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December 2009

3 steps to "get" new tech, 3 steps to cure that tech addiction

2978348077_f755e60488_b There's something funny about new tech.  The only way to truly "get" what makes people come back to a new tech is to become a member of the tribe, but once you're a member of the tribe you may not like who or what you have become.

As we approach the Gregorian New Year (us Jews celebrated our own 2010 some time ago) please find three easy steps to "get" next year's new tech, and 3 steps to cure that tech addiction.

3 Steps to "Get" Next Year's New Tech
  1. Find someone who is familiar with the tech, a good online guide.  Internalize whatever you see, hear and read before you become a skeptic.
  2. Embrace the new tech yourself.  Get on that new platform, and use it daily for at least 15 or 20 minutes a day, nearly every day, for at least 3-6 weeks.
  3. Consider the implications to the other user's needs before thinking about your selfish motivation (marketing, tech development, monetization, etc)
3 Steps to Tech Addiction Detox
  1. Recognize that you have a problem.  If you don't have a problem, why would you stop?
  2. Identify a workable solution.  This may entail moderation, it may require relinquishing the tech altogether.  I recommend enlisting the help of close friends, family or colleagues and sponsors.
  3. Set meaningful goals and work with your sponsors and reassess regularly.  Once you've broken the behavior and cycle of habitual dependence, you should see the results you set out to achieve in step 1.

For more see the Social Networking Rehab blog and the Social Media Addicts Association (funny stuff).  Kudos to the dynamic duo of Jeff Pulver / Jeffery Sass and Greg Verdino respectively, for sharing.  Incidentally I dug up a related post from 18 months ago.  I crack myself up.

Dear TSA: We get it, but we aren't dumb

Disclosure: this post in no way represents my employer, it's parent company or our clients.

TSA Logo Dear TSA,

I fully appreciate the implications of this weekend's failed attack on a US airliner.  The loss of life, the impact to the air travel industry, the impact to the global economy overall, as well as to national moral would have been momentous.  Luckily, a few heroic passengers took action. 

With this weekend's events behind us, the TSA faced two objectives:

  1. Security needed to be tightened to keep people safe.
  2. Fliers need to know that they can trust airport security.

The TSA's solution was to (a) step up airport security overall, including deploying addition canine units, (b) implement gate-side bag checks and pat-downs, (c) a ban on in-flight communications including in-flight phones and Wifi, (d) all passengers must be in their seats with cleared laps for one hour before landing, and (e) in-flight announcements cannot mention geographic flight heading, location or landmarks.

As a flier, I am not convinced that the above measures do much of anything to improve our security (aside from beefing up airport security overall).  Is the last hour of flight really more of a threat than takeoff?  Or mid-flight?  Are terrorists really too dumb to think of bringing a satellite phone or GPS device on-board and leaving it on the entire flight?  Will my reading a book for the hour prior to landing really make me a security threat?  Is on-board Wifi (which can't be triangulated to get location) really a threat?

The bottom line here is this:

  1. We, the passengers, do not believe that these TSA measures will be impactful.
  2. Overall, we, the passengers, do not feel more safe due to these measures.
  3. We, the passengers, feel like the TSA is trying to give the appearance of security without making us substantially more secure.
  4. These inconsequential security measures will decrease the level of trust, respect and faith we have for the TSA overall.  This will lead to further delays and frustration from both fliers and TSA employees.

Here's what the TSA should do:

  1. Explain to us how each of their new security measures will make us safer.
  2. Honestly tell us that more efficient security is coming and that you are continuously working to improve.
  3. Give us an outlet to share our ideas and feedback with you, even if it's just a form on your website.

If you are from the TSA, please feel free to email me or comment below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

If you are a reader who relates to this post, please share and retweet .  #GetRealTSA

Lessons from the Fishbowl

Fishbowl If a tree falls in Twitter nobody will hear it, but millions may repeat the story, regardless of whether or not there really ever was a tree.  The wisdom of the masses faces it's greatest challenge in the reflective fishbowl of social media. 

Below are the primary lessons I have learned while straddling the line between social participant and brand coach.  If there's anything you would like to add, please feel free to share in the comments below.

  1. Just because everybody says it, doesn't make it true.
  2. Just because it was written on a big blog, doesn't make it fact.
  3. Just because it was said at a conference doesn't make it a best practice.
  4. Just because you have followers doesn't make you an influencer.
  5. Excitement is contagious.
  6. Gossip is a very real form of excitement.
  7. Disposable media becomes more meaningful when the meme is pervasive in your social circle.
  8. Consensus defines reality.

introduction: marketing in the era of ambiance

Social.  Mobile.  Personal.  Augmented.  Interactive.  Distributed.  Semantic.  These words all lead to one eventuality: the ambient connected life.

The principles of marketing in the era of ambiance will borrow from the best practices of innovators and communicators, and most of them will look familiar to many of you.  This is because ambiance removes the perceived technology barrier (life behind a screen) and relates to your real life as an integrated part of that life.

5 Ambient Marketing Principles
  1. Communicate regularly with purpose
  2. Respect personal space
  3. Let your data drive your creative
  4. Don't just broadcast, belong
  5. Own real-time, don't let real-time own you
Over the next five days we will explore each of these five principles in greater detail.  Looking forward to sharing this framework, and getting your thoughts as we go!

Bing's iPhone app: a step in the right direction

3678.Image-scroll First of all, Bing's iPhone app is big news for Bing.  It signals a number of shifts, principle among them A) strong recognition from Microsoft that they aren't ignoring non-Windows Mobile phones, and B) this was Bing's first significant functionality leapfrog over Google.  Leapfrogging Google is a big step towards gaining search traffic from the category leader.

