Posts Tagged ‘advice’

I just discovered a great little iPhone app called Redlaser. It scans barcodes and in a split second it returns a long list of online price comparisons, a bit like Pricerunner, only this brings online price comparisons into the offline world.

I spotted Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the bookstore at Dublin Airport at the ”special price of €13.99” and decided to give it a quick try. A Redlaser scan of the barcode revealed that Douglas Adams’ classic could be purchased online at biblio.com for $9.98 (€6.70). Now – that’s less than half price. Would I buy that book from Hughes & Hughes at Dublin Airport given that information at hand? Definitely not.

The app is very simple, but obviously leverages a powerful search engine (TheFind), which hooks up with a rapidly growing number of online shops and its ramifications are astounding. It will put far more pressure on retailers to coordinate online and offline offerings minutely and realtime to ensure that customers don’t abandon their shop purchase in favour of buying it online (which I would have done in my example).

I’ll be following this little red devil closely to see how and to what extent it might change customer retail behaviour in 2010 – and, oh, I’ll be sure to develop some cool strategies for retailers to not only cope with this new “thing”, but also take seriously advantage of it.

Reading a great little book over the Christmas holidays, Listen to the Elephants (Lyt til elefanterne), by Anna Ebbesen and Astrid Haug. It’s about practical digital communications and how it all changed when it moved from analogue to digital. It’s full of fantastic examples (still only in Danish, but hopefully these two sharps girls will be translated soon).

Listen to the Elephants obviously refers to listening to your customers, or rather users, because users are someone who knows all about your products (sometimes perhaps more than you do); someone you’d like to chat with if you are truly interested in understanding your market situation and what you should be doing to make more happy users – and, well, yeah, make more money.

To the point: Here’s a voice of some of your hardcore users, Lundby (legendary Swedish dolls houses)! My two eldest daughters, both Generation Z, aged 9 and almost 11, got accessories from Lundby for Christmas to supplement their elaborate and ever-growing mini mansions at home. One of them also got a cool little Polly Pocket set and since we’re spending Christmas with my in-laws in Ireland, the two entrepreneurial girls quickly mixed and matched the two collections, because Polly Pocket happens to be roughly the size of a Lundby doll, about 10 cm tall.

When I pointed out the mix and match they simply said, “That’s what we do at home too“, and as their father I need to apologise for the language, “the Lundby dolls are really crap, especially the hair”.

Now that’s a fact I’d like to know about if I was the Lundby boss, but www.lundby.com is not exactly the kind of website that encourages dialogue or new ideas or feedback. As a first-hand student of Generation Z (and Generation Y) I know that they love to comment, to be heard, to be involved. So why doesn’t Lundby have a way to involve their users? I’d say girls between 6 and 13.

So, on behalf of my daughters: Lundby, listen to your users and do something about those dolls. Oh, and check out some of the cool web 2.0 ways of involving your users. They’d love it – and so would you.

Warning: The following statement is rubbish. As soon as you’ve read it, please erase it from your memory :)

“Twitter and social networks cost UK businesses over £1.38 billion per year in lost productivity”. This recent quote from a survey by Morse, a UK based IT consulting company, doesn’t even deserve to be referenced, except it has now appeared in newspapers worldwide. Companies who wish to lose their employee mojo, go ahead and follow Morse’s advice. Those who want to continue to attract the Y Generation, the Digital Natives, forget you ever read that statement.

As I have already mentioned in my earlier blogs about the topic, Digital Natives, and the rest of us really, expect to be able to check our Facebooks, our online bank account statements and book our weekend trips any time we want. But hold on, we also prepare customer presentations at 11 o’clock at night. We do that if we’re passionate about our jobs.

The real world example is Google and their 20 percent time. Google offers their engineers “20-percent time” so that they’re free to work on what they’re really passionate about. Google Suggest, AdSense for Content and Orkut are among the many products of this perk.

Just consider this: How many hours of lost productivity do you think Google has each year on that account? It’s around $400,000,000. And do you think Google considers it “lost productivity”? Or is it their mojo?

I’ve worked in the consulting world, I’ve worked for blue-chip companies and I’ve gone through all the emotions of being a start-up entrepreneur. I’ve been at the receiving end and at the giving end of “advice” and in all my dealings and experience, what is it that really makes a good advisor?

Well, for a starter, I want authenticity; what I see is what I get, and when it comes to advice I don’t really care about tools and methods. Not really. Whatever the advice is about, I want someone who’s tried it before. I want someone who will be brutally honest with me. I may not like it and I may disagree, but I’ll respect that opinion, and ultimately it’s gonna help shape and influence my decision. Not that tools can’t be used – far from it – they just can’t replace “the real deal”.

One of the real deals is Søren Leth-Nissen, business coach and running the coaching company Nduna, a term which means exactly what he is and what he does: The executive advisor to the chief. Søren’s ambition is to move people forward and upwards. Doesn’t really matter what the tools are. The bottom line is, we’ll do “whatever it takes to get you there”. Now, I respect that and I’ll choose that any day over less experienced people with a tendency to hide behind tools and methods

Another good example is Bianca Hegedüs, who runs Hegedüs Creative Consulting. Forgive me for mentioning her without actually knowing her. I’m purely judging her on a speech given at Væksthuset in Copenhagen last week. Bianca came across as being authentic, offering her raw, unsweetened opinion and she, too, made the statement that tools tend to over-simplify things in the hands of people who don’t have the experience. I fully agree.

Simply put: An advisor must bring value through experience.