Baby You Can Drive My Car

That is so Yesterday!  See what I did there 🙂

The modern version is that there actually is no one driving your car. Are you ready for this?

In the fall of 2010, Google announced that it developed “self-piloting” Toyota Prius Hybrids and they were loose on the streets of California. Mostly on Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  And they had driven 140,000 miles with no issues. The vehicles were powered by unproven artificial intelligence software.  Those Google people are pretty smart.

Fast forward to 2014 and now everyone is getting in the game to provide “driverless” cars. Audi, BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo all have announced plans to “unveil” an autonomous car by 2020. Google says to watch for its public debut of its prototype in 2016. Still, a truly autonomous vehicle, one capable of dealing with any real-world situation, won’t hit showrooms coast-to-coast for years after that.

But we have the technology already. Plus there would be no accidents, less traffic, all sorts of awesome benefits.  What the heck is taking so long?

Simple answer.  People.  We are not close to relinquishing control of the steering wheel. Heck,I never let anyone else drive. You know why?  Because I like it and so do you 🙂  Great technology in search of a problem.  Wonder what generation will adopt? Wonder if we will be around to see it?

And now a classic by the Beatles for your listening pleasure.

Webman

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Attention Shoppers!

Yes you looking at the Ragu!

We have all be using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for some time.  We started this journey with Garmins, Tom Tom’s and other devices specific to on dash installation.  They worked pretty well but you needed to continuously update the street files to get the most out of these devices.  Then the car companies started to install in dash navigation systems.  I do not know about you, but these interfaces always seemed complex and unusable to me.

Then of course, these capabilities became part of our smartphone applications.  We first had Google Maps, MapQuest, AmAze and of course Apple Maps (Much better now)  Then we were introduced to social GPS with Waze, but they were purchased fast by Google. All great apps and all free.  Are you spending any money on Garmins or Tom Tom’s anymore?  Not me 🙂 And of course our phones themselves have Location Based Services, so retailers and the like know where you are and can send you advertising and other content

Now we are moving this indoors with Apple’s iBeacon technology.  What is iBeacon?  It is an indoor positioning system; a network of devices used to wirelessly locate objects or people inside a building.  Apple has already rolled this technology out to their retail stores.  It uses Bluetooth technology, which by the way is of course enabled on all smart phones.  Now there is a coincidence 🙂 This technology will provide the retail store with your exact in-store location, enabling them to communicate directly in the moment of your purchase decisions.  Yowsa!

On Monday, iBeacons were introduced with supermarkets Safeway and Giant Eagle.  inMarket’s (The company providing the solution) iBeacon Mobile to Mortar platform sends out a variety of information to iPhone-owning store visitors, so long as they’ve opted in to use the service via one of its compatible apps, such as CheckPoints.  By enabling the service, shoppers can expect to receive notifications to their Apple handset such as discount coupons, loyalty rewards, and reminders about what to pick up.  The technology was previously introduced in Macy’s through a relationship with shopping application Shopkick.

We are no longer lost in the supermarket.  We know where you are, always.

Webman

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Are you awake?

Focused on expanding my horizons the last couple of week by reading about some topics that I am not familiar with.  One I focused on was the concept of being awake, living in the moment. Being awake you say?  But I am awake 12+ hours a day you say!

Are you really awake or are you just going through the motions?  Do you live in the past, present and future all at the same time? When you are engaged in a discussion, are you thinking about something that has previously happened or other things that you need to do? Or are you truly focused in the moment with all attention on that one idea, thought, person or event?

Initial thoughts:

  • Focus solely on what you are doing – this will not be easy at first but keep trying
  • Look people directly in the eye and listen hard to what they are saying – As my friend Brendan says, God gave you two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak
  • Give the gift of attention – focus on the present/the moment

I will spend more on this topic moving forward.  If you want some further information now, please visit http://freedomfromtheknown.com/living-in-the-moment/

And for you music lovers, let’s go to a song that you can sing and remember as you embark on your new journey of focus.

