Reebok in crap-looking sneakers scandal

I love it when shoe companies experiment with edgy designs and new materials like New Balance’s past Super Team 33 efforts, but someone needs to give Reebok a slap over these efforts I saw in their Neal Street, Covent Garden shop based on the vintage Reebok Pump basketball design.

Reebok Pump boots

I know that this is supposed to be a take on Nike’s past designs with pony hair, but it looks more like Reebok have been kidnapping well loved soft toys from cribs across the world and recycling them into sneakers: a kind of 21st century Cruella De Vil.
Reebok Pump boots
No part of the soft toys were wasted as they were obviously used to line these revolting green models. The adults really need to get back in charge over there.

Things I learned on the Christmas break

I met with a number of people and observed a number of things during the Christmas break. On their own not enough for a blog post about them, but I thought there maybe something in putting them all together.

  • According to an entrepreneur I met even targeted high circulation print coverage delivered little traffic to a site. The only one that worked at all was a Sunday supplement squarely in their area which provided 200 or so unique users. Blogs and online coverage was more valuable from a business point-of-view. Consumers aren’t sufficiently engaged with analogue media to answer a call-to-action in a different media, you would need to provide analogue calls-to-action for analogue media
  • Messaging and SEO: the entrepreneur measured their messaging purely in terms of key word terms. By implication, PR was a tactical, rather than strategic discipline

The biggest technology users I came across was late gen-X and boomers:

  • Example 1: I came across was a passionate record collector, they used eMule all the time to pull down rare recordings. They had a stack of Western Digital drives full of recorded media which didn’t get listened to, yet was pulling down more. Digital services were an easier, but less satisifying way of collecting music. When I was with them, all the music they played was on vinyl. Analogue media is more social and more satisfying
  • Example 2: an older divorcee close to retirement age. Going out was too expensive so the PC was seen as an investment. They then appreciated the ‘tinker factor’ that it allowed. They spend four-to-six hours leisure time per day interacting with media online and hasn’t used his television in six years. They share films and and TV shows (not yet screened in the UK) with colleagues, encouraging them to watch The Wire and FlashForward when it was finally screened

Generation X are a lucrative entertainment market:

  • Retro Trax is a shop in New Brighton which sells nothing but older recordings. They have expanded their franchise to include compilation CDs and running regular club nights aimed squarely at the gen-X marketplace
  • Their offering is a sub-culture that is very specific to the north of England, making it hard for major brands like Ministry of Sound or HTFR to invade their niche. But there is no reason why localised offerings of a similar nature couldn’t be done in other areas like London. It is essentially analogue micro-media

Mobile broadband

  • I spent much of the time at home trying to get connectivity. My folks don’t have broadband and I was getting a download speed of bits-per-second across a number of mobile carriers. The promise that we talk about as technologists of ubiquitous pervasive broadband is still science fiction in many urban and suburban areas

Sat nav – disruptive technology

  • Not driving a car in the UK, it is easy to get into my own pedestrian bubble. Going home to Liverpool reminded me how ubiquitous satnav devices where. TomTom have had their crown dented a bit as police cars and ambulances use Garmin devices. The thing I found most interesting was the personal relationship between owner and sat nav device was as important as that between an owner and their mobile phone
  • Interestingly Google mobile mapping applications and phone-based mapping software was frowned upon as not being ‘professional enough’. The data was perceived as not being good enough and you wouldn’t be taken seriously by your peers as a fellow sat nav user

Jargon Watch: Curb mining

Marketing agency Blu Dot teamed up with furniture designer Mono to start a word-of-mouth campaign through a ‘Real Good‘ experiment. They placed chairs around New York city, tracked them to their new homes when they were picked up and interviewed the new owners. This was to investigate the concept of curb mining (kerb mining in UK English) – where people salvage other people’s stuff that has been left on the street.

Blu Dot real good experiment

Andy Jordan in his Tech Diary podcast for The Wall Street Journal interviewed one of the curb miners featured in the experiment who pointed out that the bulk of curb mining paydirt was from past-over technology like fully functional printers.

Links of the day

Household PC use swells to 76% – Hong Kong has a home internet penetration of 73.3 per cent

Whole Foods Launches Resolution Facebook Application – smart thinking which fits in with Whole Foods brand proposition really well.

Video: SMCKL#2 Steve Rubel – Social Media Club * Kuala LumpurRachel flagged up this video of Steve Rubel presenting by teleconference his age of streams hypothesis

Otamatone demo video~明和電機 社長ブログ~: これが オタマトーンの 演奏方法だ! – this is just the best I love the Star-Spangled banner rendition at the end.

New Adidas Line Brings ‘Augmented Reality’ to Your Kicks – interesting angle here

Demi Moore’s lawyers threaten Boing Boing over photo analysis blog post Boing Boing – given that Ashton Kutcher is so switched on regarding social media, I am really surprised he would let Demi Moore make this big a mistake.

Sprixi – handy creative commons image search engine

How Tiger Woods Destroyed $12 Billion of Stock-Market Value – WSJ – bit of a tenuous link here, but what a great story

Forbes: A Year In Review: 2009 Social Marketing Trends « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

MediaPost Publications This Generation’s Got Radio 12/24/2009 – iPod less popular than thought, probably due to commuting by car and that iPods aren’t allowed in many place of work

The decade when we became too connected – I remember then 3Com CEO Eric Benhamou talking about the problem of consumers being overconnected back in 1999 at Network+InterOp. Each time we find away around it, the history of information overload goes back at least four decades

Retail outlook: Discounters best poised to thrive – USATODAY.com – US is seeing discounters thrive as well

MediaPost Publications Urban Youth Are Unhooking Brand Tether 12/24/2009 – interesting article on how the recession has changed the way young people ‘use’ brands and have become more value-orientated

Google Seeks to Help Children Search Better – NYTimes.com

Amazon: Christmas, Kindle and hype

The tech headlines were dominated after Christmas day with tales of Amazon’s spectacular e-book success. The fact that Kindle e-books outsold paper ones during Christmas day was hailed as a landmark.
Kindle

You can find the press release here. However it doesn’t tell you how many books were actually sold on Christmas day. It maybe three for all I know, and we don’t know how much the average price paid for those books by the customers. I can understand why Amazon can’t disclose these numbers as it may be affect by SEC regulations.

The second aspect of this is that Amazon would be in a lot of trouble if people who received Kindle devices didn’t turn them on and give them a test drive including downloading a book or two. Working on BT Genie back in the day I can remember the amount of work that we put in to crisis planning when the inevitable server | network overload hit the WAP portal as 100,000s of ‘internet capable’ mobile phones were given over the Christmas period.

Sure enough, on Christmas day the outage happened as Logica franticly kept putting in new Sun servers and rolling back the database to start everything up again.

At the time, you had the Halifax giving out Nokia phones so that customers could check their balance on the go, and Dominos even facilitated ordering pizzas through it.

Eventually people realised that pizza was easier to order from the web or over the phone rather than through the WAP portal, and WAP was an over-hyped, poorly implemented version of the web and best forgotten now. Indeed ‘WAP is crap‘ was an industry mantra for a while after – but the point is: demand should be high. If it wasn’t the Kindle has serious issues.

The true test of the Kindle’s staying power will be sales six-or-nine months down the road for e-books.

(Image courtesy of Amazon).