Recommend a friend

I may be last to the party, but I have just recently discovered Facebook’s “ You may know these people” widget at the bottom right of your personal homepage.

This list is obviously generated by comparing your friend list with those of your friends to see if you’re missing anyone who  is linked to 1 or more of your friends.

It’s like like your own personal long-tail. You’re being presented with those people who are completely on the periphery, periphery of your life- they are out of site and out of mind. The people you haven’t thought of in years are being surfaced to you in an Amazon-esque fashion. Instead of “we recommend this product because people who shop like you have also bought it”  you’re getting, “ we recommend this person to you because your friends- x,y,z- like them”

I am personally loving it as having lived on three continents in the past 10 years my memory gets fuzzy when I try to remember the names of all the people I have met and the friends who have come in and out of my life. So when I see their little faces popping up in the widget, I get pretty excited to send them a note to see how they are doing.

It also demonstrates how small the world really is when you can see how interconnected we really are. This becomes obvious when “a recommend friend”  comes up and this person is connected to a person you went to elementary school with, another who you worked with right out of university and a third who you met backpacking in Europe- how do they know all the same people?!? You really begin to wonder if someone is living a parallel life to yourself.

Develop a holistic customer experience if you want your business to succeed

Yes, a recent business week article is reminding us how important it is to give your customer an experience that will give you their ongoing loyalty.

Key takeaways:

  • Consumers are looking for companies to give their allegiance to
  • Consumers are looking for experiences that cater to their deep-seated desires
  • This type of engagement requires much more than the latest technological breakthrough: It requires emotional engagement
  • The product or service itself does not have value, but the way in which it is experienced makes it fresh. That means you can even charge a premium for it.
  • Creating a meaningful experience requires thoughtful attention to your customers at every point of contact
  • Know where you are in the innovation cycle. There are three areas of innovation: technology, product, and experience.
  • Know your DNA. The only way to attract your true tribe is to authentically be yourself
  • Make emotional connections. Understand your customer well enough to know the difference between what they need and what they desire
  • Design for the complete experience- this covers all channels, off and online engagement

My Starbucks Idea

In the similar fashion of  Dell’s Ideastorm,  yet with a softer and what I think it is a more accessible design for non techy people is— My Starbucks idea. 

The concept was paned at their annual meeting, but it appears that the new site has received thousands of comments/ votes since launching.

The number of comments and the success of this is probably due to Starbucks huge market share and the fact that the site is one big suggestion box where anything seems to go. But, it seems to be acheiveing its goals of getting traffic, giving customers an open platform and getting “ideas”.

However, the true success of this concept will come if Starbucks is able show that they are listening. To do this they need to implement the suggestions and then feedback back what they’ve done to the audience.

Infinite vs Scarce Components

I have been doing some research on the psychology of free and came across an interesting Tech Dirt article from last year.

What really stood out was the step after defining your market- ultimately you want to grow your market share, so you should define what you can give away for free at no real cost to your business. To do this you need to define your infinite and your scarce components.

Your infinite components are things that you have in infinite quantities and you could give away for free and your scarce components are things, which are tied to your “free” infinite components, but you would charge for.

So for an online application- you may give away usage of the application because you are only developing one version and you can support an infinite number of users at no extra cost, but you may charge for additional storage, customer care, value-add features— anything that will enhance the experience of using the product.

Definitely worth a read