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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blekko: A Slashtag Search Engine

Every now and then there is an attempt at a new take on the search engine.  Zakta is an example I took a look at that attempts to build specialized research experiences.  I much liked its approach of looking at the problem from a collaborative search view.   Now released is dispassionately named Blekko  " ... The service offers an interesting way to “slash” or create specialty search engines for any topic, along with new features the company hopes will improve relevancy ... " .  An overall look at Blekko here.  You can try it in Beta here.

So what is a slashtag search?  " ... slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don't .... " .   I can see that useful at times, but isn't it also overly restrictive?   So Blekko is inclusive/restrictive rather than collaborative.  Worth looking at.

Update: And some negative comments on Blekko, saying it is broken.  And another critical view.

How Much Math Does the Average Person Need?

InSlashdot, a provocative piece on the real need for advanced math education for the average person.  My training is in industrial applications of mathematics, and I think the average person does need to understand enough math to understand what they are hearing or being sold.  Yet I surprisingly find myself agreeing that there is a line to be drawn here.  Where?

Zombies at Sears

Zombie Marketing at Sears.  How delightful.  What, no vampires?  Catches you attention today, I guess.

Drive Through Supermarket

The drive through supermarket is a concept I have studied for some time.  Here Tesco tests the concept.  Baldock is in the county of Hertfordshire which is just North of London.  And more on this.  See also the autocart concept.

BJ Fogg and Persuasive Technologies

In my last post I mentioned BJ Fogg.  We learned of his work while using the Institute for the Future over a number of years.  He is a Stanford researcher and consultant, and worked with our enterprise a number of times.  Notable is his work on persuasive computer technologies.  He has published several books on the topic.   Most recently he has been studying Facebook.   See his site for more information.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gamification of HealthCare

Design Mind on the Gamification of Healthcare.  Includes mention  of BJ Fogg, who we utilized for projects in the enterprise that dealt with incentive several times.   I like the overall idea, but the examples given in the link are quite simplistic.  Perhaps exercise and healthy life styles might be delivered this way.  But healthcare itself?

Winn Dixie's Happy Meals for Adults

An interesting idea.  The llink and full article contains lots of example images.  Also seems quite complicated, and I think adult consumers might quickly be oversaturated with the idea.  How long will they buy into it?  Stay tuned.

Winn-Dixie’s new type of Happy Meal…Customer Marketing on Steroids or Shopper Marketing? by sjfrenda
Winn-Dixie has been using an integrated marketing plan to present weekly “Make-A-Meal” specials dangling four free products with the purchase of select brands.

The themed offers are advertised prominently on the chain’s website, featured in circulars and local radio spots, and promoted in stores via table displays, ceiling signs and window posters. The most recent deal, staged Oct. 13-19, offered free SKUs of Dole Foods bananas, Smithfield Foods’ Eckrich sausage and private-label milk and coffee with purchase of three boxes of Kellogg Co. cereal. The promotion delivered $10.71 worth of free product on a purchase of $14.97. (The Kellogg’s cereals were priced high at $4.99 per box.) .... "

Food Continues to get more Affordable

A look at the continued and growing affordability of food.  Despite criticisms, the agriculture system is remarkable.  Also the effects of international trade.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Strategic Process Improvement

Brad Power on the importance of improving strategic process in the HBR.   I am further a believer in using simulation methods to understand these processes in great detail. It is not used often enough.  Read the entire post, and his previous post linked to.  He writes:

" ... I admit I'm a process improvement enthusiast. I'm continually tempted to believe that all companies need to improve all their processes all the time. As I argued in my first post in this series, organizations, like people, need to maintain fitness. But even I have to admit that sometimes, process improvement is irrelevant.

Process improvement programs that do not expressly target competitive advantage are doomed to fail. This may sound like common sense, but it happens far too frequently. Process improvement zealots often warn senior managers of the need to continually assess and improve processes everywhere in the organization. They project a religious and indiscriminate tone that can lead to improving the wrong activities and ignoring the ones that matter ... "  

Simple Tips for Social Customer Service

Good short piece in BusinessWeek.  " .... Adding a social-media layer to your customer-service efforts doesn't have to take much time or energy, writes Pamela O'Hara. Identify the platforms that your company should be engaging with and set aside a few minutes each day to address requests and complaints via those channels, and you'll soon be recognized as an engaged and caring company .... "

Fast Paced Auctions with a Smartphone

I posted a while back that I have been helping Cowans Auction House,  to improve their ontology and online presence.  This week I tracked a historic Guns and Militaria auction they were holding.  Most notable was how fast-paced these auction interactions can be with a smartphone.  You can track them from work or wherever you are,  alerting yourself to items you are interested in.  I have also observed the back-office process that supports the bidding operation.

The overall user experience is quite different from a physical auction.   There are no audience cues,  but rather a fast past stream of information.  Does this ultimately improve the engagement process?

You can track the progress of the auction without signing in. If you want to bid a short sign in is required. The auction continues this afternoon and tomorrow. These kinds of push Apps are excellent examples of live interactions with a complex remote event. More about Cowan Auctions.

How Retailers Engage Tech Enabled Consumers

Interesting download-able report with registration:

The Customer-centric Store 2010: How Retailers Engage Tech-enabled Customers
Consumers’ access to mobile technology is transforming the dynamic of the in-store experience. Price and product features and comparisons are now completely transparent to the shopper. Social networks, product reviews and mobile applets are ubiquitous. For the first time, the consumer has more technology in her hands than most store managers or employees have in their entire arsenal.

How are retailers responding to the challenge and how does the store fit into the new era of transparent retailing? What techniques and practices are working best? Which cultural environments lead to the fastest progress? And just as importantly, what technologies are retailers budgeting for to maintain their edge? .... "

More about the Tesco Scanning App

More detail about UK retailer Tesco using the Redlaser barcode scanning capability in their IPhone App, including some additional usage scenarios.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Web is Reborn

Technology Review Magazine on how the Web will be Reborn. " ... The last decade expanded what we could do online, but the Web's basic programming couldn't keep up. That threatened to fracture the world's greatest innovation engine--until a small group of Web rivals joined forces to save it .... " .   Nice thought, but I don't think it has quite happened yet.   Registration may be required.

New Bionic Arm

Dean Kamen, of Segway fame, presents at TEDMed and demonstrates a new and improved prosthetic arm.  Also a distribution deal for his water purifying machine.  He has also produced a very cheap and efficient  LED bulb that he plans to sell rather than force us to use.  Nothing like the individual motivated  inventor.

