The essence of “Sought After” for Start-ups

I found myself referencing the term “Sought After” to a start-up I’m advising; I was trying to give them a good example of an essence or driving focus for a start-up or growing company to strive to. A rallying point that helps provide direction regardless of the current marketing conditions, trends, or day to day challenges.

The term “Sought After” was used by Spunlogic (agency I co-founded and sold several years ago) and was the driving focus of the agency as I think back. Jeff Hilimire (Co-founder at Spunlogic with me), Raghu Kakarala, Danny Davis, and I, really pushed this essence into the culture of the agency and what we aspired to be. We all believed and aspired to become a sought after agency. This was also brought into Engauge and I’m sure we’ll all continue using “Sought After” in future enterprises.

So you are probably wondering what the hell “Sought After” means. For me, the term can be applied to a number categories in a start-up or growing company. Here are some examples. Continue reading

The Apple Trap – Can I think differently?

I started off on a Mac when I was 15 (1991) and fell in love with Apple’s GUI and all that was Apple. I started designing and experimenting with my Apple and always felt like a trend setter with my Mac. When I started my company, Spunlogic, in 1998, I traveled around the world designing websites on my MacBook Pro; unfortunately, what I was designing and coding always looked different on a PC (Browser hell back in the day). Anyway my co-founder and I decided to switch the agency to PC’s (January 2000), mainly because they where cheaper and it simplified things when designing and developing as a team back then.

I got used to a PC and continued using one and forgot the days of Apple for several years. During that period Apple also lost it’s mojo, at least in my opinion. Continue reading

Widespread use of Mobile Payment through NFC just needs Apple

Apple is rumored to have well over 200 million+ users on iTunes with registered credit cards. That would make future iPhones enabled with Near Field Communications (NFC) chips an absolute dominator in mobile payments.  So what’s the hold up?

It’s rumored that Apple believes NFC standards are not wide spread enough and might be developing their own NFC standards. Although NFC has been slow to materialize in the US, the technology is pretty wide spread in Asia and Europe. 750,000 point-of-sale terminals already exist in the US, so all we are waiting for are NFC enabled devices. A number of mobile manufactures in the US such as Nokia, Samsung, Google, etc. have already released devices and it’s speculated that 50 million NFC-enabled devices worldwide will exist by the end of the year.

Apple has such an advantage with iTunes registered credit cards unlike any other retailer or manufacturing, they could literally define how we interact with NFC and make the use of mobile payments and more a reality faster than anyone. Continue reading

Microsoft Surface Has Arrived

It somehow feels wrong to promote Microsoft in general, but lately I’ve been wowed by some of their innovative products and software. I expect this out of Apple or Google, but when I saw previews online of Microsoft Surface from CES 2008 earlier in the year, I was wowed. It also got me wondering if this might ever become commonplace in our lives.

If you’ve never seen Microsoft Surface check out the video below.

AT&T has already started to roll these units out at some of their wireless stores, so it’s well worth a visit to check it out; and while you’re there, give yourself another reason to play with the iPhone. ;)

When I began writing this post, my intent was to just share a cool new toy with everyone, but what really dawned on me was how fast things were changing, and how as an agency we’d be at the forefront designing these new types of experiences for consumers.

Ten years ago as a start-up agency, my universe was fairly limited to websites, emails, and the very sexy work of corporate extranets. Now we are diving into Second life, Facebook apps, mobile apps, and hopefully (with the blessing of a nice client) Microsoft Surface experiences. Digital experiences are becoming increasingly important. As an agency, the way we create strategies and design and develop them to their full potential needs to change and adapt all the time.

It’s fair to say that agencies sometimes dive into unknown territories – were no case studies exist, no proven numbers. It’s always a risk for both the client and the agency to dive into uncharted waters, but rewards are high when you nail it. The point I’m trying to make is that we, with our smart people and unbelievable clients, could in the near future have an opportunity to work on a project the involves Microsoft Surface or any other progressive digital experience. I guess this is why we all love working for an agency like Engauge, it’s the chance to work on something others might only read about.

If you want to get wowed by another Microsoft product check out Photosynth, it will blow you away.