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#TechNotes: Mind your quadrants please

Technology Changes … Get Over It

Gartner's Famous QuadrantHello. My name is Adam Stanley and I have a problem. I get excited by new technology. All the time. Well, I guess that’s not really the problem. The problem is that I get bored by the constant debates about which is better. And, with all due respect to Gartner, the technology quadrants REALLY bore me.

• In 1996, there were debates about which search engine was better: AltaVista or Excite. Google didn’t exist. Now those prior leaders are defunct.

• In 2006, the battle royale in mobile phones was between the Nokia 1600 and the BlackBerry Pearl. IT departments were trying desperately to stem the proliferation of mobile devices caused by Blackberry while a little known player Samsung was barely noticed. Apple iPhone did not exist, nor the Android phones that now account for over 75% of the smartphone market. Windows Phone didnt exist (some might say they still don’t …. but they are now #2 in UK market.)

• In 2007, MySpace had more users in the United States than Google, Facebook, or any other social networking site. Today a re-birthed MySpace has circa 1 Million users while Facebook has 1.2 Billion.

• In 2009, CTOs and CIOs were negotiating with telephone carriers to help manage telephony costs by cutting some of the ridiculous charges for text messaging, especially while roaming in other countries. Today, only my Dad still uses text messaging. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but the big phone companies lost over $32 billion in revenue last year as users flocked to Whatsapp, kik Messenger, and WeChat.

Who is the bright red ball today?

Who is the shiny red ball today?

My point? I don’t think we need to be debating which tool is the Gartner winner. We need to discuss and determine which tool can best help us answer specific questions at the optimal cost to value ratio for our current and immediate future needs. We should not care whether CurrentTech Inc fails or succeeds unless we own part of them. And our customers don’t need to know what specific technologies we are using to provide predictive or prescriptive analytics to them so long as they are helping them make better decisions.

Don’t get me wrong, here. I LOVE technology battles. Anyone that follows me on Twitter sees this regularly with my #techwars tweets.  Those battles drive innovation via robust competition. And those battles are precisely why quadrants are difficult. Companies no longer provide one major release a year. Many push out improvements daily. Thus, the days of choosing a tool and sticking with it for ever are long gone. And when an IT team tells an internal client they shouldn’t explore an option simply because it is not the standard or the current leader in a Quadrant? Shame! Is it time for Gartner and others to update their comparisons daily or change them to visualizations that allow you to change the matrix based on your specific requirements and point of view?

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

Adam Stanley

Adam Stanley

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#TechNotes: Facebook, Snapchat, and the new new thing

nextbigthingblog2

Are we there yet?

I’ve enjoyed reading lots of the analysis out there about Facebook and whether or not their attempt to buy Snapchat is a sign of desperation. Reportedly, an offer of three billion was made by the company and rejected by Snapchat ‘s young leadership. Everyone immediately said Facebook was doomed. Now, snapchat has been hacked and Instagram Direct is trying to fight back, under its new parent of course, Facebook.

A few quick thoughts :
1) I cannot begin to imagine the conversation where I decide to turn down 3 billion dollars but I can understand why snapchat would do what they did. It is entirely possible in this rapid change environment that investors would place value on snapchat that is comparable to the value placed on Twitter . Now, to be clear, I do not feel that the value on Twitter is appropriate nor do I feel that investors would necessarily be making the right call to place such a value on Snapchat. That said, whether you believe it to be a bubble or not investors are putting a significant premium on social media applications, especially those that are highly focused on mobile.

2) Facebook is falling into the trap of many large companies. It is scared to let go. In today’s hyperpaced communication overloaded society, users will flock from one platform to the next with little transition time or switching costs. Perhaps Facebook Inc strategy should be to intentionally kill Facebook.com. Build the tool users will go to after Snapchat loses its luster. Building for the future almost means building amazing, but disposable, products for today. This is more than just pushing video ads to mobile phones. If they are good, they should be able to churn out new products and services much faster than competitors. If not, they will cease to be relevant like MySpace before them.

