Monthly Archives: January 2012

Facebook timeline – another end around on privacy

Sigh, the Facebook team is at it again, changing the UI. One aspect of Facebook that has received constant scrutiny is the interface, which at times is a bit underwhelming. So the millionaires over at Facebook (well soon to be once they IPO) have come out with a new format – timeline. The time line is suppose to give all the activity you have been doing on Facebook a better visual feel – allowing all those posts, likes, pictures, relationships, schools, events and on and on – to have a visual sense of time and timing. Great. I think. Do I really want to see the time span between posts? Or that I liked Adidas in November?

To me this smacks a bit of trying to get around privacy issues. Why? The new change will force users to go in and edit what they want to have private and what is public. The organization of all the activity you have done since day #1 (even prior to FB day 1 since they post when you were born) means there could be events/posts you thought and hoped were buried will now be cleanly displayed. Oh you said you had a family issue to take of and that is why you missed work, oops now it is nicely displayed that you were drinking a few dark lagers with your friends. I realize all this data is out there, Google, Yahoo and Bing make sure it is searchable, but now Facebook will “organize” it for us to leverage or be leveraged.

Having my activity organized should be a personal decision. Forcing an organization to our activity feels like an imposition from the 800lb gorilla – do this or else. And if things becoming public in the process so be it, allows us to sell richer layers of data to our advertisers.

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What South Carolina can teach us about crisis management

I avoid writing politics on this blog, I will admit that I had a political blog a few years back and it became too much of burden to keep up. I also felt that to do it properly I needed to research and be much more attentive to the blog. But this post will not be about politics but more about some lessons we can learn, for business and marketing, from what has happened in the Republican primary in South Carolina.  As of this writing it would appear that Newt Gingrich pulled off what, a week ago, would have appeared as impossible. What can be attributed to this swing? To me it is how the two candidates handled what I would call crisis management.

Let’s look at the front runner Willard Romney. His crisis revolved around his releasing of his tax records as well as the attacks on his time running Bain Capital. Newt flashed some brilliance in releasing years of tax returns the morning of a debate, knowing full well the question would be posed to Willard. Romney, when asked if he would do as did his father and release 12 years of returns, uttered “Maybe” as his first word…then laughed and gave some confusing answer that wasn’t really an answer. This go him a round of boos from the audience. During the week he also answered a question about his tax percentage with some cryptic response and even had the audacity of saying “oh and some speaker fees…which weren’t very much.” I guess when those add up to close to $400k those are not seen as “very much.”   Just for perspective, the median national household income for 2010 was $50,000.

On the other hand, Newt Gingrich had his own crisis, specifically a bomb shell interview from his second wife about his moral compass. How did Newt deal with it? Head on. When asked this as an opening question he tore right into it, attacking the “liberal media,” Obama, CNN and those that wanted to see him fail in one swoop. He took a negative and turned it into a soap box to give his southern Republicans some red meat to chew on – look at the standing ovations.

Two different ways of handling what were difficult situations, and two apparent different results. Just like in a crisis – poor corporate results, scandal, hostile acquisition, executive turn over to name a few – one has to get ahead of the message. One must be aggressive in sharing information, because there is no hiding in today’s connected world. One cannot always hope for the results Newt enjoyed, but one certainly can avoid the gaffs from Mitt.

Sometimes the light of day makes events appear less important than when constantly trying to dodge the issue and appear evasive.

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5 Things to Look for in 2012

I know my previous post was about supply chain trends in 2012, but since I was in the airport today with a number of travelers heading to Las Vegas for CES, I thought…hmmm what are some things to look for in the technology world for 2012.

  1. RIM and Blackberry will fade away and could even be acquired by another technology player…maybe HP? I realize that HP has the Palm system for mobile, but with RIM they will have the devices and network to bolster their mobile play. RIM has been in trouble with Apple and Google eating their lunch when it comes to the smartphone space. RIM has to find more stable and far reaching backer to reinvigorate their sagging business.
  2. Apple TV is the next big thing…okay I have been speaking about Apple TV for a long time and how it is the last frontier for Apple to be a player in the entire entertainment game – get into the family room and control the TV. I do think that 2012 might finally be when Apple breaks out with their TV play. Rumor is that after CES, Apple will be announcing their iTV. Google is already moving into the family room with Google TVs, Microsoft and Sony are there with their state of the art gaming platforms…Apple is actually playing catch up. Not anymore.
  3. Speaking of tablets, look for Amazon to emerge as the real counter to the iPad. Others have tried, remember the Blackberry Playbook, Samsung Galaxy or the HP TouchPad, while some have had mild success they continue to chase the iPad. Their main issue – chasing the iPad with a me-too device is not working. Amazon has, on the other hand, gone after the smaller form factor market offering the 7in tablet. While others have also moved down size, they have not done so rapidly allowing Amazon to corner that market. In addition to the fact the Kindle has the power of the Amazon content backing the device, it has a wide lead and will continue to build on that segment of tablets. Will Apple move towards that form factor? Doubtful, especially not now. Oh and Barnes and Nobles is chasing that space as well…but once again a dollar short and a day late with their Nook tablethingamjiggy….
  4. There will be a big move with the old school technology players – Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay – being the old school players will make some splashes. Look for the Yahoo – Microsoft marriage to rear its head again. Yahoo might even be a player to acquire RIM. Microsoft could even make another play in the B2B space and look back towards SAP. As Facebook, Google and Apple continue to own the headlines, the old school tech companies will make moves to recapture some of their mojo.
  5. Hyped IPOs – some good, some bad. Okay we all have heard that Facebook will IPO for somewhere close to $100 gazzillion….but on the other hand companies like Groupon will have egg in their face as they IPO, probably look back to the offer laughed down from Google. Tech will continue to make some IPO plays in 2012, it will not be like 1999 again but not as dire as the past few years either.

2012 should be interesting once again for technology. It will be fun to watch and to see how the devices we carry and the technology we use evolves in 2012.

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