Enjoy the day and your new found focus 🙂  Wake up!

Webman

Your iPhone Just Got Better

In case you missed it yesterday, Apple had a few new products to share with you yesterday.  As usual, the company continues to just crush it and will be providing you with new and more productive ways to leverage and use all of the Apple technology that you have.  Apple announced a major iOS 7 redesign, with countless iOS 7 features that are rolling out in the iOS 7 beta today.  They are also going directly after Pandora with their new iRadio service and killed a few competitive apps by just including these capabilities in the operating system, like the flashlight.

So in case you missed the announcements yesterday, here are a few nuggets for you.  Change is good.  But remember, as Woodrow Wilson once said “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”  So this will identify the positives around the announcements.  Someone else can write about what they hate about Apple.  Not me.

Apple New Design

  1. Control Center – In iOS 7 Apple adds a Control Center, which allows users to swipe up from the bottom of any screen for access to toggling WiFi, Do Not Disturb, Brightness, controlling music playback, AirPlay and more. There’s also a flashlight built-in and shortcuts to apps.
  2. Swipe to Go Back – When in Safari or other apps, if you need to go back, don’t bother looking for the back button, swiping in from the left will go back.
  3. Scrolling App Folders – The new app folders in iOS 7 aren’t limited to a few apps. If you want to put all your games into a folder you can now do that and scroll through apps in a folder.
  4. Better Sharing Menu – The new iOS 7 sharing menu includes a scrollable list of apps and other iPhones to make sharing photos and more simpler.
  5. Great New Look – Apple changed the look of IOS, from the font and dock up to the status bar at the top of the iPhone. This is a brand new look that many users are already excited to try out.
  6. New Multitasking With Previews – The new iOS 7 multitasking uses the full size of the iPhone 5 display to let users see what’s going on in apps. Users can also swipe up to kill an app, instead of long pressing on it.
  7. Siri Voice Options – In iOS 7 Siri offers a new female voice and a male voice for the first time.
  8. More Control of iPhone with Siri – Siri can now control more of the iPhone. In the demo Siri on iOS 7 controlled brightness, returning calls and controlling iRadio.
  9. iOS 7 Looks Change to Match Your Background – When you change the background of the home screen, elements of the IOS system will change to match the colors. This includes the dialer and other parts of iOS 7.
  10. New Camera App – iOS 7 features a new Camera app that includes faster access to panorama, a new look and much more.

These are just 10 of the great new things developed by Apple and announced yesterday.  Thanks to the folks at Gottabemobile for the summary.  An additional 40 new items can be found at http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/06/10/50-ios-7-features-youll-actually-care-about/

And the hits just keep on coming.  Speaking about hits, here is one of my favorite summer songs from The Alarm:

Webman

Car Wrecks

In corporations throughout the world, there is a awful lot of talk – We are going to do this, we are going to do that.  Sometimes it actually happens.  It does so in organizations that are focused on results, have a clear understanding of market conditions, recognize where they can win, where they can establish new markets and where they can create value and growth.

Some organizations have the best of intentions and want to walk the talk, but do they really know how?  Are they able to deliver against the talk?  Are they able to live up to their customer expectations, especially in the many markets that are impacted by rapidly changing technologies, expanding channels, customer expectations and intense competition?  It is tough out there and it is getting tougher.

Think about RIM, the makers of Blackberry.  Here is their stock chart for the last 5 years:

RIM

Ouch.  A bit of an uptick recently but that one hurts.  Once the darling of stocks and consumers, now an afterthought.  Happened really quickly.

Now let’s take a look at Ebay.

ebay price

Nice.   Vision, focus and outstanding execution. Well done.

Over the course of these disparate journeys, people have been involved every step of the way.  Why is one company successful yet the other, once successful, struggles to regain it’s momentum in a market that has changed significantly since their heyday?  What will happen to today’s high flyers once the technology shifts yet again and the market needs and demands change?

