Digital Thinking

Legitimising collaborative lending

Vince Cable launches £110m loan scheme aimed at small firms headline in today’s Guardian It’s fascinating to see Government turning to the web‘s collaborative lenders. When companies like Zopa started I doubt that banks thought of them as serious competition. While the sums offered by government are relatively small, the principle is important. And if the scheme succeeds, by giving lenders a better return than a bank would offer, there’s the potential for a win-win in the private sector, at the expense of conventional banking. As digital businesses, it’s highly likely that when a model works it will also scale, rapidly. And while this initiative is underpinned by government funding, the legitimacy conferred by the scheme will fuel future growth in collaborative funding. Ht the guardian

Create a better consumption experience

Create a better consumption experience”
Jason Goldman, Twittter advisor at leWeb++

That’s the game!
The torrent of social media is overwhelming – it is impossible to keep up, even with a Facebook average/ Dunbar number 130 followers. {Seth Godin on Dunbar : TheGuardian on Dunbar }
Twitters’ lists is a decent effort – but it’s manual labour, and takes considerable time investment to create useful subject lists. Of course, the twitter ecosystem is starting to offer automated answers: Formulists for example. But it’s not quite doing it for me.
The best solution I’ve seen turned up today – by coincidence the same day as Justin Goldman’s quote: LinkedIn Signal needed Zero though to sign up & use. Just a regular LinkedIn sign-in, and I’m presented with a list of status updates. The left column gives checkboxes to filter by my LinkedIn network proximity, Industry, and Company, + more. Hey presto, instantly & usefully filtered  status update lists.
I could use it for the first time, without thinking “how does this work then”?
Which is a better consumption experience.
++Quoted by the ever-excellent @Adders

2011 prediction: Make it mobile

December: it’s the month for next year’s prediction lists. Ten or so nuggets of forecast wisdom about the world we’re about to live in. As 2010 ticks over into 2011, I think there’s just one mantra for marketers: “Make it mobile”

PerfectMarket on Slideshare

For a decade “mobile” has meant phones. Not any more – at least not exclusively. Apple’s iPad broke the barrier between phones & computing screens, but it’ll be android, Windows mobile et al that deliver the volume. The change will be astonishingly swift. The iPad set new marks for growth, and the arrival of iPad2 will keep the momentum high (iPad2 in February 2011?). Entry level 7″ Android tablets are heading under the $100 mark early in 2011. Between that sub $100 price point, and mobile contract subsidies , we’re going to see an explosion in tablet sales, on all platforms.

The consequences? Mobile data will grow: “Bruno Jacobfeuernborn CTO Deutsche Telecoms says near future Data traffic will grow 60x in mobile, while only 5x in fixed” @tomiahonen #wsamobile
Sixty times!

Royal Pingdom summarises the operating systems thus:

Worldwide mobile OS usage

The detail is:

Mobile OS market share based on web usage

These ‘share’ bars don’t of course show the relative numbers of active handsets, or their economic  value.

Tomi Ahonen, again:

” 20% of the Kenyan GDP transits a mobile phone today. It was only 10% as late as May and m-banking is only 4 years old. It passed 50% of all banking users just this spring. Meanwhile M-Pesa the biggest mobile banking service in Kenya has projected that 25% of the Kenyan GDP will transit a mobile phone before the end of 2010.”

That rate of growth challenges iPad!

The African symbian handsets are already handling huge proportions of GDP: developed countries are (relatively) tinkering with App sales and Near Field Communications. The ‘developed’ world will catch up on the transaction potential of mobile platforms in 2011.

Or rather, the more mature computing markets will bring their established computing behaviours to mobile screens – large & small.

In 2011.

The UK’s internet fraud map… worrying privacy issues

“London has been confirmed as the web-fraud capital of Britain, leading the pack when it comes to CNP (cardholder not present) fraud.

With an increase of around 22% in national internet card crime, the latest Early Warning Fraud Map
shows London, Manchester, Coventry, Kilmarnock and Bristol as
sustaining significantly more fraudulent transactions than elsewhere.”

…from Antony Savvas, at Computer Weekly – it’s a good follow through from his post in March this year:

Over one-in-ten (12%) internet users have experienced web fraud in past 12 months, costing them an average of £875 each.

The figure is reported by government and industry online safety campaign Get Safe Online.
survey among UK internet adult users (who number a total of 29m) found
that 12% had experienced online fraud in the last year. 

that time, 6% had suffered fraud while shopping online, 5% had
experienced another form of general online fraud and 4% were subject to
bank account or credit card fraud as a result of activity online (some
users experienced more than one of these types of fraud).”

The fraud map broadly follows population – no surprise there. What’s most worrying is that fraud rose by 22%. That may simply be the fraudsters’ response to chip n pin’s introduction in February 2006 – which may well have shifted card fraud from point of sale to cardholder not present transactions.

But if we can’t keep our money secure, with the help of our banks, then what chance have we of keeping our personal data secure? It’s a real issue, because no amount of protection by our banks can prevent ID theft if individually we leave data trails across the web that allow fraudsters to construct a personal profile.

