John Akerson's Thoughts

Business, technology and life

The Reputation Economy is Here.

Dan Schwabel has written two posts on his Forbes Blog in the last week. His message is that “the Reputation Economy is Coming.”  Alot of pieces of the Reputation Economy are coming together at warp-speed. Here are a few:

MANY anecdotal stories of people who have been fired, arrested, not-hired,(cisco-fatty, etc).

Millions of people who meet and begin relationships due to *something* online.

Businesses running into serious issues… (Kenneth Cole, etc)

Colleges considering online info during interviews

If Dan Schwabel’s cited research is even close to correct that “80% of HR professionals use online reputation information… and that 70% had rejected a job candidate due to what they found online.”

It seems there is enormous evidence that whether the subject is personal, professional, corporate, or really from ANY perspective: The Reputation Economy is not coming, it is *here.*

What do you think?

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March 1, 2011 Posted by | Business, Competitive Advantage, Life, Marketing, People | 2 Comments

Attention Span

My attention span is struggling under the pressure. There is a wide gulf between my life, my job and the startup that I’m trying to build.

I’m trying to learn about Quora. I am also trying to balance demands life, my job, my startup with the demands of my Blogs, guest contributions to other blogs,  Twitter, Google Buzz, my LinkedIn contacts,  Twitpic & Yfrog photography, and comments that I make on other blogs.

I want to keep in touch with all of these things because I advise customers who have their own lives, their own businesses and their own interests. To be the expert, I need deep personal understanding – AND the creativity to apply that understanding for my clients.

I think of myself as unique – a passionate, persistent, pragmatic, problem preventer, business and technology enthusiast. Former Marine, Ex Soldier & current geek.  Wrapping that up with my life is challenging because of my attention span.   It has never been such a problem before.   I don’t know if the problem is really MY attention span, or simply that the world is changing so fast. 

I want to improve some things.

I’d love to have a meaningful connection with my son but it takes two people to have a meaningful connection. I’d love to replace my aging Ford Explorer, but it only has 65k miles, and is very useful. I’d love to find a new job but my current job has been dependable since 1999 or so.  I’d love to explode my business because I think it can help hundreds of other businesses instead of dozens.  I’d love to write daily.  I’d love to bicycle about 30 miles a day, 5 days a week… but I can’t find 2 hours to do it.  To fit things in well, my days need another 24 hours each.

My world of information is exploding. Everyone’s world is. Staying on top is like juggling chainsaws and torches while flipping on a trampoline that someone randomly moves beneath my feet.  What sort of attention span can make it all work?  

Ultimately, I will need to set priorities and let things fall to the side. Everyone does. It is a challenge, and I need to find the attention span to make it all work, and make the right selections of what is important, and what isn’t.  

How do people do it? How do you?

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Life, Other Stuff, People | Leave a comment

The Cost to Convenience ratio

Bradford Cross wrote a great article on Measuring Measures “Why the iPad is Destroying the Future of Journalism.”

He was a bit off the mark in discussing Facebook, and could have provided more useful content by discussing Twitter because Twitter is a competitive microblogging platform that more directly delivers news-ish information.  His point was valuable because he focused on ways that media needs to address how it delivers unique content in a way that allows people to share.

Traditional media needs to ensure their cost to convenience ratio is favorable. 

What is that?  Here’s an example:  Your bank would love it if you, personally, used them for CD, Checking Account, Savings Account, Car loan, mortgage, IRA, online banking, online bill-pay, mobile banking and every other consumer service they offer. They want you to use their atm’s, their branches, and every location they offer.  They want the fees, of course, but they also want to make it more difficult for you to go to another bank and start up all those accounts, at that other bank. If your relationship with your bank is deeper, it is more difficult for you to switch. That convenience has a huge value because of the cost of changing, in terms of time and aggravation.

When your personal cost of switching (in time, and aggravation) exceeds the pain you feel from staying with a bank, they’re a winner.  This applies for ANY business.

If your convenience exceeds the cost you’re charged for that convenience, you, as a customer, might be content to be their loyal customer for EVER. You may slide from being a customer to being an evangelist.  This works for a local newspaper too, which may have a virtual monopoly on newspapers in a regional or local area. In many cases when a local newspaper is the only game in town, it can afford to be sloppy and cheap . The Winston Salem Journal, for instance, recently fired their entire copy desk. For their customers, the cost of finding an alternative far exceeds the cost of staying a customer. In some cases, there IS no alternative.

Look at Hyundai’s new Equus. Car and Driver’s comparison shows that it essentially clones the Lexus LS460L . “When Korean engineers set about copying the modern LS, they swallowed their inventiveness and simply deployed a really good Xerox machine.”  They did it extremely well, and “as-tested LS460L cost 50 percent more than the Equus.”  That is a steep cost for the convenience and pleasures of owning a car with the Lexus name.  Ironically, it is similar to what Toyota did.  “Note the way the Equus undercuts the six-figure Lexus. Just like Lexus undercut Mercedes 20 years ago.”  Hyundai “xeroxed” the LS460L, and it has also copied Toyota’s Lexus business model to a certain extent. (Using Toyota’s business model against Toyota.)

Every business needs to look at the cost/convenience ratio that they provide. It is a real key to deepening customer relationships. Deeper customer relationships increast the cost of changing to competitors.  Successful businesses (Zappos, Amazon, Lexus, Hyundai, etc) aspire to make their customers happy because happy customers are loyal customers. Those customers are loyal, in part, because of the cost to convenience ratio.

Every Lexus’ LS460L that is sold this year is an example that the value of that loyalty… Every person who buys a Lexus LS460L is a person who is willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a Lexus, when there is a much less expensive substitute available. Those purchases show loyalty for Lexus’ past performance.

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Business, Competitive Advantage, Life, Social Media | Leave a comment

Sad Suicide

Mark Madoff’s suicide touched me. 

On the morning of December 11, 2010 — exactly two years after Bernard’s arrest — his son Mark Madoff, age 46, was found dead in his New York City apartment. The initial ruling for the cause of death is suicide by means of hanging.”   I did not know Mark Madoff or any other member of his family. Mark Madoff profited from an enormous Ponzi scheme that his father ran from a business that MARK worked for – for more than 20 years. He profited from his father’s scheme that resulted in the destruction of billions of dollars of wealth, charitable foundations. It was a scheme that has inspired/caused/incited other people’s suicides.  

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew probably understood or should have understood what was going on. They were educated and experienced.  One had a degree from the University of Michigan and the other a degree from the Wharton School. Both had worked for their father’s firm since the 1980s.   (Ironically, they worked there from around the time that Michael Douglas’ oscar-winning performance as Gordon Gekko who said that “that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” in Oliver Stone’s Movie: Wall Street)

Given Mark’s involvement in the family business, it is amazing that he and his brother turned their father in to the SEC. It is possible, as ABC contends, ‘I’m going to say you knew nothing about it, because I’m seventy years old, you’re forty, you’ve got children. So I will take the fall for this.’  It is also possible that they realized what their father did, and turned him in because they felt ethically compelled to do so.  It seems that their family has been destroyed by their decision to turn in their father.

Mark’s Mother Ruth Madoff – his estranged mother – blames his father for his suicide.

I am saddened by Mark’s death. I know what it is like to lose a parent. I know what it is like to feel pressure.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to have an $80m lawsuit filed against me, to have bankruptcy trustees after me, to betray my father in an act that results in a 150 year prison sentence, and to live with the aftermath.   There’s a small list of people who understand that – probably only one now:  Mark’s brother Andrew.  

I don’t for a second condone what his family did and I don’t think anyone should. Yet his suicide still touched me. I feel sad for his family and for his children. His children will now grow up with a grandfather who is in prison and knowing that their father killed himself, hung himself with a dog leash on the 2nd anniversary of their grandfather’s arrest. In committing suicide, Mark picked a final, sad way out for himself.   I don’t think  are any ethical lessons beyond the WAY obvious ones. There’s no techie thing here, no marketing thing, no business thing – just a human thing.

Mark Madoff’s suicide is just sad – just a sad suicide.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Business, ethics, Life, People | Leave a comment

Competitiveness and Personal Data

Technology competition is ramping up everywhere, and it surrounds the value of Personal Data.   Google is launching its E-Bookstore to compete with Amazon, Apple, and others. Facebook is releasing a new “profiles” feature that will certainly compete with LinkedIn and Twitter, and Google Buzz.

Motorola’s Droid Pro has to be giving RIM nightmares because the reasons for having their Blackberry are dwindling at an amazing speed. Cellphone competition is at a feverish pace. As Verizon prepares to get the iPhone, it sounds like they’re willing to pay Apple to prevent either Sprint or Tmobile from getting it…  Google released the new Nexus S phone  with a reference build of their android operating system, with no additional-anything to impede user experience. (TechCrunch says that “Google’s various apps, some of which are unavailable for the iPhone, that make it the best phone on the market today.”)

All of the technical competition has a downside though… Google’s Nexus S has a Near Field communication, NFC, feature that will let you use the phone in lieu of a credit card by simply tapping it against a device in a store. (read more about that here)  Given the data that they gather every second about customer preferences with their search engine, and the data that they gathered over the last few years with Street view – One has to wonder about the data they will gather from their Ebookstore and their Nexus S. One has to wonder what Facebook is going to gather with their new Profiles Feature. Another good question is… WHO is Facebook competing with there? Is it LinkedIn? Is it Twitter? Is it Google Buzz? or is it just Facebook improving for the sake of improvement? And what personal data will THAT improvement release?

Given the enormous value Google reaps from its growing googlebytes of data, it seems safe to question every “technical” advance, innovation, invention and announcement in terms of what personal data will be freshly captured for corporate plundering.

Is it all about the data? Should we be concerned about Ford gathering consumer information with their “Vehicle Interaction Revolution?” The new MyTouch feature of the Ford Edge understands thousands of commands. It connects to Cell phone, MP3 player, USB drive, SD Card… and features an ADHD-enabled delight: “Two 5-way switch pads on the steering wheel with 3 LCD displays – 2 in the instrument cluster, and 1 in the center stack. The available MyFord Touch™ features an 8-inch touch-screen display in the center stack.” (I’d love to trade my 10 year old Ford Explorer in for one. I’d think of it as a Ford Digital Explorer!)

Does it know how to phone home?  How long will it be before your Droid Pro can sync with your Ford Edge to update your Facebook Profile with 4Sq information, and feed all that into Google’s database so that Groupon can target you with an advertisement?  How much personal data is too much?

What do you think?

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Business, Competitive Advantage, Life | 1 Comment

Black Friday is Dead

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is a day that combines a recipe of these ingredients: pent-updemand, planning for holiday gift giving, end of year bonuses, excessive credit, retailer desires, and a deluge of advertising across all forms of media. It is one day, marked in black, when retailers theoretically break even for the year. It is a day that serves as a standard measure of the economy.

According to USA Today, “Last year, the Thanksgiving shopping weekend accounted for 12.3% of overall holiday revenue, according to ShopperTrak. Black Friday made up about half of that.”

Link to Tombstone Maker
Black Friday is dead. Why? It is dead because people love options and alternatives, because some people hate crowds, and most of all because every retailer is now offering more and more options. Here are a few: Buy online, buy on Thanksgiving day, buy on Cyber Monday, buy a week before Black Friday, buy the week after or on any of the shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or – simply choose not to buy.

Breaking news today shows Black Friday sales rising modestly or enormously, but each article is just showing a small piece of the Black Friday pie.

Here’s some information from Yahoo: “U.S. online sales were up 33 percent on Thanksgiving this year, according to IBM Coremetrics, signaling irresistible promotions in advance of Cyber Monday, the kick-off to the online holiday selling season.”

Major media outlets like Reuters are saying that U.S. retail sales on Friday rose a mere 0.3 percent from the same period last year, while traffic rose 2.2 percent, ShopperTrak said. Heavily discounted merchandise may increase volume, but negatively skews sales data while cutting into profit margins.

But that is just a little piece of the real story. Paypal money transfers increased enormously, and further, Paypal data suggests that the “shopping season began on Monday, November 15, 2010.”

 How significant is that?  Here are some other tidbits of data: 

“Black Friday 2010 resulted in 21 percent more total payment volume compared to Thanksgiving 2010. PayPal saw 19 percent more payment volume on Black Friday 2010 compared to an average Friday in 2010.  PayPal processes 16.5 percent of U.S. eCommerce and 15 percent of global eCommerce.”

So – is there a 0.3% increase? Or a 27% increase?   Experts had forecasted a 2-3% increase

And many enormous retailers were open on Thanksgiving day. (Including  Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, Kmart, Walmart, Gap, Old Navy and others) My local CVS pharmacy was open until Midnight on Thanksgiving. Many of these retailers had Black Friday deals available early. Many online businesses offered Black Friday deals early.