So many factors and variables involved in walking the talk.  But the basic tenets are the right vision, seeing the market clearly, knowing how you are differentiated and superior execution of the plan.  Holding your best and brightest accountable but also empowering them to do great things and recognizing value created, not politics, not puckering, no insecure leaders and most importantly no senior managers that waste your time.

Some senior managers tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear.  Some senior managers probe and question under the umbrella of “I am here to help you” or “I am trying to learn” or “I can help”, when their real intention is to find anything that might need improvement and highlight these 5-10% items over the 90% of great stuff that happens every day.  I refer to these senior managers as “Car Wrecks” because they are the ones rubber necking what is wrong, instead of focusing on the positives and building on those.  These “Car Wreck” managers delight in finding something wrong and then jumping to rapid, non-fact based decisions that are highly punitive and are totally misaligned to the business.  Where instead of using the mistake as a learning experience, they want to expose a mistake through extreme disciplinary action, creating an environment of fear and a lack of willingness to take risk.  Can you imagine working in an environment where mistakes are frowned upon because you would never want to get on that managers “Bad” list?  Well that will certainly incent risk taking and thinking outside the box, won’t it?  Not.

So, do your best to stay away from “Car Wreck” managers.  There is only one car they are trying to wreck – yours.

Webman

Go Inside

“If you are not on the inside, your are on the outside”

Gordon GekkoWall Street

Well apparently Apple wants to be on the inside.  The last mile in the marketing, promotional, geo-location part of the food chain. There is still one slightly uncharted territory that will — without question — be the last mile in marketing. It is the ability for a brand to deliver contextual and highly targeted marketing at the local retail level. We may be inching ever-closer to this reality.

On March 23rd, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple acquired a company called WiFiSLAM for an estimated $20 million. WiFiSLAM is GPS for the indoors. It is able to triangulate the location of consumers, track their every move and deliver contextual marketing messages to them while capturing a tremendous amount of consumer data.

For Apple, this may be the next big thing. Some speculate that Apple will try to grab the mapping of the inside spaces while Google continues to map the oceans and the arctic. Google is just as busy trying to capitalize on this idea of mapping the inside of spaces as well. But it’s not just a game for Apple and Google. Amazon has been hard at work capturing tons of consumer information at the retail level.

A little Eve 6 for you.

Look no further than their Price Check for iPhone app that enables consumers to scan a barcode, snap a picture of a product or use text/speech search to find out how much the product is on Amazon. This business of showrooming has become a contentious talking point in the retail sector, as more and more consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to find a better price at the physical location. These consumers are using the stores as a showroom, but completing their purchases on their mobile devices and having the products shipped to their homes. What we don’t hear much about is the data and information that Amazon is capturing about consumers, how they walk through stores, what they’re price checking, the price variances from store to store, trends in merchandising and more. All of this (and more) is being captured, each and every time a consumer uses the app to find a better price. While it’s not real-time information like WiFiSLAM is offering, Amazon still has tremendous information about consumers and how they make their way through many different retail environments.

It looks like stores are going to become as dynamic and intelligent as their e-commerce counterparts. So long as retailers seeks permission from their consumers and use this technology to drive more value to the consumers, these types of technologies could well be the linchpin that secures the future of retail.

Inside game is now officially on.  Just as spring arrives.

Webman

The Mobile Global Snowball

Great new stuff from Return Path on mobile open rates and what is happening around the globe.

Return Path is the worldwide leader in email intelligence. Their solutions utilize the world’s most comprehensive set of data to maximize the performance and accountability of email, build trust across the entire email ecosystem and protect users from spam and other abuse.

In their most recent study, mobile continues to extend its lead on open rates.

Mobile opens

But behavior by country differs considerably.  North America leads in mobile opens:

mobile opens 1

And Apple’s IOS is by far the dominant operating system for mobile opens.

mobile opens 2

For more information check out the infographic:

http://www.returnpath.com/wp-content/uploads/resource/email-mostly-mobile/Return-Path-Email-Mostly-Mobile1.jpg