Sunday, August 23, 2009

Social Media Revolution - are you on-board?

This an interesting video that can open your eyes in a big way (thanks @equalman). Brands must think about how they are spending their marketing dollars? And beyond that they must revisit the need for a traditional marketing department. Running TV ads, outdoors or print media is no longer sufficient. Are you building your marketing department to meet the needs of future generation? Here are some facts that I find astonishing. Watch the video to see more…

  • By 2010 generation Y will outnumber Baby Boomers and 96% of them will be using social network.
  • 12.5% of couples married in US last year met via social media
  • It too Radio 38 years, TV 13 years, Internet 4 year and iPOd 3 years to reach 50 million.
  • Facebook added 100 million users in just 9 months.
  • If Facebook were a country it will be world’s 4th largest country on earth after China, India and United States.
  • 80% of companies using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees
  • Ashton Kutcher has more than 3 million followers on twitter.
  • YouTube now has more than 100 million videos submitted by users.
  • Wikipedia has more than 13 million articles.
  • There are more than 200 million blogs on the internet.
  • 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendation only 14% trust advertisement.

People no longer search for news. News finds them (do you think products will find people?)

-- Salim Hemdani

Monday, June 29, 2009

Windows : Mac :: Google : (?) - It happens to be "bing"

Believe it or not but Microsoft’s newly evolved search engine bing is nothing less than the answer of the above analogy question. You must have solved many of these analogy questions during your SAT exam. When I apply my knowledge and understanding to the question “Windows : Mac :: Google : (?)”, my answer is “bing”.

Remember when Apple release it powerful Mac OS X operating system, almost every single pundit in the industry agreed that Mac may not be the most powerful system for productivity but it is certainly the coolest and the best for creativity. Young people care more for creativity and less for productivity. Windows simply felt old and outdated. Mac operating system took off since then and market share for Mac is still increasing at a growing rate. This time bing hits a home run. After the launch of fully revamped bing search engine (or as they call it decision engine) Google search kind of feel old and out dated.

Some people say bing = “But it's not Google”. I could not agree more. As Windows can never be Mac, bing can never be Google. In fact this time it is better for Microsoft to craft its own path and define its own destiny in search engine. The cool informational home page image and vibrant brand colors have some kind of enigmatic charm. The creativity of bing may not appeal to mass population yet but as I know it many young kids simply love bing. They think bing aligns more with their taste.

While there are many features that make bing cool (and I will let you find out most of them yourself), I believe for me following are the best:

  • Home page image: Everyday bing has a fresh new vibrant image that simply amazes me.
  • Image search: Image search has never been so good. Every single query provides with an option to pick an image and do “find similar”. Additionally the in-browser searching and navigation of the images is absolutely next generation thinking.
  • Video search: This is where despite the ownership of “You Tube” Google has failed to show value. Thumbnail preview in bing is simply outstanding.
  • Shopping: Oh the cash back program. Spend 1,000 on a gadget and get some money back to go have a ice cream this summer. J
  • News: Google has a strong lead in this field but bing has gone a step further by adding ability to search only blogs… I love that feature. People’s opinion matter more than journalists’ won’t you agree?

The list is simple but shinny. bing’s appeal to my creativity (which is not abundant) is noteworthy. I am an avid Google user but nowadays I go to bing for more than ½ of my search queries. It is fun and engaging. Google search results are still the best. So when I am searching for something very critical (items on which my job is dependent on :)) I still believe in Google but for everything else I go to bing…

If you have not already then just start “binging it”…

-- Salim Hemdani

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is Twitter awakening your Animal Spirit?

The concept of Animal Spirit is well known in the world of economics. The term Animal Spirit as name suggests brings out the behaviors which we as humans may not agree to. In school they thought me that humans are social animals but I had never paid attention to “animal” in this definition. Isn’t it ironic that we get a different type of satisfaction when our inner animal instincts are touched? Economists have submitted to this theory that awakening of Animal Spirits bought us out of short recession we experienced between 2001 and 2004.

“Animal Spirits Are Awakening: Confidence is rising among long-cautious chief executives.”

-- Business Week: May 10, 2004

Do you see this similar pattern behind the success of twitter? Is twitter somehow bringing our inner animal instincts out? Why do we experience great satisfaction each time we tweet? Let’s see… Think about flock of birds or a heard or sheep? What do you see? You see they are aimlessly saying something. No meaningful conversation. Talk in the air no face-offs or arguments… That is their animal instinct. When you tweet you do exactly the same thing. You talk about something in the ether aimlessly and you never know who will listen to it or who will care for it. You just said something and you are happy about that. You don’t care … You tweet just to satisfy your inner animal spirit.

So next time you want to create an awesome business plan that involves humans. Think about Animal Spirits.

-- Salim Hemdani


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

bing: When you are not aimlessly searching...

Microsoft released its new search engine or rather I should say a decision engine called bing. bing is a new evolved version of live search. The going away of live search and much hype about bing made me visit the site. I am an avid Google user just like most of you are but I wanted to test ride this new search engine. My intention was to run couple of queries namely, search on my name, search for tours in Europe, search on some current events… I must say this time Microsoft caught my attention. bing is something to watch for. I would say Google needs to take its search engine to next level pretty soon!

So what is so good about bing that I took time to write this blog entry? I wish I can write everything down for you to read but trust me it will be no fun. Just go to bing and try few queries like “airline tickets SFO to LHR” and see the phenomenal power of statistical data analysis and information aggregation. Fare prediction, fare comparison, optimal dates selection for cheap travel, direct data entry to other travel sites so on and so forth. All of this is done right there in the search results page. This is just one example but you should few other queries and compare the results.

Search is always been the same old despite the fact that we have statistical models that can be applied to those billions of records. Microsoft has tried to make sense of information that is out there and I am impressed at least for now. I think bing has converted information into knowledge that is ready to use. So next time when I am not aimlessly searching I will logon to bing.

-- Salim Hemdani

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Razorfunfish - A new way to ideate…

So how does the social buzz and search engine work? How efficient search engines are when it comes to indexing pages as soon as a word is discovered. At Razorfish (@Razorfish) Clien Summit in Las Vegas a challenge contest is created to make “razorfunfish” a word that shows up in search result… Of course we are talking what else?

The competition has two parts to it:

1. Can Google search engine really index pages within a day for some random term like razorfunfish?
2. If search engine indexes the pages then how does the ranking work? What pages shows-up first?

Many social media fundamentalist (including me) are blogging, tweeting and facebooking the term razorfunfish. Let’s see what happens. BTW the prize for the winner (one who gets on the top of the search results) is a autographed assets by Dave Stewart (@DaveStewart)… You can be the winner.

Salim Hemdani

Friday, March 06, 2009

Analog world is going digital: Who is thinking about it?

During Wharton Business Technology Conference, Microsoft unveiled the future of digital world: How emerging technologies can help improve our lives. This video provides a little glimpse into that world. Despite too much use of Hindi (Indian national language) in the video it is pretty impressive. I believe, these digital experiences are possible even today with the existing technologies. The questions is how economical it is to build these experiences? Is there an alternative that can appeal to the masses?, And What business models one can expect to come out of this?

-- Salim Hemdani