Monday, October 25, 2010

Email Facepalm

You would think that in today's age of computers in the workplace, the most basic form of work place communication -- that being E-mail -- would be the most effective form communication with colleagues. After all, this is an age of omnipresent technology, where you can access your work email from your notebook, pc, work mobile phone/blackberry/iphone, VPN from home ... and you can do so when you become available. That is, you can't "miss" it, because you're not in a meeting -- it's just there once that meeting is done.

However, on my current contract, it seems I am sending email to the Gliesa 581 system, as I never get an immediate reply and I almost always have to do a "manual" walk over to the persons at hand to get the information I need. In addition, I've started to email with just itemized points (no long winded sentences like my blog, clusters of chaff .. just to the point). A majority of the time these emails only require a "yes" or "no" answer. I still don't get it.

I have tried the "I will assume this is true if you don't reply" type emails, but they don't work either. I've been in meetings and burned some people, and that's not my intention as a contractor. (VP asks XYZ, I say ABC, Engineer says it's not that way, I retort I emailed them and they agreed because they didn't reply, Engineer gets roasted by VP for not replying) Of course, sometimes, I have to open a can of whoop a$$ (keeping in mind, I'm usually brought in when the locals aren't doing their job, dragging their feet, or unable to complete the tasks at hand). Oorah!!! :P

Anyway, it seems I have to continue sending emails and doing a manual follow-up -- wasting time as I walk around the building looking for people. It seems email is a big waste of time, but needed -- but the real question is, is there anything else on the horizon that will replace it? IM can work, but people never answer those either. Ideas? How about a cruel "Star Rating" system for your colleagues at work? (Don't email David, he has a 3 star rating for replies, so you know you'll have to go find the guy) That would be awesome. ;-)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Foursquare, Gowalla, and social network business models ...

As you may or may not know, I am a "part-time" user of both Foursquare and Gowalla. I say "part-time" because I normally forget to open the applications up when I go somewhere (unless I am out eating lunch by myself, or waiting for somebody and I find myself bored so I fiddle with my phone). With SMSs pretty cheap here in the Czech Republic (1 kč per SMS ... or, about .05 US cents), it's just much faster to SMS people if I want them to join me. Basically, what I really lack is incentive to use such apps on a normal basis.

Of course, in places like New York, where Foursquare was born and rules the city, you're much more likely to find "deals" ... ie ... electronic notices/coupons related to the places you visit. A somewhat crude form of location based advertising ... not quite as fancy as our Jellingspot data server we used to sell back in the early 2000s (bluetooth location based services platform), which we shelved a few years ago (no "easy to use" app stores existed then). But, it works.

Even this, however, isn't the greatest incentive. If they really want to grow -- they need to learn about viral marketing and/or viral sales teams. Imagine if I set up locations in Gowalla, and then made .1 cent for every check-in? Ok, maybe a bit far fetched, but maybe I could make a deal with my favorite locations -- for every check-in you bring them, you get .1 cent?

There are a ton of mini-viral marketing/sales activites they could do to stimulate exponential growth of their app use. A kind of virtual francising. This would be incentive for me to use and spread the usage of these applications. Heck, even a simple monthly lottery for people who check in would be a nice incentive. Everytime you check-in (at certain locations for example), your name goes into a virtual hat ... end of the month, there will be a drawing where you can win, ABC, XYZ, etc. Think about it. Thousands of users would then be pushing your product. You don't have to cough up a bunch of cash (although somekinda Google Ads like business model could be cooked up ...). Food for thought ...

Illustration from: