Weekly Insights February 6th – 10th

Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 12.42.32 PMRachel’s Insight:userinsight-32-200x300

My pick this week is a great website. I LOVE for so many reasons:

Sustainability / Creativity / Imagination: They have sustainable, awesome projects that encourage creativity and imagination in children. One of their projects recently popped up in my Pinterest feed and it reminded me to explore makedo’s site again.

Integration of User Feedback: What companies can learn from this site is how successfully they’ve integrated User feedback into their website (people can share projects easily in the gallery) and they promote cool projects on their blog.

They make $$: Oh, and they also sell kits and tools to create all of these items. Makedo has a great model for creating user generated content, inspiring others AND also selling product.

Check out what I’ll be working on this weekend with my daughter. Too fun!

Chat with Rachel @rachelmwalsh.

Beth’s Insights:

Your local Amazon… store?

Aside from the fact that I can’t even logistically fathom how Amazon would launch and manage a brick and mortar presence, I think there are some flaws with the perspective on this article.

It’s hard to build brands online... I don’t deny that at all. But, what I don’t understand is this: “But now that Amazon is going into the publishing business and serving as a self-publishing platform for more aspiring unknowns, having a shelf-presence is more important to establish new brands with customers.” Isn’t the new “shelf the Kindle? Or the iTouch? Or your phone or tablet? @Rachelmwalsh has been discovering unknowns through Amazon for months via her Kindle and now Kindle Fire…so where is the need for physical shelves?

Upselling and cross-selling are better in person? Perhaps, but it depends what you’re selling.  And what happens to all those customers who you almost convinced to purchase the extra protective case, screen protector and charger for their iPhone? Do you call them later to see if they’re still interested? No, that would be creepy.

Amazon successfully uses your browsing history to remind you of what you were perusing an hour ago and prods you in the direction of fellow consumers who have like minded purchasing interests. And, if the Amazon customer isn’t convinced they need to charge an extra forty bucks to their card, they can conveniently access the products later through their cart, or their wishlist or even their homepage.

Virtual products need a better retail experience? On premise virtual consumption… why not just do what millions of tablet and smart phone users already do and download content wherever you are? I struggle to understand the logic behind in-store virtual consumption when Amazon just launched a device that lets you get all that content whenever and wherever you want.

New synergies, new partnerships...  I love Amazon and I love Starbucks and I still call Seattle part of my home – but daydreaming about them making a retail love child seems to undermine the very nature of what those two businesses stand for. They are, within their own realms, makers of experiences that are unique and successful with their users. The two experiences work in conjunction now because Amazon conquers the digital space and Starbucks the physical. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

My take, if you can’t tell, is to let Amazon grow fat off of its ever expanding online empire. Besides, if there’s an Amazon down the street I’ll have no reason to love my Prime membership. Not to mention all of the lines I’ll have to wait in…

Jonathan’s Insight:

I suspect many of you reading this are Gmail users and have recently been bombarded with notices about the updating of their privacy policy. I encountered this article on that suggests ways of hiding from “Big Brother” Google –

I began thinking of how this change in their privacy policy would effect all of us or would we even notice? Simply put, this change in their privacy policy means that Google will combine all of the data that they gather about your actions across their multiple platforms (YouTube, Gmail, Search, Buzz if any of you are still hanging on) and profile you more completely. As a project manager here at User Insight, I have witnessed more than one thousand in-person interviews over the years. One persistent truth I have heard from users is that advertising content must be relevant, otherwise it will be ignored. Users like to “see themselves” in the digital experiences our clients have to offer. Seen through the rosiest of glasses, this big change in Google’s privacy policy should be a good thing. Advertising content should be more relevant and better fit the context of our digital lives. After all, Google’s motto is “Do No Evil.”

There’s a flip side to this argument, of course, that the monitoring of our activities will undermine the basic concept of the liberty we hold dear as Americans. Who will Google share our activities with? For now, I’m willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt and am probably unwilling to go the extent this article’s author suggests in “hiding from Google.” How about you?

Jonathan’s on Twitter @jonyard.