Enjoy your Netflix while it lasts, because the Future of Streaming Video is coming…

Photo by  Jens Kreuter  on  Unsplash

Just read an interesting interview with Disney´s CEO Bob Iger. Interesting because of what he is NOT talking about: fantasy, imagination or customers.

He does talk a lot about the consumer! Direct-to-consumer, to be precise, because their new streaming service is the next big thing: cutting out Netflix (and its probably superior UX with it) and force people to pay directly to Disney if they want to see the new Star Wars TV series. Sorry, dear customer, but "It’s all about return on invested capital!"

Btw, why isn’t this called Direct-from-Consumer…? 🤔

Anyway, 2019 will be a great year for Disney, because of the next Avengers, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2. And don't forget: Star Wars IX!. Last year wasn’t bad either:

"We’re going to hit $7 billion [in 2018] as a studio [in] global box office."

Wow! And don't get him started on Avatar 2,3,4,5 and 6!!

"I’ll call it growth or evolution of core characters and introduction of some new ones. It didn’t do $2.6 billion worldwide by accident. There’s something there."

I am sure there is. But I am not sure whether I like it...!?

These are the executives who are building the future of streaming video for us, scaling an imaginary ROIC in the process, until every studio has its own little Netflix clone and we all will have to cough up $10 per months for every single one: you want Star Trek AND Star Wars…? Then pay up…

Have fun... Bob will... 💸😈

Chatbots do look cool - but won't solve the biggest Problem Brands face when „chatting“ with Consumers.

A couple of years ago, a brand page on Facebook was supposed to be THE place for customer dialogue. Back then wall-postings by the brand and their fans were on an equal footing - hence: the Golden Age of Facebook shitstorms! Lots of fun for consumers, but bad for business (at times).

Then Facebook discovered their business model (sell brands the reach to their fans) and suddenly dialogue was relegated to the sidebar; down below where nobody will see it - hence: no more shitstorms, but shitloads of money from brands and their media agencies. Much better for Facebook and the brands, but no so much for a customer with a problem.

Fast forward to 2016. This year is supposed to be the year of something called „Conversational Commerce“ (short: #ConvComm) with a re-newed focus on starting a real dialogue with the customer - but this time no longer public and shitstorm-prone! Instead the conversations will (perhaps? probably?) move to chat services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. And another big shift will support this - the shift from apps to bots

In theory a customer with a problem doesn’t care if a human being or a bot is on the other side of a conversation - as long as the problem gets solved. So with chat bots on the rise real 1-1 dialogue becomes economically viable for brands and a great option for the customer at the same time - win win (hopefully with a little bit of human assistance, if needed).

Sounds a bit like Science Fiction, doesn' it?

But as a matter of fact, it's already reality! KLM now started to use Facebook Messenger for customer support and it looks quite promising: 

This is one that I've been personally eager to solve for a while. Removing stress, and complication from air travel. I'm...

Posted by David Marcus on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Receive your booking details via Messenger

Use Messenger to get on board. All your travel info in one place.

Posted by KLM on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

So far, so good. But still: the real issues with customer dialogue usually aren’t technical in nature. Very often companies just try to deflect customer complaints because there are no processes to really solve them or a real solution is just deemed to be too expensive.

And with this bots won’t be able to help. Brands have to get serious about really becoming customer-centric first!

If the dialogue in Messengers is seen as just another (hopefully more cost-effective) way to talk TO a customer, instead of WITH him, those shiny new chatbots will start handing out useless links to dead-end feedback forms pretty quickly — as their human predecessors have done for “ages”…!?

For more interesting cases of Conversational Commerce check out Chris Messina’s #ConvComm page on Product Hunt.

What is your company focusing on?

Great quote from Tim Cook's remarks at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference

"And so, we're actually not focused on numbers, we're focused on the things that produce the numbers, right?"

Sounds self-evident, but isn't. Most companies focus way more on the numbers than their products and services. But these companies have probably also way more people with responsibility for a profit and loss than Apple

Related: HBR.org - "Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma"

Snapchat & Ephemeral Media explained - it's not about Sexting!

The This WEEK in TECH podcast is always pretty interesting and this week’s episode with NYT’s Nick Bilton and Baratunde Thurston is no exception - especially if you have ever heard about Snapchat and Ephemeral Media before, but don’t know what to make of it...

At 00:59:20 they are starting to talk about a NYT-article by Nick about „micro-celebrity “ Jerome Jarre and his huge success on Vine. During this segment the host Leo Laporte gets a quick intro to Snapchat plus the three discuss Ephemeral Media in general and Snapchat in particular.  

I would recommend to watch the whole episode, but if you are just interested in the Snapchat part, you can find that here.

Really interesting stuff...

