Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A virtual wall for everything

We have been learning, thanks to Facebook, a new way to communicate. Now millions of us not only have e-mail or IM to communicate online, we have also "The Wall" or open public or semi-public boards in where we can post about a topic or about a person. It is interesting how we learn to post comments that more than our target will read.

During my previous birthday I received more posts on my wall and mentions on Twitter, than e-mail or phone calls and there are multiple cases or reasons for people to use this channel instead of the regular ones.

I consider that we are using SMS, e-mail and IM to communicate with our top relationships (siblings, parents and close friends). We use Twitter and Facebook to communicate with our community (All friend, peers, colleagues, etc) and there are new tools to communicate with others about an specific topic or to meet people (Pineterst and now Quora)

So this communication channel is great, it's open, it's fast and enhance collaboration.

You might know I am one of the founders of Droneme, in where you can also create an publish Walls, but the interest thing here is that you can create a wall about anything or everything without registering and you can share these walls on the off-line world through QRCodes. The posting process is also open (without registration) so we were looking to have and offer the fastest way to publish about any topic using digital and real walls. That's it!


There are the basic walls, like your school, building, office, street, in where the related community can post in an anonymous way. Why????? to also enhance HONESTY. A trend that we have seen in walls is that due the relationship to our profiles, the conversation is limited. In some cases too nice, in some other just a few participate, so having an open wall in where you can post without registering and without your profile will give everybody the chance to express them selves which as consequence will drive better content.

We are not embracing anonymity to do wrong, we are embracing anonymity to grow, to have better content.

Better content = better experience = better collaboration

Try it, create a wall. Write something about me http://www.droneme.com/gzones1974 or about Droneme http://www.droneme.com/droneme

There are multiple ideas about how to use it, but the must important is the one that it is going to be useful to you.

The trend is not only the wall channel, the trend is open collaboration and community communications

Remember what Gabriel Garcia Marquez said:
Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life

For the Public life you have Facebook and Twitter
For the Private life you have e-mail and SMS
For the Secret life you have Droneme


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The power of being anonymous

These days all what we say is attached to our persona. There are comments with value and posts really not useful at all, but what are the things people have on their minds and they can not say because they think is not appropriate or they do not have the courage to say it? How many things we do not know because they live just in somebody's mind but they are afraid of sharing it?

Social media brings the opportunity to access the knowledge or ideas of people in an easier way but these are not all their ideas and thoughts... how can we open that door? being anonymous has been always, from my perspective, a way to hide, a door for people who are not responsible, but is it? or our society limits our head just because the rules we have or we set up for us?

The power of being anonymous is getting bigger and bigger and that is why I started Droneme. A way to be anonymous to say what we can not... to express our selves completely, to really finishing sharing all what is on our heads.

There are sites like www.4chan.org in where we can be anonymous but all the content is categorized in such a way that we have to go through a trail of comments or discussions that are meaning less, so when we created Droneme we also were thinking in a way in where you can access info by topic or just by specific keywords without going through a mandatory path full of spam.

In Droneme.com users can say what they want to say without any registration and tagging their comments, so others can come and go directly to the piece of info they are looking for. How to use it?

Imagine you want to shout to the world how much you love, hate, care, or think about your boss, partner, mom, peer, friend... you just come here write whatever you want to post, tagg it and then... zaz!!! is shared with the world. Every post is shared not only within Droneme.com but also is shared on Twitter on one or multiple Droneme accounts like DMESanFrancisco or DMENewYork, depending also in your location so what you are sharing has a bigger audience...

Also you can come to Droneme.com and just go directly to find about you or the topics you want to know, for example I can go day after day or every 2 hours just to www.droneme.com/jorgeherrera+pfizer and find out what people are expressing about me... so I do not have to go to the home page and see others comments that are not related to me or I do not care... Imagine you go directly to www.droneme.com/google or www.dronemecom/ipad and see what people express about those brands or www.droneme.com/ciprinai and see what people are saying while they are on the restaurant or about the restaurant.... or I go to www.droneme.com/latino+blueshirt+newyork and see what people who I do not know is saying about me based on what I am wearing because they do not know my name.... Is like opening the door to everything and everybody...

finally we clear everything after 69 hours... why? because being anonymous should be just a stage, just for a period of time... giving the capability to all to know that what they are saying will be forgotten so they can feel a relive knowing that a trace wont be happening...

for all of those things I am sure droneme.com is key in today's social communications, for fun, for private conversations, to approach to somebody, to meet somebody, to release anxiety without secondary effects...

try it... we are just on the first iteration, knowing that we need to evolve based on people's needs but having on this first version a base line to growth and make from being anonymous the power to know more and have access to expanded knowledge.

