Technology redefines categories and experience

7E99A285-9B1F-4D8B-B72E-036022AEBE12.jpgI was not waiting on line at 5am for the iPad like some other people around the US. It's a device without a niche for me right now.

Think what you will of it, however, the technology behind the iPad and similar devices is helping to redefine categories that have had relatively little innovation in centuries.

Take the book industry. Now, I love my Kindle and it's innovative enough, but it uses the same paradigm as a print book. It works for what I need (quick consumption and ease of travel), but it is limited.

The experience of the Kindle is okay. It could be smoother and reminds me of what Blackberrys were like about 5 years ago. Get your hands on a new Blackberry and you'll see what I am talking about. It's smooth and easier to use yet still functional. The Kindle will catch up quickly.

Now, think about what publishing can look like on a device that senses when you tilt it or when you touch it. Have a look:


[video embed]

The experience that new technology provides opens doors and lets us shift our thinking about old standards and the experience that can be delivered.

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Two tips on building microidentity

iphone.jpgLittle things are the new big thing, right? Well, in keeping with that notion, I wanted to share a couple of little tips on online identity. Whether you're a blogger or a corporation, these two items go a long way. One is very old school and the other is as new as new can be.

New school: apple-touch-icon.png

This one I found out when my lovely, amazing wife bought me an iPhone for Christmas. Thanks dear!! Through the iPhone you can add a blog/site to your menu just like an application. If you do this without following the next steps, however you get a very generic, non-identifiable icon. It looks something like this:

Picture 11.png

Not impressive, not readily identifiable. After a bit of digging, however I learned how to add an icon to replace the generic default. To do this you'll need to create a PNG file that is 158x158 pixels. Here is the one I created:

apple-touch-icon.png

Now, rename that file to apple-touch-icon.png and upload it to the root directory on your website (meaning it will be at http://www.yourdomain.com/apple-touch-icon.png). The iPhone/iTouch does the rest. It resizes and rounds the corners and adds that shiny love to the image.

UPDATE: Here is a quick video overview of how this one works.

[Click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Old school: favicon.ico

Depending on how geeky you are, you may or may not know this little file. The favicon.ico controls the tiny logo/headshot that appears in the address bar for a site when you visit (see below). It's a small differentiator, but that's okay.

To create this file head over to this site. From here you can create one from scratch or upload an existing image. Keep in mind the output is around 15 pixels square so make sure you use something simple. Once you have the file, you need to upload it to the root directory for your site. (Ping me if you need more info on this one.)

Shows up in the address bar in your browser

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Shows up in tabs when you have them open

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Shows up in your bookmarks to help them stand out

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These are both easy tactics to implement can make a big difference in user experience and usefulness. Feel free to add Techno//Marketer on your iPhone and let me know your thoughts.

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Making Microsoft more personal

If you haven't seen the new Microsoft ad staring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, here it is. I think if you were Microsoft and were trying to become more personal and less corporate, this is a good step in that direction.

So, what are your thoughts? Is this a better move to take on Apple and HP head-to-head? Is this too offbeat for you? Does it connect you more with the brand or do you feel the same? Vote below.


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Starbucks song of the day and physical artifacts

Starbucks giveawayIf you haven't been to a Starbucks in the last week or so, you may have missed a cool new promotion their doing with iTunes. Each day for a month, Starbucks is giving customers a small card (business card size) away with a new artist on it. On the back of the card is a code to redeem the song in the iTunes Music Store.

This is not only a good continuation of the Apple + Starbucks relationship, but a way to simultaneously drive traffic to the physical store (you can only get them in person) and to iTunes. This plays well with the iPhone and iPod Touch relationship that's already been formed between the two companies and shows Starbucks' continued move into the music retail space.

I love this idea on a couple of levels. Not only is there a big benefit to the end user (around $30 in free music), but it most likely will drive the incremental revenue to Starbucks to cover the expense a number of times over. The program also solidifies the music push to Starbucks customers who (most of which) have not ever purchases a CD or other DVD inside the store and it reinforces the position to people who have. Starbucks is also promoting new artists on a national level, the majority of whom I have not heard of.

The other piece of this that I think has hooks into MANY marketing plans is the idea of a physical artifact that ties the offline to the online. This physical card is easy to hand out at the register, easy to shove into a pocket or purse and just as easy to redeem online. These physical ties to the online world are powerful physical reminders and bridges to take offline customers into the online experience.

microsoftbizcard219border.jpgThis strategy is one of the reasons that I love what Hugh MacLeod does, taking artwork on the back of business cards and using them as digital and physical artifacts (or "social objects" as Hugh calls them). Hugh has grown this into work with Stormhoek winery and Microsoft (pictured here), creating elements that drive users to engage with the brands on- and off-line.

