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As consumers, we use our cell phone to fast forward through boring or unpleasant situations to get to the good stuff. I'm building a platform that lets smaller organizations join in the mobile conversation.
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Reading the accounts of the days after 9/11 remind me of the sense of community in San Francisco after the Loma Prieta earthquake. People gave of themselves, selflessly. You never know what people will do in a moment of crisis. Despite all the bile and rancor of our age, if you lived through the aftermath of those crises, you know hope survives.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2011 on Ten Years brings perspective at Deborah Schultz
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While the "Web" internet gave us document addressability, the "Social" internet gives us people addressability. (And, I suppose, the "X-10/NFC/RFID" internet will give us the Internet of Things. But I digress.) The notion of "pull" leads us to a reimagining of "instant gratification" - increasingly, merchants are architecting their design to put consumers at the center of the universe, making the whole world into a kind of "celestial jukebox" that permits access to anything imaginable. Your access/attract/achieve model mirrors what I've been thinking about this new celestial jukebox. New intermediaries are using flash sales and social addressability to negotiate exclusive pricing, privileges, and access on behalf of their members. Yield management is being spun on its head to pivot between maximizing revenue, ego, or availability. Historians might look at the UK 100 years ago and see something similar. We are moving from the logistics of things to the logistics of ambition.
For an advanced case of persistent context, look at the "fantasy football" phenomenon - it takes a discrete event and gives users a way to meaningfully interact, not only in the regular season via league play, but in the preseason via mock drafts. Participants are more informed and there are both economic and ego rewards from performance. As far as other influences -- I'm a big fan of the Urban Land Institute and its efforts in "New Urbanism", which provide a narrative structure for the places we live, work and play. And I'm also following efforts such as director Guillermo del Toro's new transmedia studio or Versace's vision of hotels -- as people look to spend more time in places they want to be, you're starting to see design influences from the design and entertainment worlds.
As a long-time observer and volunteer (I assist Jeremiah on his Corporate Media Strategists and Melissa Hourigan on Media On Twitter), I believe the nature of brand interactions are changing from long periods of quiescence punctuated by staccato exchanges to more continuous streams of structured communication, each packet branded with a web service that happens to fit the cultural zeitgeist. The cycles are getting faster. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison remarked technology is moving faster than women's fashion. In such a world, product development has greater risk. Yesterday we could not believe in a world without MySpace. That's okay, because before that, we could not believe in a world without Pointcast. Or Excite. Or WordPerfect. I suspect future product development will look more like episodic TV, where you have pilots, formal screening processes with test audiences, and an upfront marketplace where partners can negotiate the terms of an early commitment. This last part is important: every brand is getting smarter about maximizing revenue at every opportunity, which is where revenue management comes in. The nature of a Conversation Agent, then, goes from what we can imagine today, to a branded ambassador tomorrow, not unlike 'Consumer Recreation Services' in the Michael Douglas movie "The Game". You are either seriously outperforming your peers in your ability to engage your key constituencies, or you are slowly dying and don't even know it. So where does this leave us? I've been quietly developing a kind of "@reply-as-a-service" that lets businesses quickly crowdsource opportunities; perhaps you'd like to prototype a "hey-here's-a-link-who-can-give-me-their-feedback-via-video, I'd like to choose from 5 replies" service that lets you quickly poll your advisory boards and get a specific response back. The problem we solve is how to elicit action in a way that ensures little wasted effort while giving you a fast indicator of who's available. @connectme
Creativity? It's very hard to train someone to be creative (see Danny Meyer and his concept of 51 per-centers). However - improvisation is a skill that can be taught. The military, of all institutions, has had a discipline for modelling round-the-clock engagement named C4I (Command, Control, Computers, Communication and Intelligence). It's about empowering the chain-of-command. My take on C4I:
The Netflix deal is a significant milestone as it establishes a new distribution window that includes app stores. Just as pay TV and international rights became major factors in helping otherwise marginally profitable entertainment turn a profit -- like @Eduardo's "MacGruber" example -- I believe Internet-enabled streaming can become a key window for Relativity and other forward-thinking studios.
