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    I’m publishing this Weblog to deepen perspectives on topics that light me up. These relate to my business communication, disruptive technologies and photography. 

    My work is changing so fast that I can barely grasp it all, much less fully comprehend the implications. Perhaps keeping this blog will help.

    Reid Parkinson


    Crowdfunding: Update on the TikTok and LunaTik iPod Nano Watch Kit Kickstarter Project 

    "Fascinating video from Scott Wilson, showing the manufacturing process in China. Watching that silicone get dyed is hypnotic. There are still a few hours to get in on the Kickstarter project, by the way. They’ve raised just under $900,000." (Credit: Daring Fireball)

    This is cool on so many levels. Getting potential customers to fund manufacturing via the internet, doing the manufacturing in China, etc. I don't know what words to use...democratization of manufacturing? customers participating with business on a world level?  I just don't know.  The implications and possibilities make my head explode.


    Christmas concert performed entirely on iOS devices


    And here's an interesting version of Eye of the Tiger.



    Photo: After yesterday's snow storm

    It's beautiful today. But I'm not out in it. Just viewing it from the balcony.



    Tech Change Is So Fast Now, No One Can Keep Up

    I thought it was just me. I once thought I was on top of gadgets and technologies in my field, and then it got away from me. Lately, I've been trying to catch up. Apparently, I can't. David Pogue, the consumer technology columnist for the New York Times, said this last evening on The News Hour:

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, last thing.

    How can anyone -- and you wrote about this, so -- how can anyone keep up with all this? So, what was kind of reassuring in your article was, your 10-year review was, even you have a hard time keeping up -- keeping up, right?

    DAVID POGUE: Right. The answer is, you can't keep up, and I can't keep up. I read all the magazines. I go to all the trade shows, I listen to all the P.R. pitches. I do two columns every single week. And, sometimes, they're columns that involve roundups of 16 cameras or whatever.

    It's still impossible. I mean, you would need a full-time staff, and you would still miss stuff. Somehow, we have gotten into this cycle now where technology advances so fast, and comes out so quickly and becomes obsolete so quickly, it's out of control. It's off the tracks.


    The Parkinson Group Receives 2010 Best of Minneapolis Award

    U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Honors Achievement

    NEW YORK, NY, November 30, 2010 -- The Parkinson Group has been selected for the 2010 Best of Minneapolis Award in the Communications Services category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

    The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

    Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2010 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.


    The Inevitable Decline Due To Clutter

    A wonderful piece of advice from Seth Godin's blog:

    Digital media expands. It's not like paper, it can get bigger.

    As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it's free.

    One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

    Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn't work any more.

    In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn't free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

    And it's hard to go backward.

    More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.


    100 Portraits

    For the past four years, Andy Adams has been publishing, a website that features contemporary photography from an international community of artists. He teamed up with curator and Indie Photobook Library creator Larissa Leclair to produce a photo projection which showed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, November 6-13, 2010.

    Adams developed this digital exhibition to share the work of artists with an international online audience, wherever they are in the world. Since launching in early November, 100 Portraits has been viewed by more than 30,000 visitors from 24 countries and the project has been featured in Wired Magazine, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and The Washington Post.

    Self Portrait with Christopher (Clementines), 2007— Jessica Todd Harper


    Thoughts About The iPhone, Part 2

    The iPhone disrupted the mobile phone industry and did so with breathtaking speed. In Part 1, I described how it didn’t suddenly burst on the scene; Apple had introduced the iPhone and demonstrated its features a full six months before it was released, yet many pundits predicted failure. How could this relative alien enter a new market containing such entrenched, powerful companies?  Was the iPhone a fluke?  Or is something in Apple’s strategic approach responsible for the iPhone’s success? 

    Generally, a company may execute more than one strategy well, but usually only one ultimately drives its success. Most market strategies fall into four categories:  1) Gaining market share  2) Being least-cost producers  3) Innovation  4) Quality.

    Market Share
    In PC operating systems, Microsoft won the market share battle.

    Least-Cost Producers
    Dell, Packard Bell, Acer are companies that found success through efficiency, outsourcing and tight inventories.

    An innovation can start a revolution. In the tech industry, many innovations come and go, e.g., Zip, Palm PDAs, etc. The difficulty with innovation is that one has to continually pull a new rabbit from the hat, or transition to a market share, least-cost producer or quality market strategy.  If asked for an example of a current innovative company, many people would mention Apple.

    Nordstrom and BMW are examples of companies with low market share, but success because of their focus on quality. For the last decade in the PC industry, Apple has received high ratings for the quality of its products and its customer service.

    I contend that of the four, it’s the Quality market strategy that drives Apple’s success. And not just a big amorphous Let’s-do-everything-well kind of quality to which everyone pays lip service. It’s a specific quality driver that can be isolated if you ask the key question for my business, “Who is the audience?” When one answers this question, the reason for the iPhone’s success is obvious.

    Consider: Microsoft’s key strategy has been to gain market share by corralling enterprise computing. The audience was IT departments. Get one IT department and you’ll sell tens of thousands of computers with your operating system on them. You then get the individual users by trickle down. When Microsoft went into mobile, their strategy was to maintain Windows’ market share by extending it to the phone. RIM’s audience is also enterprise. It built phones delivering email with secure links to Windows enterprise systems. The primary audience: organizations and organizations’ needs.

    Apple, on the other hand, has always been about individual empowerment. Think Different. 

    Until recently, I’ve often noticed that my non übergeek friends who used Windows computers at work generally disliked computers. Some didn’t even have them in their homes. The computer experience had been so confining that people wanted to be done with it after leaving work. This has changed, but more because of cloud computing and the new social media sites than because of desktop PC innovation.  Mac owners, on the other hand, have tended to be ardent computer users. To paraphrase one of Steve Jobs’ statements from the early days of the OS wars: Our goal is to deliver a tool that will empower people who use it in thousands of different ways that we can’t possibly imagine. For Mac users, he achieved this.

    The contrast of these two approaches puts the reason for the iPhone’s success in sharp relief. It’s because Apple focuses on a different audience than almost everyone else in the PC industry: the individual user. In terms of the four basic market strategies, Apple’s key driving strategy is to maximize the quality of the individual user experience.

    When people got their hands on an iPhone, it was so different from anything they’d previously experienced that to many it seemed like having been launched into the future. The subsequent proliferation of new apps made the iPhone continually more useful and empowering in ways no one had anticipated, consistent with Jobs’ earlier vision and intent. 

    Maximizing the quality of the individual user experience is a very different approach from approaches like having more features than our competitors' products, building something we can sell for less than our competitors, building a product that appeals to the needs of the wireless quasi monopolies, acquiring company X, etc. It’s a strategy that just hasn’t seemed to occur to a multitude of B school graduates. Maximizing quality to meet the needs of the end user is at once common sensical, yet in today’s marketplace, brilliant.


    Photo: Winter Has Arrived in Minneapolis


    iPhone: 4% of the Market, 50% of the Profit

    More disruption.