Category Archives: Business

A Knotch in the Belt

These folks have figured out how to sell your opinions kindergarten style with no ads. And they can still sell your info. Genius.

“We really see Knotch as a mobile remote control for how the Internet caters to you,” says Gansca. “It’s a bit far-fetched right now, but imagine if you are Knotching about Nike. If you say you don’t like Nike and give it a half-blue color, then Nike could tune in and know not to target you with ads.”

With $1.5M In Funding, Knotch Lets Opinionated People Show Their True Colors | TechCrunch.

Apple the World’s Most Valuable Brand

According to Interbrand Apple is the top dog brand for it’s innovation.  Makes sense to me since innovation at Apple is decidedly within its core of design leadership.

Apple Inc.’s brand value jumped 28 percent to $98.3 billion and Google Inc. GOOG’s rose in second place at $93.3 billion. The Coca-Cola Co. name slipped from the top spot after 13 years to third place at $79.2 billion.

via Apple Overtakes Coca-Cola as World’s Most Valuable Brand – Bloomberg.

I’ve had the opportunity to get inside knowledge of big brand companies such as AmEx. To say brand drives conservative marketing strategy more than any other factor is an understatement. Brands are costly to build and can lose value overnight. This will breed conservatism in management. Consider Apple whose brand is worth almost $100B. That’s a lot of clams to jeopardize. To expect wild experimentation, which is how the tech-blogosphere seems to define innovation as of late, is delusional. Risk-taking by real live managers is going to be centered around how a company sees itself. For example, AmEx’s Bluebird prepaid debit card is a risk to the company’s luxury image but it is clearly aligned with at least some of the core elements of the brand: safety, security, customer service.

Apple is a design shop. I look at the new Mac Pro and that beastie screams design: Apple’s knitting. All of the innovation is centered on cutting edge technology inside a beautifully designed package where form fits function.  And that’s real and actual innovation, despite tedious claims that Apple can no longer innovate because it hasn’t created a phone that reads your mind or cooks your breakfast.

Google Watches (and Sells) the Watchers

So now Google is looking to sell other people’s real-world ad spend they paid to grab your attention.  You gotta love the chutzpah.  Privacy will be a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

Pay per gaze advertising need not be limited to on-line advertisements, but rather can be extended to conventional advertisement media including billboards, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of conventional print media. Thus, the gaze tracking system described herein offers a mechanism to track and bill offline advertisements in the manner similar to popular online advertisement schemes.

via Google patents ‘pay-per-gaze’ eye-tracking that could measure emotional response to real-world ads | The Verge.

Microsoft is Out of Touch

It’s become clear that Microsoft is focusing more on its products than its customers. Where is their research into how humans relate to touch? Steve Jobs said explicitly that Apple found in its research that users disliked touch screens over the long term. They tired of holding their hands up all the time. Microsoft should have seen this coming.

(Full disclosure: I wrote this post on an iPad.)

Microsoft’s bet on touch PCs fails to pay off | Computerworld

The Problem with 401k Plans

There is no rationale that justifies the kinds of rates we’re seeing on the asset management side.  Fees should be for specific advise to workers and their families.  This is why I was happy to work with a fee-only wealth advisor in years past.  It’s just a more defensible and ethical way to do business.

The Problem with 401k Plans | The Baseline Scenario.

Cheap, DIY Stalking to a Wi-Fi Hotspot Near You

DIY stalker boxes spy on Wi-Fi users cheaply and with maximum creep value | Ars Technica.

After reading this, I’m considering staying on 3G much more instead of constantly trolling for Wi-Fi hotspots.  Of course, nothing prevents the hotspot owners from doing this through their ISP’s and/or routers.  What’s new with this product is the turnkey solution it is.