Value Ecosystem Creation

I gave a keynote in 2013 and part of the presentation was about the power that digital technology can have helping create what i refer to as a "brand value ecosystem". I came up with a few concepts, and stole of a few others and prescribed ways to think about the cross section of product and marketing, and the unique ability that digital technology affords us in extending the core value of products and services. 

While the following slides become more clear with my voice over, the definitions should give you something to think about. The entire presentation is on the homepage of this site if you care to go back and watch it. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ways to improve upon my model. 


The Mirror World Is Here, And The Map Is The Interface

Four or five years ago at Carnival in Notting Hill my good friend and I were talking about media when it hit me--with the increase in realtime media production stamped with location data, there is nothing stopping a company from stitching all this data together and build a realtime virtual world based on consumer generated media (sort of like what Photosynth does). A seemingly novel idea to me, the notion of the Mirror World was not new. Still, the realization of the power of the concept had not yet been presented to me in a way that was practical. 

Fast Forward to today.

At Google I/O they presented the refreshed version of Google Maps and...holy shit it is slick. I have often likened the Google search box to the dewey decimal system in terms of it's arcane user experience, but with the new Google Maps, Google has created a new interface to search and discover things in the world around us. New and exciting ways to both find and share also add to the idea that, one day, maybe Google+ will be useful. What I mean is, if the sharing features in the new maps are so useful, it may just be enough motivation to spend more time building out your social graph on Google (though they really take care of a lot of it for you, provided you have taken the simple step of signing up). 

Welcome Mirror World, welcome to a new era of search and once again, thanks to the big G!

Is Foursquare Suffering From It's Own Success?

It is hard to build a brand. Really hard, especially in this day and age when anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can start a business. 

Foursquare has managed to build an incredibly beloved brand. A brand so loved that the thing people initially loved it for is almost inseparable from the brand itself; check ins. Despite the many amazing innovation coming out of Foursquare as of late, the word on the street is still, "Foursquare is the check in app, right?"

As a lover of long term vision, I salute Foursquare, as I think their current move towards local search and data driven local content was always the plan, yet I don't see the new behaviors they are promoting coming to fruition. Maybe these new search and discover functions are beings used and I am just not seeing it, but the fact is, even check ins barely infiltrated the main stream.

So what is the future of Foursquare?

Perhaps they have acquired enough data to power other businesses and in turn, get data back from these businesses, building an "ingredient brand strategy" (kind of like Intel, where the brand is less about selling directly to the consumer and more about building love and trust).

Who knows. It does pain me to admit that, I simply don't foresee the mainstream associating Foursquare with search and discovery in the same manner as Yelp or Google. I sure hope they find a way to figure this out. 

Tyler DeAngelo Is Friggin Awesome!

There is so much creativity in the world. So many creative agencies and creative work, but there are still very few creative people that have a gift for knitting technology into their ideas in a way that positions the technology second to the idea itself. Often times, tech creative is just that; a creative use of technology that puts the technology front and center. 

Tyler DeAngelo breaks the mold.

I have had the fortune of becoming friends with Tyler and have had conversations with him about his creative process. Tyler certainly shares my love of technology obscurity in service of advanced, ground breaking ideas.

His latest Opus is very simple. VERY simple. But it is just so clever. Do I love it as much as say, "5th Avenue Frogger"? Maybe not. But I still had to write this post because the simplicity of the idea and the fact that the technology is of little importance to the lay user is so impressive.

In addition, Tyler is a "maker". While many of us sit around and say "you know what would be cool" Tyler is out making cool...all the time. In the last few years I have grown to have very little respect for ideas. In fact, I only care about creative ideas if they are presented to me in an executable fashion (if not an already executed prototype).

We are all creatives. Those of us that can translate dreams into a tangible format are geniuses.

If you consider yourself a digital creative director and want to simply become a creative director, study Tyler DeAngelo. He breaks the mold of digital creative director and just is, creative. One might even say he is a master "internet of things" creative director, but that would undermine his organic talents.  

Tyler, you are the man!

Google Casts a Big Shadow on Smaller Web Sites -

"Google will not comment on its relations with specific Web sites. But a person briefed on its interactions with said Google had found additional duplication, like Michigan candidates showing up on the Iowa Web site. The person also said that hardly any other Web sites linked to, one of the most important elements in the algorithm.

