Category Archives: Mini Cases

Get more than you expected on Bilibili!


“I enjoy good company rather than the video!”

Bilibili is an interactive video sharing website themed around anime, manga and game based in China. Due to its exponential growth these years, Bilibili now offers not only animations but also videos about music, dancing, sciences, entertainment, movie, drama, fashion, and live broadcasting rooms where the host of the room and the viewers are able to interact with each on the specific topics. Unlike Youtube, all the user-submitted videos on Bilibili are hosted by third-party sources.

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Flitsmeister: exploiting consumer data creation


Flitsmeister is a perfect example of an application that exploits data to gain benefit, exposure and make traffic more efficient. Flitsmeister is a free application for your mobile device that warns you when you’re approaching for instance a speed camera or traffic jam. Flitsmeister is a Dutch mobile application and founded in 2009. Although the application is not that new, Flitsmeister is becoming better and better in exploiting the consumer generated data. Therefore, I will describe how Flitsmeister does that, and what business models are making Flitsmeister possible.

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Pocket Recommendations: How millions of people are co-creating Pocket’s value


We all remember those moments when we stumbled upon another interesting article or video, just when we had finally decided to stop scrolling through our Facebook feed. Several years ago, Pocket built a solution to this problem of vacillating between postponing your important tasks for 5 more minutes (again) and risking missing out on something interesting. And recently, utilizing the huge amounts of data they gathered, the company launched a new service: Pocket Recommendations. In this post, I will point out how Pocket has managed to co-create the value provided through this new service with millions of people.

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3D printing as enabler for future mass customization


Although 3D printing is not completely adopted by companies yet, it provides the opportunity to let consumers customize products to their needs. This is due to the fact that this way of producing provides flexibility (D’Aveni, 2015). Therefore, new business initiatives emerge that make use of 3D printing for ‘mass’ customization. An example is a company called Digital Forming. Within the company’s app, customers are able to adjust product parameters such as shape, color, size and materials. There is a professional design that serves as a basis for the design process. Therefore, the company also refers to it as ‘co-design’. Examples of products that can be customized and 3D printed by Digital Forming are jewelry, iPhone cases and coffee cups. After the customer has designed its product, it is produced in a 3D printing manufacturing facility of Digital Forming.

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Food fuels China’s O2O Craze – Dianping case


“Where are we going for dinner? Someone Dianping it!”

Food has a special meaning to the Chinese people. For years, a new word “chihuo” appears among the young generation of Chinese people, which means foodie. They enjoy exploring popular restaurants and sharing their experiences on social networks. In prospect of increase in demands of this market, the Chinese e-commerce giants are taking rivalry to food. Dianping is one of the top location based service review platforms (also launched mobile APP). In 2015, Dianping (China’s Yelp) and Meituan (China’s Groupon) merged to form O2O service giant, valuing $15 billion.

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Google Photos: enhancing Google’s product portfolio


The application

Google introduced Google Photos (referred to as Photos for the remainder of this blog) in May 2015 (Sabharwal, 2015). Photos is an application that manages your photos and can run in your browser, on your desktop and on your mobile devices (i.e. smartphone and tablet). Photos allows you to upload an unlimited amount of photos* and videos* for free. Besides, the application provides great search functionalities (i.e. search for persons, places and things), share possibilities and smart creations (such as stories and after movies). Therefore, Photos has become the central place for all my 14.000 photos and videos. For an impression of Google Photos, please see the screenshot from Google below.

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Fan Funding – Let’s retake charge!


