All posts by Sarmad Saleem

Uses of Gaming in the Contemporary World

Gaming is a phenomenon which is scoring big in the media industry. A lot of effort is being put into it with respect to design, development and time. It has become an area that is circulating a lot of money and more and more people are getting hooked on to playing games. Conventional wisdom tells us that gaming is fun. True that! However, gaming has moved beyond that and it is starting to have other uses than just entertaining people. For example, businesses are incorporating games into their marketing activities as a means to connect with consumers and potential consumers.

A recent example that backs up the former claim is a company that operates in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector – Reckitt Benckiser (RB). It is a company which has traditionally dedicated its efforts to develop products for daily use. However, as part of its awareness drive, the company has sought refuge in gaming. The latest game it has incorporated in its awareness campaign is called Profile DeRBy. Essentially, it is a psychometric test based on statistical probability which aims to provide an understanding to people regarding what careers choices they should make. This includes students, university graduates and people who are seeking jobs in today’s fierce job market. The company’s blog states the game is “fun, a bit cheeky and creative. It is a profiling tool disguised as a game to provide practical feedback to such people” about their respective professional personalities. Check out this video:

The example above is clear substantiation of the fact that gaming is increasingly getting involved into more practical uses. It is turning into a critical marketing tool and an important consumer engagement driver. The dilemma that remains is what fate traditional marketing would adopt given the technological development.

If you are a hardcore gamer, you think you need to know your professional traits, Profile DeRBy is a good place to start.

Do let us know you results and overall thoughts in the comments section below!

Social Business On the Move: “PassRocket” Capitalizes on Apple’s “Passbook”

Commercial gifting, redemption of QR codes and social gifting is a trend taking soaring importance in the e-commerce industry today. Social gifting apps such as Wrapp, being just over a year old, are expanding across territories in exponential fashion. Apparently Apple Inc. has been inspired by this concept too. At WWDC in June 2012, Apple Inc. announced the “Passbook”, an app which aims to act as the future digital wallet. It stores passes such as movie tickets and boarding passes at a single destination, thereby making life easier for consumers who are so digitally savvy.

The “Passbook” was not considered to be something totally new or innovative. Nevertheless, given that Apple has a cult-like fan base, the Passbook will shape out be a sublimely hot app. It will attract plenty of consumer attention and will penetrate into the mainstream quickly. Apple has often been criticized for keeping their information and property proprietary but the Passbook is prone to give dividend.

Motivated by the announcement of Passbook, JTribe Labs returned from WWDC with the aim to make the Passbook available to everyone. As a result, they developed the app “PassRocket” earlier this month. It is an app which operates on iOS 6, the new operating system announced by Apple a few days ago.  “With PassRocket, retailers, businesses and cafes can design their own Loyalty ‘Pass’ and share it with their customers instantly with Twitter, Facebook or email. PassRocket then scans customers’ passes every time they visit.  The designer app comes with a great range of themed passes that have been beautifully designed. Customizing the pass can occur right within the app itself and be immediately available to customers. Businesses can create a loyalty card where they trade. Within seconds, a business can have an instant campaign and share it with their customers.”

For example, JTribes portrays the “Taco Truck Scenario”. Taco Truck looks to keep building a tribe of loyal customers as it does its weekly city route. As a small business, ‘Taco Truck’s’ marketing activities are constrained by time and money. Taco Truck downloads PassRocket. Within minutes, they select their pass theme, customize with the Taco Truck name, the number of visits and discount, or in this case, ‘a free taco’. Taco Truck receives a short link to share with their customers via Twitter, Facebook and email. They are now ready to scan customers’ passes. It’s taken two minutes and they have done all this from the Taco Truck. Their first customer Sam, visits the Taco Truck, opens the link on their phone and presents the Taco Truck pass in their Passbook app. Sam buys a Taco and the PassRocket scanner, scans the pass. Four more tacos and Sam has a free one.

