Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: iPhone

Samsung Galaxy S – Not Exactly Out Of This World

For reference here are my reviews for the Nexus One and the HTC Incredible.

Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate

Much like the HTC Incredible, I had high hopes for the Samsung Galaxy S. Now you might be wondering, which Galaxy S am I talking about? It’s a fair question seeing as Samsung has 4 different phones named Galaxy S. In addition to that name, each phone has a second name. For example, the phone I’m talking about is the “Fascinate,” which is only available on Verizon.

The Galaxy S has a lot going for it. For starters the 4 inch (perfect size) Super AMOLED screen is beautiful and definitely outpaces the HTC Incredible and is on par with the new Apple iPhone. The form factor is outstanding. I actually find it better than the Nexus One. It’s light weight, well sculpted and the battery is inter-changeable. The fact it’s only available on Verizon is a huge plus. Unlike the iPhone, you’ll actually be able to use the phone to make and receive calls. The phone ships with a 16gb sd-card, which is more than enough storage, in my opinion. Amongst all the great specs and features, what I was most impressed with was the battery life. If you’ve used the HTC Incredible you know what a battery suck it is. Even after purchasing the extended battery from Seido, my Incredible never made it through the day without needing a recharge. My Galaxy S makes it through the work day and then some. Bravo!

So far so good, right? Well the Galaxy S isn’t perfect; granted nothing is. It suffers from 4 big issues that for some might be deal breakers.

1. Bing has replaced Google as the preferred search engine on the phone. That means voice search, phone search, browser search, etc. This would be ok if you could switch search providers. But, you can’t. I’m serious, you can’t make google the default search tool on a google android phone.

2. Things get worse from there. Verizon made sure to load the phone up with more crap-ware than a trailer park garage sale. From games to apps to bookmarks, the phone is full of preloaded crap you didn’t ask for and you can’t delete or change. Yes, even the bookmarks.

3. The mail app is weak and frankly an embarrassment. Where as the HTC Incredible let’s you file mail into folders you can not do this on the Galaxy S. Think about that. If you get a message in your inbox, you won’t be able to move it to another folder. You also can’t sync emails or calendar events that are older than 1 month. This just seems silly and arbitrary. What value is there in limiting how far back you can sync? The Incredible, the iPhone and many other smart phones let you sync as far back as infinity. I don’t know about you, but most of my projects last more than 1 month. This is a huge problem for corporate phone users.

4. Despite having a 1ghz processor running the show, the Galaxy S often slows down and seems sluggish. This has a negative impact on the user experience and while I can’t verify this 100%, it seems to cause program crashes.

Here’s the deal, the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate had all the makings of being a great and legendary Android phone. But, Samsung let Verizon dictate far too many decisions. Additionally, Samsung made a number of puzzling decisions regarding email. Those decisions have an adverse impact on the end user experience and make it tough to recommend for corporate phone users. If you’re looking for a great Android phone with amazing battery life and are planning on using the phone for non corporate activities, this is a great choice. But, for you power users out there, I recommend looking at the HTC Incredible or the Droid X.

Lastly, let me say, if Samsung works out the Bing issue with Verizon and makes the needed updates to the mail app, this is a clear cut winner and would be the best Android phone on the market for Verizon and in my opinion, even the best across all carriers.

5 Reasons The iPad Will Fail

While everyone else is falling in love with a product that’s not even released yet, I’m opting to take a more realistic view on the iPad.  I think it’s going to fail.  I don’t see it being 1/10 as successful as the iPhone.  Here’s 5 reasons why it will fail to connect with consumers.

