Go online? Then you’re an Early Adopter.

                             

I remember clearly the first time I heard the term “early adopter”. It was around 1990 and I was an account person working on AT&T at NWAyer, an advertising agency. The agency “research guy” named John Bowman explained that it referred to a group of consumers with the personality type willing to be first to try a new product. And, if these early adopters liked your product, you could count on them to help spread the word.

 

So once we were introduced to this concept, we agency folks wanted our clients to create cool advertising campaigns to attract these early adopters. But there was a hitch. Early adopters tended to be a very small group. While they probably will become your champions, their ability to evangelize on your behalf was sorely limited. These early adopters could not sustain a business because they could not carry the message broad enough or far enough. For a business to become profitable, the product had to “cross the chasm”, appeal to the masses. Maybe early adopters helped the process, but more often than not, sheer marketing muscle in the form of advertising, did the trick. And to “cross the chasm” could take many months, if not years, and money – lots of it.  

 

That was then. This is now.

 

Today, I believe EVERYONE is an early adopter. If any of you go online or visit a social network or shop online – you are now squarely in the camp of the early adopter.

 

Why?

 

Because the pace of technology change is so rapid, that it has compressed into months what previously took years between the early adoption stage and the category maturation cycle.  For instance, if you go online today, I bet you will try some new “online thing” within the next 30 days. This makes you an early adopter – whether you be 16 or 86. Early adopters share a frame of mind – not a demographic, so that makes them a huge market. See what I mean? 

 

And social networks accelerate the rate of technology adoption even faster and further with newer tools like user ratings, online video chats, expert reviews etc. But social networks are also powerful accelerants of what new technology we adopt. We all get tons of emails or tweets from friends entitled, “check this out” – the promise of early adopter evangelicalism delivered.

 

I hope now you accept that everyone (ok – almost everyone) is an early adopter, and so you can start playing with how your marketing programs need to live within that new paradigm. You can identify various early adopter segments and develop a social marketing program appropriate to them. Create proper ways for your adopter segments to interact with each and with you. Solicit their input on product development and ask their help when you need it.

 

Creating businesses around early adopters is fun because once hooked they tend to be passionate about you. And they tend to trust you. Early adopters – gotta love ‘em.

 

Judy Shapiro  

Postscript — It is worth noting that the “research guy”, John Bowman, is currently an Exec VP at Saatchi and remains a trusted colleague.

Brilliance without wisdom is like fire without a hearth.

                                  

It was inevitable.  

Today I read that Twitter is vulnerable to a cross scripting attack. Forgetting the technical jargon for a moment, it is continued evidence of the overall state of social marketing … it is brilliance without wisdom.  

The innovation and brilliance of newer companies like Twitter is that they allow us to connect in diverse and wonderful ways, which underlies the truth that these are brilliant companies. Yet, their relative business “youth” suggests that wisdom is yet to come.  

They are creating huge networks of interconnected people who will become the key filter for how we see our online world. Yet, even as their influence grows, there is no ability to create an environment of trust. There is no ability to authenticate the person you are looking for or who has found you. There is no ability to efficiently harness the brilliance of your social networks to provide you with trustworthy information. Worse, the new social openness that these social networks enable can either be like a fire that can warm since it connects us so easily or, it can burn as in the case of identity theft, if not properly managed or contained.  

This is a tough balancing act to pull off (remaining open and connected yet secure) but I believe the introduction of trust into the web (via an authentication layer) will create the wisdom that lets the brilliance of social networks to fully emerge and warm the digital planet. 

That is what the next generation web should be about. Not just intelligent agents (courtesy of Google) or intelligent computers that understand context or some other “hot” technology that can burn if not well applied. But the next generation web should be about how to apply human wisdom (in the form trust) into the online world.  

We should not call this next generation web, Web 3.0 (after all – that refers to a software release). We should call this next generation web, The Trusted Web. 

Human wisdom — well applied in the digital world.    

Judy Shapiro

Top 5 reasons why social networks will drive how the next generation web will evolve.

                       

We’ve heard the buzz… Web 3.0, semantic web, smarter web (who knew it was stupid in the first place). But beyond the buzz, the idea of the next generation web is simple. How does the web evolve from a generic, impersonal place to a place where we can have a personal experience? How can I get information that is relevant to me? How can I use the web the way I want? How can I create a personal web for myself?

 

The answer becomes clearer when we put the human element at the heart of the conversation which this leads us to, you guessed it, our social networks. Nothing is more personal than our social networks so it’s best to start there in building the next web.

 

Now amazingly, technology that lets us create digital social networks and these social networks are growing like crazy. Companies like Facebook, Paltalk and Linkedin have spread so fast because they begin (mind you only begin) to introduce trust within our newly interconnected and now largely untrusted world.

