Sunday, October 31, 2010

Paplet will also disrupt electronic marketing

A few days ago, I had a brief, yet interesting, exchange of tweets with @loic a.k.a. Loic Le Meur, ceo @seesmic www. and great blog for any marketer who wants to get powerful social media insight 

Here is the thread:

As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago, I did buy a tablet computer.

Originally, I didn't want to because I couldn't figure out what the value proposition truly was. As a mobile passionate since my childhood and early GSM engineering days, what I have always valued about a mobile technology solution is that it's conveniently mobile. You can easily carry it around with you and can engage with the mobile applications while being as free as a birdie flying in the blue skies of wireless ubiquity.

That's where my first tablet hiccup came from. The form factor and the weight seemed to be way out of range in my perception for being considered as a wireless, painless device to be carried around. On top of that, unlike most women, I do not carry a purse with me, at least not yet, and I had a hard time to picture myself stuck with a tablet in hand every time I am running out and about while needing to freshly pick real-time data from the net.

On top of that, I realized that even if I were to decide to narrow down the scope of use at home only, which would solve the nomadic catch 22 that I just mentioned, it wouldn't make much sense neither. Why on tablet earth would I bother squinting on a small screen at home when I can complete the same computing tasks on a much bigger screen from my every day computer?

The third hiccup came from the availability of production tools and the inherent memory space needed to save their output on a local drive.

Well, looking at the tablet beyond it's huge commercial hype pushed by brilliant experience marketers didn't bring much decision making incentives for me to become an early adopter.

However, because of a niche need and the prospect of co-creating digital drawings with my babies as they are about to fall asleep at night, I challenged my stiff thinking and bought one.

A few weeks later, as evidenced by the tweets above, I no longer use any regular computers even when I am at home.


The short answer is that the user experience is stellar.

I am touchtyping this blog post (without looking at the keys as @loic does on a regular laptop apparently) by using my tablet horizontally, it simply lies on my knees as I am enjoying spreading out on my couch as a Sunday potato. Yes, the touchtyping is slightly more intuitive as, for the moment, you no longer have the volume of each key to give you valuable insight as to where exactly is each key positioned. It did take me a few days to adapt to this new spatial challenge. However, I do recommend to everyone starting working on it as Google recently bought BlindType that has an interesting keyboard solution that is only reliant upon the relative spatial position of each keystroke. In other words, just imagine that you can type in a more open minded zone as long as your typing pattern is kindda consistent with the keyboard that is installed on your computing device.

It's even easier to remove the blindfolds from my words by just checking out this short video:

Furthermore, as evidenced in the Morph concept by Nokia (see very first post on this blog if interested), this "glasstyping" experience is very likely to be enhanced by smarter electronic and hardware that will create volume on demand. As the keyboard application is selected, instead of keys just showing up visually as on a regular tablet, the forms of the keys will emerge from the electronic substrate. Imagine electronic chickenpox in a way! :-)

But wait, I still haven't addressed the production issue that really stood in my purchase decision way originally and... there's more.

If you want to use a few minutes well spent, check out the OpenVibe video:

The principle is not new and is already used in very advanced segments of health care. What this means is that as opposed to leveraging a mechanic interaction that is subsequently transformed into an action-triggering electronic signal, it will be possible to use the source signal in the human brain to directly trigger the electronic action.

That's huge and the future applications are like a universe of disruptive innovations!

If we look at the evolution path, the future is clear. The traditional keystroke on a traditional computer is extremely mechanical and puts two pieces of conductors in contact which create a current (electronic signal) to trigger the key information. The next step is tablet computing, starting with touchscreen applications awhile ago, where either more subtle resistive interactions or capacitive ones map out the target information from the screen and convey it to its intended destination.

So the logical next step could be BCI: Brain Computer Interface where the mechanical interaction totally disappears, the command is purely virtualized.

It is then just a matter of time before we can start the disruptive experience of "thinktyping". Gosh, I would have already finished typing up this novel blog post! I should have asked my parents to have me a few years later ;-)

By then, I am not so sure "laptops" will have any sort of market share, or at least it will shrink exponentially because the tablet experience will be boundaryless and we will have extremely light tablets as all users will be used to saving their data on cloud computing services like the many incumbents these days that are making significant growth inroads (even FaceBook actively considers becoming one of the key players in that space soon).

