Raising Screenheads

The infographic below provides some truly fascinating and illuminating stats on the early and pervasive adoption of technology by young children. 41% of 3-4 year olds own a media device and 55% of 8-11 year olds own three or more. Both of my kids qualify for that latter stat. Many talking points and issues can germinate from this infographic. Certainly this drives home the paramount importance of talking to kids as early as possible about online safety. Additionally, we are surrounded by all of this programmed technology, our kids are spending copious time with it, yet we do not prioritize computer programming in our school curriculums. And lastly, it also brings to mind a Ted Talk about the impact technology is having on our human relationships and connections. One thing is undeniable, we are indeed raising a generation of screenheads.


credit: Ebuyer

QR Codes Spearheading Adoption of Mobile Action Codes

The percentage of magazines with at least one (QR Code) code is up from 96% in Q4 2011.

Overall, the total number of action codes printed increased to 1365 in Q1 2012 from 352 in the same period of 2011.

The percentage of advertising pages with an action code may provide the most accurate measurement of mobile action code adoption. For the first time, the percentage of magazine pages containing an action code exceeded 8% each month in Q1 2012.


via nellymoser

Are barcodes jumping the shark in North America?

Not quite, but it’s getting close.

QR Code Use Jumped 617% From January to December in Top 100 Magazines

A Record 4468 Mobile Action Codes Appeared in Ads and Editorial Pages. QR Code Market Share Reaches 80%.

The monthly count of codes printed in the top 100 magazines grew from 88 in January to 631 in December.

Advertisers contributed heavily to the growth. The monthly percentage of codes from advertising increased from 87% in January to 96% in Q4.

The average number of codes per issue grew – from 2.33 in Q1 to 6.50 in Q4.

QR market share increased from 66% in January to 80% in December.

Almost all codes in Q4 led to product demonstrations, branding videos, sweepstakes, e-commerce and/or social sharing sites.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble?

Yelp is readying a $100M IPO that follows Groupon’s similar offering. What do these two companies have in common? No profits.

When multiple unprofitable companies are given access to this kind of liquidity, largely by slicing off a small portion of the equity and dividing it up among thousands of overeager investors, I can’t help but conclude that we’re back in a tech-stock bubble.

via MarketWatch

Baby boomers are getting into new technology, on their terms

Facebook’s growth continues to explode, now topping 350M users and still going strong. If there is a ‘secret sauce’ that has propelled Facebook into becoming the most widely used social network in the world, one of the key ingredients of that sauce would undeniably be demographics. As Facebook has grown, it has gotten older. Twitter is a brilliant real-time publishing tool, LinkedIn is equally brilliant for business networking. However, no other social network in the world has managed to weave together all three primary social pillars as well as Facebook has. Those pillars are Family, Friends and Business.

“A study in August by marketing agency iStrategyLabs suggested the number of new Facebook users aged 55 and older grew by almost 514 per cent in the previous six months, compared to 4.8 per cent growth among 18-to 24-year-olds and 24.2 per cent for those 17 and younger.”
– (source: AM1150)

On the research trail for a new venture, one of the things I’ve been mindful of are the wants, needs, usage patterns and behaviours of baby boomers. What motivates boomers to adopt new technology? What turns them away? I recently stumbled across a study that offers some great insights into the baby boomer cohort and how they perceive new technology. Inside the tech world, we gravitate to the shiny new beta-toy on the block and the digerati tweenies/Echos are a sought-after cohort because of their willingness to be on the front-lines of the adoption curve. But talk to investors, VC or otherwise, and they are clearly looking for the next Facebook. While attempting to be the next Facebook is a fool’s errand, aspiring to be as widely used as Facebook isn’t. But before you can shoot for that moon, it would be wise to ensure that your concept is age-agnostic and that means it has to be something a baby boomer could embrace.

