Archive for the 'customer experience' Category

Siftables – New Dimension of Computer Interface Design

February 12, 2009

What if…. when we use a computer… instead of using a mouse cursor on a flat desktop… what if we could reach in with both hands and grasp information physically and arranging it the way we want it?

Siftables are cookie-sized, interactive computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, play video, talk …

A new generation of tools for interacting with digital media.
MIT grad student David Merrill demoed this new kind of computer interface at the TED Conference 2009.

Brilliant!

Nine Inch Nails Case Study

February 5, 2009

Last year the name Nine Inch Nails or Trent Reznor was mentioned a lot, when someone was talking about the future of music marketing. Trent has developed a complete new way for music marketing using the whole potential of web 2.0.
He demonstrated on how many ways you can connect with fans and how you still can give your fans a reason to buy in the digital age. There is more than MySpace, there is more than just giving your songs away for free in hope the audience comes to your live shows.
Mike Masnick was summarizing the NIN Campaign in his presentation given to MidemNet this year.

24 hours at Sundance

January 18, 2009

sundance1

The Sundance Festival starts today and Qik is doing a nice pilot project. Kevin Rose and Ashton Kutcher are hosting a little “interactive” game show “24 hours at Sundance” … something like a “scavenger hunt” / paper chase … live on several Qik channels.

For 24 straight hours during the Sundance film festival, a few contestants will compete to complete a series of tasks, as announced by hosts Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Rose, in real-time. Each player attempts to complete the tasks as they are revealed. The players can complete a task and win points for doing so, or can pass and move ahead to the next task and lose points. You can follow the tasks on Quik, and watch the entire event as it unfolds in real-time.

I like the concept, but the implementation maybe could be better… especially Qik had some performance problems … the stream was often broken… so changing the channels … it wasn´t much fun… following the game was very difficult… a bit chaotic… but watch yourself… there are a few hours left.

Anyway I think that`s the way and the potential of good old “television show formats”. Without big budgets you can deliver a real time interactive experience… we will see what comes next…

Predicting the Digital Age 14 Years Ago

October 27, 2008

esther_dyson

Yesterday I read an amazing WIRED article! Well…  great magazine…. but this one was from 1995. Remember how computers and mobile phones looked in 1995?
The article is about a new way of looking at compensation for owners and creators in the net-based economy. The author, Esther Dyson, predicted in her article all the problems the media industry will be confronted with in more than ten years time cause of digitalisation. She wrote about all the challenges for owners, creators, sellers and users of intellectual property. About the fact that quality content will be free, easy to copy but hard to find. And she made suggestions how content creators can find ways to be paid. The article could have been written last year … and still it would be a great one.

I had never heard about this article before… (sure, I had heard about Esther)
It`s quite a long article … I just wanted to quote a few of the best parts:

“In a new environment, such as the gravity field of the moon, laws of physics play out differently. On the Net, there is an equivalent change in “gravity” brought about by the ease of information transfer. We are entering a new economic environment – as different as the moon is from the earth – where a new set of physical rules will govern what intellectual property means, how opportunities are created from it, who prospers, and who loses.
Chief among the new rules is that “content is free.” While not all content will be free, the new economic dynamic will operate as if it were. In the world of the Net, content (including software) will serve as advertising for services such as support, aggregation, filtering, assembly and integration of content modules, or training of customers in their use.”

(…)

“I am not saying that content is worthless, or that you will always get it for free. Content providers should manage their businesses as if it were free, and then figure out how to set up relationships or develop ancillary products and services that cover the costs of developing content. (…) The way to become a leading content provider may be to start by giving your content away. This “generosity” isn’t a moral decision: it’s a business strategy.”

(…)

“The definition of the problem, rather than its solution, will be the scarce resource in the future.”

(…)

Owning the intellectual property is like owning land: you need to keep investing in it again and again to get a payoff; you can’t simply sit back and collect rent. To some, this state of affairs may seem unfair. It certainly is if you grew up by the old rules and don’t want to play in a new game. But if you look at the new rules by themselves, they have a certain moral grounding: people will be rewarded for personal effort – process and services – rather than for mere ownership of assets.”

