This gets a WOW. Watch it.
Per-capita vehicle miles of travel dropped again in 2013, making it the ninth consecutive year of decline…This recent downward shift has had no clear, lasting connection to economic trends or gas prices. Evidence suggests that the decline is likely due to changing demographics, saturated highways, and a rising preference for compact, mixed-use neighborhoods.
—Per capita VMT drops for ninth straight year; DOTs taking notice | SSTI.us, 2/24/2014 (via atlurbanist)
Patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.
For many central banking is a mythical beast full of confusingly scripted statements, unfathomable economic reasoning, and for the last 6 years the main target for anyone who has been following the economic turbulence. But for those interested in understanding how central banking came to be The Alchemists is a worthwhile read.
Neil Irwin manages to take us on a gripping journey from the very early days of central banking all the way through the Great Depression, two World Wars, the key deregulation acts of the 90’s and right up to the 2008 crisis where he gives you a seat at the most important tables of economic decision makers as they fumble their way through the crisis and its aftermath. Showing firsthand the big personalities and cultural tensions that exist in our modern society. From Greek bailouts to German inflation hawks, French and Italian central banking presidents, and England’s absolute determination to remain as far as possible from European economic tensions. It becomes crystal clear that in our globalised world we need bankers that can and will act unilaterally to ensure a stable global economy.
In between Irwin helps us understand how we arrived where we are, highlighting key events such as the first ever bank run on British bank Overend, Gurney & Co, the run up to the Great Depression, and how economic collapse in Germany coupled with French arrogance played a key part in Hitlers rise.
The fact that some of the most powerful men leading the worlds biggest economies worth trillions of dollars are unelected officials is not lost on Irwin. And like any Hollywood blockbuster the end begs a sequel with a brief trip to China covering the PBOC (Peoples Bank of China) and how differently centralised Chinese banking is run.
Overall it’s a fantastic read portraying how these unelected officials play the biggest high stakes poker game possible making decisions that ultimately decide whether there is more or less money out there for you the average citizen to grab. Incredibly well researched and definitely one for the bookshelves of those wondering why the crisis is still limping on. As much as I enjoyed his book I hope the sequel never arrives.
A satirical clever take on `development` (or potentially described as ‘progress’) in our world.
These types of articles normally start by announcing the trends for 2014, but trends are fast moving and relative. One trend for the hospitality industry is entirely irrelevant for the automobile industry. So instead I’ll share some thoughts and areas that in my humbled opinion should be part of the discussions around this years marketing investments.
Let’s start off with the obvious one…mobile. The growth in mobile usage around the world is phenomenal. Whether it be citizens of the emerging world accessing the internet for the first time or the modern day business man doing more and more on the run, the capabilities of our cellphones are expanding quickly. So how are your customers accessing your content? Is it via their mobile necessitating the need for a mobile specific or responsive website? Are your competitors developing or adapting content for mobile users thereby taking a leadership position. Or is there an opportunity for investment in applications to help position your brand on their cellphones and potentially offer a more personalized experience? I’m pretty picky on apps, but a hotel app that allows me to order drinks from the poolside is definitely something I’d download. And I’d probably put up with the occasional promotion in order to enjoy it. The fact is that consumers are going to interact with your brand via mobile far more than they currently are, how are you preparing for that?
Another movement that is gaining traction due to the sheer numbers is the demands for increased personalisation across products and services. What was once an expectation of the wealthy few is now more standard of the middle class. In return for their data and hard earned money the middle class expect personalized solutions and experiences. How are you answering these? An app could be the solution but it is important to avoid the kind that accompany a three month marketing promotion before dying off. Apps are extensive investments and deserve a strategic role in your customer proposition. Questions such as where does your customer interact with you? What kind of information do they seek? And at what part of the decision making process are you talking to them personally rather than sending blanket messages, are all key questions. For example an app from Ford helping people to compare cars is likely to perform poorly due to competition and the worry of bias. But a customer care app delivering first in class after-purchase care is a worthy differentiator. The more these interactions can be personalized the more engaged your customer will feel.
Another recent idea in the area of personalization is that of Re-marketing whereby a visitor returning to your website would see advertising based on their browsing data while a brand new visitor would simply see welcoming or promotional advertising. Of course this is just a start and I would expect this approach to grow as technology improves. Think in-store face recognition. While the demand for personalization varies greatly but for most industries it needs to at least be on the discussion table.
Even before launching new initiatives to personalize your services and products you need to understand where and how your customers are interacting with your brand. What interactions will increase your brands value when personalized? Where are your investments likely to offer real value as opposed to something 5% of your market will enjoy? Perhaps at this point it is worth pointing out some recent Google initiatives. Have you heard of Google Now? How about Google Wallet or Google Carousel? All these initiatives mean big things for both brands and consumers.
Google Now can be thought of as a better more informed Siri, with their endless data mining Google Now is in first position to become the consumers answer to whatever question they may have while on the run. Finding the nearest gas station, the closing time of your bank, or the latest recipe from Jamie’s Kitchen becomes as simple as asking the device in your hand. Although most reviews focus on the actions you can prompt on the mobile such as ‘ring dad’ or ‘schedule an appointment for…’, the real news is in how far the technology can go to becoming your butler, trainer, tour guide and personal assistant all in one.
Perhaps even more ground breaking than Google Now is the disruptive technologies being launched in the financial transactions industry. For all intensive purposes Google Wallet simply replaces the need to carry around your wallet. Perfect for security and convenience, the demand on brands to accept these types of payments will come thick and fast once the technology arrives in the mainstream.
Between driverless cars and creepy voyeuristic glasses Google also found time to improve its search functionality with the new Google Carousel. This update means businesses can now have their consumer ratings, a small bio and some key pictures make up their search presence. An important commercial aspect that most brands will click onto is that if you want to leverage this new approach to search display you probably need to be present on Google+. And while this may sound like just another channel in the social realm, once you contemplate the increasing presence of Google in between you and your customers it begins to make sense. Through their eyes your customer will be searching, finding, rating and paying for your products or services through Google based tools.
So there we go, a few key discussion starters for those looking for new and differentiating initiatives in this years marketing. Hopefully before long I’ll have a version of this article in Portuguese to put up here. In the mean time I’m always interested to here other perspectives so please feel free to email me at email@example.com or find me on Twitter @stevenhalliday
Definitely one of the best TED talks I`ve watched so far, with supposed minimal skills in law he presents a pretty good case for an upheaval of incentive and reward systems in our businesses. The biggest challenge for me is how this approach can be adopted in scenarios where the levels of task difficulty as well as the types of people vary greatly. For example this approach makes perfect sense for advertising agencies where by all means their level of creativity dictates their success. If you don`t believe me then read The Case for Creativity by James Hurman.
But on the other hand how does this approach benefit the hotel industry, or for that matter the majority of service based companies who have working lives revolving around their clients and customers.
One thing that makes absolute sense (in our hearts and in science according to Dan) is that incentives around Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, rather than money and gifts, should and will lead to better working lives.
Bike share is hitting its stride with impressive growth in recent years. This chart shows the increase in number of available bikes worldwide (some countries were apparently not included, in particular a few large Chinese cities, due to there be a lack of readily accessible data).
2014 - the arrival of wearable technology.