‘Hook me up on Insta…’

This week, I was at a team meeting over in Madrid, Spain.

It was a lovely location, quite near the city… and walking distance to some really good restaurants, where I was able to take photos of the tasty food.

During the meeting, we had the usual on the tables… paper, pens… water… and some jelly beans.

Okay, it might be a bit out of the norm to have jelly beans, but we had several packets on the table.

Now, one of these packets was next to me, and I picked it up… had a look and placed it back down. No… I didn’t have any, on a little diet… New Year, New Me and all that.

Anyhow, what I did notice were the social media images on the back of the pack.

Now, usually – I probably wouldn’t have looked twice… but where the contact details usually are… there were social media icons. Is this the new norm? – if you want to contact them, find them on facebook, twitter, etc… and then reach out to them…?

Now, let’s be honest… we’re all on Facebook… or Twitter (or both!)… Instagram…. And I’m sure, we’ve all watched a video or two on YouTube. We know these channels very well. So it’s normal for us to be on them… for us to connect with brands (as well as friends, family, etc…)… and then be able to contact them.

And more importantly… it’s great! – you don’t have to email… you don’t have to write a letter… just when you’re posting that photo of you on the beach onto Facebook to share with your friends, why not connect with the brand and let them know your thoughts.

But moreso… what got me was…. Just icons where there. No words. That’s right… it didn’t say ‘Facebook’… it just have the logo…. It didn’t say ‘Instagram’… just the logo. Which means, these social media platforms, which have millions and millions of users… don’t need to be described or explained.

And I’ve noticed… we are using less and less words when communicating.

Take for example, Emoji’s.

One emoji = words. Could be several words. Could even be a whole sentence!

Are we moving back in time… to the era of hieroglyphics?

It’s fine. It doesn’t matter how you communicate. As long as you do communicate.

New Ways of Communication.

New Channels to your customers.

It’s about knowing your customer.

Not everyone should be using emoji’s or pictures. If you audience are elderly folk… you’ll probably need some printed, large text, leaflets and materials. But… what if your audience are young. What if your audience are on Snapchat all the time… what if your audience have more photo’s with Snapchat filters than… without!

Comes back to the basic principles of Lean. Start with the customer.

And it’s even easier these days… with the amount of data that’s available, for you to do an analysis on your customers… understand how they’re communicating and how they’d like to be communicated to.

So in summary….

  1. Have a Social Media Strategy – Everyone (nearly everyone) is on social media. Find out which is the right one for you… and understand how you can use the channels effectively.
  2. Execute your strategy – Content is King! – That’s right, build some engaging materials to share with your customers. Make them feel part of the familia.
  3. Increase your Digital Footprint – many of you are probably doing this already, but increase your on-line presence… be clear, what and where you’re sharing, informing and communicating. Because at the end of the day, you want to be Lean… in a Digital World.

Oh, and by the way… if you are on Insta and want to ‘hook up’ with me… in other words, connect… my username is @mrbalbansal… but I’ll warn you now…. It’s full of photo’s of cars, buildings… and food (which I had in Madrid!).

And…. finally, there’s many great people – who share some fantastic information and insights, but limit themselves to one platform. If expanded… think of the possibilities!

 

Kicking the year off with CES 2018

What is CES Bal?

CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, and is held early January, every year…. where all the top folk who are interested in everything that is electronics (technology) related, gather for a few days…. oh… and, it’s usually held in Las Vegas.

Now, this year – is no different.

There’s various top speakers….

There’s various categories…. (for example, cars)

That’s right- anyone, anywhere, who’s doing something with regards to technology…. is there.

It’s great for people to share… collaborate and educate.

Now, as this goes on for a few days, and there’s all sorts of workshops, presentations, meetings, etc… taking place…. I’ve been doing my research, and found the top 3 items, what people are talking about (and the ones which have been winning awards!)

First up…. we have Sony, and their pet dog. Say ‘hello’ to Aibo, the pet robot dog…

Have a dog? Tired of washing it… picking up its poo….? Well, guess what… for a cool $1,800 you could have this robot dog.

Packed with various sensors on its back, chin, head, etc…. camera in it’s nose (to recognize family members) and OLED eyes…. it seems to be the perfect family pet to have! 2 hours of play… 3 hours of charge… and it even has a camera on it’s back to navigate it’s way to the charging station.

Oh, it’s also got 22 actuators… which means… it’s moving and shaking, in a very realistic manner – or at least, better than any previous models.

Sony are shipping this lovely creatures… can I call them that? – anyway, they’re being shipped with the price tag and a monthly subscription of $27. I personally don’t know the cost of owning a ‘real dog’, but… just the element of not having to pick up poo is warming to me….

Up next… Transportation… say hello to Bell Helicopter, the first flying taxi (in partnership with Uber).

That’s right – step into the first flying taxi.

Uber have been saying for a while – how they’ve been looking at Uber helicopters… Uber planes….. Uber Ice Cream vans…. (we’ll save that for another day). But it looks like their partnership with Bell is ringing in some alarming changes to the way we travel today.

Who needs roads anyway? So congested all the time! – forget that… hit me up to the skies. Bell, bought their cabin to the CES to show, the art of the possible and what they’ve been working on.

Matter of time these electronic helicopters will be cutting down our travel time….

Up next… we have The Wall! – no, not from that obstacle course show from TV… (Ninja Warrior)… but this is from Samsung.

A 146 inch… micro-LED modular built TV.

Built of lots of little micro-LED’s… allows Samsung to vary the size of the TV… So, throw out that little 32 inch you got in the corner of your living room, and start making space for The Wall!

No pricing yet from the fridge and washing machine manufacturer but we’ll soon be seeing these on the high street… or at least on their website, for on-line ordering.

There you go… my top 3 from the CES this year.

Usually, Vegas is sunny and lovely during Jan… I know, i’ve been… but this year, there’s been rain! – That’s right.. the Gods above us, have showered Vegas with some droplets… which have caused blackouts… parts of CES being closed, and therefore – people missing presentations and meetings.

It’s put a little ‘damper’ on the whole event… but with that out of the way, there’s plenty of great stuff going on… even having Alexa sing… ‘I can see clearly now… the rain has gone….’

Start-ups can learn from Rak-Su…

Some of you, may have been viewing the X-Factor 2017 Final… I know I was… in fact, I do most years… it’s good entertainment for a cold Sunday evening.

And i’d like to take a moment to congratulate Rak-Su for winning the competition.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been watching it – from the moment they (Rak-Su) first walked into the audition room, to them performing when they’d won.

There’s been a few things I’ve picked up on… that I think, made them favourites quite early on… to win.

And these attributes, I thought, could be related to business… and especially start-ups. Because… start-ups are in a similar situation when they enter the market – or in X Factor words… ‘the audition room’.

There’s alot of competition. Everybody wants to win. Everyone is ‘new’.. and this is the start-up scene!

Everyone wants to be noticed. Everyone wants their product to stand out. Everyone wants investment.

So, there’s a lot of similarities between the X Factor Audition Room… and the Start-up scene. But what makes a small company, a start-up a success… well, let’s see what Rak-Su did, and if we can learn anything from them.

  1. Rak-Su sang their own song. 
    • Rarely done – especially in the previous years auditions, but in 2017 as a whole, many of the artists up’d their game, and sang their own songs.
    • Points for originality and points for standing out and not singing another Ed Sheeran cover.
    • What can we learn from this  – Well, it’s simple… stand out by making sure you are original. You’ll have a higher probability of being remembered and noticed, if you are doing something new…
  2. Rak-Su had their own style
    • When they performed, there was more rapping, subtle choreographed dance moves, each member had a unique offering, but the group performed very well together.
    • I’ve mentioned before, let’s move away from the Minimum Viable Product… you should be working on the Minimum Loveable Product.
    • What can we learn from this – Well it’s simple… don’t look around and copy.. .bring your own style and flavour to the game. Ensure you have the diversity and the subtle moves that will make you, a ‘MLP’.
  3. Rak-Su stood in a line.. and waited.
    • You got to be in it… to win it!
    • Just like all the other contestants, Rak-Su stood and queued in a line… got their numbers… and then auditioned. They followed the process… 6 chair challenge… live shows… etc… before being named as the winners.
    • What can we learn from this – Well it’s simple… have some patience. Go network, stand in a line and meet some interesting people. Investment, success and customers may not come over night… keep working towards the goal… and importantly… keep growing… keep learning. (By the way, Rak-Su were quickly able to have their songs on iTunes and it was charting quite high up – early on – due to the publicity via the show).

So there you go, a couple of things to think about from Rak-Su… & their journey to winning the competition.

Now… at the start, I did say… some folk may have not watched it… and I know, many folk from around the world – who read this blog – may have not had the opportunity to see Rak-Su.

For you guys.. here’s one of their performances. Enjoy.

iPhone X… Should I buy one, Bal?

That, is a great question.

Should I buy an iPhone X?

Before I answer that… you may recall my blog post about the comparison of the new iPhone X and how it was the same price as a BMW 3-series with beige interior. Obviously, I wasn’t comparing apples to apples…

So, back to the question – should you buy one?

Well, it depends on a number of factors. Main one being, do you really need it?

There’s plenty of reviewers out there – who review. And they’re the ones that would compare it against existing iPhone models, old iPhone models, and non-iPhone models. I also encourage folk to look at these reviews before making an informed decision.

The problem here is – whilst i’m sat in a very cloudy and fairly cold, London… I’ve not been able to get my hands on the latest iPhone X. Therefore, unable to conduct a review and share it with you on this blog. But that’s ok… that’s absolutely fine, because my friends at The Verge… were able to review and make a little video for you…

 

So, back to the question… should you buy one?

Really goes back to the point of, do you really need it? – with all it’s functionality and capabilities… do you need all of them? – if the answer is Yes – then go ahead, and buy one. If the answer is, not really.. then look at the iPhone 8… which i’m sure will serve all your current needs.

And I say that, because technology is advancing and so are needs of the customer. Take Augmented Reality for example, it’s come leaps and bounds in recent years… so much so, it’s in the hands of everyday folk, like you and me…. knowing what to do with it, is another thing.

Is Innovation a ‘Buzzword’?

Recently, i’ve been seeing the word ‘Innovation’ randomly appear in people’s job title. 

At first I thought, that’s great – they’re innovating. When asking them for details, it’s more about they are looking at some new ‘things’. 

Asking them what process they are using, and they’re not sure. 

This then made me think, is the word ‘innovation’ a buzzword, that’s appearing everywhere – and attracts interest from a wide audience. It must be right? The more the word is used, along with other key words, will definitely attract interest. 

Aren’t we all looking for innovators? 

Aren’t we all looking for the next Steve Jobs?

Aren’t we all looking for the next Facebook?

So the word, Innovative/Innovation/Innovator etc… are being used more and more. Rightly or wrongly, they’ll definitely get the attention of people. 

 Moving on from people using it, I recently saw it being used for a renowned Indian singer artist’s tour name. Why it’s innovative, i’d love to know. 


I can understand shows like the below being called it.. 


By the way, i’m not promoting the above… it’s just an example, which i understand. 

Then there’s companies who are innovative… who have proven to be innovative, and have the right to use the word… 


Well… i’m sure we’ll be seeing more of the word in examples where we may have thought it couldn’t be used. 

Maybe, that’s innovation in itself.

Toothbrush, tell me…

It’s true. In this connected world we live in and as more and more devices are becoming connected (and smart), I’m able to communicate with my toothbrush.

Its true. There’s an app available and you can pull all sorts of data and information.

It’s true. You can understand what’s going on with your brushing of the teeth and most importantly, what you should be doing to get the best results.

Its true. It’s Genius. It’s Genius 9000.

Stop, Collaborate &….

I’ve shared in many keynote talks I’ve done previously, the importance of ‘Collaborating & listening’.

I also did some filming once, for an internal Innovation-related topic, where I spoke about it again. And the team filming, who are good friends of mine, decided to edit part of it, and send it back to me.

Had it for a while, and thought i’d share it with you all.

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

 

 

Outsmarting me and you…

Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to go on BBC Radio Nottingham…


I was there to talk about my British Indian Award I won last year and also, all things Digital & Tech.

It was a great interview, Kaval (the presenter) is a good friend. Asking me some great questions – for example, what i’ve being doing with organisations & companies, what I want to do with the local community and where do I see the future of tech going.

We spoke about the cloud… mobile and a number of other great subjects.

One interesting item we touched on was Artifical Intelligence. It’s a very interesting subject because that’s one area that is really expanding… especially, as the Government has recently announced that they’ll be invested some serious money into it. And damn right. It’s been too long. We need some serious investment into our technology sector, in this country.

Where do I see AI going?

Well, we’re seeing examples of it now, in bots that answer questions for us. We’ll see more of that, but also these bots picking up on emotions and being sensitive to how words are used and sentences are constructed. On top of that, i see AI learning more and more about us. Using data from various sources, to work with us and provide us with what we want and, i suppose, in general, make life easier.

One concern is… what happens when robots and machines become more clever than us? Let’s think about this… they’re continuously learning. When something is continuously learning, they become clever. When something becomes clever, they then have the ability to outsmart others….