Twitter's 145 Million Users

A GigaOM post on Twitter's 145 Million Users.  My comments:

I have now used Twitter for over two years. I started using it as an experiment to see if it could increase visitors to this blog. It seems to have, though many other things have changed at the same time, so it is hard to determine cause and effect. During that same time advanced mobile use has exploded.

I remain skeptical of Twitter. I would prefer some sort of incentive to restrict messages to 160 characters, but also be allowed to provide more if I want to. It is true there are lots of interesting and useful things out in Twitter, but if you take a close look at the stream ..... most of it is ... twit. It is true you can link your own more detail writings easily from twitter to a blog. There are many easy to use blogs like Posterous.

New Chart Editor in Google Docs

Google Docs has jsust added a new chart editor.  I have not tried the original, but it looks good.  No where near as sophisiticated as many of the business intelligence capabilities out there, or even Excel, but has a few chart types, like org charts, that can be useful.  Take a look.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IPhone App Detects Snoring Patterns

Another example of Smartphone App as biometric sensor.  Have been following these closely.  Not sure how well this particular App works,  but I like the idea.  Consider a broad range of biometric analyses done through phones and alterting you, your doctor, or you partner of the implications.  The potential for deeper data mining and analytics also emerges.  The possibilities continue.

Sweet Spots in Quantity Discounts

In Knowledge@Wharton, they discuss quantity discounts in stores like Costco, where big and multipacks rule.  I have been a Costco member for years, but always wondered about how the 'discounts' given really helped the consumer.  The amounts offered seemed to be too large for the average family, but not large enough for a small business.  Plus many products seem aimed at compulsive buys, in which the amount makes it even less likely that your buy is sweet.  Good piece. 

" ... How much of a discount should companies give if they don't have any history of bulk sales of that product or service? In a recent paper, Wharton marketing professor Raghuram Iyengar and Columbia marketing professor Kamel Jedidi offer a model for determining what price will convince customers to buy more while still yielding maximum profitability for the seller ... "

Cool Business Intelligence

From the upcoming TDWI World BI conference:

Cool BI: Outlook, BI Search  by Cindi Howson
If you think BI tools have become a commodity, think again. If you think you can tick along with your current BI tool standard, never to assess your portfolio again, then you are missing out on valuable innovations that are revolutionizing the way we think of business intelligence ... "

Find My Phone

A website that helps you find your phone.  Guess how ...  Precious.

Crime Prediction Software

Shades of a movie I saw a while back:
" ... Soon, people will be able to discover criminals long before they do any harm, with the help of new crime prediction software that was developed by Richard Berk, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The software is already being used in Baltimore and Philadelphia to predict which individuals on probation are most likely to murder or be murdered ... "

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Playstation Smartphone

Soon to be released, the Playstation, Android-based smartphone.  In Engadget.

Trimble Acquires Thingmagic

Thingmagic, out of MIT, was one of the first EPC RFID companies we worked with.  Here a continued set of mergers in the RFID space.  The RFID tracking world has simply not performed as was expected back in 2000:

Trimble Acquires ThingMagic

The provider of positioning and tracking solutions will incorporate ThingMagic's EPC RFID technology into its own products for the construction and mobile services sectors, while ThingMagic will also continue to operate as an RFID reader and solutions provider, as a Trimble division ... "

Keeping Retired Knowledge in the Game

I met with the management team at YourEncore today and was further impressed by their approaches, projects and future directions, so I thought I would repeat a message that I posted earlier:

Keeping knowledge in the company is an increasingly difficult task. It is a key part of the whole process called knowledge management. Where is the knowledge I need, what do I know and what do I not know? Often it is selectively kept in the minds of people like retirees who have helped develop it over long periods at a company.

I met today with Peter Kleinhenz at YourEncore, a company devoted to dealing with this problem. I was impressed by what I saw. They have four companies that acted as founding members: P&G, Lilly, Boeing and General Mills.

Need some expertise from some of these and other top companies to help with wicked problems? Give them a call. There is also a recent BW article on them that provides additional information.

Tesco Adds Barcode Scanner

Tesco has added a barcode scanner to its IPhone App.   A short mention here, which mentions that this can be used at home to add items to a grocery list.   This kind of behavior is something we studied because of the thought that it would lead repeat purchasing of a product.   As opposed to using it in the store which might encourage price or alternate store chain shopping. 

Unilever and Ampere Life Sciences

A brief WSJ piece about Unilever working with Ampere Life Sciences.

Forrest Sawyer: He is also a co-founder of Ampere Life Sciences, a newly launched company developing medical and functional foods targeting antioxidant deficiencies. In addition to unique research and development programs, both companies are building innovative communication platforms.

Crowdsourcing Microtasks

I have been involved in a number of projects that involved using crowdsourcing tasks.  I had missed the  conference mentioned , but I this article in Oreilly Radar that provides some useful thoughts and pointers to new services being established.  I am reading to better understand where this is going ...

Crowdsourcing Microtasks
Since the first-ever Mechanical Turk meetup a year ago, there has been an explosion in crowdsourcing services and a well-attended conference in San Francisco. I remain enthusiastic about crowdsourcing, but the number of companies has me worried about quality of work. Fortunately specialization is already occurring, so for particular tasks there are companies out there ready to provide high-quality service. ....  "

Monday, October 25, 2010

Computer Vision

Fascinating CACM piece on changes in the direction of computer vision:

A Neuromorphic Approach to Computer Vision
Neuroscience is beginning to inspire a new generation of seeing machines ...

Birth Season May Effect Food Allergies

This is a surprise finding, could be used to do preventative medicine / forecasting of need for medicines that address this.

Approaches to Your Company Blog

A good piece on the establishment of a corporate blog in ReadWriteWeb  Have now been involved in a number of efforts to establish a company blog.  A useful look at different styles of blogs for startups. " ... Gartner was right in suggesting that corporate blogging is rising up the "slope of enlightenment" and about 2 years away from widespread mainstream adoption. The road to enlightenment has been a long one. In the past ten years we've learned that company blogs should not be press releases, sales pitches or plagiarized quotes from Dale Carnegie ... "

The Edge on Benoit Mandelbrot

The Edge online source has a number of articles by and about IBM researcher, complexity theorist, and economist Benoit Mandelbrot, who recently passed away.   Includes an interview.

Intelligent Individuals Don't Make Groups Smarter

An intriguing insight that is applicable to crowds research:

" ...  an early effort at defining general intelligence in groups suggests that individual brainpower contributes little to collective smarts. Instead, it's social awareness -- the ability to pick up on emotional cues in others -- that seems to determine how smart a group can be ... "

Tableau 6.0 to Combine Data Sources

New in Tableau 6.0, drag and drop data to combine sources.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Genetic Programming Book

We examined these methods in the enterprise.  Publisher please send me a copy if you would like a full review in this blog. 

 " ...  you might like to know that Foundations of Genetic Programming by William B. Langdon will be released on November 2, 2010 ... "

This is likely a technical book, but useful to understand genetic methods, Langdon is the co author of this previous work on the subject:

Poli, R., Langdon, W. B., McPhee, N. F. (2008). A Field Guide to Genetic Programming.  ISBN 978-1-4092-0073-1

Consumer Hard Drives to be Extinct?

The comment is made in slashdot that the cost per solid state gigabyte will decrease to about fifty US cents by next year.  Will this kill the hard drive?  In the comments there are some interesting debates about reliability, speed and other relative advantages of solid state versus spinning drive technologies.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Creativity and Sadness

Does sadness make us more creative?  In Wired/Frontal Cortex.  My own informal innovation center observations would say otherwise,  but this may depend more strongly on the context and driving goals of the task at hand.  The article provides some thoughts on the subject:

" ... Well, it turns out the cliché might be true after all: Angst has creative perks. That, at least, is the conclusion of Modupe Akinola, a professor at Columbia Business School, in her paper “The Dark Side of Creativity: Biological Vulnerability and Negative Emotions Lead to Greater Artistic Creativity.” The experiment was simple: She asked subjects to give a short speech about their dream job. The students were randomly assigned to either a positive or negative feedback condition, in which their speech was greeted with smiles and vertical nods (positive) or frowns and horizontal shakes (negative). After the speech was over, the subjects were given glue, paper and colored felt and told to create a collage using the materials. Professional artists then evaluated each collage for creativity ... "

Singularity Operating System

Technical but intriquing piece in CACM
Microsoft's experimental operating system.
The Singularity System
Safe, modern programming languages let Microsoft rethink the architectural trade-offs in its experimental operating system ...

Loss Aversion

In Wired / Frontal Cortex: On the Allais paradox, or loss aversion in humans.  One of the most well known and powerful concepts in neuroeconomics.  With some excellent practical examples. 

Hyper Social Organization

Paul Gillin on Hyper social organizations:

" ... I’ve been looking forward to reading The Hyper-Social Organization since I first heard François Gossieaux and Ed Moran discuss the findings of their “Tribalization of Business” research at a conference two years ago. I wasn’t disappointed. In this groundbreaking book, the authors expand upon ideas laid down in their early research that are both simple to grasp and momentous in their implications.

The assumption in The Hyper Social Organization is that human beings are basically social animals and that our behavior is fundamentally tribal. Given the opportunity, we seek help from others when making important decisions and willingly share our own advice in return. The popularity of social networks and collaborative projects like Wikipedia attests to these instincts.

In a business context, however, tribes have barely been a factor. Our ability to tap into networks of like-minded people has been limited by space and time. The whole relationship between institutions and their constituents is hard-wired around the assumption that people on the consuming end of the transaction are mostly in the dark. This is been a huge advantage to suppliers. Basically, he who shouted the loudest had the edge. That won’t be an advantage in the future however ... "

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Ways to Map Influence

In Fastcompany.  An idea we also examined.  How do you figure out where useful ideas come from?  And why they sometimes do not have the influence you might expect?   Paper citation tracking often does not give you the insight you might expect. 

" ... Princeton researchers have developed a new method that tracks the origins of influential ideas. The traditional way of measuring influence in academic journals is by citation count, and online search engines use links and traffic to determine which sites are most relevant to your search. The Princeton approach is more direct. By running computer algorithms on the actual text of a set of documents, and analyzing how their language changes over time, the researchers are able to track the origin and spread of new ideas ... "

Magazines on the iPad

A good piece on early experiments with publishing mags on the iPad.  I see this an example of really fundamental change.  Are we seeing the beginning of the new electronic media?  Ephemeral print on flat panels that we carry around?  It will be some time before this replaces print, but I am inclined to think it will.

More QR Codes in Retail

QR codes are gaining momentum as they increasingly appear on shelf tags, in-store posters and product packaging

In Supermarketnews, more examples of how scan able codes are being used in retail for a number of information applications.  We explored this early on, and now that there are more people with in phone scanners, the applications, extended-packaging, even game applications are increasing in number.  Here are a number of simple examples. My guess is that this will become near ubiquitous.  Is retail and consumer packaged goods ready? 

Visualizing Your Inbox

Another example of Gmail inbox visualization.  I have mentioned a few others here.  I have built some simple screen scraping methods to look at this via Excel, but still looking for a way to do this easily.  Let me know if there are other methods our there.

Econonomics of Mass Collaboration

HBR Podcast with guest Don Tapscott, chairman of nGenera Insight and coauthor of Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. on the economics of mass collaboration. Just reading his book,  Very useful thoughts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tynt - Copy and Paste

Another example of the ability to determine how much your content is being shared.   I have always looked at this with mixed feelings ... you want what you say to be shared, it is a measure of how good it is.  Yet how can that effectively be used?  What is 'fair use' in this case?  See their site.  " ... Make link-backs to your content effortless for readers and gain new insight into user engagement with Tynt Insight ... "

Some Shopping by Phone Only

Who shops using mobile, and what are the consequences?
" ... A small segment of consumers prefer to shop using their mobile devices, according to a report from Millennial Media and comScore. Among the 8% of survey respondents who use their phones for shopping, 27% said they had shopped via only mobile during the previous month, while the rest reported spreading their spending among mobile, in-store and online ... "

Google CPG Blog

I was reminded that Google has a Consumer Package Goods vertical blog that I had not visited in some time, check it out.

Senses and Sales

Roger Dooley writes about the use of more senses to promote sales.  Along the way mentioning and quoting Dan Hill's new book:  About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising, which I am in the midst of reading.   This topic was one we worked on continually in the enterprise.   How do you add sensory dimensions to products, their marketing and merchandising?  I recently stayed at a Westin Resort in Florida and experienced their 'White Tea'  range of products.  First was the hotel wide use of a strong 'White Tea' scent to brand the hotel.  The signature scent was developed by Scentair, a company we also worked with.  My arrival reaction was that it was too strong, but in a few hours I got used to it and it left a pleasant background impression I will remember.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adding Human Intelligence to Software

From CACM:    Whats interesting here is the connection to Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which we used to experiment with human intelligence tasks.  There are some things that people can do far more quickly and accurately than machines.  It makes sense to have people perform those tasks as required.

 " ... Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed TurKit, a toolkit that enables users to write algorithms to coordinate online workers using Javascript and create human  intelligence-equipped applications. "This is a bridge for writing code that interacts with the workers on Mechanical Turk, so we can easily explore new methods of human computation," says MIT's Greg Little. ... "

Girl Scouts Fight Photoshopping

This is interesting, reminding me of the Dove ads of a few years ago.  What are the implications of 'healthy media' ?  Or is an act like this just censorship?

Primer for Using YouTube

An Adage primer for using YouTube as a marketing tool.  I admit I am mostly a consumer of YouTube, and have just noticed some colleagues and companies starting to use it as means of communicating, and I like what I have seen so far. Good start here.

Identifying People By Their Phones

More about using biometric behavior with devices like phones for identification.

" ... Tabletop touch screens such as Microsoft's Surface are designed for sharing and collaboration, but it's difficult for them to tell one person from another. Researchers in the U.K. have developed a new way to identify different users: via mobile phones ...

The prototype system, called PhoneTouch, lets users manipulate onscreen objects, such as photos, or select buttons, by touching any part of their phone to the screen. This also makes it possible to personalize interactions, says Hans Gellersen, a professor of interactive systems at the University of Lancaster, who developed the system with his student Dominik Schmidt ... "

Store Simulation

I just took a renewed look at the general problem of simulating  retail store operations.  We worked  with a UK vendor called Space Syntax on this at one time.   I was also pointed to another vendor of interest:  Red Dot Software (Now part of WPP).   Can anyone else provide examples of recent work in retail space simulation?

Video Traffic to Explode

Stan Dyck sends this along:  " ...By 2014 90% of all Internet traffic will be video. Every device will lead with video. Phone. Tv. PC. #cisco ceo chambers at #Nvtc conference ... "   ---  from @jcbackus

Quite a change, you can see indications of it already,  are we ready for this change?  What are the opportunities for new initiatives?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

World Statistics Day

The Wolfram Blog posts on World Statistics Day.  We use statistically analyzed data every day, but do not often think about the origin of the data, the analysis being used, and how it is displayed.  Good time to start.

Neuromarketing Labels

The BrandShow podcast gives a short and simple overview of the use of neuromarketing for non conscious analysis of a brand.  Using Campbell Soup as an example.

Stock Exchange for Apps

It is true that it has become harder to find useful Apps. Too many, too obscure, or broad.   There are the usual blogs and sites that describe new Apps, but I have not found them that useful.  Now there is an exchange for new IPhone Apps that may be worth a look.

Tibco Silver Spotfire

I am just now getting to look at Tibco Silver Spotfire business intelligence and visualization package.  It is now available as a one year free trial.  A clever marketing ploy I think, especially with regard to the length of trial.  I plan to compare it to Tableau Software package, often mentioned here,  in the coming month. In the past I have used both packages, in the enterprise and out, but more recently have primarily used Tableau.

Scratch Resistant Polymers

This note from Ideaconnection reminds me of some research work I did in this area long  ago.   As we carry around more things that need to be handled often and still be durable,  there are many interesting challenges to material science.

Willpower not a Limited Resource

In Lifehacker a short piece on a recent Stanford study.  That " ... the endurance you get from willpower is at least in part determined by your beliefs ... ".   Obvious.    Its been in the news recently about how powerful a resource the Internet yet is, but also how distracting it can be.  Do we reasonably have the willpower to control that distraction? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot, Dead at 85

In the ACM: Mandelbrot was a major inspiration for me in the 1980s.  Met in a conference at IBM at about that time.  In particular his work with financial analysis.  And, of course his exploration of the 'mandelbort set' which linked the visual and deep complexity.  Was one of my first visual coding attempts.

Scientific Feuds

Mind Hacks mentions an HG Wells piece on scientific feuds.  Was was pointed out  to me years ago.  A good reminder about how researchers are people, and science is social too, for all of its good and bad aspects.

Heart Rate Sensor for IPhone

Have been exploring a number of sensor options and developments  for Smartphones.  Here is a relatively new one which does heart rate tracking.  Sent to me by Mapmyfitness.

WiFi in Flight

I briefly encountered the ability to get WiFi wireless on a flight today.  I said no.  This CW article outlines the fact that though this convenience is getting more common, travelers are reluctant to pay.  I find most flights a rare time when I can sit back and think, not connect.  I might use it now and then, on the basis of real need, but not often.  I also negatively react to being nickeled and dimed by the airlines.   They should note that a great deal of their business services can be replaced by increasingly good conferencing systems.  They should be looking to add more quality capabilites, rather than trying to charge for everything.

Google Goggles: Image Recognition on Mobile

Have been involved in a number of image recognition projects, and the general problem is still hard.  Google Goggles is now available on the Iphone as part of the Google Mobile App.  It is also available for the Android Standalone.  More here.  My own tests show that it can be recognize text on a image, which can be useful.  Continuing to experiment with it.  Would like to get some examples of other successful applications of GG that are out there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Smart Grid as Wikinomics

The Smart Grid is Wikinomics on a Macro Scale from Voices - HarvardBusiness.org by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
Alexander Graham Bell would not recognize today's telephone network, but Thomas Edison would feel right at home running our current electrical grid. Talking with Leonard Gross, an engineering executive at Ontario's electrical utility Hydro One, we were struck by how bereft of fresh thinking America's energy infrastructure has been. "Since Edison passed away," Gross observed, "we've created a compact fluorescent light bulb. Nothing else has happened."

The inertia is most evident in the industry's planning traditions, which emphasize centralized models of grid design, regulation, operations, and profit-making. Indeed, from an engineering perspective, everything about our current electrical systems — from the transformers, meters and breakers right through to our household appliances — is designed on the assumption that power flows one way, from large-scale generators to the consumer. Unfortunately, this centralized approach is vastly inefficient. In coal-and gas-fired power plants, almost two-thirds of the energy produced by converting fuel into kilowatts escapes as heat. Another 8%, on average, dissipates as the electricity travels over transmission lines to homes. Further inefficiencies arise because the grid must handle peak consumption — the times when local industry is at full throttle and household consumption spikes — but it has no built-in storage capacity (e.g., a nationwide network of electric car batteries). Lots of money is tied up in large-scale plants that are called into action only when needed to cover those rare moments.

