Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bring Your Own Persona: Rethinking Segmentation for the New Digital Consumer


With more than 1.8 billion smartphone users and nearly 2 billion people using social media worldwide, mobile and social are becoming the dominant modes of human interaction, notes the We Are Social Digital and Mobile Worldwide Research Report published last January. In addition, wearable devices in the form of activity trackers, smart watches and even connected clothing are quickly emerging with more than 150 million users worldwide, tracking everything from steps and calories to heart rate, breathing and even stress. This new breed of always connected and self-aware end-users is changing the rules for how companies do business and engage their customers.


At their core, digital users are individuals who bring a unique digital profile and set of behaviors to every situation. This new digital world of “Bring Your Own Persona” (BYOP) requires a fundamentally different way of thinking about customers. It used to be assumed that people exhibited predictable behaviors in their public and private lives based on their socio-demographics, allowing firms to use classic segmentation for targeted interactions. Those models are no longer sufficient. Almost all demographics have access to mobile, social and wearables. What distinguishes different digital user segments is their savvy in knowing how to use these tools and their comfort levels with the data they are willing to share in various scenarios.


New digital personas can be characterized along two important dimensions: digital capability and trust.


This Week's 10 Must-See Digital Marketing Stats


Here are this week's 10 most intriguing statistics from the digital marketing world, including a trio of basketball-driven data points as the NBA season is upon us. Check them out below.

1. That Matthew McConaughey SNL parody actually helped Lincoln. Amobee looked at the impact of Jim Carrey's merciless skit from last weekend in terms of digital content and social media impressions.

2. MJ builds buzz. The Charlotte Hornets turned over their Twitter handle to the incomparable hoops legend, Michael Jordan, on Tuesday, attempting to stir up excitement for the new NBA season. Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls but is now a Hornets owner, helped lift the team's Twitter following by 25,300, according to team reps.

3. King James goes home and provides slam dunks for sponsors. Per 4C's report this week, LeBron James' return to Cleveland has aided his brand immensely. But that's only the beginning. The data company's research shows that, since LeBron revealed he would play for his home state team on July 11, his sponsors have seen huge boosts in before-versus-after positive engagement on Facebook.

6. There are at least 204,086 sugar-minded "tweet ghosts" out there. That's how many mentions KitKat has gotten on Twitter from Oct. 1 through Oct. 29, making it the No. 1 Halloween candy brand on the social platform, according to Crimson Hexagon. Snickers was second with 145,836.

7. Instagram hashtags help quite a bit, #thankyouverymuch. Instagram posts with at least a single hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement, according to Simply Measured.


10 Medical Innovations Poised to Make us Healthier

FastCo Exist

From painless drug testing to better cholesterol meds, here's what 100 doctors think is on the horizon in health.

When a person has a stroke, every second counts -- a few minutes can mean the difference between saving millions of a patient's brain cells. Today, a patient loses critical time while in transport to the hospital. But very soon, with new high-tech ambulances equipped with a broadband linked-CT scanner, neurologists will be able to instruct a nurse the best way to administer treatment while en route.

These “mobile stroke units” are one of ten medical innovations that the Cleveland Clinic--an academic medical research center and hospital in Ohio--predicts are slated to most dramatically improve health care in the coming year. The Clinic came up with the list after asking more than of its 100 top doctors, including several in each speciality, to name the top new innovations they expected to impact care in their field within the next year. As it does every year, a committee narrowed down about 70 suggestions to the top ten most powerful.


New 'Surveyman' Software Promises to Revolutionize Survey Design and Accuracy


The Object-oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA) track of the ACM SIGPLAN conference on Systems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity recently honored University of Massachusetts at Amherst doctoral student Emma Tosch with its Best Paper award. The recognition came for her work on a first-of-its-kind software system designed to improve the accuracy and trustworthiness of surveys. A free and publicly available tool, "Surveyman" can identify problems in any survey from the design stage and onward. Tosch says the tool guides users through steps to create a spreadsheet that will become a new survey, addressing key areas that can lead to bias in a survey, such as question order and word variation. She says Surveyman also conducts diagnostic sweeps to warn survey creators when certain questions become correlated, or redundant, and should be removed to avoid respondent fatigue. In addition to automatically addressing these shortcomings, Surveyman will administer a survey online and perform diagnostics on incoming data. The software also will kick out respondents who it determines are not answering truthfully.


