Your Life History on Demand

Here’s what I see coming for voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Lots of marketing opportunities here, and perhaps finally one eco-system to combine all social app data. More on that later.
Basic Functionality:
  • What date did I move to San Francisco?
  • Who joined me at the Bruce Springsteen concert a few years ago?
  • What was the name of that Portland, Maine dive bar on the water with the oysters we loved?
  • When did I first buy raw maca powder?
That’s fairly simple stuff. The required data sources (which we’re already comfortable sharing) include:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Swarm
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
  • Evernote
Amazon Echo Dot on kitchen counterApps like Timehop can already tap into high level info like this and tell you where you were three years ago, but the social and detail layers will require more information and networked data.
Intermediate Functionality:
  • What did I wear to Blackdiamondskye?
  • Which outfit should I wear today?
  • What topics did I research after my first lunch with Sandra?
  • How many calories have I really eaten today?
  • When am I due for an oil change?
Data sources:
  • Google
  • Weather
  • Credit card purchase history
  • Amazon
  • Photos
    • Clothing/style analysis (with predictive capability)
  • Mobile GPS data (location services) from apps like Google Maps
  • Passbook (boarding passes, movie ticket stubs, event badges)
  • Messaging app history (iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.)
Advanced functionality:
  • When was I happiest during the time I lived in New York?
  • Which job offer suits me best?
  • When did I know I was in love?
Data sources:
Everything we say and type? No – just all of the aforementioned sources, plus a future wearable or implanted device to monitor energy. Triangulate the data and apply some algorithms and AI.
hourglass with blue sand
Essentially, I think everything I currently rely on Evernote for will be available through a voice  assistant that is continually self-improving a personalized tagging convention and data-rich picture of who I was, who I am, and who I will be (how I will behave).
Location, check-in, and social data – your digital footprint – will be accessible. Visuals included. The more you check in and document your every move, the richer your look-backs will be. This is similar to the re-do in my favorite Black Mirror episode, The Entire History of You, except what I envision is not based on a 24/7 life recorder, but an aggregation of experiential data shared by permission.
ICYMI – The Entire History of You premise: In an alternate reality, most people have a “grain” implanted behind their ear. It records everything they see, hear, and do, like a first person recorder for life. This allows memories to be (quite realistically) played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen, a process known as a “re-do”.
I’m not advocating for a grain implant or anything as terrifying as what’s available in this show. But the personal data recall possibilities are pretty exciting.
  • Upside: wonderful for re-experiencing memories or pulling up information quickly.
  • Downside: our memories will get even weaker because we will exercise that muscle less and less. Oh, and privacy.

Miss USA… still?

Pausing to write about this, because I’d rather question than let programming wash over me:

I’m not going to comment on Miss USA Kara McCullough’s statement that healthcare is a privilege or feminism a bad word. I’m just talking big picture here.

We were watching Top of the Lake right before a channel flip landed us on Miss USA. In Top of the Lake, sexual violence against women and girls is a main character in the story, and the next show we saw perpetuates sadly outdated female objectification, a big contributor to rape culture. Unfortunately, many people refuse to acknowledge the connection, but it’s well-documented in sociology and psychology. And it’s obvious. Entertainment and common narratives ranging from Disney princesses to fashion magazines to most advertising typically favor the male gaze. This (heterosexual, masculine) gaze is problematic for women becoming agentic, being respected as leaders, and being unencumbered by self consciousness.

I would certainly support a contest judged purely on how much contestants have made the world a better place, not on their physical appearance. Though doing good should be reward enough. Perhaps beauty should be its own reward too – why the need for comparison? Comparison is a thief.
beauty pageant girls wearing boxing gloves
If we must compare people, isn’t it time we moved past the superficial and looked to character and contribution alone? McCullough has a solid background: she is an educated scientist, she played basketball and now coaches it. Good. She also happens to be beautiful.

I’m not saying Miss USA is directly tied to rape culture. Let’s say they’re unrelated. Even then, a beauty contest puts the focus on the wrong thing – we’re capable of so much more.

I just felt sad when we went from a fictional show featuring a raped, pregnant twelve-year old girl to a live broadcast of fifty “modern” women teetering around a stage in stilettos and little clothing. These women choose to compete, but the competition is a problem.

Beauty contests send such a limiting, divisive message to girls and boys, to women and men. It puts the focus on the wrong thing. We teach kids, “it’s what’s inside that counts” then televise (very gendered) vanity. I have zero interest in watching something so old hat – frankly, it’s laughable to me in 2017. The only good thing about the three minutes I could stomach was Minnesota’s sporty swimsuit. But a hot body and a fashionable swimsuit does not a great representative of US women make.

Two Simple Career Tips with Big Impact

Harry Joiner knows how to get a good job. Sandra Chesnutt knows how to keep a good job. Here’s a bit of what they taught me. If you understand and apply these tips, your career will benefit.

1. “The richest actors aren’t rich because they’re the best actors. They’re rich because they get the best parts.” -Harry Joiner

Harry Joiner headshotHarry Joiner is the real deal in recruiting, and that’s rare nowadays. He looks at a candidate from a holistic career perspective, not from a single job req, time to fill, recruiter comp point of view.

A) I took a lot of notes during helpful calls with Harry over the years, but this line always stuck with me. In order to be successful, you need a role in which you can succeed. There are many variables in whether or not you’re set up for success. When evaluating a job opportunity, ask yourself if it’s a good part. Look for a strong script, visionary but fair director, compelling story, solid supporting cast, and adequate budget – or whatever is important to you. What makes a good movie makes a good company. What makes a good part makes a good job. Consider how this role will help or hurt your next role.

