Showing posts from March, 2011

Make it all about something bigger; or why does reading the Economist make me want to cheer?

There are times while reading the Economist, that I've felt like getting up and cheering. That's right. Standing up, fist-pumping with my lips pursed determinedly and going "oh, yeah." (Look at yon baby pic attached.)
Yes, I know I'd look ridiculous.
I've wondered why, and my answer was generally because the magazine consistently says smart things with solid reporting and great insightsI often agree with a lot of their views and analysistheir sense of humor and whimsy (oh, its there!) works for me.I'd always believed that the main reason the magazine was able to elicit this response was because they often took a stand - not the writers - the magazine.
Articles back people, or condemn policy, or make recommendations without equivocating. They always phrase it as "This magazine supports..." or "The Economist strongly condemns..." or "We affirm that .."
But watching the Jack Dorsey Golden Gate bridge talk made me realize how they…

Google eBooks bookmarks!

Increasingly, Google does some truly delightful marketing. :)
I got these in the mail today:

I thought this was cool! It was unexpected and delighted me - always something good to do to your users. Compliments to the eBooks folks who came up with this!
If it were another company, I might complain that I don't read physical books as much anymore. :(even when I do, and despite years of my mother telling me to, I fold the page instead of using a bookmark. I suspect I'm not alone.the eBook store doesn't even sell physical books and by their very nature ....Bookmarks are not seen by others - the automatic evangelizing of the product doesn't happen. Sending this out will make people momentarily happy (Good!!), some like me will blog about it cos they're excited and create buzz (also good!!) but it ends there.Stickers are great for that viral push - especially if people put them on their tablets and phones and laptops (y'know on which they read those eBooks we just sold …

Additives to engine oil and other lubricants still worth more than Twitter and Groupon.

The return to New York meant I started catching on my magazine reading this weekend.
The first thing that caught my eye was this- Warren Buffett's Berkeshire Hathaway just bought Lubrizol.
- Fine, I thought. It probably is a castle, and has a moat. - They bought it for $9.7B. What the?? What the hell does this company do?? Here's Lubrizol's Wikipedia blurb.
.. a provider of specialty chemicals for the transportation, industrial and consumer markets. These products include additives for engine oils and other transportation-related fluids, additives for industrial lubricants and additives for gasoline and diesel fuel. So they're in the business of optimizing the performance of a fuel and/or lubricant. And they were just valued (by Buffett - so someone very smart thinks its can be worth even more) for more than either Twitter or Groupon or both combined (give or take a billion or two; or a rumor or three...whatever your prefer.)
I like these intermittent reminders - as importa…

What might Twitter and/or Facebook have cost us if they were invented earlier (or should some things stay deliberately un-social?)

So I was reading an ebook last week, and came across a quote that I liked. My first thought wasn't "I should write this down", it was "I want to tweet this." My ebook reading software wasn't equipped for it, and it wasn't trivial to do so I didn't, but I expect most ebook reading software will be updated to do this in the next couple of releases and probably encourage me to as well.
Why should reading be left behind? Twitter is already saving live TV. As I look back on the last week watching the Cricket World Cup, a huge part of it for me was watching my Twitter and Facebook feeds for reactions and being part of them. My parents were the only ones that actually called me during the match, but I felt connected to so many more people through FB and the Big T.
Wether you're shopping, eating out, playing games, even searching... apparently "everything gets better with social." We all have a very human, internal urge to express ourselves and…

Humans are incredibly good... a reminder. :)

Years ago, in a book whose name now escapes me and I can't find even with my favorite search engine, I remember reading that there were essentially two buckets of how societies thought about organizing themselves and their rules:Bucket 1: societies and religions that believed most people are basically weak or bad - and that rules are needed to protect them from their base instincts and from each other.Bucket 2: those that believed that most people are basically good - and that that rules exist to guide them, help them, and protect them from errors and temptation.Both often ended up with surprisingly similar rules, but there's always a difference in tone, attitude and treatment. As people that build products, its shockingly easy to fall in the first bucket in spite of where you may start.
You always first think of serving and delighting the user who needs you (closer to Bucket 2) - but there are plenty of forces pulling you into the depths of Bucket 1.
Years ago, I remember talk…

Perfect memory: a little closer. :)

I was leaving the office last Friday, and had already put my coat on. I glanced at an address in an email on my laptop screen that I needed to mail some documents to. I was going to have to stop at the post office on my way out.
The problem was pretty obvious, and so was the solution. I picked up my trusty Nexus S smartphone and snapped a picture of my laptop screen. I didn't actually even read the address. I'd look it up when I was writing it in the post office.
If I had the same choice two years ago there'd be a quick mental debate instead: do I memorize the address or try to find some paper and a pen? Knowing me, I wouldn't have found the pen and the paper would be out of reach anyway.
So I'd memorize the address trusting that it'd stick until I got to the post office. I've gotten away with this ill-advised reliance on memory for quite a while. An eon ago, I was also that annoying kid who never wrote down phone numbers, because I tried to memorize them …