Monthly Archives: February 2010Blog

25 Decade-Shaping Technologies

This presentation from eWeek documents 25 key technologies that quickly became mainstream during the last ten years, reshaping our lives in the process. You’ll likely recall how you first heard about and then started using many of them. Interestingly, each of these technologies either gave us new and more powerful ways to use the Internet or brought the ‘Net closer to us in our daily lives. We’ve quickly become dependent upon many of these technologies as our lives have become more and more interactive.

The Internet itself helped speed these technologies along. Technology tends to beget technology, and technology that people find useful takes on a life of its own. We may look at something today and call it a novelty, but before we know it, we’re placing the order or creating the account and catching up to the early adopters. This list provides a nice bit of nostalgia, but it also teaches us to be nimble. The next 25 game-changing technologies likely will take far less than ten years to appear.

View presentation:

Why Is Facebook Important?

The Facebook phenomenon continues. According to a recent report, FB’s unique visitors in January 2010, at a total of 133.6MM, was second only to the mighty Google. Indeed, throughout 2009 FB’s unique visitors climbed at a record pace through June, then leveled somewhat, but rose nonetheless through the remainder of the year to surpass Yahoo (132MM unique visitors in Jan 2010) and pull up snugly behind Google (147.8MM). (ref:

Why is this important? The numbers above represent people who are using FB every day. These are not merely people who signed up and have dormant accounts. What’s even more interesting is the amount of time these active users spend on the site. “Data from Nielsen says that U.S. Facebook users now spend an average of seven hours per month on the site. In January, the time spent on Facebook grew by nearly 10 percent in one month. Meanwhile, the average time spent on Google (GOOG) dropped 17 percent to around an hour and a half.” (ref:

What are people spending all that time on Facebook doing? They build their networks, connect with friends and family, keep in touch, etc. But much more importantly, they use the site to do things that they formerly did on several other sites or with the software on their desktop computers, including chat, commerce, posting photos and videos, and even email. Why go to other sites when almost everything you need, and all the people you want to share things with, are on FB?

Which brings up the final point: With upwards of 300MM people registered, FB is reaching a tipping point. Odds are more likely than ever that if you want to find/connect/communicate with someone, you’ll find them on Facebook. And where the people are is where the markets are.

Markets are moving online. Now that people are readily available on Facebook, businesses will be moving with them. But “going on Facebook” requires learning the values, rules, behavior, and mores first. Businesses that successfully do this will find they have the best advertising possible — the only advertising that will succeed in the not-too-distant future — word of mouth ( “word of mouse?”). With everyone connected, we’ll see our customers become our sales forces since they’ll be swift to tell others the story about how well we’re serving them.

10 Things Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know About the iPad

I must admit, the iPad has taken me. It’s another beautiful device from Apple that comes with a world of promise. But it’s not without detractors, many of whom have insightfully pierced the hype to point out some notable weaknesses. A Flash presentation from eWeek, below, summarizes the arguments against becoming enamored with the iPad.

For my money, the real test will be whether the content deals Apple finds for the device makes iPad invaluable. Everyone knows that Apple excels at producing beautifully designed, eminently usable products. But they’re also adept at finding markets for their products. The fact that iTunes and the iPod turned illegal file-swapping into a billion-dollar business begs the question, can they do the same thing for video and print publishing?

Newspapers and magazines are languishing with steadily declining circulation and lame efforts on the web. A killer reading and media experience on the iPad that goes well beyond what’s currently available, and a viable advertising model could make tablet devices like the iPad indispensable for consumers and publishers alike. Of course, prices must come down before the masses will wholeheartedly adopt them — but isn’t that what happened with smartphones once the iPhone launched?

View presentation:

What Sources Do Executives Listen To?

From Mark Hurst,

Decision makers need information before they make decisions, right? What sources do executives listen to when gathering information? Here are a few typical, if somewhat dubious, examples, and one that is always reliable but not always considered:

– The technology press, whose job is to report on the newest and flashiest trends, but not necessarily what will work in the long run.

– Bloggers, many of whom are technophiles who enjoy playing with and writing about Internet trends and gadgets.

– Investors, who often want quick results and look to the press and bloggers to point the way.

– Technology conferences, which tend to invite speakers who draw attendees from the three groups above.

Another voice is that of industry colleagues, which may be helpful, or may indulge in one-upmanship about whose business has gotten more exposure.

One voice not on the list, ironically, can point the way forward, both in the short-term and the long-term. Who is it?

The customers.

Most companies still don’t conduct meaningful research with the people they’re ostensibly working for. No customers, no business. Yet the customers are often nowhere to be found when making strategic decisions.

How does your organization chart its way forward? By following the herd or listening to customers?

Six Key Customer Characteristics

In a world where everyone is hyper-connected and hyper-committed, I thought this summary of the modern customer’s mindset hit the mark:

1. Customers only buy two things: solutions to problems and good feelings. The first step in creating value is to identify your customer’s biggest problems and then demonstrate how you can solve them.

2. Customers want things fast. Learn to compete in time. Anticipate customers’ needs and fulfill them before they know they need them. Some vendors are now linked electronically to their major customers, which allows for ‘just in time’ service.

3. Customers like convenience. There is a strategic shortage for which people will exchange money in any society. Today the strategic shortage is time. Convenience has become more important than ever. How easy is it to do business with your company? How accessible are you to those you support? Can they count on a timely response?

4. The customer defines quality. Manufacturing and marketing say the product is terrific. The customer thinks it stinks. Guess whose opinion counts? The best place to begin marketing is by asking the customer how they define quality.

5. One size doesn’t fit all. The mass market is dead. Customers are demanding more options. They perceive their needs to be specific and unique. Factor ‘uniqueness’ into your sales and marketing strategy.

6. Would you like to be one of your customers? People won’t necessarily buy from us because they like us, but they’ll refuse to buy from us if they don’t. In every interaction, treat customers with the utmost respect and courtesy.