An overview of how the app operates from the consumer perspective can be seen in the clip below:

The future potential of PassRocket will be partly influenced by what is released with the Passbook app. For now, jTribe Labs want PassRocket to be the solution that makes Passbook available to everyone, for free.

Marissa Mayer To Earn $1 Million Annually with Potential Stock Options of Up To $60 Million

CEO of Yahoo – Marissa Mayer

After being appointed as new CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer is a happy lady. She is not only going to enjoy leading one of the premier media giants in the world today but her bank balance will be in round numbers. Yahoo has announced that Mayer will be earning $1 million annually which works out at $83,333.33 a month. While it seems a mouthwatering salary, it just reflects one side of the spectrum.

Also Read: Dear Marissa Mayer, the Flickr Community Has a Request for You

Should Mayer be able to lead the company for five years, this package would spike drastically and could make her a fortune of $60 million. It will all depend on whether Mayer meets the set targets or not. During 2012, Mayer could participate in an incentive plan that see her monthly earnings rise by at least 200%. In case Mayer meets all targets set for 2012, she would witness her monthly earnings rise by a maximum of 400%. This could increment her earnings by $2 million to $4million more per annum.

Mayer will also be entitled to stock options worth $12 million subjected to the approval of the compensation committee. Through 2014, there will be $14 million in restricted stock units which includes $4 million in 2012, $7 million in 2013, and $3 million in 2014. This plan is to compensate Mayer for what she gave up at Google. In addition to this, there will be a $30 million retention equity award in restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock options through 2017.

All of this should be a great motivation for Mayer to step foot into her new position. However, given that Yahoo has been struggling and has observed 5 CEOs in five years, Mayer’s role will be continuously challenged.

Just for the note, Mayer’s first pay date will be July 25, 2012.

Also Read: Google’s Loss is Yahoo’s Gain. Will Marissa Mayer Make Yahoo Reputable Again?

Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer Self Proclaims As Pregnant

Marissa Mayer Self Proclaims Pregnant

Yahoo is a hot topic since yesterday. Marissa Mayer was announced CEO, a piece of news which spread like wildfire and gave birth to plenty of debate regarding the decision. Amidst all this, Mayer did not take long to steal the headlines. She has announced that she is pregnant and will give birth to a boy in three months time. After speaking with CNN Fortune, Mayer provides a date on which the delivery is due – October 7, 2012.

Marissa has been married to Zachary Bogue for 7 years who has a judicial background. Bogue is not much of a law practitioner. Instead, he has invested in something called “big data startups” with his latest investment being in an investment fund called Data Collective. Regarding the fetus, Mayer states “he is super active and moves around a lot”.

Engineer by profession, being the 20th person to be hired by Google in 1999 and only 37 years old, Marissa has had a fantastic career. She was responsible for overseeing Google Maps, Google Earth and Zagat. Fortune CNN further states that Yahoo was wary of Mayer’s pregnancy prior to her appointment. It was back in June that a meeting was held between Mayer and Michael Wolf, a member of the Yahoo board. Yahoo did not show any concern about her pregnancy and her capacity to perform her duties.

Happy days for Yahoo as they appoint a genius mind such as Mayer. Even happier days for Mayer after being appointed as CEO at Yahoo and going public with her pregnancy to ensure she remains in the spotlight. Certainly a meaningful enrichment to Mayer’s and Bogue’s personal lives.

Reinvention of the Digital Strategy: Facebook Acquires Spool Team

Spool – Mobile Social Bookmarking Tool

Successful companies have a history of making acquisitions. The act of acquiring companies by big players in the industry has its reasons associated. It is either to dilute the competition posed by a certain player or to gain access to the wonderful product/service a company (one that is acquired) possesses. Successful strategy is an investment that can either be catastrophic or may take a lifetime to reached the initial projected ROI. As doing business holds equal chances of meeting success or approaching failure, companies which have been acquiring players similar to them also have a history to be successful. However, it has costed them tons and loads of money.

