Information Technology

Have you been hypnotised by Apple?

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Watching people in the London Apple store, is like watching zombies in there ideal environment. They are all staring at screens, not speaking to anyone apart from the Apple staff, who are either convincing them that now is the best time to buy or the genius team who are telling them to switch off their device and then back on again. Ironically this happened for me when I met with one of the genius team reporting my failing notes app. It sounded just like being back with Microsoft. Oh blast! 

Anyway, I observed how these folks were being hypnotised by their surroundings and Apple’s stuff. Their ‘best ever’ devices. 

Yes I'm also a hypnotised victim, all my devices are Apple, although I do not have all the latest and greatest, still on iPhone 6s and iMac 2013, I did upgrade my iPad last year to a Pro and that’s because the old one just wouldn’t function any longer. Built-in redundancy tricks by the tech industry?

Anyway back to being a Zombie. 

Listening to a podcast by the Minimalists the other day, they mentioned that the whole reason Apple have laid out their store so that you can touch devices is that they have done extensive research that confirms that when people touch something which they desire, they have already bought it in their brain. So it will just be a matter of either convincing themselves that they want it or they just go through the process of buying having been hypnotised by having touched the device.

Although I hadn't actually considered this, when I think back how I personally have been affected by this, I can definitely see how this works. Yes I am a hypnotised victim and I’m not proud of it and being a victim means I probably didn’t have any control over it. Now that I know what happens, I will for sure be on my guard, no more watching Apple keynote announcements, unsubscribing from their announcement and product emails and unsubscribing from their YouTube channel. 

Oh my, I just hadn’t realised how I had set myself up to be hypnotised via so many different ways. It's my own fault.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy their products, they deliver immense value in my life and business, I wouldn’t have been able to be as proficient in my business without the functionality, reliability and simplicity. In the main the products and their apps work faultlessly. Inevitably as they have grown bigger and bigger with billions of devices installed around the world, I guess issues do occur. My firm belief is that IT companies of any kind are in constant BETA. That must be so tough for them.

The big lesson for me is to be more awake, less zombie-like and aware of any desires that may arise as a result of being hypnotised by big brands like Apple and others.

This Zombie is biting back!

@stayingaliveuk

Do you seek attention?

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Generally speaking most of us do seek attention, we’ve been seeking attention ever since we were a pregnancy test. 

And as luck would have it you have probably been receiving unsolicited attention through all your baby, toddler and teenager lives until you reach so-called adulthood. I say so-called because young people believe it’s when they reach 18, parents believe it’s not until you’re 21 and science says your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25. I’m with the science community. I have first hand evidence of living with a 19-year old. 

So when you’ve been receiving attention for at least a quarter of your life, it’s not that easy then to make the transition to start giving attention to others. Maybe that’s why 50% of all marriages fail? #justsaying

Anyway let’s apply this to business and brand development. When you advertise you’re basically asking for attention aren’t you?

And these days that’s what everyone is doing or planning to do. Mark Zuckerberg is very happy about this and definitely his employees, because job security is important to them of course it is. Facebook is probably going to be the largest benefactor of your need to get attention. It’s a very clever choreographed process to make you feel that if you don’t advertise, nobody will give you attention. In fact the algorithm has been changed on Facebook business pages to ensure this is the case. If you have a company page, have you ever noticed how any time you post an update Facebook follows this up at least the next day with a notification? It says that ‘when you’ve finished boosting your post X up to X number of people will see it in their newsfeed for just a couple of bucks.’ (See image example below).

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Generally speaking most of us do seek attention, we’ve been seeking attention ever since we were a pregnancy test. 

And as luck would have it you have probably been receiving unsolicited attention through all your baby, toddler and teenager lives until you reach so-called adulthood. I say so-called because young people believe it’s when they reach 18, parents believe it’s not until you’re 21 and science says your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25. I’m with the science community. I have first hand evidence of living with a 19-year old. 

So when you’ve been receiving attention for at least a quarter of your life, it’s not that easy then to make the transition to start giving attention to others. Maybe that’s why 50% of all marriages fail? #justsaying

Anyway let’s apply this to business and brand development. When you advertise you’re basically asking for attention aren’t you?