Twitter and Facebook are key for social communications but they have the limits that we define in our heads... Droneme is the complement to do not stop saying everything we want to say

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is the paper book dying?

I was in a conversation last Saturday in where as many other times, someone challenged the e-book readers vs the paper book. Do you think paper books will disappear ? (that was her question).

As usual the people in the table, having an after dinner conversation just shared their personal point of view, some of them said "No, I love reading a paper book; No, what will happen with book shelves; No!!!", and some others "Yes, I can read my books anywhere now, I can carry multiple books, etc"

Here is what I have to say, my personal perspective and what I do not usually share on these dinner conversations, because I could be killing the "entertaining conversation" which is there to be more fun than a real round table of experts looking forward getting to conclusions and defining a plan of action based on a mission... so I do not pretend to show off or being boring and then I just smile...

Books, in any format, are one of the most popular methods to transfer information (paper, electronic, audio books...) and from my perspective there are 2 groups of people:

a.- The ones who LOVE the format.
People who love the concept of reading, carrying, collecting, smelling and contemplating a book on its paper format. These are the ones who love to go to a book store and go aile by aile, book by book, reading the sides, watching the cover, getting in love of the page AND also they like the content; but the format means a lot to them. I can compare this group to a similar group but in music. People who love the Vinyl LP Record (long play record), the CD or any other not-digital format 100% electronically distributed, this group love the artwork, the booklet, having CDs on a shelf, the process of taking them out of their cases and putting them on a player. Some of them like the LP format, because they can play more with it if they are DJ's and some others like them because the quality of a LP is better than CDs (wich is true with CDs, but the new Digital Music above the 192kHz/24-bit DAC is better than LPs). So these people read books not only driven by its core content, but love books due the "book experience concept" in where the content of the book is just a piece of the total experience but not its 100%. They like to have a more holistic experience

b.- The ones focus on the content and convenience
It is not that this group do not care about the look and feel of a paper book, but this group is more focused on paragraphs, chapters, references. This group is more into the "information" and not its distribution method. This is the group who like the idea of having multiple books inside a small Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, etc. This is the group who is happy to have access to the biggest book store anywhere at anytime and download a sample or the complete book that they browsed based on its core content. Just to continue with the comparison with the music experience, there are people who find amazing, having access to almost any record at any time from stores like iTunes and who find awesome carrying all their music inside a small piece of technology like an iPod, so they can play their music anywhere at anytime.

So who is right and who is wrong? Who will loose and who will win?
First of all, I think we all are or will be in both groups. I find very useful reading on my Kindle, iPad and iPhone but not all the books! I like graphic design; architecture and photography books and for those specific type of groups I like the holistic approach in where the book is ALL (cover, font, smell, page by page, etc) and I am assuming that maybe people who declare them selves "Paper book lovers" they will find out that for some specific topics (maybe technical, school, business, reference, etc) kind of books, in where they do not care a lot about the cover, putting them on a shelf or the way they smell, they will be ok with the utility of an electronic format to access them (this is just an assumption) .

But will the paper book will disappear?
I think paper wont be the most popular format, and we are experiencing day by day a market share growth for the e-books (E-book sales represented 8.32 percent of the trade book market in 2010 vs 3.20 percent the previous year for the reference click here) so it is clear that we will see every day less paper books.

So the Kindle and other e-readers are our future?
No, they won't either!!! They are a format that bring us convenience and based on that, new formats will appear. What we know as e-readers now, won't be with us in 25 -30 years (this is a personal prediction based on Ray Kurzweil's vision) With the evolution of nano-technology we will access information directly from our brains so we will be reading without using our eyes and hands, just our brain connected to any book at any time.

So answering the frist question: Do you think the paper book will disappear? Yes for specific topics, mostly reference books, but we will see some other topics, more related to emotions still in some shops, more expensive as they are now. Paper books wont die at least in our era, but they will be collectors material, backup, art, etc and the volume of new books printed will be very small compared with what we have now and this during the next 25 years, not next year...

We are in 2011, we are moving faster than ever and we will move even faster year after year and month after month, so what we need to understand is that change wont be an option, and if we are still considering methods something that we enjoy, then change will not be easy. We need to learn how to adapt faster and we also need to identify what we really enjoy and if it is a paper book, then, that is great, but do not say " I love ALL paper books " without really analyzing what you really like about them, which topics you enjoy and you will always enjoy with your holistic perspective, and do not say " books will disappear " do not be that naive, because they wont on their totality. The interesting thing is that nobody is talking about how will be reading in the future, how we will be consuming information and that is what I would like to talk about after dinner....

an extra reference to see how e-books sales are growing:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

QR Codes, are not there yet...