  1. Price: Simply put, it’s too expensive.  Considering you can get nearly ALL of the functionality the iPad has to offer in an iPod Touch, which starts at $199.99, I don’t see many folks opting to upgrade.  Also consider the number of people who already have laptops.  You get infinitely more options on a laptop than you do with an iPad.  This essentially makes the iPad a “treat” or “splurge” item.  Considering the sorry state of the economy, can you see the average family of four spending a minimum of $499.99 for a “nice to have” product?  Me neither.  Lastly, consider all the people with Kindle’s or other eBook readers.  Buying an iPad makes no sense for these folks either.
  2. The Network: The smartest thing Apple could have done was choosing any other cellular provider over AT&T.  Despite all of the uproar over AT&T’s shoddy network, it makes zero sense that they’d choose AT&T.  Can you imagine downloading a 500mb TV show from the iTunes Store over the AT&T Edge network?  Ouch, it would be painful.  But, ok…what’s done is done.  They chose AT&T.  Fine. The next smartest thing they could have done was use a normal SIM card to access the network.  This would have let people who have iPhones simply swap their SIM card from their iPhone, place it into their iPad, and then connect away.  I think this wasn’t done for only one reason.  By choosing an alternative SIM card design you are forced to pay AT&T even more money to access their horrible network.  Bad move.
  3. No Camera: How they missed the boat on this is mind blowing.  The iPad with a built in camera would have been a killer device for people who are frequent travelers (business or personal).  The ability to video chat from such a lightweight and compact device would have made this a must have product for travelers.
  4. No Flash: Say what you want about HTML 5, but not having Flash essentially eliminates the ability to watch over 50% of the meaningful video content on the web.  Hulu is no dice.  Network television sites like ABC.com are no dice.  Entertainment sites like Funny or Die, MetaCafe, and Break.com are no dice.  People want things to work as anticipated.  So when they visit Hulu.com and essentially get a giant fail whale, there will be huge disappointment.  That disappointment will manifest itself into negative peer to peer recommendations.  So much for buzz driving sales.
  5. Walled Garden: I still can’t install apps like Office.  I still can’t install programs like Photoshop.  The ability to create and edit files is limited to the iWork software bundle.  Sure, that would be great…except no one really uses it.  Like it or not Microsoft Office is still king.  When pundits described the iPad as a large iPhone, they weren’t kidding.

The iPad could have been killer.  Instead, it’s about as exciting and will be as successful as the Newton.

UPDATE 4/3/10

This morning I headed over the Mall of America to visit the Easter Bunny.  But, seeing as I had some extra time on my hands, I decided to swing over and check out the “scene” at the Apple Store.  Well, there wasn’t much of a scene.  The Apple Store clearly was anticipating one.  There were two sets of gated lines; one for pre-orders and one for new purchases.  The gates stretched about 200 feet.  I think they were over-prepared.  When I walked by, there were 4 people in the pre-order line and 6 people in the new purchase line.  It took me all of 15 minutes to go from being the 7th person in line to purchasing the iPad for my daughter as an early birthday present.  That kind of “scene” isn’t exactly reminiscent of the iPhone release scene.  It was more like the scene at a 7-11 at 3 in the morning.  Newton, here we come!

The Google Nexus One Swings And Misses

I’ve been using a Nexus One for about 2 weeks now. By using it, I mean that my iPhone 3G has sat in a bag for 2 weeks and was not used at all. By using it, I mean that the Nexus One has been my everyday cellphone. I’ve used it for everything from phone calls (including 3 way calls) to youTube watching. I really wanted the Nexus One to blow my mind. I wanted it to succeed on such an amazing level. I wanted it to kill the iPhone and knock Steve Jobs off of his pedestal. But, I didn’t get that. Nope.

In short, the Nexus One is nice, but not yet ready for prime time. Let me break it down.

The Good

Form and Feel
The Nexus One is lighter, slimmer, and feels a hell of a lot better than the iPhone. Were as the Nexus One feels sleek and contoured, the iPhone feels cheap (the plastic back) and heavy. We’re talking BMW vs. Kia here.

The Screen
As already covered elsewhere, the screen is amazing. It’s bright, vivid, has amazingly sharp contrast, and it seems more scratch resistant than the iPhone.

