Mark Slater’s Weblog

Musings about work, life, and all things in between

At the intersection of location, time and purchase

We’ve seen two distinct trends emerge over the last 2 years or so. your phone knows where you are (location) and depending upon the action you take (checking in etc) can timestamp this position. But this is truly where these services stop. The gulf between the location/timestamp combination and the purchase goal is vast. Its vast because these services have misunderstood that both location and time are a ‘means’ to an end, and not the end.

take Foursquare. They overlay a location instance with a rather neat timestamping tool called checking in. the reason i refer to this as a timestamp rather than some other description is that it is the the combination of time and location, that aims to drive the world of opportunity associated with the service. Some might argue that their is value in this social graph – the accumulation of time/location check ins has some derived cumulative value in the form of a virtual currency ( in their instance a badge) but i place this firmly in the fad bucket and this is why.

the “end” as opposed to the “means” to all of this in my view is a purchase of something. i want to be able to say i am hear at this location at this time and i am looking for XXXXX. Not, i am here at this location at this time and i am interested in where you are, what this place is like, and how big my crown is. Because i have already discovered my city, and i really don’t care for a badge. you see if i want to know about a place – i tap in to the curated web. there are milliions of ways for me to do this today. If i want to know where my friends are i can call them, and do i really need to go somewhere because it looks really popular or crowded? these are all nice pieces of information – but they are really a means to something as my primary concern is that i have decided to do something or buy something and i want to engage with the appropriate selling universe in real-time so that i can make my decision.

i am looking to eat italian tonight with 3 friends
i need a baby sitter
i want to go clubbing, or golfing or on and on and on with examples

and i want an audience of merchants to respond to me in 140 characters and tell me why i should buy from them, and why i should tell my friends that i bought from them.

i dont want curated discovery and review – or even curated recommendation – i want to find out whats in it for me to do what i want to do – and i want a real merchant to tell me so.

i want responses from real people, who want my business – not from a proxy of stored coupons. I want to control my universe of merchants so that i can build relationships – i only want to consider others if a friend reccomends and so on….

See this is the “end” and not the “means”. and i know that merchants will pay for my custom. they’ll pay all day. they can get new business using 140 characters and they can get new customers within minutes – and only pay when they do.

UPDATE: it turns out that some others are thinking of this and are coining the phrase THE INTEREST GRAPH

Getabl has the opportunity to be the onramp to this graph. =- very exciting.

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Filed under: Geolocation and RFID, going out in boston, social media, Uncategorized

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