Friday, February 23, 2018

Tech ramblings during travel

The problem with breaking a habit is that breaking a habit becomes the habit. No tongue twister here, it is just my observation for not writing a post/blog for a long time. My OneNote has a list of topics that I had noted down that I want to write and share, but somehow I just didn't find the right motivation to write. That for you is a long form of defining laziness ;)
A 2 week business trip to Sydney at the start of the month had given me enough time to think and look around what is happening. I started to look at things with the filter of technology and digital. Here are few of my observations & trends, in no particular order

  • Different people, same behaviour: When it comes to technology behaviour, even though it was 2 different continent, it was same everywhere. People spend most times checking their WhatsApp messages, or Facebooking through their phone. A large number of people were keen on getting their selfies taken against popular backdrop. Kids in the public transport with their earphones plugged, were busy playing games on their mobiles… Just like the regular folks back in India

  • Democratization of Content:  Now everyone has the ability to create, publish, and distribute content. Internet has democratized content. Accessibility of content (lower mobile data charges, free WiFi, etc) too has made things easier. Today the user is both a creator and consumer of content simultaneously. I kept in touch with local news from India through the net, uploaded photos in my social media profile real time, was chatting and talking with my groups/family & friends through WhatsApp… something that was unthinkable even couple of years back

  • Technology abating creativity: One thing that always caught my attention during my travel abroad was, advertisements. Hoardings, TVC, Print ads, posters at point of sales, etc all catches my attention. In the early years, when I used to compare ads from India to the 'foreign' ads esp. in developed markets, I found a vast difference in the creativity, design, images, etc. Somehow, over the past few years that gap has closed, and in many cases completely missing. I guess, technology, along with globalization has got a lot to do. We use the same stock images, platform, have access to the same design machines and software, access to the same 'inspiration' (Google and Instagram, perhaps ;). In fact, I feel that in many instances, creativity is tending towards the mean…rather than extremes.

  • Less differentiation between people's work: If you are working in the digital marketing, you'll realize that there is hardly any difference in terms of the approach or the technologies between what you and your colleagues are using in other parts of the globe. The only exception, if your colleague is working behind the GFWC (Great FireWall of China). Be it use of DMP, Analytical tools for performance, DAM, etc.. It is pretty much the same. Maybe the solution provider is not the same, but yes, the solution surely is

  • The rise of contractual jobs/lease of work: I got to speak to few friends of mine from India who are currently working in Australia. Some of them are working on contractual positions which are usually a short term arrangement for an year or less. In fact, speaking to few Uber drivers in Sydney, I realize that none of them stayed in a full-time job for more than 2 years. My view is that pretty soon we will have Uberization of regular jobs. Knowledge will lie within the machines, and newer people can carry on the work from where the earlier person left off…without much handover or induction. With many govt. labour laws being pro employee, it will take some time for policies to change… but change it will.

  • Building digital credibility: While I'm not a huge fan of 'personal branding', I think more and more people will invest their time into building one, especially in networking sites like LinkedIn or forums/groups of Interest. The case in point being, a friend of mine introduced me (over WhatsApp) to someone local in Sydney who is an entrepreneur. While both of us were on the call, we were in parallel checking each other's LinkedIn profile, twitter handle, and did a quick Google search. This incident made me realize that how much digital plays in terms of building individual perception. Maybe it is a good idea to invest few hours a week for some personal branding. Maybe, a tweet can change your life :)

  • The predictability of travel:  One of the best things about travel was the unpredictability and the sudden experiences that you encounter in your travel. However, due to technology and ever accessibility of information, travel has become predictable. The strange places seems familiar even before you arrive. The maps help you navigate without any hitch. Search engines and websites help you uncover the most secret of the places too. The journey is almost like a script. It starts with a search (about the place, flights, etc) and ends with social (images and updates on Facebook/Instagram)

A promise to myself, I should get into the habit of writing and sharing knowledge regularly.



