Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Recent Watershed Developments: Augmented Reality

October 2, 2009

Augmented Reality has come to the iPhone. This is big news. What is Augmented Reality? Here is the wikipedia article on it. An example:

Info on Yelp’s Augmented Reality offering.

Why is this a big leap forward? For several years, the new layer of information supplied online, that overlays the physical world (think Geocaching, Brightkite, GPS devices, etc) has been hidden from ordinary view. The concept of Augmented Reality has been around for a few years now, with perhaps the most well known example being the yellow first down line that is superimposed in real-time in televised national football. But that is a high-cost application available only to major businesses that can afford to produce it. The new class of Augmented Reality applications for the iPhone are the first that make World 2.0 visible to regular people on a consumer-level device. Also, anyone who writes software can potentially create an AR app for the iPhone. The possibilities for new applications seem endless. This is absolutely a game changer.

Augumented Reality for the iPhone is truly a major development. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Next week, I will be publishing two more recent watershed developments, along with what I consider to be a huge punch in the face to credit union and community banking marketers everywhere.

The other recent watershed developments: Twitter bankingFinovate NYC 2009

Is the iPhone going to revolutionize banking?

July 14, 2008

Ron Shevlin wrote a post this morning about why the iPhone isn’t going to revolutionize banking. His point is that there may be some evolution, but not revolution. My counterpoint is that when talking about degrees by which these things happen, it can be difficult to draw a line between these two. And waiting for that line to become bright is a risk that some might not want to take.

Ron thinks that there are too many people rushing in to these revolutionary technologies. I actually think it’s the opposite: there are far more people in the financial world who are taking a wait and see attitude than those who are claiming there is a revolution and jumping in feet first. It’s just that the feet-first types are the vocal ones who make the noise and get the attention. Because, really, who wants to admit they are going to take a wait-and-see approach? I give props to Charles Bruen for taking a hard-line wait-and-see stance on mobile banking.

But let me back up to Ron’s bigger issue; what is revolutionary and what is evolutionary? While it is indeed hard to determine what is truly “disruptive” and “revolutionary” (yes, these words are used too often) at the time they are occurring, nevertheless, some of these things DO take root and create significant change. As one example, in 2005, Facebook had but one million users. Hardly a disruptive revolution, right? But it had momentum and was growing fast, and now has 80 million users. That would make Facebook the fifteenth largest country in the world if it were a country. Three years ago, most people had barely heard of it. Today it’s a part of the culture. When exactly did it go from a blip on the radar screen to mainstream?

I believe the same is true for mobile banking, P2P lending, and PFMs. Yes, these revolutions are not happening violently because banking isn’t sexy. But if there were any way I could get off the sidelines and do something with these technologies, I would be in the game. I give huge props to Gene Blishen for being light years ahead of the curve on what mobile banking can be and do.

Dan Dickinson, in a response to Ron’s post, asks if there is anyone on twitter who does NOT use an iPhone, and states that he will never buy anything made by Apple. As far as the game-changing nature of the iPhone and mobile connectedness, this misses the point.

The point is this: for those of us who were tethered to a desk in order to use our PCs and access the net, laptops were a revolution. Now you could go anywhere with a laptop, be connected/do your work, but you could only connect to the entire internet when you found wifi, which was rare or expensive and often both. With an iPhone (and to some degree any smart phone) you can connect to the net ANYWHERE you have a cell phone connection, which these days seems like just about anywhere. That’s powerful, game changing stuff, and also not as clunky and bulky as a laptop.

But again, here’s the real reason why people LOVE their iPhones, and why it’s indeed a paradigm-shifting, disruptive, revolution (he he!): Because it’s so FREAKING PERSONAL. iPhone owners feel that it’s “my” internet on their iPhones, it’s MY connection to MY friends and MY music and MY phone and MY pictures and MY contacts and MY address book and MY calendar and MY videos and MY games and MY apps! I can customize it with pictures of MY friends and MY kids on MY home screen, and take a photo ANYWHERE I am and instantly email it to my friends. Try wrestling away any device (no matter whether its an iPhone or something else) that has so much personalization and connection… it can’t be done. And to the extent that BlackBerries and Treos do this too, well, yes, that’s why their users love them just as much as us Appleheads love our iPhones.

