July 6, 2011

Down with Coles' big red hand

At first, that campaign drove me nuts.

By chance, I needed to drop into a supermarket, and Coles was the nearest. In I went, greeted by those big red "down down" hands... ugh.

Got what i needed, and decided to have a look around. I was a little staggered at how cheap some stuff was. As I noted on a comment to the Yardy Yardy Yardy 'Food Fight' blog piece about consumers in NZ's demanding the same be implemented over there, I noted a few of my "observations" at Coles.
I recently visited my local Coles, and was very surprised by the low prices. I know that will sound like an ad, but the essentials are dirt cheap.
Bread, milk, eggs... Hey, even those energy saving lighbulbs that typically retail for around $10-11 - the Coles brand is $3.99.
Even non-essentials, such as Coles branded junkfood like sweets and fizzy drinks, are all flat priced. A 1.25ml "Coles Cola" was 99c, and a 200g bag of "Coles" Snakes, was $1
Research does say that sales might be up on many essential items, but i think that reflects sales for the supermarket brands (Coles/or Woolworths), not the premium brands such as Cadbury/Burgen/McCain etc.

See for yourself. This is their online shopping website.

To go to my local Coles in Canberra, go to 'New Customers' and punch in my aera code 2604 then choose the Kingston store, then click 'Start Shopping' and take a look around.

June 30, 2011


I am appalled that it's taken me this long to discover Tumblr. I am appalled that Lady Gaga of all people beat me there.

Fuck that.

Anyway. My Tumblr account is more about work than personal thoughts. You can find me here.

May 21, 2011

Foursquare - one year later

Last year, I blogged about Big Brother. The idea that Foursquare wanted to track your every move.

You know, I stand by the principles of what I wrote. Privacy in this day and age is fast becoming scarce, and anything you share is probably irreversible. You can't delete it.

With anything though, times change and yes - I use Foursquare. As soon as I got a new smartphone (an Android), I saw the app and thought - oh well.

A lot of what I do does require me to be across such technologies, so using it enables me to have a better, informed opinion, and not to mention how I feel about opening a part of my private whereabouts to the world.

I'm surprised to say that I'm not that bothered. Foursquare, to me - is an experiment. I cannot treat it any other way at this time (update - this has changed. see footnote).

With anything new, we tread with caution and remain careful about how much information I share at any given time. That is one of the best features of Foursquare. I can 'check in' to a location and from there, I decide whether to also share this information with followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook, both, or none.

The reason for sharing to these places, is to maximize the possibility that one of my friends/followers will be nearby. Foursquare has the same wish as Facebook - find and connect with your friends (oh, and local business). Now, I don't neeeeed to share my whereabouts on Facebook or Twitter - but the pool of people is larger than my connected buddies on Foursquare, and my goal is to try and socialize with at least someone on a regular basis, sharing to Facebook or Twitter afford a bigger chance of me walking around a corner and shouting "SNAP" to a friend, who I know is there.

Their business strategy I spoke about this time last year, really hasn't changed much for Foursquare.
Turning habits into opportunities, by tracking their movements as they leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind, when someone "checks in" on Foursquare or Gowalla (or the others), their habits are graphed and sent to marketers - and the user is rewarded with a discount or some offer, on occasion. Sounds good? Free stuff just by doing what you usually do. Everyone wins.
Nor has the 'darker' side of the coin. 

The one thing I have been mindful of, and actually do to combat the risks of sharing your location so publicly, is 'checking in' after you've been there. It doesn't change my history as such, but it's a start.

One thing that my opinion has changed on, is the relevance of my location - or locations.

As a person, YOU might not care where I am (especially if you do not use Foursquare), and many people do 'block' or unfollow any posts of mine that come from Foursquare - and that's cool, just know that I choose to post my location there.

