- Google Trends is a handy, visual tool for comparing topics by their relative search volume — see graph of search trends for Hong Kong and Singapore above. This latest release uses its vast historical data to offer dotted-line predictions of future search interest. Another useful feature: the algorithms now aggregate different searches likely to be related.
- Foursquare has released a new version of its check-in service, with a sleek new design and location-aware push recommendations. Just arrive at the Beat Hotel in Cambridge? Now Foursquare may suggest the tuna spring rolls based on your friends’ behavior. Since its 2009 launch, Foursquare has amassed a significant location data layer, and this release may be one way — apart from its rich API — to take advantage of it.
- Monday Note pulls together a number of recent charts to recommend mobile trends to keep in mind if you produce digital news. Thoughtful validation of the power investment in content strategy, with “newsletters designed for mobile that are carefully — and wittily — edited by humans.” Mobile news consumers on smartphones need more than automated headlines and snippets to keep their attention.
- In case you missed it, here’s a great post on Boston tech company / innovation economy performance. Fun fact: 51% of Boston’s “massive winner” companies had an immigrant founder.
- Did Apple’s U.S. mobile hardware marketshare peak at 40%? Latest Comscore data spots a flattening trend, compared to a gradual rise of Samsung devices now at 25%. Google’s Android still dominates with 52% of the U.S. mobile software platform market.
Weekend fun: Sherlock fans and other Cumberbatch disciples, you are in for a real treat: Here’s a video of Benedict Cumberbatch reading R. Kelly’s Genius lyrics.
As an Arsenal fan (the London team that’s currently first in the Premier League, a fact I try to work speciously into every conversation), I spend far more time than I should reading about soccer/football online. Like many sports, football is a goldmine of data from goals to assists to caps. In addition, football (unlike American football) is a game played globally, so there’s rich data about the rapid rise of player transfers internationally. And as the game became commercialized — it’s now the Barclays Premier League — the money moving around gets exponentially larger. All this data has been captured in a compelling and slightly addictive interactive visualization by Mac Bryla.
Back in 1965, when Bobby Moore was leading West Ham to FA Cup Victory, only one player transferred from England for a total of .02M €. By 1986, when Gary Lineker is playing for Everton, you can see how far the England players are traveling:
Fast forward to 1990 when David Beckham is at his peak, and you can see 115 English players fanning out across the globe, and the rise of money changing hands reaches 61.4M €.
By 2012-13, it’s up to 221 players and 151.3M €. So if you scroll through the visualization you can see very little until the 1970s, and then tremendous growth in moves and dollars that could be compared in interesting ways to the rise of television, the World Cup winners, the popularity of soccer in the U.S., or even the growth of the internet.
What makes this data visualization work so well? First, while it’s not a breathtaking design, it’s clean and functional. The experience is also intuitive — the user can easily see the variables (explore by year; to and from country) that can be manipulated. Finally, the designer has done for us the most difficult job of all: winnowing out all the other facts (country of birth, team transfers, tenure abroad) that might be interesting data but would muddy this interface.
It’s a sure thing — as soon as the temperature on the East Coast falls, Christmas carols fill the air and people begin to make predictions about retail performance over the holiday season.
The term “Black Friday” originated around the early 1960s, and referred to the day after Thanksgiving when a large volume of retail shoppers made businesses’ ledgers “in the black”. E-commerce became a popular, annual media topic in the late 1990s, back when it was a small but avidly measured piece of the overall retail puzzle. By 2005, a retail marketing association had dubbed the Monday after Thanksgiving Cyber Monday, a day online shoppers chased deals through an increasingly mainstream medium.
Predictably, in a year where we’ve reached 56% smartphone penetration among U.S. adults, this holiday season a number of well-timed reports have emerged about mobile commerce. The reports highlight facts like 55% of all time spent with online retail in June 2013 occurred on mobile and mobile will account for nearly 13% of all U.S. e-commerce sales. Google has even released a calculator for retailers to assess how mobile can drive in-store sales.
The best of these reports acknowledge that we’re not talking about different consumers in each of these channels. So, let’s ditch the term “m-commerce” and avoid creating another discrete silo. Just as online banking is now just banking, mobile commerce is another touchpoint along the continuum of commerce. Let’s measure and optimize the channel, but focus on integration of in-store and seamless, multiscreen approach to recognize and serve consumers best.
- Spotify closes another $250M in funding at a >$4B valuation. The streaming music service enabling instant listening now has more than 6 million paid and 24 million active free users.
- Is it inciting generational warfare to imply that the youngs shape the direction of technology differently and more significantly than the olds? Mathew Ingram makes the case.
- Last year I read Thinking Fast and Slow, a thought-provoking book about the different systems of thinking and their applicability to life and work. Recently Sonya Song wrote in Nieman Lab about how these two modes of thinking, fast and slow, attract two different types of attention. Interesting implications for individuals and organizations sharing content to social.