On the intertubes, everyone gets to be a rock star

March 21, 2008

In the Sixties, Andy Warhol predicted everyone would get their 15 minutes of fame. In today’s World 2.0, everyone gets to be a rock star. I’m usually not starstruck…but tonight I got to rub elbows with a true superstar – Guy Kawasaki. I bought Guy Kawasaki’s first book way back in the mid-eighties… it was called the Macintosh Way, and it is awesome.

Guy has had a pretty interesting career, especially as an early Macintosh evangelist, and when he started blogging, I started reading his blog. He is passionate about business, about entrepreneurship, and is an all-around cool guy. Guy is now a Venture Capitalist and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Earlier tonight, @itsjustbrent (Brent Dixon) twittered to Guy Kawasaki that he should add Charlie Trotter’s (@chaztoo) cartoon/comic site called Lolzies to Guy’s new site called Brent then twittered to the rest of his followers that everyone should petition Guy to add Lolzies to Alltop. At that time, my skeptical radar went on red alert. (I nearly turned into Mr. Grumpy Cranky, aka Ron Shevlin.) I thought to myself there is NO WAY GUY KAWASAKI is going to put Lolzies into his latest online endeavor.

Here’s some background on Guy Kawasaki’s recent online presence: Being well-connected in Silicon Valley, and with a great self-brand and entrepreneurial message, Guy quickly rose to the Top 50 of all bloggers in the world. (A-list, true technorati.) When twitter went mainstream for the technorati, Guy was there. Unfortunately, Guy didn’t follow the hundreds and hundreds of people who were following him. Since Guy likes to promote the projects he’s working on, many followers accused him of “using” his twitter presence just to shill his wares. Guy realized this wasn’t cool behavior, and to prove his detractors wrong, started to follow EVERY one who was following him. Well, that is now more than 6,200 twitterers. So I thought to myself, even assuming Guy is following Brent, how is he going to spot his tweet out of THOUSANDS that must be flying by his twitter-reader every second?

Personally, as much as I like Guy, I have slowed down with following his blog regularly. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the speeches he gives online there, but I’ve felt a need to focus on my own work. And since I don’t follow his blog as regularly as I used to, I definitely didn’t want to follow him on twitter. I didn’t want to see a stream of interesting, but distracting, information coming my way from him. But since Brent was trying to flag his attention, I figured I’d check and see if it were true that Guy follows those who follow him, so I followed Guy. And sure enough, I got an email back saying that Guy was following me just minutes later.

Then I joined in Brent’s petition to get Charlie’s Lolzies onto Alltop. This was followed by @CUWarrior joining in the petition to Guy for Lolzies. I think it might have been the giant feathers on @CUWarrior’s twitter picture that got Guy’s attention, because Guy tweeted back saying isn’t Lolzies a humor site and not a cartoon site? At this point my jaw hit the floor that GUY KAWASAKI was actually tweeting with us! So I jokingly asked Guy to sign my twitterrific interface, to which he responded “you’re scaring me”. He then returned the joke and said “sure, just send it over to me.”

After some banter, and Guy requesting that we all pimp Alltop in return for putting Lolzies into the comic area of it, he put it into the Comic feed, if Charlie was also willing to work some pictures of Guy into the comic itself if he sent over some photos of himself, and mention Alltop. Which Charlie quickly said yes to. (

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true story of how Charlie Trotter became a rock star overnight. Do something worthwhile, and it could happen to you, too.

Addendum: This is the promise of social media– that quality and talent wins. Everyone with something to say has a chance to say it. Within every single one of us is a unique talent, and we are all rock stars. Traditional media gatekeepers are no longer in charge of what becomes popular or not. As Brent tweeted this morning, “Congrats, @chaztoo. Awesomeness wins again.”

Rock and Roll, Baby!

