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We Need To Stop Talking About Social Media

When we talk about properties like Facebook and Twitter as a homogenous mass, we don’t accurately reflect where major events, conversations and moments are happening. These aren’t little places anymore. With massive populations and quite different characteristics we largely mischaracterise what is happening when we talk about them as one.

So, as much as Facebook would like to say the Wendy’s vs. Burger King Twitter fight happened didn’t happen in Twitter, but in an otherworld called “Social Media”, it didn’t. Adam has a point.

While the behaviour on one side is silly. And the overall conversation a fine piece of navel gazing by the social elite, the reality is it reflects a broader hot-point for all of us living in marketing.

And that is social media’s days are numbered. There is no social or digital anymore. There is just media. There is just marketing.

And the more we view properties like Facebook and Twitter as individual media properties, the better we are likely to do on them.

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The Social Trap & Liquid Brands

 Social media is a trap – that’s the point. What many fail to appreciate is the consequence of the trap – once your in, the echo is so strong you don’t see or hear it. Speaking at a conference recently I called this the narrowing – where we think we are engaging in ever broader conversation because of all we are exposed to but in fact what we are exposed to is narrowing because the network of people posting are all alike.

But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face. Social media are very useful, they provide pleasure, but they are a trap. Zygmunt Bauman: “Social media are a trap”

When Bauman speaks of “liquid modernity” the same is true of our brands – they are, as he says of society, based on “all agreements are temporary, fleeting, and valid only until further notice”. Social media accelerates liquidity by empowering the network to refer, rate and comment at speed.

A fascinating read…

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Transparency in SaaS

Interesting read on transparency in marketing. Transparency and radical honesty go hand-in-hand.

SaaS companies should be setting the benchmark for transparent reporting – already seeing the hybrid players (legacy software + SaaS) deliberately muddy the waters with all kinds of weird reporting and numbers. The great thing about being a pure SaaS marketer is that you always know how and where you stand. You can’t hide from the numbers.

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The Way Not To Compete

Years in Silicon Valley teaches you a few things about how to compete – scars, tears, lawsuits, shame and frustration are wonderful educators.

Attacking competitors and letting no claim stand unchallenged is a way of life. The trick is to do it subtly. Never market your competitors products. Never appear defensive. Always front-foot, never back foot. Never market their brand. Use their name, never their identity. Break these and other rules and you are marketing your competitors.

Baiting is a popular pastime as start-ups look to get incumbents marketing their brands for them.

And so it is with Jetstar right now in New Zealand. They’ve successfully lured Air NZ into a defensive position and got them marketing their brand. Smart move from an airline many wouldn’t have given the time of day. 

 

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Maybe Its Time to Cut Evernote a Break

The Silicon Valley echo chamber is a fun thing to be part of when you live there. Café and meeting room conversations manifest quickly in ugly blog posts. Inevitably they lead to widely circulated posts on Medium and more. Then you’re screwed.

 

Problem is, the gossip engine is rarely right.

 

Watching Evernote’s handling of exec changes and product launches, they are due a bit of flack. But nothing like what they are copping. The product is brilliant. Not perfect, but brilliant.

 

Their problem is straightforward. Lousy marketing.

 

Evernote is a rich product – the web clipping button is a gem. Handwriting on the new iPad pro is fun. Scanning a business card using the mobile app works great. Sharing meeting notes across any device works well. It’s all any information collecting and creating junky could want and more.

Whenever I ask someone who has joined the parade slamming Evernote, they rarely know about any of these features.

 

One of the key metrics for any SAAS marketer is “product full potential”. This is how many customers are using how many of the features you regard to be crucial to the product’s intent. I count about nine in Evernote. Haters seem to be using about two. Fans are close to nine.

 

Instead of working to increase usage they seem intent on marketing to us in an app we’ve already paid for – driving upgrades to the business edition or spotlighting team collaboration (one of the features I’m guessing they count as crucial).

 

So, maybe its time to cut Evernote a break. Instead of crying their demise, lets encourage a product that many of us love to grow, get better, expose the slate of innovations they’ve made.

I’d like to think they’ll realize their full potential.

 

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It’s Huge

Two of the most popular questions I’ve been getting of late are: why aren’t you blogging as much; and, how do you like your iPad Pro. On the first – I’ve just been flat-out working with the amazing team at Xero. On the latter, it’s well, huge.

I’m very mixed on Apple products these days. Love Apple TV but just too hard to navigate little things like seasons of TV shows. Used to love my iPhone but updates have rendered search all but unusable, the battery life stinks and everything just seems slow. My Google Nexus gets more use, and pure Android is lovely to use.

So what of the iPad Pro? The size is stunning. The screen is amazing. The pen is remarkable (if you can get one) for sketching and note taking. The keyboard is, well, unavailable pretty much. It’s staggering that a company of Apple’s size and smarts couldn’t get its supply chain wrapped around the idea that most people would want a ridiculously priced keyboard and pen. We want everything you make!

The compares to notebook computers are silly in my mind. This is the ultimate creative tool and entertainment consumption device. iOS just isn’t there as a replacement to the desktop operating system. For email, word processing, surfing the web, reading, watching movies, and more – the iPad Pro eats everything else alive.  If you, like me, need to create spunky presentations, motor through big sets of numbers, write thousands of words and the like, then you’ll be hanging onto your MacBook or Dell XPS13. Priced in the mid-range of most Notebooks, the iPad Pro is pretty much a luxury device so long as it’s not a full replacement. 

The iPad Prod is the ultimate Apple indulgence. I say that not just regarding price but in that elements like the pen and keyboard don’t work with anything else.

I’ve been using my iPad Pro for a couple of weeks now. The battery life is great. It’s a little heavy for reading books. But, gorgeous for reading mags on Zinio, Texture and the like. Movies look stunning. And I’m loving taking notes in Evernote and sketching using Paper and Zen Brush.

Other than Apple’s supply chain woes, the only other annoyance is the six digit pin – why not stick with four. Just annoying.

So would I recommend you rush out any buy one? If you are a creator, for sure. If you are hoping for a Notebook replacement, not yet. If you are a nomad and consume heaps of your favorite movies and content on the move – absolutely. Unlike my iWatch, no regrets on this one.

But since when did logic apply to any Apple purchase? We’re expected to buy as soon as they launch right? Aren’t we?

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