Blog Post: Twitter and Your TV

There have been rumblings of this coming for some time, but Twitter is making a major play to be the must-use companion of television watching. In this TechCrunch article, it is stated how the social media platform is “betting big” on television. I would argue there is no reason to state that television is a “bet” at this point, and it is even more clear when you look at the details of the new feature coming from Twitter.

The Silicon Valley giant is currently testing out a new trending aggregator for just television watching. Based on current traffic — mostly hashtags I would guess, but there could be other factors as well — it will list cards of popular shows complete with more information about the particular episode.

Genius of this feature is it can be used on live broadcasts, DVR, and streaming media systems. Regardless of your feelings on cord-cutting, you can have an impact on what is trending in TV on Twitter.

Can you imagine a world where Twitter could replace Nielsen in terms of how shows are rated? It’s coming. Maybe not from Twitter, but the data around what is popular to active, engaged viewers is available for the taking. I would take that over a journal sent to a few hundred thousand four times a year.

This also has mobile implications, because developers are already utilizing devices as “second screens” in unique ways. If the trending data from Twitter is made available, networks could integrate it into their apps for even more engagement with their entrenched fans.

Keep your eye on this, because this is how TV viewing will be changed for the next decade (along with some broadcasters finally sticking it to cable providers). 

Blog Post: Twitter and Your TV

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Blog Post: The Many Facets of BYOD Policies

How interesting it is to see Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies already set for 60 percent of the workplace. Even more interesting is by next year, the number will jump to over 90 percent. What strikes me are the success metrics many are quoting. It can lead to a set of myths or ideas that I think may lead decision makers down a wrong path.

According to this article by TMC Net, the extremely rapid rise of BYOD has led to increased employee satisfaction, productivity and creativity. While those factors are most likely true, I don’t think it’s the main driving force. 

It’s money. Pure and simple.

Employees that are more engaged and happy with what they are doing should be important to companies, but do they really think that bringing your iPhone to work will result in that? The same article states another survey where employees that can work from wherever they want, whenever they want can produce five to ten more hours of work a week. You can do that with or without BYOD policies.

Another stat states that three out of every five employees said they don’t need an office to be productive. Again, I could do that with a company issued laptop.

Many companies, once upon a time, issued secure company phones for employees that needed them. Not everyone got a phone, and afterwards many didn’t want one either. Allowing employees access to networks and company email was merely a small price to pay to get access to their phone numbers so they could be put on the clock whenever.

Having been in that position many times, I don’t mind being asked to do critical work at off hours. The great work I have been a part of never rests sometimes. As a result, being able to have access to my necessary information via mobile device allowed me to have just one device with me at all times.

My laptop isn’t viewed as a luxury anymore. It’s a burden. I don’t take it with me to meetings because it’s annoying to see me looking at it instead of the presenter. Instead, I can access email and IM through my phone and keep it out of sight. Once considered the expensive item not many needed, the laptop is now the device I only pull out every so often when I need to do some heavy writing.

Don’t let your employer fool you: they need you to want to bring your device with you to work. They want you to connect at all times so you can help get your project across the finish line sooner. Customers want access to support whenever they need. Managers need to put the monkey on their back somewhere else. 

I remember when mobile phones were forbidden in my office. Now, it’s a requirement that is vital to companies regardless of whether they want them there or not. 

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Blog Post: Get Your iPhone Jabs In Now

It’s still about a month away from the rumored iPhone (and other Apple product releases) announcement on September 10, and people are already ramping up their negative comments about it. We’re at the point where no matter what is announced, it won’t be good enough.

This article form The Next Web does it’s best to keep from spilling any condescension all over the story, although I’m sure a separate opinion piece by an expert will do so.

I’ve heard it already in a podcast and two other Internet posts: it’s not going to be revolutionary, but an iteration. It’s predecessor wasn’t that great either so don’t get your hopes up. Even the camera hardware and software, which were once thought unparalleled in the market, is being trashed by recent competitors.

Frankly, I don’t have any skin in the game other than the fact that my whole family uses Apple products. I would sure love it if Cupertino shut everyone up, but it won’t upset my day if the event is a dud. I am invested in the ecosystem and I don’t have any reason to change at the moment.