(…)

“So, what happens in a world where software is basically free? Successful companies are adopting business models in which they are rewarded for services rather than for code. Developers who create software are rewarded for showing users how to use it, for installing systems, for developing customer-specific applications. The real value created by most software companies lies in their distribution networks, trained user bases, and brand names – not in their code.”

(…)

“With the means of production growing cheaper and easier because of the Net, a bifurcation will take place: more and more people will produce material for smaller audiences of their friends, while those seeking large audiences will give their stuff away or seek payment from a sponsor – and try to persuade influencers to recommend it.
In the end, the only unfungible, unreplicable value in the new economy will be people’s presence, time, and attention; to sell that presence, time, and attention out-side their own community, creators will have to give away content for free.”

This was all written 13 years ago!!!

What is the Culture of Cloudiness?

October 22, 2008

Kevin Kelly posts are “must read posts”. Here is another one about the digital future, when we are finally living in “the cloud computing world”.
He raises the questions:
If we migrate entirely to the cloud, what will life on the cloud feel like? How will our behavior change if this migration really is as invisible as it is suppose to be? How will cloudiness change us?

He predicts some cultural dynamics he thinks will prevail in a cloudy world. Here are some headlines of his arguments:

– Always On
– Omnigenous
– More Smarter
– Inseparable Dependence
– Extreme Reliability
– The Extended Self
– Legal Conflict
– SharePrivacy
– Socialism 2.0

Read the post for more details! Great thoughts!
Obviously the media world won`t be the same in a place like that.

MySpace Music – Wow???

September 27, 2008

The launch of MySpace Music was “the big thing” everywhere last week. Lots of posts and comments… read some thoughts by Mark Mulligan and  his colleague David Card, or a good review by Coolfer.  Some basic info by Hypebot here and here.

MySpace Music is “US only” at the moment, I tested the service just for a few minutes with the help of a “fake” proxy … so no comments from yet.

But obviously the service is not a breakthrough… I didn`t find any “wows” in the reviews. Maybe MySpace can improve the service over time… if they would be able to renegotiate the label deal. We`ll see…

UPDATE: Two more reviews by GigOm and Mashable. The tone gets more severe… there is obviously some disappointment…

We Think – Mass Production Utopia

September 25, 2008

I just saw the speech of Charles Leadbeater at the Picnic Conference in Amsterdam. I`ve seen him speak before, so his speech  was not really “groundbreaking”, nothing new for me…  , but cause he mentioned it today, I watched his promotion video for his book again (see above, 4min). For all of you who haven`t seen it yet, give it a try.

When you watch the video,  your first “reflex” might be… ok…thanks… I heard this before… boring… (besides the really nice illustration and presentation), this sounds like utopia et cetera … or whatever else you might have thought… and I thought so too, but after a while I started thinking, ok, actually he is right. This is a fact. It`s not mainstream yet, well my mother doesn`t even know what Wikipedia is, but it`s a fact. It`s happening and there should be huge potential for the media industry. There must be more than just a “pop idol” telephone vote, or a user generated advertising spot that is shown during the super bowl break, or a nonsense dancing video that is clicked 100 million times, or a social network…
I think there is still much more… and the media industry is not using it yet.

Sorry for sounding like a utopian… Just a thought…

Music Access as Product Bundle

September 24, 2008

Sony Ericsson announced today more details to their new unlimited mobile music service. PlayNow Plus will launch in Sweden by the end of the year and will be available globally next year. Reuters reports, the service will cost 99 Swedish crowns (US $15.24) a month. Subscribers can download an unlimited number of tracks to the handset or to a PC. The handset will sync with the PC using broadband and 3G/HSDPA connectivity.

So here we go. After Nokia, Sony Ericsson is now the second big player in the game. We are just waiting on the iPod subscription bundle and then the transition is officially started. We are on the way to the “music age of access”.

