10 Things I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the news that Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple yesterday. I’ll leave the detailed reporting to the journalists, but as a fan girl of Mr. Jobs and the products developed while under his reign, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things I have learned from following his career so far:

  1. Innovate, innovate, innovate – but only if it’s useful
  2. Stay hungry – don’t give up
  3. Listen to yourself – trust your gut
  4. Thing big, talk big
  5. Stick with what works – like a nice OS
  6. Be cool – be colorful
  7. Say what you think. (Wired gathered some of the greatest Jobs’ quotes.)
  8. Don’t settle – say no if it’s not right
  9. Keep going – as long as you can, but be honest with yourself and others when it’s over
  10. Go out on top – but stick around to see what happens, if you can

“The end of an extraordinary era,” indeed. (As Walt Mossberg reports on Jobs’s legacy of “Changing How we Live,” in the Wall Street Journal.)

Scan Me! QR codes–the Connection between Offline and Online Worlds

Quick Response codes (QR codes) are going mainstream and creating quite the buzz.  Similar to a barcode—QR codes are used by businesses to track inventory and price products at the point of sale; however, unlike one-dimensional barcodes, QR codes are two-dimensional and have the ability to hold more information, making them increasingly popular for retailers.

Home Depot and QR CodesA few weeks ago, I received a direct mail piece from Home Depot featuring a QR code. I immediately noticed it, whipped out my Blackberry and scanned away. I was directed to Home Depot’s mobile site, giving me access to product ratings, reviews, how-to guides and product-specific videos. The entire process was convenient, quick, and simply cool.  According to Tom Sweeney, Senior Director of Online Strategy at HomeDepot.com, “The main objective…is to further enhance the customer shopping experience by offering additional product and project know-how and increase customer conversion.”

A recent study called “The Naked Facts: Whiplash Edition” by Mobio Identity Systems, an international mobile payment and marketing company, shows an unbelievable 4549% increase in QR barcode scanning across the continent for the first 3 months of 2011. In terms of the type of media scanned, social media accounts for 70% of scans, TV 22%, offline four percent, online three percent, and print one percent. The report also highlights that Generation X and females continue to dominate the scanning world. And while some skeptics may think that consumers are just trying the QR code technology—the report points out that repeat scanners account for 62% of the market.

QR Code - Image from DaylifeQR codes also have the ability to become a powerful new method to reach target audiences with your public relations messaging and enhance communication strategies by offering more benefits. When executed correctly, consumers can see a QR code, scan it, and become instantly engaged in a brand’s message. Not only are QR codes a great way to understand the mobile audience, but they can be used in print media to connect a customer or prospect to additional content while offering a more interactive experience. It is apparent that this technology can be extremely powerful and an effective way to integrate media (print, web, multimedia) inside and outside a store for both consumers and businesses alike.

eBayOne company I came across that is taking QR scanning to the next level is the world’s leading e-commerce company, eBay.  In December 2010, eBay announced the integration of Milo— a localized shopping search engine that catalogs and categorizes real-time inventory at more than 50,000 stores– into its free barcode scanning app RedLaser. According to Steve Yankovich, Vice President of Mobile at eBay, Milo - Local Shopping“By including Milo shopping results in the RedLaser iPhone and Android apps, we are providing access to real-time, accurate local inventory and the power of offline and online comparison-pricing. This provides our RedLaser users even more choice and flexibility when they come to us first to comparison shop.”

This integration proves eBay’s e-commerce prowess is unshakeable—as it has resulted in new opportunities for eBay to connect with buyers and sellers globally while creating a bridge between traditional and online retail.  With over 9 million downloads, RedLaser has about 4,000 QR code scans per day. And this past month, RedLaser updated its app so that users can now create their own QR codes generated from contacts, URLs, or text.

Like most customers looking to save money and time, I am excited about the integration of Milo into RedLaser, and QR scanning. I like being in control of my shopping experience. It’s as if eBay, Milo, and RedLaser were all thinking about me when they integrated this app. While searching for a specific product, the results let me choose the best retailer for me based on price and location. I like that.

