Hot dog, tonight is game 7 of the World Series! By Thursday morning we’ll know if the San Francisco Giants or Kansas City Royals occupy the champion’s seat being vacated by the Boston Red Sox. After Derek Jeter’s last Yankee Stadium game, I had a thought about what makes baseball so great. Here’s a hint: It isn’t the condiment you put on your hot dog at the ballpark, but it does relate to the old Anticipation commercial. A lot has been written and discussed about the length of baseball games, and how its format and pace (not to mention commercial delays and ticket prices) do not fit into modern lifestyles. There is serious concern about next generations’ fandom.

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By now you have heard story after story about the brother bombers who terrorized Boston, the victims, and the heroes whether in blue or white uniforms, or in government, or just in jeans or running shoes.  There is a central story no one in the media or in government seems to have considered. It’s a story about overlooked victims, a persistent spirit, history and multiple ironies.

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The overwhelming similarity of Lehane’s opinions Sunday 4/21 (linked above) to my first Who-ville post 5 days earlier reinforces the fact that we are all “pod people” in Boston, and that changing or affecting us through acts of violence is simply implausible. DONATE to victims at onefundboston.org

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Boston - Back Bay: Boylston Street (Aerial) Boston – Back Bay: Boylston Street (Aerial) (Photo credit: wallyg)

Times like these call for some introspection and some explanation. I was born in Boston, and I can see the hospital I was born in when I go out my front door.  I look for it when I leave because it centers me.  Boston is more than my hometown, I’m part of it and it owns me. A friend came to visit from Texas and the more people he met the more surprised he got until finally he declared us all “pod people”.  I guess you can say in some ways Bostonians are all part of the same organism.  Who we are is not always apparent to the outsider.

Boston is known for long, frigid winters that will bite your face off every chance they get. That weather keeps a lot of people from moving here, or staying here for long. That’s fine by Bostonians.  We are gluttons for punishment, and we can take it. When we get a nice stretch of weather, we’re always quick to let our neighbor know we don’t expect it to last and that we are prepared for it to turn. We had an 86 year run of disappointments with the Red Sox, and there was always next year.  When my knees were younger, I’d always run during the hottest part of the day, just because. We are opinionated, and we won’t let the facts get in the way of our opinions.  We don’t candy coat it, we let you know.  If we can be sarcastic, that’s even better.  There’s a lot you can say with a joke to hit home in a way you can’t if you say it seriously.  So our friends understand us, and our acquaintances are learning. Out of staters usually just misunderstand us.  That’s probably the case with yesterday’s bombings on Boylston Street.

Patriots Day is a celebration of the founding Fathers’ triumph over insurmountable odds.  Who would even dare challenge the great British empire, much less take arms against it?  The answer had to be Bostonians. Many people don’t know that the Boston Massacre was started by kids throwing snowballs at British guards.  That’s fighting arrogance with arrogance, and that’s Boston. The NY Yankees are

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If you read my February 1st POV post “How SoLoMo Companies May Enable You and The World to Interact” you will note the obvious similarities to this recent March 19th Roger McNamee (Elevation Partners) interview on the true potential value sought by Google through its Glass offering:

BLOOMBERG TV INTERVIEW March 19th, 2013

(For some reason I cannot embed this video player, so I had to use the link)

Read my entire 4 part series on the Hotel California scenario for more information and POV about emerging companies, offerings and privacy issues surrounding the “Internet of Things”.

inspiration

inspiration (Photo credit: peevee@ds)

Branding: Dell Commercial Promotes IQ Development (Inspiration Quotient)

On December 3rd of last year, I published a post proposing that we all have an Inspiration Quotient (IQ to the nth power).  Innovation maps do not normally mention inspiration because of its perceived ethereal nature – how do you “get inspiration” when you need it?  The POV posited that we all possess the ability to develop our inspiration quotient by practicing the Arts and sharing our works. Why is this important? Breakthrough Innovation is not possible without Inspiration.

