vinyarb

Google ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far far away’

Nov
25

 

While Star Wars: The Force Awakens will not be in theatres for another 3 weeks, Google is happily getting us into the mood with this awesome easter egg.

Simply google “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away”, and sit back and watch the search results scroll by.

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All the Google search ads you’ve clicked

Jul
03

Google remembers everything. Even the search ads you’ve clicked on in the past.

Sometimes, it’s interesting to look back on the ads you’ve clicked, and see the kind of story it paints your life, as you search for your answers through Google. Here’s my ad click history over the past year.

I started the year planning a trip to Margaret River, hence the rental car. Post the awesome trip, I started wondering what a home would cost me there. I then became interested in COE prices, as I started taking note of car prices and insurance costs.

What’s your ad-click history?

To see yours, simply go here, and sign in.

search history

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Before we get to the Internet of Things

Feb
26

Talking about the internet of things always makes me excited, but afraid at the same time. The possibilities it brings to make our lives better are endless, yet at the same time, those wearing black hats will always find a way to hack through things. So as devices start coming alive in our homes, it also means there are more potential loopholes and vulnerabilities people can leverage to “hack” into our homes.

But that’s for another post.

For today, let’s talk about wearables. As of today, there are 127 wearable devices out there in the market. They range from Heads Up Displays like Google Glass, to fitness tracking bands like fitbit and smartwatches like Pebble, with use-cases ranging from fitness to utilities to medical and lifestyle.

ALL of these wearables run on batteries and hence require charging. So imagine today when you get home, you’ll need to charge your laptop, tablet, mobile, glasses, wristband and watch. That’s just today. What about in 2020, when there will be an estimated 30 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things?

Before we get settled in the internet of everything, we’ll first need a charger for anything. I think this provides a really great opportunity for wireless charging pads to really get off the ground in terms of demand. I know I’ll be wanting one.

wireless charging

I will boldly proclaim that in line with innovation bringing about the internet of things, we will finally see the death of cables.

Agree?

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WhatsApp Sold

Feb
20

As with Flappy Bird, when it was announced that Facebook is going to acquire WhatsApp for USD $16B, plus a further $3B retention bonuses, I’m sure there will be a flurry of new messaging copycat apps. With names like ThatsApp, ThisApp, WhatsThat etc.

All jokes aside, before I could unroll my jaw back off the floor at the pricetag, I came across this article from Forbes with the click-baitish headline Why Selling WhatsApp to Facebook would be the biggest mistake of Jan Koum’s and Brian Acton’s Lives.

The author took the examples of the sale of YouTube and Instagram as examples of how founders had sold their businesses, only for it to grow exponentially in value some time later. In the case of YouTube, they sold it off to Google in 2006 for 1.6b, certainly not a small sum, and while YouTube is definitely a big part of Google right now and worth a whole lot more, it doesn’t mean Chad and Steve would have been able to attain the same level of success if they’d stayed the course without the massive resources of Google to back them up.

Another argument he put forth was that entrepreneurs, or anyone really, will have maybe 1 good idea their entire life. WhatsApp seems to be it for Jan and Brian, so they should hold on to it and play the long game. I say $16B is a pretty darn good price for the one good idea in your life. I would go further to say that NOT selling WhatsApp at $16b would be the biggest mistake of their lives.

In this day and age, barriers to entry for any business is getting lower. Anyone can build almost anything and bring it to market at a (more or less) global level, especially when it comes to tech. So yes, Eric Jackson, before you write such headlines, I’d like to see you reject $16 billion dollars.

Congratulations on the brilliant exit. With this acquisition, WhatsApp is now even more valuable than established brands like Campbell Soup, Harley Davidson and American Airlines!

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Just keep flapping

Feb
12

Have you heard of Flappy Bird? Of course you have. That annoyingly simple to play, yet improbable to master gameplay is really what makes it super addictive.

Tap a flying bird to keep it in the air and navigate through broken pipes. How difficult can it be? Millions have tried. Many have failed.

But what really makes this an incredible story, is the sudden rise of the app, and fall of its creator. As the game rose in popularity, all eyes fell upon creator Dong Nguyen, and he started getting comments and tweets at him, both positive and negative.

Initially, he’d reply to the feedback and tweets gamely, but as time wore on, and the media picked up on his story, he started feeling frustrated by all the media attention and the negative impact his game was having on millions of players.

The game, designed to be a simple time-waster while waiting for your commute, instead turned out to be night-stealer, its addictive nature wiping away hours on end. It was meant to bring joy to our lives, instead, we alternate between love and hate of it. That, was the reason Nguyen decided to pull the plug on the game, removing it from the Android and IOS Appstores.

When he first announced that the game would be pulled, many thought it was a prank. Afterall, according to the Verge, he was raking in $50,000 per day serving up in-game ads. Why would anyone in their right mind do something like that? Well, don’t worry. He’s not crazy. In fact, he is rather brilliant, in my mind.

