Miguel Carrasco loves to share his thoughts and ideas around Social Media, Digital Marketing, Technology, and User Experience.
Microsoft is less than a month away from unleashing Surface, a game changing portable slate device that seems to be the evolution of the iPad. I was playing with my one year old son this morning, when I noticed he had dome something hilarious, yet brilliant. He had grabbed a keyboard, and stuck it onto the iPad cover to try and type.
Continue reading “Even my son knows the iPad needs a keyboard” »
Microsoft has agreed to buy Yammer for $1.2 billion. While this news is now being reported by hundreds of news agencies across the world as “breaking news”, I wanted to dive deeper into why the Yammer / Microsoft deal makes a lot of sense. For those that aren’t familier with Yammer, Yammer is basically a private social network for enterprise customers.
Continue reading “Microsoft Buys Yammer” »
I travel a lot. You would be amazed at what I’ve seen on my travels. People trying to bring their entire bathrooms in their carry on suitcase, people just don’t seem to think things through when they get on a plane. So I thought I would make it dead simple for you and give you some of my best little travel tip nuggets I’ve learned along the way. Follow these rules, and you will be the travelling rock star, and save yourself a ton of time at the airport.
Continue reading “The Best Travel Tips To Make You An Amazing Traveller” »
Together is Amazing Kicks Off
I had the pleasure of being invited to Global Winnipeg’s first Tweetup today at Harv’s Air in St. Andrews. This is the home of the Global Television SkyView 1 helicopter! It was an amazing event centered around one very important issue, Fill The Food Bank. Winnipeg Harvest head, David Northcott made some startling revelations about the state of need in Winnipeg. I was shocked to hear that in the last month, there has been a 70% jump in need for the Winnipeg Harvest Food Bank. It was incredible to see the passion David has for helping and serving our community. Sometimes we take for granted all the things we have, and we forget that there are so many people, young families, children, that are in desperate need for people to step up to the plate and donate to Winnipeg Harvest. I have to say I was incredibly moved.
The SkyView 1 Helicopter
During the tweetup I had the chance to meet many of the Global Winnipeg team. Some of them brought their young families with them to see the helicopter landing and see a very cool detailed presentation on how Global, Shaw, and CJOB keep an eye on traffic and breaking news with the incredible SkyView 1 Helicopter.
Winnipeg Tweeters Get The Word Out
The event had some of Winnipeg’s A-listers when it comes to twitter, with a combined following getting close to 100,000 in attendance. It was great to mingle and catch up with friends, and more importantly help get the word out that Winnipeg Harvest, and the Winnipeg community really needs our help. If you live in Winnipeg, please head to Safeway, Superstore, Shaw, or Global Television and drop off a non-perishable item today. If you don’t have time to drive down and drop off some food, just head to TogetherIsAmazing.com
The Community We Serve
While this was definitely a fantastic event to mingle, eat great sandwiches and some amazing cookies, I left the event with a more important message. With some of the news you see broadcast on television, it’s easy to become disheartened at the state of affairs in our world, and our community. Today was a great reminder that there are people that truly care about Winnipeg, our community, and the world we live in. They want to help, contribute, and give back in any way they can. Why does Global Winnipeg, Shaw, and CJOB exist? Why do these people get up at 3 in the morning to host morning television or radio? They do it to serve, and hopefully make Winnipeg a little better every day.
Sometimes people just need a little inspiration. I learn so much from my own son every single day, without fail. Kids are not afraid of trying things, and failing. The story of Caine Monroy is an amazing one. A boy has a dream to build his own arcade. Unfazed by the fact he can’t build actual arcade machines, he begins to build something better because it’s different and more unique. This story touched me in a special way because it reminds me of a great life lesson my parents taught me, and my auntie that passed away showed me time and time again. You don’t need materialistic things to be happy, make games, and have a great time. My auntie used to always make games out of old cereal boxes, some stones, and whatever we had lying around. My dad used to bunch up many pairs of socks to make soccer balls. My dad just the other day made a robot out of cardboard for my 4 year old son. These are the things I remember, not playing Nintendo.
Caine Monroy is a great story of a boy that has a dream to build an arcade, and accomplishes his goal over a summer. When he could have stopped, when he had nobody coming to see his arcade, he still opened his store, and waited for people to come and play his games. He cleaned his store, cleaned the floors, created incentive programs, all in the hope that if you build it, people will come. This 9 year old boys shows us all that we need to keep our faith, even when times are tough. Please watch this video, but make sure you have a tissue.