 

That’s what today’s Paltalk TechNow interactive video event was about. It was entitled; Transforming the Web into YOUR web and it was about what will the next web look like. The show featured Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO of Comodo and his point was that the foundation of the next generation web is built on trust delivered via an authentication layer. I believe he is right. And taken further, it’s useful to remember that trust is first and foremost a function of social networks. By putting trust at the center of the conversation this puts the emphasis where it belongs – on the human factor. We need trust and we need social networks to help permeate trust within the new web. .

 

And that is why I can make my claim about the critical nature of social networks in the next generation web. I can even back up my assertion with a top 5 list :

 

1) Social networks have begun to dominate people’s online activity. According to Neilson, already 1 in every 11 online minutes is spent in social networks (that’s a lot of time given how new the space is).

 

2) Social networks will become people’s new communications hub. It already provides a diverse set of options for connecting with more people than ever,,, in chat rooms, with IM and in real time broadcasts. This trend will only continue.

 

3) Information obtained via social networks is more trusted than non vetted information. Just like in the real world where I would probably ask my lawyer friend for legal advice, we will  begin our online searches first within our social networks.

 

4) Law of numbers … 2/3 of people use one form of social media or another and more than use email! (Source: Computerworld 3/10/09).  Social networks are becoming our filter into the big and sometimes overwhelming world of Google. Our networks will help us sort good information from bad information.

 

5) Social networks are where people will live more and more when they go online. John Burbank, CEO of Nielson Online said, “Social networking will continue to alter not just the global online landscape, but the consumer experience at large. Social networking isn’t just growing rapidly, it’s evolving — both in terms of a broader audience and compelling new functionality,”

 

So if you want to guess how the next gen web will evolve, look no further than your own networks.

 

Trust the human element. Trust your “peeps”. 

 

Judy Shapiro

The Connected Singularity Is Near

                                      

I have read with relish the book by Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near and I respectfully borrow the phrase. The fundamental premise of his book is that we have approached “the knee of the curve” in our technological evolution, the moment where the pace of change will fundamentally change our biological evolution. Essentially, he argues with good cause, that change is happening faster and more fundamentally than most fully appreciate. 

And I think he’s right based on my personal experience. Much like a woman born at the turn of the last century, who saw in her lifetime the evolution from horseback to space travel, I too have seen a similar step change evolution in the connectiveness of the planet in a mere 15 years. In that time, I saw the transition from limited, one to one communications that was very expensive (I remember the days when a long distance call was a big thing) to a model where we can be connected with virtually no limits in terms of distance or scope.   

It is breathtaking … but I think Kurzweil limits his scope. Kurzweil places technology at the center of the change engine but I think if we focus on technology as the key driver, we limit its potential. We must remind ourselves to put the human factor at the heart of the technology evolution – not the other way around.  

And this focus on the human element must also apply to how the next generation Internet, sometimes called Web 3.0, will evolve. We must give full expression within this evolution to our human instinct to establish trusted connectedness in the web world in the same way we enjoy trusted connectedness in the real world.  

Yet in the conversations today about next generation web there is decided lack of focus on the human factor, (heck even the name Web 3.0 betrays the techno focus). For Google, the next generation web is about technology that delivers a personal web experience via intelligent search agent. For other companies, semantic technology that lets computers understand meaning better, is how the new, next web will evolve. All these technologies are all important, but they are a only a means to an end.  

The end game for the next generation web is the creation of this trusted model of community, commerce and communications for everyone just like we have in our everyday, real worlds. This model puts the human need to trust as central to the conversation — not be peripheral to the thinking. This, for me, suggests we are creating a connected singularity in a Connected Web enabled by a concept of Social Authentication put forward by Comodo. For this new “Connected Web” to work, it must be grounded on trust and trusted networks.  

This is why Paltalk will be hosting the third TechNow event; Transforming the Web into YOUR Web airing March 19 at 3:00 (EST) with Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO and Chief Security Architect of Comodo. During this live, interactive event, Melih will challenge conventional thinking about how we create the emerging next generation Web, sharing his vision about how a Connected Web needs to be based on trust. Melih will be joined by noted industry analyst, Henry Blodget of Alley Insider, in a discussion about:  

·         Current technical versions and major scenarios associated with next generation Web (semantic, 3D, pervasive, media-centric, etc.)

·         The potential and benefit of web 3.0 for every day people?

·         The functional model of how next generation Internet technologies will combine to deliver this new, next Connected Web  

·         How do we leverage the intelligence of people within a social authentication™ framework as is being defined today by Comodo?

·         How will a trust and authentication layer be introduced into connected community, ecommerce and communications networks?

 

Live, interactive video chat: 

Date: Thursday, March 19th

Time: 3:00pm EST

Room Name: TechNow Network

 

Visit http://technow.paltalk.com/crashdummies for more information, to watch past shows and to sign up for a reminder email. 