I am not talking about tchotchke. These items have intrinsic value, they are not throw-aways with a web URL.

What could you create today that could take your current customers or visitors to your website or location on the social network? Is it art on the back of your business card? Is it a USB drive with cool content on it? The possibilities are endless.


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Real time marketing; listen, watch and react

Smart marketers know that the web offers the unprecedented ability to be timely and relevant. When an event happens, content can shift in real-time, ads can go up and offers can be made.

I love the Nokia team's response to the iPhone price drop and subsequent buyer revolt. The Nokia team used the news to their advantage and started running search ads inviting Apple's early adopters to enjoy their new Mosh service and some free content. It's timely, super relevant and took advantage of a one-time situation to capitalize on consumer emotions.

Here is a screenshot of the ad based on the phrase 'iphone price drop':
iphonemosh.jpg
[Screenshot via TechCrunch]

Apple eventually posted a retaliatory search ad and Nokia has since removed their ad from rotation (the window is closed). Nokia only had to be there in the moment and it could have very easily passed them by. How many situations just like this could companies use to capture the interest of consumers? Relevance is key in getting people to engage with you online and this type of marketing is right on the money

Here are some questions to ask and thoughts to ponder:


  • Are you listening to the web? Are you listening to social media?
  • Where are you listening?
  • Do you have Google alerts on keywords? Search Technorati? Keep an eye on the news? Do you do this in real-time?
  • What events trigger consumer purchases in your industry? Weather, seasons, the stock market, etc?
  • How do those things impact consumers? What behaviors change?
  • If you knew what to look for, how would you react to take advantage of it before your competition?

Search ads are nice because they're quick to implement and highly targeted? RSS display ads (where you control dynamic messaging in real time) are another option. Would video have more impact? Do you have a camera at the ready just in case?

How have you taken advantage of real time marketing to increase sales or gain new customers?


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Apple changes rules, forgets to tell customers

Apple store lineI, for one, am all for changing the rules if it makes things better for the customer. Many companies have taken the old way of doing business in their vertical and have created new markets by shifting the old rules. Netflix, Wikipedia, Target are all examples of companies who are changing the world.

I would also group Apple into that lot with their innovative approaches to industrial design and user interface. Tonight, however, I had a mixed experience at my local Apple retail store due to a miscommunicated shift in the rules of retail. I went in to the store to pick up a copy of iWork 08 (I give presentations using Keynote) and to check out the new iMac. I picked up the software, strolled around and grabbed a couple of other things that struck me (there is always something), played around with the iMac and got ready to go.

When I first walked into the store I noticed that they had done some remodeling. The Genius Bar was positioned in the back of the store where the checkout counter had been and the checkout counter itself had been removed completely. Now, I frequent the Apple store so I know that they've had hand-held checkout systems in place for a while now and that any Apple staff member can check you out without having to go to the counter.

The problem is that I am in the minority of the people who know this. There was a line 15 people deep at one point for people ready to checkout, but they were all standing in the genius bar line because that's where the checkout counter always was plus it was a counter with people standing behind it (lemmings I tell you). The other staff members were all helping people and so the line continued to build. Finally a couple of the staff broke away and started going through this impromptu line one-by-one. It was horribly inefficient and defeated the whole purpose of the change in rules.

Apple's innovative point of sale system is cutting-edge and the store concept is beautiful and much more utilitarian. The problem is that they changed the rules without telling anybody or helping them to understand. I am a loyal Apple user and I almost went home without purchasing. What would it have hurt to have a greeter at the door to offer a welcome and tell you that when you are ready any staff member could check you out. Even more cost effectively, why not print something on their uniform t-shirts that says something to that effect?

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Like I said, I am all for changing rules, but not telling anybody could hurt the brand and really irritate people who just want to give you money. I've seen this manifest itself in the digital space many times. Think about what happens when a major site that you use goes through a re-design. Things get renamed and moved around in the name of progress. Major navigation or checkout changes can be catastrophic. Imagine if Amazon renamed the "Shopping Cart" to "My Backpack" for some reason. You may get it down eventually, but you shouldn't have to think about something that mission-critical.

So what can you do when the rules need an update?


  • Keep the end-user in mind at every stage
  • Identify your key paths/clickstreams through the site
  • Maintain crucial paths or, if you must change them, make it painfully clear what the user should do
  • Use a value index to rate changes (does it add value, lower the value or keep the value where it is) and strive to add value along each path
  • Test, test, test some more and then test again
  • State the changes you made and show how to do the same things in a newer (hopefully better) way
  • Use video, audio or screencasts to usher people through the site in the way they choose to engage you

Has there ever been a site that made changes that should have been good (or you eventually found were nice), but they were poorly communicated? If the rules need to change, how do you lead the way and bring your customers with you?


