On the way home from the office today I stopped off at the AutoZone on Plank Road in Fredericksburg. When I walked in, a Virginia State Trooper was checking out at the cash register. He had what appeared to be an upper radiator hose and hose fittings. As I walked in and past him and the store manager I overheard something about a motorist.
I had some in-person business at USAA the other day in Crystal City, VA. Northern Virginia is not super on-street parking friendly so I was delighted to have my first experience with a mobile/software-powered parking meter.
Just a few easy steps:
- Get the app (street signs provided the Call-to-Action)
- Locate a parking zone (left panel screenshot)
- Pay for some parking time (center panel)
- Extend the time (USAA was VERY speedy in their service so I didn’t HAVE to extend but I thought a screen grab was appropriate anyway :)
Software is eating the world.
Minimum competency. In some cases we spend a LOT of time ensuring that people and organizations are qualified to do something. Doctors, lawyers, even Master Gardeners have long and rigorous training regimens before we, as a society, decide they are qualified to practice their profession.
Yet, we allow people to cast a vote for the most powerful office in the country in what is arguably still the most powerful country in the world with ZERO prerequisites.
Conor Dougherty recently wrote a blog post for the New York Times entitled, “Google Experimenting With Removing Ads for a Fee.”
It comes down to this (from the blog post):
The service, called Contributor by Google, has users give between $1 and $3 a month to sites like The Onion and Mashable.
Why is this interesting/relevant? First, it removes many (not likely all) of the ads in the reading experience. Since most of these ads are invisible anyway (i.e., people don’t perceive them) this will save advertisers some otherwise-wasted ad spend.
As I noted in “You’re going to pay for your content; One way or another…” you’re going to, well, pay for it one way or another. You can pay with attention (easy) or with your money (difficult).
- Login – large scale federated identity is a game changer for pay walls – I visit a lot of websites every day for which I’d be willing to pay for articles of subscription. I am NOT willing to create and maintain a formal account on most of these sites.
- Small payment problem – the lame state of affairs with respect to credit card payments makes small payments impossible. With a cost-of-goods of $0 Google could accumulate consumer purchases across a large number of sites and process the payment when more appropriate.
- Central directory/discovery – Google would publish a directory of Powered by Contributor. The ease of consuming (paid) content of those sites would generate audience for its members.
- Contributor.js – I expect an easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy implementation and central dashboard from Google. You would install
on your site then login to your Google Contributor dashboard and configure your policies. Done.
- Expense / budget management – Individuals would be better able to manage and control their content spending. Organizations would be able to easily buy group subscriptions/access for their employees/customers.
Sign me up. :)
P.S. – Where are Bing and Yahoo? Sigh.
If you’re a headline reader you can stop here. We recommend you click on the logo for The Fresh 20 above and check it out. My thoughts are summed up as:
- Great idea,
- simple but excellent execution,
- really hope she’s making money so that my family can continue to subscribe, and
- why didn’t I think of that?!
Disclaimer: We are nothing but (satisfied) customers of The Fresh 20.
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal by Tom Loftus () titled, “The Morning Download: NSA Fears Hackers See ‘Little Price to Pay’ Attacking U.S. Interests.”
It’s not a happy story. The ease with which the bad guys can cross multiple international borders, wreak havoc and retreat to countries that, at worst, are our enemies, is scary.
This ends badly if cyber-criminals end up with the sense they can act with impunity which, so far, the bad guys that attacked Sony have done.
Read the following quotes and you don’t have to read the rest of this blog post…
“In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest.” — William Penn
“The clash of ideas is not weakness.Truth reaches its place when tussling with error.” —Richard Henry Pratt
“Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.” — James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds
“I think in our desire to create a better America,we have to have civilized debate in this country and not just yelling.” — Craig Ferguson
This past weekend I enjoyed a discussion/debate about President Obama’s plan to provide two (2) years of college at no cost to the student (now called American’s College Promise).