The Battery
I’d say the battery life is roughly the same. I can’t get through a full 10 hour day on 1 charge. But, the Nexus One wins here because I can swap batteries throughout the day. Yes, you heard me. Imagine that? People wanting to have an extra battery. When will Apple learn?

Google Integration
This is where the phone. If you don’t need corporate email and everything you do in the cloud is tied to Google, this is the phone for you. It’s not even a question. Inside of 3 minutes you’ll have the phone setup and integrated with GMail, Google Calendar, Google Voice (this is such a nice feature), Google Maps, Google Contacts, etc. The one thing that leaves my saying WTF is the lack of a Google Docs app for editing and creating files offline. Strange omission Google…just strange.

It has real GPS. Nuff said. You want turn by turn navigation, you got it. You want better map accuracy, you got it. This kills the iPhone’s seemingly archaic approach to directions. In short, if your car is lacking GPS map integration and you don’t have a portable GPS device like a Tom Tom, the Nexus One makes your life so much simpler.

The Camera
It’s light years ahead of the iPhone. You can elect to choose different megapixel options, it has a flash, it has white balance options, and it even has auto-focus. Well done.

The OK

Sound Quality
The noise canceling microphone is a dream and makes calls sound a hell of a lot better than the iPhone. But, beware when using the speaker phone. The sound is tin like and overly compromised when the phone is sitting on a counter/floor/etc. with the screen facing up. For whatever reason, when using the speaker phone like this, the sound is muffled.

You can customize so many different features and behaviors, it’s almost daunting. From wallpaper to sounds, from notifications to fonts, just about everything can be customized to your liking. Please note, this can take a lot of time, but it’s worth it. While you can customize like never before, the actual act of customizing is perplexing. For example, if you have a screen full of app icons and you want to flip flop the placement of two apps, you’re going to be frustrated. Where as the iPhone recognizes you want to do this and slides all the other apps over to accommodate, the Nexus One makes this chore similar to giving birth. You’ll have to move the app to another screen, thus opening up a spot on the screen you want the app to live, then you’ll need to rearrange the apps so that you create a hole for where you want the app to live, then you’ll need to go to the other screen so you can grab the app and slide it into the spot you want. WTF? That’s horrendous.

Lots of apps. Not nearly as many as the iPhone platform. But, all the key apps are there. For example fourSquare, Facebook, twitter clients, USA Today, etc. However, the apps are not as polished as the iPhone options. For example the Facebook app isn’t even a real Facebook app. It was created by a 3rd party. Also, the fourSquare app lacks push notifications. If you want games, you’re out of luck. This really bummed me, even though I was well aware of it before I got the Nexus One. There’s apps though that you’ll never ever find in the iTunes App Store. For example email clients, calendar management tools, oh and Google Voice 🙂

The Bad

Honestly, what was Google thinking. Weather you’re using GMail, Exchange Mail, IMAP, POP3, etc. you will not be able to move email into folders. Huh? Really? This is classic Google. They simply think people want to to search for information and are incapable of organizing content. Also, if you work for a company that uses Exchange for mail, you’re out of luck a big time way because there is NO calendar management or integration. No, I’m serious. You will have no access to your calendar…zero…nadda. If the Nexus One was supposed to rival the iPhone, Blackberry, and other smartphone I don’t know what they were thinking with this decision. This is a huge fail and honestly almost made me send the phone back on day 1. However, thankfully you can rectify this problem by buying Touchdown, a 3rd party app that will cost you $20.00. The app is nearly flawless and takes care of all of the Nexus One exchange problems. But, seriously…I have to buy a 3rd party app for this. C’mon you’ve got to be kidding me.

Media Management
Again, as with eMail Google assumes you want to search for content and you want your content aggregated. So, for example if you go into your photos Google for some reason thought you might want to see every photo attachment in all of your emails. Huh? That’s right. Let’s say I emailed you a photo. Google thinks that photo should show up in the photo library. The concept of folder structures is non-existent. This makes no sense. Music is the same way. Total fail.