And these days that’s what everyone is doing or planning to do. Mark Zuckerberg is very happy about this and definitely his employees, because job security is important to them of course it is. Facebook is probably going to be the largest benefactor of your need to get attention. It’s a very clever choreographed process to make you feel that if you don’t advertise, nobody will give you attention. In fact the algorithm has been changed on Facebook business pages to ensure this is the case. If you have a company page, have you ever noticed how any time you post an update Facebook follows this up at least the next day with a notification? It says that ‘when you’ve finished boosting your post X up to X number of people will see it in their newsfeed for just a couple of bucks.’ (See image example below).

I appreciate totally that if you’re in business and you have a message or a mission you need to get people to pay attention. Advertisements are not always a great way to do this though. There are many other routes to market but here lies the problem, there are far too many routes these days and to test them all, you need a serious bag of cash to do so.

So let’s just say that someone is paying attention to you, your process, whatever that may be, actually worked. They actually clicked through an advert and you got an order. Because it worked you will repeat the process again and again, continuing the advertising paradigm and many of you will even be advocating this to others, some of you might even be making a living out of training others to advertise as well. And so it grows and the advertising barons will be raking in the cash, buckets full of them. 

Every social network depends on advertising for its survival. You can see that the vast majority of their innovation and creativity is directed towards how to leverage their advertising engine even further. More development, updates and improvements are seen in their advertising platforms compared to the social networks themselves. The updates on those are far and few between. In fact they don’t even have great customer service, it is impossible to communicate one on one with a customer service representative, you are cornered into reading pages and pages of manuals and forums before giving up in despair.

They are amongst the worst companies on the planet for their customer service, not to speak of their failures in dealing with abuse of all kinds on their sites.

I’m not trying to bash social networks by the way, I know it sounds like it, I’m just highlighting that we’ve all fallen victim to them, whether it’s the addiction to them and their consistent exploitation of companies that are seeking more and more attention for their product or service.

So what’s the solution? Well if I knew I’d probably be a billionaire by now, but one thing’s for sure paying social networks to advertise on your behalf for me is not the right way.

Instead of seeking attention, maybe we should be inviting audiences to articulate what great would look like for them. Inviting them to share in a journey, become part of the story to greatness instead of just adding their funds to ours. Minimalism is on the rise and companies will need to become even more innovative if they wish to survive the path towards all of us needing less instead of more in our lives.

I would love to hear your perspective on this. Share your comments or tweet me using the hashtag. #attentionseeker

@stayingaliveuk

Is Your Buyer's Brain Overloaded?

Possibly, but it depends...

Recently I read that 90% of all the data that's been created on the planet was created in the past 2 years! That's an astounding statistic don't you think? The amount of data we’re consuming is growing exponentially every single second and I've just added to it by publishing this post.

Just think about the amount of social media content and blog posts you’re reading these days considering they didn't even exist just a few small years ago.

In fact YouTube didn't exist 10 years ago and now 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute. 300 hours! That's about 20 days worth in a minute, (based on let's say a 15 hour awake day). And I understand that Facebook is well on its way to by-passing YouTube’s activity. 

When you consider how many users there are on social media channels and the data they’re all creating, one just can't comprehend how big those data figures are. The size of data is so large that it’s now being described in the form of zettabytes. By 2019 Cisco predicts that the Internet will carry 2 zettabytes of data, that's three times more than last year (2014). Video sharing is expected to increase to 80% from 67% currently over the same period.

So what's a ’zettabyte’? I'm sure you want to know, so I looked it up on Wikipedia for you.

The zettabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix zetta indicates multiplication by the seventh power of 1000 or 1021 in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore one zettabyte is one sextillion (one long scale trilliard) bytes. The unit symbol is ZB.

1 ZB = 10007bytes = 1021bytes = 1000000000000000000000bytes = 1000exabytes = 1billionterabytes = 1trilliongigabytes.

Silicon Valley already has problems finding data scientists to cope with figuring out the ’data revolution’ that's upon us right now!

’Customer experience enhancement’ is expected to be the largest big data business category and the one with the most growth, with forecasts saying this sector will grow from $0.75 billion in 2015 to $3.57 billion in 2020.