Early last year, operators of small local news sites nationwide found that their number of readers had plummeted. Why? Their Web sites had disappeared from Google News, which in many cases was their No. 1 source of traffic.

Their owners wrote e-mail messages to Google and scoured online forums, to no avail."

In 2007 I wrote of the editorialized algorithm. Today, Google is still grappling with pundits, politicians  publishers and retailers. Check out this incredibly interesting piece in the NY Times about the topic. I would love to hear your thoughts. 

"Angry Wars" And Pig Eggs

I am a huge fan of entertainment franchises...when they are good. Some seem contrived and forced into existence with buckets of cash--this is not the case with Angry Birds. Despite the money poured into this franchise, there has been an organic growth for this franchise that money cannot buy. Hats off to Rovio for finding a cultural pleasure point and not totally killing it.

The first video, an Angry Bird/Star Wars mashup is exciting, but the second, a Bad Piggies interactive cookbook, brilliant! At the end of the post you will see a poll--I would love for you to weigh in!

Bogusky Takes Back The Polar Bears

What do you call a diabetic polar bear with erectile dysfunction? The star of Alex Bogusky's new attack on the soda industry. One might say, "isn't he the guy that promoted burgers all those years?" and if one asked such a question, they would be right. Still, I believe that people can change, and in doing so, have the ability to take extreme measures to right what they feel they have done wrong. 

The spot is pretty good. Not great. It is less powerful than I would like, despite the polar amputee. Not too mention, in the end, when the polar bears poor out their sodas, aren't they just killing fish?

Here is the spot. I would love to know how you feel about it.

View poll on GoPollGo

I WANT You To Want Me, Facebook!

Okay, maybe I don't really NEED the shirt below, but it would be fun to have :)

As Facebook makes it entrance into the "pintrified world" one has to wonder, do people really want this? I would venture to guess they do. Though the interface is not as slick as Pinterest, the goal is a bit different as it is solely focused on commerce--or so it purports to be. 

Will this product fall into the bucket of understated clones that Facebook has created to compete with other trending start-ups? Perhaps, too early to tell. While the product makes a whole lot of sense, I think it wil come down to the adoption of the this product by retailers. I can see a future in which the "Want" button suffers the same ill fate of Facebook Places however I think this product has a bit more to it. 

Facebook Want

Facebook Is Like A Chair

I really like this video, but the metaphor in the beginning is a bit contrived. I am all for lateral thinking, but on first watching, it just did not feel natural to me. I will watch it again.

Anyhow, thanks Facebook. I truly do appreciate what you have done for humanity and continue to be a user and ardent supporter, even though my stock is down 10 bucks from the time I purchased it ;)

Consumers Don't Care About NFC

“When you think about the mobile wallet, what’s going to transfer your desire to pay with instruments in your pocket to moving to payments with a mobile phone?” said Walt Doyle, general manager at PayPal Media Network, Boston.

“There’s a lot to that – I think that we have all recognized that it’s not the tap-and-pay or NFC – that’s not enough,” he said.

I really dig the quote above and totally agree. NFC is not enough to get consumers on board with the idea of the mobile wallet--in fact, NFC is not really a factor when it comes to consumer adoption. The mobile wallet will be possible when the following are in place:

  1. Ubiquitous infrastructure--it is one thing for American Express to not be accepted at a few establishments and another to have your payment mechanism of choice only be  accepted 50% of the time
  2. Technological Obscurity--the average person does not want to know how the sausage is made, they just want the sausage
  3. Frictionless Use--it has to work, period. 95% success rate or better!
  4. Security--this is two pronged. The system has to be technically secure, but people also have to trust the brand that is delivering them the service

There has been a lot of talk about a missed opportunity on Apple's part when they chose not to include NFC in the iPhone 5. While it would have been incredibly cool for them to do this, I am not so sure that the feature would have been as been widely adopted as some speculated, as the above bullets are not all satisfied. I would imagine that Apple feels that, given the current state of digital payments and the consumer perception about them, it was just not time to roll out this solution. Instead, they decided to prime the world for such transactions with Passbook.

I look forward to the future of payments as much as anyone (probably much more) but I don't think lack of NFC is the major barrier between us and this future. After all, many people are still not comfortable with mobile commerce in general.

With all of this said, I think mobile payments are just around the corner. Give it two years and the world will look much different!