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Post-Cluetrain

  • 13th Mar, 2005 at 1:11 PM

So if you've got any clue about how to not offend people who want to give you money, you've probably read the Cluetrain Manifesto. If you haven't yet, it is a good time to. Even if you are just a mindless consumer, it's nice to know that you can escape that.

But it's no longer 1999 and we're no longer afraid of the Y2K bug. Plus, all of these people are not talking about you on Usenet or (ugh) web-forums. No no, they're weblogging about you and your product and how you treated them when things go wrong. Now is a good time to read the Hughtrain Manifesto.

This reference, of course, comes from reading the hilarious business card comics on the author's weblog.

Although I don't agree with everything he writes, it certainly makes sense that people want a human connexion with the people they're buying from. At least, in the rich, privileged, bourgeois world. I certainly see myself slotting into this category.

Of course, I'm deeply enamoured with Julie's idea of being able to find information about any product when you're just standing next to it. That would smash brands altogether, since you wouldn't need any space in your mind to say "Zeiss makes good lenses" or "Zest gets you fully clean" or "Zippo lighters are reliable". You'd just look it up on your cellphone which would tell you that this particular Zippo lighter had the tendency to be made by third-world child-labour for 2¢ a day.

Now if only we could do that, right here, right now. Maybe camera phones are the way?


Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
roju
13th Mar, 2005 20:56 (UTC)
That would be a fun J2ME hack, use the camera to scan barcodes and then hit the network for information. Although I'm not sure if they even let the Java on the phones play with the features like that.
sfllaw
13th Mar, 2005 21:48 (UTC)
Somehow my impression is that J2ME is never fun. Something about "Write Once Debug Everywhere".

But it would be enough to send the picture to another website, much like "moblogging", and you'd get an SMS back with the relevant lookup.
cpirate
13th Mar, 2005 22:04 (UTC)
Apparently phones in Japan will already do that, though I suspect they just send the picture to some big speedy central server to do the actual barcode scanning. Who knows if this will ever make it across the Pacific.
roju
14th Mar, 2005 01:52 (UTC)
I suppose what you and Simon suggest does make sense, it would be better to just ship the image off. I was thinking it would be neat to get the live feed from the camera and capture an image when a good enough aspect of the bar-code was visible, but that's probably way too expensive for a cell to do.

It's too bad someone like DoCoMo doesn't revolutionize cellphones here. What I've read of them is pretty neat.
sfllaw
14th Mar, 2005 02:03 (UTC)
Well, having GSM phones here (Rogers and Fido) means that people can expect reasonable picture upload times.

Just wait a while and we'll eventually get 3G networks. Then you can have a bunch of girls showing each other their new hairstyles.

And lots of live cellphone porn. But isn't that how the technology industry works?
hub_
13th Mar, 2005 23:05 (UTC)
Go evil cuecat!!!
sfllaw
14th Mar, 2005 01:34 (UTC)
Sadly, CueCats are not ubiquitous enough for this sort of thing. I think it had something to do with running-out-of-money-because-of-our-stupid-business-model management.

From what I can tell of MMS, this shouldn't cost people very much to make informed decisions about the products they buy, or are about to buy.
roju
14th Mar, 2005 01:46 (UTC)
1. Give away expensive devices
2. ???
3. Profit!
hub_
14th Mar, 2005 20:58 (UTC)
If you believe they'd use that, even if free, you'd be naive.
taxlady
14th Mar, 2005 16:13 (UTC)
I want the stores to provide computer terminals that can easily give you that info. Some stores now provide scanning stations, so you can figure out how muchs stuff costs. They could provide an option to get info on the item and related items. Hey, it could even give you info on what the friggin' weirdly named ingredients in food are.

I think it would have economic benefits to the store. I would be more likely to shop in a store that had that.
sfllaw
14th Mar, 2005 21:57 (UTC)
I think this wouldn't pan out so well because people are inherently distrustful of stores and their "information kiosks". And they'd probably be tempted to screen out things like, "Nestlé engages in unethical business practises in the third-world."

I think it's much better to use your own private wireless device. At least then you can communicate with a community of people you learn to trust.
taxlady
15th Mar, 2005 05:32 (UTC)
Well, then, a store that gave you an uncensored Google search would have the edge. I want the store to provide it. Why should I spend my resources for an impulse purchase? If it isn't an impulse purchase, I can research it elsewhere. Stores usually like to encourage impulse purchases.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )