Yet two academic researchers have found that Apple Inc.’s iPhone — one of the most iconic U.S. technology products — actually added $1.9 billion to the U.S. trade deficit with China last year.
Yet two academic researchers have found that Apple Inc.’s iPhone — one of the most iconic U.S. technology products — actually added $1.9 billion to the U.S. trade deficit with China last year.
Any question you ask people in a Web form requires them to parse it, formulate a response, and then input their answer in the affordance you have provided on the form. Being vigilant about every question you ask allows you to remove questions that are not absolutely necessary. And the fewer questions you ask, the better the odds are of people completing your forms quickly and easily.
A recent case study published by Imaginary Landscape highlights one example of how much better things can get. The company performed a comparison of an 11-field Contact Us form with a 4-field Contact Us form. They found contact form conversions increased 120% when the number of fields was reduced from 11 to 4 (a 64% decrease). Furthermore, the fields removed had no impact on the quality of the conversions. You can can access the full case study at: Fewer fields in a contact form sharply increases conversions (PDF).
As this example highlights, it pays to carefully examine all the questions being asked in your Web form for opportunities to eliminate unnecessary inputs. Do you really need to ask this question? Is it information that you can get automatically? Is there a better time or place to get an answer from people? Though this process appears tedious, you may be surprised when you discover what you can leave off your forms.
Kilar, dressed in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, sits on the floor sipping beer from a plastic cup and enjoying the frat-house irreverence. Only when the topic turns to online ad sales does he hop to his feet. He mentions new clients and cites a promising meeting with a major chief marketing officer. While ad revenue is plummeting elsewhere in media, Hulu's is growing, with more than 250 advertisers and an estimated $120 million in revenue in 2009, according to analysts -- from zero just two years ago. "In the early days," Kilar tells the group, "advertisers wouldn't even meet with us."
Just two months into Kilar's tenure, Zucker, Chernin, and the other board members paid a visit to these same offices. They walked across a carpet dotted with video-game icons from the previous tenant, past empty pizza boxes and employees in flip-flops, and into a conference room stocked with snacks from Costco. "You realize it's not your father's media company," a deadpan Zucker recalls. That feeling was reinforced when Kilar unveiled a bombshell: The search engine his team had built would display results for all broadcast video across the Web.
"There was this slight moment of 'huh?' " recalls J.B. Perrette, head of digital distribution at NBC Universal. Why would a site owned by NBC and Fox allow you to search for, say, CSI: Miami -- and then provide links to take you to the CBS site?
Kilar calmly explained that he wanted Hulu to be the online authority on TV video, just as Amazon is the expert site for books. If people are looking for a particular show -- any show -- Hulu should help them find it. As Kilar sees it, shows are the brands users care about, not the networks that air them. There was a "healthy debate," he recalls. It was a debate that he would win, although he's too diplomatic to put it that way.
Her husband has a job, but Nakatani says she lost her position at a local school district six months ago. And she is halfway through her unemployment benefits.
Nakatani takes her daughter to look for thrifty gifts at a craft store. She wants to make a Christmas wreath for her sister, so she uses some coupons and buys items that are on sale for 50 percent off.
She emerges from the store smiling, with some shopping bags filled with flowers, ribbons and ornaments that she purchased for about $30.
A Holiday Solution: Handmade Gifts
Making gifts is one cost-saving option this year, according to Olivier Rubel, a professor of marketing at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis.
He says many people without jobs are also changing how and where they spend their money.
At the turn of the millennium, coupon use began to slide, from 4.6 billion coupons redeemed in 1999 to 2.6 billion in 2008. Then the recession hit, triggering a coupon resurgence, driven in large part by the Internet, before anybody had even heard of Groupon. Millions of unemployed consumers rediscovered the coupon as a way to generate money—or at least cut household costs—during their idle hours. And retailers responded to flagging sales by invigorating their offers. The value of the average coupon has risen from $1.09 to $1.37 since 2005. Redemptions grew by 27 percent in 2009 alone, with Internet coupons leading the way, rising more than threefold. Online coupons have proven stickier than their paper counterparts, accounting for around 1 percent of all coupons issued but nearly 10 percent of those redeemed. According to Nielsen, the “enthusiast” couponers who use online offers most are likely to be relatively young and high-income, with 60 percent making more than $50,000 a year.