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Blast from the past

iphone.jpgYesterday was iPhone launch day and reports ranged from utter madness in Palo Alto where Steve Jobs made an appearance to calmer, long lines at other stores. Back on January 15 I did a post titled "Nevermind the iPhone, give me a video iPod+" and I still believe what I said then and I hope it comes true in the near future. Here it is for your reading enjoyment.

This is a video from the opening of the Palo Alto store at 6pm. Madness! What company wouldn't kill for this kind of opening?

[Feed readers please click through to the post to view the video.]

Now, I truly thought I wanted the iPhone. I really wanted one. I would have killed (maybe not kill, but surely I would have gently maimed somebody) for one. Now that I've seen it and thought about it for the past week I realize that I don't really want it, I want part of it.

I keep coming back to one major problem. Cingular. Or should I say AT&T. Yikes, that makes it even worse! Let me clarify a couple points before I go on. I love Apple. I use as many Apple products as I can get my hands on. I love the design of iPhone. I love the UI. I love the integration. It's beautiful and I really want to hold it in my hand and never let it go.

So why do I say kill the iPhone? I, like millions of other people around the world right now, am accustomed to carrying around two devices. One does the phone/email/SMS and the other does video and audio. I don't mind carrying my Motorola Q and my 30Gb iPod. I like the functionality of my phone separate from my iPod because they are fundamentally different devices with different purposes.

So what do I want? I want convergence that makes sense to me. I want a widescreen video iPod in the same case as the iPhone. I want a camera in the device. I want Bluetooth for wireless sync and to use wireless headphones. I want Wifi and a built-in browser for surfing. I want to buy songs on the go. I want battery life. I want iChat built in for IM and video conferencing down the road. I want more than 8Gb of storage.

What I don't want is the phone. I want to watch video and talk at the same time. I want Verizon as my phone carrier and another device to handle my media.

Please Apple, release your iPhone to the dwindling AT&T users. I will covet thy iPhones in the meantime (I admit it). But give me the killer iPod I deserve as a loyal Apple evangelist and continue your (very deserved) domination of the mobile player industry.


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Buzz Friday for June 29, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

[Audio should be good this week. You can subscribe via RSS to receive an update when I post a new video here.]


[Feed readers please click through to the post to see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • The iPhone launches at 6pm tonight at Apple and at&t stores nationwide. It will be interesting to see if they sell out or if the stores are just busy. By my calculations the phone plus one year of service is around $1500. People have been camped out for days to get the first couple units. To tell you the truth, I would be out there too, but I have Verizon.
  • Greg Verdino has a great piece about loving your haters. Jason Calacanis proved this strategy successful the other day on his Calacanis Cast show when he invited four SEO critics and Jason stole the show.
  • MySpace launched its MySpaceTV site and pretty much copied YouTube verbatim. Why mess with a good thing eh?
  • Speaking of YouTube, traffic to the site is 50% greater than any other video site according to HitWise. I wonder if CBS still thinks going on their own is a good idea?
  • CK has a great post on trust. How to lose it and how to win it.
  • Google will now allow you to alter your driving directions through Google Maps. You can drag the routes to avoid construction and get where you're going with greater ease.

  • Mentos has an interesting new site featuring their intern Trevor. Think Subservient Chicken in human form and real time.
  • Buzz follows Kevin Rose (of Digg) wherever he goes in whatever he does. Marion Sundar covers his new venture Pownce combines IM, file transfer and Twitter-like presence and group push functionality. It's in limited beta so anybody with an invite to spare shoot it over.
  • Dell has released some pretty new colors on their Inspiron laptops. Drew McLellan has a nice post about what happens when a product shifts categories. I do think, however, putting new colors on the same old hardware running MS Vista isn't a real shift. Apple was a radical shift because it combined the OS with the design.
  • TMobile is creating cellular phones that can work on WiFi networks.
  • Jeremiah Owyang at PodTech shares a brilliant idea from his trip to Singapore. A company provides a camera and printer for customers to take a picture. They're encouraged to take one home and leave one for their wall. It's become a tourist attraction and business driver.
  • I attended a great virtual branding event at crayon's Second Life HQ the other day. I thought it was a great way to liven up what would be a mediocre phone conference. It allowed for the personal interactions that we take for granted about attending in real life.
  • Flickr photos are now being indexed in Yahoo's search engine. This is a big boost for Yahoo.
  • New DIY Twitter network service Frengo launches. This could be a big trend for branded uses of the technology.
  • Apple quietly passed Amazon.com to become the third largest music retailer. This plus the iPhone are really giving Apple some momentum to try bigger, better things. Look out Best Buy and WalMart.
  • Facebook's new open platform has put some fear into other networks including professional network LinkedIn. They've announced the plan to open up in a similar way.

