With Sherry Turkle’s opinion piece in yesterday’s New York Times, The Flight From Conversation, a dialog has sprung up about the impact of today’s social technologies on personal interaction. These kinds of commentaries always appear when new technologies emerge that offer new ways for people to interact and engage. And they are true in a way.
Years ago, a co-worker had a tendency to send me emails even though he was two cubes away . It annoyed me and felt like he was avoiding face-to-face interaction. I responded by constantly parking myself in his cube to engage in a conversation on all of the items he emailed me. The one-to-one conversations lead to a better understanding between us and ultimately more effective email communication.
Surely all of us have sat in long, boring meetings doing our email, or texting on our iPhone only to be embarrassed when our name is mentioned or something comes up later that we missed while being distracted. I think Sherry Turkle’s article is a good reminder that sometimes putting down the technology and seeking people out for a face-to-face conversation is the right solution. Ultimately our most important relationships are with people. We should not lose sight of that. Technology often does facilitate those relationships but we have to have judgment in how we use it.
We are all guilty of using the latest gadget to excess. When all you have is a bright, shiny new hammer (or social networking site), everything looks like a nail. Social networking isn’t bad except when it is. Everybody should lighten up, social networking has a place in your life, it just shouldn’t BE your life.
With the iPad3 announcement scheduled for tomorrow I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the emergence of tablets as mainstream computing devices. In reality tablet computers have been around for many years with limited adoption, and generally seen as a slight permutation of portables or laptop computers. So what is it about the iPad that has created a whole new category of product? What makes it different and why is that difference the death knell for PCs as we know them?
In a word, fluidity.
What Apple did with the iPad is make a multi-purpose device that is graceful, smooth, flexible and agile. They created a device that requires minimal effort to operate, that is seamless and easy. It can gracefully switch from one function to another. It can flexibly enable you to do many simple, and some complex, tasks. It takes out the complexity that we have grown accustomed to in PCs. That complexity is what makes PCs a much more rigid, difficult, and for many, frustrating experience. This fluidity makes the iPad (and hopefully other tablet brethren) uniquely suited to leverage the power of the emerging cloud to free us from desktops and traditional computing paradigms.
Tomorrows announcement is just another step in a major transformation in how we use computing technology to work, learn and play.
There is a lot of hyperbole around mobile wallets these days but really what do they have to offer? Are they faster and more convenient than swiping a credit card? Are they more secure? Are they cheaper for merchants, consumers and banks? The answer to all of these questions is no. No, they aren’t more convenient. No, they aren’t more secure, and no, they aren’t cheaper, so why all the hoopla?
The driving force behind mobile wallets is the opportunity to track a consumers shopping habits and then present deals and coupons. Everyone knows consumers love deals (Groupon anyone?), and all these companies jostling to provide mobile wallets understand that owning a system that can deliver highly relevant deals and coupons will be lucrative. That is why more and more players are attempting to jump into this space. Today the WSJ reports that a group of big name retailers like Walmart and Target are working together to develop their own wallet offering. It’s interesting to watch the scrum between banks, mobile operators, credit card networks, technology companies and now, retailers. But I wonder, is anyone really considering consumers or are they all just rushing to line their own wallets?
These days it seems that every job description for a marketing leader is focused on analytics, there isn’t much mention of creativity. There is also a premium on having done the exact same thing over and over. This seems like a short-sighted approach to me, and one that needs to change.
In a recent article on Mashable, Ron Brown makes the argument for creativity citing the recent IBM Global CEO study (here.). With the wild success of Apple’s products you would think that companies would want to find, hire, and reward creativity from their employees. But alas, for many companies it is just lip service. That is too bad because the combination of right brain and left brain is really where the power is.
You can view the article here.).
Excellent study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism on the Tablet Revolution. You can see it here.
This looks like a pretty comprehensive study on how people are using Tablets with a focus on understanding news usage.