Photo Credit: Sydney Bridge Climb

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why Convenience is Time

The value of convenience is emphases on consumption rather than production of technology (Thomas F. Tierney)
The other day, when I read the above passage in an article, it made me think that one of the oft-used word in the digital business model is - convenience. Be it the ecommerce, omni-channel, user experience, customer journey, all these hinge on, convenience. But what is convenience and can it be quantified. More importantly, is it for real
Wikipedia defines convenience as, the state of being able to proceed with something without difficulty. Difficulty is directly related to the effort and by definition effort can be termed as the minimum usage of available resources for maximum benefit. As a consumer the finite available resource at his disposal are - Energy, money, and time. But as money is directly related to savings and cannot be considered convenience in the true sense, we shall focus on energy & time. The more you expend your limited resources, the less convenient it becomes. convenience thus is inversely proportional to the consumer's energy & time.
 C α 1/(E+T)
However, the need to own a product will depend on its value (how badly the consumer needs/wants it) and how much it costs in contemporary channels.
C = V/(E+T)
Where, C= Convenience, E = Energy (for Physical and Mental effort), T= Time, V= Value (perceived value)
 So if convenience is mostly about time & energy…what will one do with the time they are freeing up? I asked few of my friends and colleagues what would they like to do during free time… here are the most popular responses -
  • Watch movie
  • Spend time with family & friends
  • Listen to music
  • Read books
  • Play games
  • Sleep
 So the two probable outcomes of convenience by freeing up time would be more travel and more media consumption. And since the conserved energy needs to be expended, physical exercises or travel would happen . But seriously, travel to meet friends?, which itself is less convincing as one of the prime drivers (no pun here) for going digital was to avoid travel. Since travel happens to be common in both time and energy aspect and in this fast paced life the popular currency of travel/commute happens to be time.. Time is of essence, when it comes to convenience
 The likelihood of doing the notional activities that the user is interested in doing would be a better value proposition for communicating convenience. Eg: Watch "The Avengers" while your shop. Or. Play Squash in your supermart aisle.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Cool New Websites of the future

Hey, Website!
Hey yourself, User. What brings you here?
I hear you are a cool guy/place to hang around with :)
Thanks! Wow!! Didn't know that I'm that famous ;) tbh I'm just trying to be like you - More human, more friendly :)

…and so forth, the online conversation goes on between the user & the brand

Every brand website is a potential storyteller and technology is a great enabler of stories. The pace at which technology is getting adopted, especially the bot & AI technologies, chatting and talking websites are going to be the future storytellers of the brand.

Websites have come a long way.  From the static 'online catalogs' of early 90's to animated Flash based website of 2000's and the current search friendly and dynamic websites (with some personalization and responsive)…. They were led by customer friendly approach which was driven by the device & the purpose - Informational to Interactional to Engagement. The future purposes of website is to be conversational and be brand story tellers.

Chatbots have been around for quite some time now. Remember, the virtual assistants you see in few shopping portals or the popular (actually unpopular) Clippit, the office assistant in the earlier version of MS-Word. Well, these dumb stuffs have actually become smart over the years, thanks to artificial intelligence.

“So pretty much everyone today who is building applications whether they be mobile apps or desktop apps or websites will build bots as the new interface, where you have a human dialogue interface versus menus of the past,” - Satya Nadella
There will be a paradigm shift in User Experience due to this new UI involving bot & AI technologies. The advantages of having a conversational UI are lot. Here are few important things I can think about:
  • It helps build more engagement than a tree based content layout
  • More natural and personal than a regular website content
  • Instead of browsing a website, you’ll be talking to the brand-bot
  • The possibilities are endless – they can work across multiple platforms and can be scaled to process natural language, including voice commands

Soon, you'll have brands having conversations with you on chat platforms, social media, websites, and devices (Siri, Echo, Alexa, etc). A seamless storytelling through owned, shared, and paid media