Why am I writing about Twitter at midnight? Even Ashton Kutcher is icing his iThumb at this hour. I’m chasing a brainstorm for my keynote at New Media Expo/Blogworld on Sunday. My talk is about the future of social currencies and the new economics of work. Since launching several successful loyalty services at MasterCard and American Express, I’ve been obsessed with deconstructing what motivates us. That’s why social media and gamification are so amusing to me. They’re a shiny new set of controls that can change – or exploit human behavior. But before drunkenly commandeering The USS Twitter, it’s best to first meet its passengers. Like my 15 Faces of Facebook article last year, here is a deconstruction of Twitter – what it is, who uses it, and what motivates them. In future articles, I’ll go deeper into tools to change both customer and employee behavior.
Registered users will get the detailed infographic here (to be posted on 1/11)
This is a repost of Steve Faktor’s original article on Forbes.
In a way, innovation is like sex: those talking about it most are probably doing it the least. Before founding IdeaFaktory, I’ve had the privilege (and collateral hair loss) of innovating at top Fortune 100 firms, where ‘talk’ was unavoidable. So I decided to codify my lessons as The 4C’s of Innovation(TM). These are: context, creativity, capabilities, and most importantly, culture. Any innovation worth doing demands cultural change. But who will lead that change? And who will reject it? Why does the same ra-ra event move some employees to tears, but lands like the Hindenburg with others? No need to hire an army of psychologists to electroshock your workforce for answers. Unlike fluffier lists of people to hire, I’ve profiled the nine kinds of people in your company now who will make or break any innovation or change initiative. (For more on culture change, also check out my new podcast with this week’s guest Stan Slap.)
This is a repost of Steve Faktor’s original article on Forbes
To many men, shopping for clothes is like doing your own brain surgery – you’re in no condition to know when you’ve screwed up. Sure, single men must dress up to attract mates. Those poor, unsuspecting women have no clue what fashion nightmares await them. Marriage does to men’s fashion what irritable bowels do to romance. Things get even worse at work. The more casual the office, the more likely we are to see mangled toes and bloated bellies. Even billionaires wear outfits that scream “I sleep in a box.” Of course, it’s the rest of us who need to keep trying. Unfortunately, men’s clothing stores have failed miserably. The shopping experience is hardly painless, especially at department stores. They have the most resources, space, and selection, but they’re packed with men wandering aimlessly like an exiled Judaic tribe.
When I was at MasterCard, I led a project called Total Shopping Solution. Eventually, we commercialized it as two very successful services, Commerce Intelligence and Commerce Coalition. Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about intra-store shopping experiences, especially during all those wasted hours looking for clothes to fit my beefy frame. With today’s technology and some low-tech ingenuity, department stores can reinvent the men’s shopping experience. (After reading this article, I hope they’ll also reimburse me for the the years I’ve lost trying on ill-fitting pants.)
Yesterday, I had the displeasure of meeting someone at Pret-a-Manger, a thriving chain featuring something resembling food – from the 1950′s. I live in New York, which offers an astounding number of food options from McDonald’s to fresh bagels to pizza to Mexican. So I was shocked that this Frankenrestaurant was not a laundromat or a hospice by now. As I negotiated peace with my furious stomach, I came to some surprising conclusions about local marketing…and life.
So what’s my problem with Pret-a-Manger? The food isn’t even remotely fresh. They don’t even try to fake a culinary orgasm. Let’s start by introducing you to their chef: the refrigerator. I call him Fridgy. Fridgy makes every sandwich cold, pre-packaged and hours (months?) in advance from some undisclosed military installation. Prisons…and 7/11…have fresher-looking food. Have you ever bitten into a cold baguette? I hope you have amazing dental work. All the flavors blend into one meta-flavor – cold. The only thing left is texture – hard…soft…mushy…and, ouch!
It wasn’t very often that my parents took me to the museum. Let’s face it, we were poor immigrants and Brooklyn already featured five Pakistani shops for cultural diversity. Plus, I’m pretty sure that my parents were faking their interest in art for my benefit. No one would mistake our one bedroom apartment for the Louvre. A loo, maybe. I could tell they were faking it when my engineer dad tried to straighten one of the lopsided installations at the Guggenheim. OK, I’m not sure that actually happened, but I remember him grumbling that no one there would ever land a job at his old Soviet aviation plant. A coveted prize.
As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate how those lopsided installations and grotesque paintings got inside the MOMA. Often, it’s the work of a slight, somewhat effeminate, persnickety man dubbed, “The Curator” *. He grew up fetishizing art, learning what inspired Picasso, and hoping his parents don’t discover his secret: that he’ll never become the race car driver they’d hoped for. This preening prodigy spent his whole life admiring objects he couldn’t afford – waiting, pining away for that moment when his stature could finally catch up to his snootiness. Today, he dresses to impress. And, celebrities from Elton John to Ricky Martin can’t wait to marvel at his huge…collection.
