Category Archives: Tech that should be

The decline of Apps and the rise of Agents and Clewds

Last week, while presenting a live webinar “The Near and Far Future of Recruiting” I had an epiphany.  I was talking about the eventual decline (or morphing) of Facebook.  The theory is this: Mobile computing power in 10 years will be server-capable.  Add in violation of trust and general mistrust of social networks.  The result is peer-peer social networking.  No Facebook needed.  Everything sits on your mobile device.  More private, more secure, total user control and no ads.  Facebook may lead the way, but it will be hard to do as they would cannibalize their own ad-driven revenue model.

This was last year’s Epiphany.

What led to the new epiphany was my pontificating on CRM systems.  This was a recruiter-centric talk about the future of recruiting.  Many recruiter CRMs have connections to LinkedIn profiles.   Every one of these, that I have seen, has been implemented incorrectly, not due to any fault of the vendors.  In an optimal situation, the data inside the Profile should be mashed up with current CRM data.  Instead, LinkedIn requires usage of their API which brings back a canned LinkedIn profile. This is what I call “social linkage”.

The optimal situation would be a pair of  “social agents”.  While a company may have 1000 company prospects  in their CRM, they may only contact 50 in a given day. One “social agent” would automatically refresh the entire CRM on a longer cycle such as once per quarter.  Another just-in-time social agent would update the CRM just before the outreach process.  Why is this important?  LinkedIn is not a definitive data-source; nothing is.  What happens when you combine Facebook, Google+, Jigsaw (now, Foursquare, twitter and whatever social network Microsoft comes up with?  Are you going to clutter your Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics interface with 6-8 little snippets, much with redundant information?   This gets ugly fast.  The optimal implementation is to have a social agent retrieve LinkedIn,, Google+, Facebook, Twitter information.  Next, mash, score, apply analytics to present the information in a way that optimally fits your selling model.

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Disruption by convergence. Here comes the iPad

Sometimes a totally new technology emerges and disrupts existing markets. This is where the mind naturally goes when talking about a disruption. Sometimes a disruptive technology succeeds and sometimes it does not. If you look carefully, the ones that succeeded were more a factor of convergence of multiple factors, rather than a single breakthrough.

I have a message to those naysayers on the iPad: You have no imagination, you have no vision, or you have an agenda.

Before I pontificate about the iPad, I’ll share a personal story: Last year I bought a Jeep.

I always wanted one with a top I could take off in the warmer months. Fun to park it anywhere half up a plowed-snow embankment; a side effect of Wisconsin winters. The one I got was bare-bones. It even has manual crank windows. No extras. Here is the kicker…it came with a free year of Satellite radio. Having never used Sirius or XM, it was a great experience. The fact that there is a 24×7 Springsteen-only station still boggles my mind. I love The Boss, but I was glad to have many channels to pick from. Soon I found that one of my favorite morning stations was the BBC. It is nice to get away from the ultra left and right of American talk radio. From the beginning of my subscription, I pondered if I would renew when my free year was up. I got attached to the BBC and a few other stations; It became habit.

My year of Sirius/XM just expired. I did not renew, but I did review my portfolio to make sure that Sirius/XM stocks were not present.

Admittedly, I am behind the cutting edge as it relates to Internet Radio (IR). I use Pandora occasionally, but IR is not part of my routine. It is not yet a habit. Satellite radio was habit, but I did not want to pay $12.95 per month. Why the discord with paying for a enjoyable service? I was raised on FREE radio. It just seems wrong to have to pay for radio.

Enter the Apple AppStore. I fired up my iPhone and found a whole list of Internet Radio applications. The average Internet Radio app supported about 30,000 radio stations from around the world. After trying a few Apps for $.99 to $1.99 I found one that I liked call TuneIn Radio. Yes, it supports the BBC, all the stations I wanted… and many, many others.

Naturally I asked myself the question: Why does anyone pay for Satellite radio and when they can just use Internet Radio? If it is Howard Stern, I am simply disconnected from the mainstream mod. If that is the case, stop reading. Is Howard Stern on Internet Radio? I’m not going to take the time to check.

