Burbank, CA Not the typical real estate company. In 2005 Brian Ochese and John David set out to pioneer the digital marketing for the residential real estate market by combining traditional selling techniques with new ones. Digital marketing. They provide the highest levels of customer service and combine it with cutting edge internet marketing. Their in-house production and marketing company brings their MLS listings alive with high definition movie presentations. Each property gets its own custom marketing plan. Check out their firm…

Intelligence Augmentation (IA)

What are the differences between people who are trained with hard vs. soft skills? Generally speaking, there are automated scripted, or programmed tasks that are routine and can be moved to machines. We know. But, life and the problems that exist today, (the ones we’re solving now) are more complex. Aren’t they?

“They still involve interaction, and skills that humans possess to make moral and empathetic design decisions that have even larger impacts on the quality of products and services.” – Matt Mondzelewski

Artificial Intelligence (AI) vs. Intelligent Augmentation (IA)
Having the ability to apply intelligence effectively, or harness it’s power to solve problems does not come from artificial intelligence. Applied artificial intelligence is the result of a deep understanding of the human condition, and the defined principles to which they’re applied. In the social media world, very small fuzzy insights may seem small, but can drive the meaning for which platforms base their entire existence. Snapchat for example, understood the social media clash between what defines a truly authentic moment. They compete directly for market share with Instagram who is implementing post deletion features as well. Their definitions rely on the understanding that posting photos, new snippets, and posting personal interactions (that are often times staged and filtered) gives its viewers a false sense of the authentic lives people lead every day.Scott Hartley, author of The Fuzzy and the Techie explains that social issues today deal with topics that are diverse. Hartley explains,

“Sectors, for example: government, legislation, engineering, DARPA, are clearly defining the needs that exist today and pioneering new methods and perspectives that take on problem sets. These sector leaders construct lean composite teams to solve them.” – Scott Hartley

This allows the problems to be surrounded by team members with both high tech, (STEM) backgrounds to work side by side with arts and humanities training. This combination allows business processes to evolve and iteratively achieve higher-value in product development cycles. Watch Hartley’s CSPAN interview.

Snapchat growing pains

Snapchat’s last call…

Authenticity:
The global multimedia messaging app used globally, was created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students at Stanford. Developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. Snapchat received a $250M investment from Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud for 2.3%. Despite losing $350+M in market share in the months leading up to the deal. At the time, the prince invested in shares valued at a market cap of $12-13 Billion dollars. But more importantly, the deal left control to Snap leadership to decide the apps direction. Today, Snap has a market cap between $8-9 billion dollars.

One minor fuzzy thing the founders realized from the beginning is that people change. Or at the very least, they should have the freedom to. Humans are curious, make mistakes, learn, evolve, have stories to share with the world, and stories to share privately. Authentic life can also be ugly, tired, hungry, etc. The spectrum of emotions is vast. You get the point: THERE’S VALUE IN THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY! In the end, if we’re making claims that the social media stories we read and posts are authentic, we’re fooling ourselves. We want to promote and share the GOOD, filter out the BAD, and accept UGLY as a part of life!

Simplicity:
Whether competition, demand, or our fatal flaw to fix things that aren’t broken cannot be dismissed. Sometimes, we all stray from very simple things that work well. If something works well already, it needs some well thought out and researched objectives to add value and minimize the risk of wasting precious development engineering time and investment. It might mean simplifying the experience, instead of adding more mindless choices = complexity. We already know 71% of snap users are under 35, and 70% female. Providing the short-lived Snapchat lens can be useful for anyone, but the reality is all users want experiences that are useful, simple, and serves their needs. What was the reason they chose to use Snapchat in the first place? Privacy. Freedom of expression, and control over personal data can still be the debate of the hour for social media. But to survive, apps must serve their users needs. Not compel 3 million users to leave (like it did last quarter). Even Spiegel recognizes their eagerness to complicate Snap. Now he has to re-steer the ship in a direction that engages the user base and their needs all over again. According to Spiegel, their need is more choices.
See Evan Spiegel’s memo to employees obtained by Cheddar.

“The combination of social and media has yielded incredible business results, but has ultimately undermined our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media. We believe that the best path forward is disentangling the two by providing a personalized content feed based on what you want to watch, not what your friends post.” – Evan Spiegel

Incredible business results? Personalized content feed based on what you want to watch, not what your friends post? Ahem, Netflix, Pandora are music and movie choices.

Understanding user’s needs:
Oftentimes, customers and their interactions are successful. Its not broken. It works for them. Other times, in our blind effort to innovate and add value, organizations skip the important step of understanding the user needs and fail them. This requires effort, observation, interviews, task design, and truly listening to them. Aside from crunching stats, and hiring big data scientists to read Google analytics dashboards of past activity, the plan should be to get ahead…

Snapchat demographics (10/25/18):

  • 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old.
  • Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female.
  • Roughly 63% of Snapchat users access the platform daily.
  • 30% of US Millennial Internet Users use Snapchat regularly.
  • People under the age of 25 use Snapchat for 40 minutes on average every day, more than Instagram’s latest stat for the same demographic.
  • 50% of Male College students share selfies on Snapchat, the number is higher for Female college students. 77% to be precise.
  • 45% of Snapchat users are aged between 18-24.
  • 71% of Snapchat users aged 18 through 24 use Snapchat multiple times per day.
  • More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%.
  • Ireland, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden have the highest levels of Snapchat penetration of their population aged 16+.