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. youtube
  2. noelia
  3. iphone
  4. ron paul
  5. myspace
  6. facebook
  7. video de noelia
  8. video noelia
  9. descargar
  10. paris hilton

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Plaxo
  2. Bolt
  3. Geni
  4. Vimeo
  5. Stickam

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden - No changes this week


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Gaping Void
  4. Duct Tape Marketing
  5. Logic + Emotion
  6. Diva Marketing (Go Toby!)
  7. What's Next
  8. Daily Fix
  9. Converstations
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd And - New to Buzz Friday


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. tompeters!
  5. Adrants
  6. Pronet Advertising
  7. SEOMoz Blog
  8. Online Marketing Blog
  9. Duct Tape Marketing
  10. Marketing Pilgrim

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Dramatic chipmunk
  2. Mika Brzezinski rips Paris Hilton
  3. My iPhone Diary
  4. Microsoft Surface Parody
  5. Paul sings opera

More


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What the iPhone means for marketers

iphone.jpgLove or hate Apple, the creation of the iPhone signals a wave of change in mobile handsets for the US. It's important for us as marketers to identify what the major changes are and determine how we need to respond.

Here is my overview of what is different, why you need to know it and what you can do about it right now to make sure you're ready.


    Web on phone will be fully functioning. One of the main challenges to any marketer trying to launch content on a mobile platform is the physical constraint that the technology puts on you. No Flash, No DHTML, No XML/XSLT, etc. Basically, you have to think back to what the web was like in 1999 and program for that. Screen widths had to be planned for the lowest common denominator at around 240 pixels (very small) and interactivity is at a minimum.

    The iPhone delivers web content as you see it on your laptop. You can see the whole page, zoom in, click through links, listen to audio, see Flash video and do most anything else you can on the laptop. For average marketers, this is great. You won't have to reformat anything and you can be mobile. Smart marketers know that people on a mobile device will still look at content differently and there are tons of opportunities to reach people who are on the go. Advertising should change to be mobile-focused, content on mobile could be shortened or even provide niche content for mobile users. The possibilities are limitless. Opera has a new mobile browser that works similarly to the iPhone for all the rest of us.

    wifi.gifBandwidth. Even though the iPhone isn't available on at&t's 3G network, mobile bandwidth speeds are starting to catch up with land lines. I commonly use my phone as a modem to connect to the web and it's not completely unbearable. With some time you'll start seeing Wimax (wifi over cellular networks) and better speeds using the existing data networks. This shift is allowing the start of the move to multimedia on the mobile web. Look for more video and audio hooks in mobile web content very soon. iPhone also ships with WiFi support so the bandwidth is only limited by the hotspot connection you have.

    iTunes.jpgIntegration with digital life. The iPhone is the ultimate hook into the digital life because it allows for direct, quality integration with iTunes. People will stop carrying an iPod and phone and their music and video content will be with them all the time. Subscribing to a podcast can be done from the handset and downloads will be simplified with the iPhone. Once you download a music file it will sync with iTunes and you'll be able to listen on your desktop. Photos have the same integration and the iPhone's built in camera will allow for instant capture and upload wherever there is a connection. The phonerazzi are coming!

    More powerful OS. Many of the mobile operating systems to date have been lower end processors built to save batter life, make calls and manage contacts. The iPhone brings a fully functioning operating system to a mobile device. Applications will be built for the device that can be used inside OSX for people with Apple computers.

    youtube_logo.jpgHooks into social networks. Many hooks into social networks will bring those networks right to the phone. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. will all be available within a couple taps of the finger. Integration with YouTube will be the first major network with built-in access. You won't need to go through the browser for this, it'll be a link on the home screen.

    dash.gifWidgets to go. Widgets can be built on top of the OS just like Apple's Dashboard product. This means that you can deliver your content through a widget while the person is away from their computer. How would you change your content if you knew the person was mobile? [Hint, you should.]

    Web2.0 ready. The iPhone and Safari browser will support Web2.0 standards and will allow for a more seamless experience. Look for Google's Web2.0-rich product line to have direct connections in the future to make the experience seamless (calendar, mail, reader, docs, spreadsheets and other productivity tools).

    Motion sensors. What could you do with a device that detects when it is a) vertical or horizontal and b) when it is close to something? I've seen some pretty cool things built on laptops with this sensor technology. I'm sure the iSaber will be out of the box VERY quickly.