- 77% of tablet owners use their tablet every day
- 67% browse the web daily on their tablets
- 54% receive email daily on their tablets
- 53% of Tablet users get news on their tablets every day, and they read long articles as well as headlines
- Other popular daily activities on tablets include 39% use social networking, 30% play games, 17% read books, and 13% watch movies or videos
- 3 in 10 tablet news users say they now spend more time getting news than they did before and that they are turning to new sources.
Even more interesting is that tablet news users now prefer their new devices over traditional computers, print publications or television!
An interesting chart on the fragmentation of the Android platform from theunderstatement. You can see it here.
Some key points to note:
- 7 of the 18 phones that he tracks never ran a current version of the Android OS
- 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period
- 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter
Why is this a problem? The value in these phones is largely derived from the software that they run. If that software is already out of date or soon to be unsupported it sure would be nice to know that as a consumer. Also from a developer standpoint this shrinks the available market size and makes it far more complicated to develop for it.
Do our online social identities represent who we really are offline? Are you different in different contexts? These are questions that every online user faces. Should my Facebook page just be for personal stuff? LinkedIn just for business? It never really works that easily. Google+ tries to handle this with circles, where you can segment your audience and share accordingly. Facebook now handles this with smart lists. But have they really solved the problem? Chris Poole believes that they have misunderstood the core problem, that it isn’t who you share with, it’s who you share as. It’s not the audience, it’s your context within that audience. Human beings are multifaceted. Check out the presentation here.
New forecast of social network ad revenues from eMarketer last week. Key takeaways:
1) Social network ad revenues continue to grow rapidly worldwide
Ad revenues are forecast to grow 45% next year to $8.04B worldwide and another 24.2% in 2013 to $9.99B.
2) Growing rapidly in U.S. but faster internationally
By 2013, non-US ad revenues will make up 51.9% of the total
3) Social network ad revenues grow as a percent of online ad spending overall
In 2011 social network ad spending will account for 8.8% of US online ad spending growing to 11.7% in 2013.
You can check out the article on emarketer here.
I spent last night and this morning reading about Steve Jobs passing and all of the tributes to him. But to me his death is much more personal. I went to work for Apple right after college in 1981. It was an amazing place to be. It was a place where meritocracy ruled, good ideas were valued, and people actually believed they could change the world. I didn’t know anything about Steve when I interviewed at Apple but I could just tell that something exciting was going on there. I had to be a part of it. A few months later I heard Steve speak at a company event for the first time. It blew my mind. Here was a leader who spoke with passion about what the company was doing, who put things in terms that everyone in the organization understood. He never said let’s make $5B or have a gross margin of 40%. He said, let’s make insanely great products that will change the world. Let’s face it he inspired us to do more than our best, to go the extra mile. He made us all realize that every detail mattered and our hard work made a difference. That experience shaped my life and drives what I do everyday.
We all know that Steve had perhaps the greatest second and third acts in American business at Pixar and Apple. He brought us products that have literally changed the way people live, work and play. No one who knew Steve was surprised. We can list out all of the things that he was great at – a visionary, a great marketer, a great businessman.
Let me add to all of that a great human being. For someone who had so much wealth and power, Steve lived a very down to earth life. I live a couple of blocks from Steve, and over the years I have seen him in town at the grocery store, walking his daughter to school, and handing out candy at Halloween. The man didn’t want to be a celebrity, he wanted to do something far more important and profound – live a real life and help make the world a better and more interesting place.
In this day and age of celebrity above all else, he is something truly unique and to be admired. We will miss him. The world is a lesser place without him. He is irreplaceable.
I can’t resist posting this. A great piece on TechCrunch showing Apple’s 1987 Knowledge Navigator video and yesterday’s video piece on Siri from Apple’s announcement. It is uncanny how many concepts that are currently emerging are foreshadowed in the Knowledge Navigator video. Of course, people who worked at Apple back then, including me, know that many of these concepts have been around for quite a while. The big challenges back then were around processing power, network connections, and oh yeah, pricing.
It is great to see this stuff happen and kudos to Apple for once again leading the way. You can check out the article here.