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My big fat wallet sucks! There’s an App for that – Scanaroo

So I’m not the real loyalty card person in my house, I’ve got the Kroger’s card on my key chain and that’s about it.  I do however have all those healthcare cards which never seem to be in my wallet when I need them, so Chris Carfi’s latest foray into application development is a better way to manage your loyalty cards without the big fat wallet.

I did get the opportunity to synch with Chris on Scanaroo and get his insights around the app.  This iPhone app isn’t his first one, the Ventana platform continues to grow for a consolidated mobile view into social information.  There is no doubt that mobile platforms are going to be central to innovation and Chris and the Cerado team has been focusing on improving folks experience via mobile information management for at least the last 3 years.

So here is a little insight to what’s going on with Scanaroo.

You have been involved with VRM for a real long time, did Scanaroo pop out from those activities?
Absolutely.  One of the ongoing conversations within the VRM community centers around individual control of one’s own data/information.  At the West Coast VRM Summit in the spring of 2009, there was a confluence of factors that sparked the idea of Scanaroo.  In particular, the question of “what are the pieces of information that sit between a customer and a vendor that the customer should be able to better manage?”  From there, the discussion turned to loyalty cards, insurance cards, membership cards and the like, which spurred the development of Scanaroo.

How would you characterize the ideal user for your app?
Anyone who carries more than, say, two or three of these types of cards with her or him is an idea candidate for using Scanaroo.

I have a bunch of cards in my wallet, can you share cards with Scanaroo? Like giving the dental insurance card to your kids or something?
That would be a perfect use case.  It is exceedingly easy to get cards into Scanaroo, so if your kids are also carrying iPhones, the easiest path would be to have each child import his or her card(s).

Where are you thinking this will go over time?

This is really the first step; the initial foray into an industry change where customers both create and control their own information much more actively.  Another great example is what we are starting to see in the area of personal informatics, for example, where individuals choose to track information such as their exercise activities (e.g. “how far did I run today?”) or other items of interest, such as electricity/energy consumption in their homes.  Over time, we believe that smartphones will be the enabling technology for transforming the retail industry in the same way that blogs changed news and media in the 90s, or the MP3 changed music in the 80s, or even the way the personal computer changed computing in the 80s.  These are all cases where a disruptive enabling technology moved an entire industry from centralized control to one that is highly networked.

I’d love a feature where I could put in my ticket master eDelivery ticket on my phone and have it scanned.   I really don’t like the whole 8.5×11 paper getting all soggy when I’m at a show.

We are already starting to see this in some industries.  For example, a number of airlines now enable e-delivery of boarding passes right to your smartphone.  As William Gibson said, the future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.  🙂

Give Me a Dunce-Cap — I’ve Missed the Mobile Revolution

I came across an interesting presentation the other day that reminded me how significant the impact mobile devices, and especially the iPhone, are having on the technology marketplace.  Chi-Hau Chien, a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers $100 million iFund, gave a presentation at iPhoneDevCamp 3 entitled The Power of the AppStore and its Future Opportunities.  The full presentation is embedded below.

In 14 simple slides, Chi-Hua re-iterates what the scale of mobile technology’s impact has been on the market in the past 5 years.  Consider the following slides I’ve excerpted from the presentation:


Basically, there are four times as many mobile phone users today as there are Internet users. 


The AppStore has shown even greater growth.

I’ll couple these observations with an anecdote from my own house.  A couple of months ago, my oldest brother stopped by for a visit.  While he was here he was talking about the need to get a new cell phone.  Two of my daughters, aged 11 and 10 at the time, went and got their cell phones and were showing my brother all of the cool things you could do with the new basic phones that were available today.  I thought back to the first ‘bag phone’ I had in 1985 and marveled at how much technology had changed and the fact that a couple of pre-teens were at the cutting edge.  This is not a new revelation – it’s been repeated millions of times in households all across the globe in the past 5 years.

I am basically a historian by training and when I look at the enterprise software market I think about the big transitions that have occurred in the past 30 years like the advent of the PC in the early 1980s, relational databases in the mid-80s, client-server computing in the 1990s, and the Internet in the early years of this century.  Each of these technology waves spawned a huge set of market opportunities that have fueled the growth of the biggest software companies in the marketplace today – IBM, Google, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, etc.  Chi-Hua’s presentation helped me to put in perspective what I’ve known about mobile technology for a long time.  While social media technologies are somewhat the darling of the technology marketplace today, it’s clear to me that the next great generation of large technology.

