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My New Website

Thanks for stopping by…

I’ve move my website to http://www.joeytanny.com

And will soon be taking down this site.

You can view all posts that I’ve published here, at http://joeytanny.com/blog/.

Let me know what you think!

- Joey

This was done back in the 1970′s and still rings true today.

Dieter Ram’s 10 principles of good design – print them out, and compare them to every website you visit. Or just memorize them.

According to Dieter, good design:

- Is innovative
- Makes a product useful
- Has aesthetic quality and value
- Makes a product understandable
- Is unobtrusive
- Is long-lasting
- Is thorough down to the last detail
- Is environmentally friendly
- Is as little design as possible

40 years later and it still rings true.

Read more about these principles on Vitsoe .

Footnote – my colleague (the man behind Ched Online) says there is an 11th one for the web, and it makes sense: Design should be iterative.

I feel smarter already.

So I recently ordered an adapter that would allow me to connect my MacBook Pro to my tv. The salesman at the Macstore recommended I don’t spend the $50+ in the store, but rather do a quick internet search and pay $10.

Fine, I’m convinced.

Long story short: 7-10 business days later, I excitedly plug in the part to my new MacBook Pro – or should I say try. It doesn’t fit. Ok, My bad – I thought I might have ordered the part relevant to an old MacBook. No, It doesn’t fit (I think if I forced it a bit more it might have – but I’m not destroying the port for a $3+shipping part). Back to the seller’s page – it is supposed to work with a MacBook Pro. They never say what model.

I’m angry now.

I’d been waiting nearly 2 weeks to have the pleasure of hooking up my tv to my laptop and enjoy Facebook on a 46 inch screen.Amazon bad review

Anyone who has ordered from Amazon (or eBay) knows that for a product that shipping costs more than the product, you cut your losses and move on. That’s what I did, but not before I left a scathing 1/5 (you can’t leave a 0) review on the seller.

Low and behold a couple days letter I get an email from the seller saying they will provide me A FULL REFUND OF THE PRODUCT! (see below). Wow! Really? If I asked for a refund, I would have had to send the product back (at my cost), and then they would exchange it for the same inferior part. This is what happened with a battery I bought that nearly burnt a whole through my bed (and stopped working after a month).

Amazon bad review system email from sellerWithin a couple of days, I have the $7.99 back in my account.

The point of this is not that for once, an angry online customer got their money back without rounds of email and frustration. Rather, it made me seriously doubt the perfect seller rating on all the Amazon sellers.

How do they seemingly all have exceptionally high positive feedback ratios? 100%? 88% is a poor ratio?

Normal bell curve distribution would allow for a very small percentage of sellers to have near perfect (2 deviations from a mean) positive ratios. Yet from a very unscientific survey, there seems to be a low 90%’s mean! Can it be possible that eBay sellers have a better service record than any other service/store in the world? If a movie on IMDB has a 9/10 it is the best movie ever made, if a restaurant has a 9/10 it is a must try – yet a seller on Amazon at 90% is below average? This might not be apples and apples, but a natural feedback system, without incentive, should yield a more even spread.

I have a few theories, but they need to be fleshed out a bit more in depth.

The first is a conspiracy theory – the reviews are paid for. Look at the quality of the reviews, many of them can’t spell. Ok maybe a bit of a stretch… although from my experience in the web world it is very possible and even likely – given the importance of having a strong positive rating.

The second – People request refunds on terrible products and service, and because of a conversation that usually drags on for weeks, they’ll forget to come back and give the seller a poor rating. At the end of the day, the loss is not that great.

The third – When a bad review is posted, the only concern a seller has is to get it taken down. In my case for example – no effort was made on the part of the seller to replace the part, nor to find out if it was being used properly. It was an immediate refund. NO QUESTIONS ASKED! That to me stands out as a protocol – that and the automatically generated and grammatically incorrect email. User posts a negative review -> get review removed by immediate refund.

The first theory might be a stretch -  But the other 2 definitely have an effect on the rating system. Every time a negative review is not given/removed, it not only doesn’t bring down the ratings, but allows the positive to gain artificial weight.

This begs the question – I got my refund, now should I delete my review? Did they earn the censorship? By deleting the review, am I doing the seller a favor or the people? Do I owe the seller the removal of the negative comment?

That brings up a whole different issue: The online rating system, is it designed for the seller or buyer? Another time…

What do you think?