Today's grid is also remarkably opaque. The typical utility company has no visibility into real-time demand for electricity and no way to know if there is a power outage in the network until a customer calls to complain. Consumers for their part have next to no visibility into their usage until presented with an aggregate bill at the end of the month. Homeowners rarely get information about pricing considerations. Precious few know what proportion of their power was generated by nuclear, coal, gas, or some form of renewable energy, or what emissions were produced in the process ... "

Reusable Baggage Tags

Baggage tags were a long time potential application for RFID .. here is a new example.
Reusable Electronic Baggage Tag Powered by RFID
Vanguard ID Systems' View Tag contains two passive RFID chips and an electronic paper display to help airlines and airports track the location of luggage, and send updates to passengers' cell phones when bags are loaded on planes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adverts in Your Head

A fairly good article in CNN on Neuromarketing.  They quote Roger Dooley: "the biggest development that I hope we see is some solid research validating neuromarketing techniques. That would be a bigger boost for the industry than modest technology improvements."    and further from one of my favorite companies: "[It] provides unique insight into the consumer's unconscious responses to advertising -- video, print, digital -- product design and product packaging," Ron Wright, President/CEO of neuromarketing firm Sands Research Inc

Who Owns Personal Data?

Thinking about who owns personal data.

Tableau 6 Includes What-If Modeling

The newest verison of Tableau 6, now in beta, has the ability to create variables for use in your analysis. We call these parameters, and they open up new possibilities from sensitivity analysis to what-if modeling. More with some illustrations.

Stealing Your Reality

Can your behavior on social networking sites be stolen and your 'reality' taken?  I know that reality can be augmented, even replaced by being made virtual, but can it be taken from you?  CW looks at Malware that attempts this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tragedy of the Commons

I looked up the concept of 'Tragedy of the Commons' concept recently to get additional historical information about the topic. .   Found that the Wikipedia has a nice overview and some useful background.

Data Sharing Between CPG and Retail

Data sharing between retailers and manufacturers have been done for a long time.   Here is an example of the process between Food Lion and Kraft.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inside the Mind of the Shopper

I have had a chance to re-examine Herb Sorensen's book from last year, and his supporting site that contains articles about some of the concepts included. Also, a number of posts in this blog about the concepts in the book.  And you can order his excellent book there as well:

Inside the Mind of the Shopper 
In his new book, Herb Sorensen challenges the conventional wisdom of retailers and brands who don't understand how shoppers actually buy. A few highlights:

- Sell more by promoting a select group of products, rather than frustrating them with too many choices.
- Merchandise for the "quick trips," which comprise most shopping trips and a third of total dollar sales.
- Understand the buying hot spots, reach more shoppers and sell more items.

LinkedIn's New Lab

ReadwriteWeb writes about Linkedn's new lab.  Says it has meager pickings for the average user. LinkedIn  is a resume mill that is no longer possible to ignore.  I have always thought they could do much more with their huge quantity of data.  Lets see more in the new Lab.  Google has a nice selection of things they discuss and provide for test.

Google Creative Labs

A slideshow from Google Creative Labs. " ...   interesting HTML5 apps, iPhone apps, visualization tools, 3D projections, art projects, creative YouTube videos, crowdsourcing services and many other interesting things ... ".

Store Brands Here to Stay

Overview of Deloitte study on store brands in Progressive Grocer:  " ... In a Deloitte study, 80% of consumer respondents said they think most store brands are made by national brands, and 85% said they found store brands they like as much as national brands. By working together, CPG companies and retailers can consider "variations on current brands and what new innovations should be brought to market so as not to overwhelm an already substantial marketplace ' .... "

Where do Innovations Come From?

The hive mind say Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson.   Maybe they are nurtured (or not) that way, but all the really good and remarkable ideas I have seen have come from individuals.


James Surowiecki in the New Yorker: What does procrastination tell us about ourselves?  Orin Kerr in Volokh follows with the suggestion that  procrastination may well be rational.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tell Them Where to Go in Retail

Click through to see the whole thing:

Tell 'em Where to Go; Tell 'em Which to Buy!
(The "Path-to-Purchase" Ought to Be a U-Turn)
September 30, 2010 - by Herb Sorensen, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor, TNS Retail and Shopper

The objective facts are that there are a few retailers who obtain outsize sales and profits in comparison to other stores carrying similar merchandise. Because these few have some obvious differences from the thousand-store chains, many retailers ignore the underlying principles that drive the outsize success of these super performers. Here it is my intention to explain the relevance of these super performers to all retailers, and how to leverage the principles that drive their success, without upending your own operations. That is, where they may be selling five times as much (500% more sales than you,) you don't have to go the whole way with their business and merchandising strategy to maybe get a 50% increase in sales yourself ... "

Posterous gets an App

In ReadwriteWeb:  The minimalist blogging platform called Posterous is something I am experimenting with for getting blogging into the hand of clients.  They now have an IPhone App to make this easier.  Will try.  First look: Good, it is easy to use.  Not for editing but fine for putting up pictures and descriptions quickly.

In-Facility Navigation

In the NYT (May require registration):  Finding Your Way Through the Mall or the Airport, With a Cellphone Map.  Not a very new idea, but a reasonable overview discussion of applications that deal with in-facility navigation.

Food Lion Testing

In Supermarket News, Bloom's Food Lion is testing a 3GTV television network in store.  " ... will examine the best way to utilize video and other digital media to connect with shoppers and enhance the in store shopping experience ... ".   How well do these systems do this? I find myself annoyed by them or just  ignoring them.


I see that AnalyticBridge has a newly designed web site. Nicely done.   They position themselves as the social network for analytics professionals.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Google Promotes the Fourth Screen

According to this article and a number of other mentions there are four screens that Google would like to get access to: ... The TV, the Computer, the Mobile Phone .... and the Automobile's.   The first three are already much in play, the fourth screen, in the car,  often has this driver problem.  Thus their recent experimentation with driverless cars.

Unilever Becoming Demand Driven

Not an unusual thing these days:

Unilever’s Global Effort to Become More Demand Driven
With 400 brands spanning 14 categories of home, personal care and food products, Unilever is one of the world's largest consumer products goods companies. While major consumer packaged goods companies tend to focus on either food or personal care, Unilever has large operations in both areas, which create different supply chain challenges.

