Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advertisement: Stirring emotions to drive behavior

"It is often profitable to stir controversy. An ad that upsets people and thereby generates headlines is an excellent source of free publicity. But if it alienates potential customers, it has gone too far. Benetton, a fashion brand, reels in young shoppers by annoying their parents, for example with a recent ad showing the pope kissing Ahmed al-Tayeb, an Egyptian imam. An edgy image helps sell clothes, but it works less well with cars, as Toyota found with an ad in Australia that mocked both Range Rover and the British queen: “Don't worry, Your Majesty. You're not the only British export that's had its day.” Monarchists howled. Toyota apologised."

Read further how "insult" is leveraged to stir emotions in consumers to drive behaviors in The Economist "Ad Hominem" here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

System Autonomy: Start with automobiles

I believe autonomous systems will probably be the greatest achievement of the 21st century.  A system of systems, based on network of networks, mesh, grid, etc. will power this world by the end of this century.  And I am confident that Quantum Mechanics will have a significant hand in it.

To begin with, Volvo's foray into autonomy of automobiles - from the Wired Autopia blog:

"By 2014, Volvo plans to introduce a new system dubbed Traffic Jam Assistance that will allow the vehicle to be piloted autonomously at speeds up to 30 MPH. At the flick of a switch, the vehicle will be able to steer, brake and accelerate in slow-moving traffic, using a combination of cameras that detect the lines on the road and the vehicle ahead, along with a brace of sensors to keep a safe distance from other road users."

"This latest breed of technology has been born out of Volvo's SARTRE road-train testing program, which allows a densely packed group of vehicles to follow a manned tractor trailer at highway speeds. But that implementation is still several years away, and Volvo is trying to get the technology into vehicles as quickly as possible."

Demonstration of the system below:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Extreme acceleration of innovation: Hackathon

While the entrepreneurs live for speed as at times it is the only weapon they have to be successful, yes, even more so than funding, large corporations due to their various layers find it difficult to comprehend such speed.

It is in the corners of desperation and necessity that gives rise to thinking without boundaries and making the improbable, possible.

Here is an example from the non-profit world.  Non-profit organizations collect data, and at times share data as well.  Yet, they lack the ability to analyze and drive insights from this data as such talent is expensive.  Enter DataKind, a New York based charity:

"A typical DataKind two-day “hackathon” last month in London attracted 50 people who worked in three teams. One pored over the records of Place2Be, which offers counselling to troubled schoolchildren. Crunching the data showed that boys tend to respond better than girls, though girls who lived with only their fathers showed the biggest improvements of all. The charity did not know that."

What is more exciting is:

"The small-talk among the volunteers was of dizzyingly complex statistical and artificial-intelligence techniques. Volunteers included an analyst at Teradata, a data-analytics firm. Around 20 employees attended from Aimia, a firm that mines data from consumer-loyalty programs."

See the article here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Digital: Protecting the consumer

"Users howled when Microsoft tried to lock down Windows. Now Apple is upping its own security — and everyone loves it."

Thus begins an article in the Wired.  It discusses the topic of control, digital control, that a consumer would like to have on their computational devices.  Microsoft attempted to develop strong security measures for its operating system about ten years ago, that spanned both the software and hardware.  The reaction to locking down of computers resulted in Microsoft pulling back on the initiative it had code named Palladium.

In the same vein, Apple introduced Gatekeeper in its operating system Lion version 10.8.  The loyal Apple consumers approved.

Are you willing to relinquish secure management of your devices?  Read the article here.

"Users will surrender control to avoid malware, spyware, adware, or just plain annoyware."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Economic contribution of women in this decade

The impact on the economy of a nation when women join the work force is evident in the United States. Proof of this can be seen in some of the statistics on women in the work force and women owned businesses at the U.S. Department of State's "Quick Stats on Women Workers" here, and "Women in Business: A Demographic Review of Women's Business Ownership" here.

I am taking the liberty to publish the following short section from The Economist, "Economic contribution of women". It shows what is possible for certain countries around the world if women were to join the work force:

"In the next decade nearly 1 billion women are likely to enter the global labour force. But their economic potential is largely unrealised. According to a report by Booz & Company, a consultancy, if female employment rates matched those of men, GDP would increase by 5% in America and 9% in Japan by 2020. The impact would be even larger for developing countries, home to most of the world’s women who lack adequate education and support (social and political). Increasing female employment would increase GDP significantly in countries like India and Egypt, where female labour-participation rates are below 30%. These countries rank low in Booz’s index of women’s economic empowerment."