Nowadays. we live in an age where digital media has revolutionized business and a simple nobody has been granted rights to come up with a breathtaking service and compete directly with a giant. There is substantial evidence to support this claim. Take the example of Google. Launching in 1997, it took a very short time to become the widely known search engine worldwide, debunking Yahoo as the market leader in search arena. The outburst of media has made companies more vigilant which keep their eyeballs open to assess competition in order to stay on top. They also exercise diverse strategies to retain a competitive advantage which is so dear to them.

Acquisition of entire companies can be a hectic process. It involves plenty of resource investment. Now, to combat the challenge of competition, Facebook has exercised a strategy that is successful, cost effective and productive in the long term. Instead of acquiring companies, Facebook has started to acquire product teams behind a successful product. Over the weekend, allthingsd.com reported that Facebook picked up the Spool team, the same team which set standards within mobile social bookmarking. Spool stated that it will be shutting down its service and will follow its vision “to make content easy to consume on a mobile device”. It is a move by Facebook to get access to the expertise of the mobile software development at Spool and cash it in its own backyard.

Facebook has been facing a hard time in the mobile sphere and is yet to come up with a strategy which allows it to excel in terms of advertising and content sharing. It is critical to Facebook as content consumption across mobile is increasing and Facebook is severely challenged to monetize this channel.

With the help of the Spool software development team, it remains to be seen if Facebook will thrive in mobile. However, what has to be acknowledged is Facebook’s strategic vision. It has devised a way to attract top-tier professionals to its premises. This is not only cost-effective with respect to acquiring entire companies but it also allows it to get the expertise of successful professionals within the field in which it operates.

iPhone 5 to Make Inroads in Japan

Macotakara, a Japanese tech blog reports that the iPhone 5 will make debut in Japan. It is the same blog that predicted the launch of the 5th generation of the iPhone last year. A year ago, the same blog reported that the iPhone 4S and the iPad would launch in October 2011. Effectively and partially, the report had substance in its rumors. It was in mid-October last year that Apple Inc. launched the iPhone 4S. However, the iPad 3 launched a couple of months later, in March 2012. It was stated in an earlier post that the iPhone 5 is likely to have a bigger screen. Macotakara confirms these speculations, however differently. It reports that the back panel of the iPhone 5 could be toned with glass and aluminum.

Rumors Persist About the iPhone 5

 

Mashable.com illustrates in a video what the new iPhone 5 could hold. Take a look at it here.

Now, once you have peeked into the video and witnessed some speculative features of the next generation of iPhone, would you think it would pose a severe challenge for the kindle? And how will it affect the market share of Samsung’s Galaxy SIII?

More news will follow.

Facebook, Twitter Feeds Escalate Anxiety

Facebook, Twitter Feeds Cause Anxiety Among People

Over the years, technology has been a critical component for the betterment of human life. However, everything is not as green as you might think. When we talk about the more recent evolution in technology, everyone would chatter about online media. Yes!  We are talking about social media, something which has entered into the lives of millions by storm. It has affected the way people live, the way people behave, the way people connect and the way people socialize. All in all, it has made people more dependent on it on an everyday basis. This massive dependency is extremely counterproductive, says a study conducted at Salford Business School in the UK. The odds are that you have a Facebook account and/or a Twitter account which acts as your daily dose of information. How do you feel at a personal level after spending significant everyday logged on to either Facebook or Twitter? Experts are Salford Business School reveals that Facebook and Twitter feeds cause anxiety among people and makes them feel insecure. Further findings indicated that people admitted the fact that they feel worse about their lives. The people surveyed also indicated that their confidence level dropped after seeing the accomplishments of their peers.

Interestingly, two-thirds of the sample admit that they do not get proper sleep after visiting these sites whereas a quarter of them state that these sits have cut into their personal interactions either at work or in their relationship. It is not only limited to that. The survey pattern showed that 55% of the people felt “worried” when they were not able to log onto their Facebook or email accounts. To get some mental rest, 60% of the people are compelled to turn off gadgets.

