Saturday, April 28, 2012

Minority Report

Minority Report is a 2002 science fiction film directed by Steven SpielbergIt is set in the year 2054. “PreCrime” is a specialized police department, apprehending criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called precogs. The cast includes Tom Cruise as PreCrime captain John Anderton, Colin Farrell as Department of Justice agent Danny Witwer, and Max von Sydow as Anderton's superior Lamar Burgess.  
A man wearing a leather jacket stands in a running pose. A flag with the PreCrime Department insignia stands in the background. The image has a blue tint, and many flashing lights. Tom Cruise's name stands atop the poster, and the film title, credits, and the tagline "Everybody Runs June 21" are on the bottom.

In the movie, facial recognition advertising billboards recognize passers-by via facial recognition technology; the billboards call them by name, and these magical billboards deliver customer specific advertisements. Cruise's character is confronted with digital signs that call out his name as he walks through a futuristic shopping mall. 

IBM and NEC are currently developing such billboards which plan to deliver customized adverts to individuals who carry identity tags. IBM feels they will not be obtrusive as their billboards will only advertise products which a customer is interested in. Advertisers are embracing these billboards as they figure to reduce costs by lowering the number of adverts wasted on uninterested consumers.

When I arrived at Google headquarters, the first thing that I did was “scan in”. I’ve had my photo taken at corporate security desks before, but nothing like this. Little did I know, from that from this moment forward, Tom Capone was going to be playing the role of another “TC” – Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

When you order coffee at Google, the R2D2-like coffee machine talks to you. It says hello – by name. It remembers. It knows how you take your coffee. When you move from room to room, the building knows where you are (just in case anyone is looking for you).  And this is all via facial recognition.

Now, let’s just say (for example) you are a Real Estate Professional.  Let’s say that you have a hot lead from someone relocating from New York. What if, just from having a digital photo of that prospective client (maybe you took their photo when you met them):

You would know all of their interests.  You would know what sports like they like.  You would know what kind of car they drive (or hope to drive). You know where they vacation (or where they hope to vacation). You know what kind of shoes they like, where they like to shop, know what kind of food they like, know how many children they have, know what movies they like, whether they like the country, the mountains, the beach. What if you had access to all of the postings, the blogs, the Facebook pages, the Twitter feeds that they follow? What if all of the “data” of their past many years of web surfing and online website and portal browsing and emails were analyzed, probed, sifted and sorted, to create a digital, virtual identity of this prospect?

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 2054. I saw things this week that well – quite frankly - freaked me out. Some of these things I cannot discuss as I am under NDA, but suffice it to say that knowledge is power and Google is a very (very) powerful company. What I mention here in this blog is public knowledge to anyone who has visited their lobby and visitor reception areas.

What if three Real Estate Agents were competing for this single prospective client.  What if only one agent had access to this vast database of knowledge, all compiled into a useful form.  A virtual “This is Your Life” of the prospect.  What if you could show this prospect a compiled video of the homes in neighborhoods that were pre-filtered, pre-sorted to be a perfect match to this prospect's digital profile?  

Can you not see how the Real Estate Professional with access to such technology would have a competitive advantage over other Real Estate Professionals?

I was at Google for the day.  When I wanted a second cup of coffee, it knew how I took my coffee. The coffee machine was paying attention. It even said “Thomas Capone, enjoy your regular coffee with milk and sugar”. The coffee machine knew my name, because it recognized my face, all because I was properly scanned when I arrived. By the way, Google Coffee Machine has an English Accent; I wonder if I should have asked for tea?

It was not that the coffee machine knew me – the entire building knew me. When it was time to use the restroom, the doors are not marked for guys or gals. They knew that I was a candidate for the men’s room, and the men’s room door opened for me as I approached. 

For those of you who use Gmail, you know that when you send and receive Gmail, the system is learning from your transmissions.  The reason that Gmail is free is because of advertising revenue that is created by the Google data mining process.  How many of you have noticed the free advertising on the right hand side of Gmail that is amazingly connected to the topics contained within your emails?  Now throw facial recognition technology on top, and you have Minority Report like data mining.

Knowledge is Power. Time is money, and Speed Kills.  Put all of these into a blender, add some entrepreneurial creativity, mix thoroughly and you have a virtual Google protein shake.  

The average person knows around 1% of the products and services of Google. Business Analytics and Data Mining is the future, and Google is way, way ahead of the curve.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Holy $h*T Batman!

I always loved Batman when I was a kid. I guess I loved Iron Man too. More than the others, these were normal guys (less the billions of dollars in the bank) and they had all the cool toys.  They had the technology that used just in the right way, at the right time, would save the day.