Recent volatility has placed a premium on understanding consumer preferences, and Unilever recognized that more accurate demand signals can positively impact customer service, drive down inventory levels and reduce costs.
In a recent and highly attended CGT web seminar, titled "Demand Sensing and Inventory optimization Go Global at Unilever", Doug Sloan, Unilever North America's director of Supply Chain Operations, explained why the consumer goods giant implemented Terra Technology's Demand Sensing as part of their journey to become more demand-driven ... "

Grand Challenges for Engineering

This blog post in Kurzweil AI reminded me of the Grand Challenges for Engineering.  It lists them specifically.   I remember reading about these years ago.  The post specifically makes the case that there is something wrong about the specifics of a number of them.  I agree their focus is poor, but I like the idea of knowing what we do not know.  If we even solve a few of these, or even parts of them, it is a big thing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Springer's Computer Science Reading Room

Springer Publishing has opened what they call a computer science reading room, nice idea. 

A Free Library of Computer Science Knowledge
 Inside the Computer Science Reading Room you will find free content from the highly respected Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) series and satellite series and a wide array of Springer journals. Using the functionality offered by SpringerLink, the content is accessible via PDF or HTML files, which you can download and print.Quarterly, new content is added to the Reading Room highlighting a different journal and proceedings cluster. .... "

Repast Simphony

A recent project made me re-examine Repast: An Agent Simulation toolkit. For what is called Agent Based Simulation (ABM)
Repast Simphony is a free and open source agent-based modeling toolkit that simplifies model creation and use. Repast Simphony offers users a rich variety of features including the following ... "

Bayesian Truth Serum, Pluralistic Ignorance

I can remember just this occuring in a project in the enterprise, on pluralistic ignorance.  I guess this calls for more transparency? ..  It begins:

" ... In social psychology, pluralistic ignorance, a term coined by Daniel Katz and Floyd H. Allport in 1931, describes “a situation where a majority of group members privately reject a norm, but assume (incorrectly) that most others accept it…It is, in Krech and Crutchfield’s (1948, pp. 388–89) words, the situation where ‘no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes’”. This, in turn, provides support for a norm that may be, in fact, disliked by most people ... "   It had not occurred to me that pluralistic ignorance could wreak havoc on the prediction market approach I proposed. Specifically, there is a risk that, even though the majority participants in the market hold a particular opinion, they suppress their individual opinions and instead vote based on mistaken assumptions about the collective opinion of others ... '

 Read the whole thing and the related links ...

Deleted Posts are Discoverable

An article about using deleted posts in social networking sites for legal proceedings, an interesting caution:

" ... Deleted Facebook and MySpace Posts Are Discoverable--Romano v. Steelcase

On my personal blog, I have repeatedly blogged about plaintiffs who tell one story in court only to have that story undone by their postings to social networking sites. See, e.g., Sedie v. US, People v. Franco (despite the tragedy, my personal favorite) and Embry v. State.

This case is in the same vein. Romano claims that she is largely bedridden/housebound, but her public Facebook pictures show her apparently enjoying herself away from home. The defense requests access to her non-public posts on Facebook and MySpace, which the judge grants.

The short opinion focuses on the defense's ability to access the private posts, but the actual order covers both current as well as deleted material. Specifically, the court orders "Defendant STEELCASE's motion for an Order granting said Defendant access to Plaintiff's current and historical Facebook and MySpace pages and accounts, including all deleted pages and related information, is hereby granted in all respects." The court didn't discuss the deleted material separately in its analysis, but this seems like a gotcha. Once a person posts material to Facebook or MySpace, there may not be a meaningful "undo"--even deleting it does not eliminate the material as future discoverable evidence for the duration of Facebook's and MySpace's retention periods. ... "

Google Cars Drive Themselves

This came out last week,  Google cars driving themselves in traffic, with only occasional human intervention.  Article in NYT Science.  Now will you be able to click on a mobile phone after finding your destination to command 'drive me'? 

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Augmented Reality App Travels in Time

Have always thought that a good augemented reality application should include details, in text and visually, of the history of a location.  How much data actually exists to make this a rich experience would vary:

First Look: Time Travel eXplorer brings old London to life
When you're visiting a city, don't you sometimes wonder what it looked like in past centuries? That's the premise behind Time Travel eXplorer - London, a new iPhone travel guide app from Visick Solutions, Ltd. currently on the What's Hot page of the UK App Store. There's a good reason for that popularity, since Time Travel eXplorer is a fascinating way to take a tour of London both in the present day and in the past .... "

Smartphones Recognizing their Owners by Their Walk

A nice basically simple idea, use the accelerometers in most Smartphones as  a low involvement means to recognize their owners.  As they start to become more like wallets could be important.   Using what is called gait analysis, already used for some kinds of ID analyses in video.   And then challenge for more information if the gait does not match. 

Standards in Neuromarketing

Duane Varan, who is leading the Advertising Research Foundation's initiative to develop standards,  is interviewed on the form and need for standards in Neuromarketing.  Good to see this direction. More credibility for new technologies always helps.

Friday, October 08, 2010

On the IFuture of Money

CW post on the future of money, reporting on a conference in Geneva and a presentation being given on the evolution of Smartphones being used for payment.  A favorite topic.  Inevitable.  See in particular a list of a number of tests underway now.

An Internet of Internal Organs

How about giving your heart and other organs their own IP address?   In the CACM from New Scientist: Body Organs Can Send Status Updates to Your Cellphone.

SaaS Sales Models

On varying sales models for software as a service ." ...  One of the commonly accepted myths of the Software as a Service (SaaS) market and the broader cloud computing environment is that it is inherently a high-transaction business. This view has been fostered by the rapid growth of many commodity-oriented SaaS solutions and public cloud services ... "


It is inevitable that we see closer people-machine interfaces, what will the implications be? More interruptions than we have today?  In Nick Carr's Roughtype:

"New frontiers in social networking
The big news this week is the launch of a National Science Foundation-funded study aimed at "developing the NeuroPhone system, the first Brain-Mobile phone Interface (BMI) that enables neural signals from consumer-level wireless electroencephalography (EEG) headsets worn by people as they go about their everyday lives to be interfaced to mobile phones and combined with existing sensor streams on the phone (e.g., accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS) to enable new forms of interaction, communications and human behavior modeling." ....

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kotex Launch Driven by Social Media

A CPG case study of a new product launch
" ... Kimberly-Clark and Organic collaborated on perhaps the most successful CPG launch of the year with the debut of U by Kotex.  By leveraging social media as part of an ambitious multi-channel campaign, KC and Organic forever changed the way feminine care products are marketed, while increasing sales for the Kotex brand by almost 10%. ... "

My Body, My Data, My Health

Mark Montgomery of Kyield issues a post entitled:  Americans must Unite: My Body, my Data, my Health. About the increasing complexity of the health care system.   How will new technologies help us to solve this worsening dilemma?

