Sunday, June 30, 2019

Let's get this on tape

Is it Duck Tape or Duct Tape?

Well, today Duck Tape is a BRAND of Duct tape, which for my money is pure genius. We were arguing (politely chatting) in May during a family get-together about if it was DUCK or DUCT tape.

Enter Google: It turns out that it was first DUCK TAPE, invented during World War II by Johnson & Johnson for the military. The waterproof, cloth backed tape was perfect for keeping moisture out of ammunition cases. Like water off a ducks back. Military personnel quickly learned that it was good for way more than keeping out water. Fixing their guns, Jeep repair, strapping equipment to their clothing, the list was endless.

And then AFTER the war, people started calling it DUCT TAPE, because it was a great way to fix leaks in forced air heating and cooling systems.

So all this Google-ing about DUCT / DUCK tape on the deck had me stumble across this new startup, Tape. And so the story now gets very interesting. And very sticky.

Turns out that this new startup tech company called Tape addresses one of the most pressing problems in business today: lead decay.

No, not lead decay as in radioactive isotopes. LEAD DECAY, as in "how long does it take you to get back to someone when they visit your website?"

LEADS, the lifeblood of any size business, are a big deal. So, I filled out the form, and just like that, there was a welcome video waiting for me in my smartphone.

Instant lead processing. Instant lead follow up, instant lead engagement. 

It did not take me long to reach out and have a nice little chat with the young founders of Tape. Ex-Amazon, Ex-Facebook, Ex-(you name it) young geniuses, all of them. It also did not take long for ALL OF US to see how Tape's lead decay solution would be an amazing value-added member benefit for the entire NYDLA community.

Heck, how could anyone in business NOT want to have instant, professional, personal engagement with their website visitors?

And so, just like that Tape is now a value-added member benefit for the millions of members of the NYDLA. And just like that, Tape is (soon) going to have another definition.  There is audio tape, video tape, magnetic tape, ticker tape, mounting tape, adhesive tape, electrical tape and many dozens of other kinds of tape.

But THIS tape, this technology is going to become a verb.

Just as "Google it" has become a verb, sending someone a tape video over SMS technology is going to become expected. It is going to become necessary to compete in the ever growing world of eCommerce. NOT using Tape on your website is going to become, well, like not having any DUCK TAPE when you need it!

Tape: to get back to someone immediately, professionally and with great alacrity.

And I ALWAYS call it DUCK tape. Always have, always will.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

I'm feeling a little saturated

At 58 years old, I think I just attended my first Farmer's Market. I cannot be certain, but if I did wander into one in the past it was not on purpose.

The local Farmer's Market in Boonton, New Jersey was fun. Lots of fresh produce, crafts, and all around cool stuff. It made me smile as I love observing Entrepreneurship in action. My wife bought some home made soap. I bought a large loaf of Italian bread. I don't know if she used the soap yet, but the Italian bread is now GONE. It did not make it to sunset yesterday.

But this brings me to the Blueberries. And the Cherries. And the other fresh produce. As we walked up and down the rows of tents I could not help but to think to myself: wow, that's a lot of Blueberries. I'm going home with a ton of Blueberries and Cherries.

Ah, nope.

Not organic. I learned yesterday that we don't buy anything that is not organic. "But this is a Farmer's Market! How much more 'organic' can you get?"

Boy, my wife was ready for THAT question. She said: "HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT ORGANIC FOOD IS?"

OK, so I learned yesterday that Camp Capone is 100% Organic. This I did not know. And it looks like I have been violating Camp Capone rules and regulations for years. And now, much research later, I am fully educated on all things Organic Farming and Organic Food.

But now thanks to Google, I am now also very much up to speed and fully educated on all things Farmer's Markets. And they are hurting. 

Nationwide, the number of Farmer's Markets rose from 2,000 in 1994 to more than 9,600 in 2019. And this leads to a major problem. Too few farmers populate the market stalls, and too few people to fill the canvas bags of the Farmer's Market shoppers.

Farmer's Markets have Market Saturation. 

Too many smaller markets are in hyper competiton for an already saturated marketplace. And now they also compete against Amazon, Instacart or Blue Apron for home delivery of fresh foods.

In business, sometimes things don't pencil out. Sometimes people in business don't stop and think through the logistics.

There are too few farmers and too few customers to make having "many" Farmer's Markets viable. Communities should pool together. If five or more communites formed one Farmer's Market, rather than five or more locally competing Farmer's Markets, that one pooled marketplace would be a more exciting venue for customers, and it would be much more profitable for farmers.

And what about an app? Maybe such an app already exists, but there should be a Farmer's Market app that allows anyone at anytime to see what's happening at THAT Farmer's Market, and will it be worth their time and money to drive to THAT market vs. THIS market. And how about filters that say "ORGANIC" so that you don't waste your time driving to a Farmer's Market that is not going to have anything that fits your "organic only" needs?

An app for Farmer's Markets would also open the door for online eCommerce sales. People could get on mailing lists, newletters, and even earn loyalty rewards.

Think of the app like: Airbnb meets Waze for Farmer's Markets. 

Vendors pay good money to host a booth at a Farmer's Market. Having their business listed in an app would be an easy sale. And locally grown Honey from New Jersey could easily be shipped anywhere in country, all via an app. Farmer's Markets Together Forever! 

Take that, Amazon.

Technology could solve the Market Saturation problem of Farmer's Markets nationwide. And we need as much fresh, locally grown food as we can find. I'll continue to support our local Farmer's Market every weekend. Now, about that app......

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Are you famous or something?

The author and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky had a lot to live up to after being tagged "The Great One" at the age of 10.

Wayne Gretzky holds 61 National Hockey League records: 40 for the regular season, 15 for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and 6 for the NHL All-Star Game. He is a 4x Stanley Cup champion, a 3x Canada Cup champion, and has earned dozens of awards and honors ranging from MVPs to Player of the Decade/Century to a Hockey Hall of Fame induction in 1999. His iconic jersey number 99 has been retired league-wide by the NHL. 

And Wayne is waiting for you in your conference room, ready to talk to your team about leadership, sports, or whatever topic YOU ask him. Live.

That is the power of Geniecast - the marketplace for experts, thought leaders, and speakers - otherwise known as Genies. Delivered live, interactive virtual experiences. Genies provide solutions for organizations all around the world via virtual "Casts" on topics ranging from diversity and inclusion to employee engagement & retention, financial stability in a changing economy, sales growth, and so much more. (pronounced "NYED-LA") is all about distance learning > DIGITAL learning > DIGITAL LIVING

Ever watch a Netflix documentary? How about a TED Talk? 

Simon Sinek is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. He discovered remarkable patterns about how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act and communicate. Simon might be best know for popularizing the concept of WHY in his first TED talk in 2009 (the third most popular TED Talk of all time). 

When the Kolkata, India chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) needed a speaker that would truly amaze and teach members at their annual conference, Geniecast helped them to fight the barriers of time, distance and expense. With a busy schedule and what would have been 30+ hours of travel away from New York, a speaker of Simon's stature would normally have been out of reach.

Geniecast created an interactive discussion between the augmented presence of a world-class speaker and a live audience on the other side of the world. Imagine face-to-face, real-time engagement with a lifelike representation of an expert, speaker, or thought leader standing thousands of miles away. 

World-Class Speakers, Teachers and Thought Leaders. Delivered in stunning real-time via augmented reality. Members of now have special, VIP access to the Geniecast marketplace. Just as Uber and Airbnb are able to utilize idle drive time in a car or vacant time in an apartment, Geniecast offers the same "gig economy" style options to their speaker network. 

Zoom is the official Videoconferencing platform of the NYDLA, and Geniecast works great on Zoom, but it works on other popular videoconferencing networks as well. 

The days of dry corporate meetings with convenient speakers may be coming to an end. By using interactive online technology and curating the experience, Geniecast is giving smaller businesses access to speakers they otherwise could not afford. Geniecast eliminates the need to fly in speakers, put them up in hotels, and pay them a substantial fee for their time. 

Wayne Gretzky. Simon Sinek. How about you? Are you ready to be a Genie? 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Is It Live or Is It Memorex?

If you were born in the 60's like me, you will remember the commercials for Memorex. The hook was to see if a person could tell the difference between a live performance, and the recorded performance. In one of the better commercials it showed Ella Fitzgerald singing a note live - and it would shatter a wine glass. Then, the recorded voice on Memorex was so good that it too, would shatter the glass. A pretty cool visual, I still remember those ads vividly.

This takes me down the rabbit hole of live vs. recorded. Asynchronous communications vs. synchronous communications. Technology that allows us to do "live" meetings from around the world, rather than buying a plane ticket.

If you ever had the experience of seeing a Broadway play "live" today's blog will resonate with you. Live, in real-time, is always amazing. It is unfolding right there in front of you. There is the chance for an error. There will "always" be something that is just slightly different than a previous performance. Being there live, you are part of the performance.

Ever see a famous comedian live? And then see the same comedian on a recorded HBO special? Not the same thing. Both events could be amazing, and both can be very entertaining. But there is something about a LIVE performance, in-person, that is recorded differently in our brains.

When we have a "live" experience, whether it be a concert, a sporting event, or even attending a business meeting, something very different happens when you are physically present, rather than attending "live" via technology. This is why even though they can be expensive, corporations frequently host off-sites and events LIVE for their staff and teams. Streaming media is amazing, but LIVE is always better.

I noticed that if I meet someone LIVE, in person, any future interactions with that person (Zoom meetings, phone calls, email or texts) seem more real. If I first meet someone virtually, and then meet them LIVE at a trade show, or at a corporate event in the future, it is not the same result. LIVE sets the anchor. LIVE forces us to take in the entire sensory experience including visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and olfactory.

I will probably never visit Mount Everest LIVE. I would however, enjoy a deep, immersive virtual trip to the summit via technology. But only because going LIVE is really not going to happen. Same goes for me walking on Mars. But I MIGHT visit the Louvre Museum, and I HAVE BEEN to MoMA. If technology allows me to experience an adventure the only way possible (virtually) then wonderful. But whenever possible, we should use technology to first attempt to make things happen LIVE, then if not live at least try for synchronous communications. And if not synchronous, then shoot for the highest quality of asynchronous communications possible. talks are amazing. But it would be even more amazing to be in the audience, LIVE.

If technology allow us to do something restorative, visit a national park, exercise, talk to a real human being, listen to music, spend time LIVE with our family, fantastic. Our brains need to experience things LIVE, and we humans don't seem to get that benefit of restoration from living in our virtual worlds.

Use technology to increase the quality and frequency of your LIVE experiences. Use technology to travel better, to have more LIVE quality time at your destination. Watch your kid's school play LIVE, as the obvious choice. Experience more things live. Have more synchronous conversations. Keep your smartphone in your pocket a little longer. Post less videos on social media - let the high fidelity recording last in your brain just a little longer before you share it online.

Make having LIVE experiences and memories be your #1 priority at home and at work. Use your technology to maximize and amplify your LIVE experiences within the real world, not to replace them.