If Rephrasing Your Goals Can Increase the Likelihood You’ll Reach them/ Then You Should

The Harvard Business Review recently shared 4 Tools to Help You Identify the Skills You Need to Grow, wherein article author Dana Rousmaniere provides a lead-in and jump to a nifty self-assessment tool.

Prior to the assessment, however, Dana makes this lasting observation:

According to research, we fail to achieve our goals 50% of the time. But motivational science shows that phrasing your goals as if/then statements can increase the likelihood of reaching them.

She goes on to suggest, “If/then statements prompt action by taking advantage of how our brains are wired. Stating “If it’s Monday morning, then I will sit down and plan out my week” creates a trigger in your brain so that when it is Monday morning, you automatically know that it’s time to plan your week.”

See more of this article, including the assessment.

 

Take care.

On Google: Local Business Reviews Shakeup & AMP Landing Pages

Local business reviews have become an area of discussion again for the search giant. On August 4 Google announced that “food- and drink-related searches will now return reviews from top critics and include best-of lists”. Beyond web searches, the Google (search) app is also seeing an update when it comes to how local business reviews are handled.

Here’s the rub:

Google has been featuring specific critics’ reviews – arguably – in an attempt to provide relevant and yet qualified content based on user interest. (Sure, it’s helpful to get reviews on places, right?)

A bit of contention, however, was added to the mix as Google’s list of local business critics included Zagat (a Google owned company), and it did not/ does not include the likes of Yelp, or TripAdvisor.

This obviously is/ was a slight to the Yelp and TripAdvisor crowd (in their eyes), outcry or possibly a tinge of conscience has since compelled the search giant to make the August 4 announcement to open it’s list of critics’ reviews (even to Yelp and TripAdvisor critics) if users apply for the qualification.

Arguably, this is a clean set of moves. Or, do you agree with Yelp CEO that it’s a monopolist play on Google’s behalf? What do you think? Tell me below.

Google AMPed Up

Another entry into the news of late for Google includes the addition of landing pages as a content type that can qualify for being shown as Google AMP content.

Here-to-date AMP pages (or accelerated mobile pages) have been limited to news article or blog related content types. Yet, there’s incentive to make more of the web instant.

Blog1

As Media Post points out, About 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load — and still, in July 2016 the average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds, according to Google data. It’s no wonder that Google estimates that 40% of those navigating to a landing page from an ad will likely not bother continuing to the page and instead click away.

About 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load — and still, in July 2016 the average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds, according to Google data.

The latest update and announcement to include landing pages as AMP pages, further qualifies and suggests a continued path for likely adoption.

I anticipate that the number of page types allowed in will continue to grow. It’s possible that other page types – say, sales pages, or functional pages such as navigational or directional pages could be added to the list.

Aside from speculations, we know, Google continues to refine and redefine what it serves up to users in SERP – rich cards are a good example of how the engine and SERP continue to evolve. (Rich cards are an evolved form of rich snippets announced in May of 2016 – for more on that see – Introducing rich cards.)

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to tell me what you think about what you think below. You do have an opinion about that, right?

Take care.

Prepping for IoT: How Blockchains Thwart Security Concerns

For those interested, The Next Web offers a pretty convincing forecast of the future of the Internet of Things (IoT). 

In a recent article regarding interest the Department of Homeland Securities has in knowing more about Blockchain technology, the author points out a potential connection that both government and business have in using Blockchain technology to secure and support IoT innovations.

Here’s a snippet from the article: 

The blockchain, for those unfamiliar, is a new type of database developed alongside the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. It has become even more popular among security experts and tech firms, because it has the ability to verify transactions autonomously, making it a “permissionless” and public system that doesn’t need to rely on secure logins or passcodes.

A Blockchain database, “is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records secured from tampering and revision.”


A “permissionless” and public system that doesn’t need to rely on secure logins or passcodes.

It’s potential for unlocking the IoT, by covering the security issue so many legitimate concerns about, is what makes this technology so interesting.

Someone responding to the article put it succinctly: 

“The Blockchain tech will solve one of the major issues and fear people have when it comes to IoT – security and protection of data.”

The DHS aren’t alone in getting excited about blockchain technology. Developers are said to have already begin pushing new products to the blockchain.
Investment companies are also weighing in. Gartner and IDC separately forecast 26 and 30 billion dollar investments in IoT via smart devices over the next 5 years.

Last year (early 2015), IBM published proof-of-concept research study on the proven potentials of blockchain technology.

Samsung and IBM imagine how a washing machine could become a “semi-autonomous device capable of managing its own consumables supply, performing self-service and maintenance, and even negotiating with other peer devices.”

As companies, investments, and developers get more involved, it is becoming more clear that the blockchain’s very nature as a secure encrypted and autonomous network could help empower other smart applications to also be linked, autonomous, and secure – thanks to the Blockchain.

See more on the potentials of the Blockchain, or the aforementioned article, DHS looking to link to the Blockchain

South by Southwest LIVE – 2016 Schedule of Events

It’s that time of year again! This is the 30th (wow, really?) year of the South by Southwest (or SXSW) convention. Once again there are a variety of events being live-streamed out to the interwebs direct from Austin. Here’s your guide to what’s live in 2016.

President Obama SXSW Live
President Obama among the keynotes being live streamed from South by Southwest 2016. (Photo credit mystatesman)

*Note: all times are CT, which is 1 hour behind ET.