Dell‘s very recent Young & Rubicam Group commercial seen in the video below, very artfully encapsulates one passage from that post, excerpted below the video. Dell has long associated its brand with the term inspiration, and I find the “Meet Thomas: Creator of an Alternate Universe” commercial very appropriate for that purpose, engaging, and timely in a seasonal sense with Easter nearing. The imagery used is beyond what is normally seen in a commercial, and my guess is that the creators were equally inspired by JK Rowling’s personal experience, as I mentioned in my post, as well as her Harry Potter books.  The fact that they spotlight a non-descript District Manager named Thomas, who could be anyone, furthers the proposal I make in my post that we all have inspiration within us, and practicing the Arts will help us access it.

EXCERPT from 12/3/2013 EdRodPOV Post :

Ringo’s latest tweet on August 29, 2012 stated,

“I never studied anything, really.  I didn’t study the drums. I joined bands and made all the mistakes onstage.” – @RingoStarrMusic

… Take it from Ringo, you don’t need to be good at art, you just need to try, enjoy the trying and put it out there. Think of producing your art in terms of introducing the minimal viable product as described by Eric Ries and Steve Blank.  Make it a priority to keep sending it out there, along with healthy eating, exercise, etc.

Some people will never break through the inspiration wall. Life has not dealt them either the capacity to sit still and think about nothing (as in meditation), or the freedom from life’s extreme stresses for a walk, even for a few minutes a day, as required to exercise the inspiration muscle.  These are the people that should think most about practicing some form(s) of art and forcefully adapting it into their week because they should not completely ignore their humanity. (Any wonder why they call art ‘The Humanities’?) For instance, if you sit on the bus or subway everyday, bring a sketchpad or tablet and start drawing – it’s that easy.  Relax, you don’t have to be good, you don’t have to be efficient, effective, or produce results.  It’s in the doing that you allow the inspiration to take over.  This is arguably more important to your jobs than those dozens of daily news emails that will be forgotten tomorrow.  It will refresh your morning work re-entry by reducing stress and open the window to inspiration. If you can give away the sketches, make a friend and do so right there, when you reach the station every day. Frame them, sell them, or post them to a blog.  You need the reward of sharing to motivate you to make a habit out of something that can be thought of by many as a time waster.

Soundcloud posts testimonials from its artists on its Soundcloud tour page. There you’ll see comments like “responses to my work have been so encouraging I honestly believe it has directly impacted my productivity.” Sharing produces a self-reinforcing link. You take showers, right?  Sing in the shower every day, and sing it loud. Critics will come, and others will appreciate at least the effort, and that’s life. One day when you get off that train and get to your desk, you’ll capture a eureka moment that your colleagues will regard as genius. You can’t have genius without inspiration. Someone like JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was able to use her stress as a motivator.  She used art as an escape from the stress of being a single Mom and allowed it to drive her into a deep part of her mind, harvesting a brilliant talent. She practiced her art on the train every day for years, and allowed the inspiration to flow.  She’s worth a billion dollars now.  How big is your company? What’s your net worth?

End of EXCERPT -

I encourage anyone who is thinking about innovation, to read the entire POV post to understand the links between practicing and sharing the Arts, developing Inspiration, and achieving Breakthrough Innovation.

Branding: Dodge Dart New Rules Campaign Mainstreams Strategic Shifts

Dodge’s “New Rules” marketing campaign manifests the shift from strategic planning committees and waterfall product development to the “Ready-Fire-Aim-Repeat” agile product development that was the topic of my last full post :

2013 Is No Time For Strategy“.

The Dodge Dart introduction is clearly aimed at a 20-something target market segment who are expecting empowerment to make product decisions on the fly, trade off a high tolerance for failure for iterative speed to market, and fit a budget of under $16 thousand. In addition to the New Rules for how to build a car, there is a follow-on New Rules commercial for how to buy a car where a gift registry is created and the buyer’s friends and family can donate parts of the car – essentially crowd funding the car. Given the complexity and risks of designing and manufacturing a new car, the fact that a major automobile manufacturer has mainstreamed these new approaches in its marketing is in itself a telling illustration of the pervasiveness of the high-level shift from planning to doing.