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Brian Hayashi is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
The Splinternet is a great way to talk about the changes in what we used to call walled gardens. Then, as now, technologists insist on adherence to well-worn Internet concepts like SOA and open source, not realizing how inadequate these old models are in expressing the social and political implications in a world increasingly transformed by social uses of technology. The current iPad vs Flash discussion is but a minor prelude to larger issues like privacy. Having been around the Internet since there were less than 50 supercomputer installations total, we've always had the benefit of American laws and American governance of the Internet. That all changed last year, and it will be fascinating to see the irresistible force of sovereignty meet the immovable object we call privacy.
I seem to remember a recent study that showed that eternal gratitude was clocked at about 15 hours. Google research shows people quickly scan the first three or four words in a paragraph. So the key is to constantly remind elected officials of the value being delivered, using short phrases of 5-7 words with leads no more than 4 words long. My big concern is with all of the kerfuffle about a national tourism organization, that these selfsame elected officials should decide that with so much funding behind the national organization, why spend anything on the local office? DMOs must always be on the lookout on how to strengthen their relevance to the community.
Toggle Commented Nov 22, 2009 on The Cluelessness of Some at Bill Geist's Zeitgeist
While not nearly as Byzantine as the FDA, governments could benefit from the same clarity around the issue of state and local tax. US governments and business entities would both benefit were there greater clarity on what is and is not appropriate, rather than fighting things out in local courts, which in turn fails to create any sort of binding precedent other than establishing lobbying as a successful career path. The current tussle between cities and OTAs underscores the stakes involved, and loads unnecessary risks into the OTA's heretofore successful merchant model. My concern is that this level of risk creates a chilling effect for innovation, which is exactly what cities need to bring more people into their communities. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke has a unique vantage point, not only because of his current position but because of his participation in early discussions of the fair disposition of online tax.
I think the opportunity today is to provide new ways to visualize information. Consider the gamecasts for sports sites: they essentially take text-based information (say, "CIN QB Carson Palmer hands off to CIN RB Cedric Benson for 17 yards from the CIN 40 yard line") and send that to its gamecasting application, which helps you visualize what's happening. Obviously there's a lot of precedent (and a lot of money) but I think apps like that foreshadow the future of media, even Twitter. There is a tremendous delay in the original invention of these apps and their "commercialization". If you look at the page for NewsMap's inventor, much of this stuff was done 5 years ago. It's too bad there's little to no market for RSS, as shown by Dick Costolo's experience: after founding Feedburner, he went on to create a VC fund for RSS-related companies. When that didn't pan out, he recently became Twitter's COO. (And, if you read the leaked notes, Twitter isn't exactly a big fan of RSS. But that's another story.)
Great post. We're in the early innings of what promises to be a long game, and I suspect people will learn how to "crowdsource" all sorts of things in the months and years to come. In the meantime, do try the "seat warmer" function, but do not press the "slice-n-dice" button. We don't want to see you on a future edition of "Will It Blend?"
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2009 on Twitter and the kindness of strangers at Empowered
In a past life, I would evaluate the business models of information vending companies. One of the more memorable companies was TVGuide. From the outside, it looked deceptively simple to replicate. Fruugo, like or Wine Logistics, is attacking the e-commerce opportunity from the perspective of expediting commerce using the nuances of law as a differentiator. provides a compelling user experience that respects the patchwork quilt of syndication deals of TV programmers, while Wine Logistics helps wine merchants navigate the complex tax structure that varies from state to state. These businesses, if they reach critical mass, have the potential to become tremendous cash-generation engines.
This is one of the most intriguing aspects of social media: the capability to eliminate the middlemen who have traditionally brought news of the outside world to the enterprise. This brings the next level of competitive intelligence to the forefront: the ability to secure data sources before the competition, which can only be led by the CEO. I'm reminded of the first co-branded credit cards. Marketers scoffed at Shell, reasoning consumers would use their Shell credit cards to buy Exxon gas. That is, until they realized the insights Shell was capturing via transaction data.
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2009 on The CEO's job at George F. Colony
Mean-spirited discourse and vitriol are tools on both sides of the aisle. Staging events is nothing new: it's a page out of the ACORN handbook, and even Cassius ghost-wrote letters that conveyed dishonest sentiment against Caesar to trick Brutus. Maybe OurConvo can work, maybe not: but I think the basic premise is good and worth pursuing. To engineer these new systems, we all need to retain the ability to turn the other cheek and refrain from recycling histrionics. I'm excited about services such as those proposed by my old boss and mentor Britt Blaser that employ open standards, APIs and vetted data sources from nonpartisan groups like Sunlight. I'm reminded of the dream of one Brian Lamb, who founded CSPAN in the hopes of opening up the staid Beltway culture to the entire country. Instead, it turned the floors of the House and Senate into performance theatre, as congressmen fell over themselves and each other to make statements to be filmed and then shared with their most partisan supporters.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2009 on First Look: Our Convo at /Message
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Once you embrace thinking of your customers as clientele (which Rodeo Drive retailers have been doing in Beverly Hills for decades), lots of things become possible. For example, how much money is lost in product returns? Best Buy was one of the leaders when it resorted to "firing" bad customers who used fraudulent measures to return merchandise. Embracing clientele marketing opens the doors for online RMAs: instead of using the store (and all of its limitations) as the staging area for product returns, Return Material Authorizations enable smart retailers to provide different sets of rules to customer returns, maximizing loyalty without getting screwed. The modern TV age was enabled via the cue tone, which provided a system for massive distribution and coordination of television programming across hundreds and then thousands of affiliates. Like the cue tone, Twitter provides an early glimpse at an automated future for the coordination of people, places and things.
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2009 on Who are your best customers? at Empowered
GoSeeTell has published something similar on their blog, although it was limited to Twitter and the data hygiene was a bit spotty. I think the biggest challenge is developing a "secret sauce" that provides reliable indices. Like hotels, DMOs will ultimately need to have a Six Sigma mindset when it comes to social media interaction, and accordingly, any index such as yours will need to relate to some real-world phenomenon. As an example, does your index correlate to the likelihood that a visitor will get the answer they want via social media? Ultimately, I think all visitors know what it's like to go to a place that feels "connected": everyone seems to know what's going on, people take responsibility for every interaction, and no one shrugs their shoulders. Perhaps that's still a pipe dream, but that's where I see social media's value for DMOs.
Toggle Commented Jul 31, 2009 on How Social is Your State DMO? at Dave Serino Blogs
The wonderful thing about reading Seth Godin is that so much is clear and insightful. As Jeremiah tweeted earlier today, so much of the blogosphere is based on some kneejerk reaction to some news off the wire. Godin's writing occasionally references recent events, it is true, but his insights come from years and years of innovation and hard work. About fifteen years ago, when the Web was just starting to hit big, the interactive braintrust at Interpublic unit Ammarati & Puris directed me to meet a brilliant guy located out in Irvington, NY. Talking to Godin then is like reading his work now: another example of how an "overnight success" is really just a lot of hard work, done enough times to seem effortless to the rest of us n00bs. In the meantime, just because there's a lot of activity is no guarantee that Twitter - or Google, for that matter - is ever going to be as successful as Redmond at creating modern-day Microsoft millionaires. A little more critical thinking will go a long way in shaping the real-time web of tomorrow.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2009 on Seth Godin, Blogger: An Interview at Empowered
We all have positive aspirations in life. For every single one of them, there is a negative that some critic, some where, chooses to home in on. "College education"? "Marriage"? "Retirement"? ALL of these things could have negative connotations; it's all in how YOU choose to look at them. At least you're being civil in your post -- no wonder so many contributors to the blogosphere are in support of some standards of conduct. You have other, very thoughtful posts on your blog -- I hope the next person that comes by doesn't judge you solely by the acrimony that I thought I read.
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