Exponential Change

I work for a company called Clickstop…and we’ve worked very hard to grow a lot.  We’ve averaged a 30+% growth path over the last 5 years.  That is when many companies were experiencing flatness and downturns.  And the growth we’ve experienced – its good.  But its not great.  Not like exponential growth.

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Exponential Change

It takes think VERY differently.  Because, if it didn’t – the you would have experienced wild growth in the things you are already doing.   So when I read information which talk about how companies are doing things different…it catches my attention.  And when the “things” are exponentially better than a BIG player – it REALLY catches my attention.  This is the case with Maple.

As fastcompany.com pointed out…Chipolte is the “current’ gold standard when it comes to getting more customers through lunch with a very fast 300 meals per hour or one transaction every 12 seconds.  Impressive.

Turns out, in February, they were pushing out 1100 meals – cooked and delivered in one hour.  Where can you do and see this wonderful feat…you can’t.  They have no retail.  Correct – there is not a store front, food truck or hot dog cart to visit.  The only way to get the goods is to go online.

The technology does stop there – they have a fully geeked out kitchen with advanced routing for its bicycle delivery troop which replies on highly efficient maps.

This is great – but you don’t have a food business.

Good point – how can you think like one?  What could you do differently that gets 10x more product out the door?  This is what Maple did.  And they save money doing it – because they don’t need high priced real estate to drive costs up.

If you think about it – this type of growth is all around us.  Look a the number of roads we have in the United States today vs what we had in 1955.  There are way more square feet of roads than ever before.  It’s very true with computers and Moore’s law.

How do yo do it?

If we had that answer – wouldn’t we be rich?  The fact is – it is hard.  You need to change people’s mindset and change the comfort zone.  This kind of change is not easy.

Entrepreneur as a cheat sheet and I added some of my own for good measure:

  1. Trim the fat – take into account the business process.
  2. Automate – especially if you are in a services business.  The rates will never go down – only up.
  3. Know your business – its a tight rope, you don’t want to be so close you can’t see the necessary change…but you need to change to live.
  4. Enable and Empower – you have to put the power in the people’s hands who see it every day.  They need to run the daily work and know they are trusted.
  5. Share – you must find others like yourself and share information and tricks.  This is a serious fast-forward.

Good luck in your endevours and let us know if you get food from Maple – for now we will just have to dream.

What is an Amazon Tap? Over priced Bluetooth speaker?

amazon-tapAround 18 months ago Amazon launched the Echo.  And it is pretty cool…its a wifi information center and bluetooth speaker.  But it was big.  And it needed to be plugged in.  And – it was kind of expensive.  I mean, I was able to get into the beta sale at $99, but it is now $180.  Is it worth it…I think it might be.  We have ours set up in the bathroom – and its a great information center for the family each day as we prepare.

So – in walks Amazon Tap.

Biggest difference…its not voice activated.  Here is Amazon Tap.  You tap it, then speak and let it know what you want to do.  With the right connections, you can do so many cool things:

  • Play songs from Prime music by just saying “Play Bruno Mars from Prime Music”
  • Play music from Pandora “Play Today’s Hits station on Pandora”
  • Order pizza “Ask Domino’s for my Easy Order”
  • Get a ride “Ask Uber for a ride”
  • Get information “What is the weather in Los Angeles”

When connected to Wi-Fi you can access Alexa, which the same cloud-based voice service that the Echo uses.  It is always improving – and getting “smarter”.   All you do is tap the microphone button and make your request.

Use Amazon Tap on your nightstand

Because it has a built in battery, the Amazon Tap has a battery which can play for 9 hours.  And when Amazon Tap’s battery is low Alexa will say “Just so you know, the battery is currently low.”

Also – a great charging cradle is part of the deal too – which makes a super simple to charge without all the hassles of plugs and cords.  Just set it in the cradle and its charging.

