West coast laggard = East coast majority = European innovator

I was going to think about some of the things that have really grabbed me this year, or which will be grabbing me next year… And then I realised that I’m not exactly as cutting edge as I thought I was.  But it’s certainly a matter of perspective, and that alone is a lesson:

Don’t assume that the people blogging, tweeting or apping are your core customers

I’m sure I’ll come back to that one over 2012, because it’s certainly an assumption that most companies seem to be making, partly because they have no way of linking social media to core data.  But anyway, you might like to laugh at my choices:

Twitter

I’m late to this one.  Really late.  But then it appears that most of Europe (unless you are a Beiber believer) are too.  I was introduced to the delights by @smfrogers of The Guardian whilst at #strataconf in Santa Clara.  Everyone in the audience was tweeting, and it provided direct feedback for the presenters and a verbatim report of what people found interesting.  Of course there was no indication that the speakers were aware of this, and what people found interesting was often not what the speakers thought they would (compare the meaningful pauses in presentations with the Twitter feed…).

I tried this myself in Europe, arranging for simultaneous tweeting and presenting.  But no one was paying attention.  Or alternatively they were all paying attention to me rather than my tweets, which may be a good thing.

The quantified self

Sometime in December I realised that my wife has abs.  This is a surprise, and has made me feel more than a little ashamed.  How did she achieve this?  Through self awareness, helped by an app (myfitnesspal).  Essentially it’s an online database of foods and calories, exercises and calories, and allows you to track your consumption.  Boy is it addictive.  I’m hooked, and now realise that bread is both delicious and evil.

Having dipped my toe in the water I find I want more.  I want my finances to be easily and well organised.  My travel (that’s started with Tripit).  And I want it made easy. And to be on my iPhone.

Crowdsourcing

I’d never really thought very positively about crowdsourcing until I came across Waze.  It’s essentially a user driven (that was a bad pun) GPS system.  Users contribute just by driving around, and can also feed in incidents such as crashes, improvements to maps etc…

I had tried using Twitter as a traffic monitor, and found it at least better than the radio, but when your motorways have the same naming convention as US military hardware you tend to get some odd results. #M16 anyone?  Waze is much better… even ignoring gamification, which it also has.

So, my big predictions for 2012: Twitter becoming mainstream in Europe, quantified self becoming meaningful, and crowd sourcing taking off.  And a happy New Year!

 

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