The cumulative effect is that Black Friday isn’t comparable to last Black Friday because the buying has been moved to a multiple-day, multiple medium affair. What was once confined to a day and a physical location is now everywhere over several weeks.

Black Friday is dead. We will still have a “Black Friday”, and will still call it Black Friday, but sales will begin earlier and earlier and last later and later. Combining that flexibility with online sales will mean that at some point, we might start calling it “Black November-December”  Whatever it is, and whatever it is evolving into, it isn’t Black Friday anymore.

What do you think?

November 28, 2010 Posted by | Business, Life, Marketing, Social Media | 1 Comment

President Eisenhower

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

A quote from
President Dwight Eisenhower:
Soldier, General, President.

Hard to me to make any useful comment on something so profound, except to point out that it should not be so completely forgotten.

(Official White House portrait of President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Wikicommons)

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Life, People | Leave a comment

Kindle is Your Paradise

Killer gadgets today are killer because they let us do everything. Is your newest latest Droid/Blackberry/iPhone a killer gadget? Maybe it is, but maybe not. What about the Kindle that only does one thing? Maybe a better question is, do you want more “killer gadgets?” Or do people need one device that does one thing?

From my perspective, the Kindle is better than a killer gadget. It is a paradise device and a paradise business model. The Kindle does only one thing, really well. That is the point. It is killer BECAUSE it does only one thing. It is paradise because it does only one thing. It can give YOU paradise if you have one, and it is paradise for Amazon. The proof is in this delightful, engaging, brilliant Kindle Ad. Please watch it because it explains everything: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGmRKSds9OY

On the surface, if you have $140 sunglasses and love sitting poolside reading your Kindle, it is an easy sell that your Kindle will work better than other multifunction book-type devices. (iPad) Depending on what statistic you pay the most attention to, Amazon is selling either 143 or 180 digital books for every 100 hardcovers sold.   Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos says it is “astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.”  That is a tipping point!

Back to the Kindle Ad!  The great irony is that Amazon’s Kindle mirrors the most successful single purpose device in the last decade, in every meaningful way – the iPod. The iPod is a singular-purpose device created a billion-dollar digital download store for Apple. (Perhaps $15 billion) Amazon’s Kindle is another killer gadget, but it is better because it is a single purpose killer gadget. The single-price digital music pricing model has simultaneously destroyed and reformed the music industry and it might yet do the same thing to the motion picture industry. Meanwhile, the publishing industry is being pushed and perhaps dismantled by Amazon’s amazing digital sales… driving per-copy prices down way past where publishers want.

So – coming full circle, here is the situation: iTunes drives Apple revenues with a product to be used on Apple’s iPods. Amazon’s delightful advertisement with their Paradise Device is thoroughly brilliant. It takes Apple out of the black turtleneck cool and plops it down. Where? in a the gut of a man wearing a semi-yellowed white-ish t-shirt over wrinkly khakis (1) at a pool with an iPad (2), sitting side by side with a kindled-up bikini girl. Mr. Apple-man is without sunglasses and looking kind of uptight and stressed, but she finds every relaxed way to look simultaneously hot… and very cool. People might not notice in the commercial, but there is a subtle plate of apples in the background (3)   Back to the stress… in this commercial, this alternate vacation reality – it is the iPad that is stressing him. His iPad is not relaxing and is not helping his vacation one bit! It is not helping him find paradise and it sure didn’t help him select his poolside wardrobe.

When you look at these two people, you can tell neither is married. (4) You can tell that she is enjoying her vacation in paradise. She has the shades, the attitude, the smile, the perfect hair, the perfect black bikini, and the perfect device with which to download digital content… and reading. Why is it so great that she has a single purpose device?  Everyone wants the paradise that comes with no deadlines, no meetings, no emails, no texts, no web to browse, no pdf’s, no buzzers, no noise, no distractions, and nothing at all beyond reading. It is only one simple pure function. Yet, nothing is getting between her and her Kindle. It is almost an intimate connection. A bargain that cost less to her than her sunglasses.

