Category Archives: mobility_

we are hard-wired for ‘same day’

Much of the heat around the Walmart and ‘eBay Now‘ plans to test same-day shipping has been generated through the positioning of these efforts as a ‘retail/e-tail battle royale’ with pretty much everyone against Amazon.

Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic writes: “Walmart will send Internet-purchased items to you the very same day as online check-out, in 5 select cities…Amazon already offers that same quick delivery time in 10 cities…Walmart [has] 4,000 stores primed for this delivery option…Amazon…40 warehouse distribution centers. That means Walmart could offer same-day delivery to a lot more people in far more obscure places.”

Game on!

There are operational and logistical hurdles to overcome (and Amazon’s done this “e-mmediate” thing before – remember Kosmo?), but with the global near-ubiquity of mobile, marketers should pay close attention: when you can impulse-buy anywhere there’s a data up/down, every brand impression is a potential point-of-sale.

Imagine: on your lunch break, you see a Coca-Cola awning – a minute with your mobile, and Amazon ‘Same-day’ has a case waiting on your doorstep when you get back from work. All the light touches that add up to our personal brand experiences – vending machines, retail signage, delivery trucks, packaging, social media, and yes, advertising – are purchase-enabled product shelving in the infinite aisle of Amazon.

(And people LIKE instant gratification – the more instant the better. We are hard-wired for same-day. That’s why 3-d printing is the next industrial revolution and all this will change again.)

Granular sales attribution to individual brand expressions may be hellish, but if Amazon, eBay and Walmart (and their partners) enable infinite-shelf impulse-buy, could this be a way for CMO’s to use their brand footprints in entirely new ways to drive revenue? Could an unintended consequence of “Same Day” be a reconsideration of the right column for ‘Marketing’ on the P&L (revenue, instead of expense?), and with it, a reconsideration of the value of brand communications in the overall revenue mix?

I think it’s cool to get stuff the same day. Or even better: yesterday.

what do you think?



Portland Incubator Experiment, Reloaded: PIE 2.0

You may have seen some news about PIE today, or came across it on Twitter.  The application form went live yesterday.  What is PIE?  Well, let’s start with “delicious”:

“PIE is technology accelerator/incubator seeking 8-10 brand-collaborative startups who’ve identified an emergent opportunity in brand-aligned and business-aligned hardware, software, services or experiences – and we’re particularly interested in mobility.  Applicants need an existing prototype or proof of concept, and a scalable, viable idea deployable in 3-9 months.  Most importantly, they need a collaborative spirit and want to work with some of the world’s greatest brands – including Coca-Cola, Target and Nike!”

I believe you don’t really talk about something until you’ve got something real to talk about.  Crazy, I know, given the business I’m in, but hopefully fair when you consider that Dan Wieden (the guy who let us set up PIE in his building) speaks pretty convincingly about brand voice and brand truths.   We wanted to make sure we had a few before we ran off at the mouth.


"Know your voice or STFU"

This is why my first blog post about the PIE experience comes a full year after it began, when a motley band of W+K’ers, technologists, entrepreneurs and ne’er-do-wells set up camp in the old PICA/Icebreaker space at the corner of NW 12th and Davis in Portland, Oregon.

PIE was initially conceived as a social and entrepreneurial experiment by four folks – myself, Silicon Florist blogger Rick Turoczy, serial entrepreneur/mobile force of nature Scott Kveton, and the man who has turned the notion of ‘side projects’ into an art form, Jason Glaspey.  But it wouldn’t have been what it became if the idea hadn’t caught the imagination of a wider group of interesting people – what we called PIE’s “crust” and “filling”.   [insert your own bad joke here – lord knows we have]

Mobile PDX meetup at PIE

All of us (from the fruity middle to the flaky edges…I know, I know) wondered: what would happen if you put a bunch of entrepreneurial technology optimists into an open space? Would you get a brilliant hive mind?  SkyNet?  Given the ready availability of solid off-the-shelf and web-based software packages, how quickly could you build entire businesses (Bac’n took 21 days) ? What happens when you bring iterative speed development by folks who don’t eat if their idea fails, inside Wieden’s walls?  Would the proximities and adjacencies in PIE make ideas better than they might have been otherwise?  would unexpected things happen?   would it be fun?

Short answer?  Yes.  And the keg helped.

Taking the name “Portland Incubator Experiment”, or “PIE”, we set out with some pretty vague but audacious goals – build a techno-cultural social hub for Portland, launch new businesses fast, build platforms/cultural disruptions not one-offs.  We didn’t know what to expect, but we did know that there was a lot that PDX tech culture and W+K culture could learn from each other.

In our first year, PIE was home to 20 startups, and amongst other things, generated 3 venture-backed companies, hosted a wide range of interesting events and kicked out a book on fast innovation, fast-ly.

So with that under our belts, and some innovation where our mouth is, we are taking off our stealth paint.

PIE 2.0: fresher and more delicious.

Dan Wieden judges the entries in Wieden + Kennedy's tenth annual PIE contest
Dan knows PIE

This time around, Wieden+Kennedy and a hardy band of technology innovators and entrepreneurs are joined by tech-forward brand partners Coca-Cola, Target, and Nike.  We’ll work together to explore and redefine brand experiences.  PIE will continue to serve as an active hub for the PDX tech community, entrepreneurship, and creative thinking, but now we’ll collaborate to help brands find unexpected solutions, accelerate mobile efforts, share brand wisdom and insights with young startups and expose brand organization to the wacky world of real-time, startup-flavored innovation.  Each brand has volunteered amazing mentors for the program; they and the extended PIE mentor network of tech entrepreneurs, geo-location wizards, mobile gaming experts, open source advocates and techno-cultural disruptors will look to make communications objects/products more compelling and our lives a little more interesting.

The application for PIE is here. Got a business idea, a dream and a prototype?  Want to work with some of the world’s most amazing brands and the insight and scale they can provide?  Applications close August 1st.  September 1st, the new class takes their seats.

We are pretty excited.

W+K+Schmidt+Birkett+N900+OneDotZero = fun

As part of our effort on behalf of the Nokia N900, W+K London partnered with computational designer  Karsten  Schmidt and software architect Gary Birkett in conjunction with OneDotZero to demonstrate what happens when

per Birkett:

“we are using a 3 inch display to try to control a 70 foot
display”. Based on the N900’s accelerometer, the software uses an
interface that takes movement data from the handset and sends it to the
projection app, created by Schmidt.”

Mobile Weapon?

Connectivity: harbinger of a Tech-enabled Utopia?  Pain in the ass?

A connected world, the thinking goes, is an empowered, informed and an enlightened one. 

Of course, we've had a few World Wars since the telegraph and telephones were invented, so jury's out.

But fine, if connectivity is good, well then, mobile connectivity, is, well…it's like Utopia plus. 

Because while connectivity gives us show times on Fandango, mobile connectivity will both save the world and level it.

"The World is Flat"-ter Thomas Friedman's OpEd piece "The Land of No Service"
in the 16 August 09 NYT describes a trip to the Okavango Delta in Africa, where there is little wireless
connectivity.  He writes: 

"like it or not, coming here forces you to think about the blessings
and curses of “connectivity.” “No Service” is something travelers from
the developed world now pay for in order to escape modernity, with its
ball and chain of e-mail. For much of Africa, though, “No Service” is a
curse — because without more connectivity, its people can’t escape

And he may be right.

Because if you want to get out of poverty, you need to be able to save money.  And on a continent (!) where less than 20% of the aggregate population even has access to a bank account, that's a challenge.

According to the World Bank, 90% of Kenyans, 85% of Liberians and 95% of Tanzanians operate without access to banking services.  Enter services like M-PESA and Wizzit, providing the ability to "bank" and micro-transact remotely.

Each market is unique – M-PESA started in Kenya, Wizzit is operating in South Africa – and M-PESA Kenya has seen substantially higher adoption than Tanzania's M-PESA (read here for a CGAP paper on just this topic). 

But despite scale, replicability and market variations including "country demographics and cultures, market structures, business models,
and strategic implementations", these experiments are being carefully monitored.  Mary Kimani, in "A Bank in Every African Pocket" writes about Wizzit’s South African mobile banking pilot operation, and quotes Mohsen Khalil, the World Bank’s director of global ICT:

"If this model works in South
Africa…the World Bank will help the company expand coverage
within and beyond the country. We may be looking here at . . . the
most effective way to provide social and economic services to the

Hopalong Selebalo – an intern for ISS in the Organized Crime and Money Laundering Programme – quotes Brian Richardson,  Wizzit's CEO and MD, on the advantages of mobile banking in an ISS paper entitled 7 May 2009: Mobile Phone Banking in the South African Economy.  The key positives:

  • the safety of not having to carry cash around
  • the absence of risk of account closure for inactivity, which enables
    people that do not have a regular income to do banking
  • lower costs, partly because there are no transaction-by-transaction fees
  • saving of time by avoiding long distance travel for banking
  • flexibility,
    in that users can change markets by making small business-to-business
    transactions immediately and reliably, and
  • facilitating popular participation in the economy, which ultimately is positive for the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Selebalo, despite the risk of abuse and money laundering via mobile, posits that "mobile banking could increase national rates of saving, increase
incomes and boost the resilience of the economy. At a broader level, it
could improve taxation, and encourage reinvestment of money that is
currently not in effective circulation."

