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.

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

the discussion around “in-stream” advertizing and promoted tweets

I am not a huge fan of twitter. Its just not my thing. I have never really derived any value from it personally. Of course there are hundreds of millions who will counter – and thats fine. i just don’t derive the same value that’s all.

It does get a little more interesting to me though when the discussion focuses in on some of the commercial permutations of this “stream”. Companies like ad.ly aim to capitalize on the stream by a sponsored recommendation service. Something like – we will pay you to tell your friend that you liked our shoes. ad.ly

that’s shaky ground.

Firstly – the fact that the message comes from a trusted source (example my wife) has no correlation to its authenticity and its shocking to me that this has been missed. If anything there is negative correlation. it is designed purely to attempt to insert a push based advertising model in to a new form of communication. Not only am i NOT happy that a friend leveraged our connection to let the wolves in, but i am incensed that push is looking to establish a foothold in a new web layer.

The fact of the matter is that in my world, Push is dead. i simply dont want to receive anything i did not ask for or have not been recommended, free and clear of commercial distortions.

This is what i do want:

i want to express an interest, and receive commercial propositions that best match that (by location, friends etc etc). The beautiful thing about the web today is that it is truly a synchronous medium.

People can ask and express now, they are not just receiving and responding.

This is a very important but subtle transfer of power : I initiate (and not just a check in either – thats just silly) and the web reacts.

At the end of the day the only game i want to play is one that saves me money, gets me things and makes me feel a bit warm and fuzzy in the process. and I don’t mind some of my close friends seeing this but not the entire schoolyard. I want a direct relationship with the merchants i choose to commerce with. these will likely be small ones, local ones, single owner type shops – i want to avoid mcfashion, and big box if i can.

…and i want all this in my pocket.

I want Merchants responding to my indications of interest, in real-time, from their devices. its a new way of conducting commerce for both me and them – its one that fits with all my needs and more importantly excludes those distortions that seek to drag us back to old school brand equity tactics and horrible unwanted bombardment of irrelevant messages. Most important though – its a method that gives the small guy an opportunity to acquire new business in a free and frictionless way. It allows him to react to dramatic swings in business on the fly, and to build small, tight but meaningful relationships with his custom.

we’ve called it GETSMS and its about to launch
GETSMS

Filed under: Geolocation and RFID, social media

Google Buzz is amazing

just tried it on my iphone – this tool is absolutely amazing – if you are a gmail user its a must.

Filed under: Geolocation and RFID, social media

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