Taking Innovation For Granted

Have you ever thought about the advancements in technology and how easily we take things for granted?  The following clip is from Louis C.K. when he was on Conan O’Brien a few years ago.  This is an amazing 4 minutes that everyone who knows anything about technology should pay close attention to.  It made me realize how quickly we can take things for granted.

Things move quickly.  Look at what the social web has done.  Millions of apps.  Marketing and advertising has been impacted.  I new category in mobile computing was created (thank you Steve Jobs).

So the next time you start to complain about not having wireless or you have to wait a few extra seconds for your phone to find something on the web, think back 10 years ago.  Did you think any of this was possible then?








Detroit Still Has A Long Way To Go

Recently Men’s Health posted the Top 100 Socially Networked Cities in the U.S. There were a few surprises, especially with some cities that I expected to see in the top 10 (Chicago #39, New York #53).  There was also a little disappointment to see Detroit ranked #94 in the study and listed under “least socially networked.”  Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to put any weight in a study like this however, it did make me realize that the place I call home has a long way to go.  I sometimes forget that not everyone uses Foursquare or Gowalla to check in.  People I know still don’t get Twitter.  What is Instagram?  Tumblr…huh?  I think you get the idea.

This ranking goes further than being socially networked.  It goes further than the many entrepreneurs I know that are determined to open up shop in the city and look for their opportunities to make a difference Detroit’s rebirth.  What is going to actually make a difference?  I think it has to be the adoption of not just the social tools I mentioned earlier, but also the adoption of the technologies that are available today by the large corporations in the area.

Look at what Ford has done in the social space.  They are leveraging the tools.  They have created a personality behind the blue oval.  They are developing vehicles that leverage the new connected customer and making the car more than just a car.  Don’t blink.  Now they are looking to the cloud.

The biggest thing that we can do as “socially connected” people is educate.  We have a network that we should leverage and begin to find ways to teach others.  The biggest asset we have is not a particular product or service.  It’s actually our intellectual property and what we know about technology and the web that we must share.

I still see companies trying things they’ve always done before.  Marketing has changed.  PR has changed.  Sales has changed.  Customer service has changed.  All because of the web and the social tools at our disposal.  I’m not suggesting the web is the cure for everything (but it’s close!).  What I am suggesting is that the web has now become more of an integral part of how people and companies do business in the world today.  The “traditional” methods of doing business are now historical methods.  The “future” technologies are now current technologies.

It’s time to educate so Detroit can move up from least socially networked to one of the top socially networked cities.  What are you doing to teach others?  Start by inviting them to 2 upcoming events this April…Ignite Detroit on April 14th and Future Midwest on April 28-29.  After that, do something with the knowledge you’ll gain and the connections you’ll make.  #makeithappen

Is the auto industry innovativing or optimizing?

This morning, Mashable published an article about Carlos Ghosn’s recent presentation at the LeWeb conference in Paris.  During his talk, Ghosn explained that “cars have stopped being perceived as symbols of modernity.”  Mashable takes this further…

“The reason for this, he says, is due to the auto industry’s choice to focus on optimization over innovation. Optimization is all about reducing risk, while innovation is about increasing it in order to achieve the breakthrough that will push a business to the next level.”

What happened?  Has an industry that was founded on innovation gotten to comfortable and arrogant that innovation no longer needed to happen?  Instead of fighting the government on gas mileage, why not embrace the challenge and offer consumers a product that provides value?  The electric car, whether the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf, is an innovative technology.  They are solving for a real consumer need as gas prices begin to rise.

Last week, I shared a couple of videos that demonstrated how 2 other established industries could redefine themselves…newspapers and books.  How great would it be if these prototypes actually became a reality!  The technology is available TODAY!

Other countries are adopting technology at a faster rate than the United States.  Look at this infographic on cell phones and usage.  Specifically, look at the average number cell phones per person.  Notice that the U.S. isn’t even in the top 10!  Mobile is driving a  lot of the new technologies today.  My point in all of this is that if auto manufacturers took the time to innovate instead of trying to maintain a business model that is long since outdated maybe there would not be bankruptcy or the need to put everything on sale.  You could possibly develop a customer base that is as passionate as Apple!

One final thing to leave you with…I saw the following status on Facebook this morning:

Reading the auto industry media take on telematics and infotainment, all I can say is, if you think this is all about being able to say “play genre rock” to your dashboard…you don’t get it.

Technology affords so much more than that.  Wouldn’t it be great if your vehicle could be interconnected with every device you own?  Providing value instead of gimmicks?

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Have we forgotten how to innovate?

Earlier this week I received an e-mail with the following in the subject line: “Take time to read – Especially the 19 facts at the end.  Enlightening or Scary?”.  Normally I quickly realize these are the typical chain e-mails but for some reason, I decided to read it.  The e-mail basically talked about 9 industries that are being changed by technology and 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that will blow your mind.  After doing a little digging, I found that these articles, either together or separately, have been floating around the internet for a few months now.

At any rate, I realized how happy I was to be in the job that I am in now.  As part of MRM Worldwide‘s Focus Innovation Team, it’s our job to learn about new technologies and how they can improve some of the daily tasks we take for granted.  Rather than complain about how China or other countries are “out-innovating” us or worry about manufacturing jobs being outsourced to other countries, why not embrace what technology can do and the possibilities it can provide?  My point is that America was founded on innovation.  As the landscape has gone global, other countries are discovering how technology can be a part of our lives.  Maybe we just forgot and needed a not so subtle reminder to always look ahead and invent new ways to do things.

Let me leave you with 2 videos I came across last week.  The first is a video I saw from Church Crunch.  It takes a look at newspapers and if they were invented today.

The second video I found on Michael Hyatt’s blog and looks at books and the possibilities that could exist with technology that makes this possible NOW!

In both these examples, the traditional model has been reinvented.  I for one find this completely exciting!  What about you?  Do you fear this new paradigm or are you eager to see it evolve and innovate?  Think about it and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Have a great weekend!

A New Set of Eyes

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Read Write Web has become my one of my “go to” sites each day with all of the great content they provide on a daily basis.  I’m lucky I came across this article given the volume of content that is published daily from the folks at RWW!

Redefining What It Means To Be A Mobile Marketer introduced me and those that read it to a new type of marketing as a result of the evolution of digital marketing…cross channel marketing.

The most-simple way to understand cross channel is that it’s the inverse of a multi-channel, siloed approach where plans and actions occur in relative isolation. This is happening today in many businesses, where separate teams aligned to mobile, social media and email collaborate little, if at all.

After reading this, my head immediately went to how technology has changed “traditional” digital marketing and CRM.  Not only has it forced brands to rethink how they convey their message but it has also given them a new set of eyes to see and remember that consumers are people.

Take a look at what I see as the “hot topics” of the day…

All of these are redefining what was “new” just a few years ago.  They also show how technology is putting influence back into the hands of consumers rather than the brands themselves.

Wordle: PRAs a consumer, I want the content I want when I want and where I want (mobile).  I’ll likely ignore brands that shout irrelevant messages at me and tell my friends about it (social).  I enjoy “laid back” computing while sitting on the couch with my wife (tablets).  I want a browser experience on the new 50” television I just bought (connected TV).  I won’t give you a cloud example because that is something still new to me and I’m trying to determine how that helps me as a consumer, but you get the point.

Technology will not go away and it will continue to play a major role in our lives.  I get frustrated when people tell me they don’t have time or understand Facebook or have a need for a smartphone or tablet.  I might be stubborn (only child) but I’ve found so much value in all of these things and I haven’t even scratched the surface on what they can do to enhance my productivity.

He replied, “I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.” (John 9:25 – The Message)

I want my MTV!

Who remembers when music videos brought to life the sounds we heard on the radio?  Is MTV really Music Television anymore?  Well thanks to VEVO, music videos have grabbed my attention once again!  As marketers, we all know (for the most part) content is king and getting your content distributed on the internet is even better.

As we continue to find what content works and what content doesn’t, I wanted to share with you something I saw at the 140 Character Conference in Detroit last week.  Yesterday, Andy Grammer released his interactive video, Keep Your Head Up.  This is great way to engage your audience with your content.

Not only does encourage you to create your own version of the video, but he also partnered with Old Navy.  If you unlock the 4 different endings to the video, you receive coupons from Old Navy.  Pretty ingenious if you ask me!  So check out the video links below!  Create and share!  I’m sure Andy would appreciate it!

Keep Your Head Up Teaser

Keep Your Head Up Interactive Video

Get Glue…evolving the “check in”?

Location based services have been the talk of the tech community over the last year.  Foursquare, Gowalla and now Facebook Places are being adopted and used more as people get into the game.  People share their location in their Facebook profile or their Twitter stream and it’s provided another avenue for people to connect and make comments.

What I think is yet to be solved is how marketers can leverage these services to get their brands in front of people who might share some information with their networks.  This answer might be coming soon now that Get Glue has jumped into the “check in” scene.  At a high level, Get Glue allows users to “check in” to their leisure activities:

  • Watching a TV Show
  • Listening to Music
  • Reading a Book
  • Watching a Movie
  • Playing a Video Game
  • Thinking about a Topic
  • Chatting about a Celebrity
  • Drinking Wine

Now where I think brands can play is in any of the “paid media” activities like TV, Music, Movies, Games or Music.  Imagine a brand, Chevrolet for example, developing a promotion that encourages viewers to check in to the show, Glee, and watch it in it’s entirety INCLUDING the commercials for its brand?  I think there is still undiscovered opportunity here that might allow brands to get something for the millions in media dollars they spend each year.

When I watched the Super Bowl last year, I paid close attention to my Twitter stream when the commercials aired.  It was amazing to see the other game that was going on…rating the commercials.  Could Get Glue be a tool that advertisers could leverage as they continue to look for new ways get in front of consumers?  I guess we’ll find out when the first advertiser gives it a shot.

What do you think?  Would you use it?

For a great blog post about Get Glue, CLICK HERE to read Richard MacManus’ (from Read Write Web) interview with Get Glue founder, Alex Iskold.