The biggest challenge for all marketers is how to get noticed and deliver that expected ’customer experience enhancement’, whilst everyone is sharing multiple amounts of content (data). Your messages are literally drowning in all the noise, which in the main is content (data) we don’t really need anyway! Buyers are being bombarded by millions of bytes of information every single hour. And then there's the question of demographics. Who’s more active on which platform, do I target Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn or the others? Managing this social media soup is also becoming a major headache for many marketers? Micro Enterprises are totally confused by it all.

And then we are developing love-hate relationships with all these channels too.

Why? Because they keep changing the format, the user interface (UI) and what you expected from it one day, can be gone the next. And we are still loyal to them, well most of the time anyway. That's why when a new channel comes along everyone rushes to it to see if they will get a better experience.

Advertising is losing its credibility too with the buyer as more and more of us loath being sold to.  
So what's the answer for getting noticed?

It's a tough one and I'm not sure there's one single solution to the question. But what I’m 100% sure about is that buyers want to be WOWED, they want to feel SPECIAL, they want to believe they've had the BEST DEAL ever and know that the follow up customer service will make them feel like they're the ONLY customer.

Your buyer’s brain is literally maxed out with data and there's no reprieve anytime soon.

We all need new and innovative ideas and above all we need to examine our own brains to decide what will be the most memorable way for our buyers to absorb content (data). Put yourself in the driving seat and examine the buyer’s journey through her eyes or rather her brain.

As humans we've always been fantastically curious. Curious about other people in particular, after all that's what makes us human. We have a natural empathy for others.  The only way we can develop any kind of empathy is to learn something about the other person or situation first. Without that information we can't connect with our inner self (emotional part of our brain) and develop any kind of connection at all.

So how do we currently learn about others or situations?

Through stories...

Storytelling is ancient and it evokes an emotion inside of us that leaves meaningful footsteps inside of our brains that potentially stay there forever. Well in fact they do, it just depends on how good we are in being able to recall those stories. Definitely what's true is that if there’s more emotion and feeling about those stories, we will remember it for longer.

Why is it then that most marketers are still stuck in a pattern of ’This is my Product - Buy me’?

With the amount of zeta-data spinning around the planet there's no hope for any of the old style marketing to stick with anyone, it just isn't appropriate any longer.

If we know that stories do stick, why are marketers not using this formula more often? And yes, stories do need to be targeted to each demographic, because they need to feel like you're talking directly to them. There's no point telling a story to a 60-year old expecting it to be relevant to an 18-year old.

Now over to you.

I'd love to hear whether you’re a storyteller and what success you've had  or otherwise. How are you getting or expecting to be noticed by your current and future buyers?

@stayingaliveuk - ’Share Your Story’

Image: @gapingvoid

Are LinkedIn Missing Out?

 LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

Is LinkedIn missing out on communication? Yep BIG time!

About 3 years ago LinkedIn removed their event app with the usual statement saying that 'from time to time we review our services and adjust our offer to ensure the best experience for our customers' or something like this. Commendable I think?

It was quite a useful app I thought. I used it to invite customers to my external webinars or public training events. 

Now most of us use external apps like Eventbrite. 

Also at the time I was searching for a free webinar app and to my delight Google launched Google+ Hangout. 

The web conferencing web app is amazing and works like a dream. The only problem is that today still not that many business people are on Google+. This means I have to educate them on how to use G+ and then train them on how to use G+ Hangout. Time consuming and frustrating. It ways exactly the same when Skype came out many years ago. Nobody had heard of it and didn't know how to use it. Now potentially every business person has heard of Skype and uses it.

G+ Hangout also has a messaging facility, although not that great yet.

Within the last few weeks (April 2015), Facebook launched their dedicated messenger app for the browser. It was already well established as a separate app for mobile, despite some complaints from users in the early days when it moved away from the standard Facebook page. It works and it works well and looks great inside a browser.

I'm sure I don't have to mention all the array of other messenger apps on the market. Just have a look at the graphic below, where the number represents the number of active users in millions. Facebook with messenger and WhatsApp are pretty much dominating the space.