Regardless of the success of this product introduction, or to what extent these product development methods were actually implemented in the design and manufacture of the car (I have not researched it), it is also telling that established industry is in some way placing newer, nimble competition on notice that they are reacting to a growing threat of disruption being felt in many vertical markets. It would be interesting to learn to what extent the halo effect of this type of product branding might help Dodge recruit more like-minded employees this year. Here’s the first commercial:

Planting Money

Planting Money (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

If #CrowdFunding becomes the new #seed funding, then will #Angel funding become the new A Round?

2013 Is No Time For Strategy

February 21, 2013

Investment Conference Investment Conference (Photo credit: Salmaan Taseer)

Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face – Mike Tyson

One of the tweets I received in January declared 2013 is “The Year of Doing”. I am just coming around to fully appreciating what that means.  We are in the midst of a trend of epic proportions toward execution over deliberation. This shift is very evident in strategic planning, project development, and capital investment.  As someone who has presided over many strategic planning processes, I am not sure I completely buy into this, but the trend is unmistakeable.

Traditionally, you could think of management as the planners, the doers, and the counters. The lines have blurred over time, but the planners’ specialty was targeting the hogs, while we all know the doers brought in the bacon. Until the recent past, in order for a venture capitalist or corporate leader to invest in an initiative, you had to build a pretty bulletproof, strategic business case.  It was expected that you would have done significant expansive research, pushed all of that data through a number of trusted strategic frameworks, come up with a shortlist of alternatives, and used logic and communication skills to prove the optimal business case to achieve corporate goals.  That understates a managed strategic planning effort that took months to create, enlisted diverse opinions, and required more months to diligence and gain approvals prior to any implementation.

Little to none of that strategic planning process appears to matter anymore. As the eminent thought leaders at the failed WebVan would attest*, regardless of your strategic planning proficiency, only hindsight is 20-20.

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Total Recall Tracking Device Total Recall Tracking Device Removal

Big Brother Mickey Mouse to monitor behavior via Disneys MyMagic+ RFID wristbands.

The Computerworld article by Darlene Storm (link above) is worthwhile reading. The article profiles the Spring 2013 introduction of RFID bracelets for visitors to Disney’s theme parks, under their “MagicBand” branding. I have never visited Disney, but have read they also fingerprint visitors, so are not averse to using biometrics to identify their patrons. In a sense, using ID bracelets to track your activity, enable purchasing, provide hotel room access, shuttle you through lines, and build up valuable preference marketing databases is less intrusive than biometrics. There are a number of services tied into these identifying bracelets, including social friending, and of course the consumer’s information is stored in the back end, not the bracelet. So this SoLoMo experience qualifies for the 2013 Hotel California scenario I outlined in a post late last year. It is equally interesting to read the reader reactions in the comments on other blog posts on this topic.  The most popular comments in terms of likes are skewed to privacy concerns and negative reactions to Disney’s marketing machine. Of course, one cannot ascribe any statistical validity to those who feel so strongly about issues as to comment on blog posts since those who see nothing wrong with it may not feel a need to post.

For full disclosure, I was instrumental in introducing a people tracking solution using a bracelet/watch like device for LoJack SafetyNet. However, this tracking is only done if a person with a pre-diagnosed risk of wandering due to something like Autism or Alzheimers is lost. It’s a great solution that has provided peace of mind to caregivers, helped rescue many people and helped optimize public safety resources.  If you have a loved one in that situation, I highly recommend you visit their site.

I think Disney’s bracelets must use a combination of NFC for purchases and ticketing authentication, possibly pairing low energy bluetooth or other rfid with nearby sensors for tracking throughout the park.  I assume Cinderella will have an earpiece telling her who you are and if its your birthday, etc., but am unsure if a human is needed on the other end to communicate that info or if it will be computer generated speech from a database. I am wondering how they minimize the lag time between identifying a visitor either approaching a character like Cinderella or shaking the character’s hand to informing her about the patron so it all seems natural and “magical”. Using a method like Google Glass combined with facial recognition would not work in this case because it would detract from the dramatic experience of seeing your favorite personalities in character. It’s one thing seeing Sergey Brin wearing Glass, but it would be another to see Cinderella wearing it – at least for now. I guess Pluto could have the glasses within the costume head, but security details might be a more appropriate use.

