Coffee Shop 2.0

Springwise reports about an innovative new business idea in the crowded coffee shop market - the Coffee Office:
Based in Windsor, Ontario, The Coffee Office was founded to offer business professionals everything they need to stay productive outside a traditional office, in what trendwatching.com calls a being space. A café section is open to everyone, and like the rest of the building, offers free high-speed wireless internet and plenty of power points. The rest of the space is reserved for TCO members, who have access to private workstations and conference rooms. For CAD 90 per month, members have free use of the workstations and members lounge and (fuelling productivity) 25 complimentary coffees per month. Conference rooms can be rented for CAD 35 or 50 per hour (small or large), and private cubicles for CAD 5/hour. When it's time for a power nap, a sleep module is available for CAD 10/hour. Other thoughtful touches include noise diffusers that help keep conversations private, and access to a Nerd On Site.
Sounds like the perfect concept for todays changing working habits - e.g. for mobile warriors and "office-less" freelancers. And certainly an interesting alternative to opening up just another Starbucks knock off. Btw, if you are considering that, you might find this Slate article somewhat interesting...
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Housing Cleaning done the Purple Cow way

Talking about Purple Cows. What are Purple Cows ? According to Seth Godin, it's stuff that is remarkable; better: stuff that is worth making a remark about !! Can any product or service be remarkable ? Well, why not !? You don't always have to invent a new iPod to have something remarkable. You can also do something completely banal and ordinary in a new, remarkable way. Need an example to believe ? How about this: Springwise reports about ZENhome - a New York based company that turns house cleaning into a purple cow...
ZENhome is a nontoxic and eco-friendly cleaning service. We provide our customers with a unique cleaning experience while being conscious to the environment. We only use nontoxic and eco-friendly products ensuring that you always come home to an environment that is safe for you, your kids, and your pets. From the burning of essential oils like lavender or jasmine while cleaning to the organic chocolates left on every bed we make extended efforts to ensure that you come home to a space that is clean, rejuvenating and stimulates the sense.
Wow - it's just a cleaning service, but one that uses eco-friendly products, burns essential oils while doing it and leaves organic chocolates on my bed afterwards! And you can pay for it through Paypal!! Now, that sounds like something, one would make a remark about, doesn't it ? Oh, wait! I just did - right here, right now... ;-) And I am not the only one...!

Zencleaning

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The Purple Cow on Video

A few weeks ago, Volker Weber blogged about a presentation that Seth Godin gave to Google employees on the subject of his latest book: All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World. I bookmarked the link back then and tonight I finally found the time to watch the clip on Google Video: If you have already read Seth's books there is hardly anything new. You do get a nice recap, though. But if you haven't and if you happen to earn your living as a, let's say, brand manager for a global FMCG company, watch this clip at least once a month as an antidote to all the corporate bullshit you are subject to every day and keep the fingers crossed, it doesn't put you into an anaphylactic shock !!! ;-)
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Staying at a Hotel doesn't have to be boring !

I will be in Copenhagen tomorrow to give a speech at a conference on viral marketing. For the night I have booked a room at a nice new hotel right in the middle of town. It even got free wifi !! So far, so good. But staying there will be what staying at hotels usually is: pretty boring. Luckily it doesn't have to be that way anymore (from WSJ.com):
At the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., concierge Kelly Conway recently added a new title to his job description: "game butler." Guests can check out a Sony PlayStation 2 or PlayStation Portable device free of charge. Then, if necessary, they can call on Mr. Conway, a "self-diagnosed videogame addict," to coach them on the finer points of popular games like "Twisted Metal: Head-On" or "Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee." (...) It's part of a broader movement as hotels look for new ways to appeal to tech-savvy guests who expect increasingly sophisticated in-room entertainment. Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC has added various gadgets at 39 hotels it operates around the nation. At the Sky Hotel in Aspen, Colo., for instance, suites are equipped with a pre-programmed Apple iPod portable music player. (If guests like the music, they can buy a CD of it from the hotel.) At the chain's Triton Hotel in San Francisco, the company has added clock radios that have docking stations for guests who bring their own music players. (...)
Perfect idea !! Adding these kind of gadgets to the hotel experience should be a pretty inexpensive way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack and turn a rather good hotel into something like a purple cow. I am sure a lot of customers would be more than happy to pay a premium for it... ...at least I would ! ;-) (via BoingBoing)
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Trends for a Time when Blogging is Mainstream