Bowls of Learning

From the Google research blog.  An overview of a technical paper that talks about one of the fundamental aspects of artificial intelligence: Machine Learning.  It makes sense to think about building a machine that can learn, then teaching it with examples over time.  In the enterprise we we exercised such systems with simple example-based-learning techniques.  Here the researchers look at how mathematical algorithms can find best solutions, even under noisy conditions.  And in the real world, all situations are noisy.  The authors suggest that more research in noisy systems should be promoted.  An example of this kind of problem is image recognition, such as in Google Goggles.

When Automating Analytics Works

Fairly obvious paper, but useful thoughts. I think its always useful to think about where analytics exists within the process and considering its time dynamics.  Its particularly notable if the process is not stable.

Deep Analytics

Had not heard of the term specifically before, but there is also deep analytics.  I know what it is, practiced it for years, new term for me:

" ... One term for using predictive analytics technologies to apply complex analysis to unstructured data is deep analytics. Simply put, deep analytics supports meaningful analysis of data from everyday customer interactions and business events, no matter the source, which drives more effective performance management and decision-making. You can't just buy deep analytics software off the shelf and start using it. Well, you can, but you probably won't be able to use it very well. More practically, you can follow a disciplined approach to implementing a deep analytics solution. There are several core principles that, if followed, can support an effective implementation of deep analytics technologies ... "

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Closer to a National Digital Library

Was glad to see this item in educause, about a recent meeting concerning the establishment of a national digital library.   I have followed this idea for a long time, especially during the legal wrangle with Google about the copyright issues with authors and publishers.  Google continues its massive book scanning operation.  See Google Book Reader for the current status of this work.  This has already led to a very large corpus of scanned text from millions of books, which are being used in a number of studies at universities.  In addition this same information is readily  available to  individual researchers as well.

Yet, you do have to wonder if this information should ultimately be owned by any individual company.  It would make more sense to have it owned by a consortium that would include Universities, publishers, author groups and other organizations.  It is a massive piece of cultural value that should be readily available to all.   Today Google is funding the scanning, and makes the content available,  but can we be assured that this will always the case?  That is precisely what this meeting was about.   A good start, with lots more to do.

Mathematics Chasing Complexity

Technical, but quite interesting view of the future of formal methods and computing in CN Magazine  .. It is all about modeling, useful modeling:
" ... The purpose of this month's theme on Computing Now is to point out some new directions that might lead from formal methods into the traditional science and engineering disciplines and back again to computer science. These same lines of work seem also to be linking discrete mathematics to continuous mathematics, and perhaps to some degree reducing the gap between theoretical computer science and classical mathematics. These new directions have to do, in general, with modeling ... "

Psychology and Free Speech

Cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker on Psychology as a danger to freedom of speech.  If have not read any of Pinker's books I heartily recommend it.  See his web site.  And his TED talk on the Blank Slate.

Leveraging Data in Shopper Marketing

Of interest, I have worked with Dave Katz in the past, he cleverly makes use of existing data assets about how people shop:

Clientone Announces Agreement with Experian Marketing Services to Leverage Data Assets  in Shopper Marketing Vertical
CHICAGO, IL – October 5, 2010 – Dave Katz Managing Partner/President ClientOne Group announced today an agreement with Experian Marketing Services (EMS) to leverage their data assets in the Shopper Marketing vertical at the Shopper Marketing Expo.

ClientOne began on the premise how shoppers behave informs what business should do with their marketing dollars. In 2009, the company introduced Shopper Marketing 2.0 the notion of understanding the layered marketing influences on the shopper path to purchase at PMA Shopper Marketing Summit. Earlier this year ClientOne introduced Microzone Shopper Marketing the first panel driven database of shopper brand and category expenditures at the household level with media that inform shopper decisions.

“Shopper marketing is at a crossroads not seen since the early days of direct to consumer marketing with the advent of closed loop marketing systems. The nuances of Ad & Trade promotion accountability present a similar challenge. Recent advances in marketing sciences, technology and industry thinking have contributed to the development of a new framework for analyzing shopper heuristics and path to purchase behavior holistically,” noted Dave Katz Managing Partner/President ClientOne. “EMS suite of targeting and measurement tools are a perfect fit for the emerging Ad & Trade promotion accountability needs in consumer packaged goods shopper marketing. By leveraging our shopper experience and consulting framework combined with the EMS data provides a superior solution to our clients.” .... "

Previously about ClientOne.

Paper vs Digital

Good piece in the always interesting Neuroscience marketing blog. Does paper advertising beat digital? " .... According to the study, physical media left a “deeper footprint” in the brain, even after for controlling for the increase in sensory processing for tangible items ... "

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Eyeballs Out is now Available!

Donna Sturgess' book is now out ... Very nicely done. Excellent reviews on Amazon. An intriguing, great read. Novel look at making your business thrive. From my previous review:

I just read Donna Sturgess' new book: Eyeballs Out: How To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive. In the book she visits the Nuclear Carrier USS Stennis and immerses herself in the life on board. I too have been impressed by the thrill and excellence evoked by those with military experience. She provides a number of 'spectacular' points about how the military uses its understanding of people and technology to provide enduring value.

Some surprising chapters, like a description of the use of chaplains on the carrier and in business. A suggestion of using more incremental badge-style recognition methods. Utlizing games to anticipate action in complex business decisions. The use of immersive strategies to get true understanding of context of the business and customer. Our own innovation centers took this approach. Emphasizes the value of hiring veterans who have experienced this world. All of this provided using the background of a good story.

An easy read, this book would be useful as prereading, chapter by chapter or in its entirety, for innovative management meetings, where you could add examples from your own company. You can preorder now, planned release is in October.

Text on Social Media

I see that former colleague Krista Neher, of Boot Camp Digital, is writing a textbook on social media. See more about her report on the process.

Humanoid Robotics

In IEEE Spectrum: The rise of the humanoid robotics. This article has lots of links and examples of the humanoid robotic. Pictures, often frightening, as well. I have seen a few of these and they are still fairly primitive from the 'human' perspective.

Connected Home Store

Amazon has opened a connected home store. This is a particularly good idea. It brings to mind work we did in setting up innovation center 'future homes'. It works well only if it provides the right level of support for the consumer, who is often confused about options and set up.