While this wireless identification bracelet system is being introduced in a controlled park environment, the obvious next question becomes, “To what extend will something like this be rolled out using your handset / watch / glasses / other wearable device to your local mall or Rodeo Drive / 5th Avenue type shopping area in the future?”  What about using it in ballparks, football stadiums and concerts? These venues can follow Disney’s lead by

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Google Glass Google Glass (Photo credit: jurvetson)

How extensive and invasive will Google’s Glass strategy be?  Will it create an Omni-Web?  My crystal ball on Google’s long game strategy for future Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) solutions and offerings is unlike others I have seen written.

First, it would be helpful to define what I mean by future SoLoMo solutions and offerings. My last of four posts, How SoloMo Companies May Help You and the World Interact, listed a number of companies utilizing a variety of methods to identify and track people, places, and things in the physical world in order to personalize user experiences by learning more about out the preferences, locations and habits of our daily lives. Others have called this nearing SoLoMo transformation by a number of titles:

  • M2M – Machine to Machine
  • M2M2M – Machine to Machine to Man
  • The Internet of Things
  • Smart Services
  • The Contextual Web
  • The Sentient World
  • The Ambient Web

I provided several use cases showing how preference, presence and habit data can in turn be used / monetized by automating actions for us in our environment, and better personalizing content and advertising.

The various methods and technology being pursued by today’s enabling companies were highlighted in this “Hotel California” series of posts. Among these were:

Optical Recognition (Facial and Object), Hidden Cameras and Microphones, Gaze Tracking, Gesture Recognition, GPS and A-GPS, NFC, Bluetooth, Audio Frequency ID, Check-ins using QR codes, AR, Patches adhered to the skin, Opt-In Requests for Information protected by ToS, Platform Marketing, Tagging and Sharing of Photos, Business Intelligence and Data Mining.

Of these company categories, use cases, methods and applied technology, my take from publicly available information is that Google appears to be following the superior method of optical recognition.  With optical recognition, you need only one point of reference to capture the data presently missing; an always-on camera that scans the environment around a user.

As I see it, there are 2 fundamental enabling elements for Google to succeed as described in the excerpt I have appended below. These are:

1)   The Google Glass Project

2)   Software enablement through patented facial and object recognition, and augmented reality linked to profiles and databases.

Here is an excerpt from my last post as to how I see Google competing in the future, but first watch Google’s video on Google Glass.  Key points on how I think Google will compete are not mentioned in the video.  These key points are inferred from recent acquisitions, regulatory inquiries, patents and trademarks, and those of major competitors.

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Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers.

Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear RIM Blackberry : You are not in the smartphone market any more than horse drawn carriage makers were in the carriage market. They were in the personal transportation market, and you are in the Personal Communications Market. (Nokia and Microsoft take note.)  See another Canadian, Wayne Gretzky, for proper strategy on skating to where the puck is going to be.

3/20/13 Post Script: This is promising! Lazaridiz invests in Quantum Computing as the next big thing.

Smartphone Wanna-be’s : See The Gretzky Strategy

Minority Report Minority Report (Photo credit: Henry.)

This is the fourth and final post on how the Hotel California Scenario for future social, local and mobile media, apps, platforms, devices, and solutions (SoLoMo) is being created. In the Hotel California scenario, the User is the Interface, The World is the Computer, and the Situation is the Network. This post’s short list of companies exemplifies the offerings that will transform our interactivity with the world around and disrupt just about every vertical market in the process.

When I started this four part blog series last year, I referred to the user’s point of view when contending that 2013 will be a pivotal year for a new degree of Social, Mobile, and Local (SoLoMo) solutions to be embedded in our daily personal and professional lives. Others have called this future transformation by a number of titles:

  • M2M – Machine to Machine
  • M2M2M – Machine to Machine to Man
  • The Internet of Things
  • Smart Services
  • The Contextual Web
  • The Sentient World
  • The Ambient Web

Referring to the Hotel California use case helps to avoid getting caught up in splitting semantic and technical hairs. Whatever moniker you prefer, 2013 will be the year businesses in just about every vertical market begin to be disrupted by a new form of SoLoMo, changing the way we do a lot in our daily lives.

