One of my favorite micro roles in a job over the last few years, was at a San Diego SAS startup that focused on a very technical application of data in a high impact business marketing. Amongst my many, many roles and responsibilities I was able to spend a great deal of time with our Data Scientist. He was a breathtakingly brilliant double PhD brainiac. In my role of Marketing I was excited with the opportunity to have access to a window into the massive amount of data, and better yet a clear and impartial interpretation of the data. We collected a mind-bindingly large amount of data. Crazy amounts of data. As a marketing wonk I was in heaven. We love data. Especially data on our customers actions, wants and needs. Anonymized data is even better for us marketing geeks because it tells us big stories, not tiny stories. It was fascinating to think hard about what our customers wanted to do, what challenges they faced and where they could make improvements and then think “I wonder what the data says?” So with a resident Data Scientist sitting next to me, with access to massive mountains of anonymized data, I Continue reading Data Always Lies
I argue about, harangue, debate and insist that in most Craft Product or service businesses you Should Never Give The Customers What They Want. But instead you should Give Them What You Do Best. I have even written an entreaty about how Customers Don’t Exist. So it should come as but a trifling surprise that I would ponder the as good as existential question: How Do You Know What Customers Want? I mean it literally. How do you know what customers want? When those poor, mistaken souls weakly blather that you simply must give customers what they want, how do they determine what it is precisely that customers want? Clearly they don’t ask them, at least not all of them. Here are some ways I could think of to find out what customers want in order to give it to them. (and presumably become a billionaire) Ask each and every one of them personally and studiously record the answers and then data crunch to your heart’s content Do a mass survey and ask them all at once (or smart marketing: in carefully sliced segments) Do scientific product/market trials and use data to analyze which products/services you sell appease to the most Continue reading How Do You Know What Customers Want?
I’m a huge fan of discipline. In other people. I prefer to hire that trait. Writing is hard. Well technically writing is stunningly easy. Writing either consistently or well are both supremely difficult. Doing both? Nigh on impossible for mere mortals. About a week ago I decided to issue a 15 articles in 15 days challenge to myself. A short version of last years fabulously successful 30 posts in 30 days challenge, which resulted in my actually writing a total of 45 articles in that period, five paid and ten published in other publications. I m not attempting that level of prowess this go ’round. But even though I write a lot for my job, it is still really hard to actually write. I truly love writing. I literally enjoy the process and the machinations of opening the floodgates of my addled mind and corralling the flow into as much sense as I can. Words and stories. Both have appeal to me for differing reasons. My daughter says I am a talker and a “converstioner”. I have been known to engage in periodic conversations on subject varied and sundry. Before the slip-sliddery-suck of regression wraps its moist tentacles around my intended mental direction, Continue reading Sometimes in Writing It’s The Mechanics of Writing, Rather Than The Glory of Writing
I am a YUGE fan of mind-blowing, amazing coffees with flavors that sparkle and dance and explode like pop-rocks on your tongue. I really like unbalanced, extreme flavors in coffee, beer and food. What I LOVE in coffee though is complexity of flavor, perfect balance, nuance, depth and refinement. I lose my mind over coffees that display the rarest of all attributes: a complete circle of flavor that has pleasant attributes from several section of the flavor wheel. Coffees balanced with both extremes in flavor and nuanced in refinement. Those coffees that are deeply sweet, well-balanced, display structured acidity and well-developed mouthfeel. Coffees where no single attribute or flavor dominates the flavor party. Coffees that are open and inviting and extraordinary but remarkably easy to receive. Friendly Coffees I typically despise the phrase “approachable coffees” not because of what they are, instead because of how the phrase too often justifies disingenuous actions. I am talking about coffees that are not approachable because they are dumbed down by an overly dark roast, bought because they have no flavor and are super cheap or brewed intentionally weak to remove flavor. I am talking about the opposite. To me Friendly Coffees are coffees that are Continue reading In Defense of Friendly Coffee
On April 21st, 2014 (the day before i started my 30 blog posts in 30 days challenge) some super engineers from Idaho Scott and Julie Brusaw launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign after they invented one of the most kick ass things I have ever seen. Solar Freaking Roadways!!!! Yes, solar freaking roadways, parking lots, sidewalks, playgrounds and more. Here is the info from them: Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds… literally any surface under the sun. They pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole (http://solarroadways.com/numbers.shtml). They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice-free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat storm water and provide a “home” for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking Continue reading Perfect Example of The Roles of Engineering and Marketing