Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What was Germany's secret weapon in the World Cup?

What significance does the German victory in the 2014 World Cup have for you and your business?

Here's an interesting angle on the win by Jack Rosenberger, writing for CIO Insight.

"All of the final 32 teams competing for the World Cup in Brazil had a dedicated performance and video analyst, but Germany appears to be the only one that had a specially built database to measure and analyze individual and team performance and strategies. Not only did the German team collect and analyze a vast amount of data on its own and opposing players, but it delivered the data in a visual and easily understandable manner to its players, trainers and coaches, via a custom-built app, so they could use it on their mobile phone or tablet, as one German coach said, 'whenever and wherever they want.'"  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Scheduling systems: protocols and punishments

Quote of the week

What should happen to someone who manipulated the VA hospitals’ scheduling system? Should they lose their job?
(asked by Senator Johnny Isaakson)

"I don't know whether that's the appropriate level of punishment or not."
- Robert Petzel, Honorable Undersecretary of Health

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Enigmatic acqusition: Apple to buy Beats

Quote of the week

What are the key factors that make this acquisition of a headphone maker by the iPhone company so unusual?

"This would be the biggest ($3.2 billion) deal ever by Apple, the first significant acquisition by (its new CEO) Tim Cook, and the first where Apple would likely want to keep the brand going, rather than absorb it." 

- Jan Dawson, Jackdaw Chief Analyst 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Back to the Future(ish)

When I read 1984, it was about the future. And it was still in the future.

It might be more confusing now. A book called "1941" would probably be about Pearl Harbor, right? But 1984 is still about the future. It's still science fiction, in the same way Asimov and Bradbury and Vonnegut are, but they're more than that of course.

I remember what Orwell describes looking like the Soviet Union. No one is making that analogy these days, but 1984 is still an important book. Why? Well, if you don't know you should read it. It's $3.99 on your Kindle (or borrow it on paper at that government building where they have all the free video rentals, what's it called again?).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blackberry Marketing and Cash Value

Remember S&H and other store stamps that had a value other than cash, like "mills?"

Today companies still substitute benefits or free accessories that have some specific proprietary value, but little or no cash value. As long as the two are distinct, there's no problem. But intentionally or otherwise confusing some dollar value other than the real one for cash value is a big marketing mistake.

Blackberry has responded to its latest high-profile service outages by offering a consolation to their subscribers: for their inconvenience, they get $100 in free apps like poker and "Bejeweled." But wait, there's more. RIM also throws in free technical maintenance for a month, which is a value of, well, let's say it's not immediately obvious on their web site. (And just how much do Blackberry owners expect to call technical support next month in the event of a problem, say, another outage?)

The lesson to learn here, as RIM flounders in their marketing efforts, is that marketing is not a standalone entity. It needs to be integrated with the business. When the purposes of the marketing and accounting or other departments collide, you often get a solution that does badly for both.

In this situation, if RIM offered a second option for a discount on next month's phone bill for example, the dollar value would certainly be lower than the one for free apps and support. What would the value of a third option for getting a check in the mail from RIM be? My guess is about $10. That's the real value.

Does RIM really want to address the legitimate concern and inconvenience of their subscribers resulting from significant outages, even down to the phone's daily alarms and reminders not working, with a consolation that has a real value of $10? Of course not. But there's a left-hand, right-hand conflict going on between the business execs and the ones carrying on the dialog with the customer (marketing) that is deeper than this one incident. As the iPhone 4S and steady developments by Android encroach even further on Blackberry's base, RIM is pouring gasoline on the fire.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Making the law accessible on the Web

Everyone needs access to the law eventually.

At some point, you're going to incorporate your business, write your will or get a copyright or patent. Ten years ago, a couple clever lawyers put their heads together and hatched the idea of making some standard things related to the law available on the internet. Today LegalZoom has been able to provide those services to over a million people, not eliminating all the paperwork and hassle, but a good part of it.

LegalZoom's CIO Tracy Terrill talked with me about his job combining technology and the law for an article in CBS Interactive this week. He brings a tech background from some other notable companies, including Universal Studios, Warner Brothers and Gartner.

One of the most interesting things going on with LegalZoom these days is their Facebook page, where attorney Joe Escalante masquerades as "Free Joe Friday," and has gained the page more than 50,000 followers with his gratis advice.

On social media marketing Tracy says:

"We're still in the early days of our social media presence, but things are starting to come together... Free Joe Friday is an example of that... We actually have about 10 times more followers on Facebook than on Twitter right now."

You can find the free PDF download of the entire interview here.