Procter Offers Media Era Green Stamps

A novel and interesting approach, but does it engage to purchase?
In Adage: P&G Program Will Offer Social-Media-Era 'Green Stamps'
Deal With RecycleBank Gives Reward Points for Recycling, Green Education and Blogging ... "

MIT Open Courseware not Paywalled

There were rumors that the 2000 plus courses that MIT is offering free online would soon be charged for in some way. The rumors were denied this week. The remarkable offering, which I have browsed and also recommended in a few cases, still exists free here. Much worth looking at.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Next Generation of Consumer Loyalty

A good piece from the Harvard Business review voices on the next generation of location and consumer loyalty systems. Foursquare and beyond.... "These experiments have generated excitement, but they only scratch the surface of what's possible. Check-ins are not enough — and businesses know that showing up does not equate to profit. A customer might be checking in without purchasing anything, or their purchases might be small, deeply discounted, or one-time due to competitor loyalty. Additionally, user points on most location-based networks are tied to a specific location ... "

Auctioning the Right to Use Laptops in Class

This is interesting.  Ten years ago I had a conversation with a professor at Wharton who had been part of the redesign of some of the large classrooms in new buildings there.  I asked about wireless access for laptops in the rooms.  He indicated at the time that they were explicitly not including Wifi so that full attention could be preserved.  Last  I observed this is no longer the case.   The inevitability of connection being required everywhere.  Attention is brokered with the professors on a case by case basis.  See Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows .. , now reading, which relates studies indicating that this loss of attention is detrimental.

More on Corporate Fun

Techdirt writes on enforced corporate fun.   Yes, happy workers are a good idea, but bizarre forced programs of humor and fun do not create happiness.  Better to create trust,  transparency, teamwork and useful interaction.  I wrote about this previously.

Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer

Leon Zurawicki at UMass has a new book:
Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer.  Professor Zurawicki joined us at a panel I led on neuromarketing last year in Krakow.

The book link above lets you download some portions of the book, and even read it online. I am in the process of reading,  and promises to be a good look at this area. I will follow with a more detailed review.   Their  overview:

" ... Over the last 10 years advances in the new field of neuromarketing have yielded a host of findings which defy common stereotypes about consumer behavior. Reason and emotions do not necessarily appear as opposing forces. Rather, they complement one another. Hence, it reveals that consumers utilize mental accounting processes different from those assumed in marketers' logical inferences when it comes to time, problems with rating and choosing, and in post-purchase evaluation. People are often guided by illusions not only when they perceive the outside world but also when planning their actions - and consumer behavior is no exception. Strengthening the control over their own desires and the ability to navigate the maze of data are crucial skills consumers can gain to benefit themselves, marketers and the public. Understanding the mind of the consumer is the hardest task faced by business researchers. This book presents the first analytical perspective on the brain - and biometric studies which open a new frontier in market research. ... "

Blog in the Communications of the ACM

This blog, among a number of others, is featured and cross posted in the blog section of the Communications of the ACM. The ACM is the Association of Computing Machinery and the " ... ACM is widely recognized as the premier membership organization for computing professionals, delivering resources that advance computing as a science and a profession; enable professional development; and promote policies and research that benefit society ... ".

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Review of Peer to Peer

In the CACM: A good review article:

Peer-to-Peer Systems
Within a decade, P2P has proven to be a technology that enables innovative new services and is used by millions of people every day. by Rodrigo Rodrigues, Peter Druschel

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing has attracted significant interest in recent years, originally sparked by the release of three influential systems in 1999: the Napster music-sharing system, the Freenet anonymous data store, and the SETI@home volunteer-based scientific computing projects. Napster, for instance, allowed its users to download music directly from each other's computers via the Internet. Because the bandwidth-intensive music downloads occurred directly between users' computers, Napster avoided significant operating costs and was able to offer its service to millions of users for free. Though unresolved legal issues ultimately sealed Napster's fate, the idea of cooperative resource sharing among peers found its way into many other applications ... "

Mobile Marketing Infographics

Some interesting infographics on mobile marketing. Colorful data, but another example where there are much better ways to display this more clearly. Via Stan Dyck.

Exploratory Search for Twitter

An interesting thought, I use Twitter professionally and would like ways to make that use easier, rather than trying to fit it into the twitter structure. Good piece, see the article itself for useful links,

LinkedIn Signal = Exploratory Search for Twitter
from The Noisy Channel by Daniel Tunkelang

" ... The LinkedIn Search, Network, and Analytics team–the same folks that built LinkedIn’s faceted search system and developed open-source search tools Zoie and Bobo–just introduced a service called Signal that is squarely aimed at folks like me who use Twitter as a professional tool. It is still in its infancy (in private beta, in fact), but I think it has the potential to dramatically change how people like me use Twitter. You can learn more about its architecture and implementation details here.

Signal joins the often cacophonous Twitter stream to the high-quality structured data that LinkedIn knows about its own users. For example, when I post a tweet, LinkedIn knows that I am in the software industry, work at Google, and live in New York. LinkedIn can only make this connection for people who include Twitter ids in their LinkedIn profiles, but that’s a substantial and growing population ... "

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Eye Tracking and Neuromarketing Slide Show

An introductory slide show on both Eye Tracking and Neuromarketing. The call it a primer. Not very detailed, but has some useful visuals. Includes a list of neuromarketing vendors.


Somewhat away from the normal topic here, but I recently read:  Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, by Jane Brox. Good book on the topic. Has some useful thoughts about the evolution of technologies in general.

Beware the Flaw of Averages

I see that Sam L Savage's: The Flaw of Averages: Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty is now out. He is a very well known teacher in the space of quant based decision making. I look forward to reading it in its entirety. Bottom line, don't use averages alone in decision making. It is often done that way in the enterprise.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Virtual Worlds Users Exceed 1 Billion

In Readwriteweb: A remarkable milestone. Some interesting breakdowns of the data as well. I watched the early development of places like Second Life. What continues to disappoint me is that nearly all of this participation is gaming and not a serious attempt to provide value. I saw some early attempts, particularly from IBM, to make these spaces into a real work environment. Where did that go? OK, its fine to provide entertainment, but if it is just a billion people not doing real work? It is not sustainable.

Ad Strategies for CPG

Clickz article on strategies for reaching CPG shoppers. What works, and what may not in a changing world.

Center Store Task Force

In an interesting development the formation of a task force to understand the 'center store' in grocery retail and to get to the core of it's performance: " ... FMI, food makers and others are working together on an initiative to show the importance of the center of the store to the overall performance of a location. "Our belief is that a sustainable, more vibrant Center Store is a key ingredient to achieving the promise of future sales and profit growth as part of the total store solution," said Leslie Sarasin, FMI's president and CEO .... ".