This morning I was on my way to the office, when I saw an excellent graphic execution, creative and with a potentially very good performance.

JetBlue is offering their getaways vacations to New yorkers who are tired of winter, etc, etc and that is right. They are not only attracting the attention with a BIG QR Code filled with beaches pictures, but at 7:00am, trust me it is something I want to read more about and knowing JetBlue, the offers will be customized to me... right?

Well, the graphic executions is great, the media planning is perfect BUT... They thought on using QR Codes to attract attention and also to deliver more (targeted) information... but the QR code doesn't work because the picture of the kid and also... they are using the ad space next to the train doors, so if I want to take a picture of the QR Code, I will be bothering the person who is sited in front of it, finally... there is no cell phone connectivity on the subway (until today) so I can not download data while I am infront of the Ad. And this is the ALWAYS story, something great as an idea, draft, mock up, plan, etc... can not be 100% exploted, due a poor implementation. Sometimes agencies do not look all the details or they do not push too strong with the client. The consequence could be that JetBlue analyze the results and decides that the campaign was ok, the product was attractive BUT the QR codes did not have the expected response and that might be the end of an experiment and everything, just because someone forgot to tell the graphic designer to move the kid from the code and the media implementation team, forgot the context of the ad space...

QR Codes are not for everything, now I can see them everywhere and we need to remember that this are not easy to read, these are not just scan and read, these are 1.- take the picture, wait; 2.- read, wait; 3.- open web page, wait. The VALUE behind the action should be higher than expectations, otherwise the user wont be using the codes too much.

I think the codes will find their right usage during the next 24 months and in the mean time (like we have been living it for the last 36 months) they will remain as a trend / experiment.

What uses do I think will be interesting (just 2 examples from the multiple that could be)?
1.- Real State: It will be awesome to just scan a code on a "on sale" ad, outside of a building or an apartment and see the photos and extra info
2.- Drug info: Contraindications, Instructions, The comments of your doctor...

These 2 things will be great as mobile content on the go in where faster than a keyword search, we just point our phone to the QR Code and we get the content, but besides working on having useful and great content, the QR readers should be easier, the phones should come with that as a default, no app, no open and click, just scan. Would it be great if I just point my phone and everything happen without me opening an app, then pointing, then clicking and then waiting? that is not how the bar code scanners work... you just scan it in less than a second... until that moment, the QR Codes are just fashion and not very useful today.

I do not know if they will last for more years, but I am sure this or some other codes will work the same way I explained above and this will happen in the next 18 months (the scanning part and the content). In some countries they are almost there (Japan, Korea)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is Google dying? (my perspective)

This is my answer to the question at Quora http://www.quora.com/Google/Is-Google-dying. The question was asked this morning and this is what I think

I do agree Google is not dying, but it is not growing either (the way they used to grow) They have a big challenge on expanding and evolving their services. We are living 2011 and the search results are very similar to the ones that we had in 1999, yes, more relevant, but not a big evolution in 10 years... so, my point is. Yes they have great talent, but what are they doing? yes they have the biggest share in search and they are growing in some other areas, but... they are just expanding what they have or replicating what others are creating... They are not pushing us to evolve as they did more than 10 years ago.

Google will die if they do not go back to their origins. They are becoming (from my perspective...) what they tried to avoid to be 10 years ago. They are afraid of risk, they are not pushing us to do better things, they (like any other public company) want to listen the customer to ensure sales, without doing anything else but what the users want (that was Yahoo! in 2000). They stop listening them selves on what they can evolve from the world, because they do not want to jeopardize revenue.

Why do I think this way... they created Google to give us a better way to search the web... (great!!) they created (bought) Android, because mobile is (going to be) a big search market, not because they want to change the world... they want to meet stakeholders expectations. They are killing "Wave" because it did not grow enough to be a revenue center, it was an expense growing very slow and NOW Google is first a business than 2 guys wanting change the world (which is ok... for GOOG the stock price and in the short term)

So... I do not think Google will die, but it will be another Yahoo! , Microsoft, AOL, etc but it wont be an Apple anymore. Google had (still has) the opportunity to change the rules / world, etc they just need to stop analyzing markets and doing more for people (not through a Market Research or usability tests). Bring us a new and better way to find what we are looking for, something that not even us know could be better... Google did not asked anyone when they first started, they had a vision... and now they have WStreet commitment instead. So... as a Company you will do ok, until the next guy with vision bring us what you are afraid of now to do...

It is easy to write this when I am not Larry Page, but he had a dream once and we are thankful with him for that, and we know Google can give us more, due their talent, knowledge and once upon a time vision.

I hope I am wrong and they help us evolving the world again, risking and fast and not making decision based on stock price.