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Collaboration, customer, community

TomTom GO 520 satellite navigation toy allows customers to update maps while driving, correcting their device’s information with what’s actually on the road. And then, of course to upload that update to a community, in exchange for corrections from other users.

Potentially this lifts the huge burden of updates from mapmakers – when TomTom and other satellite navigation manufacturers achieve a critical mass of customers. Service providers’ role changes to ‘verification’ rather than sourcing the update information, which is always a delayed process. Presumably, over time, an agreed verification standard will establish how often a map error needs to be reported before it’s considered verified.And the next step is to have this information reported back live from the vehicle, rather than delayed, from the owner’s office. That would allow for routing around roadworks that might cause delay for a few hours.

/ edit

Yesterday in Berlin TomTom announced their updated range all of which include Map Share. The range includes TomTom GO 920T and a 3d generation TomTom One

Advertising’s target audience is digital and fragmented

A cracking – but no surprises – article in the FT: TV ad income is down, but within the figures, TV companies’ income is shifting to digital channels. Their audience is fragmenting.

In 2010 internet advertising will overtake TV; only press advertising will be larger:

“Advertising spending on the internet, which was 14.2 per cent of the
total last year, is forecast to be 26.9 per cent in 2012, overtaking
television as the second largest platform for advertisers in 2010.

“Press advertising is estimated to fall from its 46 per cent share to just over 38.3 per cent in six years.”

Which will give us *very* interesting times: we have hundreds of years culture in press advertising; 50+ years of commercial tv expertise. And a decade of online ad exposure, which has been a fairground ride, with folk clinging to the handrail to keep up with the pace of technical innovation and explosions in site traffic.

How much consensus is there, right now, on what makes a good online ad campaign? Site views?  Registrations? Viral infection rates? Awareness? Sales?
Put any three experts in a room & you’ll get 4 views.

Now, it was always the same in tv & press – but built on rather more firm foundations. Which means that the online industry had better get some consensus on what to measure, and what to return on investment to expect, pretty quickly.
In three years or less.

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future of eMail

It’s good to see mozilla pushing their Thunderbird mail client forwards over the horizon.
I’ve used Thunderbird on & off for several years – at the moment it’s ‘on’, just.

There’s not too many problems with Thunderbird – most of the issues are with email, not any specific mail programme. I’d prefer if it collaborated more with other services – by which I mean with open standards, so that I can plug any service into Thunderbird. And some more speed would be good when syncing IMAP accounts… as would much tighter integration with browsers (not just Firefox), so that the leap from email to other media content (web page, podcast, video, IPTV programme and so forth) was as small as possible. That speed issue alone makes it tough to see how Thunderbird in its present state could get close to delivering mobileemail services.

As a marketer, the easier that a programme is to use, the more I like it: if folk receiving email find it easier to get to engaging content, then that’s good for online marketers.

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alt. Microsoft Office

this post by made me think about my own experiences with alternatives to Microsoft Office (Office for Mac, in my case)… I used to use writely – now the word processing tool at Google Docs – and found it fantastic for instant collaboration, particularly amongst folks who had never collaborated on a document as a virtual team.

I recently tried the spreadsheet in Google’s docs – & it’s just too slow on my 2mb broadband connection, even for the simple stuff I try to get done on Excel. If I can think faster than a computer runs or software renders my typing, then something’s way wrong!

I’ve been using NeoOffice for a few months on my desktop – and it works very nicely – I’m not missing MSOffice. There’s an early look at NeoOffice 2.2 for download That said, my next book Customer 2.0 is coming along nicely, in Word: I’ve written books & dissertations in Word before, and feel more comfortable handling a (very) long document in Word.

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Lectures to go: iTunes U

If you want your marketing to reach its online audience, go & find them. Take your product to where the audience already meets. If your audience is made up of sceptical teenagers, well, you’d need to turn up with a credible brand partner. Universities, Apple & iTunes Apple – Education – iTunes U: there could hardly be a stronger combination.

I love the idea of lectures being podcast (which already happens informally elsewhere) – far better to view a missed lecture online than to read a friend’s notes.

Aside from the convenience for current students, I’m sure that a strong iTunes U presence will be a great ad for the next round of student applications: prospective students are far more likely to choose a university  (all other things being equal, which of course they never are 🙂 that’s using sexy technology to make courses more convenient.

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Are widgets the next big thing?

’tis said they will be the big thing of 2007…

I remember Dave Winer saying (somewhere!) that his goal was to write blogging software that could be set up in 11 seconds… which is pretty much the same speed goal that widgets have: drag & drop tolls for those scared of looking under their blog’s hood. (& who can blame them!)

So now there’s some widgets on here, courtesy of snipperoo a UK company. Their beta service works, though the flow through the site isn’t yet as smooth as it could be. For starters, here’s Hugh Macleod’s Gaping Void a well known, Scobelized, who through his work with Stormhoek wines (I think) broke the big Threshers Wine Voucher story Christmas 2006.