Why? Well, perhaps you'll be nearby, or you may have been to the same place before and have a recommendation... or a simple conversation starter perhaps? I don't post all the time, either, cos I don't "check in" to every petrol station, set of traffic lights or every-time I get to work. I'd block myself if thats what I did. If I think where I am will interest you, you'll see it.

The relevance of my location, is to be relevant. Now, I use the service, so it's got to be relevant to me, right?

At times, I engage with local business to earn a free coffee, or I'll check in just to become mayor - playing the Foursquare game of claiming first 'check in' (which, by the way is stupidly satisfying. It's totally stupid but a but of fun), or I might wish to illustrate somewhere interesting that I think you might like to know about. If it's really special, I'll probably drop a comment, take a photo or even shoot a short video should I not be able to put it into words.

Foursquare is certainly about discovering my city - they like to call it "unlocking your city" - but I'm increasingly finding it's actually becoming about stepping up, and doing something on your own behalf, for your friends (or followers). And I don't mind that.

As of 19 July, 2011 - I joined a boycott and ceased using Foursquare. I even deleted my account (an option I found quite easily). Main reason: 100% investment by me after 1 year of stepping up, but have had no return by Foursquare whatsoever.

May 20, 2011

How to save the newspaper industry

Forget the big papers.

Print your newspaper, on toilet rolls. It's our favourite place to read your paper, it comes in handy, and it's recyclable!

April 7, 2011

Problem with Photobucket

Previously, my blog was swamped with errors, from Photobucket.

This has nothing to do with anything I've done. The templates available by Blogger, are provided by 3rd parties. It looks like the template I chose had images hosted on Photobucket.

Thanks for all the correspondence. I only just remembered to change the template. And here it is :)

January 10, 2011

The Twichter Scale

Okay, let me begin my suggesting that this article really is for Twitter users, however if you aren't then - apply this theory: You receive an interesting fax, and you feel compelled to send it (by fax) to your entire contacts list. That's re-faxing... and for Twitter, that's the same theory for re-tweeting.

If you put time and energy into composing a Tweet, you can measure a whole range of statistics about how many people see it, how many people re-tweet it, and all the usual stuff: country, city, referral etc.

I think you'll find that if you're a relative newbie to Twitter (and not a major celebrity), then you probably will be disheartened to learn that most new Twitter users don't last a week. Of those that do, finding that you won't really get any kind of Klout for 2-6 months, is also something of a bummer. By the way, Klout is about influence, which is always debatable: Bieber more influential than Obama. Really!? This post is not about influence. Just to be clear. It's about something much more workable.

During December 2010, only 17% of all active Twitter accounts in the entire world, actually tweeted. The rest laid dormant, forgotten, and new subscribers are slowing down. While that may appear like a bad thing, I actually think its a good thing. Twitter is maturing, and those that use it, USE IT. It's becoming refined, and it's clear that in 2011, Twitter is set to become a heck of a lot more savvy. Remember, it's not about the platform "Twitter", but what people do with it.

Like an email subscription database such as Mailchimp, how many responses, or any level of engagement beyond opening (glancing) the e-letter, will your statistics show you? The challenge for e-letters is to engage 'subscribers' with you or your company. With Twitter, engagement is re-tweeting, replying or direct messaging you (or your company).

If the Christchurch Earthquake was a tweet:
Heads up guys. After about 25 million years, there's a bit of movement going on deep down beneath you, so expect more instability for a bit. You might get more Alps, or a Volcano at some point so, yeah.
Consider the ongoing aftershocks. The earth clearly shook on September 4, 2010 and we all heard it. Not only did we hear it, but Cantabrians are getting reminders via aftershock about the same thing nearly every day.

If your tweet about something important was re-tweeted as many times as Christchurch has had aftershocks, it would be the worlds most influential tweet.

I think the power of a Tweet has a correlation like that major first earthquake on Sept 4. Lets say, the first Tweet is sent. Following that, and quite quickly will be a wave of re-tweets, usually within the hour. Then the third, fourth, fifth waves later on, by those who missed the first.