Which, of course, is the only thing that matters right now to many customers. If we are in the market for a phone right now, chances are it’s not our first. We probably bought an Android or iOS device already, and don’t want to have to pay for the apps and songs again. So, we’ll keep buying whatever we have for now.

I think Apple product work together very well, and there isn’t a single Windows machine in my house. When a company that provides software or media services would be worth the shift, my wife and I won’t have a problem. It won’t come from Microsoft for sure at this rate, and the other products are in the same boat. 

When you read comments from these cynics, just remember that they change their mind all the time and anyone who writes about this stuff is wrong a lot. If you want a new Apple product, September 10 will be a great day. If not, the announcements coming a week earlier will probably be of interest.

I’ll just be patient and remember that my experience holding the device is what matters, not someone else telling me what does.

Blog Post: Get Your iPhone Jabs In Now

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Blog Post: In Agile, Don’t Focus on Fast

There’s a lot to approve of in this Agile post by Mario Moreira, saying that we shouldn’t confuse short iterations of shippable code with rushing to get something out just for release sake. You see posts like this a lot from evangelists of the framework, because you never want to swing the pendulum the other direction:

Building the wrong thing fast is like driving a dragster that races off the motorway when the road twists and turns as they often do.”

The same can be said for topics like documentation, planning, and communication. When some take a class on Scrum, Lean, XP or any other Agile framework, it’s not a far stretch to change your thinking towards all three. 

It’s just not practical to put out software with zero documentation and planning. You can’t over-communicate. Definitely can’t expect that slashing meetings will result in large projects out in a couple of sprints.

How do you find the balance?

It’s impossible to have a “one size fits all” answer for every company. Products without any legacy code or minimal support needs can get away with less documentation. Some teams get away without a grooming session, or a daily standup. There’s always customizations you can make to fit your needs. Wouldn’t be very agile without it.

When focusing on the speed of delivery, ask your stakeholders what’s more important: time, budget or scope. When that decision is made, you know how to write your go-to-market plan.

One last note: “fast” is always in the eye of the beholder. Just because your boss uses the word in a presentation, doesn’t mean his definition is the same as yours. “Fast” may mean a 3-month release cycle instead of six. It may mean a 6-month release instead of 12. Shippable code means it could be released, so don’t freak out when you hear it. 

Blog Post: In Agile, Don’t Focus on Fast

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Blog Post: The Internet of Cities

The last five years of technological innovation have now resulted in more mobile devices in existence than people to use them. It has allowed users to interact with the world around them and redefine the meaning of the word “connected”. It has also created a culture where we can’t stay focused at work without checking our Twitter feed every so often.

As devices change and further integrate into our lives, there will be more innovation. I’m afraid, however, that we are reaching our saturation level of people being connected. So what’s next?

Connecting our cities to devices.

The article details how a company named Libelium is using sensors in Santander, Spain to help drivers find a parking spot sooner and reduce air pollution by cars. Waste water overflows are being reduced by 23 percent in South Bend, Indiana thanks to sensors installed by IBM. South Korea is installing sensors in the road to not only help funnel drivers during high-traffic times, but sense seismic activity as an early warning.

These are just a few of the many opportunities municipalities are using connectivity to their advantage. The article also states that in many cases, the upgrades pay for themselves.

While I don’t doubt that the new watch, glasses or other wearable technology will change mobile just as mobile changed the Internet, it’s the companies that can gather data effectively and use it to help improve our lives. These sensors must be cheap, easy to install and accessible to city networks.

Once we do that, we will worry less about finding our keys with mobile devices and more on saving time and the environment.

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Blog Post: How Concerned Should Apple Be Over iPad Market Share?

This time last year, Apple’s share of the tablet market was still in a dominant position. Even though Android was technically higher in terms of tablet OS use — 51% to 47%, respectively — the split of Google’s platform among all the OEMs can help make iOS more appealing to developers.

Unfortunately, a lack of innovation and release of new products has changed that argument tremendously.

With a 14% decline in iPad shipments this past quarter, Apple now only owns 28% of the share of the tablet market.

2012 vs. 2013 Market Share

Many are pointing to the lack of a new version of both the 10-inch and 7-inch iPads as the main reason for such a steep decrease in sales. With more recent releases from Samsung and Google, in addition to the Windows offerings, the competition has more than caught up to Cupertino.

