loyalty programs promote higher spending

-- from clickz -- Members of retailer loyalty programs tend to spend more and shop across more channels, according to "The Loyalty Effect: Retail Loyalty/Reward Programs' Impact on the 2006 Holiday Season" published by Epsilon. The report calls for retailers to begin loyalty membership campaigns early in the year and build toward the holiday in the fall.

> the full story...

t-mobile and sony’s gaming experiment

-- from telephony -- For all the talk of Sprint’s new WiMAX business model, rival carrier T-Mobile is paving the way for just the type of service Sprint is likely to launch over WiMAX using a much lowlier technology: Wi-Fi.
T-Mobile just isn’t offering unbridled dumb-pipe access to the Internet wirelessly. It’s wirelessly enabling a specific data service, used by specific device. (The PlayStation Portable)
> the story... April 3, 2007

a different way to categorize

-- from information today, april 2007 --

The London Library is a rare and different thing in the modern age of information management. Essentially, the institution stands very much apart from many of the mainstream pressures and concerns of similar-sized sites. As a self-funding charity, it is completely free of what its head librarian Inez Lynn calls “trends” in library science, such as replacing the entire stock every 5 years or responding to the latest governmental “diktat” about the role of the library. Instead, she said, the focus is on knowledge, not information.

Users can look in vain for any Dewey system here. The library uses its own idiosyncratic cataloging technique, based firmly on the principle of serendipity. “We try to have all the major works in the field on show but also in the same place things that might also be of interest,” according to Lynn.

Users like the fact that there just might be something on the shelf other than what they thought they wanted.

Lynn, who became librarian in 2002, outlined what can happen. “We are primarily about the arts and humanities,” she said. “So we don’t really have a science section. What we do have though is a science and miscellany place, where among other things we have lots of books on camels: camels in California, camels as means of transport, lots of different camel-related material. Writers who want to research camels love this—that section is one of our most visited, in fact.”

> the story...

What’s the message with HD Radio?

A few local stations around here in the Bay Area have been running heavy rotations of commercials for HD Radio - a new digital broadcast method for radio that allows "CD-quality" sound. While HD radio does require purchase of new equipment, it does not require a subscription fee, as does satellite radio (XM, Sirius), which make the same sound-quality claims. HD Radio has additional benefits over analog radio in that text streams can be embedded into the signal, such as sports scores and news tickers.

Consistency to the max

As a counterpoint to my earlier post on inconsistency as a design strategy, here's a billboard in SF for, well, you know who:

absolut_sm.jpg

do you see yourself as others see you?

What your online profile says about you may not be what you expect. Psychologist Sam Gosling of the University of Texas, Austin, has found that while profiles on social networking sites like Facebook present a generally accurate portrait of their owners, this is often at odds with the impression they think they are putting across.

> more of the story..., from the new scientist, march 31, 2007

A venture capital perspective on China innovation

This article transcribing a moderated discussion between Ted Schlein (a partner at KPCB) and Andrew Metrick (a Wharton professor) about venture capital in China is worth a full read.

Ted Schlein makes the point that innovation in China is a misguided concept -- that it not real innovation; it's more about "me-too"-style business models (e.g., Baidu and Google, Alibaba / DangDang and Amazon) that simply seek to acquire more local market share. These business models often require an offering that understands the local market and user needs, and so the offering may be different from what exists in the west, but he doesn't call this innovation. Real innovation (in which a company has core IP that is unique) will take 5-7 years.

I suppose it's a matter of semantics. Developing a product that acknowledges the local market (e.g., see my previous post about Dell's new PC) is innovation, just not sustainable on its own to support a long-term strategy. Schlein is approaching his argument from a US VC lens (i.e., operating a company vs finding an exit strategy), so he correctly should be thinking about the long-term. But long-term strategy is enabled by short-term steps, and there's plenty of room for innovation within these steps.

A Little Google Humor?

One of the elements lauded in flickr's interface is it's general goofiness with the written word. Each time you log in, it greets you in a different language then the last time.

"Hala smadden!"

When you click a button, it doesn't say "submit" it says "get in there!" These interface tweaks personalize the system, make it seem more friendly to the user. Such decisions are absurdly easy on the technical end but can be difficult to make from a business standpoint. Does it make our brand too lackadaisical, not serious enough? Personally, I really appreciate the small touches, which is why I really enjoyed finding this gem from Google on Digg today.

If you look at step 20 in the driving directions, you will find "Swim across the Atlantic Ocean." Now that's funny.

Only Five Percent of Innovative Web Users Access Internet on Mobile Device

-- from the center for media research --

A new report by Media-Screen finds that, although more than 60 percent of U.S. broadband users currently own an Internet-enabled mobile device, only five percent of them, approximately five million, use the mobile Internet. The report concludes that they are reluctant to partake in online mobile activities due to extra fees and difficulties establishing and maintaining Internet connections.

>more of the story...

frog arrives in China

It's now official - frog design has just opened a studio in Shanghai, China. The press release provides more details. This development is the primary motivation behind this blog's evolution from "Business Design" to "Evolution in China." Keep watching this space for more China observations from onsite...