Apple Pay is really new and amazing for some people

I used Apple Pay this morning in a shop and the girl behind the counter was amazed by it. She wanted to know all about it and how it worked. She was young and tech savvy and yet this was an entirely new (and massively cool) concept for her.

If you have an AMEX and have had Apple Pay for a while you’ll likely find this strange – to you paying with Apple Pay is probably so routine you’re actually surprised when you can’t use it. Soon, for all ANZ customers this will be a similar experience.

However, the point here is that just because something is old hat to you, it doesn’t mean it’s old hat for everyone else. For many people, the things you take for granted are close to magical for them.

Never forget this when you communicate via your marketing and personal relationships.

The last thing you want to be is that arrogant tosser who looks down dismissively on those who haven’t yet integrated magic into their daily activities.

Reading long form on mobiles

Fascinating insights from Pew Research about the reading habits of mobile users.

In a study of 117M mobile interactions:

The analysis finds that despite the small screen space and multitasking often associated with cellphones, consumers do spend more time on average with long-form news articles than with short-form. Indeed, the total engaged time with articles 1,000 words or longer averages about twice that of the engaged time with short-form stories: 123 seconds compared with 57.

There’s a ton of interesting comparisons in the full article, but here’s just one little snippet about social channels:

While Facebook drives more traffic, Twitter tends to bring in people who spend more time with content. For longer content, users that arrive from Facebook spend an average of 107 seconds, compared with 133 seconds when they come from Twitter.

For anyone involved in content marketing this is yet more reason to ensure your sites are mobile friendly. (It seems strange that I’d have to mention this in the middle of 2016, but there’s still plenty of mobile unfriendly sites around – especially in mid-large companies).

WeWork and innovation

You probably know WeWork – the co-working space provider, now creating co-living spaces.

You may think that providing co-living space is only about the tangibles (the rooms, furniture and fittings) but that’s just the start. Here’s why I think WeWork is an innovator – note especially the second paragraph (from the link above):

Positive social interaction is the priority to encourage strong communities to form in WeLive “neighbourhoods” – groups of apartments that share common areas.

In a smart design move that aims to avoid awkwardness, none of the common spaces have dead ends. So anyone who walks into a room and decides not to stay doesn’t have to feel gauche by turning around and exiting the same way – they can keep walking so it looks like they’re just passing through.

As I initially read the article I had my ‘meh’ hat on. But that focus on understanding people’s psychology turned it all around. They’ve nailed it, as everyone who has experienced that awkward ‘walking into a room full of other people’ will relate to.

This is innovation (and according to the fuller definition):

Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs.

This is a better solution.

Netflix launches Fast but should really call it Random

Netflix released their own stripped down version of SpeedTest called Fast – here try it now.

I don’t know if it’s indicative of how bad our internet connection is or what, but it seems that every time I try it I get a vastly different speed result. In the last few minutes my speeds have ranged from 1.2 Mbps through to 25 Mbps with no discernible pattern.

I tried it on my phone (switching to 4G) and got even wider speed ranges, anything from 2Mbps up to 67 Mbps.

I love the simple, uncluttered (and importantly ad-free) approach, but frankly it’s useless.

Remote working and company culture

This piece by David Niu on Entrepreneur made me think. In it he outlines his view that remote working inhibits company culture.

He notes his own views:

I firmly believe that a strong company culture determines your success, and you can’t have a strong culture without people working together in an office setting.

and

A strong workplace culture is an organization’s No. 1 competitive advantage because you need enthusiastic, excited employees to build great products and delight your customers. When a majority of your employees work remotely, you lose the ability to build that culture.

That’s not so say that remote working is without benefits. From their own conducted research he notes that remote workers are generally happier, more productive and felt more valued.

Whilst he provide stats and studies about the benefits of remote work, he only provides opinions (his) about the inability to build culture in a remote environment.

