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March 2008
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April 2008

we are internet toddlers

Perspective The internet is nothing new... yet everyday there is something better and greater being developed.

  • 15 years ago I remember dialing into Prodigy and thinking... here we go.
  • 10 years ago I recall sitting at my cousin's desk as he created his first online store thinking... here we go.
  • 5 years ago I remember my parent's amazement at the growth of Tivo (after I had already demonstrated the concept of time-shifting digital recorded live tv on my old computer years earlier).
  • 12 months ago, our industry was fretting over the potential future of 3D worlds, mass media was predicting the end of real world interactivity, and conservative groups were fretting over adult content in video games.
  • And in 12 months from now, we will still be waiting for mass deployment of IPTV.  We will still be wondering, we will still be wowed, we will still be open mouthed - both as end users and as marketers.

The world is changing.  And it's going to keep on changing.

Those who can strategically embrace and encourage change, those who are forward looking, those who are ready to trailblaze... will laugh at where we are today... in 5 years time.

The world is perpetually changing.  And there's nothing you can do to stop it.  The only question you can ask yourself is - are you ready for tomorrow?  Are you ready for change?  Are you ready to take a short-term loss and gain a lesson learned?  Are you encouraging creativity?

Speaking of, check out the amazing video below.  Kudos to Chris Brown and Chris Kieff for sharing.

Design Mistakes in Airports

ElalSo I'm sitting here in Ben Gurion International, THE airport in Israel, waiting for boarding.

The new terminal is stunning, the shopping is great, and pretty much everything, including McDonalds, is certified kosher.  The seating in the waiting area is adequate, with wide seats, plenty of space for stowing your carry-ons without taking up additional chairs, and there are windows galore - creating an open and relaxing atmosphere.  The Wifi access is free and incredibly fast.  What could possibly be wrong?

Firstly, let me state that overall, the new international terminal here is very well designed.  The points I am about to outline, are more annoyances than major issues.

To start with, there isn't an outlet in site, anywhere.  I don't know if this is an Israeli thing, a European eccentricity, or a design oversight, but free Wifi without outlets... just doesn't make any sense to me.

Secondly, there is the issue of cell phone rental returns. The returns kiosk is located after check-in at the airport.  Sounds great so far.  However, as any regular flier will tell you, much of your cell phone usage comes while you are waiting to board, not while you are checking your luggage.  Positioning your cell phone rental returns kiosk in the main (post-check-in) shopping mall not only serves as annoyance to your renters who are still looking for cell phone usage at the gates and waiting areas, but it serves to decrease the number of minutes used - and therefor your own revenue!  Oops.

My third issue here is rather minor, but I have found to be indicative of nearly all airports (and airlines) across the world.  There is a lack of communication.  There should be a bulleting board clearly telling fliers their flight status.  If the plane was delayed on the way in, and the cleaning staff is prepping it, please tell us that we will be 20 minutes late.  If inclement weather is holding up the flight for an hour, use your screens and tell us.  There is nothing more annoying than the nod of the shoulders.  ElAl does not do this, but I cannot count the number of times this has happened to me in the states.

And with that, I am out.  We are finally boarding (just 15 minutes late!), and I'm off to try to switch my middle seat to an isle or a window.  Wish me luck!

when startups grow up

First_stepsStartups are fun.  There is a wonder and an excitement to living in world of limitless possibility.  Sure, you'll hit a few hiccups, your service may occasionally crash, but at the end of the day the world is your oyster and beta users are ready and willing to roll with a few stumbles.

And if all goes well, you're offering will take off.  You may even grow to user base in the low millions... over your first year or two.  You hopefully will become part of people's lives.  The capital is flowing, your user base is growing, and hopefully your product is maturing.  Life is great.

But at what point, do we as users, do we as a market, expect "maturity"? 

At what point can we expect startups to operate stably? 

At what point can we expect Twitter and Technorati to become stable, reliable offerings? 

At what point does one cease to be a "startup" and become a bona fide traditional business?

Kudos to Craig Daitch for starting this conversation.

Photo Credit: source here and credit here

ambient connected experiences - going beyond mesh

The ambient web is a term often used to describe the pervasive web as it lives beyond the desktop browser.  The web lives on our blackberry (and ti my later point, on our Tivos) and we don't even need to think about it, it's just there.  It's an ambient part of our day to day lives.

Livemeshtechpreview But I believe there is more to ambient connectivity than connectivity to the web, or even to devices, alone.  Ambient connectivity is about more than Microsoft Mesh (though Mesh may be a step in the right direction).  True ambient experiences require cross-device, cross-platform, cross-format (or multi-format), pervasive connectivity TO OUR LIVES.  Sure, the internet will help deliver these experiences, but connectivity lives beyond the web - just look at the Wifi syncing feature on the Zune! 

Technology connects our lives.  It is not all about the internet, or about the Mesh.  It is about us, the users.  And while Mesh is a great first step, it still lacks intuition and true boarder-less presence. Think about it: Mesh promises to connect devices, to connect technologies.  But the ultimate ambient experiences will connect more than just technologies to other technologies, but it will connect humans to their own lives.  And that is where walls will will need fall.

Key Takeaway: The Microsoft Mesh platform may be a great first start, but it is not the be all and end all.  The future is not as much about syncing, as asking and delivering.  The future may not be about turning on or turning off, but just being there, maintaining that seamless background.  When technology is there, when it fits into our ambient lives, serving as augmenters rather than disruptors, when it services our lives in a truly ambient manner, the market is going to change.

Technology will change.

Marketing will change.

And our lives will change.

But rather our lives adapting to the technology itself, it will be the technology solutions will be enabling our own human lives. It is not just about connectivity.  It's about ambient solution delivery. 

And no, I don't see this isn't coming anytime soon. 

    But a guy can dream, can't he?