The answer was not Howard. The answer is… that it is not super seamless AND simple. To make this work in my Jeep and would have to have my iPhone, charger, output cord and maybe a bracket to prop it up on my dash. In addition, the iPhone has a tiny little screen that is hard to interact with while I am driving. Maybe even hazardous. Most teens could hook this up easily. I’m a techie, so it is easy for me, but most people simply won’t do it. Additionally, most cars today don’t have an external input jack. That is changing, but it is not the norm.

What would make it super seamless AND simple?

(1) Improved connectivity. Bluetooth input for car radio. No cords, unless you want to charge it. Everyone understands charging

(2) Simple to use application: Done. 100’s of them on the AppStore

(3) Larger screen. Interface will be easier to work with while driving.

(4) Really good mounting. Not hard to do. I have one for my iPhone

As I was thinking about making my new iPhone powered Internet radio

Questions to ask:

Q: What are the convergence factors in moving from the iPhone/iPod to the iPad?

A: Bigger screen, faster processor, more memory, 140,000 applications

Q: Based on convergence factors, what did NOT work well on the iPhone, but will work on the iPad.

A: GPS applications: The screen was too small. Browser: Unless you have to, no one wants to read a webpage on a tiny little screen.

There are a whole set of possibilities that involve convergence on the iPad. For the nay sayers. Yes, right now the iPhone and Internet Radio is not a perfect replacement for Sirius/XM. On my drive to work, I get reception about 95% of the trip. Taking into account that I have spotty AT&T coverage and I live out near cow fields, I’m excited with 95% reception. Again, for the nay-sayers: guess what… connectivity is going to improve. Unless satellite radio does something stunning, it is going to be disrupted.

iPhone in my Jeep, Playing the BBC

Getting social network apathy?

It is hard for me to look at a “what are you thinking” box in a social network and not write something.  A few minutes ago, I got sucked in to google buzz.  This is where this post came from and what inspired it.  I’m convinced I’m right.

I’m getting social network apathy.  How many can I join, watch, etc? I have to guess that I am a few years ahead of the average person in terms of connectivity.  What will happen when the thick middle says “enough is enough”?  There will be a backlash.  There will be/must be business models that will give control back to people.  My gut tells me that the solution has to do with preference…and carrying that preference with you. All social networks (which is a very limited term) will have to interact with you based on preferences that you set in ONE PLACE.  Basically, a single-point-of-truth for how you require the world to interact with you.  I don’t want to set my preferences on myspace, facebook, linkedIN, etc etc.  Social networks, airport signs, your car, all should obey your rules.  I can see a flood of preference requests coming that I don’t want to answer.  Multiply social networks of today by 50, this is what we are in for.  Instead of social networks, I’ll group them all together as “intelligent systems”

With this being said, one of my new side projects is defining single-point-of-truth preferences.

Some axioms that I am playing with

“You own and control your preferences.”
“If a intelligent system does not obey your preferences, it gets cut off”

I believe that if I develop axioms first, the rest will be natural.  If anyone wants to brainstorm with me on this one, I’m game.

Vision of a mobile future; embrace your mobile computer

Don’t get caught up in the naming of things with words, it gets confusing.  Words change the very nature of how we think about something.  It is “this”, therefore it is “that”.  Now, a tree is a tree and a rock is a rock, unless you are in some altered state on consciousness, but we won’t go there. I’m focused on the newcomer words that are still in flux.   Too often it is herd mentality that gives  new things their name.

Today I stared on my iPhone, Blackberry, GPhone and Palm pre on my desk and ask myself  “what are these?”

mobile-phones1Cell Phones, Mobile Devices or Mobile Computers?

My company, Broadlook is developing software for mobile devices and I needed to have all of them.  I’m also a gadget freak, so I enjoy having all of them. Perhaps the collection of them, together, was odd and put me into a bit of a trance.

“What are these?”, I asked myself again.
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Fun with Tag Clouds

Tag Cloud
Tag Cloud

I’ve had some recent fun with Tag Clouds.  These are the sections of blogs that show the most frequently used words in blog postings; the most used words are shown in larger text, less frequent in smaller text.

Tag clouds are great summary tools.  In my next presentation at the Specialized Information Publishers Conference in DC,  I am presenting on The 7 laws of Internet List Generation.  I thought it would be fun to start the talk with the first slide that shows a Tag Cloud of the most frequently used words in the PowerPoint presentation.

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