Ah yes, the utility belt.  Talk about technology saving the day.  No matter how big the problem, Batman could find something in his utility belt to get him out of his jam, and most of the time – his cool technology would save the day.

Iron Man has the cooler suit, but Batman has more gadgets.  Bat phones, Bat Poles, Bat Boats, and they all came from the Bat Cave. 

The thing is this – it is not the technology – it is how you use it.  The Evil Villains also had their own technology.  If you think about it, it was always good guys vs. bad guys, each with their own gadgets or gizmos.

Facebook is officially cool, I have voted.  At first I stayed away from using Facebook as I just don’t have a lot of time for chit chat. But as I saw more and more business websites with Facebook buttons, I had to dig deeper and find out what’s going on, especially if this was going to so big for online business and eCommerce. Whether I like it or not, I need to know what I am talking about, if I am going to sell it. I have to do the research. In July of 2010, there were 500,000,000 official “friends” on Facebook.  I think the number is now close to 900,000,000 registered users.

A few days ago, I had an idea. It was inspired by Caine’sArcade.  What if Facebook charged $0.01 per post, and what if that money was dedicated to eliminating poverty in the world?  What if that money was allocated to providing technology and education to those who could never hope to experience anything like – well – like Facebook?  Yeah, Facebook is “free” but it is not really free – we all contribute to the Mark Z. zillionaire fund via the hidden advertising revenue. Every time we use Facebook “for free” we are helping billionaires become zillionaires. Is a penny per post too much?  That's fine: $0.001 per post would also change the world. Exactly how many Bat Caves does one need?

What if using something like Facebook (or Twitter, or Pintrest) was directly related to eliminating hunger in the world, or if social media was connected to providing clean drinking water to those who walk miles for their fresh water. What if every joke posted on Facebook was directly connected to easing pain and suffering in the world. I would not mind the bad jokes and mindless posts on Facebook so much, if they were also saving lives with each click.

Social Media. Social. Say it out loud: SOCIAL media.  Wait around 30 seconds, and say it again. Social. Media.  Go look up the word Social, and the word Media.

I am not trying to upset the world here (yes I am).  I am not trying to create a problem for the owners of social media companies (yes I am).  But I have seen some crazy “stuff” go viral on the Internet.  The technology is there; it is just waiting for something really cool and beneficial to the planet to go viral. Maybe something more than jokes.

What do you think?  If you ever want to contact me……… Just click here:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming.”

I love selling technology.  I have always loved technology, gadgets, widgets, and gizmos.  I was a biomedical engineering student at Purdue University, medical school was in my future, and my life was all mapped out for many years.  And then, in 1983 the first cellular phone network went live in the New York area.  It was my destiny. Good-bye medical school, hello NYNEX® mobile.  My company is the aggregate result of my 29+ years of not going to medical school.

What would you do, if your next door neighbor was Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or the co-founders of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page?  What if you knew these guys from high school, or from the local neighborhood growing up.  Would it matter?  Would it have changed your life?

·         1995: Larry Page and Sergey Brin meet at Stanford. (Larry, 22, a U Michigan grad, is considering the school; Sergey, 21, is assigned to show him around.) According to some accounts, they disagree about almost everything during this first meeting.


·         1996: Larry and Sergey, now Stanford computer science grad students, begin collaborating on a search engine called BackRub. BackRub operates on Stanford servers for more than a year—eventually taking up too much bandwidth to suit the university.


·         1997: Larry and Sergey decide that the BackRub search engine needs a new name. After some brainstorming, they go with Google—a play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The use of the term reflects their mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.

Was anyone paying attention?  Did anyone see what was coming?  Was it all just serendipity or was there a master plan from their first meeting, and this was just all meant to be, that the Google as we know it today was inevitable? 
When I was younger, AOL® was the big deal.  AOL “was” the Internet!  People would dream and say, “what if I only knew Steve Case in the early days of AOL.  What if I bought stock in AOL early on…?” Now, the same type of folks say the same things about Google.
There will always be another AOL, Google, IBM, AT&T, Twitter, Facebook – just like there will always be another bus.  That is the amazing thing about a life in business, there is always tomorrow. There is always the chance that today will be the day that you learn of something new, cool, inventive, innovative, and life-changing.  Funny thing how your chances of catching a bus, and catching the next wave of business opportunity is directly related to your proximity to the bus stop.
In life and in business, you can run after a bus, or you can be ready – you can get to the bus stop early, and be waiting for it. It is always your choice. 

Or walk. You can always walk if you miss the bus. I guess that is what people do when they miss the bus, I would not know.