- Most people frustrated by carrying a phone and a wallet everywhere they go were pleased by the widely-publicized launch of Coin. The digital all-in-one credit card last week met a $50K crowdfunding goal in 40 minutes. This week, Coin is answering criticisms about security and design flaws.
- Wondering how to plan for and execute a redesign of a highly-trafficked digital property? You could do worse than read Brad Frost’s write-up of how he and his colleagues achieved the Techcrunch redesign. The part about development being part of the design process is key — the days of designers throwing PhotoShop files over the transom to front-end developers are long gone.
Weekend fun: I’m sure you’ve seen Jean-Claude Van Damme in his brilliant self-parody for Volvo already. Instead, in honor of Harvard-Yale weekend, how about some Harvard students giving fake tours of Yale (“if I hit the floor, you do the same”)?
I’ve long been a believer in the rocks, gravel, sand analogy popularized by Steven Covey when it comes to task management. You have to make sure you get the big rocks in — that presentation due Wednesday, that project plan review for Friday — before you are pecked to death by ducks, a.k.a. email. It’s easy for small tasks to prevent focus, so be aggressive about putting holds in your calendar for the big ones.
Reading The Mistake Busy People Make a few months back was a similar turning point for me. The article urges a shift in focus: manage your bandwidth, not your time. And it caused me to reflect — calendar apps I’ve seen allow us to book only the hours something take to complete, but not assign a level of cognitive effort. That additional lens would make a lot of sense: a meeting on concept design for a new product eats up significantly more mental bandwidth than a standing budget meeting. There are ways to color code, but it would be amazing to have a heuristic feature that could learn and assign bandwidth consumed during different kinds of work activities. As a result, you could manage your calendar more effectively.
Where does time spent filtering, listening, and publishing social media fit into all this? The concern I hear from most executives contemplating personal social media stems from legitimate fears about where social media activity can fit into an already overcommitted calendar. I’ve written before about my own time management hacks for social. This article about bandwidth has prompted a few new thoughts:
- Social can fuel some of your low-bandwidth research consumption. Remember the trades? With smart filtering in place, you can use social to get a terrifically well-informed stream of ideas about your industry. This is a great activity to sandwich in between high-bandwidth events.
- Social has both high- and low- bandwidth activities. Interaction is high bandwidth, but bursty — no one ever gets angry (except this guy) if you drop the thread in a Twitter conversation. Re-sharing is low bandwidth — it’s finding two-three interesting pieces (I do this after dinner) and teeing them up for the next day.
- Social provides opportunities for listening, engagement, and content syndication. In any kind of senior role, you’re creating good content. That content may be mired in a PowerPoint or an email chain, but social provides a way to share those ideas (low-bandwidth), and benefit from feedback of a broader forum (high-bandwidth).
No one can help you with the only-24-hours-in-a-day problem. Factoring for bandwidth as well as time can help you prioritize and balance your efforts — and enable you to add meaningful social media to the mix.
Photo credit: fragment.fi
- So, lots of talk this week about Snapchat turning down a 3B acquisition offer from Facebook. Was this a shrewd move, or an example of millennial entitlement run amok? Facebook’s 2012 purchase of Instagram for 1B is starting to look like it was a pretty good deal for a company concerned about its waning teen audience. And Google snapping up YouTube for 1.65B in stock back in 2006 now seems like a steal.
- Where are those teens who are eluding Facebook? A lot of them are immersed in messaging apps like What’s App or Kik. The line between messaging and more traditional social is starting to blur as messaging apps add features like gaming and music. Also unclear: Will these services grow on their own, or be snapped up by the tech giants?
- Wondering how much effort to put into optimizing your news site for social? 30% of U.S. adults get news on Facebook. And people who get news through social networking sites are more likely to get their news on mobile, underscoring the mobile mandate for publishers.
- Dropbox announces 200M users and a total revamp of its platform for the relaunch of Dropbox for Business. Which they should totally just call “Dropbox for Business that You Can Admit to Using” because it’s already pervasive in the enterprise in a clunkier and less secure version.
- How much does employee co-location matter when you’re building a company? According to Automattic’s recent 1B valuation, not a whole heck of a lot. The money quote from Matt Mullenweg: “if you give people autonomy to execute on something meaningful, and bias the environment to moving quickly, amazing things can happen.”
Weekend fun: Want to see something cool, even if it makes you (OK, me) regret your own slacker parenting? Check out Dinovember.
What do you get when you bring together 400 folks interested in digital strategy for content and community in higher education — and add cake? ConfabEDU offered a heady mix of ideas and energy for innovative content approaches in the digital/social/mobile world.
Superb keynotes from Kristina Halvorson, Dan Roam, and Karen McGrane were interspersed with terrific sessions from thoughtful practitioners. My own keynote focused on the blurred lines and messiness inherent to content creation in this new environment — slides below: