Sunday, December 26, 2021

Magic 8 Ball says......

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Remember the Magic 8 Ball? It was a special toy used for fortune telling process or seeking guidance manufactured by Mattel in the 1950s.

It had a 20 sided die - an icosahedron (geek much?) with 20 possible answers. 10 positive, 5 maybe, maybe not, and 5 negative. So, if you would shake it and "try again" the odds were that you would get a POSITIVE answer twice as often as a negative answer. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we go back to the office in 2022?


After many years of disruption, life in the USA is slowly returning to normal - except where it is not. Normal may never be normal again. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed us, made us question our values and rethink what is important, not important, and what IMPORTANT even means. 

What is an office, anyway? And why do we seek to RETURN to it? In 2022 the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we prioritize our time will be different - and will CONTINUE to morph. In 2022 businesses of any size will need to adjust to meet the new demands of PEOPLE, and this will be directly connected to the way we all use and implement technology. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we return to simpler times in 2022?


COVID-19 forced us to slow down, which was one of the more positive outcomes. During lockdown, people did begin to appreciate the little things, to enjoy time spent with family, to connect with loved ones, and to appreciate not having to "rush" everywhere. And DOGS and CATS were the big winners during the pandemic, to be sure. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we return to the office, or to a college campus in 2022?


The desire for simplicity will extend to work, to school - to everywhere. The term "meetings" or "class" shall never be the same. Business will need technology that just works - every time. And, the people who DO go to an office will simply walk into a room, have their meeting, and get on with their day. Simple, easy to use, high-quality technology which allows people (workers or students) to connect seamlessly with co-workers, classmates and clients with zero fuss will be mandatory

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will we still commute to work in 2022?


There is a thing now called the 15 minute rule. During COVID-19 people realized what a total waste of time and money commuting to work was. They want to live within 15 minutes of the office - any office - if there even is an office to commute to. It has become widely accepted that we can be productive from anywhere. Workers who no longer wish to commute each day will demand that HYBRID working is a part of their default working arrangement. We shall see a rise in satellite offices, smaller offices located in suburban areas. As of this blog, Sears is converting their distressed mall properties into co-working places, low cost apartments, telemedicine centers, and business development zones. We hung out at "the mall" when we were kids. Now, we shall do it again, as fully-formed adults. Hanging out at the mall will become cool again. 

Business shall be conducted from anywhere and everywhere. Gartner believes that by the end of 2023, 40% of companies will use "operations anywhere" to combine virtual and physical interactions with customers and employees. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Should I Join the NYDLA (now NADLA) in 2022?


In the past two years, we have witnessed the rise in telemedicine, the boom of eCommerce, the rise of digital banking, and just about every business type adopting decentralized work practices and processes as a result of the pandemic. Cloud technologies and services, combined with the update of 5G and ever faster internet speeds, will continue to drive the decentralized workforce. 2022 will enable productivity and business continuity from any (every) time zone. Early in the pandemic, we were all scrambling to get headsets, laptops, cameras, even desks and chairs. 2022 will be the year that we all DEMAND work quality via technology. Pro-quality sound, crystal clear video, super fast internet will be table stakes for work in the New Year. We are all now living, learning, working, playing - teaching, training, coaching, mentoring - in the global Cloud Economy. But there is no need to go it alone. There is a support group for the future. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Will VR take off in 2022?

"My sources say no"

Video is king, and it will continue to dominate as we all move into 2022. Virtual workspaces are coming, but not in the near future. Comfort is key for remote work, and wearing a VR headset that is not lightweight is a deal breaker. VR meetings will happen when the hardware can be designed in a way that is comfortable, lightweight, and easy to wear for hours on end. 

Oh Magic 8 Ball: Should I continue to write a Sunday Blog in 2022?

"Reply hazy try again"

[shake shake shake]

"Better not tell you now"

[shake shake shake]

"Ask again later"

[shake shake shake]

"Cannot predict now"

[shake shake shake]

"Concentrate and ask again"

Will save me time and money in 2022?

Sunday, December 19, 2021

I can't have another byte of pie

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

A byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, the byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the smallest addressable unit of memory in many computer architectures. 

Ah, bytes and bits. FitbitGot it.

Fitbit is an American consumer electronics and fitness company. It produces wireless-enabled wearable technology, physical fitness monitors and activity trackers such as smartwatches, pedometers and monitors for heart rate, quality of sleep, and stairs climbed. Google bought Fitbit in 2021. 

