Archive for August, 2011
Are algorithms editing our life and our choices? Kevin Slavin thinks so and presents a worrying picture in How algorithms shape our world (above).
You will be aware that there is no standard Google. Even if not logged in, Google takes into account 57 individual data points about YOU before serving you the results you searched for.
Algorithms are used to predict preferences or taste based on behaviour and recommend options. Do we risk saying goodbye to serendipity and innovation?
It is worrying though that a recent study at Columbia University found that a reliance on search engines for answers is actually changing the way humans think.
“Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganising the way we remember things. Our brains rely on the internet for memory in much the same way they rely on the memory of a friend, family member or co-worker,” said report author Betsy Sparrow.
Also exploring this subject, Eli Pariser warns us to Beware online “filter bubbles”.
The same stuff again and again is not satisfying, Pariser suggests we get trapped in a “Filter Bubble”. He warns that personalised search might be narrowing our worldview. A Filter Bubble is your own personal universe online, but the risk is that you don’t decide what is in it and you don’t see what is excluded or edited out
We rely less and less on our own critical faculties and word of mouth and more on what Mr Slavin calls the “physics of culture”. Pariser uses the analogy that algorithms are delivering the lowest common denominator – junk food, rather than a balanced diet. Search results and recommendations should not just keyed to relevance, but should expand a person’s horizon. He suggests five equally important weighting criteria:
- other points of view
Hmmmmmm, sounds like a good premise for audience development in the arts to me.
Slavin moots a concept “the physics of culture” and discussed the recommendations of Netflix which account for 60% of films rented. Netflix has used a variety of agorithms to recommend films, Cinematch, Gravity and now the ominous sounding Pragmatic Chaos.
Just as we need a balanced diet of food, we similarly benefit and grow from a healthy balanced diet of politics and culture. We need in effect a benevolent editor and Pariser suggests journalistic ethics encouraged this in the newspaper industry a century ago. Although it sounds like those ethics need to be revisited now Mr Murdoch.
An amusing scene of exactly that challenge posted by a colleague from Madrid, Álvaro Sarmiento, on the blog AFORO COMPLETO
“It’s not me it’s you” Del marketing relacional al CRM
It is in English with Spanish subtitles.
Beth Kanter an influential writer on technology and not for profits, discusses how organisations can evolve to a data driven culture. A data-driven organisation makes use of the wealth of data at its fingertips and as a result is characterised by objective decisions based on constant monitoring and measurement. No surprises, key to the process of successful evolution is leadership.
Beth suggests four evolutionary stages of a Data-Driven Culture:
- Testing and Coordinating
- Scaling and Institutionalizing
A case study of DoSomething.Org provides and example of a not for profit exhibiting the characteristics and work habits of a data-driven organization and moving into the “Empowering Stage”.
To finish there are four tips for an organisation to make the switch to a data-driven culture:
- Start at the top
- Make the case to improve your measurement practice
- Think big, but take baby steps
- Share stories
“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians,” – Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google
A nice reminder as to what loyalty is and what really encourages it, from Kathy Sierra on Hugh MacLeod’s GapingVoid.
Some other thoughts on the subject of loyalty:
“Repeat business or behavior can be bribed. Loyalty has to be earned.” – Janet Robinson
“You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
And on the other hand, from the man who brought you the Net Promoter Score:
“Loyalty is dead, the experts proclaim, and the statistics seem to bear them out. On average, U.S. corporations now lose half their customers in five years, half their employees in four, and half their investors in less than one. We seem to face a future in which the only business relationships will be opportunistic transactions between virtual strangers.” – Frederick F. Reichheld The Loyalty Effect
In this small survey of expert opinion 2011 Trends Report: Customer
Relationship Management (CRM), FOCUS suggests seven major trends:
- Integration of CRM with all communications channels
- Social CRM adoption
- Increased use of analytics
- Integration with mobile devices
- Increased awareness over privacy of CRM data
- Migration of CRM products to the cloud
- Increased emphasis on customer lifecycle management
You will need to go through a quick registration process on the FOCUS site to access the paper.
It appears that Apple is still vacillating on whether iPhone 5 will handle NFC. Although some blaggards have already hacked iPhone 4 to enable NFC, bless ‘em.
But fear not – VISA has entered the frey. Although the initiative is not entirely altruistic and carries some bad news for merchants with respect to bearing the cost of fraud (rather than the card company).
Nonetheless, this will definitely facilitate the move online with transactions keeping pace seamlessly.
If Apple don’t deliver with the iPhone – we can be sure that other alternatives will. Stay tuned!
An entry in the 2011 Australian Mobile Awards in the Online Shoping & Payments category – Ticketing on your mobile with Moshtix.
There are a variety of notable elements in this implementation:
- Mobile optimised site – not an app.
- Ticket delivery via a mobile barcode allowing scanning direct on the phone – no paper ticket or physical fulfillment
- PayPal integration
- After purchase ticket buyers receive an SMS linking to their mobile barcode ticket
- Integration with Google Maps
- Social sharing of events through Facebook and Twitter
- Forwarding of tickets to friends from the same mobile