3) Some people are arguing that instagram, including the new instagram direct functionality, are Facebook’s answer to snap chat and their way of the remaining relevant for young people. I’ll offer an alternative theory. The reality is that, like Microsoft has done several times in the past, Facebook bought the popular photo sharing company because they thought it was the next big thing. But was it really the old next big thing? Facebook may have become the “late to the party” juggernaut that it would never have desired to be. Just as the lucrative 18 to 25 market has been leaving Facebook in droves, the same market will begin to leave instagram. Watch TLC, Bravo, A&E, and CNN and note how often they reference Instagram. Face it, when people over 35 start to use something, their children stop.

The bottom line is I don’t necessarily believe the Facebook is in its final days. I do believe, however, the company must drastically rethink their strategy and consider alternatives for growth in the United States. If they truly believe that growth in other markets will counter dramatic drops in USA, I believe that is misguided. Other markets will eventually follow the same path of the United States. Younger users will leave; older users will join the platform at a much lower level of engagement; upstarts will create the next next big thing and advertisers will be tempted away.

For now, I have sold my Facebook holding and bought a small Twitter holding so I can enjoy a brief ride on the wave of the current big thing. And I patiently await the next next big big thing. Oh wait! There it is….

Note: I am sure there are lots of Facebook fans out there that would tell me that I have lost my mind and perhaps I have. But, of course, I’ve heard that before. Post your comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Be Well. Lead On. And may the consumer be the ultimate victor of these fantastic #techwars.

Adam

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#TechNotes: Adventures with LinkedIn

Alternative Title: How a phone “user error” resulted in great conversations

LinkedIn on AndroidScreenshot_2013-07-23-12-13-07

As you may have read, I purchased and now love my new Samsung Galaxy S4. I cannot see returning to the iPhone at this point and only really use my iPad for playing Clash of Clans (I admit it.) As with many men, when I first setup my new toy, I had to try everything. I went app by app and installed every app that had been on my iPhone, noting key differences between the iOS and Android versions.

After I installed LinkedIn, I was presented with all kinds of screens and options for easy setup. Two of them are shown above. One allows you to sync your contacts with LinkedIn so that all of your LinkedIn contacts can easily be communicated with through your mobile phone. Great. I did that on my iPhone as well so no worries. The other option, however, was an “Add Contacts” tool. This setup step, as I learned only after pulling the trigger too quickly, sent the 512 people in my address book with whom I was not connected on LinkedIn an invitation to connect. Indiscriminately!

Let me repeat that. EVERYONE in my address book not previously connected to me on LinkedIn received the same generic “please add me to your LinkedIn network” email.

Pause. Open your address book and scroll down. If you are like most people, by the 15th entry MAX you will reach someone that might be a fantastic person but clearly was never meant to be a LinkedIn connection. Here are a few examples which may or may not have been in my address book:

  • Doctor or dentist
  • Roadside assistance AAA
  • Caterers and servers from prior events
  • An ex partner!
  • The home security company
  • Massage therapist
  • Housekeeper
  • and so on ….

Needless to say, I was horrified when I began to receive dozens of invitation acceptance notifications. Within a week, I had added 80 new connections, and after two weeks I was up to over 200 new adds. But, I must admit, despite the fact that it was a mistake, I am glad I did it. Because, I ended up reconnecting with lots of really cool people.

Among the throng that received the email were a few amazing people I had met on flights and exchanged cards. You know the ones: you sit next to each other for hours en route to somewhere or another and talk about everything. The conversation is so enjoyable you know you must stay in touch and thus exchange cards before rushing off for your next connecting flight or meeting. And, of course, you never actually get in touch. My accident allowed me to reconnect with a couple of those types.

Old friends that had lost touch were pleasantly surprised I reached out (they may now learn that it was an accident, but the ends justify the means?) and have now scheduled lunches and coffee catch-ups. A former server I hired for a party has now started an organisation and is quite the online activist these days. Vendors that worked with me years and years ago have now moved on to new companies and are doing fascinating things. And my MOM joined LinkedIn! Who knew??

Another amazing thing I discovered is how many of my new contacts were connected to each other, yet had no idea they shared a relationship with me. The world truly is a small place.

All in all, whilst my error resulted in a bit more spam than I feel comfortable sending out, the result was that I reconnected with cool people, found out more about my “network”, and got a few big smiles when an old familiar face popped up in my notifications.

