Archive for April, 2010

why guitar hero rules

Heidi Klum rocking out to Guitar Hero:

Now Heidi is just loving it, going crazy on the plastic guitar pretending she’s Tom Cruise from Risky Business. She probably can’t actually play a real guitar, but that doesn’t matter.  This is the closest she can get to that feeling. And that’s what made Guitar Hero and Rock Band so popular and addictive. People want technology that transports them deeper inside the things they love. How can you leverage technology to do the same in your business? So your customers can also join in the fun. But also do so in a way without the hassle of being in a rok’n’rol band, or being GM of professional sports team (fantasy sports) or being a shoe designer (NikeiD) ?


google vs yellow pages

This is probably a no-brainer to people in there 20’s, but watch this quick video survey done in Melbourne – questioning the merits of Yellow Pages:

Now I ask you… Why do all these companies still pay for advertising when NO ONE IS READING IT? Because it’s business as usual. Its worked for the past 30 years, and to suddenly stop it would mean to be not be part of the “club”. Yet all these people in this random video survey, young and old, are using google to find something, and they usually only look at the 1st page.

I wonder how long it will take until they phase yellow pages out altogether? Bill Gates famous quote in 2007:

“These things always take time, but Yellow Page usage amongst people in their, say, below 50, will drop to zero, near zero over the next five years.”

You may argue Bill Gates doesn’t have crystal ball by listing examples of when he was wrong before. Okay fine.  Someone is obviously still reading it. Perhaps a more engaged audience  is checking the add, and instead of calling the number, they’re copying the company url in there browser. Which gets me to ask, how do you measure that? “Half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.” The monopoly Yellow Pages used to have is over.

Online vs print – what to do in the short term?

If your a small business you should budget for both.  But you have to start  learning how google works. Its not about selling a scarce resource anymore – which is how print works. Information isn’t scarce online, its everywhere! Google sells peoples intentions, there expressed desires – and this is growing fast. Free information is the future. It’s more accessible and is the platform the next generation is most comfortable with.

does your neighbourhood need 10 lawnmowers?

People are using the internet more often and sometimes forgetting there is a world outside that. Well thankfully there are initiatives like Neighborgoods that are bringing the online and real world closer together. is an online community where you can save and earn money by sharing stuff with your friends.

Check out the video (and notice the nifty logo):

Now I had a bit of chuckle of when the narrator mentioned “sharing feels good!” and thought what a bunch of hippie nonsense. But I mean why the hell not? This would reduce crime in the neighbourhood, because it would mean you actually have to talk to your neighbour, and best of all as mentioned in the video….. Why store useless crap in your garage when you can rent or borrow from a neighbour?!  This relates to studies showing that doing interesting things, experiences lead to happiness more so than buying and owning things. At the same time you need some stuff to enjoy and have these experiences! But not to the point when owning something becomes a liability.

how to compete against online retailers?

all the cool kids lining up in Harajuku, Tokyo. image credit:

Traditional brick and mortar retailers that sell expensive products have this fear that some online outfit will sell the the same product for a cheaper price. That they will simply just test there product and then buy it online! HOW DO YOU COMPETE??

Here goes.

First of all, you do have to be somewhat price competitive especially if she is an online shopper. But a more important aspect is trust. There are still many online scams. You order something that’s half the price  – but you don’t get what you expected or get anything at all. So trust is huge. You need return policies and exchanges. You have to  reduce the risks  when it comes to expensive items.

Another thing is never underestimate the time it takes to get that product. Why? Because some people hate waiting! I can buy a book from, but it will take 5-7 days. I could pay extra for 24 hour shipping. But if I really want that book and I just want to read it today, right now, then you will go to your local Chapters and get it. Instant gratification is huge.

Exclusivity is another aspect. Some high end retailers carry items that you can’t get from other shops online or offline. Imagine being the only store that has of 10 such items in the entire city or even better –  in the entire world. That is something to talk about.

And if you can’t offer that?  You have to offer service that people really love. Make the shopping experience so amazing that you don’t have to ask them to tell their friends. But because they fundamentally choose to do it. Many people still shop at high end retail stores because of how it makes them feel. An experience that can only be captured at your store.

Note:  Check out the website –  I’ve been learning some of these concepts from that site.