SoLoMo Practical Use Case Examples

How will it all work? New sensors and devices in the world around you are about to identify entities, record events, send the corresponding data through any number of wireless networks (depending on the situation) to an application that will either generate another event or produce meaningful information sent to user(s) based on pre-learned and/or pre-set preferences.  Here are some examples:

  • Your favorite ladies apparel store app recognizes you approaching via a number of possible methods and sends your smartphone a route through the store that you could follow to see this year’s new spring fabrics and patterns matching your online social browsing, likes and wants.  Expect coupons, credits and gamification to intensify and influence your shopping experience.
  • Your glucose levels are monitored in near real time by a device adhered onto your stomach and results sent to your smartphone and then your doctor.
  • Your client is unexpectedly arriving in town with nothing to do tonight and an app on your smartphone pulls up a certain seafood restaurant for reservation and ticket availability for the ballgame, given his preferences.
  • A parking app knows the class you go to every Monday night and routes you to an open parking spot via mobile as you near your destination.
  • The thermostat in your house rises to a comfortable 70 degrees from an energy saving 55 when your car gets within 2 miles of home.
  • A smart container might message that the last gallon of milk is about to expire or be depleted, and that information could either update your shopping list or be sent directly to your grocer for fulfillment based on a pre-set contract.  Smart containers might be your fridge or a product itself.
  • Your insurer messages you that your bathroom scale, or the fitness monitor in your shoe or bike verifies that you qualify for a health insurance discount.
  • An airplane mechanic uses Google Glasses to pull up a schematic of the engine he is working on with an app that recognizes the image, and augmented reality allows him to find parts in house, order needed parts, view critical path for estimated repair time, calculate and send a time and materials proposal/bill, and show him a short video of the repair process.

We are now moving from the experimental stage to the commercialization stage of these and many other examples. The reader should not think of these as just consumer apps either. In each case, there are implications to the way product / service providers, governments and other organizations operate and/or market. There will be a wave of pure play B2B opportunities as well. As incredible as it sounds today, the real growth in hardware and related services will not be focused solely on Smartphones and Tablets, as there will be billions of new “devices” in the environment that will need to be designed, built, sold, connected/paired and managed. By way of example, I have listed a few companies that will enable some of the changes in my series of posts below. Think about what they are doing, how they plan to do it, and imagine how the integrated elements will create a new future.

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I thought it would be worthwhile to post this short comment that I made to a Pandodaily post by Francisco Dao entitled: When Dropping Out Might Be An Advantage. Like all comments, it could use more elaboration, and is good fodder for a future post. Pando forced me to sign up for yet another new commentary service and you can find it under username Pandocommentario.

Francisco, This is an interesting debate. IMHO, there are no hard and fast rules re what’s better to become an innovator, formal training/educaton or self-education. At the risk of sounding like a consultant, it depends on how you will innovate. There is innovation, as in application of existing knowledge for a new result. There is invention, and there is less of that possible due to so much documented knowledge. There is discovery, as in finding an unclassified plant from the Amazon and discovering its healing properties. There is also improvisation, creatively putting together x# of elements that ordinarily do not go together to achieve a goal – what we often saw Captain Kirk do, right? The drawback of formal education, is when you buy into the established mental models systemecized by formal education so deeply that you do not allow yourself as an innovator to consider all of these paths to innovation. (Andreesen did not buy in, in your example) Rather than focus on formal v informal education, I think the key element to being a breakthrough innovator is inspiration. I’ve written about this http://bit.ly/Vc9Lcs , and welcome comments. Extending this to entrepreneurship, you need a whole other set of traits, like drive, salesmanship, et al.

English: The monk Samten who came to Samye Lin... English: The Tibetan monk Samten who came to Samye Ling with Sherab Palden Beru around 1967. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog post is the third of a four-part series on the Hotel California Scenario for future social, local and mobile media, apps, platforms, and solutions (SOLOMO). In the first post, I likened lyrics from The Eagles Hotel California to a future SOLOMO scenario where the User is the Interface, The World is the Computer, and the Situation is the Network. The second post suggested that it will be increasingly possible to do an “end-around” your smartphone passcode lock to access the sophisticated, powerful and user-friendly data mining that play a central role in the highly personalized experience we are coming to expect. This third post explores legalities and practicalities of privacy rights, emerging use cases, and possible outcomes. I am not an attorney, nor consider myself an expert on digital privacy, but I can read the tea leaves on where we are headed.