Subscription services didn`t get a huge success on their own yet (like Rhapsody and Napster). But maybe they can find success with a device bundle. Of course there is the second big business model “Free”  with ad supported versions like Last.Fm or MySpace Music and there will always be the illegal “darknet” p2p version of music download, but getting your adored “high end” device subsidized is a big lure for many people to make a subscription contract. I´m sure there will be some devices exclusive with the subscription bundle comparable to the iPhone & mobile provider deals at the moment. If you`ve signed a contract and the music service is great, you wouldn`t want to loose it, because it`s “so convenient”. And most important, the service will “feel like it`s free” after a while.  At the moment, the price per month is still a little bit high, but when the price falls to 5 or 7 Dollars per month, many people really won´t care about this addition to their monthly mobile/internet bill.
And at this point there always comes the obligatory question: Do you know how much money you spend for water usage at home every month? Did you ever care about water costs standing under the shower?

Intel Brings Internet To Television

September 19, 2008

The next step on the mission – “the third screen goes internet”…
A few weeks ago Intel announced in cooperation with Yahoo! a new kind of interactive television. They call it “widget channel” or “cinematic Internet”.  This “connected television” attemps to combine the Internet’s world of user choice, community, and personalization with the familiar television experience. Customized TV widgets try to seamlessly integrate TV and interface experience. No complexity, no keyboard or mouse. Just lean back and stay connected. It´s based on an open platform and Intel & Yahoo say they embrace an open media standard.

Well actually there has always been some guys somewhere, who talked about  “interactive television”, but not one of these models has achieved what it should have achieved. So we should be careful…

But what I could read and see on the net (here, here and here) looks promising.

Watch the video by JD Lascia below.
Eric B. Kim, senior vice president at Intel Corp., is demos the new Widget Channel. He thinks their new application has the potential to merge television and the Internet in a way users will love. They try to combine the  most important television values – ease of use, reliability, high fidelity (professional quality), entertainment – with the internet values – personalization, community, relevance, openness.

Would love to test it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It doesn`t look or sound so bad…but it still feels a bit “stuck in the middle”. It feels like TV with an additional digital interface…

I don´t know… but what this new generation of mobile phones has made possible (starting with the iPhone) that I’m able to use (or feel as though I´m using) the same userinterface, on my PC screen than on my mobile screen, is very very valueable.
People don´t like all these browser versions on TV screen… but shouldn`t be there a way that I can surf a website on my television screen and I would have the “feeling” that it is the same as the version on my PC or mobile phone?  To evoke the feeling that I had been there before and simply use the interface  without a mouse, just with a remote?

Three screens but just one user interface …. would be great…

Talking With Pirates

September 11, 2008

I found this story via The Technium (Kevin Kelly).

The game developer Cliff Harris (e.g. Kudos) asked the online world on his website (including many pirates of his own games obviously), why they pirate games. He made no judgement, he was just asking. He got a lot of attention in the blogosphere (et al. Slashdot, Digg) and got tons of replies. “It was as if people have waited a long time to tell a game developer the answer to this question”. After analysing hundreds of replies, he found some very interesting insights.  I recommend to read his post. It`s not too long.

But the most important thing to me is how this new insights and the process of acquiring this information altered Cliff himself:

“My games aren’t as good as they could be. Ironically, one of the things that reduces your enthusiasm to really go the extra mile in making games is the thought that thousands of ungrateful gits will swipe the whole thing on day one for nothing. It’s very demoralizing. But actually talking to the pirates has revealed a huge group of people who really appreciate genuinely good games. Some of the criticisms of my games hit home. I get the impression that if I make Kudos 2 not just lots better than the original, but hugely, overwhelmingly, massively better, well polished, designed and balanced, that a lot of would-be pirates will actually buy it. I’ve gone from being demoralized by pirates to actually inspired by them, and I’m working harder than ever before on making my games fun and polished.”

I don`t think enough people in the industry are doing this. Talking to pirates. Understanding pirates. Seeing them as potential customers instead of judging them, fighting them.

There is a huge potential in having a closer look on the customer type “pirate”. Not just in optimizing your own product to get more value so they don`t pirate anymore, but also in motivating your own team and getting a deeper customer relationship with your target group. And pirates are definitely your target group.