What do you think – are QR codes here to stay? Or are they overhyped marketing? When is the last time you scanned a QR code and what was was your experience like? If you haven’t tried them yet, why not? And if you’re a marketer, are you using them yet in your outreach strategies?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Innovation in IT from … a PR company? Forrester Research Reports on PerkettPR’s “Golden Image” Standard

Update: Chris Silva, analyst at Forrester Research, kindly posted additional information and insight into the report, here.

When I started PerkettPR over a decade ago, I knew I wanted to do something different. My goal was to build a new kind of PR firm that focused on superior client service through senior-level talent. I didn’t think much about my IT innovation in building a virtual  infrastructure – I just wanted to offer an excellent and productive work environment for employees throughout the nation. And I wanted to ensure that, just like their office counterparts, they had everything they needed to be successful in their day to day work.

I’ve always been driven to go beyond the norm and it’s no different for me in business. Just as everyone else is learning something, I want to be moving on to the next big thing. It’s that kind of initiative that led me to build not only an innovative PR agency – but an innovative business. When we started our agency in 1998, virtual workers were still viewed with a skeptical eye, green was just a Crayola color (#21) and SaaS (known as “on-demand” at the time) was something only a few companies (including our clients) were aware of. So it was an honor to have the last decade of our work at PerkettPR – encompassing all three of those elements – turned into an independent report from Forrester Research Inc.

You can download the entire case study (registration or login required), learn how Forrester can assist in developing virtual and remote workers, and learn how PerkettPR leverages a “golden image” standard – including remote support technologies, robust storage capabilities, collaboration tools, and being proactive about green IT initiatives.

As a virtual organization, we have worked very hard to establish a specific culture (one that is clear to both our geographically-diverse employees, and to our clients who know that good teams matter in PR) – as well as a technically-savvy organization that constantly discovers and implements the best new technologies to keep our workforce productive. Thanks very much to Forrester analysts Chris Silva and Doug Washburn for taking a closer look. I hope readers will find the study helpful and informative.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 01/25/09

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Community Managers Must Deliver ROI: Commandments For Surviving a Recession
Jeremiah Owyang provides sound advice to Community Managers on how to step up their game, provide continuing value and (most importantly) help keep their jobs in these tough economic times.

Are we really ready to move beyond Social Media 101?
Many of us in the PR and Marketing space have been teaching the basics of Social Media for quote some time now. Some might think its time to elevate those teachings to the next level. However, LiveWorld’s social media evangelist Bryan Person shares some incite in this MediaBullseye.com guest post on why that’s not the case and advises those who teach to “keep beating the drum.”

How Lisa Genova used social media to turn a self-published book into a NY Times bestseller
Best selling author David Meerman Scott shares an abbreviated version of fellow writer Lisa Genova’s success in using social media to propel the promotion of her book “Still Alice” all the way to the top of the charts. Her complete success story and many others can be found in David’s latest book entitled “World Wide Rave.”

Podcasters report their top 3 podcasting tips (Part 1 & Part 2)
Marketing consultant Devon Dudgeon shares TONS of podcasting tips in this two part post. The tips were submitted by seasoned podcast veterans around the globe and are aimed at those who have been thinking about getting there own podcast off the ground.

Why blogs matter
“Q: Who reads blogs? A: Journalists”; Shannon Paul delivers another thought provoking post that shows why blogs might just be the ultimate tool in your social media arsenal.

Image Credit (sans modifications): Jade Gordon

The Corporate Twitter Discussion Continues at BusinessWeek

On April 3 I wrote a post asking the community for opinions on corporations establishing a Twitter presence. We have been pleasantly surprised at the continued reactions and comments to this post and we have learned about some really cool trials taking place within the community. A good deal of folks – including some from Zappos, Stanford University and Mzinga (client) – have all chimed in with opinions and examples.

The conversation continues today at BusinessWeek as Heather Green wrote a post asking for examples of creative business use on Twitter – for a pending cover story. If you know of some examples, please pass them along to Heather by posting a comment on their blog. We are very interested in reading the article when it comes out, as well as continuing to learn – along with the community – about the best way corporations can successfully get involved in the social media landscape.

This is a fun journey!