C-h-i- What?

smart phoneby Mark Adamski

Being that this is my very first contribution to the venerable Heads Up blog, I figured it would be appropriate to talk about finding my way in marketing.

Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a flowery narrative about my career path. Rather, I want to talk about the nearly microscopic GPS receiver in your smartphone that has the potential to revolutionize the world of marketing and meetings.

Last week I when I landed in Seattle, I opened up my Safari browser while the plane was still taxiing to the gate (yes, the flight attendant said it was okay to use cell phones at that point, and yes, I have an iPhone; Steve Jobs is “the man”…or rather was). As I started to type the name of the restaurant I intended to visit that evening, it only took three fingerprint smudges to jump to a recommendation for “Chisou Seattle.” Ta-da! That’s where I had planned to eat. At the moment I didn’t think this was anything unusual, but then it occurred to me that my domicile is a city that begins with the same letters, c-h-i, and there was not one mention of a place with 3 million+ people! (Perhaps you can guess the city.)

That Chicago-something didn’t appear under the recommendations, or “c-h-i-anything else” for that matter, was somewhat shocking because Chisou is a tiny little restaurant in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, not a sprawling metropolis, or even the world’s most populated country, which also happens to begin with “c-h-i.” Of course, it was no mistake that happened. As soon as I powered up my iPhone, it launched a relentless search for its whereabouts on planet Earth, unbeknownst to me.

The need to satiate my belly’s craving for mediocre Japanese food is just the tip of this iceberg.  GPS technology now offers a new world (loose pun intended) of possibilities when a meeting or conference comes to town:  there are thousands of new people who roam the host city (some might even call them tourists), exploring a place that’s to them mostly unknown.  Applications abound for GPS to be used to enhance the event for attendees, pre, during, and post, and even as ways to drive new sponsorship revenue.

Of course the gaming industry has been leading the charge for a while now with location based smart-phone games like Four Square and others, but it’s time to look into how GPS technology can add to your meetings.  “C-h-i-me” in with your thoughts on how to best use it by commenting below!

To grieve is human, to post-it is, too.

by Max Suzenaar

Steve Jobs Post-it MemorialTributes honoring the passing of visionary Steve Jobs have organically popped up throughout the country – like this makeshift Post-it® memorial at an Apple Store. As the founder of revolutionary technological innovations such as Iphones, Ipods, and Ipads, it seem ironic that even in today’s uber-digital culture, it is the penned word that speaks the loudest volume and projects personal human emotion. Proof positive that even the coolest in “I” technology is nothing without the sensibility of the human behind the “I”.

Innovation and Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

by Tom Baer

Within days of Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple, the hard drive on my MacBook crashed, and being a back-up procrastinator, I lost a great deal of data.  If you’ve had this happen, you know it is VERY aggravating.  The kind of aggravation that should make me switch brands.  But I didn’t.

Why?  Because of Steve Jobs.  He built a brand that is so compelling and appealing that I am willing to live with some inconvenience and aggravation to remain in his world.  It turns out I am not alone.  After posting about my computer’s demise on facebook, I got plenty of replies from friends that had the same thing happen, and like me, remained loyal to Apple.

I mention this here because on the occasion of Mr. Jobs departure, rather than letting him just fade into the sunset, I think we should all learn from him.  Many people know him as the creative mind behind Apple and Pixar, two tremendously successful companies.  But he’s more than that.  After he left Apple the first time, the company floundered and almost went under.  When he bought Pixar from George Lucas, it was hardly a blip on the entertainment radar screen.

Steve Jobs saved these two companies and built them into culture-changing phenomenon.  How?  By believing in a simple philosophy: “the way out is not to slash and burn, it is to innovate.”

In today’s economy, “slash and burners” are everywhere.  Corporations are still laying off staff left and right.  Companies and associations are cutting offerings, and even worse charging for services that net them a little profit but at a huge cost in customer dissatisfaction.  If Mr. Jobs had taken the “slash and burn” route with his companies, the world may have never known  the iPod or iPhone, and never seen Toy Story or Finding Nemo.

We’re all faced with challenges in our jobs.  Think about how you handle those challenges.  Next time try the innovation route to the solution.  Yes, it may be more difficult to sell in, but you’ll put a smile on Steve Jobs face as he sits in his rocking chair.