Would I recommend you do the automatic send thing? Not at all! But I would encourage you to scroll down through your address book from time to time. Don’t just look for someone interested in potentially buying your services or products. Look for the first name that makes you struggle a bit to remember how you met. Send THAT person a request to connect on LinkedIn. Find an old friend that may have fallen out of contact for good or bad reasons. Send THAT person a request to connect on LinkedIn. The ex-partner? Maybe skip that one for now. But pick a few random people.

Life is about connections; some that come by planning and strategy, some through work or family links, and some that come because you happened to go to the car wash at a particular time of day. All have meaning of some sort and all have the possibility of changing your life in ways you may just never know.

Be Well. Lead On. 

Adam

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Apple iOS 5

#TechReview: Initial thoughts on Apple iOS 5

IMPORTANT UPDATE: No features, no matter how great and wonderful, can make up for a crappy battery life on mobile devices. I am now contemplating rolling back to an older backup. This stinks! I RECOMMEND WAITING FOR APPLE TO FIX.

200 new features? Should I care?

Update 10/16/2011 POST UPGRADE OF IPHONE
Honeymoon is winding down and I am finding the pet peeves and some confirmations of love.

Syncing Joy
I just added a record to my iPhone via Card munch, yet another LinkedIn app made for iPhone but not iPad. The entry was updated in iPhone then immediately synced to iPad vi the iCloud. Awesome. Of course blackberry did that five years ago and Microsoft windows mobile does it as well but …. Better late than never.

Syncing issues
roh!!! iCloud resulting in duplicate everything. I am now paying for the workarounds I had to do while unable to sync to the cloud. iCloud is not smart enough to see that the calendar on my iPhone is exactly the same as the one on my PC and thus exactly the same as the one on myiPad. Thus, most entries appear in my calendar THREE TIMES!

Splitting Keyboard is obnoxious
Annoying and strange. The device is till way too big to hold in your hands like an iPhone so the split keyboard functionality makes no sense to me. I also keep accidentally splitting the keyboard which is VERY ANNOYING!!! I cannot overstate how much I DETEST the slitting keyboard. In the midst of this update, my keyboard has split three times.

Update 10/16/2011
I still like the update a lot and am now ready to take the risk with my iPhone. I am more excited than before about the syncing. It is great to buy an app on either device and it magically appears on the other devices and on my PC. I am becoming less of a fan of the notifications. I think Apple should have made the default NO notifications and allowed you to add as you wish. It starts out REALLY annoying and you have to go app by app to customize and turn things off. And there are so many options, you think you have turned everything off and then up pops another notification.
I also have found several apps have made pretty cool updates for the new iOS, a nice touch. I thought I would like the “When I leave” functionality more but now think it will be a novelty more than anything else and I will use Wunderlist for reminders and tasks. I need to experiment with the Reader a bit more. Still seems cool but I have yet to fully test it out.
Day by day I get more annoyed by Newstand and the fact that it is so hard to get rid of the darn app and icon. I DO NOT WANT YOU Newstand!

Original Post 10/14/2011:
As I tweeted earlier this week, I am testing the new iOS 5. Testing on iPad first. While I can do without my iPad, my iPhone is indispensable so i will try to test it for a few days before upgrading the phone. I will update this blog post as I discover new features I like (or do not like) as well as when I finally test it on my iPhone.

Things that I like thus far:

The CORD DISAPPEARS!
Nothing annoyed me more than having to leave my iPad attached to my PC patiently waiting for the newest iOS upgrade to download and install or to sync my contacts, apps, and music. Sync via WiFi will allow me to get rid of some cords attached to my PC. (yes, I have a Win7 PC…)

Also, I can finally sync my calendars. Up until now, I would have to accept an invitation on one device, sync that to my PC via USB, then sync my other device to the PC. I opted to use gmail calendar but did not want to have to use that generic email address instead of alswharton.com

“When I leave” reminders
AWESOME!!! I typically try to add todo items to my calendar at times I expect to leave the office. I HATE having to put “pick up eggs, go to drycleaner, stop by H&M for boxer briefs” in the calendar my assistant and many team members see! Until now, however, the reminder function was weak in prior versions of the iOS.

Safari Reader along with twitter integration

Safari Reader

Safari Reader

Yes!!! The ability to find, read, and share content both between devices and with connections on Twitter is greatly enhanced by the new Safari Reader (sorry Google) and native Twitter support in the new iOS. I love that they connected Twitter to my contact book and I was able to search my contact book, and add twitter handles and photos automatically.

A helpful guide I found online for using the new Reader is here >> Safari Reader

Notifications in iOS5

Notifications in iOS5

Notifications and Banners
I like the new notifications center. This was a function on my Droid 2 that I actually liked. It was great to be able to see at a glance all that was going on without having to open each application. The iPhone version, better than Android if I recall, allows you to customize which apps are shown, how much, and in what manner. In the prior iOS, it was annoying that some banners would pop up and you had to act on them to close the message. With the new version, you can choose to have a banner appear at the top and simply disappear with no action required. If I leave my iPad laying in the kitchen locked, its nice to have Facebook and Twitter notices show up but it was really unnecessary to have them stay there until EVERYONE that enters my kitchen can read them or I close it. It’s also nice to decide which notifications can be seen when you are away from the iPad and it is locked and which only show up when you are active.

Moderately useful …

Photo Editing
When I take a photo and want to share it on Facebook or Instagram, I often have to paste without cropping, and often the photos have redeye. When I get home, I then edit the photo and reupload it from my PC. The fairly basic editing functionality built in to the new iOS helps reduce the bad photo posts. But, it is VERY BASIC. You can crop, you can remove redeye, and they have an autofix that as far as I can tell makes your photos worse everytime.

Now, what I will likely NOT use…

Messages

imessage_iconThis feature has been touted for so long that I almost forgot it was coming. It was promised to be what ends all text messaging and loses millions in revenue for AT&T and other iPhone partners. Not so sure. With AT&T I pay a flat fee every month for unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling and unlimited texting to anyone on any network. I do not have to know whether my friend has an iPhone, Droid, or Windows phone when I want to send them a text or photo. I just do it. I have zero interest in using this new tool if it only works if the person on the other end has also set up the service on their iphone. I can also do the exact same things with Facebook, whose app already works fairly well with the iPhone and iPad.

Newsstand
Like iBooks, an also ran to Kindle, completely unnecessary with Kindle or even Safari access and individual apps for the newspapers I want to read. I am annoyed they make it so hard to delete the icon or put it into groups with other icons.newsstand_icon

Siri
Sounds ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC but is only available with 4s phone. I will not be buying the new iPhone until my iPhone 4 is end of contract with AT&T so will miss this smart voice recognition feature. Interesting that in this case, Apple is stealing thunder from Microsoft’s mango software on the Windows Mobile device.

Find My Friends
If I want you to know where I am, I will let you know. This new feature creeps me out and I imagine it will be featured on episodes of “Cheaters” or “Spies like us” as people take advantage of people who neglect to appropriately filter this feature. Not everyone in my Contact book is a “friend”.

Must wait for iPhone to test…

Custom vibrations and ringtones
One of the few things I miss about my BlackBerry is the ability to create VIP contacts thT ring differently AND can have different vibrations (for example:1 vibration for annoying people, 2 for my team, 3 for my boss and family). The LED blinker and this custom vibration will be great for me and other former BB users. The ability to customize text message ringtones ROCKS so I’m excited.

Still missing …

Photo Sorting and Folders
I hate that I still cannot move photos to different folders on the device, and that the only photos I can delete are those that are in the camera roll. I have created folders of favorite photos on my PC. They are synced to the device. When I take a photo on my iPhone or iPad, I would like to be able to move them to these special folders. Instead, I have to RETURN TO THE CORD. I have to connect to my PC, copy the photos from the device, then paste them into the folders for another sync. Annoying.

More to come….

Best,

Adam

Adam L. Stanley
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Yelp and Zagat losing influence?

Fellow Foodies – Yelp and Zagat are both social media outlets but neither are considered for social media influence tracking by klout, Empire Avenue, PeerNet, etc. Is this because we Yelpers are fine within our special community and don’t need to be bothered with those other tools? Or are outlets such as Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+ reducing the value and prominence of Yelp and Zagat.

As an example, I posted a negative review of a restaurant on Yelp and got a response about a week later from the restaurant. I tweeted a negative comment about a bar this weekend and got a response within 24 hours.

What say ye? Would love to hear your thoughts here or follow me on twitter and post your response there.