I'll have some more live video later today, but I got the chance to do some old-fashioned typing on my laptop. The phone with Bluetooth is pretty good, but because it doesn't work so well with the developerWorks Community tools it's a little tedious. It's nice to be able to just free-flow my thoughts without having to mess with HTML tags. (As I write that I notice that I don't have a style tool on the editor tool bar and end up switching to HTML mode anyway. *sigh*)
If we're all social is every day a party?
I finally got to hit the show floor and see the vendors. I got about a third of the way through the hall... lots to see. Since I normally got to computer-related conferences there were a lot of things that I'm not used to seeing. For example, the Canon booth has a lot of very sexy digital video equipment that was way beyond what I'm used to seeing in my local electronics store. Oh! To win the lottery!
There were also a number of tech vendors and every single one that I've seen so far was oriented to social media. One would help you manage your brand through a variety of media tools. Several would help you publish your videos for phones. One would help you create your own branded app (across mobile platforms) for your videos. Several were offering location-based ratings and info services. If there was any doubt that social business is a big deal this would give one perspective.
It also showed me a bit of the two worlds of social. I'm a techie guy. I'm used to dealing with how things work and discovering new things to do with the tools. This is not the dominant world view. I forget how intimidating things like social media are to the average user. Of course, the social media outlets don't make it any easier by having a mix of proprietary approaches with APIs that are all over the map. It really shows the value of movements like open social to add predictability into working with a social platform. Standards are emerging, I think, but it's all still really ad hoc. This will need to get better.
Service still matters
This week's existence put me into my own mobile business experience. I have reached that stage in life where I am starting to experience better living through chemistry. I have a daily prescription that I deal with. I was hitting a refill and knew that I was going to have a crazy schedule this week so I stumbled upon the pharmacy's mail delivery system. I'm already an Amazon.com nut so the idea of having my prescription magically arrive at my door was a thing of beauty. I ordered through the handy phone app. This was going to be awesome!
I get my note that the order is in process. Yay! I wait. Nothing arrives. I run out of pills. Nothing arrives. I gave a little time for the weekend. We're five days out on my order. The pharmacy I would normally go to is about a mile from my house, but nothing is here yet. I call. They had an oopsie. It seems that they were back ordered on part of what I needed. Everything was holding for that. No one had told me. Everything had just fallen through until I called. Now, to their credit, they helped fix it and it's been transferred to the local pharmacy for me to pick up. However, when I asked what the typical lead time was for an order like this she said I should do it about two weeks early.
Here we have a major disconnect. This chain has the appearances of being modernized, with a phone app and modern convenience, but clearly their methodologies are not in alignment with all of that. With most of the places that I order something it goes out within 24 hours and I am informed about each step of the process. It's all designed for speed and efficiency. In this case the high tech is a front for much more pedestrian processes. Again, they were very nice and helpful when I stepped back a few years and did things in person, but now I have to work this into my day, which subtracts from my SXSW schedule, and I'm uncomfortable about trying the delivery in the future. I'm beginning to doubt if I'm dealing with the right pharmacy.
My point to this is not to rant, though I guess I have a little. My point is that as people buy into mobile apps and social media their success or failure is going to be predicated on their ability to have their business practices follow in suit with the technology. In the case of my pharmacy someone broke down on the job. Either the technical people only did what they were told and did not do their due diligence to make sure that the ordering system had the right checks and balances built in, or the business decision makers overrode advice they were given, assuming that it was all a sort of extension of their telephone ordering system. Besides, senior citizens don't use technology... right?
Well... I'm not a senior citizen. My dad is... and he uses technology. I'm becoming a part of that customer base as I begin to need products and services that I did not in my 20s. It's all moving forward. They
You'll hear more from me at SXSW today... after I drop by the pharmacy.