B) The other piece here is obviously that a good agent helps actors get the best parts. A skilled recruiter is your career’s best friend. Try a few on for size. Ask for referrals from people in your field whom you respect or admire. Remember that most recruiters (especially on LinkedIn) are the equivalent of housewives calling themselves realtors. Everybody’s a recruiter just like everybody’s an entrepreneur.

If you’re in ecommerce, check out Harry’s job board: ecommerce jobs. Harry places serious talent, specializing in contingency based Manager, Director, VP, SVP, and CXO-level executive searches for transactional multichannel ecommerce.

2. “Write specific, personal compliments in thank-you notes.” -Sandra Chesnutt

Sandra Chesnutt headshot
Sandra is a friend and mentor, a savvy marketer and fantastic overall person who has been very helpful to me over the years.  Sandra understands organizations, technology, and marketing on a fundamental level. She also has keen insight on managing professional relationships.
This piece of advice is lovely, it’s old school, and it has a big payoff for a small investment. It will cost you ten minutes, some reflection, a nice card (I love this Crane’s stationery), and a stamp.
Read Sandra’s awesome post with lots more detail and examples:
While any thank-you note is better than none, use the note as an opportunity to touch the recipient on a more meaningful level. It only takes one or two thoughtful sentences to make it memorable. Go a little deeper. Point out something specifically great about the person. Everyone loves to be recognized. A compliment is the simplest magic. Example:

Okay thank-you note:

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for the helpful call. I appreciate your time and insight. I look forward to talking again soon.

-Emily

Great thank-you note:

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for the helpful call. I loved the mirroring/last 3 words concept and the What I want/why I want it/benefits to you approach.

I especially like how you always offer actionable tips from either your own life/experience or outside, quality resources. But the best part is that you summarize these tips so I get the CliffsNotes version quickly, you make it applicable to me, and you provide an example that illustrates how I can use the tip. Plus, you always remember the full name of the source so I can seek more information.

Thanks again for your help.

-Emily

People love handwritten cards.

Get a nice set like this from Crane’s or a little Etsy shop. These classic looking cards make a great impression – at about $1.90 per card, this small investment will pay dividends:

BeanCast 441: Garanimals for Advertising

I was back on The BeanCast this week. Bob said it was one of the best episodes ever! but he always says that…

  • I played devil’s advocate regarding whether TV is dying (it pretty much is)
  • During the #AdFail5, I got to share my eosteric knowledge of jars from my Etsy baking days (some of you may remember my jar cakery, Adore a Jar Bakery?)
  • David Spark called me out when I complained that we don’t have one dashboard to end all dashboards – he said I should create one – he’s right
    • What Chris Baccus and I really want is simply for all our data to match

Listen: BeanCast 441

March 20, 2017

Click to subscribe to the #1 marketing and advertising podcast


Adapted from  original post by Bob Knorpp on thebeancast.com

Antisocial Virtual Reality – Retinas Deep

I’m finally reading Ready Player One, Ernest Cline’s dystopian future sci-fi novel that’s chock full of awesome ’80s culture. It’s a fun read, accurately called a “nerdgasm” by John Scalzi.

Brief synopsis: In 2044, an energy crisis has resulted in widespread economic despair. The OASIS is a virtual reality simulator in which many people escape the depressing world. It functions as an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and a virtual society. High school student Wade Watts spends his days seated in an old cargo van in a junkyard wearing his VR visor and haptic gloves, attending school inside the OASIS and hunting for OASIS creator James Halliday’s Easter egg. (Full synopsis here.)

“In the OASIS, you could create your own private planet, build a virtual mansion on it, furnish and decorate it however you liked, and invite a few thousand friends over for a party.” p.57

15% through the book, these were my first two thoughts, one somewhat unique to me and the other not at all:

  1. OASIS users sit for hours or days on end. They probably take about 200 steps per day (bathroom breaks).
  2. The OASIS replaces real life interaction like Facebook on steroids, and it’s a scary but fathomable progression.

pop art woman wearing virtual reality goggles saying OMGPlenty of people have written about whether Facebook could become a sort of OASIS. It’s clearly on Zuckerberg’s radar with the acquisition of Oculus Rift in 2014, and the fact that the company hands every new employee a copy of Ready Player One.  All covered.

What interests me is whether technology will make our future lifestyles even more sedentary and less interpersonally connected than they are today. In a world that enjoys VR more than IRL, we could really lose our ability to interact in a vulnerable, face-to-face manner. That’s already happening with smartphone addiction (social media and checking behaviors). People are more likely to complain on Facebook about daily offenses by neighbors, fellow drivers, or rude cashiers than to confront one another. But furthermore, in an increasingly virtual future, our bodies could either atrophy (if food becomes scarce) or expand even more (if foodstuff replaces real food and we subsist on cheap sugary cereal and microwave dinners). It’s not a pretty thought.

I like technology. I like the idea of free, globally accessible information. It just worries me that we’ll all be sitting on our asses not talking to each other even more. Instead of being thumbs deep, we’ll be retinas deep.

Two girls playing hopscotch on playgroundOn the bright side, quite the opposite of Wade attending virtual school from his van, here’s an elementary school in California where students have standing desks.  Bloodflow improves cognitive function and learning. Add in some VR use with open source global libraries and submersive educational experiences. Maintain real outdoor recess and give them standing desks – that’s promising.

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