In a cluttered world filled with multifunctional device Swiss army knives, the Kindle is a Katana – sharp, purposeful, effective and to enemies, it must seem splendidly frightening in its potential and its execution. In the advertisement, everything in the girl’s vacation is elegant, relaxing and perfect. She is lost in the Kindle, lost in her reading. She has reached that intimate Kindle-paradise and left the stresses of her life behind. It is exactly the moment in exactly the vacation that everyone could use – everyone with lives that are torn by a never ending assortment of multifunction devices that sing like canaries in a mine full of hyper stimulated under-satisfied stress.  Matt Richtel wrote a great piece in the New York Times about how “Digital devices deprive the brain of needed downtime.
So – she is cool… she is hot… she is on vacation… and she can read her Kindle in direct sunlight, with her high-end fashionable sunglasses on. Why didn’t he bring sunglasses? Was he too busy in is iPad world with stimuli hitting him everywhere? Was he really TRYING to read or was he hitting on her? Does he not know how to adjust the brightness and contrast on his iPad? It doesn’t matter at ALL to her. She doesn’t have a care in the world. She is on vacation in paradise. She can relax perfectly with her kindle on her vacation reading her book in her world without interruption. That is exactly what she wanted. She didn’t want the sunlight to blind her. She wanted to be fashionable. She wanted to relax, cool by the pool, and her Kindle is exactly what she needed. Suddenly the Kindle is black bikini cool in a world of drab white t-shirts. It is a single word, a single device with a single purpose, and it is simultaneously cool, hot, functional and inexpensive. Does he need a pair of $150 sunglasses to read his iPad? No, he needs to ditch the iPad for a Kindle. The Kindle is EVERYTHING he needs. The Kindle is singular in purpose and effect. It is the paradise that he seeks, even on a perfect day when he is actually IN paradise.
The Kindle is exactly what Amazon needed. It isn’t perfect, multifunctional, or multitasking. It doesn’t read all the formats. It doesn’t try to make nice with the Nook or other devices. It is a single-purpose device in a world of multipurpose devices that gives people a way to escape all those other intrusions on their lives. The Kindle is the device that wraps an ADHD world into a single stimulus that can draw you in and encompass you the way that an afternoon with a good book could in a world that has gone by, long ago, far away. And for every Kindle Amazon sells to turn your life into a paradise, it will sell, based on current averages, 24 digital books.

Narasu Rebbapragada writes about people who pursue “any machine that does as many things as possible, that’s what I want”  but also talks how  the Kindle “retains the fundamental characteristics of the printed page, (and) encourages deep attention to story.”   Deep attention to a paradise where one device does one thing and doesn’t interrupt itself and you.

Books are to the Kindle as music was to the iPod, and anything more is unnecessary and detracts. You might say that with Amazon’s paradise device, Apple just got Kindled.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Competitive Advantage, Environment, Life, Marketing, People, Technology | 1 Comment

4 Solutions

If you are working for someone else, anyone other than yourself, your job is temporary. It may last 30 years, but it is temporary because you are working for someone else. You may lose your job.  You would need a crystal ball to know when your job.

Given this challenging economy, and the fear that comes from having a temp job in a difficult time, you may ask yourself, what can you do?  This is a complex question because it is really several questions:

  • What can you do to keep your current job?
  • What can you do to get your next job?
  • What can you do to get a new job at your current employer?
  • What can you do to have the most job security?

I don’t like asking 4 questions without answers, so here are some answers to these questions. Here are my 4 brief solutions:

What can you do to keep your current job? You can be so valuable that you your employer cannot do without you. You can become the best known, the best educated, the best qualified for your job, and as long as you are not the CEO of your company, you can become trained, certified, educated and experienced at doing your boss’ job, your co-workers’ jobs. But there is more to it than that. You need to help your managers and executives KNOW that you are the most well qualified, the smartest, the most creative, in short, you need to make sure that the people responsible for hiring and firing YOU, know that you are the very best at everything that you are the best at. 

What can you do to get your next job? First, figure out what and where your next job will be.  Figure out what you want to do, and who you want to work for. Find out what that person or company needs, and figure out what YOU can do to contribute to their success. When you are looking for a job, it is NOT about you, it is about what you can do for someone else. Know what that company needs and be the person who can do what is needed.

Hired!

What can you do to get a new job at your current employer?  Here is an important thing to remember. The company that you already work for is likely to be the best place to find a new job. There are two great reasons for this. The first is that they know you. They know your performance. They know your skills, your abilities. They don’t have to figure out anything about hiring a new employee, adding a new person to their payroll, onboarding a new person.  The second reason is that for you to get a job at a new employer, your package of knowledge, skills and abilities have to be so overwhelmingly positive that you are worth the risk.  Look where you are at, talk to people. Find your opportunity!