Through crowdsourcing of many kinds, people can support causes they are passionate about and, in the case of equity crowdfunding, even buy shares with voting shares, such that they gain a say in the operations of the organization or project they support. However, can people really fund and take charge of the things they are most passionate about?
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“Amongst all unimportant subjects, football is by far the most important.”  – Pope John Paul II
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The amount to which a large share of habitants of European countries, and many more worldwide, care about their favorite football club can hardly be overestimated. Though how often do we read about mismanaged clubs in severe financial problems? Opportunistic behavior of the top management of clubs unfortunately is rather rule than exception in the industry of football, often resulting in a short term focus, immense amount of debts and, in turn, the decay or even the liquidation of a club. Whereas the often very rich board members and owners are simply replaced after such disasters and move on with their comfortable lives, the fans are left in grief over the loss of their great pride and passion.
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There is hope. In the last years, some highly interesting and promising initiatives have taken place to redistribute a part of the control of a club to its fans. Due to financial mismanagement, from the 2009/2010 season onwards, the former British Premier League side Portsmouth Football Club was relegated three times in a row and the club found itself on the brink of extinction. But, in 2013, the fans injected 2.5 million pounds in their club, through a community share issue with partial ownership rights for each shareholder. The fans, essentially a club’s customers as they buy tickets and merchandise, saved Portsmouth and made ‘Pompey’ the largest fan-owned football club in the UK. The investing fans are united in the Portsmouth Supporter Trust (PST), which has to approve any major decision of the club’s board, such as the issuing of loan capital or venturing in acquisitions. While this yet is a beautiful example of what consumer involvement can do, last year a crowdfunding campaign backed by Portsmouth fans went a step further even. On Tifosy.com, a newly established platform with the aim to stimulate active supporter backings and decision rights, raised 270,000 pounds for Portsmouth to construct its first-ever club-owned academy, right in the heart of the city of Portsmouth.
tifosy
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The video below tells the great story of the Portsmouth fans’ actions.
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Two fans of 3rd Bundesliga side FC Fortuna Köln had an even greater ambition. The plan they launched last year proposed that any Fortuna supporter could fund its beloved club and, in turn, gained a vote on a wide array of possible decisions, including whether or not to buy a particular player, realize an investment to the clubs premises or even to sack the first squad’s manager. Every pound invested represents one vote, and the fan opinions alltogether would decide which actions the club had to take. Unfortunately, this highly democratic, wisdom-of-the-crowd enabling, crowdfunding campaign did not reach its funding goal, but the idea might very well turn out an industry changing one in the long run.
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The organization Supporters Direct promotes and researches the cause of the so-called Supporters Share Ownership. In their extensive 2013 report on this topic, the authors identify a rapidly increasing interest of both fans and politicians, whereas club owners and board members, the incumbent agents in this industry, display a fierce reluctance to venture in this kind of acquiring funds. To overcome this deadlock, the authors recommend policy makers to establish a Community Football Fund which would be created as a social investment intermediary capable of securing various forms of social investment to assist supporter ownership. Supporters Direct is paving the way for widespread supported ownership of football clubs, giving hopes to all those fans opposing the modern reality of football, where clubs are subject to the dangers of the few elite owners spending billions, those of the short term oriented, opportunistic board members and the investors who view players and clubs as mere investment vehicles.
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Sooner than expected, we might witness crowdfunding radically transform yet another industry; the highly conservative, but yet so deeply cherished industry of football. Let’s make it happen!
– Niek A. van der Horst
Crawley Town v Portsmouth - npower Football League One

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Resources

Buy this team, April 2012, The Economist, accessible at: http://www.economist.com/node/21553493

Crowdfunding: Football’s 12th Man!, April 3rd 2014, FC Business, accessible at: http://fcbusiness.co.uk/news/article/newsitem=3057/title=crowdfunding%3A+football%26%23039%3Bs+12th+man!

Is fan ownership the answer to struggling football clubs?, November 27th 2013, The Guardian, accessible at: http://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/nov/27/fan-ownership-football-premier-league

Portsmouth FC Academy campaign successfully raised £270,000, August 16th, Tifosy, accessible at: https://www.tifosy.com/en/campaigns/pompey-academy

Start-up-Netzwerk für Fortuna Köln, April 8th 2014, Kölner Stadt Anseiger, accessible at: www.ksta.de/koeln/crowdfunding-start-up-netzwerk-fuer-fortuna-koeln,15187530,28071496.html

Supporter Share Ownership, 2013, Supporters Direct, accessible at: http://www.supporters-direct.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Supporter_Share_Ownership.pdf

A Real-Life Case From The Netherlands: Tutoring Platform BijlesMatch.com


From the early days of my high school period, I wanted to start my own venture. In what industry did not matter. To me, it was all about innovation, changing the way things work. With great innovators; such as Bill Gates, Tony Hsieh and Elon Musk in my mind, I started to come up with ideas. Hundreds of too ambitious, but unrealistic ideas passed. Finally in my last year of high school, after multiple failed ideas, BijlesMatch was born: an online platform on which tutors and students could find each other (hence the name bijlesMATCH, bijles is dutch of tutoring). We wanted to add value by checking all tutors  on quality (teaching and social skills) before allowing them on our platform. After hours of fruitful discussions with a classmate, I knew how to execute this idea. I was determined to make something out of it, instead of making it another failed idea. My classmate wanted to join, I needed help, so we started this adventure together. An adventure that would still last 6 years later…

 Platform blueprint and development 

scetches
Initial blueprints of BijlesMatch platform

Knowing what to build, we still did not knew how to.  We started off with making a list of users-types and functions needed. In the end we constructed a flowchart in Microsoft Visio. The core of the platform became a database with introduction movies per tutor and a filter-function for customers to find the perfect match. We determined to do the designing ourselves and out-source the complex coding. Weeks of developing, a couple of thousand euros (for the complex coding) and five weeks of testing further, we finally had the result:

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Database with tutors + filtersystem on website.
BMKP
Back-end for tutors, customers and administrators.

 

Pilot and kick-off time
We determined to start in Groningen, The Netherlands (our home city). Our personal network was large in that city and knew where to go if we needed any help. The perfect place for us to realize our first venture. The first step was to recruit tutors via social media and word-to-mouth campaigns. It was our strategy to delay our kick-off until we could cover all high school courses with our tutors. Within one week, we received tens of applications; a positive sign of the abundance of students willing to  tutor. After many interviews, we added the best 18 to our database. Now, it was kick-off time!