The iPhone brings us closer to the point where there is a full, powerful computer in the palm of our hands. You can expect MANY more phones to go down this path. Everything from the power/integration with media to the touch sensor to the look and feel will be copied. Other phones are already well down this path (look at the Nokia N95 or most recent Blackberry products).

The possibilities with mobile are endless as more and more of these high power devices are going to come out at more affordable price points. Once the price shift happens, the transition from mobile being the third screen to the second screen may legitimately occur. Marketers everywhere need to be ready for this.

UPDATE: The first line has already begun to form at the Apple flagship store in NYC. That's crazy!

UPDATE: Apple has a great intro video available on their site which I forgot to include when I posted this. Here is the YouTube copy.


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Buzz Friday for June 22, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

[Note: The audio this week should be noticeably better for you. Let me know if anybody has trouble hearing it.]


Feed readers can see the video here.

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • One week until iPhone drops. Prepare for the madness and get in line now.
  • YouTube will launch on the iPhone. Like to see their data plan rates before I get too excited about this one.
  • Yahoo had a leadership change this week as they keep falling further behind Google. Will it help?
  • I love this post from Seth Godin. He shifts our thinking of most people about blogging. What if you had just one post, but refined it until you were the expert on your subject?
  • Microsoft is paying attention to social media. A Zune fan got two tattoos promoting the device and MS is having him out to Redmond to meet the Zune team. Nice job MS.


  • Pier 1 is dropping e-commerce from its site to turn it into a corporate marketing piece. WHAT?! They were doing around $18.9 million, but managed to lose money. Sounds like bad implementation to me.
  • Steve Rubel has a great piece about the future of PR. It's participating, not pitching.
  • Mark Goren has a great post about what we make. The video he uses is a must see if you are or know of a teacher of anything.
  • Cool things always happen in London. Here are a couple of shopping examples. Ralph Lauren has a touch-sensitive window and the music group The Chemical Brothers took over a storefront to promote a new album.
  • More Yahoo rumors in the wake of the CEO switch. Will they buy Bebo? Somebody will and the other major viable option seems to be cost-prohibitive.
  • Want to know how big YouTube is getting? They're about to pass the BBC in visits in the UK. That's huge!
  • crayon is hosting a virtual branding summit in Second Life. Check out this post if you are interested.
  • Person-to-person lending is taking off as the user base of sites like MySpace and Facebook grow. Prosper and Lending Club are getting investment dollars and having some success.
  • Vodaphone created a media roadblock the other day in the UK as it took over web, cable, satellite and terrestrial channels to run their ad. That had to cost a pretty penny.
  • Patrick at Lonely Marketer has a great look at what analytics you should be looking at and why. This is a great post as it clarifies what you need to know.
  • Ning lets you embed a social network in another social network. There is lots of potential here and you can expect to see this happen more and more.

Quick look at iPhone blog buzz

iPhone has taken over the buzz from most other mobile devices. Here is a graph tracking blog mentions between iPhone, Razr and Blackberry.
iphonebuzz.png

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. youtube
  2. ron paul
  3. myspace
  4. noelia
  5. dailymotion
  6. bebo
  7. iphone
  8. paris hilton
  9. facebook
  10. videos

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Kaboodle
  2. Fotolia
  3. Wikia
  4. Snap
  5. CrazyEgg

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden - No changes this week


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Gaping Void
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Duct Tape Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. Converstations
  8. Drew's Marketing Minute
  9. The Viral Garden
  10. Jaffe Juice

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd And - New to Buzz Friday


  1. Seth Godin
  2. tompeters!
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Online Marketing Blog
  5. Adrants
  6. Pronet Advertising
  7. SEOMoz Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. adgoodness

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Paul singing opera
  2. Prometeus - the media revolution
  3. Britain's got talent - Conny
  4. Microsoft surface parody
  5. Dramatic look

More


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Buzz Friday for June 15, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to add on.

I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion. (Would anybody be interested in seeing this become a video podcast feed?)



Feed readers can see the video here.

