Archive for April, 2006

Time to Vote on the Logo

Apr 27 2006 Published by under Social Enterprise

Alright, after a great recommendation from Anthony I turned to SitePoint for my graphic design needs. And now it’s time for your help again. Please vote on your favourite of the four options below – the results of the poll will count for 1/3 of the final decision.

[If you want to check out the requirements / input / … check out this thread.]

Which Logo for Retune?
Retune Option 1
Retune Option 2
Retune Option 3
Retune Option 4
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6 responses so far

Gestures, Tim Hortons, and Influence

Apr 25 2006 Published by under General

It’s my goal to conduct a number of experiments to increase my understanding of influence.

For my first experiment I decided to test the results of Chiarella’s article: that people respond easily (and positively) to a gesture.

I brought a pair of jeans to a local seamstress to get repaired. It was near closing when I walked in but I was told that they could do it before they left for the day; that it would take 10 min.

I said that was great and mentioned that I was heading to Tim Hortons to grab a coffee and that I would be right back. As I stepped out of the shop I puposefully paused and poked my head back into the store and asked if I could get either of them a coffee. They stopped, smiled and said thanks but they were alright.

I came back a few minutes later and was greeted with a friendly conversation. We chatted while they finished the work. As they approached the register with the repaired jeans I reached for my wallet. Hands were waved, big smiles appeared, and they exclaimed that there was no charge. Sweet. The small gesture saved me a few bucks and produced a friendlier conversation. Not too bad. I’m going to keep up the small gestures, I’ll let you know what I observe.

[Bonus: Tim Hortons has handled their brand so well that they are becoming synonymous with Canada to Canadians. So much so that our mint is distributing certain coins exclusively through the chain!]

2 responses so far

Questions I Want Answered (or, Real Estate Agents and Their Glamour Shots)

Apr 25 2006 Published by under General

I’m a curious guy. I often try to figure out why some random thing is the way it is.

Lately (and I’m not kidding here) there has been a question that has been driving me nuts because I can’t find a single acceptable explanation: Why do real estate agents plaster their glamour shots on all of their marketing materials?

A quick google search found a recent Washington Post article that tries to answer the question. Kate, I understand your curiosity and I hope you aren’t satisfied with the answers given either (if it’s so effective for person to person selling, why are we only seeing professions where appearance has a direct impact on success adopt the strategy – i.e. clowns ??)

18 responses so far

The Keystone of Building Network Value

Apr 24 2006 Published by under Startup Strategy

What is a potential promise? It’s the observable/unobservable, direct/indirect, understandable/perplexing, … factor(s) that create an expectation of personal value for a network. This expectation of personal value, this potential promise, must be present before a network has any chance of building mass.

In our changing world where we’re witnessing a “fundamental inversion of mass media economics”, potential promises are keystones of network value.

Step back for a second for some required reading,

Joshua Porter:

From now on I’m going to call this idea the “ Lesson”. This is the lesson that personal value precedes network value: that selfish use comes before shared use…

Alex Barnett

Personal value >> Network effects >> Personal value

Ray Deck

The problem with relying on network effects is that if the first few users don’t get value, there’s no way you’re going to get 10,000 to form substantive network effects.

Personal value comes before network effects and potential promises create an expectation of personal value – which in turn helps develop network effects (which incidentally create and nurture further potential promises… completing the virtuous cycle).

Sometimes the potential promise is clear and easily equates to personal value: offers the potential promise of personal web content organization; personal value is obtained whenever I find that page that I tagged but couldn’t remember; and network value comes from, subscribing to the tags of others, …

In other cases a potential promise is convoluted and does not equate easily to personal value: MySpace offers many potential promises (the case with huge networks). Let’s examine one. For some, MySpace offers the potential promise of popularity – more friends on your page, increased chance of being perceived as popular. The personal value isn’t popularity – it’s being able to talk with friends, discover new music, etc. MySpace can’t make you cool, but it can offer the potential of becoming popular.

The difference between potential promises and personal value can be anywhere from subtle to considerable. Regardless, a network must develop and nurture a potential promise in order to create personal value. And without personal value there won’t be network effects.

[bonus: we’ve seen that potential promises can help de-commoditize your product – does it also influence the purchase of publishing companies?]

No responses yet

Fraser on Influence (an ongoing experiment)

Apr 23 2006 Published by under General

An article in the March issue of Esquire has inspired me to learn more about influence. I’m going to learn by doing a number of small experiments over the coming weeks and I’ll share my results and observations here.

In the Esquire article, titled Influence: A Little Nudge”, the author, Tom Chiarella, provides some great observations. Mainly, I found it interesting that a gesture went further than a gift. Tom offers an explanation why: “The truth is, gifts are not the same as favors. While people respond to a gesture easily enough, nobody wants an obligation he or she doesn’t know how to answer.”

Influence tip number one (from the article): “when it comes to influence, perceived obligation is your best tool.”

Stay tuned for the results of some mini experiments. If you have any suggestions, please share :)

[bonus: the article reminded me of a hilarious magazine article I read a few years ago – so I went to google to try to track it down for you guys. Here it is: The $20 Theory of the Universe. Who’s the author? Why our friend from above, Tom Chiarella. (found via Ben’s site)]

3 responses so far

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