Soft Keys
I love and hate these 4 keys at the bottom of the phone. I love the concept, I hate the implementation. The number of times I’ve been typing an email only to hit a soft key and then lose my entire message is in the 100s by now. The irony of course is that when I actually want the keys to work, they don’t. Seriously. Often you’ll press the keys and nothing will happen. This is either a hardware failure (the touch screen portion of the screen for the keys is defective) or there’s a bug with the software. I lean toward hardware.

Power Connector
Why? Why? Why? Why, didn’t they just use a standard mini-USB? Instead they’ve opted for this connector that looks like a mini-USB, but isn’t. Why is this a problem you might ask? Well because the number of accessories for the Nexus One is few and far between. If it had used a traditional mini-USB, existing car power cables (amongst other accessories) would work. And let me tell you, if you take advantage of turn by turn navigation you will want the phone plugged in and drawing power from the car.

The Network
Oyve. T-Mobile or AT&T are your options. AT&T will work only on Edge. Thus you get no 3G. And while T-Mobile will give you 3G, there 3G coverage is worse than AT&Ts. Besides the exchange server mistake, the biggest mistake by Google was not releasing this phone on Verizon first. A Verizon version of this phone will be made available in Spring of 2010. If Google had really wanted to take a bite out of the iPhone market share they chose poorly, by launching with T-Mobile and AT&T first.


If your entire life is bundled in the suite of Google applications like GMail, this is the perfect phone for you. If you need a kick as smart phone for work, I can’t recommend the phone to you until they fix the Exchange Server Syncing problems. Google and HTC did a great job with this phone, but it’s not perfect and more importantly in a lot of ways it pales in comparison to the iPhone.

The iDon’t

I love this new campaign from Verizon. It started with this set of ads that focused on Verizon’s superior coverage and AT&T’s abysmal coverage. As a former Verizon customer and a current iPhone owner I can definitely attest to the accuracy of those ads.

Following the launch of the “There’s A Map For That” spots, they then launched this one called “iDon’t.” It’s fun when you’re the challenger brand and trying to take on the brand leader. When you’re the challenger brand you can take bigger risks and be a bit more spunky. This ad does exactly that:

I’m on the fence about what to do with my cell phone situation. I love the iPhone, but I loathe Apple and I hate AT&T’s horrible coverage. The Palm Pre looks damn tasty and as soon as it launches on Verizon next year, I may have to switch. Interesting times ahead and as with all competitive situations, the consumer will ultimately win.

Infrastructure Will Cripple Mobile

I spent the last 4 days in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It’s clear to see that Vegas understands the power of mobile marketing.  An overwhelming number of billboards and outdoor ads opted not to use a phone number of web address as the call to action.  Instead they opted for “text ABCDE to 12345.”  Shows, entertainment, and restaurants alike were all using this call to action.  And by watching the number of people who were stopping along the strip to try out the call to action – it was clearly an effective and smart approach by the advertisers.

Boy, I would have loved to have been one of those lucky few people.  But, alas, my AT&T service and both of my colleagues’ service kept crapping out.  It didn’t matter if we were in a hotel or on the strip our “3G” access was crippled.  Texting, phone conversations, and access to the mobile web were all brought to a standstill.  Oddly enough, there were times when the 3 of us were standing in the exact same spot, and 1 of us was operating at full capacity.  Huh?  How does that make sense.  My favorite detail is that our iPhones all displayed full bars and 3G.  Hysterical.

I’ve heard horror stories about AT&T’s network failures.  There’s probably no better and more talked about example than the SXSW debacle.  For those of you not in the loop, during the SXSW conference earlier this year, the number of people using the AT&T network literally took the network down.  So much for more bars in more places.