Kick-off time!
For the first months, we received nothing but visitors. Our conversion rate was a disappointing 0.00%. We promoted our platform via Facebook, Google Adwords and flyers/posters on high schools. After thorough analysis of our user-data, we recognized that our sign-up page was too complex (exit-rate of 85% after 2 min. of visiting). In conjunction with our developer, we redesigned the sign-up page. It helped a bit, we managed to get a conversion rate of 0.7%, which we still considered to be extremely low. Hence, we lifted the improvement process a level higher: user-interviews. After multiple interactive reviews with customers, test-users and tutorsl we found three major issues:

  • Visitors dislike paying prior to received the contact-details of the tutor.
  • We hided contact information somewhere in the great depths of our website. Customers hate this.
  • People did not want to choose their own tutor, they wanted someone with experience to do this for them.

It became evident that if we wanted to turn BijlesMatch into a success, we really had to shift our focus: so we did.

Major Strategic Turnaround: customer-centric approach
The idea of a controlled platform on which students and tutors could find each other sounded great, but did not convert (at least not ours). Hence, we re-engineered our entire platform based on the three major issues mentioned above. We determined to put the customer central and do everything he/she wishes for:

  1. We deleted our core: the entire database and filter-system
    The idea of people selecting their own tutor sounded nice, but people did not utilized it. Instead, we solely placed a simple form to place a tutoring request. We promised it was entire free to place this request and that we would contact the potential customer within 24 hours.
  2. The prior register and payment steps were deleted.
    On the front-page our contact details were added. People could contact us at any time for a tutoring request. Moreover, we added a free trial tutoring session of an hour for new customers.
BijlesMatch FrontPage 2.0.
BijlesMatch FrontPage 2.0.

The result and what’s next?

Number of views on BijlesMatch till Jan. 2015
Number of views on BijlesMatch till Jan. 2015

In 28th of December 2014, the strategic turnaround was applied on our platform. Above our imaginations, we managed to increase our conversion rate with 357% to 5.1% in January 2015. The latter, in combination with a 200% increase of visitors, resulted in a profitable business model. Currently, we are in May 2015 and we already expanded to Rotterdam. Our conversions rates are going stable around 5% and have more than 70 tutors and 3 regional manager employed. BijlesMatch is currently recruiting tutors in Utrecht and Amsterdam for further expansion.

Lessons learned
The journey through idea-creation, execution, failing, redeveloping and succeeding taught us a lot. For us, the largest factors for a successful platform is: simplicity, customer-convenience, adaptability and constant (peer-) reviewing. Idea in theory and in practice differ a lot. We thought we put our customer central from the beginning, but actually we did the opposite. The main lessons we learned is:

“Stay open for failure and constant change!”

One of our introduction movies used on our initial platform:

 

Sources:
1) Original webpage of BijlesMatch: http://www.bijlesmatch.com
2) Google Analytics: https://www.google.com/analytics/
3) Click! Verleiding op het Internet, Aartjan van Erkel, 2015
4) Don’t make me think, Steve Krug, Second Edition.

Complaining About Your City? Do Something About It


Changify: A New Way for People to Improve Their Cities

Most people are never satisfied, and complaining is a way to express it. We keep complaining about our job, study, city, country, and the list goes on. While some might take action upon their dissatisfactions and make changes, some don’t even know where to begin with. Have something you don’t like about your city or neighbourhood? Well, there is a platform for you to share it and actually do something about it, called Changify. An article in Network World by McNamara (2014) discussed the fact that there had been a trend of using the –ify suffix in company names for several years, including Changify. This trend was thought as the result of Spotify’s success which some startups wanted to follow. According to its Facebook page, Changify was created in November 2012 by a social impact business called D4SC (Design for Social Change). It’s a place to share things you would like to change or love in your cities. These shared posts are called reports and users are able to rate others’ reports. It’s not just about sharing, it’s also about bringing people together to solve the issues. Once people have an idea to make a change, they will pitch it to local business to get the funding. Hence, it allows people to be actively involved in making a difference, starting from where they live. This platform is currently available in Zurich, Barcelona, Hamburg, and London. So, how do you Changify? Here’s an example of a few steps to do it:

Source: www.vimeo.com

Changify is Business + Crowdpower + Fun = Better Cities

Based on the example steps in the video, Changify adopts crowdsourcing in identifying issues in the cities as well as in creating a solution for it. The term crowdsourcing itself is quite a recent concept, thus it has various definitions. Estellés-Arolas and Gonzalez-Ladron-de-Guerva (2012) analysed the existing definitions and defined it as a type of participative online activity in which an individual, an institution, a non-profit organization, or company proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowledge, heterogeneity, and number, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task which always entails mutual benefit. The paper also provides more details definition of this concept.