What I Like

  • The interface is simple and stunning
  • Have I mentioned that the app is beautiful?
  • The app brings the character of Bing to the mobile, complete with the information rich and stunning wallpapers.
  • Strong visual search.
  • Integrated voice search.  I still can't believe Google doesn't have this on the iPhone.
  • The search (like often knows what you are looking for.  Weather pulls up the local weather, not just weather sites.  The same cannot be said for locations and maps.
  • Visually clear and rich directions and map data.

What Needs Improvement

  • Search is still Bing search, good for some things, not for others.
  • Maps needs an overhaul.  Some of the flaws listed below are flaws in the maps product overall and do not reflect a significant change for the iPhone.  Nevertheless, it impacts the user experience.Maps doesn't come close to Google's Android product.  Bringing a product at least on-par with Google's Android functionality to the iPhone would have been a real door-buster.  Here are some basic flaws:
    • POIs and intuition are weak - It didn't recognize CitiField in Flushing, NY or JFK in NY as POIs.
    • Maps needs to include compass functionality for true in-motion turn by turn directions
    • Visually, traffic wasn't too easy to see behind the lines of my route.
  • Much like on, the search does not intuitively know when you are looking for directions.
  • I would love to see stronger tie-ins to image search using the camera, potentially layering in any of Microsofts many photo tools.  How cool would photosynth recognition (by GPS), uploads and viewing be on your iPhone?

That being said, this is a first release, and a decent first shot.  Looking forward to seeing great things in the days ahead.

validation (w video)

It's a big word.

And it's a big concept.

And it's core to your relationships with your customers, with your prospects, with your friends and with your family.

A few years back I was a "madrich" in a post high school college/yeshiva in Israel.  The job of a madrich is something between mentor, dorm counselor, cool older brother and educator.  There was this one guy, Jeff, who constantly validated.  When staff meetings got tense, he would go around the room and compliment each and every person on something random.  "Rabbi Wruble, you're mustache is inspiring.  Jon, your sweater speaks to your strong personality.  Sruly, your glasses make me swoon."  He was a funny guy and everyone loved him.  Because he validated.

Your customers don't need a full refund because of a minor complication.  They need someone to listen to them, to hear them out, to solve their problem and to make them feel important and validated.  That's all we're seeking.

Someone I follow on twitter (I believe it was Jeff Pulver) once went on a tweeting rampage about how everyone is afraid of risk, but without risk we cannot innovate.  The risk takers in your organization aren't only in it for the money.  They are driven.  They want to go out on a limb.  The easiest way to foster innovative thinking isn't just to give 5, 10 or 15% of your employees time to innovative projects.  It's to validate the effort and the drive.

Your most passionate customers don't need your community or your support.  But they value your validation.

Validation is a powerful human drive.  Let's put it to good use.

Inspired by the video below.


 Three Stories

Clowns1) The Tech Blogger/Tweeter

Last week I met a well trafficked and well followed tech personality.  As I work agency-side in social, he tried to sell me on the value of sharing "review units."  He enjoys talking to people about tech, but his big excitement in this area was the "review units" he gets from PR firms and brands.  He was gushing energy as he told me that all he had to do was mention that he was impressed by a digital photo frame, and the company sent him a complimentary review unit.  He has also received a number of high end cell phones and other devices.  He now legitimately loves these brands.  After all, he's a geek and they give him great gifts!  Shameless.

2) The Agency Hired Gun

About two months ago I noticed that someone I followed on Twitter was suddenly talking quite a bit about Brand X (not the real brand name).  When I contacted her via DM to ask what her hashtags meant, she said they were part of an effort she was launching for a client, and that she was personally excited about this.  I have been following her for quite a while, and she never spoke about this brand, or even their product category.  She didn't bother to disclose that they were a client, or even put a personal spin on her tweets to make them more relevant to her typical discussion.  Shameless.

3) The Brand Manager

A friend of mine was recently working with a brand that suffered terribly from lack of conversation and occasional negative conversation.  When presented with a comprehensive plan for addressing customer issues and building advocacy, the client pinged their PR agency who suggested they simply engage influencers.  I'm all for engaging influencers as part of a broader program, but do you really believe that we are sheep that follow the influencer?  Is this even a band-aid short term solution?  Or is this a C.Y.A. tactic that shouts of the voice of your real customer?

What does this mean to me?

Social is only as powerful as the trust people have in each other.  If you behave shamelessly, you lose that trust and that value.  Respect people, act and communicate with integrity, and inspire people to communicate positively and you've got a chance.  Everything else is just a game.

Kudos to my good friend Michael Fasciano for inspiring this post with a single word: Shameless.

simplifying web 2.0 terms

Notice that none of these behaviors are new to 2.0

Viral - peer sharing

Personal Brand - reputation

Meme - rumor

Hashtag - conversational reference point (how many times in the 80s did you quote Marty McFly? Now it's #mcfly)

Tweet - talk

Blog - make a statement

Trackback - send a letter to the editor

Poke - tap someone on the sholder

Embed - to share someone elses thoughts (think funny tshirt, bumper sticker etc)

Comment - comment on someone elses statement

Friend - to join with someone else

Connect - connect with someone else

Fan - to affiliate oneself publicly

Wiki - the table at a group meeting

Aggregator - subscription

The only difference in digital, it's faster, simpler and therefor bigger.  And when things grow quickly, they change.  But let's be real.  We're really not that different, we just do it differently.