Here are all of the items I think are interesting this week:


  • Apple iPhone comes out next week and demand is expected to be high. If you're looking for one, you better be ready to camp out.
  • Apple also had their WWDC conference this week where Jobs gave a keynote. Most notably out of that came Apple's Safari for the PC. Exploits ensued, but I sense a need for the browser for iPhone integration. We'll see. 1 million people have already downloaded it.
  • Second Life's voice integration is expected soon where people can chat with each other through micropohones. This will greatly enhance the level of interactivity.
  • Boston launched a SMS crime stoppers hotline. People can send a message to their shortcode from their phones when 911 is too hard to dial. Good idea though.
  • Google was going to hold a competing social get together for eBay merchants during eBay's big conference to try to lure people to Google's Checkout. eBay threatened to pull all of their keyword advertising on Google and the event was cancelled. Ah the strongarm.
  • Flickr in the news twice. They launched the service in seven languages first. Second they have had more complaints of photo censorship. Read more about that here.
  • Looking for tips on public speaking? See this marvelous post by Guy Kawasaki for some hints.
  • Jason Calacanis' Mahalo human-powered search engine launched Greenhouse. The service offers to pay people to find and submit content.
  • YouTube has a new look in beta that offers new layouts and larger video windows. Google account integration coming soon too.
  • Do you ever think you feel your phone vibrate and it's not ringing? It's called phantom ring syndrome and it's real.
  • Bebo is integrating iTunes into accounts so you can go to a band's site and buy on the spot. Look for a LOT more of this to come soon.
  • Another move toward Google Office. Gmail now offers integrated PowerPoint viewing.
  • Can blogging work as a marketing tool? Heck yes it can. Just ask Lewis Green.
  • Mack Collier covers Sony's launch of their Playstation blog.
  • Branding Wire has launched. Check out their first branding challenge here.
  • Google blogger Matt Cutts responds to Privacy International's claims that Google isn't doing enought to keep information private.
  • If you disagreed with Seth Godin, would you say something? I hope you would. Check out Drew's blog for a great discussion about this. I think too many people use Seth and Guy as traffic building tools tracking back to them with irrelevant mentions and links. Discussion about an idea is good, but tracking back to every post is just dumb.

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. authority
  2. ron paul
  3. education
  4. myspace
  5. bicycling
  6. bebo
  7. youtube
  8. flickr
  9. angelina jolie
  10. dell

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Bolt
  2. Ning
  3. Kaboodle
  4. Zaadz
  5. Plaxo

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Gaping Void
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Duct Tape Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. Converstations
  8. Drew's Marketing Minute
  9. The Viral Garden
  10. Jaffe Juice

Note that this list is now running off of Technorati rankings and not Alexa.
View the top full top 25

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Sarkozy au G8
  2. Paul singing opera **Please watch this clip**
  3. Britain's got talent - Conny
  4. Paris in Jail: The music video
  5. Japanese TV Tetris game

More


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What's your ROL?

heart.jpgPersonally I am passionate about marketing and, similarly, I think great marketing is about passion. Every time people talk about measuring to gauge ROI on every little thing, a little voice inside my head says "what about love?" What's the return on love?

Marketing done right IS about love. Loving customers and treating them with respect, adding value to their lives and instilling passion in their souls. If that happens, they will love you back. How do you measure this? It depends on what your definition is.

In the age of consumer generated content, love is easily expressed (so is the opposite). I've been asked many times, "Why would ANYBODY actually create something about a company?". The reason is love. Why do people create fake product ads? Why do people parody ads? They're driven by an internal passion to make the brand part of their lives and express how it impacts them.

One company who gets half of this equation is Apple. They're on the receiving end of a lot of love, but rarely give it. This is the biggest gripe I have with Apple in particular. They have all of these fans that love them, create ads, stand in line for hours to buy their products and yet the company doesn't engage with them online. A topic for another day.

I was reminded about this when I was online looking for a microphone attachment for my iPod. I went to Amazon and read the reviews, but it didn't give me enough information about what I need it for. So, I went to Google. In one search and one click I found a review by a person using the exact model I want and he loves it. He tells of situations like the ones I need it for where it worked great.

The company here is not engaged in the conversation, there are no testimonials on their site showing the product in use, I had to find it on my own. Had I found somebody with a bad experience I could have swayed the other direction.

Social media allows many forms of love to be expressed. Blog entries, word-of-mouth, buzz monitoring, email forwards, message board threads, photo sharing, video sharing, etc. Each opinion and statement of love has the potential to reach new consumers and influence others. Most of these can be measured.

So how do you measure ROL? Is it page views, pass-alongs, impressions, number of parodies, etc., or is it immeasurable? Marketers usually think you can measure everything, but can you? Let me know what you think.


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Buzz Friday (week of April 13)

buzz_listen.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to add on.