Just got this confidentially from a friend working on this project for the US Post Office… Unreal!
—– Forwarded Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2012 4:54 PM
Subject: Proposal: New Post Office Business Model – Go Postal!
As I baked muffins to celebrate Facebook’s IPO, it occurred to me that there’s one HUGE, unspoken difference between the data people reveal to Facebook and what Google collects through search and other tools. It’s this: Facebook knows the image you want to project to the world – your “social resume”. Beautiful vacation photos; that perfect profile photo you Photoshopped so much that your nose is part puma, part Joan Rivers; and those photos of you surrounded by hot girls that lets the world (and Facebook) know that your party never stops.
Well, Google knows your dark, ugly, dirty truths. Your transcribed Google Voice messages reveal you argued nonstop on that island vacation as your kids yelled, “I hate you!” in the background. Your search history shows all your liposuction research, as your Photoshop bills skyrocket. Several of your eHarmony dates have jumped through glass storefronts to escape your shocking, incongruous looks. Google also knows where you’ve been – HOME!!! Your Android phone tattles like a four year old bribed with brownies. It reports your every move and it knows you’ve barely moved. You haven’t been invited to a hot party since October ’09, when you made your one friend wait two hours as you caked on makeup, trying to look your very beast…I mean ‘best’, before leaving the house.
What I’m saying is – you have two lives. The pretty, inauthentic one you construct on Facebook and the one where Mistress Sally from Craigslist walks on your face with stilettos wrapped in bacon. (Don’t ask…I just write whatever my imagination conjures.) Point is, that disparity creates a very different value proposition for the two companies. As Google mines your dark side, Facebook scrapes away at your veneer to get to it.
Now that I’m mired in the startup world, I thought I’d have a little fun with pictures.
So what do you think?
I’ve had a Facebook account since early 2007, but resisted its advances like catcalls from drunken sailors. My first few friend requests didn’t exactly inspire hope – random co-workers, curious exes, and forgotten classmates . What kind of voyeuristic, Orwellian nightmare was this?? And, why were my ‘friends’ so damn old and frumpy?!? Where were the celebrities, billionaires, and supermodels? Was I not the youthful, gregarious intellectual I thought I was? Surely, this was a mistake… Despite years of self-delusion and indifference, I finally consummated my cold, distant relationship with Facebook by uploading my contacts in October 2010. This was no selfless act of love. Like many corporations and fellow narcissists, I salivated at the chance to use it to promote my “brand” –blog, book, appearance on Ellen. The last year of this reluctant romance taught me that Facebook is no easy prey. It’s an amazing social experiment that can be trivial, passionate, funny, and deeply personal – all at the same time. It’s an addictive, evolving organism with a rhythm and personality of its own – one that can be prickly and unkind to marketing and self-promotion. This fact is often lost on businesses. If, like me, you’ve ever tried to claw your way out of a mind-numbing meeting on how to “market on Facebook”, salvation is here. “The 15 Faces of Facebook” will be my ever-evolving analysis of who dwells on Facebook, what motivates them, and whether they’ll hear your Twilight howls of commerce. Ideafaktory is about to save you hundreds of thousands of dollars on behavioral psychologists and social media research. Then again, like any good drug dealer, the first hit is always free.
It wasn’t long ago that bashing Microsoft was as cool as Hootie and the Blowfish and Blossom. There was no shortage of material – mangled pasting in Office, hideous mobile apps, and spooky Windows error messages that made you build a panic room. Even governments got in on it. The EU forced Microsoft to remove anti-competitive features from Windows. I think they even made Bill Gates perform The Nutcracker at a Belgian waffle house. Things have changed. Google and Apple now make Microsoft seem downright cuddly and lovable. Rather than send CEO Steve Ballmer a teddy bear to celebrate this budding bromance, I thought I’d give him something far more practical – an iPhone. I’m joking. I’d like to propose a way to revive Windows Phone 7, the company’s creative, but struggling new mobile operating system. Sadly, these advanced phones are already sharing a discount rack with rotary dial Nokias and the Motorola RAZR MC Hammer Edition.
It seems you’re likelier to find Amy Winehouse up bright and early, going for a run, than to find an American politician untainted by special interests. Unfortunately, that’s the usual angle we see when talking about the relationship between politics and business. Let me suggest another: innovation. That’s right, innovation. The Democratic campaign has been a real-life example of Apple vs. Microsoft, or Google vs. Yahoo. The innovator vs. the stalwart. I’ll explain…
There are now two contenders for the democratic nomination, Senators Clinton and Obama. Despite their virtually identical voting records and positions on issues, one is clearly an innovator.