The acquisition was scrutinized by regulators who were concerned over Google's access to personal data.

For some reason (too much time on my hands?) I went down the Fitbit Privacy Policy rabbit hole here: and

Does anyone ever read this stuff? Like, other than 0.01% of the population? And, the real question is this: would there be anything in that legal stuff that would make anyone say "Hey! Wait a minute - no way!" 

I wear my Fitbit pretty much 24 x 7. The only time I take it off is in the shower and when I need to charge it up. Fitbit (Google) knows everything about me now. They know my sleep patterns, my physical location, activity, heart rate, food plan, even how much water I drink (not enough). And, now has me in a local dog walking club. And I also know when and where MY FITBIT FRIENDS are located, and what they are doing (or not doing). There is an AMAZING amount of stuff found here at for those who want to find out what is possible

Folks, Google (and Facebook) knows everything. And - when you willingly "feed them" your personal data from things like Fitbit - well, that is over the top. When and where we are, what we are doing (dog park, shopping mall, office, home...) truly everything. Privacy is over. Especially when we willingly feed the machine. 

"OK, Google, what is pie?"  3.14159265359.....

"OK, Google, can I BUY pie in Boonton, NJ?"

[ OK, Tom: here is a list...of bakeries near Boonton, NJ.]  And now, on my personal Facebook page, up pops an ad for a local bakery in Boonton USA. Just like that, the wizards of both Google AND Facebook know that THIS Fitbit user is shopping for... pie

As of this blog, COVID-19 is, well, back. Was it ever gone? Around 30% of the US population has NOT been vaccinated. That number is not moving. There is a very interesting post about COVID-19 and Fitbit here: It talks about how Fitbit devices can identify signs of COVID-19 at its earliest stages. As of today, NHL and NFL teams are not playing scheduled games due to COVID-19. 

Cardio, Strength Training, Walking, Running, Yoga, Recipes, Health Eating Strategies, Snaking Tips, Smart Food Shopping, Stress, Mindfulness, Sleep Tips...and where to buy pie. These are all available to me, and for anyone who wants to know about me

The privacy train has left the station long ago. You can Google Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) all you want. Do you know who is NOT required to follow HIPAA? Life Insurers, Employers, Worker's Compensation Carriers, most schools and school districts, many state agencies, including child protective agencies, most law enforcement agencies, and many municipal offices. 

Saturday Night Live was (not) live-live "from New York" last night due to COVID-19 surging in New York City. At this point in the game, why not GO ALL IN on using technology to FIGHT COVID-19 with everything we got? 

Why not have my Fitbit "buzz" when I am in a COVID-19 hotspot? Why not have my Fitbit alert me when there is a "hint" of my having COVID-19 symptoms? Why not have my Fitbit talk to my primary care physician in real-time, 24x7? If my Fitbit can organize my Dog Park Walking Club, just imagine what it can do for a KICK COVID IN THE ASS Club? 

I see 2.9M+ people today on the page. I am sure the numbers are MUCH HIGHER on the Apple Watch pages. 

"OK, Google, how many people wear an Apple Watch?" 100M+

Privacy is a joke. Deep in our hearts, we know that Google, Facebook and Apple (and Amazon, and Netflix, and...) already know EVERYTHING about us - especially when we willingly SEND THEM our most personal data. Might as well put Big Tech to work saving lives, full guns, all in, right? 

Hey Big Tech: want to help your brand? KICK COVID'S ASS! For all of us. Thanks. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Everyone Listen Up!!!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

On December 10th, Seth's Blog declared this as his Book of the Year. I always find it cool how you can just say "Seth" and you know who I am talking about. If you simply type "Seth" into Google, he comes up first. Anyway, Seth says:
"The Wizard and the Prophet (book) delivers on so many things that we want a book to do - it could never be replicated by a website or even a film. The audiobook is even better - it's engaging, powerful and resonates really deeply."

Seth Godin said the audiobook is even better. Let that sink in.

There has been the debate of reading vs. audiobooks for years. For a 2016 study, Beth Rogowsky, an associate professor of education put her assumptions to the test. One group listened to Unbroken, a nonfiction book about World War II (by Laura Hillenbrand) while a second group read the same. A third group read AND listened at the same time. Afterward, everyone took a quiz designed to measure how well they had absorbed the material. "We found no significant differences in comprehension between reading, listening, or reading AND listening simultaneously," Rogowsky says. 

Personally, I love listening to audiobooks. And, when "read by the author" it is even better. It feels like a Master Class, with the author right there in the room (or in the car, or in the park) with me

Audiobooks have some strengths. Humans have been sharing information orally for tens of thousands of years, while the written word is a much more recent invention. When we are reading we are using parts of the brain that evolved for other purposes. We are making our brains do something that our brains were not really made to do - the cognitive task of reading is not normal. Listeners however, can derive a lot of information from a speaker's inflections, or intonations. Sarcasm is much more easily communicated via audio than printed text. People who hear Shakespeare spoken out loud tend to glean much more meaning from the actor's delivery, for example. was always all about distance learning, morphing into DIGITAL learning, and today it is really just DIGITAL LIVING. From TED talks to audio/video podcasts, to Zoom becoming a verb, technology based learning systems (TBLS) are now in every part of our lives. I always felt that Audiobooks were front and center in the distance (digital) learning world. 

And so, I have downloaded The Wizard and the Prophet from Audible. 

Brevity is bliss: Seth was right. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Our Client's Customer's Membership End-User Subscription Fees

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Do you have clients or customers? And do you know (or care) about the difference?

Simply put, a client is the one who wants professional support or services from the company. Whereas, a customer refers to a person who purchases products or services from the company. Most of the time, clients commit to a longer business relationship, which may or may not end after the first purchase. 

Zoom became "a verb" long before COVID-19 changed the world forever. Last estimate, there are 1B+ people using Zoom for free - which costs Zoom Video Communications, Inc. around $100M+ per year, just to keep the free service, free. And yet, there are enough people in the world to make Zoom around $2.7B in 2021. So, even with giving Zoom away for FREE to over a billion people, Zoom had a net income of around $340M+ for the Q3 2021. 

Way back in 2014: "The Consumer Product Zoom - Zoom's HD video and screen sharing platform has an unprecedented ability to produce and stream a distinctively crisp image and a very clear audio transmission throughout your conversation, regardless of your bandwidth situation." 

Customers. Clients. Members. Users. Subscribers. 

I am old enough to remember paying AOL by the HOUR for their service. Then - AOL went to a flat monthly fee. Then - AOL became FREE. Today, from time to time, I still see people using an AOL email, like For me, that just makes me snicker, and I think to myself like DUDE! Get a Gmail, you look like a luddite with that AOL email.

BACK IN THE DAY: I remember paying around $0.50 per minute for my NYNEX cellular phone service - plus a monthly fee. It did not take much to have a $200+ monthly car phone bill. Today, you can get an "all you can" eat plan from most carriers for $15 per month. So back in the 1980's if you had a phone installed in your car you were in business (in some capacity) or very wealthy. What did you do for a living that you NEEDED to make phone calls from the car for around $0.50 per minute, plus taxes and fees? 

Peloton. Disney+. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Salesforce. NetSuite. QuickBooks. Workplace from Meta. Facebook from Meta. So ask yourself: the monthly cellular phone service that you are getting from ONE of the Big Three Wireless Carriers - are you a customer, a client, a member or a user - or a subscriber? 

With roughly 2.89B monthly active users, Facebook (from Meta) is the biggest social network worldwide. But Workplace (from Meta) has around 7M+ users worldwide. Facebook is free, Workplace is not free. Companies pay to have access to Workplace. But both have users. Not clients or customers or members, but they call them users

Twitter. LinkedIn. Uber. Airbnb. The Harvard Club. Your (local) country club. If you are reading this blog (and, you are - if you got this far) are you a subscriber of my blog, or is this a one-time thing? And do you have a favorite podcast

Zoom has 1B+ users world wide, but only a fraction of those users pay for Zoom. And yet, things are very good over at Zoom Video Communications, Inc. The community that I run NYDLA (and now NADLA) shall have 10M+ members come 2022 - mostly thanks to (sadly) the global pandemic. Other than Zoom, I don't know who could have grown more (or faster) during a global pandemic, as we pivoted from distance learning to DIGITAL learning to DIGITAL LIVING. And trust me (like Zoom) only a fraction of our membership pays. Otherwise I would be writing this blog from the beach in Fiji.

So, what do you have in YOUR business, in YOUR company? Customers? Clients? Members? Users? Subscribers?

Yes. The answer is yes, all of the above.

You have Customers, Clients, Members, Users AND Subscribers. It just depends on the day (or the year) you ask the question. 

Robbie is also the host of the podcast
"Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches" She coined the popular business term “Membership Economy"
which is now being used by organizations and journalists
around the country and beyond.