Category Archives: What’s Going On

Independence Day 2020

Way back when in 2008, I wrote this about the holiday we’re celebrating this weekend. Given the pandemic, we’re enduring and a virus that spreads uncontrollably unless each of us takes care to protect ourselves and others, it seems appropriate to publish it again. Sorry, no food this Friday, other than the food for thought I hope this provides. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear ya damn mask, and enjoy the 4th!

It’s going on July 4th and to all of us raised on the Red, White, and Blue we know it’s a day (OK, a long weekend) during which we can celebrate the fundamental principles that make the US of A what it is.  No, I’m not going to venture into politics (although it IS an election year and there’s a LOT to talk about).  What I do want to write about is the contradiction of the “independence day” term.

The Constitution (I know – a bit after the Declaration) begins with the word “we.”  We The People.  Not “me.”  The independence rightly celebrated this weekend is, to me , about the specific rights and freedoms we have to be ourselves as a people, with all the quirks that make us unique.  WE are independent from other folks (Great Britain, specifically, long ago) but NOT from one another.  I’ve spent the last 30+ years learning how critical having a strong bunch of folks around you is as well as setting the bar high in terms of with whom you do business as best you can.  Why?  Because the better they are, the better you become.  As I’ve transitioned from corporate life to consulting, the friends and business friends I’ve made over the last 30 years have been an unbelievable support network, even for a guy who is now independent.

Jack Ingram puts it well in his song “We’re All In This Together“:

We all think we’re special
And I hate to have to say
There’s a bunch of us on every corner
Of any town U.S.A.
We all got our problems
We all pay our dues
So if you’re thinking no one understands
I’ve got news for you

Chorus

We’re all in this together
Whether we like it or not
So we might as well have a good time
With the little piece of time we got
Life’s too short to fuss and fight
So we might as well be friends
‘Cause we’re all in this together
Together till the bitter end

So Happy July 4th.  Enjoy being independent.  Together.

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Filed under Helpful Hints, What's Going On

A Little More Privacy

Sometimes I feel that I use this space to relay only bad news. I rage about lousy customer service and vent about idiocy in marketing. Well, not today. Nope. I have some good news, at least from a consumer perspective. Frankly, from a marketer and application developer perspective, it sucks, but that’s life, I guess.

Apple released the details about the latest version of iOS yesterday. I’m not an Apple fanboy and I don’t own an iPhone. However, I think this announcement is a big step forward in many ways. You see, this new version of iOS will offer new privacy features, including one that could make it harder for ad-tech companies to track users.

When an app that’s installed on the phone wants to track them for ad purposes, the phone will let the user know and will ask people to either allow or prohibit tracking by that app. If you choose not to have an app track you, the system won’t let the app grab the identifier for advertising (IDFA) — an alphanumeric string that allows developers to track mobile users across different apps. My Android phone has something similar but it’s really a binary yes/no choice for all apps and not set at the app level. What Apple is doing is a step forward in improving our privacy.

Needless to say, the Network Advertising Initiative criticized Apple’s move. They say that it will make life harder for app developers since it will be harder to make money via ads. They say this could lead to developers having to charge for apps or for in-app content. I realize I might not be typical, but I do pay for apps that I find useful, especially if that removes the advertising. A few bucks a year for something I regularly use is, in my way of thinking, a fair exchange of value. Tracking me without my permission and selling the data is not.

Apple did something similar to this in their Safari browser a year ago. You would expect Apple to lead the change on privacy with respect to ads because unlike Google or Microsoft, their business isn’t based in the advertising world.  Their hardware isn’t a secondary line as it is with others. Is this going to have others doing the same? Maybe not, but since third-party cookies have disappeared and now tracking is more difficult on a significant portion of the installed mobile base, other changes in how privacy in the ad business works are sure to follow. Stay tuned!

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Filed under digital media, What's Going On

New Habits

This Foodie Friday, I’d like you to imagine that you went to bed after a lot of reveling this last New Year’s Eve and have just woken up. In any other year, you might be mildly surprised as to what’s gone on for the first 5 months of the year. 2020? You wouldn’t recognize it.

The pandemic has changed many things and people’s relationship with food is one of them. More than 80% of consumers say the coronavirus pandemic has changed their food habits, driving them to cook, eat, shop, and think about food differently, according to the annual Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council. Obviously, with most restaurants closed, many more people are cooking at home. About 60% of people, in fact. But 85% of people say they’re doing something differently, ranging from snacking more to washing produce more often.

They’re also changing what they’re eating. Generally, people are trying to eat more healthy although both KFC and Pizza Hut saw sales soar into the double-digits last month as consumers stayed home and ate more chicken and delivered pizza. Still, cooking more at home tends to be a little bit more healthy than the choices that we might make when eating out. That’s probably why the stuff we cook at home doesn’t taste as good as restaurant food! That said, three out of five people said they consider how healthy items are. And compared to 10 years ago, more than half said the healthiness of food makes more of a difference to them now.

Why am I bringing all of this up? I guess it’s just another reminder that the world we all knew has changed significantly but therein lies opportunity. The reason that we older folks tend not to be targeted by much marketing is that there’s an assumption that our buying habits are locked in stone. A lot more money is spent going after younger consumers whose shopping habits may be more malleable. I’d suggest to you that at this point everyone is rethinking not just how they buy food and eat but also how they spend their money on other things. People who used to travel a lot may find they’re not doing that now. Do those dollars go to home improvement or a shiny new entertainment center?

Habits are changing. You need to be changing with them if you want your business to continue to thrive. 

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Filed under Thinking Aloud, What's Going On