With the holidays behind us and another year of incredible change and opportunity in front of us, I thought I'd share with you three thoughts I had while traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Texting vs. Calling
Over the holiday I was responding to a text message when a family member asked what I was doing and after explaining they followed up with the question, "Why are you texting them instead of calling them?" An excellent question that launched the great "Text or Call" debate. Pros and cons were weighed on each and although cost, couth, timing, age and more were discussed it really comes down to personal choice. It depends on how you wish to communicate and how the person you want to contact wishes to be communicated to. You should also consider the environment you are in and be sure the method chosen doesn't infringe on others...ringing cell phones, texting with someone else while trying to have a conversation with the person you are standing in front of and so much more. I've begun to observe more of this behavior and I'm wondering what you think are the benefits or downfalls of texting vs. calling. Take a moment a send me any thoughts you have on this.
Food for thought. When I changed my cell plan a few months ago to include an unlimited data connection I had to start paying for text messages. I've linked an instant messenger to my cell phone so I can use my unlimited data plan to respond to texts and IM's instead of always texting people. It costs less, although the receiver needs an IM software for their phone, be in front of their computer or pay for the text message as it gets forwarded to their phone. I'm still learning about it but I enjoy hearing other people's views on the philosophy of choice on the matter.
In doing some research I found the following:
Head to Rajesh Jain's Blog and scroll down to see the following on Texting vs. Calling
- Almost 2/3 of the cell phone population are active texters (1.4 billion (63% of 2.2 billion cell phone users as of May 2006)).
- That's more than twice the size of e-mail users
- SMS was worth $75 Billion in 2005 that's about as much as music sales, total Hollywood box office revenues and total video gaming rentals combined!
Cingular put out a Texting for Parents primer you'll get a kick out of. Although I don't agree with all the points, it does provide some insight on reasons a parent may want to consider texting their kids. (That assumes the child has a cell phone and I have issue with that as long as the child pays the bill beyond calling or texting home).
Cingular based some of their views from research on teens from a Pew Research Center Report on cell phone usage. A good read as well as taking a look at the questions that they used to create the research.
- 65% of 18-29 year olds use texting while compared to, 37% of 30-49 year olds, 13% of 50-64 year olds and 7% of 65+ year olds.
That data alone shows me that people (different ages for example) want to communicate in different ways (in this case texting). I wonder what the break down would be for those who would write a letter to a friend or loved one with pen, paper, ink, envelope and stamp vs. e-mail?
Shutterfly Goes East
While I was in Charlotte, NC the week before Christmas I saw a press release about Shutterfly building an east coast manufacturing facility in Charlotte. Shutterfly's got 31% of the consumer digital print market, a close second to Kodak with 32% with HP's Snapfish at 17% and a myriad of others making up the rest. This market is only a few years old. Shutterfly makes and shares Internet enabled software tools with their customers and allows them to do the work to prepare the content they then want to pay for when the customer chooses to print, finish and ship the final product! It's brilliant!
Of interest to me was a quote from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce's senior vp of economic development speaking on Shutterfly's decision to move east, "This is a good, technology-based manufacturing that we think will certainly be good for this area we can build on." The more we capitalize on the integration of software and hardware technology along with good business ideas the more we will be able to deliver on the idea that people want to communicate and be communicated to in different ways!
We'll be looking more into Shutterfly and similar companies this year to review the business and technology choices leading this revolution.
The Santa Closet
I had to share this little gem with you. When I was a kid I once came across some presents my parents wanted to give me (and my siblings) in addition to the ones Santa would bring on Christmas Day. In the subsequent years I went in search of these gifts to perform the shake, girth check and number-of-gifts counting procedures to see what may be in store for Christmas. I have to say it was easy pickings because the presents were almost always in one of two places. It seems as though parents and significant others are going to greater lengths to foil the would be early gift hunters like me!
Somewhere during the holiday I heard about the Santa Closet. Through further investigation I found out that people were renting storage units for short term needs to be able to hide gifts from prying eyes and hands. An article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin supported what I heard. People are renting 4-by-4 foot storage units and bigger to hide gifts off site during the holiday season. Some use them to keep gifts away from the kids while others are using them to hide big ticket items from hubby or honey like a big screen tv or a piece of furniture.
I keep finding new associations to tell you about and it seems as though the self storage industry has an association. Check out the Self Storage Association (SSA). Although the busiest time for self storage is spring to fall, Mike Scanlon, president and CEO of the SSA, has been quoted on the bump in business the storage industry gets over the holiday months.
What an innovative way to use a product or service to serve a completely different customer base. I'm curious how this industry, and others who discover their unique holiday service, shapes the messages and gets them out there. Maybe you can help them find the right message and medium to take it to the public and other businesses.
Let me know if you've seen any other product or service that addresses a specific need around the holiday or other yearly cycle.
Happy New Year to all!
Keep the learning going, pass it on.