Monthly Archives: April 2012

10 Years After

I was thinking over the weekend about what a very different place the world is going to be from a technical and media perspective in just a few years.  Of course, if you take a few minutes to think back and recall how the world was in 2002, just a decade ago, you’d be missing YouTube, iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, and hybrid cars.  Every one of those things is a daily part of my life and probably yours as well.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

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What got me thinking about this was this:

New research from Leichtman Research Group finds that 38% of all U.S. households have at least one television set connected to the internet via a video game system, a Blu-ray player, an Apple TV, a Roku set-top box and/or the TV set itself. This number is up from 30% last year, and 24% from two years ago. Game consoles are the key devices within this category, as 28% of all households have a video game system connected to the web.

I spend some time each week watching Hulu+, Netflix, YouTube, and other services through my Xbox.  That time spent is not incremental to normal TV viewing – it’s content I find more interesting than what’s available.  That behavior ties in with the research:

  • 13% of Netflix subscribers would consider reducing spending on their multichannel video service because of Netflix, down from 21% last year.
  • 16% of all U.S. adults watch full-length TV shows online at least weekly, up from 12% last year.
  • 19% of mobile phone owners watch video on their phones on a weekly basis; while 9% of all U.S. adults watch video on an iPad/tablet.

So I sort of had this flash forward.  If traditional cable boxes become anachronisms, what else goes with them?  I think desktop computers will be history soon, as tablets and other mobile devices access cloud-based services and data.  Even though I have many computers in my home, I spend nearly all my time on a laptop and could very easily transition to a tablet with a keyboard.  Skype and Google Voice could replace my landline and just may shortly.  I’m sure you can add a few legacy technologies/services that need either to pivot or die.

In only 10 years, a lot of our behavior has been changed by a few services and technologies.  In another 10, it will all be different again.  Are you ready?  Is your business?

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Free Business Idea!

This week’s Foodie topic has to do with my home away from home, the supermarket (head faked you there – it’s not the golf course!).  I don’t know about you but I seem to spend more time dodging folks yakking on their cell phones than I do perusing the specials as I’m pushing my cart around.  While it’s an almost infinite source of comedic relief, it also can be frustrating when items I need are blocked by someone checking their email or confirming a recipe with home base.  Of course, to me that’s a missed opportunity.  Let’s see what you think.

The interior of a T & T store

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I rarely go to the market with a menu in mind.  As my wife is sick of hearing, my philosophy is “let’s see what looks good” and building around that.  Once I’ve sorted out the best looking proteins and produce, I will often fire up a favorite recipe app to find inspiration and a bit of guidance (and yes, I stand off to the side and not in an aisle).  What’s missing in this app is the free business idea but it also points to something we all might consider as we’re developing new products.

None of the recipe apps I’ve found are integrated with their locations, meaning the store.  Wouldn’t it be great if the store’s price, inventory, and aisle data (where in the store the product is) could come up as part of the shopping list generated by the recipe?  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to settle on an idea and then find out the store doesn’t have a key ingredient or they’re out of stock or it’s very expensive or I just can’t find it.

I can hear you telling me about the obvious problem:  all the various food companies and supermarket chains would have to cooperate to produce a common set of data, and why would they do that?  Why should Stop & Shop let Shop Rite see their pricing and inventory (as if it was a secret)?   Because it’s the right thing to do for the customer, and that’s the business point we always must consider.  The reality is that these chains don’t compete that much on regular pricing – a lot of it is on location and specials.  Moreover, if the app is designed to help the customer already in the store, so the cooperation is unlikely to cost much.

If you know of such an app, that integrates recipes with store information, please let me know.  Some smart chain will produce one that’s chain specific; we’d all be better off if there was something universal.  Who’s going to step up and take the free idea?

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It’s Not ADD, It’s Technology

Time published the results of a study on media habits and the proliferation of mobile digital devices.  If you do decide to click-through and read it, be prepared to be disturbed.  I was.  Then again, I’m what is called in the study a “digital immigrant” – someone who picked up mobile technology in his adult life which was, of course, when it was invented.  Digital natives are those who grew up with the technology.  Since we’re all about being helpful here (and since if you’re under 30 your attentionis likely to wander in about 5 seconds according to this), let me post some of the key findings:

Nokia N8

Photo credit: Wikipedia

  • Digital Natives switch their attention between media platforms (i.e. TVs, magazines, tablets, smartphones or channels within platforms) 27 times per hour, about every other minute.
  • Because Digital Natives spend more time using multiple media platforms simultaneously, their emotional engagement with content is constrained. They experience fewer highs and lows of emotional response and as a result, Digital Natives more frequently use media to regulate their mood – as soon as they grow tired or bored, they turn their attention to something new.
  • More than half (54%) of Digital Natives say “I prefer texting people rather than talking to them” compared with 28% of Digital immigrants
  • One major implication of these findings is that Digital Immigrants are intuitively linear – they want to see a beginning, middle, and end to stories. For Natives, stories still need a beginning, middle and end, but they will accept it in any order. Digital Natives are subconsciously switching between platforms and can pick up different pieces of a story from different mediums in any order.

Let me add some random points from an article on A.D.D., which seems to be running rampant among young folks:

  • (ADD) is characterized primarily by inattention, easy distractibility, disorganization, procrastination, and forgetfulness
  • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Is often easily distracted.
  • Avoiding tasks that require a high amount of mental effort and organization
  • Often having difficulty concentrating on conversations

Is it me, or do you see the similarities?  One might wonder if the ADD diagnosis can be applied to anyone whom Time classifies as a Digital Native.  Maybe instead of giving Ritalin and Adderall we ought to be taking away smartphones and tablets?


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