The retail industry is still adjusting to the new generation of coupon shoppers, many of whom aren’t content to limit themselves to one or two deals per trip. Some of these so-called super-couponers have perfected a maneuver called stacking—combining multiple coupons on the same item, generally a manufacturer’s coupon with a retailer’s. Another technique is rolling—using earnings from retail loyalty programs (for example, CVS Extra Bucks) to buy products that earn still more points, generating a continuous flow of extra earnings. The online boards teach all these tricks and more. “Don’t be scared! You can do this!” begins one SlickDeals FAQ, before it launches into a series of links to newspaper coupon-insert schedules, store-by-store coupon acceptance policies, and thousand-line wikis with deals alphabetized by product and coded by state. There are coupon swap threads as well as RAOK (random act of kindness) threads in which coupons are given away to the first user who requests them. Members of “coupon trains” circulate their surplus coupons through the mail, taking what they need and adding what they have. “Coupon fairies” act as anonymous benefactors, bringing extra coupons to the store and leaving them on the applicable products.
Every industry has its issues it gets hung up on. Hospitality has many--shower soap is just one of them. Determining whether to switch shower soap from a bar to a bulk dispenser consumes an inordinate amount of energy. Switching would save a hotel over $4 a day per room. But if your ask consumers, they'll tell you they prefer bar soap. They will describe how bulk dispensers remind them of truck stops and how gross those bathrooms are and how once in a truck stop... A lot of companies would listen to this and stick with the bar soap. It's easy. The customer said they wanted it.
Starwood didn't listen. It redefined bulk dispensing by putting its Bliss branded spa products in a redesigned dispenser and connecting it to an overall story of cheap-chic modern travel. In the process they enhanced the customer experience and pocketed $4 per room.
Simply put, no one really cares about the logo anymore. Today, people are more interested in what a brand can do for them. Great brands are discovering that logos or advertisements are losing relevance, and instead put their efforts into creating social brand platforms that invite participation and create value in authentic and relevant ways. The real reason the Gap logo failed was that it wasn't backed by any of this; the same goes for Tropicana and the rest.
Logos create value for brands, but social brand platforms create value for people. Nike+ helps people run and get healthy. Facebook keeps people in touch with friends and family. Etsy connects cottage industry craftsmen with buyers. Converse has just announced that it's building a recording studio in Brooklyn to help up-and-coming musicians.
Social brand platforms are not experiential marketing gimmicks. They do not exist to promote something else, but rather they are useful in and of themselves. A logo, by contrast, doesn't actually do anything.
When the third-generation (3G) mobile-phone network was launched in China last year, a vast range of compatible products was marketed towards upwardly mobile, professional, technologically connected people with high consumption power. But the largest social group to subscribe to the 3G network was migrant workers, because their need for storage capacity is surprisingly substantial. These workers are absolutely mobile and typically, they have no other devices on which to store data: 3G technology enables them to store photos, download music, videos and novels, and engage in a host of activities that would have been unavailable to them previously.
The most popular social-media tool used by China’s migrant population is Tencent QQ, China’s largest free instant-messaging service. At any one time, there are more than 80 million users chatting on QQ. With a monthly mobile subscription of five yuan (A$0.85), it is distinctly working class: white-collar professionals tend to stick to MSN.
The workers are most likely to use QQ when they want to meet new friends or catch up with people they’ve met since leaving home. If they want to contact their parents, they’ll usually use their mobile phones. Typically, these workers value the connections they’ve made since leaving home. There is a collective identity: we’re all on the road; we’re all new to the city, which is hostile to us; we don’t really belong here but somehow we’re together.
In my Designing for Today's Web presentation at Webdagene 2010 in Oslo, Norway I outlined several important Internet trends and the impact they have on Web application design. Including: explosive mobile Web growth, increasing numbers of connected devices, and readily available social Web services that provide access to people's identities and relationships.
The USS Guadalcanal
Prepared by Don Baker
"The Lord looks out for drunks, little children, and the CVEs"
USS Guadalcanal CVE-60
The escort carriers were considered to be thin-skinned, slow, unstable, and unwanted, but the crews fought these "baby flattops" in every theater of WW II with distinction and valor; none more so than in the Battle of the Atlantic against the U-boats. The American CVE sailors had a wry saying; the CVEs were "...two torpedo ships; the first torpedo would go through you and the second would go over you". Admiral D. V. Gallery USN, summarized the shiphandling and seakeeping abilities of the escort carriers as, "...they were barely good enough; but they were good enough". In spite of the acknowledged shortcomings of the ship design, Samuel Eliot Morison, distinguished Harvard professor and WW II naval historian, said of these ships "...the escort carrier groups were probably the greatest single contribution of the United States Navy to victory over enemy submarines".