Hack the Gender: Women's Hackathon Aims to Show Young Women a Future in Tech


West Virginia University's Reed College of Media and PBS MediaShift recently hosted the "Hack the Gender: A Women's Hackathon on Wearables," an event focused on how women and the media can play a role in the development of wearable technology. The event marked the launch of the school's new media innovation lab and emerged from the school's focus on wearable technology, its role in reporting, and vice versa. "Wearables pose a real opportunity for women to get in on a conversation from the very beginning, before the market is saturated, and before the major players have been established," said Maryanne Reed, dean of Reed College of Media. The event opened Oct. 24 with a Google Hangout featuring a panel of female leaders in tech and media including Facebook's Jane Schachtel, Google's Aminatou Sow, and Mother Jones' Tasneem Raja, and moderated by media futurist Amy Webb. Next, there were short lectures and hands-on projects. The participants broke into groups to brainstorm ideas for wearable devices that ranged from wearable microphones for professors to a smart bra that could perform breast examinations. The winning group proposed a health sensor mesh insert that could measure important female biomarkers like iron, potassium, and vitamin D levels.


The Robot in the Cloud: A Conversation With Ken Goldberg

NY Times Blog

Ken Goldberg has been thinking hard about robots for almost three decades.

His work ranges from over 170 peer-reviewed papers on things like robot algorithms and social information filtering to art projects about the interaction of people and machines. A professor at the University of California, Berkeley, he is establishing a research center to develop medical robots to assist in surgery. That is just the latest development in what he thinks will be one of the great technology breakthroughs of our age: the fusing of robotics and cloud computing. He talks about it in this edited and condensed conversation.


Is the City of the Future Finally Here?

HPC Wire

Argonne National Laboratory recently hosted the Argonne OutLoud series, during which grid computing pioneer and big data visionary Charlie Catlett delivered a presentation on "Big Data and the Future of Cities." The presentation examined how emerging technologies in high-performance computing, embedded systems, and data analytics can help mitigate some of the challenges associated with increased urbanization. Catlett says with data sources and technologies catalyzing new applications and services, there is an opportunity to make policy that is proactive rather than reactive. He says Argonne researchers are developing tools and methods to help social scientists, economists, policymakers, and climate scientists study cities. The primary goal is to get different fields that use computing and computer scientists that develop the systems to work together. "One of the ways to think about the laboratory is we run national and international instruments [such as Mira, the world's fifth fastest supercomputer] to do the kind of science you couldn't do in the laboratory of a university or a small company," Catlett says. He currently is working with the City of Chicago on the Array of Things project, which aims to build a platform that will enable researchers to collect data for various kinds of scientific inquiries into the sustainability and operation of cities.


That’s What 3 Said

That's What 3 Said

Inspired by the 3% Conference, is a place where women in advertising can share their insights with those bright, shiny, optimistic young female creatives – where we can help them keep that optimism through the years.

A group of female creatives at Duncan/Channon who were inspired by the 3% movement has launched a new website,


Ray Bradbury on How List-Making Can Boost Your Creativity

Brain Pickings

How to feel your way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of your skull.

Susan Sontag argued that lists confer value and guarantee our existence. Umberto Eco saw in them “the origin of culture.” But lists, it turns out, might be a remarkably potent tool for jostling the muse into manifesting — a powerful trigger for that stage of unconscious processing so central to the creative process, where our mind-wandering makes magic happen.


In Zen in the Art of Writing (public library), one of these ten essential books on writing, Ray Bradbury describes an unusual creative prompt he employed in his early twenties: He began making long lists of nouns as triggers for ideas and potential titles for stories:

These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

Bradbury would later come to articulate his conviction that the intuitive mind is what drives great writing, but it was through these lists that he intuited the vital pattern-recognition machinery that fuels creativity. Echoing Einstein’s notion of “combinatory play,” Bradbury considers the true value of his list-making:


YouTube Doubles Its Frame Rate (And Here's Why You Should Care)

Fast Company

Frame rates are boring tech jargon, we know. But YouTube has just made a major upgrade that will affect content creators everywhere. Frame rate is equally important for user interface in apps and operating systems because it helps everything feel more responsive--here's a nice side-by-side-by-side of 15FPS, 30FPS, and 60FPS. As app developer and former Apple Software Engineer Allen Pike puts it, “Your goal is 60 frames per second, the natural frame rate of the device…” pointing out that, with growing exceptions we won’t get into here, our LCD displays actually refresh at 60Hz (or, for all intents and purposes, 60FPS).

Indeed, one NASA paper (PDF) states that 60Hz or FPS is a reasonable peak for what humans can distinguish on a stationary monitor, though there’s some debate as to just what the human eye’s max frame rate may be--a highly cited Air Force study that we couldn’t actually find points out that pilots were found they could identify an image that flashed as quickly as 1/220th of a second (and it implies we may perceive frame rates that are even higher). But until we reach that hypothetical point, realize that any animation you post or watch on YouTube now has the potential to look a whole lot better. And that’s thanks to 60FPS.


The art of storytelling

RSA Blogs

A crucial skill that when effectively wielded has people hanging off your every word, increasing the chances that they will act on the information, which in the think tank world desirous of influence and impact is the holy grail.