 Graph from statista.com - April 2015

Graph from statista.com - April 2015

What happened to LinkedIn? All they've got is a very basic email service, which only in the past month (March 2015) allows you to attach a file. Fantastic! Not really, I was being sarcastic then in case you hadn't noticed!

Can you imagine how amazing it would be if you had the ability to instant message your connections? Alright, I appreciate that you'd be worried with spammy messages, but they could make it so that you have to invite people to your instant messenger list and request permission in exactly the same way as connection invites.

I guarantee you that the current younger generation when it grows up will demand such a service on LinkedIn otherwise they'll be doing it on Facebook instead. The younger generation believes that email is too slow, they don't use it. Instant responses are something they've got used to and want to experience this when they enter the world of work.

If we were able to instant message than surely the obvious extension of that would be video conference calls. The need for group web conferencing, being able to share and discuss in real-time all around the world and carry out training is absolutely essential nowadays.

It just leaves the facility for events. Like Google+ the event facility would give you the option to schedule online meetings with connections or audio/video conference calls. 

How cool would that be? This is one massive way to get more eyeballs on your site Jeff Weiner

Conclusion: LinkedIn is definitely missing out on the massive explosion of messaging and web meetings.

I look forward to the day when this will change, really looking forward to it!

@stayingaliveuk

HELP! Older Generation targeted by Computer Virus Scammers based in India

We all receive unsolicited calls from companies trying to sell us stuff. And although we can protect ourselves with ’telephone preference service’ in the UK, companies that call us from overseas are not bound by the same regulations as UK companies. 

When I received a call from an overseas company pretending that they were aware of a computer virus, allegedly on my PC, I decided to record the call and explore exactly what it was that was wrong with my computer.

You can listen to several calls below. Just press play.


It was particularly interesting to me because they told me that they were Microsoft Certified specialists and as I'm a Mac user I was interested to learn how they knew that I had a virus on my computer.

After I recorded the call I uploaded the call on Mixcloud and shared it on Social Media. When someone on Facebook asked me for the Mixcloud link some months later as she too had been targeted by them, I discovered that an ex-employee of the company had shared his experience of working for the company and shared the company’s contact details openly including two of their directors' names and phone numbers.

To read his post just follow the link below to the Mixcloud recording.

http://styin.me/scam-computer-virus-call

The person who contacted me on Facebook asked me how we could make use of Social Media to get this company and its directors brought to justice? She has assisted me with this blog and will be giving it exposure across her network.

So this Blogpost is our attempt to get as much publicity around this scam as possible. Would you like to help us? We need this trending on Twitter for the proper authorities, the press and TV to take notice.

Here are a few options for you to share this blogpost via Social Media.

  1. Tweet this article using the following text: 'investigate urgent #pcvirus #scam http://styin.me/expose-pcvirus-scam @BBCwatchdog @actionfraudUK @ofcom @ICOnews @ScamWarners #askpcxperts' CLICK TO TWEET

  2. Ask others to retweet and tweet their own version too.
  3. Post on your Facebook page the shortened blogpost link: http://styin.me/expose-pcvirus-scam and ask your friends to share and re-post as well.

Let's use the power of Social Networking to get this company investigated by the proper authorities and stop them from causing problems for an older generation who are far too nice and trusting based in the UK, USA and Canada.

If you're outside the UK, please ensure you report them to the proper authorities in your country.

We did further research on social media to see if the company had any profiles and found the following accounts. I have no idea if they are real. I suggest that we report the profiles to the Social Networks.

When you report them use the following text. 

'I would like to bring to your attention that this company's profile represents a company in India that carries out bogus calls to the UK, USA and Canada telling computer users that they have a computer virus. We are reporting them to the proper authorities but I suggest you remove their profile from your network'.

1.  Twitter: https://twitter.com/AskPCExperts

2.  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ask-PC-Experts/536416523112033

3.  Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/askpcexperts-com

I found some further evidence that ASK PC Xperts and United e-Services are one and the same company by further web research. United e-Services was mentioned in the ex-employee's post. The address details certainly appear to match. Below are some web images from a directory search and a job advert.

Thank you for your support!

Additional information:

Domain details: http://styin.me/whoisdomainlookup