These stats are testimony to the fact that where social media has helped achieve wonders such as a democratic sphere where every individual has an equal say, it has also become an arena where people are deviating from the physically connected world to a virtual one. It affects the feelings of people and their sentiments in a negative way, alienating them from people while staying connected. Such studies are more consistent nowadays. It is important that these consequences are not overlooked.

People Brag about Happiness on Facebook; Stanford Study

People Brag About Extent of Happiness on Facebook: Makes Peers Feel More Lonely

While Facebook has created a platform for people to connect with their friends and peers, it has also contributed to exaggerating happiness. A study carried out by Benoit Monin, Professor at the Department of Psychology at Stanford University reveals people tend to overestimate their friends’ happiness thanks to Facebook. It has become a norm for people to update status on Facebook and brag about their accomplishments, share photos in happy and exciting situations, and make jokes about the slightest of happenings and talk about a crazy night out. When such content is shared among friends, people tend to overestimate the person’s happiness who shared it in the first place. It is a big illusion and a larger misconception which leads people to think how lonely they are.

Professor Monin claimed his research showed three reasons why people tend to solidify this fallacy. One, people feel good in social situations and express their delights which leads their peers to conclude that their friend (who brags on Facebook) is happier than them and fail to realize that they can be sad and lonely as any other person. The second reason drew a direct analogy with the American culture which favors individuals who are positive and happy. A tendency has been observed in the sample that people tend to hide feelings no matter how bad they feel and pretend to be happier than they actually are. This reinforces the illusion. Finally, people on Facebook tend to talk more about the upsides than their downsides.

Professor Monin also talked about how to combat this phenomenon. He argues one can pay attention to the “silent majorities”. This group of people is the kind who does not talk much about what happens in their lives and therefore, their presence is overshadowed by the more vocal peers. In view of this, one should take into account the entire distribution of contacts on Facebook and not just a sample of it.

One can also filter out people who tend to over play their joy. This acts as a strong catalyst in contributing to emotional downturns. Professor Monin also recommends more private, one-to-one conversations and interactions as it is easier to communicate and express with people who are closer to a person.

The full details of the study can be found here: http://psp.sagepub.com/content/37/1/120

Sheryl Sandberg Joins Board of Directors at Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg Joins the Board of Directors at Facebook

The current COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg is going to join the Board of Directors at Facebook. After serving as COO for four years, Sandberg is the first woman to join the exclusive elite at the social networking giant. Sandberg has been in charge of hectic business operations and has dealt with a variety of areas ranging from HR, marketing, business development all the way to policy making.

In bringing Sandberg to this elite group, Mark Zuckerberg has been a strong advocate of Sandberg’s move to the top-tier as she has stood along with him through thick and thin. Moreover, Sandberg’s role has been elemental in transporting Facebook to the feat where it stands today, concluded Zuckerberg.

The decision was also backed by the fact that by bringing Sandberg into the exclusive elite would bring diversity to the group. As of now, the Board of Director comprises of the following:

  • Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive
  • Marc L. Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Erskine B. Bowles, President Emeritus,University of North Carolina system
  • James W. Breyer, Accel Partners
  • Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company
  • Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO, Netflix
  • Peter A. Thiel, Founders Fund.

Sandberg is going to be number eight in this list. More news will follow soon.

This story was originally shared by TechCrunch.

Every Minute of the Day

One of Pakistan’s leading journalists, Dr. Shahid Masood Khan shared interesting stats via his Facebook status on June 24, 2012. These stats reflect contemporary data about the internet – how people approach media consumption and what kind of activities they perform online. The emergence of new technologies, new tools and a democratic environment have empowered people to have their voices heard and take on the role of “prosumers”, providing a conventional consumer to become a producer of powerful  and compelling content. The result of this empowerment has been overwhelming. Every minute of every hour of every day, incredible stuff is happening online. To substantiate this claim, let’s take a look at the following visual:

Every Minute on the Internet: Source, Dr. Shahid Masood’s Facebook Wall

Stunned?