RIM was a company that everyone looked up to. Back in their day, RIM was the one of the hottest technology companies in the world. It was an incredible example of Canadian innovation. It showed the world that a company could be founded, and headquartered in Canada. The BlackBerry was the device that every business person needed to have. It kept you in constant communication with things back at work, and was truly the first device that allowed you to get emails delivered instantly to you, wherever you were. It had BlackBerry Messenger that allowed you to instantly send a message to anyone in the world that had a BlackBerry, and be notified when they received it and read the message. It’s calendar system tied directly into your calendar at work, so you where never late for meetings.
RIM had invented something truly remarkable in the BlackBerry. It was the first company that merged hardware and software, to create an amazing user experience.
Then the world changed.
The Smartphone Revolution
Prior to the arrival of smartphones, most people used cell phones or “feature phones” as we call them today. The hot phone of the time was the Motorola Razr. You’d buy a phone based on what features the phone had and how thin it was. These phones could never compete with BlackBerry because BlackBerry’s in my opinion where the world’s first smartphones. Nobody else had figured out how to blend the hardware, and the software, to create an incredible user experience.
Apple Dominates Smartphones
Then came Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs had experience with the iPod. He knew what consumers wanted. The iPod had already pretty much destroyed all the feature music players, because it had an amazing operating system, tied to a pc with iTunes, and an amazing music ecosystem. This is the magic formula my friends:
Hardware + Software
Great User Experience
Tie it to a PC
Tie it to the cloud
Create an “App” ecosystem
You know everyone that makes a million dollars tells you that the first million is always the hardest? Apple figured out the formula, and how to execute on the formula. Next came the iPhone. The magical smartphone that changed everything. And it wasn’t just better than the BlackBerry, it was a leap above the BlackBerry. It offered an iPod, an internet communications device, and a phone, all in one magical touch screen device with barely any buttons! And this device was iPhone.
RIM Fails To Innovate
RIM had a chance to innovate. But the founders seemed too busy with purchasing NHL franchises. Ultimately RIM felt they had a product that was so far superior to anything else on the market and never realized they had underestimated Apple. Microsoft made the same mistake, as you will see below, however they have at least come to their senses and realized they need to take the fight to Apple.
RIM Fails To Admit Mistakes
RIM failed to realize they had made a mistake in underestimating Apple. They didn’t see the consumerization of IT coming. They didn’t see touch screens without a keyboard as a viable option for a BlackBerry owner. The Torch was a good try, but the review were horrible. The BlackBerry OS started to show it’s age, and it’s taken them years to come out with a new version that might allow developers to build applications for the device without feeling like they went to get their wisdom teeth pulled.
RIM’s New Strategy Is Doomed
So here comes the new CEO Thorsten Heins. During his big moment when he was first appointed CEO he was so over the top boring and positive on the existing direction of the company. He repeatedly said he saw no problem in RIM being one of the top companies in wireless for years to come. He believes the core of RIM is its innovation, and its ability to think the unthinkable. Really? Whatever this guy was smoking to make this video can’t be legal, even in Canada.
Fast forward 10 weeks later, and former co-CEO Jim Balsille is out, even from the board of RIM, and along with him a number of other top executives including Chief Technology Officer David Yach and Chief Operating Officer Jim Rowam. The focus for RIM over the next year? Who knows, the CEO has no idea. On the earnings call on Thursday he said they would try whatever brings the best value to shareholders. Some of his ideas?
Sell RIM, Get out of the hardware business, stop selling to consumers, double down on enterprise customers, focus on BBM.
Hello!? Dear God someone tell RIM that consumers are driving technology now, and to give up on selling to consumers is certain death. Pick something and execute buddy!
I have to say, I find it incredible that companies that want to so badly be like Apple, but fill their C-level team with business majors without any creativity or passion. RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins seems very nice don’t get me wrong, but he has zero ability to inspire, be creative, and exude confidence and passion. Compare him to Steve Jobs, or even the not as polished Mark Zuckerberg.
Hardware and Software need to be tied together seamlessly to build a platform. The one thing RIM still has over the Microsoft & Nokia partnership is that they can build the hardware and the software. Why would you even be considering getting out of hardware!
Stop selling to consumers? Are you crazy? Consumers are bringing their devices to work now. I have more technology in my house than most employees get to use at the office. This is the same for so many people now! The consumerization of IT is well underway people. In 10 years, 90% of corporations will no longer have datacenters, and IT teams will be next to non-existent. Selling to them is a bad idea RIM.