OK.  OK.

But can it help us win the "information war" going on in Afghanistan right now?

Maybe. Thom Shanker, in his 08.16.09 NYT piece "U.S. Plans a Mission against Taliban Propaganda", begins with a note that the Obama adminsitration acknowledges that they are "engaging more fully than ever in a war of words and ideas" in rural Afghanistan. 

And the proposed solution involves both (a) FM stations to combat pirate stations the Taliban has been operating – in some cases off the back of roving donkey carts – and importantly, (b) providing cellphone

How can cell coverage turn the tide?

“The ability to communicate empowers a
population,”  said Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, NATO’s
director of communication in Kabul. “That is a very important principle of
counterinsurgency and counterpropaganda.”

Giving folks cellphone coverage gives them access to independent (read: non-Taliban) information sources.

"In southern Afghanistan, insurgents threaten commercial cellphone providers with attack if they do not switch off service early each night.

prevents villagers from calling security forces if they see militants
on the move or planting roadside bombs; the lack of cellphone service
at night also hobbles the police and nongovernmental development

And the kicker?  Despite the fact that mobile-enabled transaction will inevitably help finance terrorism (and probably already have), according to Shanker:

"Expanding and securing cellphone service
has the additional benefit of assisting economic development, officials
said, as it could provide wireless access to banking systems for those
who now must travel long distances for financial services."

But back to Utopia.  Or at least Wikipedia's definition of Utopia:

"a compound of the
syllable ou-, meaning "no", and topos, meaning place. But the
homonymous prefix eu-, meaning "good," also resonates in the word, with
implication that the perfectly "good place" is really "no place." 

Hmmm.  Given how effectively mobility has enabled us to "be" anyplace and
noplace, connected to the big world and disconnected from the immediate, maybe
Utopia IS the right analogy.

Weapon and Savior?

A "good place" that's "no place"? 

Mobility is transforming both society and culture.

And…oh wait – hold on.  I need to talk this call.

Mobile drama

[via mobile marketing magazine]

"20:20 London, Incentivated and the COI
(Central Office of Information) have collaborated to launch ‘THMBNLS’,
an interactive, ad-funded mobile soap opera for the Department of
Children, Schools and Families. THMBNLS follows the lives of six
teenagers and raises awareness of sexual wellbeing. The 22 weekly
episodes will be available exclusively via the mobile Internet, and
will be free to download. 

Viewers register online via their
mobile browser at: Traffic is being driven to the site
via mobile banner ads placed across the six operator portals; 3, O2,
Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Vodafone. The first of the weekly
30-second episodes was  released at 7pm on Friday 9 January, with
viewers reminded to watch the next episode by text message or vCalendar
entries they have previously downloaded to their phone thereafter. The
‘vCalendar’ can be downloaded to activate the handset’s alarm function,
thereby avoiding the cost of additional SMS reminders."

I like the interface they've built to replicate the mobile experience online.

Hardware = Hygiene, Software = Love?

Interesting pop from the gang @ Pacific Crest Securities who give Apple an "outperform" nod for '09 handset sales with this quote:  "Apple
will benefit as the main differentiation between high-end phones moves
from hardware to software, which is one of Apple’s core competencies."

I'm expecting the ongoing and accelerating
proliferation of Apple/Symbian/Android Applications – still a toss-up as to whether to refer to it as an "App-alanche" or
"App-ocalypse" – to level the playfields and annoint new leadership in the battle for hearts and minds…

Nokia: World’s Largest Computer Manufacturer

According to Softpedia today,

"as soon as smartphones have been included in the total number of computers sold in 2008, Nokia has received the title of the world's largest computer maker in the world…at 13.8% of the market, [including smartphones but NOT mobile phones or internet tablets]…the world's largest computer makers list starts with Nokia, followed by HP, Dell, Apple, Acer, Lenovo, RIM, and Toshiba. The count is stated to have included all PC sales, stand-alone the PDA and smartphone ones over four quarters, starting from October 2007 to September 2008."

Add that to MP3 players and digital cameras.  Intense.