Here’s Chi-Hua’s full presentation:

View more documents from Raven Zachary.

You wouldn’t understand, it’s a cultural thing: I want my MTV!

The first images shown on MTV were a montage o...
Image via Wikipedia

Cultural change is the most challenging for individuals and organization alike.  I’m currently reeling on my twins inability to spell anything close to dictionary version and their sheer abusive use of punctuation, but it is just a cultural gap, that I’m either going to get or or not.  Pop culture influences change – good and bad.  In my generation it was MTV.

Video ultimately didn’t kill the radio star, but 3 minute videos broadcast 24 hours forever was the initial promise of MTV and their innovative approach to delivering content over cable probably was the reason for the mass adoption of the word “edgy”.    MTV was delivering on the needs of an  extremely focused early adopter segment of young folks who were musically inclined or folks who just wanted some background noise – a new cultural phenomenon.  Social Media not dis-similar to the cultural change seen time and time again in society only, this one is changing how people work and how they WANT to work.

IT, management and corporations in general are always looking for new ways to improve productivity or how to limit access to content or activities which reduce productivity.  The emerging social productivity tools at the edge of adoption in the enterprise don’t have consensus on how they impact productivity.   Users or better put – workers needs are changing and how they work is transforming by their personal use of these tools and the benefits of thier networks.  This isn’t by any stretch of the imagination the majority, just a small segment today, since as a user sorta have to “get it” and the organization sorta has to be ready to accept/embrace these workers preferred engagement models.

Everybody Has an Opinion or a Functional Diagram

Productivity in the workplace leveraging social tools continues to get A-List street cred with McKinsey’s latest email of the Top 10 articles of the Quarter, which starts out with Six Ways to Make Web 2.0 Work, a top ten article I apparently missed.  I actually missed all of them – odd, I thought I had read a bunch of McKinsey stuff last quarter.

Interesting piece, it is written I suspect by a non-Kool-Aid Drinker and from a “big company” approach when the reality most companies are BIG and could use a little innovation and productivity lift, but it is an ok piece.  Their adoption graphic acknowledges the adoption curve has begun for social technologies, but as with most articles there aren’t metrics, just anecdotes.   This application landscape change is more about HOW folks WANT to work, than the benefits or metrics which can be tracked via social media tools.

It is often the PERSON who makes the tools productive.  How a person uses them, who is in their network and how THEIR network uses the tools.   I find that Facebook responses from business partners, industry collegues and coworkers are quicker than email and typically include an example link or hand off to another expert in their network.   What ever moniker is applied to this phase it is essentially corporate IT’s movement from machines to people.   The majority of the first generation investments were in delivering “systems”, databases, application integration and transaction management platforms – now it is people platforms which are looking for homes in the enterprise and promise productivity lifts for business.


(just guessing, but probably not to scale)

While I get the diagram below, it misses some of the high level B2B use cases, which is really all I care about as a B2B Product Marketing type, specifically Thought Leadership and Service.  Social media can increase personal, corporate and product visibility in the marketplace and improve service levels/customer satisfaction.   Perhaps the author rolled them under some of the other concepts, but the purpose of each should be a standalone set of metrics, goals and users.  With metrics as a challenge, the more you segment the use cases and owners of a use case the better you can gauge effectiveness of your social media efforts.


The artical did get the one thing really close to right:

The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.

It is cultural, but it doesn’t involve the organization, it involves the emerging requirements of the workforce.   While today’s “I want my Facebook”, Bebo or Twitter in the workplace pleas seem somewhat trivial to some execs, these platforms are rapidly becoming the preferred collaboration tools for workers.  Risk considerations are often cited by many since these tools leverage not just internal expertise of an organization, but the networks of their employee and contractors.

It’s All About Risk

There is a time to embrace social media and a time to not, but I suspect the good outweighs the bad in the risk equation.  Risks: Perceived IP exposure, network security concerns or just plain slackerdom risk for some don’t outweigh the benefits, but the other choice for social workers is to use their personal iPhones or other PDA’s to accomplish the same tasks, only on slower connections and with less functionality.   What a drag, productivity drag that is…..for many folks social platform use is just HOW they work.

Access to answers, innovation and customers are just a click away, but only if your organization has a culture that provides access and encourages participation.

Now look at them yo-yo's, that's the way you do it
You play the guitar on that MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your chicks for free
Now that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb
                                 -Dire Straits

June 7th – Relevant Links

Sharing the links for the day: