The author of my favorite blog has issued a request for stories – specific examples how the web may have changed your life. This is one of my stories.
In the mid-90s I bought a farm in Wakefield Quebec. I worked at Nortel at the time – and got interested in exotic pets. Via a simple web search I found a woman named Carolyn Macpherson – owner of Pygmy Pets in Winfield BC. We chatted for 6 months or so… and I decided to raise wallabies – small members of the kangaroo family. First came Rooby -the female. Then Dennis Hopper, the male. Carolyn provided great support!
A few years later, I ran into trouble with a few environment officers in Quebec. The tragic result was that three wallabies were confiscated. That story was widely broadcast – and still appears on the web today. The date – Valentines day 2001.
Here in Silicon Valley North, most of the technology companies are based in the west of Ottawa. Many also make downtown their HQ. Very few go east. Virtually none cross the mighty Ottawa River to settle in Gatineau. Last year when I was with Provance Technologies we were one of the brave few. The benefit of being there – no high tech congestion, a big mall across the street and a gym next door. The down side – your neighbours are not like you.
In our building the floor beneath us was occupied by a provincial cabinet minister – Benoit Pelletier. His portfolio attracted a lot of angry unions who would sometimes ambush the building.
One afternoon, I had an important meeting with our patent lawyers downtown – I looked out the window – and like WTF – about 500 people demonstrating in the parking lot. My van was parked right in the middle of them… I braved the crowd… declared myself a techie NOT a politician.. to my surprise – the crowd erupted with laughter and applause. With the help of a few union leaders and the Gatineau police I was able to back my beastly van out, get to Smart&Bigger and file my patent application!
Update: It would seem that Alexa has removed its ‘review this site’ feature.
I was surprised to see the review on Alexa which gives TD Canada Trust only 2 out of 5 stars and the review of “Very Poor Quality Service.” I can remember using the site back when it was just Canada Trust. The site worked great then. However, when TD took over the service didn’t work as well. It was enough to make me switch over to CIBC.
The CIBC online banking demo is very nicely done. Very slick. I like the voice they found for it. Reminds me of the type of thing we put together for the Venture set. The demo is a flash movie. To me, the site looks well constructed. I haven’t tried out many other banking services. Which one do you use? CIBC doesn’t have a review yet on Alexa. (You could be the first to review it!)
My favorite newsletter on the topic of the mobile user experience just happens to be called Mobile User Experience (MEX).
MEX editor Marek Pawlowski has published the MEX Manifesto detailing a 10 point strategy for the future of the mobile experience.
Here’s my 30 second version of the manifesto:
- A better user experience is more important than speed-to-market.
- Tear down the walled garden to stimulate free market growth.
- Mobile advertising should never interrupt the interface flow.
- The experience should adapt to changes in the user’s environment.
- UX performance should be routinely measured.
- Always seek to improve human-to-human communication.
- Personalization will be a critical component of the mobile value chain.
- Make it easy to share mobile content within a user’s community.
- UI Navigation on mobiles must be dramatically improved.
- Rethink service pricing to be more in-line with customer expectations.
O’Reilly’s Emerging Telephony conference is itself emerging as a comprehensive showcase of “nouveau tel”.
This year, two of our Ottawa tech friends are part of the conference. iotum’s Alec Saunders is part of a panel titled “Telephone 2.0 For Real?” Also, Voice 2.0 organizer Ross MacLeod is a judge on the mashup contest.
So load up some Grateful Dead on your iPod and head out to San Francisco – February 27 to March 1.
I typed into Google “Hasta La Vista” hoping for a hybrid of “Ahnold” and “Microsoft” (for no particular constructive purpose…) I got back this blast from the past – a parody of the Alta Vista Search engine. Hasta La Vista [update: link n/a] is powered by 6 retired postal workers living at a Minnetonka retirement home! I asked the site creator, Douglas Anderson how long he’s had this up…
10 years. Put it up in ’97. Glad it was still good for a laugh (it was made to look like AltaVista at the time, long before Google was a twinkle in anyone’s eye).
1997 – the golden age of the web!
Douglas has other parody sites, including Mister Rogers Neighborhood Watch – which unfortunately got shut down by Mister Rogers’ own legal team.
Some 2.0 companies you’ve gotta love – if only for their names. These are three of my favorites because their names reflect very clearly the value they offer.
So… QUIZ time!
What do these companies do?
We’re all pretty familiar with the web’s evolution in terms of business profit: first there was porn… then the dating sites and casinos… then came the auctions & the long tail retailers & the social networks.
It sure seems like history is repeating itself for the mobile internet. As Rich Loen reported last week, Telus is launching a premium “Adult” service for its wireless customers. Meanwhile most big dating sites have mobile versions: Plenty Of Fish, Lava Life, … Flirtomatic also reports that nearly 40% of their traffic comes from mobile.
So what’s the next mobile cash cow? I’d bet on MLOGS, MBay, and MCasinos before putting chips down on mobile TV.
Unless you own a pile of stock in some Telco, you really should care about Net Neutrality . Without it, GenC opportunities will be severely restricted.
So here are my 5 product design tips for a TS world:
- Don’t blog or talk about your product.
- Prevent users from sharing their data.
- Shield your users from themselves – make sure they don’t talk to each other.
- Documentation should be big, black and white.
- Ensure uniform use. It’s better if everyone’s stuff looks all the same!