The perfect Brand Video for just about Everything

Last month, Kendra Eash wrote a nice little text for McSweeney’s, which contains everything a generic brand video needs these days. Now, Dissolve.com (a provider of royalty free stock video footage) took the text, added a voice over and a couple of HD clips from their archive - which look great, but mean nothing. Perfect fit.

The result is something that looks all too familiar: 

Are you still paying your agency insane amounts of money to come up with something similar? Why??

/via Amos

A Mobile Flying App that doesn't suck

A few weeks ago, I wrote a posting about how to build an airline website that doesn't suck. Now a small, but very international teamfrom Hamburg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vienna, Chicago and Palo Alto has put together a mobile app that doesn't suck: Flying - a promising little companion for anyone, who flies regularly...

How stupid was the Nokia / Microsoft Partnership really?

When Nokia-CEO Stephen Elop announced the exclusive partnership between Nokia and Microsoft in 2011 - abandoning all other options in favor of Windows Phone - he was Microsofts 7th biggest private shareholder! Since then he did a really fine job: making Nokia increasingly dependent on Microsoft, while driving down the purchase price of the company - in the end leaving Nokia with no other choice than handing over their consumer business for a few peanuts - killing the last European handset manufacturer left standing in the process... 

Mission accomplished, Stephen!

If you want to know how much of a strategic mistake the Microsoft partnership really was from Nokia's point-of-view, you can look at this chart or you can try the following thought experiment:

  • First: compare the hardware of the Lumia 925 with say the Samsung Galaxy S4 - design, build quality, camera etc. 
  • Second: imagine a world where Stephen Elop never left his windowless office in Redmond and Nokia has opted for Android instead of Windows Phone. 
  • Now: ask yourself where the Nokia brand would be today, if its only mission over the last 3 years would had been to build the best Android handset out there - competing only on the ability to produce really great hardware! 

Then you will become very, very sad! At least I did... #RIP #NOKIA

For more on that line of thinking, read the blog posting by Ben Thompson: "THE DEAL THAT MAKES NO SENSE" - which itself makes nothing but sense... 

How to build an Airline Website that doesn't suck

Nearly all travel websites I know suck... big time... Booking your travel usually is a real pain in the xxx... unfortunately...

But it doesn't have to be that way !

At least not if you look at this study from the digital design agency Fi.  They tried to imagine an airline website that uses all the magic of modern webdesign while focusing on a great user experience. And they came up with something that obviously doesn't suck at all... 

Abercrombie & Fitch Gets a Brand Readjustment

Last week Business Insider ran an article about Abercrombie & Fitch which mentioned the fact that the "teen retailer doesn't stock XL or XXL sizes in women's clothing because they don't want overweight women wearing their brand." To prove this they quoted the CEO Mike Jeffries saying...

"Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

That quote comes from a

Salon article published in 2006

. So it's pretty old. And the whole BI article doesn't contain anything new. But the 7 year old quote alone seems to spark a lot more controversy now than back then.

Just check Google News

for the reactions from mainstream media.

And now in the age of social media the reaction doesn't only come from traditional media outlets, but also from consumers - some are even trying to give A&F a "Brand Readjustment", with a little help from Youtube:

They ask people to donate A&F clothes to homeless people and tweet about it under the hashtag 

#FitchTheHomeless

. If it works it turns A&F into 

The World's Number One Brand of Homeless Apparel !

Nice... ;-)

Meeting my first real 21st century politician.

I am currently in Bucharest, Romania for the Ro New Media Conference - a great and very well organized event around the usual subjects - internet society, social media, mobile economy et al. My presentation was about "Why Facebook isn't a Kids Birthday party". But I had to hurry a bit, because the speaker, who followed me, had a tight schedule: it was Victor Ponta - the Romanian Prime minister!

When I saw his name in the program, my first thought was: Oh well, another politician, who is using a "cool" Internet conference as a nice photo op, while knowing nothing about what is actually talked about there. Boy, was I wrong!

Mr. Ponta was introduced as an avid blogger (who does have a real(!) blog on Wordpress.com) and started his speech with a clear statement against ACTA, giving the reasons, why his government will not ratify it! Wow! He then went on and introduced his new "vPonta" iOS App, which launched today. With this app, he wants to establish a direct line between the Romanian citizens and their prime minister! Wow again!!

To be perfectly honest, I don't know anything about Viktor Ponta as a politician and have no idea how "direct" this line really will be. But what a contrast to most German politicians and their stance on ACTA or "direct lines"...!?

Two weeks ago in Berlin, Europe's biggest internet conference - the re:publica 2012 - wasn't important enough for even the Berlin mayor, Klaus Wowereit, to show up and say a few clueless words. For a similar conference in Romania the prime minister comes on stage, makes an intelligent policy statement and introduces a real, existing "government 2.0" app. What a contrast indeed.

Could Germany also get politicians like that - please?