31 Oct Built In: Our Decreasing Need To Remember Anything – Part 2
On March 15, 2012 I wrote this article/blog post “Marketing Trend: Our Decreasing Need To Remember Anything“. This post is a follow up. You may want to read the original and then this post. Of all the things I have written about in the past couple years, the decreasing need to have to remember most anything, because of the efficiencies of technology, has been one of those things that I not only think about, but live everyday.
In fact we all do. When was the last time that you had to memorize a new phone number? How many email addresses do you know by heart? In fact do you find that you used to know them all by heart, but as time passes and technology changes we need to know less and less. How many times have you emailed or Text/SMS somebody asking for their mailing address and then fumbled around in Gmail looking for that email so you can buy them a gift! This trend and the ensuing impact on our lives is what I had touched on in my first article. And the reason I was saying that I am living it everyday is my involvement with Connect Address.
Around the time I wrote this first article I had just started to work as a consultant with a small group in Boca Raton, Florida that was trying to find a business model for a start-up. That start-up had already developed a Facebook store and a bunch of great technology. Their issue at the time was they did not have a serious direction. Their Facebook store really did not have a great brand, great products or even a reasonable profit margin. It was a dead-end. Over the next few months after meeting the owners, we changed the direction of that business from being an online retailer to being a technology company. The trend or piece I observed within their technology, or the turning point, was when I recognized something different in their process that would be of great value to other players in the market. They had put together a process to allow a buyer on Facebook to purchase, but that buyer did not have to know the shipping address of the recipient. The process would send a message off to the receiver and ask for it, providing a form to enter the address where they would like the product shipped.
Seeds of Not Having To Know Anything
Well, the ability to order without knowing where the order would be shipped intrigued me. A few months later I began writing my first blog post about what we can call “address-less” shipping. And when we went to the first fortune 500 company to pitch this concept, their answer was Wow, that is different, and yes we want it. So, within a few months there was a prototype app and Connect Address has been on their way since. That app has been improving and changing over the past year, but the concept is pretty much the same. You are buying a gift for somebody and you don’t know where they live, so you use this third party service to get it. So where does the not having to know anything come into play. Well, if you are using this new, disruptive service, you will notice that you simply login to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Gmail, Yahoo, etc, and get access to your names and email address. Most of their technology requires you to click on a picture to choose who you are sending the gift. End result, address-less shipping, without the pain of having to send an email off to your gift recipient, waiting for the address, keeping two browser windows open and then copy and pasting 7 times…
When I wrote the original blog post, I realized that this is not just a one off event that turned into a product. Address-less, Phone-less, and not having to know things is a product of the evolution of technology. I was able to trace this decreasing need to know anything trend back to the original speed dial. It was innovative at the time. Store a phone number and then just click a button. Many old phones used to have that little piece of paper you would stick in the phone that would say the name. Then it got better and better until virtual phone systems appeared. The cell phone network introduced both on board address books and voice activated address book look-up and dialing. Then gmail (that is one I remember) introduced a bit of AI (Artificial Intelligence, which are often now just JQuery lookups), that figures out from the few letters you have typed in what the “email” possibilities are; basically what we are going to think of next… Gmail figured out who to send email without the email address. Once I get an email from you and send to you, next time I just type the name, not the email in and it goes to town popping in the email address. So, cool stuff. Life is better. Now, people don’t own address books anymore. Now people don’t need to know your phone number. Everything is becoming built-in.
So, just like your cabinets in your living room that are part of the walls, the information that connects us is built-in to the technology. Soon the next couple generations will not even know what a phone number is. Maybe they will just bump or square you and it will move from phone to phone, stored somewhere far off in a cloud server.
Google Glass And Beyond
I am not one of the 8,000 chosen to test Google Glass (Irreverently spelled, but obviously about eye glasses), but let’s just say it is the next step in this evolution. With everything not having to be remembered, improving upon how you can easily access that information is the next step of this evolution. Google Glass seem to work great and I saw a user who was very happy with them. As far as Connect Address, they are still just getting started in a brave new world of helping you to not having to know one more thing, the shipping address of who you are buying a gift. It’s Built In.