Every year it seems that we here, this is the year mobile finally becomes a viable platform and option for marketers.  While mobile penetration may be at an all time high, the archaic infrastructure supporting those cell phone owners will ultimately diminish the possibilities for marketers.

Now before you jump to a conclusion and think this was just an AT&T/iPhone problem, there many other people with T-Mobile and Sprint that were having the same problems.  The only wireless provider that seemed to be operating at full power was Verizon.  I kept thinking to myself…”Adam, just jail break the damn phone already.”  I’m close.

Not unlike when the lack of broadband access posed a major hurdle to marketers wanting to capitalize on the power of the internet, our current mobile infrastructure is posing an even higher hurdle.  We gotta get this thing fixed.  If we don’t, how am I going to sell you discounted left sushi at 3Am when you’re completely hammered?

Is The iPhone Really A Computer?

I’ve had this thought in my mind for a while now.  While I don’t believe the iPhone will replace computers, I do believe it is more computer than phone.  Here’s 9 reasons why:

  1. It runs on an operating system.
  2. It often freezes and requires a restart.
  3. You can add software.
  4. It costs as much as a laptop; well the no-contract cost does.
  5. It has wireless internet access capabilities.
  6. Every year there’s a newer, faster, better version.
  7. You can check your email.
  8. You can access the web via a browser.
  9. Often it’s cheaper to replace it than it is to repair it.

Despite all of those features and similarities, I just don’t see it ever replacing my laptop or desktop.  That said, I have been able to get by for a couple of days on just my iPhone and no laptop.  This of course begs the question what upgrades would the iPhone need to become a true replacement for the computer?

For starters it needs a MUCH longer battery life.  With hard core usage, my iPhone lasts maybe 6 hours before needing to be recharged.  Additionally, you need to be able to author content, not just read content.  For example a Word Document or Powerpoint Presentation.  With those two additions the iPhone makes a quantum leap toward becoming a viable computer replacement.

What do you think?

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

We’re in a golden age of technology and innovation right now. Truly, we are. Every day it seems there’s something new, bright, and shiny for us to salavate over. From augmented reality to QR codes and from gesture based navigation to location aware service we are seeing innovation happening everywhere.

The tough thing is sifting through all of these new bright, shiny, objects and figuring out which ones matter. It’s not a simple task. Each client, each brand, and each situation is different. Something like Facebook connect could be the perfect solution for brand X, but overkill for brand Y. I was in a meeting the other day where I was asked where are all the social media thingies for this plan? By social media thingies, which is clearly a scientific term, they meant:

  • twitter
  • Facebook
  • OpenID
  • A Blog
  • iPhone App

Here’s the problem. That client we’re talking about sells multi-million dollar pieces of hardware to other businesses. They’re a B2B company that makes roughly 10 sales a year. Adding just 1 extra sale is a win.  Those tactics and approaches just don’t work with this business situation.

There are always constraints. Often we face a time and a budget constraint. In this situation, it was no different. Given the budget, we had to make a decision. Invest X dollars in twitter, Facebook, OpenID, a Blog, an iPhone app, and a host of other trinkets or redesign the site for maximum conversion.

All the bright, shiny, objects in the world are irrelevant if you haven’t covered the basic block and tackling and addressed the items capable of having the maximum impact – you lose. It’s that simple. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can develop your site in Flash, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can develop an iPhone app, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can crowd source, doesn’t mean you should.

Folks, I urge you to pause for a brief second and think about what the real objectives are. Then prioritize the potential solutions based on their impact and their feasibility (relative to budget and time). If you don’t you’ll just end up doing a bunch of things that while “cool” and “trendy” don’t solve the core problem.

Always Connected

I’m not an Apple fanboy. I don’t really care for AT&T’s service, coverage, or plan pricing. But, I love being always connected to the web. The iPhone keeps me connected to just about everything and everyone I care about. Facebook, Twitter, and my own site are all just a tap away.