Steve Rubel has compiled a great list with trends for the next 10 years:
  1. The Long Tail - small players can collectively make up a market that rivals the giants. As Seth says, small is the new big. This applies equally for journalism as well as for marketers.
  2. The Read Write Web/Web 2.0 – technologies like Ajax will make the web more dynamic, turning it into a full-fledged platform. Wither the desktop.
  3. Timeshifting – consumers will increasingly want to devour media on their own time, on the mobile device of their choice and without commercials
  4. Collaborative Categorization – consumers, using technology, will create their own taxonomies that make it easier to find information. This is sometimes called tagging, social search or folksonomies. However, this is just the beginning.
  5. Citizen Marketing – consumers will organize – either on their own or with the help of companies – to evangelize products they love and vilify those they don’t
  6. The Daily Me – it’s finally here; RSS, AI and personal search tools will make it easier for people to seek out only the news they care about and tune out all else
  7. It’s All a Conversation – as journalism becomes a conversation, so will marketing - just like Cluetrain said.
  8. What’s Inside is Outside – mobile devices and consumer generated media mean that whatever a single eye beholds so can the world.
  9. Trust Marketing – people will increasingly use social networking technology to tune in messages from individuals they trust (including citizen journalists) and tune out everyone else.
  10. Decentralized Communication – armies of individual employees will use technology to become the voice of every company; like it or not. The solo singer is dead. Long live the chorus.
What's missing ? Not much, I guess. Perhaps the Do-It-Yourself Economy and the 5th Estate !? Btw, Mario puts everything into context (in German only).
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Audio Recordings from reboot7

The first audio recordings from reboot7 are online. Available are all presentations from room A on day 2:
  • Cory Doctorow
  • Christian Lindholm
  • Chris Heathcote
  • Tor Noerretranders
  • Doug Bowman
  • Ben Hammersley
  • Dave Weinberger
  • Peter Lindberg
  • Matt Webb
  • Regine Debatty
  • Hugh Macleod ft. Robert Scoble & Doc SearlsOpensource Audio-Header
I just checked out the first two files and they have an excellent quality ! Are the other presentations some where online, too ? (via Centopeia) Technorati Tags: ,
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How to turn Conferences into a new kind of Rendezvous

Attending Blogtalk last week was great! Not only because there were many interesting people to meet and things to see. But also because it gave me the opportunity to experience first-hand what Apple's Rendezvous Technology is capable of ! Apple introduced Rendezvous two years ago with the Jaguar Update of Mac OS X (Tech Brief as PDF):
"Rendezvous is an open, standards-based networking technology that automatically connects electronic devices on a network, allowing them to interoperate seamlessly without any user configuration. It simplifies traditional networking activities like file sharing and printing. It also enables innovative solutions such as music playlist sharing with iTunes and automatic buddy discovery with iChat AV—just two examples of the exciting new ways for devices to communicate with one another. (...)"
I always thought it was great concept. But I had my doubts about how useful it will be, because where I work, I usually am the only Mac user around. But Blogtalk was different. It was full of Macs! I realized that right on the first day when more than a dozen previously unknown fellow Mac users suddenly showed up in my iChat Window. Using the WLAN, Rendezvous had automatically scanned the Blogtalk venue for other Macs and after a few seconds I was able to see everyone in the hall, who also used iChat - most of them with their names and pictures! Clearly a killer app at any conference, where you don't know most of the people. But that was just the start! The system had also created some kind of instant peer-to-peer-network between every Mac, which we could then use as an infrastructure for collaboration during the whole conference. We used for example...
  • iChat to say hi to fellow attendees.
  • iPhoto to share pictures taken during Blogtalk in realtime.
  • SubEthaEdit to take notes - with ten people working together on a single document!
I am pretty sure some also shared their MP3s with others using iTunes when a presentation got a little too academic... ;-) All these programs are Mac-only, so the poor Windows users felt a bit excluded sometimes. But there were also more traditional tools used, accessible for everyone: a live video stream was available to people not present at the conference, during the presentations lively discussions took place in an special IRC-Channel and the notes from SubEthaEdit, documenting what was said, were posted on a Wiki as soon as the speaker left the podium. And of course many people blogged in realtime about the whole event. At times, it became pretty crowded on my screen... Screenshot Detailed Screenshot ...and there were also some problems: for example I realized that todays computers are much more able to multitask than their users. But all in all, it was really an exciting experience and I really would like to see, how this technology could be used for example in universities, where collective note taking and instant chat feedback probably could create interesting opportunities... If you want to read more about Collaborating at Blogtalk, here some articles from fellow bloggers...
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Research Project could show, how to use Weblogs as a solid Infrastructure for Viral Marketing

Wired reports about an interesting research project at the Hewlett Packard Information Dynamics Lab: based on data from Intelliseek's BlogPulse researchers there are trying to figure out, how certain pieces of information (more specifically: URLs) are being spread through the blogosphere. They are especially interested in building a model which can explain why and how certain "ideas grow from isolated topics into full-blown epidemics that "infect" large populations." The project is still in a very early stage and the "Blog Epidemic Analyzer" on its website is only based on a very narrow period of three weeks in May 2003. But there are already some interesting results:
When they plotted the links and topics shared by various sites, they discovered that topics would often appear on a few relatively unknown blogs days before they appeared on more popular sites. "What we're finding is that the important people on the Web are not necessarily the people with the most explicit links (back to their sites), but the people who cause epidemics in blog networks," said researcher Eytan Adar. These infectious people can be hard to find because they do not always receive attribution for being the first to point to an interesting idea or news item.
To solve this problem HP researchers are working on a new algorithm called iRank:
Unlike Google's PageRank algorithm, which ranks websites based on overall popularity, the iRank algorithm ranks sites based on how good they are at injecting ideas into the mainstream. (...)"
Very interesting ! If they are successful, a new blog search engine using the iRank algorithm could for example make viral marketing campaigns, which are now usually random and chance-driven, much more predictable...
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