Virtual Goods?

If you thought virtual goods only applied to ordering pizza online or visiting Amazon.com… think again! OK, there’s online purchasing, use your credit card, and a little while later you usually get whatever you purchased on your door step. But, virtual goods are a whole ‘nother ball game.

Check this out for example –> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/business/media/07adco.html?_r=1&ref=business You don’t physically see anything in exchange for your actual money. Social networks, even physical, world wide known brands are implementing this new branding strategy.

Go on Facebook, what are the typical games? Farmville, Mafia Wars, what not? They charge your credit card to buy virtual furniture, clothing, cards, etc

The satisfaction on the product usage is no longer there. New branding? Psychological, social, VIRTUAL satisfaction.

Strategy on Innovation

Some may say that there are 3 main strategies both applicable to life and to business: Service, Price and Innovation. Price? What are we, aiming for free stuff? Well yeah, but then again that wouldn’t work out in the long run for the offerer. Service? We are most definitely not satisfied at all if service, at least in its most minimal expression, is offered to us. We don’t like anything without a service. It would be mediocre. It’s like that 3 sec rule on internet: If a webpage takes longer than 3 sec to load, you click on something else. No Patience!

Then, those two strategies go down the drain. What’s left? Innovation. But what about it? I mean what use could I possibly have on this type of shoe? –> http://honestinfomercialreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/shoe_umbrella.jpg Absolutely nothing! (Unless of course I want to crash a Halloween Party) Innovation has to be coherent and useful, if not, it’s only an obstacle.

Just like this webpage http://www.hemmy.net/2006/04/27/useless-japanese-inventions/ despite the uselessness of its products… it’s actually done on purpose. A motion for good humor and entertainment. But other than that, the right, coherent, useful innovation has given way to things unimaginable even 10 years ago. Who would have thought about social media? Instant news delivery? You life in a 3 inch long machine (EG; iPhone)

There’s a purpose for innovation, an advantage, use it 🙂

Demos + Cratos & Innovation

This isn’t the 1960’s. There is no jingle to accompany your Campbell’s commercial while you are watching the sunday night entertainment show in your living room along with your family and your table dinners. You won’t dream about the jingle and crave that Campbell’s soup for the time to come. In fact, you find commercials just plain annoying! This isn’t the offer me era! This is the I want era! 🙂 Oh but don’t look so surprised, after all, you personalize everything around you, and you know what? That’s perfect! That’s your identity! That’s you!

So what is a marketer, a BUSINESS to do? Hear you out! What do you want? How, when, with whom do you want it? It’s not enough to have the same red car everyone wants, it has to have something about you, it needs to function for you 🙂 PERSONALIZATION 🙂 Eric Von Hippel’s “Democratizing Innovation” tell us that exactly, but not because we live in a capricious society, but because we are individuals being part of a society, and as such, we have an identity, certain tastes, needs, aspirations no one else has.

Innovate, don’t produce in series, be UNIQUE 🙂

New Marketing… Tell Me Your Story

OK… I’m a marketing major, but even so, I dare say that some TV commercials or other traditional media may come to the point where the marketer is regarded as a stand up comedian. Yes, some commercials are so hilarious, people can’t stop watching them over YouTube, or actually wait for them, as if it were a gag reel during the Super Bowl’s half time. Other than that, do you really wait for commercials when you now occasionally turn on your TV if you aren’t cutting off by watching stuff on your personal computer?

Now, for the sake of the exercise, let’s change the subject a bit. When you meet someone and you are interested in that person, don’t you want to be known? Express yourself? Say what’s in your mind? After all, you feel the connection. Nobody likes to just stay in a corner and be stepped on.

So, we can practically say that you engage when you participate. So, the answer to stop being referred to as a comedian… (drums please…) engage with people. Make people participate with you, make them part of your story. There’s actually a chapter about it in Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” or check out this half hour video (I know, a bit long, but skip some parts if you wish…) http://creativity-online.com/work/cat-ny-2010-storytellers/21045#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed

Just engage!

Readability Check!

This poster is for a very famous campaign being done here in Mexico by a nation wide bookstore. It literally translates to “Less Face, More Book”. The purpose of the campaign is to make Mexicans read more books a year. Some studies say an average Mexican reads between 1 and 3 books per year, when a European reads more than 20. Check out the Washington Post’s study on it at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101045.html

But let’s take this campaign one step further. It’s not just about reading books, or being more involved with an informed and cultured society. It’s also simple reading. Instructions, how to navigate a Web Page, how to read traffic signs that are literally telling you where to go. There’s so many people who won’t even bother to read a simple sentence on how to do things! It’s a shame really, because so much potential is being wasted. Next time when in doubt, read! I promise, life will be so much easier.

What Do You See Here?

