Sunday, March 17, 2013

Forcing Social Consumption


Google has made disappointing its customers a matter of routine. I have previously written on this blog about how their search is not serving me or my clients well. Now they have gone and decided to kill their one web asset that actually made a lot of sense - Google Reader. I spend a disproportionate amount of my time on Google Reader every day. While it may not be perfect, it did meet my needs for many years and I had grown attached to it. Just like that they served an interstitial to let me know that I would lose Google Reader on July 1 2013.

At what point does a company grow too big to remain relevant, too big to realize that despotism is not the way to keep your customers around - that comes a point when enough stupid decisions have been made for people to walk away for good. Have there not been enough failures in the last fifteen years to learn lessons from ?

I have to believe the reason they are choosing to kill Google Reader is because the user population was not willing to bite the social media baits and hooks that Google tried to dangle around them. Based on this decision by Google, it appears that passive consumption of media will continue to be penalized heavily. You either hop on the social media bandwagon or are left out in the cold.

I have imported my feeds to The Old Reader - hopefully they don't up becoming the kind of problem they helped solve.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Happy Place

School opened late this morning because of a snow storm yesterday. It was still several inches high on the driveway as J stood there waiting for the school bus. Unlike other days, when I wait by the front door to see her get into the bus, I was upstairs by the window keep an eye on her as I got ready for work. At some point, I caught the sound of J singing to herself as she kicked the snow around. The sound of her voice intermingling with the chirping birds creating a moment of perfection. She being herself, unaware of my presence or of the magic she had helped make. I had to share what I had experienced with the one who would feel it just like I did - enjoy my happy place with me.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Silver Bullet

For the past few weeks I have been working with a client to solve a losely defined problem. As is often the case, the symptoms of process and technology malaises manifest themseleves in deeply uncomfortable ways. What is seen to be "the problem" is  not what needs solving - but that is a difficult message to communicate and have understood. What we have here is a customer experience (and perception) issue. The operations folk are following the playbook faithfully and for the most part doing a good job.

This is a data driven organization and by most measures doing very well. And yet there is this pool of deeply unhappy customers that are making their displeasure known very vocally and attracting a lot of media attention in the process- somehow the data is not able to pin point the sources of their frustration. We get to hear from Big Data solution providers all the time - the sales people will work incredibly hard to demo what their product can do. Often I have wondered how it is that a solution so powerful cannot be truly demonstrated with my data and rather commonplace problems that I am helping to solve.

While many other have used the silver bullet to incredible advantage, I am still stuck doing things the old fashioned way - a chaotic mix of experience, intution and analysis. Many things about this article hit close to home for me.

The trick, as Morozov and Lanier remind us, is not to surrender our judgment to the deluge

Most of all, we have to know what we want to achieve and what we want big data to do. Otherwise, like the previous iterations of internet futurism, big data will remain a showy buzzword – full of sound and fury, signifying very little.

This artice gets it right to - why Big Data is not the whole story but being able to tell the story around the insights is what makes the difference.

The data needs to be transformed into bite-sized (pre-chewed, even) stories that can easily stick in the brains of your audience