Why Tech Needs Storytellers More then Ever: Drones & Cirque Soleil

Anyone can make a drone deliver object A (pizza, books, boxes, sushi ) to position X,Y. But to make people feel part of a story and believe in a product or the potential or a machine to improve the quality of a moment/life is unique.  This is where creativity and storytelling come into play. Cirque Soleil pulls this off in a synchronized dance of wonder and technology.  Not that it hasn’t been done before ( Austria ), but this performance resembling fantasia brings lifeless technology to light – literally.

lampshade drones circus du soleil

Product Marketing: What Robot Vacuums Teach us About the Value of Time

robot vacuums roomba

Product Marketers often find ourselves in a battle to convince people that our products and services are part of a value proposition rather then a cost proposition.  For many commodity products, its easy to group them in to the cost category. After all, for an object that we take out once a week to pick up some dust, can you really justify a 500 dollar vacuum?

I am in the market for a new vacuum. The interesting thing I started to put into the equation was my time.  I have a good hoover, but its bulky and the coord is limiting – it works though.  So IF I get a 2nd vacuum the question starts to become about portability and time.  The cordless Dyson’s are very attractive, but the Roomba ( or any other robot vac ) is also appealing for another reason. Let’s consider for a second that you spent an hour a week vacuuming.  If there was a cost delta of 100 dollars between two models, and one model saved you 5 hours, wouldn’t that be worth your time?  This totally changes the cost equation.  ( On paper, with an assumption of 20 dollars per hour*, math says “yes.” Even half that, saving less then 1 hour per month, it pays for itself ).

It’s not a popular approach, but when we look at the larger user experience and our ecosystem, our time and billable time are our most valuable assets. If a vacuum could have you wake up to a clean house, and save you an hour a week, what is that worth?

Let’s it a step further.  How much would it be worth it to you if you saved X hours a week from not having to drive to the gas station and pump gas?  Or got to avoid traffic due to an HOV lane.  It almost makes the case for an electric car?  These 2 specific examples are minor compared to the bigger conversation. Put a price on your time, and figure out if there are some cases that were a slightly more expensive model, could result in a better long term ROI.  This is a great selling point.

Update: Still just me and my hoover. 

Opt-in vs Opt-out Marketing: Why the Free U2 SOI Album Upset so Many People

With iOs 8, Apple thought it was gifting a album to the entire itunes community. However, it appears that music is deeply personal, and fans did not appreciate an automatic download AND install to their iphones without permission.   Although free, this caused such an uproar that apple had to issue a tool to uninstall the album.

Some programs like organ donation are opt in where they could and should be opt out. And other programs with technology are position so you have to opt out for a variety of reasons.  Apple in this case believed they were gifting something to fans, where as that gift was ill received.  A gift is not received as a present if it’c considered an invasion of privacy. 

When is an opt in vs. opt out strategy appropriate for a platform update?  Also, does a publisher ever have the right to gift you digital content without your implicit approval?

Can Polaroid Reinvent itself ? Introducing the Cube Camera

When the instant film camera company died ( film – Time Zero ) and transcended to digital ( camera phones ), many wondered if there could be a place for the brand.   Polaroid just announced the cube – a new mini camera / video device aimed at the social circuit.  However, since we can do all of this on our android or iphone, the question becomes if this fun form factor and sleek industrial design could be enough of a differentiator.  What do you think?

In some social situations, a group camera could be useful, but unless it has seamless wifi uploads to Facebook with a low price point, I don’t know it it adds enough. Good luck product marketing team.

polaroid takes on gopro

Beer. Coloring. Packaging

creative-beer-packaging

by Agency Txaber. 

Sometimes, packaging can add emotional value and inform the user about a consumer good. This proof of concept translates color and thus taste for microbrews.  What a great idea.   This does bring into question the interaction between the value of a brand and the value of the product itself.  However, this brew is guaranteed to be a hit with the design community who loves their pantone colors.

Rethinking security questions for the modern age

Your mothers maiden name.

The Street you grew up on.

Your pets name.

In an era where every social moment is documented and searchable, we need to rethink internet security questions for the modern era.  Your password should not be able to be reset by someone who can look at your Facebook page, or run a basic internet lookup.  Things like biometric data ( apple pay fingerprint scans ) are steps in the right direction, but there are some basic approaches that we should adopt for the platforms we use to be safer.  Two factor authentication being one of the easiest ones to correct. Many programs send an SMS one time use code to your cell phone when you register.

There will always be social hacking, and phishing attempts, and just smart people that know how to get in.  But there is an obligation for the people that design platforms to not make our personal information guessable and easily hackable.  In a time where my digital life is almost more valuable then my physical assets, we need better protection.

As technology changes us, we owe it to ourselves to rethink the processes and legacy processes that its built on. Some things will remain solid over time, other things become less relevant and need to be updated.  Adapt

The Allure of the Mystery Box: SAAS Delivery Subscriptions

New Breeds of Delivery services have emerged for a low monthly fee delivered right to your door. Curated selections of anything that speaks to your unique interests. From doggie treats, clothes, or geek culture – you can find the right price and product mix for you.

However, the real value proposition here is that customers are willing to pay for a surprise. The allure of the mystery box is that sometimes its amazing, othertimes its a bust – but the potential of greatness is a risk people are willing to pay for ( to gamble ).  And if the economics work out, its worth playing to game another month for a low monthly cost.

Mystery, entertainment, and goods delivered right to your door. What could be better?  A gift.  A present. It’s whatever you want it to be.

-pd

The transition from ipod nano watch to apple watch over 4 years

Apple is great at product marketing.  In 2010 the ipod nano had a watch kit that allowed you basic functionality. In 2014 they recently watched their apple watch “ecosystem” that from a design perspective has the same elements but much better functionality and integration.   My question is what is incremental vs transformative.  What disruptive innovations are we ready for and how long should they take?  Maybe this is the perfect time. 

Cost in 2010 : 149 on launch, and decreased to 50 over time. 

Cost in 2014: 349 base. 

I am acknowledging that these are different products, but I wonder what questions were asked about where the early adopters were, versus how this product could evolve into a larger product offering for apple versus just a software app.  It will be very interesting to see how the apple portfolio changes over the next five years ranging from carplay, apple tv, phablets, and watches.  A quantified self, home, and life. 

2010

 

 

apple watch 2010

 

2014

 

iwatch