Archive for September, 2013

September 12th, 2013

Habit-Score Assessment: Google Chromecast

By Neale Martin

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Throughout the mid-90s to early 2000s, part of my job was to evaluate the market implications of new technologies for major telecommunications clients. It was exciting to think about how broadband Internet would change publishing, banking and retail and how rapidly evolving wireless technology would alter the landscape of communications, music and media. But there was one large issue that I could not resolve to my own satisfaction—where do I want my content?

If I have content on my laptop, it’s available all the time and portable. But my laptop has a finite amount of hard drive space. If I keep content on portable media, like a DVD, then I can play it on my TV or computer, but nowhere else. Cost of content becomes an issue quickly, not to mention the inconvenience of carrying around DVDs.

The alternative was to have the content available on servers and make it accessible over the Internet, a format now referred to by marketers as ‘the cloud’. This always seemed to be the best solution—if the networks were sufficiently fast and reliable. When I originally thought about this problem, they were not. Fast-forward a decade, and those networks are (somewhat) in place and the marketplace is rapidly shifting to this new model. Netflix, Hulu, UltraViolet, Pandora and dozens of other companies have streaming strategies that incorporate different pay models all based around the ability to instantly access thousands of programs and movies from any network connection. Similarly, Smart TVs, TiVo, DVD players, video game consoles, and specialized devices like Roku and Apple TV stream this newly available content. And of course traditional cable companies offer on-demand streaming from both their set-top boxes and online applications.

Consumers are now faced with the same question I had many years ago (where do I want my content?) except it is no longer a hypothetical exercise. With so many options and so many companies working to “own” and “control” the consumer’s access to content, the choice is getting overwhelming. When the conscious mind gets overwhelmed, the mind relies more heavily on the unconscious mind to make decisions. Therefore it is imperative that any company competing in this marketplace offers a habit-forming experience.

Last month, Google entered into this cutthroat competitive market with a remarkable device that could prove far more habit-forming than all the others. Called Chromecast, this streaming device is slightly larger than a wireless car fob, plugs directly into an HDMI slot on flat panel TVs, and streams content from iOS and Android devices, including iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Apple computers or anything equipped with a Chrome browser (sorry Blackberry and Windows phones). I recently received my Chromecast device and, using Sublime’s Habit-Score Assessment methodology, I’ll walk you through why I believe it to be one of the most habit-forming streaming devices currently on the market.

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September 11th, 2013

Language Barriers

By Kyle Morich

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The map above is a heat map diagram indicating the areas of the country where the English language dialect is most similar to my own. This map makes intuitive sense to me—even though I’ve lived in Georgia for most of my life, my parents are both from New York State and I was born in New Jersey. If you’d like to take the dialect quiz yourself, you can access it at http://spark.rstudio.com/jkatz/DialectQuiz/. The quiz was developed by Joshua Katz, a PhD student at North Carolina State University.

Taking this quiz is a fascinating reminder that even within the US there are many different ways to pronounce a word and understand the concept behind that word. For instance, I never use the word “supper,” but there are people out there who use it interchangeably with the word “dinner,” and some more who actually use both and have a separate definition for each.

In business, we often develop vocabularies for models, metrics, and ideas and assume that others speak the same language as we do. Ask both a media buyer and a financial analyst to define the word “impression” to appreciate how far off this assumption is. As a consultant, I work across multiple industries and one of the biggest struggles beyond having to rapidly become an expert in a new field is learning to speak the language of that industry. One of the reasons Sublime offers introductory training courses on habits and psychology is because we want our clients to understand what we mean when we use words like “context,” “cue,” and “reinforcement.”

I also work with non-native English speaking clients, and language and communication is always something that I have to focus on and remember to factor into our interactions. I find myself pausing before using idioms and colloquial expressions to consider if my meaning is actually coming through.The next time you are writing emails or giving a presentation to people outside your company, industry, or geographic area, pay attention to your language. Don’t always assume everyone knows what you are saying.