Earlier this year, I read projections by many industry experts reporting that Apple’s lead in the tablet market will remain for much longer. Of course, those reports weren’t counting on Apple standing pat for this long. Some are now opining there won’t be an update to the iPad Mini in 2013 period.

That sound you hear is the continued drop in Apple’s stock price.

I still have hope in the fall announcement that Tim Cook promises will be ground-breaking. Who knows what it will include, but if it’s anything like last September’s it should be a doozy.

One could argue that it may not be enough, in time. We shall see.

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Blog Post: No Tool Can Replace Actual Conversation

Loved this post on communicating with customers from Intercom co-founder Jon Hainstock because it highlights something very depressing about how we work today: live conversation has been replaced in many ways. Regardless of your industry or company culture, there is a tool available to you that gives you the opportunity to avoid communicating.

I am not saying I dislike software that assists with categorization, priority flags, auto-responders, and case numbers. The bigger your organization, the more of a challenge it can be to keep everyone in the loop. At the same time, we must take advantage of every opportunity to have live conversation with co-workers and customers.

Trust is key, as the article states. That must be build with time and effort. You’ll have to swallow a lot of pride and words. When I say “you”, I mean me for sure.

Who have you had challenges with? Make a point to have some interaction that can give both people a chance to share and grow together. 

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Prototyping the Future

Think back just a few years ago to the Time Before The iPhone. We’d seen a number of touch-screen cell phones and PDAs. (Remember that acronym?) But the conventional wisdom among tech pundits was that touchscreens weren’t really workable for mobile devices. Certainly, it was thought, touch screens couldn’t replace keyboards and hardware buttons. It took two things, together, to prove the conventional wisdom wrong. First, touch screens got better slowly and steadily. They became more accurate, more responsive, more durable, prettier, and able to track two or more touches simultaneously. Second, interface design got better all at once when Apple released the first version of iOS.

This is the consistent pattern. Early products pioneer some elements of the future. Those products influence engineering and design thinking before they fade away, victims of timing and market dynamics. Finally a tipping point arrives, enabled by technological progress and usually catalyzed by an excellent new product design. Conventional wisdom adjusts and it becomes hard to remember we didn’t all know all along that, for example, phones would one day be little slabs of glass. William Gibson expresses it best: the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.

We don’t know what is possible until it becomes so.

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Blog Post: #Apps of All Kinds

Sometimes I am jealous of all the mobile conferences that happen globally. If I had a choice, there would be a designated amount of time where my company allowed employees time for exchange of ideas and networking. Unfortunately, there’s work that needs to be done. So I’m left with reading great recaps like this piece from Venture Beat.

As usual, companies are a little reluctant to throw all their eggs into one basket. With the mobile industry still so new, it can be difficult to make product decisions based on what could be considered a “fad”.

The senior VP of Salesforce concluded that in the future, more and more work will be done on mobile devices. For now, though, it’s impossible to employ a mobile-first strategy. Reading the tea leaves, many decision makers (even at my company) believe too much work is done on traditional computing devices to warrant a change in product road maps.

Problem being, it’s not going to be that way for much longer. Companies that want to innovate should be making the changes to their planning now if they want to beat the rush.

I have tried something the last couple of months at work, with some degree of success. Instead of carting my bulky laptop everywhere to monitor email and instant message queues I have been taking my iPhone. Strangely enough, I get just as much done and my interactions are limited just because I don’t want to be on my phone too much during meetings.

Of course, documentation still has to be written. For that, I need my bigger screens and a keyboard. That, of course, could be remedied with an iPad and Bluetooth keyboard.

Mobile devices are not just for consuming content. These powerful devices are just as capable of creating the content, and I need apps to help me do so.

Blog Post: #Apps of All Kinds

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Blog Post: Do You Own A Tablet But Not A Smartphone?

This is an interesting post by Enterprise Mobile Solutions that poses an interesting question: do you prefer smartphones or tablets?

One question I have is, are there any of you out there that have only a tablets and not a smartphone? It might be an incorrect assumption, but I assumed if you have a tablet it is because you purchased a smartphone already.

Curious to know your thoughts.

Blog Post: Do You Own A Tablet But Not A Smartphone?

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