This is a fantastic innovation for such an everyday concept! We have so many different Web services and products at our disposal. And with the advent of smartphone devices, we can access these great Web services and products almost any time we need! Now it comes down to who plugs together the sensible connection of various components that make these tools indispensable to one’s personal workflow. It’s a fine example of product development: take a problem, connect existing and right pieces together, and offer value that’s greater than the sum of its parts!
In the spirit of the holiday season here in the US, this article from the Wall Street Journal seems particularly appropriate:
In many cases, rewards enticed people whose cards were dormant to start spending…[and] even small rewards can prompt people to spend more.
This useful study backs up the old management consulting adage of “you get what you measure.” In this case, financial services companies measure a customer’s spending and show a clear link to a nominal reward. And voilà, we shouldn’t be surprised that customers then immediately think about what they can get, as opposed to saving the money in the first place. Rewards programs are an ingenious way to acquire customers and encourage spending, but this can be to the detriment of the customers themselves.
My point is that customers need to really question their spending habits in the first place, as opposed to jumping at offers no matter how lucrative they may seem. There are plenty of savvy product managers out there, and their sole job in cases like these are to get you to spend money. Instead of watching your checking account go down for “rewards,” how about watching your savings account go up for a change?
A recent WSJ article (may require registration) brings more attention to a lesser-known capability of cellphones: connecting your phone to a computer as a USB modem to gain access to the Internet, a.k.a. tethering. This feature was critical to me in a fairly common setting in the consulting life: having spotty or no Internet access on the road or at the client’s office. And I’m arguing now that wireless carriers should include this value-add service in all of their wireless data plans for free, not to charge a monthly fee for it separately.
The other day, I was preparing a quickie assessment of the biggest office suppliers in the US, and I thought “Instead of trying Google or Wikipedia, I’ll use this newfangled Wolfram Alpha thingy that’s out now.” And after approaching that query, along with some other spur-of-the-moment questions, I’ve finally realized what Wolfram Alpha is.
Before we explore this idea further, I’d like to point out that Apple’s App Store is unique as an entity, but hardly any different from Handango or BPlay. These portals which supported many mobile devices and PDAs aggregated downloadable software offerings for users to load onto their (sometimes, at the time) connected devices. With this context, it is interesting that this Wall Street Journal article discusses two distinct issues that the interactive community has faced for a while: What is the line that moderators/gatekeepers/administrators must adhere to, and who determines that line?
There’s been some articles over the past few years about this, but I’m surprised that it hasn’t become a more hot-button issue for people. It seems that people simply use different applications for different purposes (using myself as an example, I keep LinkedIn (link) quite distinct from Facebook). But what about exploring the idea of the “inner circle” and implementing a way to manage the flow of information at a very fine-grained level? Continue reading
I recently moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan and it was quite an ordeal. The move itself was fairly smooth and the flat rate quote was very comforting. However, packing turned out to be more of an issue. Who knew that there were so many different sized boxes and reasons for them. Not to mention that I had no idea there was an American Moving and Storage Association that acts as an industry group. Continue reading