USS Guadalcanal CVE-60 was the sixth of the Casablanca class escort carriers built by the Kaiser shipyards in Vancouver on the Columbia River in the state of Washington. Fifty of these ships were built within the period of one year using welded construction and prefabrication mass production techniques. With a large balanced single rudder operating in the race from twin screws, the Casablanca's were highly maneuverable, fast for an escort carrier, but noted for their rolling tendencies which gave operating problems in the heavy seas of the North Atlantic. Of the 50 Casablancas built, only 6 were assigned Atlantic duty.
Logitech Revue with Google TV Available This Month for $299
From car-sharing to online dress rentals, solutions thatprovide services without requiring ownership offer a means to reduce consumption and environmental impact. There's now growing interest in a somewhat different type ofproduct-service-system: rather than consumers renting services from businesses, several websites are facilitating rentals (or free loans) of products between individuals. Items that someone owns but rarely uses, like tools or obscure kitchen equipment, can be listed online for friends or neighbors to borrow or rent instead of buying elsewhere.
"Remember three years ago, when Microsoft paid a quarter-billion dollars for 1.6% of Facebook and the exclusive right to run banner ads across Facebook.com? Tell the truth, how many of you thought that was a killer business decision? I can’t say I did at the time. But as that deal is about to expire in 2011, Facebook’s status as a revenue juggernaut is rarely questioned any more.
"In fact, I have been mulling over data from both companies, and I’m ready to declare in public my belief that Facebook will be bigger in five years than Google is right now, barring some drastic action or accident. Futhermore, Facebook will grow without needing to cut into Google’s core business of text ads, which are still 99% of Google’s profits. Even if every single Facebook user performs just as many searches with Google as ever—including Google Instant, mobile search, and YouTube—Facebook will inexorably grow as big as Google is today and maybe bigger, because Madison Avenue’s brands are less interested in targeting than they are in broadcasting to vast mother-loving buckets of demographically correct eyeballs, and Facebook has become the perfect platform for that."
Sent from iPhone
"For Geoff, the experience was extremely important. It was one of the first times he'd taken a bold stand for his beliefs.
"It was a cool defining moment for me," says the leader of the popular roots-rock band, Geoff Moore & the Distance.
Sharing, borrowing goes hi-tech online http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/consumer&id=7665643
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Sharing is one of the first lessons we learn as children, but lending things like toys and books isn't just child's play anymore.
These days, penny pinched consumers are taking sharing to the Web and trading anything and everything - even their set of wheels.
From books and electronic gadgets to appliances and more, borrowing has gone high-tech. On sites like sharesomesugar.com, neighborrow.com, frenting.com or neighborgoods.net, you can post and share items you own and borrow things that you need, all from others in your area.
"Tools, airbeds, the list is really endless. Someone listed their car even," said Adam Berk of neighborrow.com.
Think of each site as a match-making service. Consumer psychologist Matt Wallaert said temporary ownership is a hot trend.
"A lot of people are feeling the pinch of not having enough money right now and so they're turning to borrowing, particularly for more expensive items," said Wallaert.
By borrowing just once, Wallaert said you can save tens of hundreds of dollars, sometimes even thousands, depending on the item.
Keara Schwartz, the creator of sharesomesugar.com, said the sites also give users the chance to go green.
"It's environmentally friendly to be more resourceful and to not buy as many items," said Schwartz.
Each site works a bit differently but the basic idea is the same. Simply search for the item you are looking for based on where you live. Some sites allow you to search by zip code while others require you to form local groups and share among those you've invited in to your circle.