I just met Jared Goralnick, the founder of  It is not a brand new technology or service, but it was brand new to me just last month. I started using it, and I am done – it’s all over – I’m in. MTP will become the #1 reseller for AwayFind. I say this again – MTP will be the #1 VAR for this technology. Trust me, it will happen. My meeting the founder of AwayFind was like me meeting one of the founders of Twitter® in 2006. I am going to run with this.  MTP has a big meeting at Google headquarters in NYC this month. As it turns out, Jared is a long time, “big partner” with Google. 

Coincidence?  Serendipity?  Rule #1 in business (and in catching buses): eyes and ears open and working at all times. Watch this story unfold – I will blog on and again in 12 months. 

Gotta go – I see my “bus” coming. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Be the Easter Egg

Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime.

The oldest tradition is to use dyed or painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans. These eggs can be hidden for children to find on Easter morning, who may be told they were left by the Easter Bunny. They also may be put in a basket filled with real or artificial straw to resemble a bird's nest.

When most people hear the words Easter egg they think of brightly colored eggs dyed for kids to hide and hunt.

When it comes to software and computers, an Easter egg is the term used to describe a hidden message or type of feature in the software. Anyone who is running the software or working with it will usually not be able to immediately spot the hidden message or feature. 

The term Easter egg was coined because of its similarities with Easter egg hunts, where people search for hidden Easter eggs that are decorated or contain something fun. Easter eggs are developed by the programmers or developers of the program just for fun.

I would like you to consider becoming a living, breathing virtual Easter egg this year.  Think about it: the technology of today allow us all to do some amazing things, that just a few years ago would be absolutely impossible. We can use Google and Bing to learn about just about anything.  We can share family photos and videos via YouTube and other tools.  We can send Tweets, post Facebook pages, and collaborate with friends and co-workers as if they were in the next room.  With today’s technology, we have more power to do good deeds than could ever have been imagined. 

Let’s say a child asked you questions about the origin of Easter eggs. You could do a Bing or Google Search and find links like this:  

Wow, you are an Easter super genius. Such power!

Regardless of your beliefs, all of us have the power in the tips of our fingers to channel the Spirit of Easter. Why not use such amazing technology to become a real-life Virtual Easter Egg? Right this second, you can spread the power of Easter like never before. I will not tell you how to do it – that is half the fun.  If you need a hint, if you want to see how easy it is to become a Virtual Easter Egg, there might be one hidden in today’s blog. 

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ewe. Really? That is so gross!

I think it's something we've all done at least a few times: take a break from pulling weeds or mowing the lawn to take a nice big slurp of cold water, straight from the hose. Well, as it turns out, that probably wasn't such a good idea. Most garden hoses are made from PVC, which contains lead as a stabilizer. Lead can leach out into the water, and, bammo, you're drinking water that has 10 to 100 times the acceptable amount of lead in it.  Plus bugs, don’t forget about the bugs.But, we all did it, and did not think twice about doing it.Drinking water from the kitchen faucet, a water fountain in school, even from the garden faucet at the park after playing, was a very safe thing to do.  But alas, epidemics of water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, cryptosporidiosis, E. coli infection, etc. hit the news and water awareness rose to a higher level.  We never drank water from the faucet again.  This gave rise to bottled water as an alternative.  Suddenly, having water dispensers and buying from the neighborhood water station became the standard practice in almost every home.   
Now that green living and self-sustainability have become the new standards for living, more and more people in the US  question the environmental friendliness of bottled water.   Environmentalists estimate that  29 billion plastic bottles are manufactured in the US every year and this requires more than 17 million barrels of crude oil –- enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year.  Producing 29 billion plastic bottles also contributes to an additional 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide produced –- something we can do without.  
Thankfully, there is a move to shift the water habits in the US and hopefully, the rest of the world.  

We had no idea what was in the water we were drinking, and we did not care enough to worry about it.  When was the last time you just went into the kitchen, turned on the faucet, and let the water run?  Putting your finger in the water stream, waiting for it to get cold, and then filling a glass to drink?  If you knew about all of the “junk and gunk” in that water you were drinking, you would feel sick.

Is this not what we have done with our computers? 
Just a few years ago, the magic of personal computers changed the way that we work, live and play.  It was in the 80’s that using a PC was starting to change lives. The concept of using a computer in the home, or in the small office was a game changer; similar to having running water in your home.Guess what?  If you knew what was really (really) going on inside your computer, you would say “Ewe! Really?  That’s so gross!” 

Do not drink water from a garden hose.  
Do not drink water directly from your kitchen faucet.  

And - do not use “free” virus protection, malware protection, anti-spam tools or use free defragmentation tools, or use anything else that you got for “free” off the Internet, or that came for free with your new computer. Spend a few bucks here to protect yourself, trust me on this one. This is not the time or place to think that "free" is good enough. 
There is a reason why these oh so very important "tools" came free with your computer. Ewe. Free? Really? That is so gross....