“…boomers are in fact active adopters of new technology – but with a unique style driven by two aspects of their character. The first is that this generation lives at the midpoint of life’s cycles: often with children at home, yet also responsible for aging parents. From this center-court vantage point, they see the technology wants and needs of their children and also of their own parents. They’re likely to experience, in daily life, both the brash enthusiasm of youthful early adopters and the deliberate caution of older adults. The second unique aspect is their historical perspective. Baby boomers grew up with technology: they were in their teens to early 30s when the first IBM PCs and Apples appeared, and were the innovators and early adopters of that era (one dinner participant still has the manual for Windows 1.0). Yet they also recall a time when all telephones had wires and were rented monthly from Ma Bell – a time when there were a handful of television stations, and if you turned on the set in the middle of the night, you saw a test pattern. They created their social lives before the advent of ubiquitous communication, when physical distance meant true separation, and if your parents moved to a new state you’d likely lose touch with old pals.

The consistent theme in this diverse group is that boomers want to bring their own values to technology. Boomer ideals were forged in an era when human rights and individual freedoms were central concerns, and boomers apply that perspective to technology as well. They fear that their children, perhaps unwittingly, allow technology to shape their lives rather than using technology to help create the lives they want. Boomers want technology to fit the lives they have made and the values they hold dear.

The boomers thus occupy a unique niche. If their children are the technology pioneers, the first to explore new territory, boomers are the settlers, arriving a bit later to set up schools and libraries, churches and hospitals, to sink deep roots and build permanent structures. With one foot in the future and the other in the past, they are inventing a world for the 50-year-old of the future. The choices they make, the devices, software and services they embrace, will directly inform what is available as the next generation grows older.”

Full study entitled ‘Boomers and Technology: An Extended Conversation’ can be downloaded here: (source: PDF Report)

Apple’s marketing and Vista’s woes driving converts to Mac

Apple’s nifty, tongue-in-cheek ads and Microsoft Vista’s inability to resonate with consumers is proving to be a potent combination that is successfully converting Windows consumers to the Mac platform. While Vista has been a big albatross around Microsoft’s neck, according to Advertising Age, the effectiveness of Apple’s marketing should not be underestimated.

But then last year his friends started buying iPhones and making the switch — “guys like me, who didn’t really care for Macs.” And when the latest Windows operating system, Vista, came out, “It didn’t do anything for me,” Mr. Alison said. “The very initial version was really a mess.” So he went to an Apple store. The clean, simple and friendly experience convinced him it was time to consider a Mac, and now, six months after his first MacBook purchase, he has added a desktop Mac Pro and another MacBook Pro. (You can read more about his experience on his blog, www.davidalison.com.) Mr. Alison’s experience is not unusual. Blog after blog chronicles the move from Windows to Mac operating systems — and more than a few were precipitated by Microsoft’s now one-and-a-half-year-old Vista. And with the final door having closed on XP on June 30 — Microsoft is no longer allowing manufacturers to sell new computers pre-loaded with XP — it’s possible user frustration could translate to even more sales for Mac.

“Apple has told a good story, created good products and created a good [retail] experience for people to buy Macs,” said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. However, he added, “The whole Vista launch was such a debacle, and that has helped Apple.” The launch “debacle” he’s referring to is the January 2007 debut of Vista, which was not only delayed by more than six months, but also was “buggy,” with compatibility problems and uneven quality noted in many early reviewers’ and users’ opinions. And the estimated $500 million spent on the launch seemed only to draw a bull’s-eye around the operating system. Indeed, half of the eight “Get a Mac” ads Apple and its agency TBWA created so far this year mention Vista. And the latest, “Sad Song,” has the PC guy singing “The Vista Blues” about how Vista is causing people to leave him for Mac.

Read full article: AdAge: More Consumers Make the Switch to Macs On a totally separate note, but still Apple-related, check out this interesting music video that was done completely and literally, on a Mac.

Firefox 3 Rox

845651-media_httpwwwjamescogancomimagesfirefoxjpg_EHdvuwBkhdvDktzWhile Firefox may have stumbled in their effort to set a Guinness record for downloads in one day, it shouldn’t take anything away from what is a stellar browser update. I am a browser whore, no doubt about it. Truth be told, I left Firefox behind about a year ago in favour of OmniWeb which is a beautiful browser for the Mac that I have used on and off for about 5 years. However, as of yesterday I am back on the Firefox bandwagon big time. Firefox 3 is a major leap forward in overall speed and polish. But if you’re looking for one killer reason to download/use Firefox 3 – you must check out PicLens. It is beyond cool, and borderline addictive.