You see, while the game is no longer available for download on the stores, those who’ve previously installed the game would still have access to it. And with the supply now suddenly gone, demand for the game has in fact increased, and those who’ve already downloaded the game (50 million at last count) will no doubt be playing it even more, and passing the phones around to compete with friends who don’t have it.

The ads are still running on the already installed phones, so in my opinion, Nguyen has just nailed the perfect passive income for at least the next couple of months! His $50,000 per day (probably more) continues to flow in, while he no longer has to deal with queries, comments and vitriol (real or imagined) about the game.

Here’s an exclusive interview he did with Forbes regarding his decision to remove the app.

As long as we keep flapping, he’s going to be able to keep sipping mai tais on the beach. And if you were late to the game and desperately want to flap some birds, my phone is for sale for $6,888. Call me.

You can also download a flood of copies currently on the appstores, but Flappy Bee just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

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How big is big data: Target figured a teen girl was pregnant before her father did

Sep
27

Don’t be frightened by the title of this post.

Everyday, we inherently drop bits of information about ourselves, whether we want to or not. Things we buy at supermarkets informs them of our consumption choices. Each time we pay by credit card, the financial industry knows how often we dine out, or go for fine dining. Every site we surf, our cookie dutifully records and watches. Wherever we go, our mobile phone submits that information in real time to the telcos. Every TV channel we watch informs the service provider of our lifestyle leanings.

OK, now you should be frightened.

So what, you think. These are all disparate silos of information. But put together, they can work to piece a very intricate profile of you. We’re mostly creatures of habits, and so our consumption patterns are just that. A pattern. Patterns can be deciphered, and insights drawn from it.

As of today, it is already possible, and entire industries are coming alive, with the sole purpose of bringing in all that disparate data, making sense of it, building profiles, with the ultimate aim of giving marketers a better view of who their consumers really are, what they’re like, and when they’re likely to buy from you.

Target on target

Pregnant

Target, for example, has figured out a way to work their data, and find out when a lady is likely to be pregnant, and start sending them coupons for baby items when they were only in their second trimester. In fact, they got so good at it, they sent a 16 year old girl their pregnancy coupons, and got her father all riled up.

Turned out she really was pregnant, and they probably ended up using the coupons anyway.

This could be a scary prospect, when you think about it. So today, Target disguises their coupons with other random stuff thrown in, so the unsuspecting mother-to-be will not feel like Target knows.

Break through the clutter

Throughout the course of a day, adding up online ads, billboards, bus ads, posters, TVCs, radio and outdoor ads, we’re inundated by between 3,000 to 20,000 marketing mesages per day. Yeap, try counting the next time. You’ll give up before lunch.

What ads need to do, is to add in that missing layer of data, that allows you to know, in real time, what this person needs, or is in the market for. You can then craft messages or visuals that appeal to them and provide them with the right message, or at least something they can consider.

Lotame

I’m currently working with Lotame, a Data Management Platform with the ability to collect data from multiple different sources, organise and interpret those data, and give you detailed insights into who your customers are, what they like, and how you can tailor your messages to your different groups of customers.

I’m @vinyarb on twitter, if you’d like to connect and find out more.

You’re not going to be doing anyone any good showing me a banner on your latest, super fragrant, deep cleansing fabric softener.

My wife makes the decisions on that front.

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It’s KitKat, not Key Lime Pie

Sep
04

The newest android operating system has been named, and it’s not Key Lime Pie as the rumours have been floated.

It’s… KitKat, keeping in tradition of naming their OS after desserts.

Kit Kat also has a joint promotion in the US where if you buy a pack, you could stand a chance to win a Nexus phone.

But apparently, no monetary exchange was involved.

Any guesses for ‘L’?

Image: Google via Mashable

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Plants vs Zombies 2: Its about Time

Jul
17

For those of you waiting to get your hands on the long awaited sequel to the popular game Plants vs Zombies, well, you have to wait a little longer.

Worldwide release has been delayed while Popcap makes their final round of testing to ensure cross platform compatibility. Originally scheduled for a July 18 release, it has now been pushed back to “later this summer”

They have, however, released the game in Australia and New Zealand as part of a controlled rollout to fix any bugs they encounter.

Plants vs Zombies 2

Early reviews have praised the game as bringing it to a new level, while keeping the strategy portion intact for fans of the first. This round, there are 3 worlds for us to kill zombies, as opposed to Crazy Dave’s backyard in the first.

There’s the Wild West, Ancient Egypt and Pirate worlds to conquer. Each of the 3 worlds will feature zombies unique to each location.

Sounds like they’ve put a ton of effort into this one, can’t wait! The game will be free-to-play, with in-app purchases available for additional power-ups.

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