Items I am watching:

Top Five Technorati Blogs


  1. Engadget
  2. Boing Boing
  3. Gizmodo
  4. Techcrunch
  5. The Huffington Post

View Top 100

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. imus
  2. re-publica (this is a german blogger conference)
  3. kurt vonnegut
  4. youtube
  5. duke lacrosse
  6. myspace
  7. sanjaya
  8. american idol
  9. joost
  10. habitaquo

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Geni
  2. 37 Signale
  3. Bolt
  4. Ze Frank
  5. Frappr

More

Top Five Web2.0 Sites (using Alexa data)


  1. YouTube
  2. MySpace
  3. Orkut
  4. Wikipedia
  5. hi5

More

Top Five Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Gaping Void
  5. Marketing Shift

View the top 25

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Alanis Morissette "My Humps Video"
  2. Otters holding hands
  3. 300 movie trailer
  4. Gangsta Happy Feet Remix
  5. Xbox 360 Spring 2007 Dashboard Update Video

More


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iPhone, you could have been mine

iphone.jpgSo close, yet so far away. From Apple Insider:

Verizon Wireless passed on the chance to be the exclusive distributor of the iPhone almost two years ago, balking at Apple's rich financial terms and other demands, according to a published report.

The USA Today on Monday cited Jim Gerace, a Verizon Wireless vice president, as saying the iPod maker and No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier just could not come to terms on a variety of issues.


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Nevermind the iPhone, give me a video iPod+

Now, I truly thought I wanted the iPhone. I really wanted one. I would have killed (maybe not kill, but surely I would have gently maimed somebody) for one. Now that I've seen it and thought about it for the past week I realize that I don't really want it, I want part of it.

I keep coming back to one major problem. Cingular. Or should I say AT&T. Yikes, that makes it even worse! Let me clarify a couple points before I go on. I love Apple. I use as many Apple products as I can get my hands on. I love the design of iPhone. I love the UI. I love the integration. It's beautiful and I really want to hold it in my hand and never let it go.

So why do I say kill the iPhone? I, like millions of other people around the world right now, am accustomed to carrying around two devices. One does the phone/email/SMS and the other does video and audio. I don't mind carrying my Motorola Q and my 30Gb iPod. I like the functionality of my phone separate from my iPod because they are fundamentally different devices with different purposes.

So what do I want? I want convergence that makes sense to me. I want a widescreen video iPod in the same case as the iPhone. I want a camera in the device. I want Bluetooth for wireless sync and to use wireless headphones. I want Wifi and a built-in browser for surfing. I want to buy songs on the go. I want battery life. I want iChat built in for IM and video conferencing down the road. I want more than 8Gb of storage.

What I don't want is the phone. I want to watch video and talk at the same time. I want Verizon as my phone carrier and another device to handle my media.

Please Apple, release your iPhone to the dwindling AT&T users. I will covet thy iPhones in the meantime (I admit it). But give me the killer iPod I deserve as a loyal Apple evangelist and continue your (very deserved) domination of the mobile player industry.


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Multi-touch interaction, beyond the iPhone

I subscribe to the TED Talks podcast feed and I've seen some really great presenters covering a very wide range of topics. As Apple's Steve Jobs released the iPhone at Macworld earlier this week I thought back to one of TED's most impressive presenters as it related to applicable technology. That presentation was done by NYU researcher Jeff Han and multi-touch interaction.

Chris Anderson, TED's founder, thought the same and asked Jeff what his thoughts were. I agree with Jeff and I'd predict we see larger versions of multi-touch screens within the next couple of years. It's really fascinating and intuitive.



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The iPhone mess and corporate conversations

apple with bite taken.gifI just came across this post on Mario Sundar's blog about the iPhone debacle that Apple is in with Cisco. I left my comment there, but wanted to touch on this a little more.

Apple is in a unique position where its community base wages most of its wars. If someone, anyone decides to pick a fight with Cupertino, Apple's army of fans decends upon them like the plague (I am one of those people fyi). Apple, however, does not arm its army properly. The lack of real conversation (via a blog, press release, video statement, etc.) only hurts the troops on the firing line. But this is an army so large and so passionate, that they tend to overwhelm their opponent by pure force.

Other companies are not this lucky, which is why I write this post. Their customers don't have the company kool-aid running through their blood and some are looking for reasons to switch away.

So what can blogs (or any other form of personal communications) do to help them? The problem with most companies right now is that they use the web to conduct a monologue. They speak to everyone with the same voice and with the same message. They don't engage customers in a conversation, don't give them the opportunity to contribute or share their ideas.

New, progressive companies are open to this conversation and encourage it. This new company sees the value in engaging the customer, making a personal connection through dialogue and growing true fans. These companies may make commodity goods, easily switched at the drop of a hat. If that company has done its job, used the web to make those connections in a cost-effective manner and kept the conversation open, they can prevent the switch, make more people aware of their benefits and grow customers into die-hard evangelists.

Without creating this conversation, the customer is left to create their own conversations and those conversations will usually end at your competitor's door.