Lately, I’ve been using a laptop connect car for work travel. Conceptually it’s a great idea. I can work from a car, an airport, or a field in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, there’s one problem. The laptop connect cards don’t give you unlimited access to the web like the iPhone does. Our Verizon cards cap our use at 5gb a month. I can eat through 5gb ridiculously fast. It’s just not a fair limit.

I don’t want my internet access limited. I want unfettered access. As I look forward 18 months I can totally see myself using my iPhone exclusively and never using my laptop. The iPhone will undoubtedly become more powerful and have a longer battery life. When that happens why would anyone keep using a laptop, pay for internet access at home, and pay for a laptop connect card and plan? It just doesn’t make sense.  The iPhone’s continued evolution towards being a mini-PC and unlimited access to the web will stunt any potential netbook growth.

If laptops/netbooks want to thrive they need to enable us to be always connected.  But, they can’t do it alone.  It’s going to take an investment in infrastructure (national WiFi) and a change to how companies like AT&T price out their laptop connect card plans.

Am I crazy?

My Flugelbinder

In the movie Cocktail, Tom Cruise’s character, Brian Flanagan, tells the story of the man who invented the plastic tips that go on the ends of shoelaces (aka Flugelbinders). This man, created something so simple, but is now insanely wealthy. Brian/Cruise wants to find his own flugelbinder idea and make a fortune.

Somewhere in the back of our heads we all have our own flugelbinder. We keep it tucked away and only share it on occasion with people we trust…less someone hears about it, steals it, and makes a fortune. Heck, I’d bet many of you have even seen your flugelbinder come to life and be advertised on TV – leaving you sitting on the couch only to say, “hey, that was my idea.”

I’m not worried about someone stealing my flugelbinder. I’m sure people are hard at work developing it right now as I type this post. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my flugelbinder.

Dating Service + Loopt = Sonar Love

(working name of course)

Loopt, for all its faults, does one thing really well – it shows you on a map where your friends are. Dating services for all their faults generally do one thing really well – they give you options. The problem with most dating sites, like Chemistry.com or eHarmony, is that they aren’t designed to be instant.

So here’s my concepts:

  1. Create a profile complete with name, screen name, gender, photo, dating “requirements,” and how public you want your profile to be
  2. Other people will be doing the same
  3. Download the mobile app (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.)
  4. Launch the app and much like Loopt be able to see where people who meet your requirements are in proximity to you.
  5. If you see someone that matches your requirements you can send them a message and see if they’re interested in getting together.

There’s a boat load of other features and steps, but you get the idea.

Imagine being able to walk by two bars. Bar #1 has only 3 people that meet your requirements. But, bar #2, has over 65. Which bar would you choose 🙂 This is an idea that’s been in my head for a while. The technology and infrastructure are already in place and if Forrester is right about the evolution of the social web, the timing could be perfect.

Who’s with me? Let’s get this flugelbinder built.

The Numerati – A Review

On Stephen Baker’s direct recommendation I picked up a copy of his book, The Numerati. Actually, I picked up 2 copies and sent 1 to my dad.

I wish he blogged, because his take on the book would make for an awesome read. Long-story-short, from his perspective, the concept of The Numerati has been around long before the book. He credits Isaac Asimov as one of the first people to uncover some of the prediction based ideas introduced in The Numerati.

That said, let me give you my take. If you haven’t read The Numerati, don’t worry I won’t ruin it for you in this post. At a high level Baker shines the light on a segment people called The Numerati. They are a group of very smart people in varying industries, from IBM to the NSA, that are using math to predict outcomes. These outcomes could be anything from a transaction at your local grocery store to a 9/11 like situation.