Borrowing Goes High-Tech With 'Sharing' Websiteshttp://cbs2chicago.com/consumer/sharing.borrowing.online.2.1916480.html
The eco-leasing lifestyle doesn’t stop at car sharing: check out the following eco-TRANSUMER services, that also tie in with the aforementioned auction culture:
We've seen quite a pick up in interest in using bikes as a form of daily transportation. First, it was due to rising gas prices. But even as gas prices begin to sink, interest has remained. Why? People are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of driving, as well as the money-saving potential and health perks of bike riding. Bike sharing programs help make riding around easier for someone who doesn't have the space or desire to buy a bike for themselves, buy allowing users to "rent" bikes that can be picked up and dropped off at locations throughout a city. Need to run a quick errand but took the subway to work? No problem. Bike-sharing programs are already big in Paris and other European cities, and are beginning to catch on in the States, too. Washington, D.C.'s bike-sharing program has been a hit, for example, and college campuses across the country are having success with bike sharing, too.
Once I started thinking about sharing, I started seeing it everywhere. It’s the central theme to both the bartering and the Urban Foraging movements. And it’s nothing new. After all, there have always been co-ops, swap meets, and carpools, but there also seems to have been an explosion this past year. And the rise of social networking is making it easier than ever to share.
I think this trend is sparked partly by us coming up against the wall of our economic system’s vast limitations and partly by the realization that we can’t just keep consuming and growing the economy and not consume and grow ourselves right out of existence.
Maybe we can look at the economic and environmental problems we are in the midst of as an opportunity to redirect selfishness and as an impetus for turning our individualistic society around.
To that end, here’s a rundown of 15 of the coolest sharing concepts and resources I’ve found to inspire you:
Recently launched is Shareable, a network of people committed to making life shareable. From the about page: “We cover the people, places, and projects that are bringing a shareable world to life. And share tools and tips to help you make a shareable world real in your life.”
Coworking: In which a group of people share an office space and all the amenities like printers, tea, tables, chairs, but have their own workspace. Some are permanent and some are drop-in based. Here’s a sort of coworking clearinghouse and The Coworking Institute.
Software: From Linux to open office, open source electronic resources are created by users for users.
Yard sharing: Don’t have time to garden but would like the benefits? Share your yard with a neighbor or neighbors. Hyperlocavore and Sharing Backyards are both sites that help people find and link up with others who want to start yard sharing in their communities.
Childcare: From organized co-op preschools to informal neighborhood babysitting co-ops, people all over are sharing the responsibilities of raising children. Because after all, it does take a village. Here’s a site to help you get started.
Stores and Farms: Here’s a directory of cooperative stores and buying clubs. CSAs have been around for a while and they are a form of sharing. Many of the earlier ones required members to work some hours on the farm. Then there’s cowpooling, in which you buy a whole cow with your neighbor. It’s green because the whole animal gets used, not just the prime cuts you find in the grocery store.
Cohousing: Cohousing is often like other housing, where everyone has their own private space, but the residents all consciously choose to share public space, meals, childcare, activities, or whatever they decide. This cohousing website is for people who are in cohousing or want to be in cohousing to help them share information and resources.
Cars: Having a car when you need it and not having it when you don’t is the beauty of car sharing. There are many types of car shares from informal, free and community- or neighborhood-based to businesses like Zipcar and City Car Share. Here’s a page with listings in each city.
Bikes: Popular in Europe, the idea is catching on here with varying levels of success. Shocker! Sometimes the bikes get stolen. The Bike Sharing Blog compiles information on bike sharing from everywhere.
Travel: Like to travel, but lack the money for a hotel? Or have the money, but would rather see the “real country”? Try Couchsurfing.org.
Seeds: Preserving biological diversity and making friends are two benefits of seed swapping. You could easily save seeds among friends and neighbors. There’s an informal neighborhood seed swap that sometimes sets up at my local farmers’ market.
Homesharing: Different from cohousing, this concept is for seniors to connect with one another and share houses, resources and companies. Kind of like roommates for the older set.
Skill Sharing: Brooklyn Skill Share is a network of people sharing knowledge. Another knowledge sharing organization, Bike Kitchens are places where people can go to learn to fix their own bikes and share tools.
Dinner: Frugal Foodies are loosely organized, rotating groups of people that cook dinner together once a week.
Borrowing: Neighborrow facilitates borrowing of tools, books and other household items among neighbors.
We do this in an informal way, since we share a lawnmower with our friends. We got the lawn with the house and didn’t want it and we got the lawnmower for free from a relative. Why buy a lawnmower for a lawn we don’t want and why make our friends do the same? So we share (at least until we can transform it all into an edible landscape).
We also share a car in our household among two and we belong to a grocery co-op that requires us to work 2 1/2 hours per month.