The idea of encouraging citizens to care more about their cities and taking action to improve it instead of just complaining is quite fascinating. However, only a few reports and ideas are posted on the website. There is a video of making changes in La Boqueria market in Barcelona, but it was not clear whether the changes are going to be implemented or not. And if it was, when it was going to happen was also unclear. In my opinion, the platform might lack of users which made it inactive. That being said, word of mouth would play an important role in bringing this platform to “life”. Changify should expands its users database and encourage them to spread the words about the platform to their friends and family. Would you be a Changifyer?

References

Estellés-Arolas, E., Gonzalez-Ladron-de-Guerva, F., 2012. ‘Towards an integrated crowdsourcing definition.’ Journal of Information Science, 38 (2), 189–200

McNamara, P. (2012). ‘Namifying has gotten out of controlify’, Network World, 17 October [Online]. Available at: http://www.networkworld.com/article/2835011/data-center/namifying-has-gotten-out-of-controlify.html (Accessed: 2 May 2015).

http://www.changify.org/#

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Changify/371713959591153?sk=timeline

Two sides of the same coin: Co-creation in the videogame industry


Value co-creation has started to spread more and more across various industries during the last decade. Media consumers have taken up the role of media producers, as firms give them the opportunity to design, produce or market content. And the game industry is no exception to this phenomenon.

Examples of games such as Spore and Little Big Planet, that rely heavily on user generated content, have introduced a new era for videogames, where the role of co-creative gamer is born (Banks & Potts, 2010). While many benefits may potentially be derived from this new trend, there are also dangers that might lead to utter failure. Two opposite case studies prove that it is not easy to find the keys to success.

Fury was an online game that was released in October 2007. During its development phase, the game looked quite promising. There were a lot of expert gamers that spent hours playing the open beta version, providing the designer company, Auran, with valuable feedback for improvement (Banks & Potts, 2010). In addition, since the game was used by some highly-ranked members of the online gaming community, many players were intrigued to try it out resulting in a form of online word-of-mouth marketing. The developers changed Fury quite a lot, always according to user feedback they were getting. However, in the end this advantage backfired. Upon the game’s release, the reviews were disappointing to say the least. Hardcore gamers, who spent hours providing input to improve the game, accused Auran that they released the game too early and did not take enough time to carefully implement most things discussed in the feedback. As a result, the gaming community turned its back on the project and Fury was shut down shortly after its release.

FuryGameLogo

Co-creation can indeed backfire…

Auran underestimated the consumers’ needs. As many expert gamers pointed out, they did not change some of the key aspects of the game simply because they did not want to. Introducing consumer value creation can disrupt some of the traditional models on which production in a certain industry is based (Banks & Potts, 2010). In this case, the expert producers disregarded the customers’ opinions and insisted on something that turned out to be unacceptable for the market. Nevertheless, there is always a way to find the right balance between company and consumer value creation. And the case of World of Warcraft makes a perfect example of this balance.

Blizzard is one of the largest gaming companies in the world. One of its biggest successes came with the release of the online game World of Warcraft, which is still the largest online game 10 years after its release with more than 10 million subscribers. But how did Blizzard use value co-creation effectively? Apart from the open beta version that was made available prior to the game’s release, the company made available, along with the full version of the game, a free API through which users could customize their user interface (Davidovici-Nora, 2009). Therefore, Blizzard put minimal effort in designing a simple and easy to use UI for casual gamers, while giving the opportunity to more hardcore consumers to enrich that UI according to their specific needs. They achieved this by creating add-ons that provided the original UI with additional functionalities. Users were also able to share their add-ons through the game’s online community. What Blizzard achieved, apart from minimum effort costs in interface design, was to keep the core of the game intact as the developers wanted it (Davidovici-Nora, 2009). But on the other hand, they empowered gamers by allowing them to create tools that would make their experience better.

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The opposite side of the coin: co-creation at its best!

The two case studies represent two different models of co-creation. On the one hand there is the use of open beta versions, which give the consumer the role of game tester and provide valuable feedback to the companies. In this more traditional model, co-creation happens before the marketing of the game (Davidovici-Nora, 2009). On the other hand, Blizzard used the API to allow gamers to create value even after the game’s marketing and to “pass on” to them the role of game developer, even to a certain extent. However, it was not this difference that determined the success or failure of the projects. Both cases show that value co-creation can be a powerful ally, but as companies give customers more power over their products, they need to take these newly forged relationships into account more seriously.

Hence, the gaming industry has reached an era where gamers are more useful than ever, as they do not purely consume but they are actively involved in game development. The lesson to be learned is that, as consumers gain more power over product creation, firms need to be ready to abandon some of the more traditional business models in order to make a successful transition into this new era of co-creation.

References:

Banks, John, and Jason Potts. “Co-creating games: a co-evolutionary analysis.” New Media & Society (2010).