RIM’s best bet? Hire a CEO with some passion, and guts to take on the new world of the business computing. Someone creative, with a deep understanding of technology. Someone with conviction and the ability to move an audience to take action. It’s a new world folks. A world where all data is stored in the cloud. A world where corporations share data like never before. A world that is driven by social interaction and engagement. A world where your kitchen table has an operating system.
My 8 month old son stands in front of the TV and waves his hands and talks to it. What device will he have in his pocket when he is 8 years old? What device will he want to use for business when he enters the professional workforce 20 years from now. Build that RESEARCH IN MOTION. Build that today.
Microsoft has been getting a lot of coverage lately surrounding Windows 8. The Metro interface for Windows 8, that first made its appearance on Windows Phone, and then XBOX, has been getting a lot of extremely positive reviews. As Microsoft puts it, Metro is Fast and Fluid, Authentically Digital, and allows you to do more with less.
But even though Microsoft has done a lot of things right with Metro, there is one major issue that needs to be resolved before it goes live. Let me sum it all up.
When A Regular User Sits Down In Front of Windows 8 For The First Time
When a new user sits down in front of a Windows 8 computer for the first time, they see the beautiful metro screen. They see this regardless of whether they are using a desktop pc, laptop, or a slate device. Applications that are written in metro can run with ease on the metro interface.
The “classic” windows desktop has no purpose in Windows 8, other than a glorified “launcher” of applications that won’t run on metro. You see, all your existing Windows 7 applications don’t work on native “Metro” mode. Therefore, Microsoft launches Windows “Desktop”, which is basically Windows 7, however, all the best features of “Windows” have been removed. So I ask: What’s the point of even leaving it in other than allowing users to run their old programs?
The whole experience right now is extremely confusing because Microsoft is over thinking it and won’t let classic Windows die. Don’t believe me? Watch this average Joe use Windows 8. It’s a complete disaster as it stands right now.
You Can’t Change Windows Functionality That Drastically
You can’t take something like Windows, and change core functionality like removing the start button, adding edge swipes, new keyboard shortcuts, and expect users to not be utterly confused. If you want to make drastic changes like that, you need to make a new interface all together that looks drastically different from Windows, like Windows 95 was to Windows 3.1. Otherwise, you are going to confuse the heck out of every user out there and they are going to be forced to go buy a mac. The solution is actually very easy!
What Microsoft Should Do
Kill The Desktop Icon
Microsoft needs to remove the entire “Desktop” icon, and add a new section in the new Metro “start” screen for “Windows Classic” applications. When an application is launched from the classic area, the application should launch in full screen mode, similar to any other metro application. There should be no additional classic desktop in the background at all. No taskbar, no clock, no wallpaper, nothing. Seriously Microsoft, what you have going right now seems like a hack job!
Metro for Keyboard and Mouse Mode
Secondly, Microsoft needs to create a version of the Metro interface that works better when a user attaches a keyboard and a mouse to metro. Keep the same Metro interface; just make the menus more intuitive to a keyboard and mouse user. Some items that are a must:
- Unhide the side panels; get rid of the onscreen keyboard. Swiping with your mouse is not natural. Hovering to a location to get a menu is not natural.
- Add a taskbar so I can clearly see all the applications I have running. Keyboard and mouse users are multi-tasking like crazy, not single task minded like a consumption device.
- Add gestures to touch mice and touch pads so you can swipe around the screen without having to touch the screen.
What About Software Developers
This one is an absolute no brainer to me. Write your code once; create multiple interfaces depending on device, and your done! You could use the same code for Windows Metro for Slate, Desktop, Laptop, Windows Phone, and XBOX. When there is an update and you want to deploy to the app store, you update the one application, and all devices get an update.
This is a no brainer! This is the direction Microsoft needs to take. Focus on your strengths! Microsoft has the best development tools, and if they can make it dead simple to write once, and then simply create different interfaces per device, you will see the Microsoft Marketplace SWAMPED with awesome applications. After nearly 6 months, there are less than 20 apps for XBOX. That is an embarrassment. Create an ecosystem for apps on the television fast Microsoft, or Apple will kill the XBOX next.
Microsoft is bang on with their approach to create metro, but I think they are a little scared to let go of the classic Windows and make the jump. It’s go time Microsoft! You can either dominate the next 10 years with an amazing approach that works across all devices, or you can confuse consumers and push them to Apple products. Personally, I prefer the Microsoft products because they are much more open for amazing innovations, and a completely open system. You can call that bias if you like, but I think we all have preferences, that is mine.
