While backing up some files to an external hard drive from my older one, I recently came across an old Cover Letter which had accompanied my resume in a job application I sent to Research In Motion (RIM) back in Summer of 2008.
It’s interesting to look back at, because I recall back then being very frustrated with the state of the Mobile industry in North America (particularly in Canada). These feelings were only magnified by my time spent in Japan 2006-2008, a country which at that time was a clear leader in Mobile technologies and in the global consumer electronics in general. Since then, Korea and China (two other countries I was fortunate enough to have spent some time in during my Graduate school vacations in between terms) have now caught up in terms of innovation and even surpassed Japan’s leading Mobile technology companies in sales as well.
Back then companies (again particularly China & Korea but many European firms as well) were sending some of their top experts and technologists to Japan to do market research with and/or attempt to poach talented Japanese engineers from, the likes of world leading Japanese tech companies: Sony-Ericsson, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Fuji-Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Nintendo, Softbank, NTT, KDDI, etc. The goal was of course to glean as much information and consumer insights as possible from the country which boasted the fastest home fiber internet speeds, mobile internet speeds, mobile data usage, and mobile revenue per unit (ARPU) in not just gaming which usually comes to mind when thinking of Japan, but all application sectors.
My experience in Japan indeed taught me a thing or two about “sticky” services, particularly the infamous “iMode business model” by Takeshi Natsuno of NTT DoCoMo which succeeded by providing a cohesive ecosystem of applications and a flat-rate (about $40 USD/month) unlimited data service, which drove subscriptions through the roof. On top of this, standards and specifications which were simple to follow for developers and which reduced page-size for web content with cHTML then later WAP/WML helped grow the service’s offerings in an organic way. Only now are we starting to see the same sorts of initiatives by Google [LINK] & Apple [LINK] in North America. Over here, very little regard has been made for how to optimize mobile services for users, which is why our Mobile industry is only now catching up to and finally surpassing where Japan was 9-10 years ago. Indeed, we constantly hear reports about the growth of Online/Mobile Video (i.e. streaming ad-supported content like YouTube, Vimeo, etc), On-Demand/IPTV (i.e. rentals or purchases on iTunes, GooglePlay, etc), and OTT (i.e. subscription services like Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime Instant Video). However, MobileTV via OneSeg had already reached millions of users whereas SMS texting was just starting to take off in North America (in any meaningful way that resembles its adoption level today).
In E-Commerce, a “frictionless experience” is often described as the ultimate design goal when it comes to the consumer’s purchasing experience. An easy-to-use, robust shopping cart solution that can easily have any number of diverse types of items added to it, calculate shipping & handling, taxes and any other additional fees (where such apply), provides transparency and immediacy to the customer’s purchase decision. Doing this well can mean the difference between huge sales numbers and lackluster or disappointing sales figures.
Boiling all the Shopping Cart solutions out there to the most common, key functions we should expect a solution to support are:
- Add/Remove items
- Tabulate itemized sub-total
- Calculate shipping & handling
- Calculate taxes & fees
- Tabulate total
- Remember History for later purchase completion
- Purchase/Checkout confirmation process
Other nice-to-have features that begin to move away from basic “Cart” functionality and into holistic E-Commerce platforms, include:
- Multi-Address memory (billing, shipping… home, work, summer, etc)
- Multi-Currency support (switch currency at any time)
- Multi-Lingual support (switch languages at any time, i18n)
- Multi-Layout support (switch look & feel at any time, l10n)
- Storefront & “canned store templates”
- Layout drag&drop/point-click customization (as per SquareSpace, Wix, etc)
- Auto-fill forms (with customers’ stored Address info)
- Auto-billing (subscriptions/recurring payments)
- Notification options for receipt (Email, SMS, Phone notification, etc… in addition to on-screen)
- International Shipment Tracking (parcel status check)
- Returns processing
- 3rd party payment support options (CreditCard, Interac eTransfer via Moneris/PaySafe, PayPal, 2checkout, etc)
- PCI & PA-DSS compliance (possibly by payment gateway deferral for sensitive data)
- Item import/export
- Ratings (star, thumbs up/down, etc)
- Reviews (public or private textual customer feedback)
- Wish List curation
- Product/Service Recommendations
- Discounts (coupons, limited-time offers, affiliate codes, etc)
- Promotions (buy X get Y, welcome emails, inactive account enticements, etc)
- Loyalty Program (points, rewards, etc)
- Tracking company/brand affinity & engagement
- Inventory Management (real-time RFID, NFC, etc)
- Supply-Chain Management (SCM)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Advertising platform integration
- Analytics platform integration
- Social Media platform integration
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A very special yet belated birthday welcome goes out to Reiko Clara Copeland, the newest and youngest member of the BCmoney family.
Being due today – but arriving over a week early at approximately 8:20pm AST on Thursday, April 29th, 2015 – my daughter and second child Reiko Clara Copeland was born a healthy 3.03 kilograms (6 pounds 11 ounces) to Bryan Copeland and Nana (Kurata) Copeland. She was delivered safely at the maternity ward of the Moncton Hospital after a roughly 30 minute, and almost pain-free (compared to the first one according to my wife) delivery.
Rockin’ the “Bad to the Bone” shades her brother rocked before her…
This is the first revision of my quick and dirty Podcatcher (podcasting client).
It adds three new features:
- Ability to search for Podcasts by name (via iTunes API)
- Resolving the actual RSS feed URL from the Podcast ID
- Caching a copy of the RSS feed on the server in XML and only requesting updates if changes have been made
The last features I want to add in my next post will be the ability to arrange and sort multiple Podcasts you’ve “subscribed to” by dragging their “album art covers”, and . This little Podcatcher app would by then have pretty much the full capability of the native “Podcasts” app (official Podcatcher from Apple).
I’ve done quite a bit of research into Podcasting lately, particularly because they are making a comeback in popularity, far surpassing their original interest. There are a number of factors contributing to this resurgence, including:
BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money
The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:
1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.
2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.
3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.