It’s all about capturing the user base

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The rise and fall of Yahoo is a first wave, dot com era tragedy. The company perfectly illustrates how digital giants can slowly crumble in the face of a rapidly changing market. For a while there, it seemed like massive data breaches were the final nail in the coffin for our dear, yodeling email provider.

Who would willingly acquire this sinking ship? Verizon would.

In June 2017, Verizon surprised us with the nearly $4.5B acquisition of Yahoo! While the deal was originally announced almost a year earlier, there were complications due to the data breach scandal that unraveled during negotiation. …


Ego won’t get you to the finish line

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Image courtesy of the author

Bang!

The gunshot sends a shock through my body, like a kick that travels from my ears down to my feet. I launch from the starting blocks on to the track and clear the first hurdle with ease. My heart beats proudly and as it knows my mind and body are in it to win.

By the second hurdle, all I can see is an empty track ahead of me with only the sound of wind in my ears; I am in the lead. With every step, I am pulling ahead from the pack. As a grueling hurdle event, my competitors are conserving their energy for the home stretch. To attempt closing the gap would compromise their carefully calculated pace. I’m not making compromises on this race. …


I was chasing a job for my ego over happiness.

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Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

The day I started college, I wanted to work for Microsoft.

As a state college student, I was told Microsoft is too competitive; a job offer there was this mythical prize always just out of reach. I placed that prize up on a pedestal and made it my #1 goal by graduation.

I spent 4 years at college maximizing my candidacy, courting Microsoft along the way. In my senior year, I made it to the final interview summit in Dallas, TX. The night before the moment of truth, I had an epiphany.

I didn’t want the job.

I’ve been turned down by Microsoft a dozen times (no fault of theirs). They turned me away in the Fall, Winter, and Spring of my freshman, sophomore, and junior years of college. I applied to be a campus ambassador on four occasions — each resulted in rejection. Why did I keep at it? …


Audit your stock photo demographics

Person writing in journal at a table with an empty cup of coffee
Person writing in journal at a table with an empty cup of coffee
Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

A great story starts with a great image. Our eyes dance around thumbnails and glaze over much less exciting text. A stunning image stops us in our tracks, giving titles and subtitles a chance to reel us into the writer’s story.

I like to use abstract images and scenery for my stories. But sometimes I need a human photo. I normally follow the advice of other writers by searching a stock photo library until an image “speaks to me”. The idea here is that if I pause on a photo, readers will too.

But there’s a problem with that approach — it’s loaded with bias. …


Don’t make them feel like aliens

Person in driver seat of a car wearing an alien costume
Person in driver seat of a car wearing an alien costume
Photo by Brooke Denevan on Unsplash

“How many times do I need to explain my situation? Who here can actually help me? Why are you looking at me like I’m from Mars?!”

If you’re hearing these questions, your customers feel alienated. They’ve become Martians — exiled from the Earthly products and services they seek.

Martians can be spotted anywhere, but they’re easily found in a few places: the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the doctor’s office, and of course, the IT support hotline.

In user experience (UX) design, Martians are often written off as edge cases. But here’s the reality:

Every single user journey is an edge case.


BUSINESS HAIKU

A haiku that cuts through the fluff

Large shelf full of yellow rubber ducks lined up in rows
Large shelf full of yellow rubber ducks lined up in rows
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Before: From the Desk of Management

As a relationship-based organization, cross-functional collaboration is paramount to the success of our strategic initiatives. Regardless of merit or organizational intent, it is often said that “culture eats strategy for lunch.”

In an effort to tighten feedback loops and cross-pollinate ideas across organizational silos, we’re asking management consultants to continue to focus on iterating strategic collateral with key stakeholders. This will mitigate the risk of strategic planning “in a vacuum” and cultivates a more transparent organizational posture.

Our internal operations partners are integral to the rapid delivery of net new capabilities in support of speed to market in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We aim to leverage their field experience and best practices for the current state in order to co-design a cohesive future state target with “eyes wide open.” …


It’s already happening in classical music

Robot playing an electric keyboard
Robot playing an electric keyboard
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Love it or hate it, the new Star Wars trilogy made history. Forget about film critics — I’m talking about the technology.

It was one of the first times a major movie featured an artificial performance by the deceased.

Imagine how this trend might affect the music industry in the near future. In fact, it is already happening!

Music as Performed by Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artists have been experimenting with algorithmic composition in music for years. As AI continues to advance, it’s role in music is growing:

Artists can already use Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools to randomly generate phrases as inspiration for new songs. …


There are other paths to consider

University quad
University quad
Photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash

Last year, I took a hard look at going back to school for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). I visited several campuses and attended sample class sessions. I narrowed it down to the top three schools I would consider. I researched the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and almost scheduled a test.

But then I paused, reconsidered, and filed my research away for another day. It didn’t feel like the best decision right now. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Other Opportunities Are Put on hold

Why not get an MBA? First, there’s a cost. We all know graduate school is expensive. …


Jumping the gun could rob your story the attention it deserves

Caution sign on a yellow background
Caution sign on a yellow background
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Like many of you, I entered the world of writing gushing with energy and hope. I wanted to kick things off with a bang! I worked hard on a story that represented one of the greatest contributions I can make to help others. It was my masterpiece. So I thought. We all have that one story burning inside us. It’s not like the other stories. The genuine passion bleeds through and our experience speaks volumes. But I implore you — do not publish that story.

The learning curve will murder your masterpiece

Nothing ruins hard work like rookie mistakes. I’ve made quite a few so far, and I haven’t been writing online for very long. You will too. All the famous bloggers out there have made those mistakes. …


Yeah — Mint Mobile’s experience is THAT exclusive

Analog rotary dial phone with a hand picking up the receiver
Analog rotary dial phone with a hand picking up the receiver
Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash (cropped by author)

“Oh my god, it’s Ryan Reynolds!”

“Huh?” I curiously remarked, peeking my head into the living room. My wife was giddy with her smartphone glued to her ear.

Ryan Reynolds called her? No way. He’s a major celebrity. “It’s a voicemail,” she exclaimed as she proudly put her phone on speaker.

Well, what do you know — it really was Ryan Reynolds! But what the heck is going on here? Why did he call my wife? Should I be concerned?

What Happened

Late last year, Ryan Reynolds took ownership of Mint Mobile. …

About

Kevin J Ferris

I write about digital marketing, emerging tech, and experience-based advice. Join my monthly email list: http://eepurl.com/g_lsrX. I also like: 🏄|🚴|☕️

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