Here’s a list of the events planned for:

SATURDAY, MARCH 12

9:30 AM: Countering Violent Extremism on Digital Platforms with John Allen
11:00 AM: Distributed: A New OS for the Digital Economy with Douglas Rushkoff
12:30 PM: The Future of Media Companies with Frank Cooper
2:00 PM: Keynote: Daring Greatly with Brené Brown
3:30 PM: Unstoppable Trends that are Changing the World with Max Levchin
5:00 PM: Creating the Modern Media Company with Jim Bankoff and Julia Boorstin

SUNDAY, MARCH 13

11:00 AM: Rodney Brooks in Conversation with Nick Thompson with Nicholas Thompson and Rodney Brooks
12:30 PM: Wikipedia: Beyond the Encyclopedia with Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy Wales
2:00 PM: Elephant in the Valley with Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo
3:30 PM: Anthony Bourdain as Interviewed by Nathan Thornburgh with Anthony Bourdain and Nathan Thornburgh
5:00 PM: Crowdsourcing the Hyperloop with Dirk Ahlborn

MONDAY, MARCH 14

9:30 AM: Meet Nom: Food and The Future of Live Video with Steve Chen
11:00 AM: We the People: Using Tech to Solve Big Challenges with Aden Van Noppen, Clarence Wardell, Haley Van Dyck, and Megan Smith
12:30 PM: Accessing the Inaccessible: Evolving Search with Biz Stone and Danny Sullivan
2:00 PM: How a Sports Giant Is Now Tackling Your Health with Kevin Plank and Robert Safian
3:30 PM: Coding on Camera: MR. ROBOT and Authenticity on TV with Christian Slater, Kevin Sullivan, Rami Malek, and Sam Esmail
5:00 PM: 12 Inevitable Tech Forces That Will Shape Our Future with Kevin Kelly

TUESDAY, MARCH 15

9:30 AM: Creating a Movement: The Story of SoulCycle with Elizabeth Cutler, Julie Rice, and Kim Last
11:00 AM: Stewart Butterfield in Conversation with Farhad Manjoo with Stewart Butterfield and Farhad Manjoo
12:30 PM: What Works: Gender Equality by Design with Iris Bohnet
2:00 PM: Why Happiness Is Hard and How to Make It Easier with Andy Puddicombe
3:30 PM: It’s Not About an iPhone: Fixing the Encryption Mess with Charles Henderson, Kayla Tausche, Michael Slaby, and Misha Govshteyn
5:00 PM: Closing Remarks: Bruce Sterling with Bruce Sterling

The interactive portion of south by ends on Tuesday, but you can get a full list of live streaming events on the site (extending through March 18), or follow the conference twitter account for live sxsw news.

3 Fundamental UX Changes Coming to Facebook

​Perhaps you heard about the Facebook phone this week, well we’re not here to talk about chat heads, or Facebook Home today. Though we will soon.

Today, we’re going to review three fundamental user experience changes that are coming to Facebook this year. In short, they include the following…

  1. Graph Search
  2. Newsfeed
  3. Threaded Comments

Graph Search – Your social data uncovered

Graph Search provides search of user data (however accurate or inaccurate it may be).
Graph Search provides search of user data (however accurate or inaccurate it may be).

What is graph search, and why do I care? Graph search is Facebook’s search engine of user profil​​e data. In all fairness, they would likely suggest it is a search engine of the entire social graph – your profile info., page info as well as like button and other off-site user activity. However you define it, Graph Search is poised to shake things up.

Graph Search is not meant to be a Google search replacement (in the short term).  It is a different kind of search. Today it is a potentially confusing tool. Users have noted the strangeness in the areas of both the search functions and structure, as well as question the usefulness of the information available by the service. There is much yet to be discovered by Facebook and it’s users around the potential for Graph Search.

Graph Search has something to provide both advertisers and users. By including Facebook’s Nearby Places service, the social network looks to create more local reviews of businesses from users within a close geographic proximity. Incentive programs, useful information and the opportunity to champion a new area of the online space makes Graph Search + Nearby Places an enticing offer for local businesses and online marketers alike.

Once more test cases prove out; once more sharpness in the system arrives, Graph Search will fundamentally change the Facebook user experience.

Newsfeed – Unifying the experience with a mobile lead

Newsfeed will unify the mobile-tablet-and-desktop experiences for users.
Newsfeed will unify the mobile-tablet-and-desktop experiences for users.

Newsfeed is a unification of the experience with a heavy mobile lead. It will, predictably, become one more somewhat minor user interface updates in a whole series of enhancements as Facebook iterates it’s layout, design and user experience to be more and more mobile-friendly.

Today, this change seems fairly significant, but I predict in the not to distant future newsfeed will be just another update in a long continuum of updates (don’t they all seem to go this way?).

Overall, this will provide a more seamless experience across device types. I’m interested to see how they handle (if they address) click options differently. Commonly, mobile interface, or design features big buttons to accommodate a users ‘clicking’ with their thumbs. Desktop hyperlinked text phrases and other ‘click’ options don’t require such large buttons (or accommodation). In this age of the responsive website this aspect of the user experience is pretty fascinating.

Combined these UI changes  – navigation changes, information retrieval and display processes – have and continue to change the look and experience of Facebook, we’ll see what this unification does to put Facebook into the mobile-future for users.

Threaded Comments – Our coversation re-organized and renewed

Threaded Comments will launch for all pages in July.
Threaded Comments will launch for all pages in July.

Already started for many larger pages, threaded comments also stand to shake things up a bit.  I see this update as one that may help further lead the web-space into a frenzy of personal conversations going in a million different directions.

Threaded messages ‘help organize’ conversations by fragmenting them into new and subsequent conversations. This update alone, I don’t think will turn our world upside down. However, I do look at this as one more iteration in a continuum of updates that (combined with a tech-thirsty, wired-world) will demonstrate further how we are moving swiftly into an age of communication that might even more readily be classified as ‘controlled chaos’.