Davidovici-Nora, Myriam. “The dynamics of co-creation in the video game industry: The case of world of warcraft.” Communications & Strategies 73 (2009): 43.

Jenkins, Henry. “Why Co-Creation Matters: An Interview with John Banks.” Henryjenkins.org (2014)

Dutch ‘Polderen’ as the Foundation of Co-Creation – Example of the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth


What about co-creation being a Dutch invention? Already for decades, complicated issues in the Netherlands are being solved in a process in which politics, employers, and labor unions are collaboraitng. This process is in Dutch also known as ‘polderen’. Unfortunately, there is not proper translation for that, but there is a definition available: “‘polderen’ is to seek a compromise (particularly but not necessarily, within a political context) in order to come to an agreement”. Polderen is a typical Dutch concensusmodel. This ‘polder-model’ is deeply embedded in the Dutch society. The fact that this concensus-approach is so typical for the Netherlands, helped the fast integration of co-creation in that country. But what differentiates this ‘polderen 2.0’? Let us discuss this based on a typical Dutch example.

Polderen 2

The Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth is a good example of co-creation in which the initiative wasn’t provided by the government, but by society. Recently, 40 organisations from economy, industry, labor unions, politics, and environmental parties signed an agreement about the use of energy in the Netherlands. Until then, there was a lot of dissatisfaction within society about the ongoing energy policy; it was not ambitious enough and was very often subject to change. With the guidance of the Sociaal Economische Raad (Social Economic Counsil; SER) and Nederland Krijgt Nieuwe Energie (New Energy for the Netherlands; NKNE) foundation there were active discussions and negotiations between all different parties.

Critics thought this again was the traditional ‘polderen’. However, there were some clear distinctions this time. First of all, there were many more parties involved in this process, second the initiative was not political, thirdly it was highly transparent, and finally the process was much more complex than previous ‘polder’ issues.

In the beginning of this blogpost I mentioned the term ‘Polderen 2.0’. This term seems to be correct. A ‘polder-model’ means that every stakeholder brings up his own concerns and try to get to the best outcome through intense negotiation. However, in co-creation there is an overall goal, exceeding all individual concerns. The collective group of parties, or the society has a certain concern for its own. ‘Polderen’ means that all parties agree on an outcome with which all indidvidual parties agree based on their own concerns and goals. In a co-creation process, all actors act not only based on their own perspective, concerns and needs, but also in favor of the collective interest.

In many parts of the creation of the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth, there really was co-creation instead of the traditional ‘polderen’. This example shows that co-creation can also exist in society, politics and industry. Co-creation goes far beyond the current digital landscape and is always based on several parties. The Dutch showed that co-creation can also be based on a consensus-based discussion, and can be used to achieve a higher goal. So thanks to the Dutch for creating ‘polderen 2.0’, also known as the foundation of co-creation.

Sources:
http://www.energieakkoord.nl
http://www.nederlandkrijgtnieuweenergie.nl
De Herontdekking van de Polder in De Groene Amsterdammer, 23/10/2013
http://en.bab.la/dictionary/dutch-english/polderen

From social media business to social business; introducing KLM’s Meet & Seat initiative


The Dutch aviation giant KLM is well known for their interaction with customers on social media platforms. With swift and often humorous responses they – quite literally- manage to help customers along their journey. However, next to being activing on social media, KLM has been increasingly eager to change into a social business as a whole. The Meet & Seat initiative was the first step in doing so, allowing for collaboration and co-creation with its customers.

KLM’s Meet & Seat allows passengers to choose who they will be sitting next to. Passengers can view other passenger’s Facebook and/or LinkedIn profile details before departure. Meet & Seat can aid in finding interesting people who will be on the same KLM flight. This can be people who work in the same business as you, or people that go to the same event as you at your destination. Although not everything can be extracted from a Facebook or LinkedIn profile, it does empower passengers and gives them the opportunity to make their trip more enjoyable.

Meet & Seat is integrated in the standard booking process. To date, it is only available for those who travel alone, as it would be too complicated to move entire families and account for different interests. Using Meet & Seat involves three steps:

1. First, you will be given the option to link your Facebook or LinkedIn profile. You can select yourself what information you want to make public. In addition, you will be asked what languages you speak to ensure you can indeed communicate with your desired fellow passenger.

2. Next, you will be presented the occupancy map of the plane; here you can see which passengers have linked their social media profile to their booking. You can here check who they are with what purpose they are travelling.

3. You choose your seat. If you happen to find an interesting person it is optional to already establish contact via Facebook or LinkedIn.

klm

Initially, the Meet & Seat initiative raised some eyebrows with regard to privacy concerns. In the current era in which personal information is more valuable than ever, people questioned the motives of KLM for introducing Meet & Seat. To tackle this, KLM has stated on their website that profile details will not be used for other purposes than Meet & Great. In addition, KLM’s default option is that an individual does not take part in the Meet & Seat experience.

