July 26, 2014

Foursquare: Why Making Things Complicated?


Yesterday Mashable has published a story on Foursquare and Swarm and ow the separation has created a turmoil. (“Why Killing the Check-In Was the Wrong Move for Foursquare”) And I have to agree. Here’s my two cents.

Although Foursquare didn’t actually invent check-ins and badge-gamification, Foursquare has been the service that won the war against all other similar LBS. And now they are trying to reposition their service, not because of the user requests but due to the managerial decisions.

To be positive, I think I understand what Dennis Crowley, Foursquare CEO, was thinking. However, the move seems to be just wrong, because:

  • The move never considered people like me who actually used Foursquare for both check-ins and discovery. (Crowley said that most people only use Foursquare exclusively for checking in or exclusively for discovery and few do both. I guess I fall under those “few.”)
  • There is no clear reason not to integrate “Swarm” features into existing Foursquare.
  • No user benefits from having 2 separate apps, particularly when there are so many strong contenders

Now I can’t check in with Foursquare but I’m supposed to only browse my friends or my neighborhood. Why shouldn’t I be using Yelp? And with Swarm I get to check in and explore. But the question is “Why should I?”

I wouldn’t be surprised if other smaller contenders like Open Table, SCVNGR, Marco Polo, etc. (and even Groupon) are jumping with joy.

Foursquare should have thought more about how to provide better offerings and values from existing practices, not about disintegrating the service into more specified features.

November 5, 2012

Facebook in Social Shopping

Monopoly once launched their game on the digital map. Many thought it was a smart move since it was relevant and Monopoly was thought to have the right experience. Result: nothing happened.

Kakao Talk, a Korean messaging service, introduced yet another mobile messenger service to the market already filled with WhatsApp, etc. Result: huge success.

Facebook, after merging Karma, is in the social shopping. Will there still be a market left for small players?
If Facebook is smarter than Monopoly and WhatsApp, then..?

November 4, 2012

Social Media Marketing: What to Pursue?

Why do you care the number of fans (or followers) of your brand? What’s in the number of people’s comments, retweets, or likes? Isn’t it “what people are really talking about” rather than “how often they talk” that should be more important?

Nevertheless, so many clients care for those “numbers.” Is it because they are dumb? No it’s because their agency is lazy (and possibly dumb). When it comes to social media, it’s the “relationship” that you maintain with your people. It’s the qualitative and managerial nature that you have to focus. The number of anything, unfortunately, tells you almost nothing about those natures.

Compare this: Brand A has 3,000 fans that are very active and willing to do much for your brand. Brand B has 300,000 fans that do nothing and passively read your posts every once in a while. Which brand has a better chance for successful social media marketing, whatever that means? Hard to tell? Then remember that it’s a social media that we’re dealing with — the place where people are supposed to react/interact with their “friends.”

which brand would you want to be, Brand A or B? If you haven’t still figure out the answer, then go for Brand B because that will still give you a chance to keep your job (although you won’t get promoted, either.)

November 3, 2012

“Phillips Hue: iOS Controlled LED Lights”

“Phillips Hue: iOS Controlled LED Lights”

So, what can YOU imagine from this? How do you think it can be used for “something other than just lighting?”

November 24, 2010

Dealing with a Mad Dog

You never blame the dog for anything when you’re dealing with a crazy, angry one. You blame yourself and your capability to control.

It doesn’t apply only to dogs. It’s applicable to relationships, online or offline. When you know the relationship’s out of control for some reason and you’re the one deemed to be “more in control,” it is you who has to find a way to ease the situation and plan for the right course. Nothing will change if you keep blaming the dog and hope the dog will somehow come back to reason.

November 9, 2010

14 Rules in Life

Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2: The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it, or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone’s feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome.

The list is commonly misunderstood as Bill Gate’s speech but it actually was written by Charles J. Sykes in his various newspaper columns. He is the author of Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add (1996). The list was known to be included in hos book , 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education (2007).

For more information please refer to here.

October 28, 2010

Privacy: How it’s not relevant anymore


When it comes to privacy in social media, people are concerned. But it’s not relevant anymore, or at least not as important as it used to be.
We have to think about how many doors this “change in perspective” will open up.

We all know privacy is important. But what is privacy? What is the borderline between “private” and “public?”
It’s critical to define it, or we have to at least know what we really mean when we say privacy. If not, we are talking about some highly vague value, as a result of which we may end up sacrificing a lot of things for the name of that vague thing. And it is not what we want.

What Do We Really Care?

Privacy is important. No argument about that. I’m just saying, “Let’s be more specific. What do we really care?”
Well, I care about my ID, password, social security number, bank account number, and maybe my license plate number to be linked with my name. I don’t want to disclose my annual income, my mother’s maiden name, which schools I went to, my GPA, my test scores, where I live, what I do for a living, who my family is, and what their names are.

But, can we classify them to “more” and “less” important ones? In other words, the ones I may share and the others I would never share? Yes, that’s what people are actually doing anyway.

Privacy vs. Benefits or Utilities

People are already giving up lots of their private information. Foursquare makes me tell where I am. (Note that it does not tell it or force me to tell it. I am telling it because I chose to.) Facebook tells a lot about myself. Twitter reveals what I am doing and thinking. How about Google and their AdSense and Gmail?

Yet people are saying they are very much concerned about privacy. But wait, are we talking about the same privacy here? We don’t know, because some are talking about their password while others may be referring to their real-time whereabout. And besides, aren’t some people already providing their (so-called) private information in their social media areas, willingly and voluntarily?

Let’s face it. It’s really a matter of what we mean by privacy and to what extent we are willing to share. And more importantly to marketers like us, it’s a matter of making people give up privacy yet feel good about it. It is about making people voluntarily give up some of their private information, and still make them feel the act was very much worthwhile. So it is never about “protecting privacy per se” unless we are building some security service.

Successful Service Means Getting More Information

Building a successful service is all about making people provide their information, professionally, voluntarily, and graciously. It shouldn’t be anything like, “Hey, forget about privacy, and we will give you something.” Rather, it should be like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to get this (or be able to do this)? Here are some things you need to do for us and for yourself.”

Think what Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare did. They have made people nicely give up their email contents, blog posts, current thoughts in 140-word, and where they are, all coupled with their profile information. (Come to think of it, how do we protect privacy while opening up my personal profile?)

Can you notice something? All the above services–turned out to be tremendously successful–have OPENED UP THE REALM OF PRIVACY LITTLE BY LITTLE. So our question should be, “What next, and how?” Not, “How do we protect privacy?“
What am I willing to give up? What am I likely to give up in the future? And what will I get in return?