Others would disagree, but perhaps only armed with opinions themselves. Matt Mullenweg (WordPress) is a good example and there are others. Important to note that all of the top performing remote working companies have regular staff meetups. So perhaps it’s about getting the balance right.

Podcast intros need to die

When Die Hard 2 came out all those years ago, one of the wonderful things it did was skip the opening credits and just got straight into it.

Opening credits though are still very much the norm, and although they can occasionally be a key part of the experience (eg James Bond credits) usually they are just annoying. Who wouldn’t choose to skip the credits if they were given the choice?

Podcasts it seem are a similar situation. Most podcasts insist on having opening (and closing) jingles/credits/annoyances.

There’s a few wonderful exceptions – Exponent and The Talk Show come to mind – but for the main shows have 30 seconds (or more!) of time-wasting self promotion that has everyone either enduring or frantically skipping through (I’m definitely the latter).

Why do podcasts have these jingles/credits? Perhaps a first impression of an episode with a professional sounding jingle will improve the perception it gives. But I doubt it. And it definitely wears off quickly if you hear it every episode. It adds no value to the listener.

I’m fine with a closing call-to-action or a request to leave a review. But to waste 30 seconds of a listener’s time with (usually) terrible stock music and annoying voiceover is a strange practice. And yet almost everyone does it. Why?

I’d love it if a popular podcast tested this. They’d create a new podcast that had exactly the same content but without the jingle/intro/outro. And they simply let listeners decide. I’d bet a cap full of cash that most listeners would switch over to the intro free version in a heartbeat.

Or would they? When Ian and I were starting HubShots one of the things I felt strongly about was having no intro. I wonder if it is has helped us or hindered us?

Google launches Spaces – a new tool for attracting outraged comments from people who haven’t used it yet

Google released a new product today – Spaces – that they described as: a tool for small group sharing.

Not exactly an unsolved problem, but given the growth in messaging options, it’s possible there’s benefit if their attempt is compelling or provides some new value.

Their reasoning for building Spaces:

We wanted to build a better group sharing experience, so we made a new app called Spaces that lets people get people together instantly to share around any topic.

All power to them. Or not, if you happen to be one of the ~1000 commenters (so far) jumping on to light up the world with your uninformed ignorance parading as opinion.

Some of them are actually pretty funny:

Oh, hey: Yet Another Overlapping Google Product™ for messaging/sharing.
Text me in Messenger to let me know about the discussion of this in Hangouts so I can share about it on Google+ and then post the results to Spaces.

and

Everybody Wave to Spaces+.

As is normal though, the comments tend to get more reasonable as time goes on. The early comments are from non-users who lash out, whilst the later comments are from people who actually signed up and started to play with it – and they mention it may actually have promise.

Your mileage may vary.

Techmeme de-clickbait-ifying

Techmeme is the first thing I check every morning. It’s my window to the tech world. One of things I really appreciate is their human editing of headlines. Not only do they de-clickbaitify, but they also add details that help to communicate the real story.

Here’s a story from The Verge:

Apple updates iTunes with a ‘simpler’ design that doesn’t really help

And here’s the Techmeme augmented version:

Apple releases iTunes 12.4, brings back left sidebar, but doesn’t address core issues with navigation and possibly makes it worse

Here’s a headline from The Washington Post:

What happened when a professor built a chatbot to be his teaching assistant

And here’s the much more useful Techmeme version:

Computer science professor successfully used IBM’s Watson to make an AI teaching assistant for answering questions online

Next time you plan something, write something, send something, make sure you are adding value, not squandering attention.

There’s a reason I head to Techmeme everyday, and hardly ever to The Verge.

HubShots update

It’s been a little while since I mentioned HubShots, the podcast I co-host with Ian Jacob.

Here’s a few recent items of interest you may have missed:

  • in episode 32 we discussed chatbots
  • in episode 31 we discussed the morality of ghostwriting
  • in episode 30 we discussed going old school with Facebook page like campaigns
  • in episode 29 we discussed inbound sales certification

I’d love to know if you find them interesting and useful.