Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for January 12th, 2012

Social Media ROI Doubts R.I.P.

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Never mind that the following blog post was written by one of my favorite bloggers (Marshall Kirkpatrick) at one of my favorite blog sites (ReadWriteWeb).

As another Marshall explained (McLuhan), “the medium is the message,” and the message IBM delivered yesterday with its social business services and education announcement is that social is here to stay.

As our own study cites from McKinsey, “…9 out of every 10 businesses using Web 2.0 technology are seeing measureable business benefits from its users.”

And as someone who jumped on the “Cluetrain” back in 1999, this isn’t a surprise to me.  What is a surprise is the continued hesitance to “cross the chasm” (thank you, Clayton Chistensen) and to start to throw more  organizational weight, not to mention real budget, into the social business realm.

It’s no longer just about having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, boys and girls.  It’s about fundamentally reassessing and optimizing your business processes end-to-end to take advantage of the enormous collaboration and business process productivity that can better bring all your value chain constituents into alignment, like so many stars in the solar system.

From here, I’ll hand it over to Marshall who did a really elegant job of capturing this announcement.

But for those of you who will be in Orlando starting next Monday for the Lotusphere and IBM Connect events, you’re going to have the opportunity to learn about this immense opportunity in much more detail.

Follow me here on the Turbo blog for extensive coverage, and also via Twitter at #ls12, #IBMConnect, and #IBMSocialbiz.

Marshall Kirkpatrick: Rest in Peace, Social Media ROI Doubts: 2006-2012

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Breaking Up With AT&T

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I have some really sad news.

After four+ years of a sometimes tumultuous, sometimes steady, relationship, I broke up with AT&T last night.

Break ups are always difficult, but this one really came from the gut and didn’t take a lot of doing.  It was an act of passion, if you will.

What led to the break up was this: My iPhone froze up.  I had dropped the iPhone over Christmas, and cracked the screen just mildly, but discovered to my chagrin when I went to the AT&T store that I had not bought the phone insurance.

I found that hard to believe. I ALWAYS buy that insurance. For my Macs, for my phones…it’s just generally been a good investment, at least for me.

No, nada.  Which meant I couldn’t get my phone fixed or replaced.

Fine.  I’ll live with the cracked screen.

But then yesterday, iPhone 4 froze up on me.  It wouldn’t unfreeze.  It was locked.  Like, frozen in time.  No off button worked. No reboot.

So I went surfing around AT&T’s site, and found I could get an iPhone 4S for like $500.  Or an iPhone 4 for about $400.

Are you kiddin’ me?

I called the AT&T guy. Hector, let’s call him.  Hector was very nice, but after looking up my information, explained I wasn’t due for an upgrade until April.

“Okay,” I said politely. What are my options?

“Well, what do you mean?”

Uh oh.  We’ve got an Einstein on the line!

“Uh, regarding my phone. What are my options? Can I get a replacement iPhone, can I get a phone to tide me over until I’m eligible for an upgrade, what?”

He explained my upgrade date wasn’t until April, and because I had no insurance, there was no way of replacing my iPhone without paying several hundred dollars.  Which I had already done.

“Are you sure there’s nothing you can do?” I asked.  I could feel myself stepping up to the precipice. Now the question was whether or not I was prepared to leap.  My blood started simmering.  All those iPhone apps I’d bought.  All that time I’d spent tuning the iPhone.

I didn’t care.

“How much would it cost to buy out of the contract?”

He paused.  “Mr. Watson, we don’t…”

“How much!?”

“$185,” he seemed to say reluctantly.

I was ready to jump.  I didn’t know what was at the bottom, but I didn’t care.  This wasn’t a rational decision, mind you.  But just this one customer experience, combined with all the other times I’d been put on hold by AT&T, asked to wait and wait and wait…No, we’re done, baby.  It’s OVER.

“Do it,” I said.  He tried to intervene.  “Do it now, please.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Watson.”

Finally, some respect.

He assured me my number would be retroactively portable. I wanted to explain I would retroactively not be an AT&T customer again anytime soon.

So, it was time to go phone shopping.  WOO HOO, I get to go buy something new.  That always feels GREAT after a breakup!

I started hopping around Web sites: Verizon, Sprint, Tracphone…I was convinced I didn’t want a monthly contract anymore.  I was paying roughly $70 a month to AT&T, getting 450 minutes and 200MB of data. By God, I have more worth than that!

My one criteria was I didn’t want to worry about how much data I used.  I was ready to go on a data consumption binge!

Voice minutes, I didn’t need a lot of.  People really don’t like talking to me.

So I set out for my local Best Buy.  I needed some face-to-phone shopping time.

I looked in the “No Contract” phone section, and my only other demand was I have some sort of semblance of a smartphone.  I was checking out some LG Androids when a sales guy told me to go with Virgin Mobile.

“Why?” I asked.

“Unlimited data,” he said.  For $35 a month.  I almost started laughing right there in the store.  $35 a month?  Unlimited text messaging and Web data?

“Yeah, and if you want to top up and get unlimited voice, it’s only $20 more.  And no contract.”

Ah, I see. That’s why they call it the “No Contract” section!

Breaking up with AT&T was already paying for itself and I hadn’t even gotten a new phone yet!

For you MBA students out there, here’s what AT&T lost: A valued customer who had on several occasions spent more than $300 in roaming international data fees per month, who paid their bill regularly, and who spent nearly $100 a month for his phone service for years!

I figured all in, AT&T had generated at least $6,000 of revenue off me thus far, and averaging out at $70 month for the next 20 years, you were still talking about $25,200 in lost potential revenue.

Let’s call it an even $30,000.  They call it “lifetime customer value.”

That’s okay.  I call having no contract “Freedom.”

Freedom, of course, may not be entirely free, but’s one helluva lot cheaper at Virgin Mobile and it doesn’t come with any shackles!

As for what phone I got…well, we’ll just have to reserve that for another post.  I need to go spend some time alone…learning how to use Android.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

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