February 6, 2008

Ron Shevlin, Ben Rogers, and Tim McAlpine are writing about P2P lending. For those new to the P2P lending concept, know that it is already well-established, and growing rapidly. I will repeat: If Prosper keeps on its current pace of membership growth, by the fourth quarter of this year, it will have a membership north of one million people. That would make it the third largest credit union in the United States, if it were a credit union. This is happening NOW. I will write more about why P2P lending is so powerful, and what Zopa needs to do to have a chance against the Prosper juggernaut in a future post. But now I turn to rock and roll.

It’s time for credit unions to stop playing copycat and come up with completely new avenues of awareness and revenue generation. As Tim mentioned in his post, in the music world disrupted by sharing technology available to the millions of people, innovation came in the form of iTunes, Rhapsody, etc. Did you know that iTunes has sold 4 BILLION songs? At 99 cents per song, you do the math on total sales. I don’t know how much money the record studios ever made, but I’m guessing Apple would have a seat at the table at the least.

However, we don’t need another iTunes. Wal-Mart tried to copy with a lower price competition, and that effort has failed to put a dent in the Apple behemoth. What credit unions need to do is invent the financial equivalent of the video game Rock Band. Did you know that 2.5 million add-on songs were sold in the first 8 weeks of the games release? That’s double platinum, baby! This is a classic example of a razor and blade business model. And in this case, the razor isn’t even being given away for free, it’s at a reasonable price. (Side note – I recently learned that Guitar Hero and Rock Band come out of research into better learning methods at MIT’s Media Lab.)

Because of the runaway success of Rock Band, real bands are now clamoring to get their songs included. Not only for the notoriety, but I would wager that sales of included songs are significantly increasing. I just bought a great song (I’m So Sick by Flyleaf) from iTunes last night that I was not aware of until playing it in Rock Band.

Let’s find the financial services equivalent of this new phenomenon. We have all the ingredients. We just need a new recipe. Srsly.

Facebook revolutionizes marketing as we know it

November 9, 2007

Mark November 7, 2007 on your calendars. That is the date on which Facebook revolutionized marketing as we know it. Facebook was already an incredible platform for brands before that date, since anyone could create a group. But with Facebook’s latest announcement, marketing is taken to entirely new realm.

For the unintiated, Facebook might seem like just a smaller cousin version of MySpace. But nothing could be further than the truth. Facebook is much more than just another social networking site, it’s a whole new ballgame. Yesterday was the first day that Facebook put business pages on its site, where businesses can describe themselves and what is going on. But more importantly, people can now state their love of the business (by becoming a fan). What’s the big deal with that you say? The big deal is that if you are a fan of a company on Facebook, all of your friends see that you are a fan of that company. For instance, I love Apple, and already I am joined by 500 other people who love Apple. I’m sure that number will swell into the hundreds of thousands in short order. Now all my friends see that I am a fan of Apple. I also love the elegant simplicity of Skagen watches. While there does not yet exist a Skagen page, I will become a fan as soon as it is created. Imagine that you don’t have a favorite kind of watch. But you see that many of your friends like Skagen. Are you going to be influenced to at least consider Skagen the next time you are in a watch store? You better believe it…. and that’s not even taking into consideration any ads that might be served up… You would simply see a feed on your feed page that states that Morriss, Tim, Beth, and Michelle are all fans of Skagen watches. And that’s more powerful than the slickest, most creative, award winning ad that Madison Avenue could ever come up with.

Here’s a story from Indiana’s, and reaction from Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang.

So let me say this clearly: This is a revolution in marketing. Google created one revolution by showing you ads based on the words you use to search. But now in Facebook, ads will be shown to you if your friends like the company.

What does this mean? At last, once and for all, the END of DEMOGRAPHICS. No longer do ads target by gender, age, income, or zip code. People are influenced by their friends, and adopt their friends’ behaviors and characteristics. Facebook now has a mechanism to show you the companies, products, and brands that your friends like and trust. That cuts across age, gender, income, and zip code.

Advice: Create your brand’s Facebook page RIGHT NOW. It’s quick, easy, and free. Then start inviting your employees and best customers to become fans of the company.

Advice number two: Bring your customer service to new heights of excellence. People remember when they are treated exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. Review sites have been around for a while. But Facebook takes it to a whole new level, enabling companies to flourish or flop in new record time, because word will spread even faster now than ever before.

This is Marketing 2.0. Are you on board?