Culture Tech

Obligate users

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We don’t have a choice as to how to check out: it’s either cash or credit card. Soon enough it’ll be standard practice to pay using only our phones.

In the technology world, change is persistent. But new developments never spread as fast as we think.

In the case of digital checkout, it assumes that both seller and buyer own devices that can talk to each other. It took the most popular coffee shop in the world to introduce the phone as a wallet.

Like magnets, we are obligated to stick to mainstream systems. But new habits usher in new problems. We buy in excess on Amazon Prime because of the ease of checkout. Meanwhile, hackers can splinter daily operations with an injection of malicious code.

‘No one does it that way anymore’ is only good until the lights go out. Obligate users attuned to computer technology also risk the domino effect of its inter-connected destruction. A broken system is no longer smart.


Digital Wallet

I forgot my wallet this morning. I grabbed my mobile phone though, and perhaps that’s why I forgot my wallet in the first place.

Like music, books, and movies and pretty much everything else, the wallet is converging into the phone. I use the Starbucks app every day. Some day so too your car and house keys will synch along with your passport and license; everything with data will talk to each other. The Smartphone will simply be the remote control to all widgets.

“Any technology that removes a step for people is often the one that ends up winning out.” – Naveen Selvadurai

The good news is that wallet will be one less thing to carry around. You’ll never leave home without it. The bad news is that all it’ll take for someone to take over your life and material possessions will be to steal your phone. Steal your phone, steal your life.


America doesn’t run on Dunkin after all, maybe on the East Coast. Starbucks is mostly ubiquitous though. For more: Coffee place geography
America doesn’t run on Dunkin after all, maybe on the East Coast. Starbucks is mostly ubiquitous though. For more: Coffee place geography


Get in the Queue

Everybody hates lines. But have you ever noticed that lines move faster when there’s more people?

Demand increases speed and productivity. It’s the reason that the Starbucks queue moves faster with ten customers versus three. Busy employees show more urgency when multiple deliveries are on the line.

For mass chains, fewer customers usually means more time in line. Employees pay less attention to customers because they feel like they have all the time in the world to fulfill the order.

But in today’s world of hyper digital connectivity means attention spans are getting shorter and while customers are more easily distracted they’re also getting more impatient. Nowness is an expectation.

Why wait in store when you can shop online and get it in 30 minutes? Time is money and patience permits excuses. The speed of delivery is equally important as the speed of consumption. Why wait for anything when you need to get on with your life?


Send someone a coffee through Twitter. 


Google To Bring Faster Wi-Fi to Starbucks

Starbucks is replacing its shoddy AT&T wifi with beefed up high speed Internet from Google.

Wise move, as Starbucks is becoming known for wifi access as much as it is it’s coffee.


Mobile Payment At U.S. Starbucks Locations Crosses 10% As More Stores Get Wireless Charging | TechCrunch

Mobile payments crossed the 10 percent mark in the U.S. as a percentage of in-store purchases, indicating efforts like the Starbucks mobile app, Apple’s Passbook and Square Wallet are popular among users.

The mobile wallet is coming to fruition.  


Thank You, Barnes and Noble

Going to Barnes & Noble became a Saturday afternoon. It was as if a small liberal-arts college had been plunked down into a farm field.

First Virgin Record Store, now Barnes and Noble.  The places to get inspired by content and stories are disappearing.  

Bring your work to Starbucks; there’s bound to one one close by


Another Brick in the Wall

First record stores. Now, book stores.

Digitization and Internet delivery is obviating the need for brick and mortar. Why waste gas to drive to the store to buy something that can be delivered instantly to the palm of your hand?

And don’t think books and music are the only thing to be replaced. Anything that can be digitized will be. 3D printing will enable people to download instructions for clothing and furniture to create things from home.

Nevertheless, the store experience is still irreplaceable. Browsing through the record shop and book store is different than browsing online. You get to touch produce and sample it with all your senses.

One of the Barnes & Noble’s wiser moves was integrating Starbucks in-store. The combination of coffee, books, and a little bit of noise are stimulating, quite the opposite of a quiet and dull library.

There’s a huge opportunity for books and coffee. People want to hang out and be inspired. They want to be surrounded by works of art so they can get the energy to create their own.

Starbucks solves the social part of a quasi-work environment. People still want the emotional work environment too. Starbucks won’t be making more space for books and music any time soon.

Where to go and create when book stores completely disappear?


The Catch

The Internet unleashed an explosion of creativity, DIY, and interconnectedness.

Below is a list of some things you can do today without too much effort.

  • Remembering life’s key moments (Day One)
  • Taking a photo a day (Camera+)
  • Connecting with like-minded people (Twitter, Tumblr)
  • Customizing your news (Flipboard)
  • Monitoring your health (Fitbit)
  • Getting rewards for customer loyalty (Starbucks)
  • Publishing a book, a record, or other pice of art (Amazon Author)
  • Dumping and storing ideas (Evernote)

There’s an app for doing everything, all the time. Data is exploding but attention and productivity are imploding. We’re moving fast without going back and reviewing what we’ve actually done.

We need to make sense of what we produce, revisit and connect the dots. The devil is in the details.