Now, that's assuming the first tweet was only sent ONCE. The size of the first wave of re-tweets (aftershocks) will only show a small percentage of followers who happen to see, or be alerted by your tweet at that time. Even then, only a small percentage of your entire followers list will re-tweet you. Let's say, a mere 3% impact. Not good. Already you can see that a Tweet can quickly vanish into nothingness in the bigger scheme.

Let's say you Tweet (but not spam) the same message a few times over the period of a day. One at 7am, one at 11:30am, another at 1:45pm, 4:30pm, 7:30pm and 11:00pm. The chances of your tweet getting seen by your followers is greatly increased, as you're trying to put your tweet in front of them whenever they open their Twitter app at various times throughout the day.

Tip: Knowing the best times to Tweet is a metric you should never do without.

You can imagine over a period of 24 hours, that your one message (Tweeted 6 times / every 4 - 4.5 hours) will have been seen by most of your active followers, and the impact might look more like 20%. That would be excellent.

To measure the Richter I mean, Twichter scale of your Tweet, the 20% of your followers who responded / engaged by re-tweeting or replying would help create "aftershocks" as their followers would re-tweet. Much like those dodgy pyramid schemes we've all seen at one point or another - their followers impact will help generate the third "aftershock" and so on. By 24 hours, your Tweet would have pretty much exhausted itself.

Checkpoint. Still with me? Well, this is pretty much how I reckon the Twichter scale would work:
  1. Your Tweet 
  2. First Re-tweets (lets hope for 20% impact by your followers over 24 hours)
  3. Second wave (by hopefully 20% of their followers)
  4. Third wave (again, by the same - this metric should stay strong if you have good followers who have good followers, and so on)
  5. Fourth wave... and so on.
Scenario 1
Of all the people who re-tweet in 24 hours, say you get 77 re-tweets through 3 waves (or "aftershocks"). You simply divide that figure - 77 tweets divided by 3 = 25.6 (your average). Then multiply this by your first wave percentage - say 20%. The number comes to about 132.

Scenario 2
Okay, say I get 77 retweets through the first wave only, and nothing further, then 77 tweets divided by one wave (1) multiplied by your first wave percentage (20%) would equal 1185. Well, the number is higher because your average was higher.

longtail effect. Read on, you'll see why.

Now, a random number, small or large doesn't mean shit - by that, it's not easily understood, so here's how I make it a bit interesting. Let's rip off the Cricketers, by rocking up after dark and stealing their scoreboard and lets use one of their terms: 'batting average'.

The Twichter Scale for Scenario 1 would be 132 for 3, or 132/3
The Twichter Scale for Scenario 2 would be 1185 for 1, or 1185/1

Instantly, you can see that the second scenario is much much much more powerful than the first. It says that this persons first wave of followers are fricking awesome followers that gave you 1185 retweets Wow! It also bodes well for a second wave. Try adjusting the variables a bit. Play around.

For businesses, this first wave of followers are your customers - your rainmakers, and should be treated like KINGS.

Over time, you'll eventually get your 'batting average'. The higher your batting average, no matter how many waves your tweet goes through, the better your Twichter Scale becomes. Unlike Klout, there is something else.

The final piece of the equation is creating value in the Twichter Scale, and how it's built is really up to you. Remember, this is built on the amount of your active followers, how many waves your tweet goes through, and your batting average.

One example could be

An Example Twichter Scale
  • 100-500/1: Value = $1000
  • 100-500/2: Value = $750
  • 100-500/3: Value = $500

You'll just need to determine (like the longtail), where your business / influence lies and create value accordingly.

Monetizing Twitter for business, for promotion, for influence or cred - I reckon the Twichter Scale could be a viable way. And lets face it - you can lead the way with your own model, or wait for Twitter (or someone else) to hold your hand and take a fee for doing so.