Snapchat analytics (10/25/18):

  • Active Snapchatters open the app 25 time every day.
  • More than 400 million Snapchat stories are created per day.
  • More than 60% of active Snapchatters create new content on a daily basis.
  • On average, people spend 34.5 minutes per day on Snapchat and send 34.1 message a day.
  • It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour.
  • A custom geofilter could be seen by 40 to 60% of daily Snapchatters.
  • By the time you’d viewed those, another 880,000 years’ worth of photos would have been shared.
  • More than 20,000 photos are shared every second.
  • 528,000 snaps are sent every minute.
  • As of May 15th 2018, the longest Snapchat streak is 1,154 snaps.

Innovative Snapchat Augmentation?
Crayg Hitzeroth, Managing Director of Ad Dynamo in Johannesburg is partnering with Snapchat lens to help it’s platform integrate brands into the experience.

“We are delighted to have been part of this unique social experience and will continue to collaborate with us to drive innovative practices that focus on customer-centric experiences. Our Snapchat strategy is a culmination of creative executions that broke through the clutter and set the stage for local Snapchat creative excellence. The end-result was an engaging campaign that enticed both existing and non-existing customers.”

Some campaigns continue to move-ahead and focus on driving innovation on digital platforms. Innovation continues to challenge and disrupt. Myburgh concludes,

“Being able to implement such a campaign, to a young audience, has helped the brand remain authentic and touched on audiences that are always on the go. Our customers have an emotional connection with technology and this innovation compliments our existing touch points of ensuring that we remain relevant to our customers all the time.”

Smart use, and partner-augmentation with social media
Using technology for business and revenue generating ideas are great for some organizations and brands. For a Goldman Sachs and Saudi prince funded organization like Snap, they need to rely on their platform to return a profit in 2019. If not, they risk losing their market share to other competitors who augment better. However, sometimes the smallest, more simple acts have larger impacts on a brand’s character. Helping people! Isn’t it what it’s all about anyways? Connections. According to Verge, in the 2014 mid-term elections, only 1/5 of the 18-25 demographic cast their ballot to vote. In the past two weeks leading up to the 2016 mid-term elections, Snapchat has linked over 500k 18-25 year old users to Turbovote.org Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, have also partnered with Turbovote. This is simple, this is smart, and didn’t use GA to decide if it was the right thing to do.

In 2015, Mind’s Eye Concepts was hired to set the standards for usability across all 26 global e-commerce stores.

Mind’s Eye Concepts implemented a user centered design approach and process improvement to their e-business organization. This involved creating the quality user testing (QUT) program within VWR’s e-business. In addition to this, requirements for engineers were run through a user story practice to ultimately define what problems their development work would solve for the end-users. This was a significant change to the requirements gathering process that was in most ways, trying to keep up with feature launches from other sites.

The problems that arise from this practice occur when the UX team strays away from their own customer’s needs, and loosely defines them based on what works for other sites. User testing and market and customer research isn’t always a necessary step for improvements, news, or when curating new content to publish. However, when features in an e-commerce distribution network as big as VWR is running, and with consistent B2B customers to compete for, being able to secure their business relies on two things.

(1) Building appropriate solutions for them.
(2) Making sure it works for them.

User testing and solution definition are vital to pleasing customers with solutions they want. On the flip side, it can also save organizations potentially millions of dollars engineering solutions they never wanted in the first place. Here’s an example of investing in mobile application development and why testing early and often with customers is so important.

Program tasks involved defining specific life science, and many other professional services personas, designing tasks for them to perform, validating, and reporting the results. This information was essential to design decision making, and requirements for major features in their ecosystem, such as search, and search results. Mind’s Eye Concepts was asked to collaborate with the search steering committee teams around the globe, to define and study the users needs. This eventually led to the re-design of the logic and presentation of search results on VWR’s global e-commerce platforms.

Mind’s Eye Concepts performed business consulting leadership for 30+ improvements to the e-business platforms. Including key admin controls for specific global experiences based on culture, laws, and their support of features. A ratings and reviews feature designed by Minds Eye Concepts, launched in the UK, and France. QUT also played a major role in early stages of the new customer procurement and account profile process.

Since then, e-commerce revenue has sky-rocketed, and VWR positioned themselves for acquisition late in 2017, with e-commerce and distribution capabilities as their biggest assets offered in the merge. Building the program within the organization took years to develop, and eventually Mind’s Eye Concept’s role was passed to colleagues on the UX team.

After the introduction, training, and publishing the UX process improvements for our colleagues, we designed and built requirements to track and store the information gleaned from tests with quality assurance. This ensured the process could be used to measure even more solutions in the future.

via AlkemyX

Update: Urban Team Nationals 2018 SquashSmarts is a free intensive out-of-school time program changing the lives of Philadelphia’s public school students. SquashSmarts is a 501c3 non-profit academic and athletic mentoring program with a proven track record of keeping kids in school, in shape, and on track for graduation.

Their mission is dedicated to improving the lives of youth from Philadelphia public schools by providing intensive, long-term academic tutoring and squash instruction, while imparting high standards of personal integrity, health and fitness, and service to the community.

via – Architectural Concepts

Philadelphia – PA – Founded in 2007 by H. Chase Lenfest, the Lenfest Center is a community center serving the Hunting Park neighborhood offering a wide variety of programs for young people (whom we call ‘scholars’) in grades K through 12. Through academic, athletic, and enrichment programming, the Lenfest Center fosters the educational, physical, and social-emotional health of 260 school-aged youth and their families, thereby supporting current and future generations to thrive and live happy, healthy lives.
Learn more about their programs…

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