used to impinge on fundamental inalienable rights of individuals. Also, if biometric algorithms are used to discriminate based on race, religion and my social networks, I believe that we will have moved from a civil society to a draconian soul-less society.
What happens when the economy goes south? Well, the obvious stuff — as consumers and as businesses we buy less, postpone major purchases, waste less, and try to develop a sense of financial aikido to defend ourselves from an unforgiving market. One of the things we get really good at is stretching dollars by keeping more things inside our own house, our own business, our own life. My experience may be similar to yours: I try to do more things myself, which means I have more things to get done. And on an already full to-do list, that’s a challenge at home, and at work. The popularity of the GTD (Getting Things Done) system authored by David Allen in his book and website, tells me that people are feeling the press of lotsa things to get done, and not enough time to do it all. If you’re a marketer, the good news here may be that if you can help … Continue reading
Well, “nag” is a strong word, but here’s an interesting site that will keep you electronically engaged. A friend of mine pointed me to I Want Sandy (www.iwantsandy.com), a web assistant . Sandy is very nice, for a figment of my digital imagination, and sends timely, pleasant reminders to my email inbox and/or my mobile phone. It would be nice if Sandy had a built-in text-to-speech app that could say, “excuse me Abu (or even, “Hey, baby” if I want to get digitally intimate) but here are some things you need to take care of…” but for now it’s nice just to have someone who cares enough to keep me on track. The next-gen part of it all is of course, when can I get Sandy to actually do the things for me (like automatically pay the bills I specify on a date when I’m certain the money will be there, as opposed to the extant system of being date-specific), … Continue reading
A million years ago (well, 1978) I was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York enjoying an exhibition put together by then-curator John Szarkowski entitled “Mirrors and Windows.” The thesis of the exhibition was that photography was either a mirror of what was around the photographer or a window into the photographer’s or subject’s reality or worldview. It was an extraordinary exhibition of some of the greatest photographs by some of the greatest photographers (Dorthea Lange, Gene Smith, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander; you get the idea). As I check popurls every morning (one of my morning rituals), I’m always a little taken aback by some of the images on the flickr feed. Many are very good photographs, but the thing that often strikes me is how intimate some of them are, and I’m not speaking just conceptually. Some of them are almost exhibitionistic; many are striking windows into a person’s life. Which makes me wonder: is this part … Continue reading
Back when my day job was advertising, the Holy Grail of advertising was WOM: word of mouth. If your spot or print ad could generate positive WOM (“buzz” in those days was something only insects did. By the way, this was only 8 years ago), it was golden. I just blundered across an eMarketer report today entitled, “Word-of-Mouth Marketing:â€¨Winning Friends and Influencing Customers” which notes that “64 million US adults regularly share advice on products or services, and over 25 million of them (26.4, to be exact. That’s 17.5% of the online population) wield their influence online.” In just four years, by 2011, eMarketer predicts that over 35 million adults — representing 20% of the internet population — will be online influencers. Increasingly then, another facet of electronic engagement is going to be iWOM: internet word-of-mouth. Which forces the question, how do we as marketers go beyond “viral” and “buzz”, which to me have purposeful or “manufactured” implications, and get … Continue reading
I recently took my 6-year-old son to the Ringling Brothers Circus and was really impressed with the focus on the customer. Buying tickets from Ticketmaster was comparatively easy (though the nanoseconds you have to actually make the purchase could be extended), and printing out your tickets ala airline e-tickets was great, but the really impressive stuff happened upon arrival. While we were in line to get into the arena, we passed the essential “guy selling programs” (I’m sure there’s an official title for this, I just don’t know what it is). We bought one ($7 as I recall; not cheap, not expensive: good price point) and instead of the usual take-your-money-enjoy-the-show moment he paused, looked directly at my son and me, and said “I hope you enjoy the show” with real earnestness (and, it seemed, sincerity). A long time ago, when my then-girlfriend and I frequented a very small restaurant called the Fallen Angel, the maitre d’ there (Geoffrey: a … Continue reading