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Amazon Tap Details:

  • Just tap and ask for music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza
  • Streams all your music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet
  • Delivers crisp sound powered by Dolby, with dual stereo speakers that provide 360º omni-directional audio
  • Provides up to 9 hours of playback
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
  • Includes Charging Cradle

Amazon Tap Technical Specs:

Size: Amazon Tap: 6.2" x 2.6" x 2.6" (159 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm);
Charging Cradle: 0.6" x 2.6" x 2.6" (15 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm)
Weight: Amazon Tap: 16.6 oz. (470 grams);
Charging Cradle: 3.8 oz. (109 grams)
Battery Life Up to 9 hours of continuous playback. Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and environmental factors. Actual results may vary.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or mobile hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security using password authentication
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Tap.  Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Media control over AVRCP is not supported for Mac OS X devices.
Audio Dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators for bass extension
System Requirements Amazon Tap comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser. Certain skills and services may require subscription or other fees. When tethering to a mobile device hotspot, standard data rates may apply.
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Amazon Tap is subject to the terms found here.Included in the BoxAmazon Tap, Charging Cradle, microUSB cable and adapter, and quick start guide

Use your voice to type your next letter…voice typing

There are a number of commercial applications you can add to your computer to do “speech to text” and control your input.  Most people are familiar with the Dragon product line – these work great.  They have been a fantastic help to people who have trouble typing or just may be slow at the keyboard.

speech-to-textBut, as I was working on a employee review the other day – I was surprised by the little microphone that popped up in my Google doc.  I have to admit – the combination of speech to text and just moving the cursor around where I needed it worked very, very well.

Google introduces Voice Typing

Issac Green said, when they released the new feature – “We launched Voice typing in Docs to help you capture ideas, compose a letter, or even write the next great novel—all without touching your keyboard. Starting today, you can also edit and format your documents with your voice.”.

Here’s a video with more explanation:

Now with more emotions – Facebook is stalking you

 

facebook_reactionsSlate brought up a good point last week when they described Facebook’s new ‘feelings’ – “For years people have clamored for Facebook to add a ‘dislike’ button alongside its iconic like button. That was never going to happen, for reasons I’ve explained. Instead, in October the company began testing a suite of six emoji complements to the like button: ‘love,’ ‘haha,’ ‘wow,’ ‘sad,’ and ‘angry.’

“But, like almost everything Facebook does, there is a double purpose at work here—and that second purpose involves data. Specifically, Facebook is now going to be able to collect, and profit from, a whole lot more of it.” Slate pointed out more importantly.

Facebook is stalking you.

If you’re not aware – Facebook is one of the best, if not the best, at grabbing your personal information and leveraging it to the hilt.  No really – I mean a lot of data.  DaylanDoes.com gives some hints with the post bringing up a ton of stuff.

They point out these “few” items:

Name, City of birth, City of residence, Phone, Email, Current employment, Previous employment, Relationship, Anniversary, Previous relationships, Previous names (aliases), Screen names, Address book, Family members, Birthday, Religious views, Address, Website, Email address(s), Sexual preference, Gender, Languages spoken, Political views, Friends, Books you’ve read, Bands you like, Movies you’ve seen, TV Shows you watch, Video games you play, Food you eat, Your Favorite Athletes, Restaurants you’ve eaten at, Activities you participate in, Websites you visit, Sports teams you support, Your Favorite Sports, Inspirational people, Favorite Clothing brands, Places you’ve visited, Events you’ve attended, Events you plan on attending, Events your friends are attending, Major life events (location, dates, who with), Photos, Pokes, Wall posts, Networks you are a part of

Oh yea – and these…

Videos you’ve watched, Comments you’ve liked, Websites you’ve visited, Articles and websites you’ve commented on, Surveys you’ve filled out, Companies you like, People you’ve been tagged with, People you frequently hang out with, Friends you’ve requested, Friends you denied, Friends you’ve un-friended, How often you are online, Apps you Admin/created, Pages you admin/created, Your current mood, Device you’ve accessed the Internet from, Exact Geo-location (longitude, altitude, latitude, time/date stamp), TV, Film, Concert you are currently watching, Book or publication you are currently reading, Audio you are currently listening too, Drink you are currently drinking, Food you are currently eating, Advertising you interact with, Profiles you interact with most, Locations you access Facebook, Locations you access web properties connected to Facebook, Level of online engagement, When you changed jobs, How long you stayed in a job, Credit card details, IP Address, Apps you’ve downloaded, Games you’ve played, Pages/Businesses you’ve un-liked (when)facebook_ads

Image Source

Check out the “broad” range of options…this gives you a very minute idea of thethings you can drill down into – in fact all the items above can be a factor you can narrow audience with.