Which brings us to my 4th solution. 

What can you do to have the most job security?  The answer to this question is simple. Work for the one person in the world who would NEVER fire you. WORK for YOURSELF. Find a passion, develop your abilities, learn something unique and valuable, start your own company. Provide something new, something great, something unique, something creative. Figure out what gives you your own unique and personal professional competitive advantage, and figure out a way to profit from it. Charge what you are happy receiving, work at what you are proud of and carve your own niche, whether it is microscopic, or enormous.

If you know what you CAN do – your next question is, what SHOULD you do?  That is an answer for another day.

July 29, 2010 Posted by | Business, Competitive Advantage, Life, Marketing, People | Comments Off on 4 Solutions

Privacy Dies.

Perhaps I should have said that Privacy Dies When Surrendered.

I think it is important to point out that when it is surrendered, Privacy dies. It evaporates. It withers.  And privacy is essential. Privacy Dies

Shamable posted an interesting thought – on “Why Foursquare Will Trump Twitter.” Although they have a written an interesting article that explains what Foursquare does, and why it is useful, they are absolutely wrong. The problem with Shamable’s argument is that four-square is one more step down a slippery slope of privacy’s death.  Since Privacy is essential to SO many people, Shamable isn’t right.   How do we get from Foursquare to the death of Privacy?

 There is a continuum between applications and the way they are used:

  • Twitter= What are you doing?
  • Foursquare = Where are you?

It isn’t going to be long until there are other killer apps that answer:

  • What are you spending on?
  • What do you want? (enough that you’re willing to spend for it)
  • What do you have?
  • “What do you hate?” (which may already be encompassed by Yelp)
  • “What will you lie about – or – what have you lied about?”
  • “What will you cheat on – or what have you cheated on?”

Microsoft probably  missed an opportunity when they didn’t build “Where do you want to go” years ago when they used that phrase as their slogan.

So – here’s my point. Telling people… telling EVERYONE where you are, what you want, where you are going, what you want, and where you want to go… is like Orwell upside down.

There is no need for 1984 big-brother type government apparatus in a world where everyone abandons, surrenders and advertises the elements of their lives which they optionally could keep private. It would get VERY difficult for the Secret Service to meet their primary responsibilities if the President started using Foursquare on his blackberry.  Imagine seeing things like this on Twitter:

BarackObama: I’m leaving the White House on Marine 1 headed to Andrews AFP on @foursquare!

BarackObama: I’m  new Mayor of Washington D.C. “5-Guys” on @foursquare!

If it is so obvious why there are privacy issues for a public figure, why does everyone else want to advertise what they’re doing? When there are enormous downsides to giving up our publicity – aptly displayed by sites like “PleaseRobMe.com” explained in this Denver Post article.  I was amazed to read that one of the people who’s information was shared on “PleaseRobMe” was interviewed and said that

HUH? He is saying that people WANT to surrender privacy. People WANT to? Really? Why is that? Well, it is because sharing where you REALLY are, is real. I’m a big fan of Jesse Schell. He points out two important factors in his presentation:

1) Life is becoming very much LIKE a game and perhaps, life IS becoming a game
2) Because of everything simulated in our lives, authenticity has enormous value.

We have to be careful about surrendering privacy because surrendering privacy is surrendering liberty. Bruce Schneier explained it in one of my favorite articles in Wired a few years ago. He wrote in a simpler time, in a Pre-twitter, pre-Foursquare world. What he wrote is more applicable every day: 

“The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy.”

Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy.  When we surrender our own privacy, it dies. When privacy dies, Liberty may not be far behind.  I’m not going into a future-courtroom where foursquare provides an alibi, or destroys one.   The agents who killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh – the Hamas operative, Assassination Tango would NEVER have checked in. Just imagine: @Gail arrives in Dubai on flight AF526 on @foursquare

My argument is that Foursquare is not going to “trump twitter” as Shamable suggests. Both are components of privacy’s self-inflicted death.  But people are not going to give up their privacy when they realize the enormous value of what they are surrendering. Privacy is a fundamental right.  If you look at the Orwellian nightmare where War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength, foursquare is an example of… Privacy is Public.  But it isn’t. It really isnt.

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Life | Leave a comment