Make no mistake though, storytelling is an art. But being an art doesn’t make it unobtainable and esoteric, instead storytelling is the reverse: crafted and considered; engaging and entrancing; a clear and compelling message to pass on to its audience.


A road map to the future for the auto industry

McKinsey & Co

Automakers took center stage at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. General Motors exhibited the Firebird IV concept car, which, as the company explained, “anticipates the day when the family will drive to the super-highway, turn over the car’s controls to an automatic, programmed guidance system and travel in comfort and absolute safety at more than twice the speed possible on today’s expressways.” Ford, by contrast, introduced a vehicle for the more immediate future: the Mustang. With an eye toward the segment that would later be named the baby boomers, the Ford Division’s general manager (a not-yet-40-year-old engineer named Lee Iacocca) explained that the car brought “total performance” to a “young America out to have a good time.”


But what about the soul of the car: its ability to provide autonomy and a sense of self-directed freedom? The vision of a connected car, in fact, challenges even the most essential concepts of personal car ownership and control.  


In other words, if a ubiquitous fleet of on-demand vehicles provided drivers with the transportation they need, would it also provide them with the feelings of independence that have attracted drivers for more than 100 years and continue to make cars popular in new markets? While the timing and impact of the forces we’ve described remain fluid, they seem likely to transform the automotive industry and perhaps alter our very concept of what an automobile is. But we also believe that people will still look to their cars as a means of self-expression, with some very human elements. Tomorrow’s winning OEMs will still manage to capture the public’s imagination, much as Ford and its Mustang did on the fairgrounds of New York half a century ago.


Why Millennials &%#@! Love Science

The Atlantic

The wildly successful web publication "I F*cking Love Science" currently has over 18 million likes on Facebook. For context, Popular Science has 2.8 million likes, and Scientific American magazine has about 2 million. The publication’s founder, 25-year-old Elise Andrew, has never been affiliated with any mainstream media outlet. She launched her page in 2012, filling it with beautiful scientific images, web comics, and even original articles about the latest scientific news. "IFLS declared, with no hint of irony, that science was amazing," wrote Alexis Sobel Fitts in a recent profile in the Columbia Journalism Review," and in desperate need of a digital-age evangelist to spread the word." Andrew describes her role in a lower-key way: "I’m just telling people things I think are cool."

This is how most Millennials feel about science—curious and awestruck. And they can’t get enough of it. They’re reading about science at their jobs and in their free time, in peer-reviewed journals or on Wikipedia. But what makes Millennials’ interests different from the scientific interests of every previous generation?


It's Always 9:41 on the iPhone 6

The Atlantic

In the land of the iPhone 6—Apple's version of it, at least—it is always, it seems, 9:41. And that is, like pretty much else at Apple, by design. Even the time on Apple's ubiquitous phone carries a marketing message.


You can trace the origins of Apple's perma-clock back to January of 2007, when Steve Jobs gave his much-anticipated keynote at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. The Apple CEO strode onstage right at 9:00 a.m.; about 35 minutes into his presentation, he said, "This is a day I have been looking forward to for two and a half years." Jobs went on to explain that "every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." And then he went on to announce: "Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone."  The screen behind him flashed to a picture of the first iPhone.


It was 9:42 a.m.


9 coolest responses to Bengals' Devon Still story

Here are the Top 9 coolest ways people have shown support for Bengals' Devon Still and daughter Leah Still, 4, who has pediatric cancer. Devon Still decided to go public with his daughter Leah's diagnosis of and treatment for stage 4 cancer because he wanted to bring attention to pediatric cancer.

Boy, did he ever.

More than 12,000 of his jerseys have been sold, and fans across the world tweet messages of support with #StillStrong.


William S. Burroughs on Creativity


“What art does … is tell us, make us feel that what we think we know, we don’t,” cultural critic and Rolling Stone writer Greil Marcus observed in his fantastic 2013 commencement address. But he wasn’t the first to recognize art’s capacity for opening our eyes by blinding us, for expanding our understanding of the world by illuminating our ignorance.


In this short clip from the altogether excellent 1991 documentary Commissioner of Sewers, William S. Burroughs, born 100 years ago today, articulates the same sentiment and adds to history’s greatest definitions of art as he considers the value of creative pioneers, from Galileo to C├ęzanne to Joyce, in propelling human culture forward:


Sean Combs’ Advice For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Fast Company

We're suckers for an inspirational startup story. And the man formerly known as Puff Daddy has a great one.  Last week, Sean Combs, chairman of Combs Enterprises and founder of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, spoke during Chicago Ideas Week about his first job, overcoming fear, and the quote that inspires him the most.  Here are his three tips for success:

1.     Make Everyone A Winner

2.     Identify And Fill Gaps In The Marketplace

3.     3. Keep Moving Forward