<– What do you see here?

A. A computer

B. A portal to the 2.0 world

C. Your life

Which one did you pick? Which ever one you did, there’s only one true thing. No one knows how to make a computer. It’s true, even if you sit down with a genius engineer, he or she would not have a clue as to how to build the computer from scratch. And I borrow this idea from a TED talk… a very interesting one, you should check it out http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

Here, Matt Ridley has a point: we all have evolved into specialization. It’s made us great, it has helped us progress as a civilized society, but unlike in ancient times, we don’t make our own stuff from scratch.

We’re better at what we do because we can focus. If a civilization dating back from a couple of millenniums (at least) is now product of concentration isn’t enough evidence of what can be achieved when you do what you are best at, then we need new theories. Of course we’re not perfect, but oh look where we’re at.

Do Not Marry

Wait for it, wait for it… Commit! Wait, what? You must be thinking… Well my readers, couldn’t be truer, this advice. But hold on, don’t look so outraged, after all, I am telling you to commit. But isn’t it the same thing? Most would say. In some very fortunate cases, commitment = marriage. However, in many sad others it’s  not.

I’m not talking about the conventional couple’s marriage. I’m talking about the “marry with an idea, a concept” side of things. Don’t marry them, commit to them. If you marry an idea, you’ll get stuck there. You will think and do what you’ve thought and done for many years. In other words, you won’t move forward.

In this day and age, innovation is the motor of evolution. Thus, commitment is a better use for your ideas and actions. Once you are committed, you find ways, new ways to keep improving yourself and your surroundings. Be it professional, personal, fictional, factual, doesn’t matter. That commitment, that passion, will push you. It will tell you to strive further and make it better every time. So why stay stuck? Commitment after all, is deeper than marriage. Go further.

Mid Year Resolutions

Every new year’s eve you already have a mindset of the things you want to accomplish throughout the new year. You convince yourself that this time, this year, things will be different and you WILL keep you word. You swallow your 12 grapes, you drink your champagne and live up to a great New Year’s party.

The alarm clock starts beeping. You reach over to turn off the catchy ringtone you picked out to startle you every morning. August 15th, is what you read in the corner of your cell phone. Oops! What happened to those resolutions?

Truth be told, you don’t really need it to be New Year’s eve to try to convince yourself you’ll be a different person. You can wake up on any given day and just start actually doing it. More importantly, see that days have passed since, and you start seeing the actual results of your decisions.

Resolutions? Better yet…. ACTIONS. Start and keep on going, that my friend, is the tough part.

The Book Effect

The moment you come into a bookstore, at least for me, you can actually smell text. Hundreds, may be thousands of books waiting to be read and discovered. Where to start? What moves you? What kind of subject would make you grab a Dostoevsky-like volume and not even blink about the size just to start reading?

Will it be fiction? About your profession? Things you would like to learn about? What keeps you flipping the pages over? You go in, and you go directly to the area that pulls you in.

Now, let me tell you, whoever thought of the idea of having a space to read inside the very bookstore, may be even a small coffee shop deserves a prize. You may be there with someone, or no one at all. Your only companion, the book you just bought; yet you don’t feel alone. Can you feel the book effect?

Crossing Paths

My oldest friend (we almost literally were born together) just recently started working at a coffee shop. Since you could have noticed by now, I’m a coffee lover (or maniac if you wish). She told me to come visit any time, which oddly enough I hadn’t. Yesterday I decided it was D day, plus I felt like I could pick up a little inspiration to do some more writing on other things. Anyway, as I walked in I didn’t see her, just the rest of her coworkers. Then, as I was ordering on the counter she appeared and told me to wait 5 min for her break.

As I did, I went to sit on one of the tables next to the delivery area. I sipped on my drink and just watched people go by. I had experienced it before, but this time I payed closer attention to the expressions on people’s faces. Genuinely, it took another meaning to the phrase “let’s go grab a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you” or “let’s talk about it over some coffee” and so on. People come to these places and let go of all their worries to anyone they know who is willing to listen. It was so amazing to see their different expressions: angst, surprise, happiness, sadness. An entire whirlpool of feelings at a simple coffee house.

Finally my friend got her break time and sat with me, sipping on her own latte. We started talking about her day and mine and so on. All of a sudden in the distance I saw one of our old high school classmates (a very good friend of hers at the time). We said our hellos, and I noticed it: THE big difference. There were no definite, meant expressions on our faces. The three of us just stood there politely as if kicking an imaginary rock. There was nothing for us to share. And I realized, coffee, coffee places are not just to enjoy the drink; you go there to share your life with the ones you have commonalities with; with the ones you trust enough to let go.

So yes, our paths crossed once upon a time, but now? Now there were other people we would let go with at a coffee place.