Windows 8 is an incredible new operating system from Microsoft that I have had the pleasure of beta testing for the last few months. Today, Microsoft announced the Windows 8 Consumer Preview would launch to the world February 29th, 2012. The company will present the new operating system in Barcelona between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time. The date marks the date the Windows Marketplace will come on-line, launching with Angry Birds. I strongly believe Windows 8 is the only true competitor left for Apple that has any significant chance of displacing the iPad’s incredible run of domination.
A few months ago I posted a review of Windows 8. Check it out:
What I Learned From Super Bowl Champions New York Giants
In December, the New York Giants were playing terrible football. The whole football world had written them off. Today, the New York Giants are Super Bowl Champions! I was watching the NFL Super Bowl with the family today, and while most fans were interested in the amazing plays, and unbelievable mistakes even the most veteran team seamed to make, I couldn’t stop but see how the lessons on the field, apply to lessons of life and success.
What Everyone Does
Everyone worries so much about the social media tactics, strategies, ninja moves, search engine optimization, Facebook dominance, twitter conversations, and overall communication with your customers. But not a lot of people worry about what separates a champion, from a finalist. You see even the mighty Goliath’s can be defeated if you truly believe in yourself, and have that secret ingredient that simply can’t be taught. Passion.
What Winners Do
The winning team isn’t always the “best” team on paper. The team that wins is the team that had the most passion and determination to win. Especially when you get to a level where everyone is just as good as everyone else.
Just take a look at the New York Giants, and the amount of energy they came out with. The energy caused one of the most focused teams in the NFL to give away 9 points almost immediately with a safety, and a penalty of too many men on the field.
Of course the skill of the Patriots kept on pushing, but the passion that the New York Giants had, the determination, kept them in the game. Ultimately at this level of play, passion and determination is what sets the champion apart from the finalist.
What You Should Do
So are you a champion, or are you a finalist? Runner-up? Are you even showing up in the playoffs? Do you believe in yourself? Do you have what it takes?
Definitely take the time to study, seek out new information, and learn as much as possible, but make sure you keep that passion and fire ignited in your belly. If you find yourself losing that passion, you wont reach your goals, and worse: You will never reach your true potential.
I wish you all the best, and I hope you dream the extreme.
A Massive Battle is Coming to a Television Near You
If you follow my blog, there are two things that I am incredibly bullish about lately. Google+ and Google’s ability to add “Social Media” to everything they do, and the upcoming media revolution that will see cable television networks turn into the equivalent of an AM Radio broadcasting station. I’ve been speaking for a while about the upcoming evolution of television. Imagine sitting down to watch television, and you simply say, “Record all Winnipeg Jets Hockey Games”, or “Watch Criminal Minds with Erin” and instantly the pre-recorded episode loads on both our televisions and we can watch the show together. Imagine being able to subscribe to your friend’s custom “channels” that automatically get created based on their viewing habits. YouTube isn’t there yet, but it’s one step closer after the update earlier this week.
Where as most of you used to go to YouTube to watch one specific video that someone shared, YouTube now is completely immersed in the idea of channels. Channels in essence make every user of YouTube a television broadcaster. And I wont stop there. The reality is YouTube has added some incredibly powerful features that the big players in the industry, like HBO, Comedy Central, and more, have been asking for. You are about to see a swarm of high quality content make its way to YouTube. For the consumer, this will mean you are not far away from a world where YouTube will have all your video content. Sporting events, concerts, personal videos of your kids, prime time television. Is this a problem for content creation companies? Not really. Is this a problem for cable companies and other distribution channels? You bet.
YoutTube Adds Social Media
With the complete re-design, Google has also added some deep integration with Social Media. Google+ is front and center, but they are also supporting Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, making content easier than ever to share and go “viral”. Want to watch videos with your friends? Simply start a Google+ Hangout with the video you’re watching and you are off to the races.
YouTube Comes to XBOX 360
If you didn’t know by now, Microsoft XBOX is the king of the video game universe. The gaming console is over 7 years old now and continues to sell ridiculously well. Just last week it sold nearly 1 million units in one day! The Kinect was the fastest selling piece of consumer technology ever. YouTube coming to XBOX 360 is a big deal. It’s a huge deal. Combining the over 60,000,000 XBOX 360 consoles all over the world with YouTube is going to create an incredibly powerful distribution network.
My Final Thoughts
I don’t have much more to say other than: I am excited! Over the next 5 years we are about to see our world flipped upside down. Finally, we will be freed from watching television on set schedules, with the same Hollywood actors. We will finally be able to watch television together and share the experience with each other.