Can Anyone Keep Up with Privacy TOS?

The companies creating what I am calling the Hotel California future want to provide you with offerings that you will pay for because they improve lives and business performance. There will be other less obvious costs as well, highlighted ahead.

New SOLOMO product introduction is rampant and adoption is rapid. Generally, this indicates that no one wants to be labeled a Luddite, and expectations are high that new technology delivers advantages. In this type of insatiable market setting, who has time to read every line of a Terms of Service (TOS) document, or to recheck boxes every time privacy rules change?

In the last post, I covered how data mining will be done regardless of passwords and passcodes. NetFlix just succeeded in changing a law to allow sharing of your viewing history on social media. This means, figuratively for now, that your television can watch and report on you, and most people do not even own connected TV’s yet.  There appears to be some sort of after the fact opt-in clause that is unclear to me, however, it must be renewed every 2 years.  Is the renewal of your privacy rights on everything from robocalls to social media platforms to television to perhaps offline shopping eavesdropping really going to be programmed into everyone’s to do lists?

Moreover, if you download an app that you only use once and then shelve with the other 100 apps, don’t be surprised if the TOS you agreed to when downloading the app allows continued data mining and/or rights to your data.  Repeatedly forgoing these rights, whether through the TOS or expiration of opt-ins, is a cost of your new free service or inexpensive app.

The free and freemium service platforms and apps that are so helpful to us can also require approving lengthy CYA terms of service so protective that you’d need a team of lawyers to distinguish the egregious from the simply liberal. Of course, a quick policy change can turn what is the simply liberal today into the egregious tomorrow.  At some point, regressive analytics turned into predictive analytics and that will soon give way to persuasive analytics – how do we get you to buy a product you would not ordinarily try, or go somewhere you would not ordinarily go?  This has been a core goal of any marketing for decades, but the manners in which it will be done are changing rapidly. For example, which friends can we enlist, knowingly or otherwise, to persuade you using new forms of digital multi-level marketing? Does anyone really think that last month’s Instagram policy over-reach on their rights to market using your photos will never be repeated by another friendly startup with an innocuous cartoon logo? Changing policies that affect how others view you are another cost of using free platforms.

Today’s Evolving Models of SOLOMO Data Capture

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Members of the San Francisco Gold Rush at 49er...

Members of the San Francisco Gold Rush at 49ers training camp at the team’s headquarters and practice facility in Santa Clara, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog post is the second of a four part post on The Hotel California Scenario for social, local and mobile media / solutions (SOLOMO). In my last post, I likened lyrics from The Eagles Hotel California to a future SOLOMO scenario where the User is the Interface, The World is the Computer, and the Situation is the Network.  The future depicted is one of personal empowerment unlike anything that has ever existed, and should be celebrated. 

There is enormous momentum driving startups and established companies alike to have a social strategy and go “mobile first”. The statistics on social usage are undeniable, and mobility is evolving and disrupting worldwide.  Read any tech blog or media resource and you will be deluged with a never-ending stream of articles on the benefits of mobility, brought to you by the newest network, user-friendly platform, device or app. I first envisioned and strategized over some of this evolution in the early 1990’s with my IT colleagues.  We used to call this “Any 5” meaning anyone getting anything, anywhere, anytime, in any form.  Now that mobile’s time has finally arrived, it occurred to me that industry practitioners and users alike should take a step back to also consider possible corollary costs that the always on, on demand, in your pocket, highly personalized, presence-based world of social/mobile might bring us.   

The Theatre of Security

This past weekend, a security expert being interviewed on major media explained that there is something known as “The Theatre of Security”. His example was that of a random number of people who are singled out for pat downs on the trains. He explained that this form of “security” really did not make anyone any safer, but it provided commuters with the illusion that they were safer, hence the theatre.