What do you think of KLM”s Meet & Seat? Would you be eager to try it, or would your perhaps use it to Seek & Avoid rather than to Meet & Seat? Or, alternatively, could this turn into a new dating platform? I am particularly interested if KLM upholds its promise not to use personal information for purposes other than Meet & Great. Lastly, it is interesting how KLM’s Meet & Seat initiative stacks up against other applications such as WorldMate. WorldMate is an existing mobile application that offers a Meet & Greet-like function together with itinerary assistance as well as hotel recommendations.

Borgman, H. (2013). Is this seat taken? Retrieved from https://2f2230d38a8e616d5a4c-4d06f61946ea322463c1f7bf12b26a1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/file_versions/29800/original/5fbc63f2dcf667a8155a29a3ab32dc3892332fcdce00b2fe69b988f2051d656f.pdf

https://www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/prepare_for_travel/on_board/your_seat_on_board/meet_and_seat.htm

https://www.worldmate.com/

Android vs Apple 2.0?


When browsing the internet you normally encounter dozens of news items, blogs and other content. It is no exception that a catchy title usually makes you decide to click through and see what’s out there. And of course when the item ‘Android takes a piss on Apple on Google Maps. Seriously’ popped up on my Facebook news feed I decided to take a look at it.

If you would have searched on Google Maps on the 24th of April for certain coordinates just south of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, a giant Android could be seen urinating on the Apple logo. First thought was that it was an Android developer fuelling the old rivalry again, although later Google released that it was user-created content which was slipped through the approval filter. Because of this item I decided to dig into Google Map Maker, the tool that allows you to edit Maps, which was unknown to me since I had read the blog.

The official goal of Google Map Maker is to share information about places in user’s neighbourhood, like companies or university campuses. Places which are inaccessible with Google street view cars can thereby be edited by Map Maker users. It is actually even more elaborate, because users are also able to add roads, railways or other places and add new languages. Once an edit is sent to Google, it can be reviewed by other users by giving a thumb up or thumb down. This score is considered by the Google algorithm to accept or reject the edit. As we can see with this case users can, with enough peer user support, fool the algorithm.

If we look into the business model of Map Maker more closely we can link it to the first phase of consumer co-creation, namely recommend and develop products. Instead of only browsing through Google Maps to find by Google pre-defined places users can now develop new elements and recommend them to each other. The wisdom of the crowd is the most prominent reason for delegating (crowdsourcing) products. Best known comparable platform that uses this is Wikipedia. At Wikipedia every edit is implemented immediately and can be removed by higher ranked users if they incorrect, offensive or silly.

Presentatie1

During our course we learend that controlling quality of submissions can be done by having specific terms and conditions, clear guidelines peer evaluation of content and punishment or public shaming (Tsekouras, 2015). However, the first thing that teenagers do when joining Wikipedia is to make a page about themselves or another try to edit a celebrity’s page. We now have seen that this can also be the case with Google Maps. Google claims that ‘the vast majority of users who edit Maps provide great contributions’, however internet users show that a manipulation is easy to make. What do you think of user generated content on the internet? Should it be better monitored or are we allowed to have a joke every once in a while?

References

You and Me will Shake Up the News Industry


Using your Twitter account to create your own TV channel, something that became reality last February with the introduction of the Meerkat app. It’s very easy: open the Meerkat app, log in with your Twitter account and press ‘stream’ to start broadcasting. The broadcast will be shared via your Twitter account and can be followed by any other Twitter users.[1]

Meerkat is a promising application: the start-up got over 4.2 million dollar in funding and has over 120,000 users already.[2] Furthermore, after the successful introduction of Meerkat, Twitter launched its own streaming application called Periscope. Both Meerkat and Periscope allow Twitter users to broadcast anything they like. I’m conviced that these streaming apps will shake up the news industry.

Already, news organisations started experimenting with both Meerkat and Periscope. The Economist correspondent Henry Curr answered questions send in via Twitter, using a Meerkat stream. According to the Economist, ‘Meerkatting’ is perceived more informal and a great way to engage with their Twitter audience.[3]

Twitter already got a great impact on the news industry. 78% of all journalists use social media on a daily basis (of which Twitter is used the most) and 74% of all journalists believe that social media have more rapid impact than traditional media. But it’s not the news organisations that will shake up the industry; it’s going to be you and me.

Already, consumers are adding value to the news industry by sharing information about any kind of occurrences on social media (both text and pictures). This is already being used by journalists to pick-up the latest news flashes: 45% of all journalists put out 60%-100% of all they publish as soon as possible – without checking facts – and correct later if possible. Just 20% of the journalists always check the facts before publishing.[4] Via the streaming apps, consumers can start adding value to the news industry by sharing directly what they see: it’s an additional point of view next to traditional news organisations and, moreover, viewers can interact with the broadcasters. Concluding, you and me can help sharing news quicker and more reliable.