 

It gets worse of you use the Facebook App…seriously.  Well – you had to wonder.  Remember how hard Facebook pushes the messenger app.  They won’t even let you “chat” in the regular app, they MAKE you download the messenger app.  Motherboard’s post “Facebook’s Messenger App Is Tracking a Lot More of Your Data Than You Think” title says it all.

messenger-without-facebook“It should come as no surprise that most mobile apps run some sort of analytics on user behavior. But in the case of Facebook, the social network’s Messenger app for iOS apparently tracks quite a bit more than most users likely realize.”

but the best part Facebook is “using some private APIs I didn’t even know were available inside the sandbox to be able to pull out your WiFi SSID (which could be used to snoop on which WiFi networks you’re connected to) and are even tapping the process list for various information on the device”.

I have always wondered why my Facebook app takes forever to initialize, I presume this is exactly why.  If this app is analyzing my connection every time…dang.

Facebook, when the messenger app is installed, essentially has carte blanche to your phone.  “Record audio, and take pictures and videos, at any time: Read that line again….RECORD audio…TAKE pictures….AT ANY TIME!! That means that the folks at Facebook can see through your lens on your phone whenever they want..they can listen to what you’re saying via your microphone if they choose to!”

henrys-hard-orange-six-pack-hi-resWhich is why my friend Brad was at a bar in Michigan recently and the bar tender told him about Henry’s Hard Soda.  Now – it was the first time he had ever heard of – in fact, so much as he wasn’t even aware that alcoholic root beer and sodas were a thing.

Next thing he knows – he is being marketed to via Facebook ads.  Now, there is no way this had another source…it was his only, ever interaction with the stuff.

Here’s the deal – this is not new, nor is it going to get much better.  Is it “right”.  Not sure, but I can tell you its not going away.  And it will not regress…and honestly – what do you expect.  You can’t walk into your favorite restaurant and order food and walk out without paying the bill.  We are paying the bill with our information…and that is how it will be.

 

Acer Chromebook 15

Overview:

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  • Intel Celeron Dual-Core Processor
  • 4 GB DDR SDRAM
  • 16 GB Solid-State Drive (SSD) (Note: No CD or DVD drive)
  • 15.6-Inch Full HD Screen w/Intel HD Graphics
  • 9-hour battery life

view-specs-button

Right out of the gate – the “15” means 15.6″ screen – nice and big AND its HD, which is a chromebook first.  This size of screen makes it look just like a “normal” PC and the Intel processor makes it act like one.

As with all good netbooks – the computer uses modern dual-band 802.11ac wireless chipsets – to make sure you can connect to any WiFi you already have setup at work, home or school.

Need to get work done – use the embedded QuickOffice editor or Google Docs and you can open/edit MS Office files.  And although you cannot run full blown MS Office, this chromebook is powerful enough to get the job done.

This and all chromebooks are not windows computers or Apple. The operating system is Chrome. Its more like the software found on phones than laptops.  This makes the work very well.

Acer Chromebook 15 Review:

All in all – fantastic chromebook.  If you are looking to get the form of an Apple at a much lower price and looks and runs well.  The bigger screen really gives the feel of a “regular” laptop.  This is a great transition if you are making the switch.

My son regularly uses a chromebook for his High School work and it has been working wonderfully.

Read full specifications.

Positives:

  • The 4 gig version is worth the extra few dollars.  There is a 2 gig version – and I’m not sure it would be powerful enough.
  • This chromebook allows for using an additional screen.
  • Embedded webcam allows for app like Skype and Google Handouts.
  • Anti-virus protection is taken care by the Chrome OS.
  • With the built in SD card reader (full size SD) you can increase and make portable the storage.  The card does stick out a little when inserted -so there will be a small bump if you leave it in.

Negatives:

  • If you need a wired network, this is a wireless only machine.
  • Printing is possible – you will just to make sure you have a wireless printer available.  But that how most of us print these days as well.
  • No touchscreen.

Read more.