In terms of your privacy, and potentially your future security, the passcode on your smartphone will provide you with similar theatre.  Sure, it is helpful to know that if your smartphone is fleeced in such a way that the thief cannot unlock it, today’s run of the mill robber will not have access to your data. Mobile devices are becoming so central to our lives, that people prefer to lose just about anything except for their smartphone.  However, as my previous blog post depicted using the Hotel California example, your face will soon biometrically unlock your data, and the world, including cat burglars, will be programmed to receive.  So if you shudder at the thought of having your cat burgled, or you take comfort in having a passcode on your smartphone, read on.

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Cover of "Hotel California" Cover of Hotel California[/VISIONARIES!]

Let’s reflect on one possible post 2013 future of smartphones and social, local and mobile in the context of a few stanzas of a famous Eagles song. In this scenario, The User is the Interface, the World is the Computer, and the Situation is the Network. The smartphone, on the other hand, is no longer the lynch pin of the mobile value proposition. Having your face as the primary interface may make privacy-minded folks recoil, but don’t hold it against the Eagles for being so visionary.  Consider a part of their 1976 Hotel California lyrics:

Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place

Such a lovely face

They livin’ it up at the Hotel California

What a nice surprise, bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,

The pink champagne on ice

And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’

And in the master’s chambers,

They gathered for the feast

“Relax, ” said the night man,

We are programmed to receive.

You can check-out any time you like,

But you can never leave! “

The Business Trip Scenario

You walk up to a beautiful hotel in San Francisco, and the cameras outside the door initiate facial recognition. As you enter, you are welcomed immediately, both on the smartphone in your carry on luggage, and more importantly on the interactive digital signage display that everyone in the hotel lobbies and elevators can see. Immediately, and without prompts, your hotel arrival makes its way to your various location-based social apps (e.g., Foursquare, LinkedIn, Hotel discount club, and In-house and local restaurants via open table). You immediately begin receiving a daily Yelp list of offers and helpful content from everyone in town who fits your preferences and wants a piece of your wallet.

Your close friends on Google+ and Facebook who live locally

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Piers Morgan at CES 2011. Piers Morgan at CES 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

Due to their importance, I’m dedicating this second blog post to Sandy Hook related issues, with the hopes that readers act locally. After this, I’ll re-focus on technology.

Most nights this week I’ve been glued to my TV watching Piers Morgan on CNN. Tonight he said he was surprised people don’t publicly debate gun issues. He has expressed some passionate views on the gun control issue, and has gotten some passionate replies from the gun rights side of the issue. I believe that both sides are well-intentioned. In my opinion, this has been a classic example of two parties with conflicting views talking past each other, intensified by emotions that are understandable given recent events.  The key to understanding both sides comes from analyzing their arguments. This blog post is meant to help readers consider the differences between Means and Motivation, and how the focus on Prevention is crowding out a seriously needed discussion of Protection. Essentially, I think both sides are right about what they disagree on, and both sides are wrong about what they agree on.

If an argument goes on for weeks, months and years, like the gun control argument, it is probably an unwinnable argument. In my opinion, both sides have been talking past each other on CNN’s Piers Morgan show exactly because they are engaging in an unwinnable argument.  Let me explain what I mean when I say both sides are right about what they disagree upon, and both sides are wrong about what they appear to agree on.

Piers Morgan argues about Means. His argument is that having 300 Million firearms in circulation in the US has led to all of these killings.  Piers argues that without all of these guns and rifles, we would have far fewer killings because madmen would not have the means. He is right.

The pro-gun side argues about Motivation. Their argument is that an individual who commits such heinous acts is one of countless mentally unstable people watching violent movies, playing violent video games, and if the maniacs who are capable of these atrocities were identified, treated, and/or nullified ahead of time, we would eliminate the motivation and have far fewer killings.  So, the last thing they want is to not be able to protect them selves when faced with such a madman.  They are also right.

So, night after night, I watch both sides continue to argue past each other that two different things are the most important, Means vs. Motivation. And, they are both right about what they disagree on. The marriage of both Means and Motivation is what results in these tragedies; both elements are involved. However, I fear they are probably wrong about the underlying premise that they agree on, and that is that following either of their recommended courses of action will ‘PREVENT’ another tragedy.

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