So from now on, news organisation are becoming of less importance in providing news to societies? No, that’s a misunderstanding. Meerkat and Periscope were widely used after an explosion in York City. Some were stating that these broadcasts were introducing a new era of journalism, while others were less convinced by the usage of the streaming apps. Jacob Brogan, Future Tense research associate, stated that “People weren’t getting information from either that they couldn’t have found more easily and more clearly on Twitter” because “it was too far from the scene to reveal more than the fact that the fire was still burning”.[5] I do not think that Brogan isn’t right there, but the ‘Meerkatters’ aren’t replacing journalists. While news organisations will remain the most reliable source for news, ‘Meerkatters’ can show news from a different angle and, moreover, followers can interact with the Meerkatters.

You and me are not going to take over news organisations – we shouldn’t even want to do that – but we are going to add value to the news industry!

[1] http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/nieuwste-sensatie-sociale-media-meerkat

[2] http://mashable.com/2015/03/15/twitter-meerkat-graph-users/

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/mar/30/meerkat-periscope-live-streaming-apps-news-twitter

[4] http://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/NW/2014-Study-impact-of-Social-Media-on-News-more-crowdchecking-less-factchecking.htm

[5]http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2015/03/meerkat_and_periscope_the_live_streaming_apps_aren_t_changing_the_news.single.html

Customer Empowerment at the University-Spar!


One way to involve active consumer participation is to let the consumers vote.

The supermarket Spar uses this consumer empowerment strategy at our very own university. Hereby, the Spar selects a product and visitors of the Spar can “like” or “dislike” the product by means of pressing a button at a touch screen. When the product receives over 50 likes, the Spar will add it to their assortment. When looking at the customer empowerment matrix by Fuchs & Schreier (2011), this strategy falls in the lower right corner.

Since the Spar gathers information and opinions about their customers, this strategy could be considered as a way of data gathering by means of crowdsourcing. However, I think this tool is mainly used as a marketing tool instead. To investigate whether consumers would like this product or not, Spar could also do a pilot by adding the product for a limited time to their assortment and after that looking at the sales figures whether this product is desired by the customers or not. Besides that, there is a possibility that consumers “like” the product without actually buying it.

The marketing aspect of this tool unfolds in two ways. Firstly, it functions as a promotion campaign for that specific product, since the product is given extra attention in the store. Customers of the Spar may buy it now, because the product is put in a spotlight, whereas they may not have bought it if it was, just like the other products, regularly in the shelves. This is a typical example whereby a store pushes the product towards the consumer (Balugly & Uysal, 1996). Secondly, this marketing tool can have a favorable impact on the image of the Spar as a supermarket itself. According to Fuch & Scheier (2011), (even passive) consumers perceive a higher level of customer orientation, more favorable corporate attitudes, and stronger behavioral intentions when firms empower their customers in such way. Even if consumers do not like the product or do not use the tool, it can still have a positive impact on the brand image of Spar, since consumers feel that Spar integrates consumer’s opinion in assortment selection. Interesting to see is, that there is no marketing found online about this tool. The only place where one can know about this campaign, is by being in the store physically. This is something that Spar could improve, by making this campaign more visible, as Claire Gilby (2012) E.ON executive of stresses: The biggest mistake E.ON could make was to not be visible.

To conclude, with having such a tool with already existing products, I would think that its aim is more for marketing purposes, instead of gathering data about the product or consumers. However, purposes and outcomes could be different with new product development.

 

Sources:

Baloglu, S., & Uysal, M. (1996). Market segments of push and pull motivations: A canonical correlation approach. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management8(3), 32-38.

Fuchs, C., & Schreier, M. (2011). Customer empowerment in new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(1), 17-32

http://www.research-live.com/features/tapping-customer-energy-sources/4008187.article

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Dwarf! It’s a Druid! It’s Nerd Fitness!


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Companies recently discovered the opportunity to combine products with online communities, to support continuous usage of their product(s) in evolving ways; creating a whole new experience for customers. While previously consumption ended after the tangible product had been purchased, the online community continues the consumption period and becomes more important to the customer than the product itself. We call this a “continuous consumption community.”

To keep these online communities functioning, there must be some level of community commitment that is either need, affect, or obligation-based (Bateman, et. al, 2011). An online community would ideally like to evoke affective community commitment, or “an emotional attachment to the organization, which leads them to act in ways that further the organization’s interests,” (Meyer and Herscovitch 2001). Specifically within online communities, this type of commitment stimulates both reply-posting and moderating behavior among users (Bateman, et. al, 2011).

So how do these websites attract users and create “emotional attachment”? The fitness community 1-2 Sports (www.1-2-sports.com) tries to attract users through an easy-to-use website and mobile app, lowing the barrier of entry for novices to join the community. Some online communities create attachment through a common identity; the gaming community World of Warcraft evokes identity with graphics (www.warcraft.com).

World of Warcraft Website with "Nerdy" Fantasy Graphics
World of Warcraft Website with “Nerdy” Fantasy Graphics

Upon first glance at the website of another online community, Nerd Fitness, you might think it was created in 1997 instead of 2009; the graphics are out-of-date and the interface is rather tricky to navigate. And yet it has successfully created an online fitness community of nearly 200,000 users! How?!

Nerd Fitness attracted users by creating affective commitment through a sense of belonging to this fantasy fitness realm, where users create avatars and join guilds. Continue reading Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Dwarf! It’s a Druid! It’s Nerd Fitness!

Viewers and Reviewers: the YouTube Challenge to Amazon


When Amazon started its website in 1995, it was meant as a place to build a community of like-minded souls, pooled together by the passion for books (Pinch and Kesler, 2011). In this context, selling books wasn’t the only point of Amazon. The mission was to recreate the atmosphere of local bookstores, where customers feel “at home” and receive advice. Amazon wanted to offer specific suggestions for books, exactly as local bookstores do. So, professionals were hired to write book reviews. In accordance with the idea of building a community, Amazon encouraged members to write their own reviews, sharing opinions and feelings. Then, Amazon realized users were indeed providing reviews of the books for free, and they could provide many more reviews than paid editors. So, Amazon dismissed his professional editors, and let users do all the work. But why would users do that?

Malone et al. (2010) indicate three main motivating factors, namely love, glory and money. All three factors play a role here, even though to different extents.

– Love: is the most important factor. People write review because they love the product, for enjoyment, to help others, and to develop a sense of community.

Glory: since Amazon ranks its reviewers, a part of the motivation to write a review lies in desire for glory. The more helpful reviews you write, the higher in the rankings you will find yourself.

Money: top reviewers are often sent products. The higher you are in the rankings, the more likely you are to get freebies.

Continue reading Viewers and Reviewers: the YouTube Challenge to Amazon

Everpix versus Snapchat – To pay or not to pay


Let’s say that: the more pictures we take, the less we care about them. Not so long ago, pictures used to be memories: shots eternalizing beautiful moments. With the photographic film, we only had a limited amount of pictures to take. Not to waste them, we had to carefully choose the moment, the background, and the subjects.

Nowadays, it is a little bit different. Many people like to share a shot of their dinner on social networks. When you go to parties you can see how many people are more concerned with their camera than with socializing. But what do we do with this huge number of pictures?

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Most of the time, nothing. We store them in the big memory of our computer, and we forget about them. Sometimes it happens that a nice picture we took some time ago comes back to our mind. But: “Oh no! I cannot find it anymore!”

Based on these changes, the founders of Everpix created a complex algorithm able to organize the pictures of a lifetime in meaningful folders. This app selects, organizes, tags, and renames them. After the installation, the software is able to upload the pictures from your desktop and your online profiles. It had a freemium business model: The basic version was free, while upgrading to store unlimited pictures had a price. The conversion rate reached an outstanding 12.4%; it could have been a success. Continue reading Everpix versus Snapchat – To pay or not to pay

How could you trust other users when they sell?


Don’t feel like cooking yourself, but you don’t have the time nor money to go to a restaurant? Shareyourmeal.net can solve this problem! http://www.shareyourmeal.net is a website, where people can offer their (prepared) food to their neighbours. The ‘Foodie’ (or in other words, the hungry person who doesn’t want to cook) can subscribe to the website and then see all the meals in his/her neighbourhood. The tool is not meant for any commercial interest, and restaurants and professional cooks are therefore kicked out. Cooks don’t get paid (they get a small amount to cover for the expenses of the ingredients), they merely cook for love & glory.

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However, these kind of C2C platforms have some disadvantages. One of the problems is anonymity. Users could create fake usernames and as a user you generally don’t know who the cook is. But then how could a user be sure that this platform is safe? How do you know whether the cook prepared the food in a right, hygienic manner, and whether all the ingredients are safe? The website clearly states that they are not responsible for damage caused by any of the parties. So how could you trust the other users on the platform?

Continue reading How could you trust other users when they sell?

Warning: Fraudfunding


Over the past few years, crowdfunding platforms have become more popular. Just within 5 years, the number of the platforms had risen from 21 websites in 2007 to 143 websites in 2011 (a). Crowdfunding platforms offer the opportunities for people to pursue their dreams or to raise money for good a cause.  On the other end of the spectrum, these platforms also provide opportunities for investment. However, as the popularity goes up, controlling this growing community is challenging since there are no concrete law or regulations, as can be seen in fraud cases occurring across crowdfunding platforms.

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Take for example the Kobe-red project on Kickstarter, which was intended to raise money for beef-based jerky made with 100% organic and beer-fed Japanese cow. This project was supported by 3,252 funders generating over $120,000! Being as successful, it was approached by two filmmakers who would like to include this project in a documentary called Kickstarted. Looking back on hindsight, it was then discovered that many features provided by the project creators on the page were suspicious, raising concerns about the legitimacy of the project. Continue reading Warning: Fraudfunding