 

Join the conversation. Join the movement towards a trusted Connected Web.

 

Judy Shapiro

Who cares what Google says!

My son showed me a Google search result that was in contradiction to a fact that I knew to be true about the Great Depression (I am, by training, a history major).

 

So I looked closer at the source he was using to make his point and realized it was a not a reliable information source but rather an affiliate site from some financial services company.

 

“Honey”, I say with more patience. “Google simply shows you which pages have the words you looked for. It can not tell you which information to trust.”

 

And then out of the mouth babes came, “Then who cares what Google says”. Precisely.

 

Google’s power comes from its ability to gather information efficiently and serve it back to users based on a keyword driven algorithm technology platform. However, no matter how intelligent keyword search becomes, it can not provide the critical ingredient to make search reliable – it can not tell us when to trust the information we are being given.

 

That, is where, the line in the sand is drawn between the searches of today and the new way to search in the future. Between the power of Google today and upcoming power of whoever delivers trusted searches.

 

And I am betting that this “whoever” will be our digital social networks. I believe they will become the new Google of tomorrow (actually Googles…)

 

Look at this it this way. In the real world, much of what we need to know can best come from our personal and professional networks because it is, in fact, trusted. We go there first because it saves us a lot of time and fuss. We enlarge the information gathering process only if this does not provide us all we need.

 

Translate that concept to our digital social network world. I believe that we will be able to configure our social networks efficiently to be our first search circle moving out as the needs requires.

 

It makes sense. It’s what we do every day.

 

Watch out Google. Here we come.

 

Judy Shapiro

What’s alternating current?

I recently became fascinated with understanding how and why alternating current works better in electricity delivery than direct current. The improvement of efficiency of power delivered via alterating current is staggering. I never knew …  and it got me thinking about places where better power management (as AC was to DC) can make a huge difference in many industries and applications.

Then I began to ponder how to apply this efficiency model in a broken business model, the model called marketing services and the agencies that deliver these services to clients.

As an ex-agency person who has been on the client side for a dozen years, you’ll notice this blog is punctuated by postings that rant against agencies. “They don’t get it. They live in their cool worlds without having business experience.” And I am not alone in my thinking. Nearly every client friend I know complains bitterly about their agency. I even had one ex-client call me about a year ago (we have not worked together in over 20 years) to say she missed me. She missed me as her account person. “They just don’t get it” she said. She meant her agency.

But I love this industry. I worked as a VP at an ad agency for over a decade (NWAyer for those old timers who remember this agency with affection) and I see a failure of power delivery. I see a failure of imagination that would have allowed agencies to evolve in the increasingly complex world that clients live in.

I want to create a place where clients and agencies can cooperate to create something more productive, more efficient. Help me create a more efficient way to deliver power (aka business ideas and services) to clients.

What’s the alternating current paradigm shift of our business?

I don’t yet know what form the “alternating current” power model of the marketing industry will be.To that end, I will be creating a virtual group where we will be able to address real issues and provide practical solutions. Perhaps we create a new standards body to address technology integration issues. Perhaps there is a need for agencies to have a consistent approach to online identity management?

So to join me … just email me. I am starting with a small gathering soon. Watch this space.

Judy Shapiro

What’s up?

            

It’s a common greeting among kids.  “Hey, what’s up?” they ask wanting to get the latest updates on what’s happening in their friends lives.

 

Now technology provides a way to let our connections perpetually know “What’s Up” with us – all the time, if we want. The new social networking platform has made the act of keeping up easy and far more powerful than ever before. But the new digital transparency raises some tough questions.

 

How do we keep our sensitive information out of the hands of fraudsters as we tweet publically about what we buy and where we are?

 

How do we know if a “friend request” is real or really some Trojan virus planted on a site?

 

How does security, identity management and social networking intersect to ensure a way to stay safe online?

 

Should there be standards for the social networking industry today? If so, who should drive it – the government, the industry or some other new standard body?

 

These are new and difficult questions that affect all of us. This is why I am pleased that Paltalk will be bringing a new series called TechNow where industry experts and you will discuss important technology issues of the day.

 

On Tuesday, March 3rd at 3pm EST we have two industry experts, Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO of Comodo and Henry Blodget, CEO of Silicon Alley Insider, in a live interactive event entitled; Your Digital Identity – Manage It Or Lose It. They will delve into this compelling topic and I invite you to come along for the debate and share your thoughts, live.

 

To join the room when the event is on, March 3, 3:00 pm EST, please visit http://TechNow.Paltalk.com. To learn more about the event or submit a question, please go to http://TechNow.Paltalk.com/crashdummies

 

Now when you ask “What’s Up”, the answer can be just a click away. But are we too easy a mark? I want some answers. Join me as I get them.   

 

Judy Shapiro

 

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