I discovered this fascinating movement through a brilliant speaker and SEO maven, Avinash Kaushik. He posted a simple status update saying “What happens when a poor town in an impoverished nation is saturated with tens of thousands of bicycles?” With a link to The Bicycle City.

What a powerful idea!

I Followed this back to the Pedals for Progress website, where I read this in their about section:

Every year, affluent Americans buy 22 million new bicycles and discard millions of old ones, abandoning many more unused in basements, sheds, and garages. Most of these end up in our already overburdened landfills. Meanwhile, poor people overseas need cheap, non-polluting transportation to get to jobs, markets, customers, and schools. Pedals for Progress has received, processed and donated over 115,000 bicycles, 1,000 used sewing machines and $10.8 million in new spare parts to partner charities in 32 developing world countries.

If you feel so inclined, donate to Pedals for Progress or to The Bicycle City.

At the very least, give them a view and a share.

Teach a man to bike…

This is a cross post of an article I originally wrote for Sparksheet…

The Internet has transformed advertising from a one-way broadcast medium into a truly interactive, two-way experience. But one area that most people still associate with the advertising 1.0 era is the out-of-home industry. While digital signage has been around for decades, billboards, posters and in-aisle promotions have for the most part remained in the pre-Internet age.

But that’s starting to change. Smart brands and savvy advertisers are using screens to engage passersby in a creative, entertaining and memorable way. Technological advancements in touchscreens, gestural interface and facial recognition software are making rich, interactive out-of-home campaigns a reality.

As younger consumers turn away from traditional media, innovative and interactive digital campaigns are becoming an invaluable way to reach the increasingly important millennial crowd.

With mobile adoption, post-recession marketing budgets and screen technology on the ascent, the out-of-home industry is poised to come out of its shell.

Continue reading on Sparksheet

QR code for Sparksheet's Newsletter

QR Code for the Sparksheet Newsletter

This is a cross post of an article I wrote at Sparksheet

Now that smartphones have gone mainstream, mobile technology is moving toward deeper interaction with the physical world. People share their locations on Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook. There are taxi-sharing apps, apps that help you find parking spots, apps that recommend nearby restaurants and attractions.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of brands and media outlets are experimenting with QR, a decade-old technology that seems tailor-made for the mobile era. The QR code is basically an advanced bar code, with the ability to store much more information than a standard bar code. The Quick Response aspect of the code makes it a convenient way to serve up content to people on the go.

Here’s how it works. Download one of the many free QR readers to your camera-equipped smartphone. With the app open, take a photo of the code. This will point your browser to a website containing related information, images or video. It can also send a coupon or an SMS to your phone.

The idea is that scanning a bar code is much faster than typing a Web address on your tiny smartphone keyboard or touch screen – and way cooler. These black and white boxes may not be the most visually arresting technology, but it’s what they can do, where they can be placed and how they’re being used that makes QR codes fascinating.

Continue reading at Sparksheet and see some great examples of QR codes in action…

A Lot has been said about BP and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
All negatively, and rightfully so
I don’t blame them for the spill itself

Imagine the operation required for extracting the millions of barrels of oil that our insatiable appetites require on daily basis

The drilling, the piping, the extracting, the shipping, the distribution infrastructure…not to mention a huge organization to manage all this
Not only that, but they are dealing with other similarly complex organizations such Transocean and Halliburton

It is hard to fault people (they are people, lots of them) for accidents that are not caused out of negligence
Things happen
But this is where the responsibility begins

Perhaps it was negligence on BP’s part that led to the explosion, but my common-sense tells me that BP has strong quality control measures in place

So what went or IS (day 71) going wrong?

Strolling on the streets of Manhattan, these billboards surrounding a BP gas station made the point clearer than daylight

BP the Pushover BP Wakeup

BP: Wake up! Be Proactive!

BP Needs to wake up: As long as oil is pouring into the ocean, destroying all systems around it, they are being negligent

BP Should be Proactiv(e): With what is surely a talent rich organization, and deep pockets, anything short of an immediate solution is a failure

Despicable? BP or BP Despicable?

Despicable? BP or BP Despicable?

Time will tell what happens to BP
Perhaps once the well is capped, they can write a new chapter in their history…

But for now everything they can do and will do will be looked at negatively…unless it involves stopping a certain leak.

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