Scoopd.co is a news aggregator and portal that matches user profiles to articles. It will enable creation of a highly personalised "newspaper" with additional sources suggested b...Read More
Ok, it’s been a while since both the last update, and the last opinion piece, so I’m going to hit both today.
Some news first (which will feed into the writing after).
Courtesy of 500 and .co I won tickets to the SMASH summit in NYC! See here - http://500.co/2012/06/18/domain-this-contest-win-a-ticket-to-smash-summit-in-nyc/ . The bad news is I’m not writing this from NYC. The good news is that the tickets are transferrable, so I’ll be heading over to a future summit! I’m afraid I don’t know which of the domains I suggested won, but my favourite is Ineedahotco.co.
Secondly, on to Scoopd (which uses a .co!). I’m kind of worried about saying this, but we have a tenuous beta release date of Winter this year, all being well. I’m wary of saying it because I don’t want to cause disappointment should it slip. We’ve been working on it part-time for a long while now, squeezing meetings and development work in gaps between full time jobs. We’re close to having something for testers to play with. Not only that, but development work has already started on an Android app! I can’t wait to take the lid off both. Ahead of release, I’m contacting suppliers we’d like to develop relationships with.
That leads me to:
When I found out that I’d won the tickets I did something that a year ago would have seemed strange, but where I am now mentally and professionally made sense. I mailed a couple of people I knew in the NYC tech scene and asked if they fancied meeting up for a chat. I’ve had 50% success so far. What’s more, I’m NOT doing it to pitch them.
I think it’s getting really easy to forget that people are people. I hear stories about people pitching luminaries they bump into in toilets. Whilst I applaud the opportunity seized, I’m not sure it’s something I’d do right then. Gary Vaynerchuk makes a very good point with in a video where he talks about not trying to close on first impressions. Trying to close straight away gives the recipient of your attention that you’re just a roadbump they need to get past. If you’re treating them like that, how on earth can you expect to build a positive long term relationship? Building a business relationship is the same as building a personal one. It’s made of people interacting. A two-way street (today’s theme: transport infrastructure, apparently). Getting the maximum “value” from that relationship is about humanising it. People go out of the way to help people, not brands or organisations.
The people I contacted are people that I’ve spoken to prior to mailing them. They’re people I like and respect. I hope that their decision to meet up and chat is a good reflection of the fact that I’ve been genuine with them, and am building that two-way relationship. I’ll be excited if they ask about the business, but I’m not going to push it. This is will be the first time we’ve met, and if the relationship is going to turn into something with long-term value for both of us, then it needs to be analogue, not digital. Continuous, not transactional. I want them to know that they’re speaking to a person, and one that recognises they’re a person too.
This got me to thinking about our relationships with the technology we use (both hardware and software) too. Our expectation is that relationship is transactional. We request a resource, it’s delivered. We push upload, a file moves. We don’t have to consider the feelings of the tech we use, because it doesn’t have any. I realised that *successful* technology is built to consider our feelings and engender a sense of a relationship.
We talk about user experience, user interface and building something people love. We talk about stickiness or addictiveness, about engagement and user retention. People don’t love transactions. They may appreciate them, gain from them, but there’s no intrinsic value to one transaction over another. That comes from emotional attachment, and feeling part of something. If you want to build and retain users then ask yourself - how does your product make them feel?
Red Rook Digital was created with a very clear aim in mind; to provide platforms for on-line interactions that are effective, functional, and above all, valuable.