How is this possible? Data. Everyday people leave behind pieces of data about what they do. Every call we make on our cell phone, every website we visit, everything we purchase on our credit card, and even the places we visit (captured by cameras) all contribute to the information marketers, hackers, and the government have about us. That data when carefully analyzed can help someone determine if we’re:

  1. Republican or democrat
  2. Worth an extra 30K in compensation or unnecessary overhead
  3. Likely to buy recently discounted laundry detergent
  4. A criminal trying to cheat a vegas black jack table

Those are just some of the examples; there are thousands more.  Perhaps the most famous example of The Numerati in action was the campaign Barack Obama ran during the 2008 presidential election.  His focus on data, people, and the web was unprecedented and is widely regarded as the key component (besides being an amazing public speaker) to winning the presidency.

I found a lot of similarities between The Numerati and Moneyball. Both of these books run counter to Malcolm Gladwell’s arguments in Blink. This fascinated the hell outta me. Moneyball basically says don’t trusty your eyes, trust data, and more importantly trust the right data (eg not homeruns). That’s a really similar idea to The Numerati. After all with the mountains of data out there why would you trust your gut over a model put together by some guy from MIT?

Personally, I’ve always been a “Blink” guy. My instincts have rarely lead me astray. In fact, I’d argue they’ve been right 90% + of the time. I believe that data is important, data without context is useless, and data should be used to LEAD you – not make the decision for you. I’ve seen data for years lead to cases of analysis paralysis and little to no risk taking.

The Numerati concept, not the book, doesn’t seem to account for emotion. If we just looked at the data, why would anyone get married? The divorce rate is 50% and growing? The odds are against you. But, emotion gets in the way. We get wrapped up in the IDEA of a marriage, white picket fence, kids, etc. Emotion, not data drives the decision.  As marketers we’ve been taught to focus on reasons to CARE not reasons to believe.  Beliefs are rooted in facts which are rooted in data.  Caring is emotional.  It’s the reason people are willing to pay the Apple tax.

Would the iPhone have come to market if only “data” was used? What about Nike+? Twitter? BMW Films? Nintendo Wii? BlueRay? I don’t think so. To me, the companies that succeed today leverage their data to INFORM and then use their gut (aka Blink) to make the decision. It’s that combination, in the right ratio, that helps you get the DOVE Campaign For Real Beauty campaign.

I kept asking myself throughout the book, “if all of this information is out there and we have The Numerati to help us make sense of the data – WHY aren’t ads more relevant?” Think about it. Shouldn’t the ads you see be smarter and more in tune to YOU? Are marketers simply not paying attention? Are they still seduced by the lure of mass media tools like TV where we’re trying to connect with a broad target/segment, instead of the individual? I’m not sure. I’ve been in marketing and advertising for roughly 12 years and I’ve rarely seen marketers leverage the vast amount of data in the way The Numerati indicates we can and should. Strange. I welcome your thoughts on this topic.

The other thing I wonder is if people would be more inclined to proactive provide data to marketers if they were deriving a better value and experience from marketers. As Baker mentions, we’re already doing this with shopper loyalty cards. For a small discount (eg 10%) on your groceries we’re voluntarily giving the grocery store data about our shopping habits. It’s about a mutual exchange. I give you something and I get something. Seems fair. I can tell you this, I’d give away information about me voluntarily to car companies so that I could avoid seeing ads from any car manufacturer not named BMW. I’m not going to buy a Kia, Chysler, Ford, or Lexus. It’s just not happening. Wouldn’t those companies want to avoid marketing their vehicles to me? Seems fair. I’m open to it, but companies aren’t.  Facebook tried this approach with Beacon.  But, they made a big mistake in not asking it’s members if they wanted to opt into the program.  People want to have a say.

That’s the future to me; companies and consumers engaging in a system of mutual exchange. It benefits everyone so long as the information provided is used responsibly.

Pick up a copy of The Numerati. It’s a great book with real world examples that will help you think about the power of data. Data is powerful. But with great power comes great responsibility. Baker covers this challenge in the book, but it deserves even more attention.  As you can see from the length of this post, it’s made me rethink several things and has my mind moving. You’ll be doing the same thing after reading The Numerati.