What kind of sharing are you involved in? What’s out there in your neck of the woods that I missed? Please share your information in the comments below.
In tough economic times, it can make sense for consumers to be both transumers—eschewing the burdens of ownership in favour of shorter-term privileges—and sellsumers, making the most of what assets they do own. Aiming to facilitate both is NeighborGoods, a brand-new site that helps consumers borrow, lend, rent, sell and buy stuff in their community.
Focusing for now on Southern California, NeighborGoods is an online community that lets consumers save and earn money by sharing with their neighbours and friends any of the assorted tools, ladders and other things they use only occasionally. Users of the site, which just launched into beta, can decide how they want to share their stuff. They can allow their friends to borrow an item for free while charging others a rental fee, for example, or they can decide to make the item available only to friends. NeighborGoods helps facilitate transactions with a reservation calendar, automated reminders, wish-list alerts and private messaging. It also tracks and shares the transaction history of each member. Neighbours can rate each other and even flag another member's account if something goes wrong. Borrowing and lending items on NeighborGoods is free of charge. Members who want to earn money by renting or selling items must have a Pro account—currently free, but ultimately by paid subscription.
Besides the obvious financial advantages for those involved, of course, sharing tools and equipment—much like cars, bikes and boats—has distinct eco-benefits as well, minimizing the redundant things so many households typically buy. Looks like another sharing-enabled win-win-win—for borrowers, owners and the planet—and one to be emulated in communities around the world! (Related: Neighbourhood approach to renewable energy.)
The Roots of Tool Sharing: http://toolsharing.com/index.php
The Chicago Tribune runs an AP wire story on the new-found social trend that it's OK to share expensive, single use objects like wood chippers in your neighborhood - or cake pans.At the library in Galesburg, Ill., a dozen cake pans shaped like hearts, dinosaurs or footballs sit behind the counter, available for checkout. Karen Marple, the children's librarian, keeps track of the pans, which she buys on sale or at yard sales for library cardholders to share. "They don't want to spend so much money on a cake pan that they're going to use one time," Marple said. "It's free. It's economics."
Elsewhere around the country, dozens of municipalities and nonprofit groups have community tool sheds, where citizens can borrow hand or power tools for projects.
Individualistic attitudes worked fine until the economic downturn, Ferrell said. Now, he said, "the stigma you might have witnessed for reusing things has been reimagined as a rediscovery of American values."
"Sharing only means that you have to buy less and I have to buy less," Ferrell said. "Sharing also knits communities together. Sharing is good for social life."
"Digg is going social in the most radical way possible. Today, Digg is a list of stories in descending popularity that were submitted by users (or, often as not, the publications themselves), and when you go to Digg.com, that's what you see: a list of stories. The new Digg won't look anything like that. Instead, it'll tap into your other social streams, figure out what you like, and present those stories to you in a personalized homepage. And since you can pick tags that interest you ("green," "design," "Apple"), Digg will have a pretty good idea what you like. That homepage, by the way, is what you'll see when you go to Digg.com--there'll still be a link for popular stories over in a corner somewhere, but popularity is taking a backseat to personalization.
"If you want to take advantage of this new personalization, you'll have to give Digg access to your Facebook feed through Facebook Connect, your Twitter, and your OpenID. Digg will then look through all that data, match up your interests with stories already in its system, and pop them into your personal Digg homepage."
"The Internet can be a fickle creature, but if there is one lesson that seems to consistently ring true it’s this: don’t alienate your core users," writes Robin Goad, research director for Hitwise U.K. "It’s a lesson that Digg.com is learning the hard way. Having been a paragon of social bookmarking with over 40 million unique visitors a month at its peak, there has been a huge exodus of traffic thanks to an unpopular redesign which irritated a legion of faithful power users."
"In his iPhone Resolution video, information design expert Edward Tufte, praised the information density and content resolution of the device. Known for evaluating Web interface designs by counting the quantity of links present, Tufte is a big proponent of clarifying information by adding detail not "computer administrative debris."
"Computer administrative debris reduces information resolution and steals content space away from the user. The iPhone brilliantly suppresses much admin debris. The idea is that the content is the interface, the information is the interface, not computer administrative debris."
"In particular, Tufte called out the iPhone's Photos application as an example of clarifying information by adding detail. "In this collection of photographs, many information elements are arranged on the same surface as the user scans 150 images arranged in a two dimensional small multiple format."