Free now, pay later

This week I decided to walk to work instead of riding. 5K is a short ride but it’s at good hour long walk. To make the time go by I’ve been listening to a podcast called ‘Startup’. Startup is a podcast created by Alex Blumberg about creating a startup that makes podcasts… I know it sounds weird but its an awesome podcast that is extremely well produced, very entertaining and a super intriguing story especially if you’re looking to start a startup.

Earlier this week I was reading Steve Sammartino latest rant about the John Oliver Show being pulled from Youtube, and something that Alex said in the Startup podcast resonated with me. Alex was promoting a live podcast of him giving away all his secrets on story telling, which he is very very good at. His plug was “listen live for free or pay to download it later”. Brilliant! If you want to watch it live you can get it for free, but if you want it at a later date, sure you can download it, but you’ll have to pay for the convenience.

Why don’t more content providers do this? They can generate revenue from ad’s while live streaming and then from pay per download later… When you broadcast it live, it’s free you can guarantee more people will watch it. Then people who can’t watch it live or want to view it at a later date pay. You could even charge a higher price for a version with no ads.

I also like this because it brings back a consistent viewing time slot. Media on demand removes the “did you watch (insert name of cool TV show) last night” that I remember from my school days, which was a great conversation starter. With this model you’d be more inclined to get people watching content when its broadcast.

PS: Thanks to Steve for reminding me to keep blogging.


Read More

To start a business you don’t need an idea, you need a problem.

I meet lots of people that say “I’d love to start my own business but I don’t have an idea”. Sure, its pretty hard to start a business with out an idea, well a successful business at least, but you don’t need an idea to start a business. What you need is a problem.

Ask any business owner or entrepreneur how they ended up running their own business and there is a fair chance they will say “I couldn’t find a good solution for this”, or “I wasn’t happy with what was available” or “I felt I could do it better” so I decided to do something about it. Good ideas come from trying to solve problems. They are born out of person frustration and the thought that there has to be a better way.

So stop trying to think of an idea for a business, and start looking for things that piss you off, annoy the hell out of you, or just don’t work . Then start coming up with ways to fix those things. If something pissed you off there’s a fair chance it pisses off a lot of other people too but most people are to lazy to do anything about it. Instead of complaining about that thing that pisses you off, starting coming up with ways to make it better. You never know, you might just come up with an idea that is so good you are compelled to start a business around it.

Read More

The humanising factor

Quirky recently released a product in collaboration with GE called Aros. It’s a smart air-conditioner which can be controlled by a smartphone. If you’re not familiar with Quirky, they are a company who manufacture products which are dreamnt up by people like you and me. In fact anyone can submit an idea to Quirky. But if you can’t think of a good idea you can contribute to (or ‘influence’ as Quirky says) someone else’s idea. If the idea gets enough traction Quirky put it into production and give back a small percentage of profits to the person who came up with the original idea as well as the key influencers.

Quirky’s latest marketing campaign for the Aros is built around a video show casing the manufacturing process of the Aros. The video shows factory workers at various stages of production assembling tooling, painting parts, screwing in components, braising tubing, testing, packing and eventually shipping the products out of the factory. The focus is on people making the products, not machines or robots. There are very few shots that don’t feature a person doing some of the work. It’s a very well put together video however the focus on people left we with a very different feeling when compared to watching the making of the Apple iPhone 5C.

Making of the Aros Air-conditioner

Being a designer I love seeing how things are made. I find the manufacturing process more interesting than the product in some cases. If I have witnessed how something is made I get to see all the effort and technology that goes into a product and I am more likely to want to own it. This was definitely the case when Apple released the video showing how the iPhone 5C was made. The technology and precision involved in making that handset was up their with fine watch crafting.

Making of the iPhone 5C – The manufacturing component is from 1:35 – 2:20

The big difference between the videos is that Apple does not show a single factory worker. Sure there is more robotics and automation involved when assembling an iPhone compared to an air-condition but I guarantee there are lot of other steps which involve actual real people assembling iPhones that are just not shown.

The two videos left me with very different feelings. The Aros video made me feel for all the factory workers assembling products all day long getting paid very little for their efforts. Where as the Apple video still makes we want to buy an iPhone 5C and I don’t even think about the factory workers because I don’t see them in the video.

I respect Quirky for showing it how it is, however I wonder if the humanising factor will have a negative effect on their marketing campaign.

How did the videos make you feel?




Read More

Consistency is key, so why doesn’t Apple follow suit?


I was reading an article the other day about building a strong brand and the one message that they harped on about was to be consistent. If you want more followers on Instagram then keep posting the images of the same stuff, if you want more follows on Twitter then keep tweeting about similar things. This really only applies if what your doing is actually working and engaging your audience but it got me thinking about consistency. I for one don’t mind a bit of change but my wife is not a fan.


However a few nights ago while I was sitting in bed browsing the internet on my iPad I hit the play button on a video and then instinctively went to hit the volume button to turn the sound down so as to not wake the misses. Being half awake and also being used to the location of the volume buttons on my iPhone, as I use that a lot more than my iPad, I slid my hand up the left hand side of the iPad expecting to feel the volume buttons and quickly realized they were not there. A sharp jam to my ribs from the misses quickly sparked my memory to recall that Apple put them on the right hand side of the iPad, not the left. This is not the first time this had happened to me while using my iPad, yes both the volume and the rib jabbing, and it got me thinking. Why would a company who seems to do their absolute best to create a seamless experience between all their devices put the buttons in different locations on different devices. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why they are on the right hand side of the iPad (if you haven’t figured it out, its because the iPad cover hinges from the left like a book so Apple put the buttons on the right) and its also makes sense that the iPhone volume buttons are on the left as you can hit them with you thumb when you hold the device with your left hand. I assume most people would hold the phone with their left hand as this keeps their right hand free for other uses such as hanging on to the rail while on a tram etc. Steve Jobs right handed yeah? So, if the buttons are on the left on an iPhone wouldn’t it make a more consistent experience to put the iPad buttons on the left as well. If this was the case the smart cover would have to hinge from the right which would be the opposite of what more people expect, except if your from Japan as their books have the spine on the right hand side… If only Apple had taken more influence from Japan I would not have any problem locating the volume buttons.



Read More