May 9, 2006

Customer = Customize

Customer = Customize

C'mon, try it, everyone is doing it... seems to be the corporate theme today. Customization is what I had been dreaming of since I was a wee lad. Painting my G.I. Joes and adding badges and new uniform mods, crazy gluing new panels to my Transformers to get them to the exact ultra coolness that I desired, even putting stickers on my old NES to get that perfect custom look I needed to have. I even wrote an article on this exact topic discussing how all the girls in junior high were so sweet on all my custom bleached Champion sweatshirts. The CONSUMER MASSIAH HAS ARRIVED!

Every company out there is working on some new customizable product, something that they can sell the masses but make every single one of those people feel like the product they have is a one of a kind. Granted some products are simply very difficult to customize but items like clothing, shoes, paint, computers, and yes even cars are all now available to be customized.

I attribute all of this to the Internet. When in history have we been able to log into a site and choose the color, size, fabric, trim, paint, roof, tires, flavor, and whatever else is offered up on a particular product? says about customization and I quote "still the biggest, most promising trend in the world of business." I simply love the definition they posted on the topic its as clear as I have seen it anywhere:

“The phenomenon of corporations creating goods, services and experiences in close cooperation with experienced and creative consumers, tapping into their intellectual capital, and in exchange giving them a direct say in (and rewarding them for) what actually gets produced, manufactured, developed, designed, serviced, or processed.”

Well said!! So companies finally decided that it is the consumers who have all the answers and that we actually do know what the hell we want and not only do we give the corporations the ideas for the products but we get to pay full price for them as well. Does this seem weird to anyone? Basically they tell us, we will let you tell us what you want, we will let you help us build it for you, design it and even market it and then we will let you go pay even more than you would have paid for the product before you customized it, now thats amazing! What a concept!

Lets take a look at the past. You had a tailor who would make you custom clothing based on your exact measurements, you would choose a collar style, cuff style, fabric, color and all the little details that go into making a customized piece of clothing and then he would sew it and deliver it personally to you and you would pay him top dollar for it rather than going to a department store and taking something off the rack. Makes sense?

Now you have companies like Nike, Scion, Fila, Puma and Mini all letting customers customize their products and you have companies like MasterCard, FireFox (Mozilla), L’Oreal and Chevy actually letting people create commercials. Trust me this is only a small list of companies leading the charge. Now that we have identified what is going on, lets ask another question, what does this mean?

The way I see it is that we are all humans, we all have common physical desires, interests and we all more or less fall into specific genres or interest groups, tribes and clans. We cannot escape human nature and its need to progress, to hunt and gather in its most primitive way yet using all of our wonderful technology and progress to drag back the most perfect Bison back to the cave. I use the term Webicratic for my Blog because I want to illustrate how the web is unifying and giving a voice to the people, actually allowing for a visible creative and collective consciousness to occur, so lets term this new wave Consumercratic as in letting the people drive the types of products that enter the market and literally dictate not only how they want them delivered but even how they want them marketed to the people.

Customer to car dealer - "I would like the car in Black, with Silver trim, Red seats, Orange panel, a killer MP3 system, 5.1 speakers, rear wheel drive and by the way tell me that it will make me sexier and faster than anyone else out there." Thanks!

May 8, 2006

Steve Ballmer has no shame

Steve Ballmer has no shame. He is personally trying to stand up and become the hero at Microsoft as its cold war against Google continues.

Microsoft, a hint: BUY YAHOO!!!

I have been saying for years, and actually developed and implemented what I have been preaching, ONLINE APPLICATIONS!!!! The web can now serve full blown applications that most businesses use, be it eMail, document publishing, interactive, whatever!

In my opinion Microsoft is looking worse and worse by the day. Ballmer is the worst "knight in shining amour" I have ever seen not to mention this past week Bill telling the world he wishes he weren’t the richest man alive!! What is going on? I have noticed that while every other company in the world is stepping up their images and getting into all kinds of cool viral, interactive, brand experience type of campaigns, Microsoft has done the opposite, no cool ads, nothing breakthrough and honestly no buzz whatsoever, how long do they think they can ride the dominance card they held for so long?

Apple is approaching... Apple is coming and Apple plays nicely with what the consumers want and need. iLife is taking the video, audio, iPod and every other personal application by storm, GRANDMOTHERS HAVE iPODS!!! Now that is penetration and conversion!

I’m ranting, happens when I get emotional and forget the rules of writing. Buts it’s my Blog so I can do that here.

My point! Microsoft has issues, major issues...

The name Microsoft - nothing cool about micro and only makes us think about how big their vision is and soft, well who wants soft? Even those cool Swedish pillows I love are hard, soft is done!

The Domination - Done, over caput! Google has offered all of us regular folk word processing, image, mapping and every other app FOR FREE!!!! and no one even thinks twice about making Google the home page on their browsers. Perhaps Google should create their own Broswer... OH WAIT! isn’t that Fire Fox?

The Image - OLD! People with dinosaur heads? C'mon that’s probably what it looks like over at Microsoft corporate headquarters.

Products - When will Microsoft fall? I predict when they fail to launch the new Windows OS. Apple is light years ahead of them in that realm. Soon Google will launch a word processing app as well as a spreadsheet and then its over, done, bye bye Microsoft, it will be a period of transition where companies will need to have whole staffs employed in burning all of the old Microsoft apps.

I love revolutions, I am a fan of Russian history, this is American history, and we aren’t involved in bloody battles of ideas rather corporate battles of position within markets. Bill had his run, it was good, got us to where we are today, he set the bar and it was smashed twice over, now step aside and let the real creative take over and run this industry into the next phase.

Google, Apple, Adobe come on up, its your turn...

Microsoft, IBM, SUN see ya guys, don’t let the door hit you on the way out...

May 2, 2006

Channel Internet - Video

Video has become the new trend on the web these days, so many sites are popping up offering to host video online for free.

Sites like and Google Video as well as corporate sites like Chevy, Old Spice and even a great site from PBS letting young kids create powerful content as well.

I recently had a friend of mine who is living in the Ukraine and who is a film maker tell me about his ability to post his films online and get a massive audience and even get some calls from news services and agencies that want to use his content. I find this to be revolutionary. What I love is that corporations, BIG companies are posting commercials and allowing users to post their own home made commercials online for everyone to see. This is truly viral, and in my opinion as Webicratic as it gets. I was amazed at some of the talent out there, high school kids creating amazing content. Where will this take us? What i like about this new trend is that it raises the bar for Hollywood content, with Flash going where its going and video being as easy as it is now to create we may find ourselves faced with an opossing force. The Public Vs. The Industry. I like competition, its healthy and it gives everyone the opportunity to "make it". So to all those starving artists out there fire up those computers and get to work, the stage is set now create!