To a greater extent, as the Internet access networks will be much faster, most applications will be cloud-based too and we can very well imagine that the tablet will evolve into the new concept of "paplet", see it as a tablet as thin and flexible as a piece of paper.

Fun... I hope to see that soon, much sooner than most people may want to think because singularity is not that far.

How will BCI-driven e-commerce and other marketing applications look like?
How will we ensure that our dreams do not interfere with our social actions from the conscious part of our lives?

By living our dreams?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quantum innovation in Marketing

On my way to an innovation conference last week (that's how I use many of my few days of vacation a year - I am crazy!), I had voiced my concern about the huge marketing inefficiencies stemming from the traditional, broad forms of mass marketing that most companies generally embrace.


I wish only 10% of the estimated wasted annual dollars would go to creating new learning and personal development opportunities for children around the world.  This would already make a big difference and certainly open the doors for a better future to many.

Anyway, it's like in politics, those who criticize generally do not have the guts to drive change themselves.  I am not one of those, and even if these are just words in essence, I hope that these few marketing thoughts will evolve towards actions that can help make marketing investments much more focused on contribution margin efficiency and scalability.

As a matter of fact, I don't believe that marketing is a continuous channel.

What I mean by that is that on the other side of any marketing channel there are people.  Psychology plays a key role in marketing as the core driver of any marketing result is the ability to shape the target audience's perceived value of your product or service to trigger the intended strategic action.  The objective of a marketing campaign along the funnel of purchase decision making can generally take six forms: awareness, consideration, liking, preference, persuasion, or purchase.  The value pricing model is a great one to consider to understand how direct marketers are sculptors of perceived value and how cost of good sold, total economic value, perceived value, and price interact and come together to influence sales behaviors.

Nonetheless, all models appear way too smooth and continuous when scalability in the marketing world is much more discrete.  I am speaking to this from experience, not theory.

The most successful campaigns that I have seen around me, or led in some of my marketing positions, were intimately related to their ability to tap into the irrational zone of the target audience's minds.

It's all about quantum in the end as there is no linear path to this mysterious interactive universe.

Energy is a lot about quantum too when we think about it.  I remember from a long time ago the discrete levels of energy in the materials that surround us are not continuous, they also are discrete.  The Schrodinger's Equation is a classical way to represent level of energies, it's about spots, not flowing streams.

It's actually fun to play with that equation.  When you solve it under a few basic conditions, it's quite artistic to see how the density of the orbitals come along.

It looks a bit like tribal signs from another world, a world where modern art and quantum science come together in perfect unison.

So how does quantum of energy relate to innovation in marketing?

There most likely is no equation to tap into human "irrationales"; however, I believe that design thinking in marketing is the key to unleashing the viral power of irrational emotions. 

As creativity is able to spawn irrational emotion, through what I call design content, the target audience's reaction is of quantum importance, and so are the bottom line results.

There is a slew of fresh minded entrepreneurs who have started to understand that marketing scalability and sustainable growth is coming from that angle.

I met a few of them last week in San Francisco, it was like a breeze of fresh air arousing my constant entrepreneurial dreams.

One of them was a young guy from a College near Boston that is very active in the area of entrepreneurship.  He created VS (ViralSkool) 

Another one was more experienced and it was a pleasure to discuss his vision with him.  This guy understood that one of the key dimensions that any marketer should excel at is loyalty.  Loyalty is complex.  Way too often, the true potential of creating engaging loyalty program with target consumers to build sustainable lifetime value is overseen, most marketers barely scratch the surface by distorting the true long term value of consumer advocacy on the sake of short term financial incentives.

Badegeville got it:

They empower marketers to leverage a much broader spectrum of motivators, beyond the rationale, to spur a new level of viral loyalty fan interaction.

Real-time video is also an area where we are just scratching the surface of something big.

It's getting late, I have to go to bed but, I'd just like to share "Brandlive" with you, they rock:

All of this is pretty cool and exciting but there are many more pending question marks.

How do we take these great ideas and ensure that they are scalable over time?  
Are they just a few minuscle steps towards new quanta of disruptive innovation?