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Cingular will become AT&T Monday

Quick on the heels of the iPhone announcement and Apple's choice of Cingular as the sole carrier, AT&T is changing the company's name back to AT&T. This has been long rumored to happen and I'm sure somewhere at AT&T this move makes sense. Bringing back my grandmother's lovable, monster, corporate, anti-innovation name to a company who's brand stands for hip, innovative and individual and I think it's a poor decision.

Cingular had a leg up until this point. They had the individual, the thinker, the guy who wants the coolest phones. Now...I wonder how loyal people will stay. If I didn't have service through work I would go with Cingular. I would not go with AT&T no matter what. If it wasn't for the iPhone I would bet more and more people would begin switching as their contracts expire. Can the iPhone allow AT&T to maintain and grow market share? Time will tell.


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Apple and the end of the PC era

Om Malik, Internet visionary and pontificator, posted a marvelous entry on his blog Gigaom.com today. At the end of Steve Jobs' keynote address, he stated that from this point forward, Apple would drop the 'Computer' in 'Apple Computer Inc.' and henceforth be referred to as 'Apple Inc.'.

As Om states, this is Apple's final and resounding move to become a consumer electronics company and not a computer manufacturer. Other news sources and bloggers wondered where the *mac* part of Macworld has gone. Well, Apple has moved beyond the Mac. Far beyond hte Mac that we all think of today. But why does that have to be? This new iPhone device runs OSX, and does all of the major things that my Macbook Pro does. Maybe we just need to re-define what a Mac is and usher in this new era with more spectacular products and software to extend them to more and more users.


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iPhone is here

iphone.jpg

Watching the Engadget blog-cast of Steve Jobs' keynote. The iPhone was unveiled and looks really bad-ass. Huge screen, iTunes sync, smart features that other phones should have had a long time ago. Now if they would only release it on Verizon.

Other facts:
* Touch interface, no keyboard, no stylus
* It runs OSX
* Bluetooth 2.0
* GSM + EDGE (no 3G)
* WiFi

Hands on pics from Engadget


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Macworld suspense building

What oh what will Steve Jobs announce tomorrow? Possibly one of the best strategies for building enough industry buzz to propel devices into the marketing stratosphere is the Jobs keynote. Everybody weighs in, everybody speculates but nobody knows anything until Steve says it himself.

Rumors include the long awaited video iPod, the iPhone, new iWork with spreadsheet, iTV, another very cryptically leaked mobile computer and everything in between. We'll all learn tomorrow at noon. I hope the stream actually works this year. If not I'll tune into the Engadget blog-cast.


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CES v. MacWorld ... Gates v. Jobs

applewin.jpgMacWorld and CES are booked in the same time slot this year and it's making the blogosphere an interesting (possibly only) good place to follow the two. I am looking forward to seeing the showdown. Mac v PC. Jobs v Gates. Cupertino v Redmond. Keynote v. PowerPoint. Gates is tonight and Jobs is Tuesday so we'll have to wait and see.


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Apple iPhone more than a rumor, challenge for Apple begins

Apple's 'iPhone' (we'll call it that for lack of a better name) was recently confirmed by CFO Peter Oppenheimer in a conference call. His confirmation paired with alleged phone-related programming calls in an iTunes update are leading many to believe that Apple could introduce a phone/MP3 device this year.

If they do release such a device it is sure to be a huge hit. It would no doubt carry through with Apple's unique design, would be intuitive to use and probably retain familiar iPod-like controls for digital music. It should wirelessly connect to the Tunes Music Store and have other cool features like BlueTooth and WiFi. Millions of Apple faithful would surely flock to stores in desperate need to obtain one (myself included). Having THE mp3 player with a great phone all wrapped in one smooth translucent white/chrome casing would just be too much to pass up.

Apple has never been in the phone business before (outside of a mediocre partnership with Motorola on the Rokr phone) and that is where their challenge starts. Making sure the phone is carried on the major networks will be crucial to achieving iPodesque ubiquity. Will the carriers participate and can Apple knock off popular phones like the Razr? What other features will be onboard when it is released? Camera, browser, mini-OSX (please learn from Microsoft and don't miniaturize the OS, it's really poor for phone use).

We'll have to hold our breathe and see what happens. Apple's WWDC is next week and this is still a possible candidate for release (although a very outside candidate).

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Portable HD for your iPod

A trend in the portable media space now seems to be developing hardware which enhances the video offering with new screens that use the iPod as a storage device. ATO just announced their iSee HD video sleeve for the iPod. This device features a 3.6 inch screen capable of HD quality video playback. The iPod plugs into the back of the unit and serves up the video files from a partitioned section of its hard drive.

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