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Archive for the ‘tech’ tag

Weekly round-up

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For your reading pleasure this weekend I’ve got a few articles about snow, how Google works and some fantastic images of botanic gardens from around the world. Enjoy!


March 8th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Mobile macchiatos

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As reported today in the New York Times, mobile payment service Square has partnered with omnipresent caffeine pusher Starbucks to make it even easier for you to pay for that double-shot every morning.

Square was founded by Jack Dorsey, the same guy who started Twitter, and lets businesses use their mobile devices as on-site cash registers to process credit card payments. I’ve used the service to purchase things, and it’s worked seamlessly every time.

So, apart from the fact that you’ll be able to pay without a wallet (or even taking your phone out of your pocket), this partnership means consumers could get a lot more comfortable with mobile payments.

Though smartphone payments have a long way to go before they replace wallets altogether, Starbucks’s adoption of Square will catapult the start-up’s technology onto street corners nationwide, and is the clearest sign yet that mobile payments could become mainstream.

“Anyone who’s going to break the mobile payments barrier in the U.S. has to overcome the resistance to try anything new when everything we have works really, really well, even cash, which is very convenient,” said Bill Maurer, director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine.

According to our latest research, 36 percent of landscapers use iPhones for both personal and business use, and just slightly less use an Android phone. Twenty-five percent use an iPad. Those numbers are up from 2011, and will continue to rise in the next few years.

So, to review: Increasingly wired customers are getting exposed to a more seamless way to pay on the spot for goods and services, while at the same time contractors are more and more equipped with the tools to run that very technology.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Make mine a double.


August 8th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Learn from a pitchman

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The bearded man on that couch is Adam Lisagor. He’s a filmmaker. Well, to be totally accurate, he mostly shoots online commercials for tech companies. The above video is one he put together for a great iPad app called Flipboard.

And while you don’t produce commercials on the internet, I think there’s a lot to learn from Lisagor’s style and approach to communicating with viewers and customers.

In a recent Fast Company article, Lisagor outlined the three biggest mistakes companies make when trying to talk with customers:

1. Companies Disrespect the Audience’s Time
“It’s the Internet, not TV, so you could take all the time in the world. That doesn’t mean you should. Put extra thought into how to explain yourself in the simplest way, show us you’re mindful of our time, and we’ll love you for it.”

2. They Underestimate the Audience’s Intelligence
“Audiences are almost always smarter than you think. So let us meet you halfway to understand your concept. We’ll feel healthy for having done the work, clever for having gotten the concept, and we’ll love you for it.”

3. They Follow a Formula
“At each creative decision, ask whether you’re doing it a certain way because that’s the way you’ve seen it done before. If the answer is yes, then figure out if there’s a better way. You’ll stand apart from the rest, and we’ll love you for it.”

Again, you probably aren’t in the same business, but Lisagor’s ideas – communicating clearly, respecting the customer and differentiating yourself – should resonate with any company selling anything.

You can watch more of his work here.


December 1st, 2011 at 1:41 pm