Monday, June 14, 2010

Testing is important, intuition...not so much

One of my favorite topics in economics has always been the idea of rational vs. irrational decisions and how we can understand why people do the things they do.  This is really at the heart of economics, as the monetary system is just another way to place a value on making specific decisions.  If you have ever heard of things like the prisoner's dilemma, the tragedy of the commons, or the concept of util's, then you probably know what I am talking about.  Dan Ariely takes it a step further into the world of social science and really challenges what we think about rational decisions and intuition.  Check out this TED lecture on his experiments on cheating, it might make you think twice about what your own intuitions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Media as a tool for customer engagement

Lately I have been thinking a lot about social media's impact on the business world. Its not just 12 year olds out there just telling us they tied their shoes, its millions, and soon to be billions of people conversing and engaging each other. If you still think social media (SM) is for kids, here a few tidbits that might change your mind:

Facebook has over 500 million unique users, if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest country in the world.

A company called Zynga makes social games for Facebook and the like, and it has over 250 million unique users on its games, that would make it the 4th largest country in the world.

The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 40-60 year old women.

Even if it is all kids, those kids are going to buying a lot of lollipops this year. Wouldn't you like to have your shiny lollipop staring them into the face every time they log in, don't you want to know how to tap into the vast array of information that people voluntarily(!) give to Facebook about what they like and don't like? Don't you want to hear what your customers are saying about your product in real-time and even interact with them to make their experiences more meaningful and important to them? This is the next wave, ride it or drown.

I would like to touch on each of these topics in my next couple of posts. First I would like to address engagement.

One of the best things about SM is that it makes the web accessible to anyone with a keyboard. No more reading "HTML for dummies" to put up a website, now you just sign up for a MySpace account and key in your age, gender, and favorite movies, select a picture that captures your essence, and boosh! - instant web page. This allows everyone to have a place on the web, its not just for Wikipedia, Google, and porn any more.

Not only is it accessible, but it is self-propagating, and therein lies the engagement. Once your friend builds a profile, he will send out emails to all his friends to connect and create their own profiles. Then someone will post on his wall, and he will post back, then someone will see that post and say they like it, then they will dig a little deeper and more people will get interested, then they will talk about it at the bar/school/water cooler, and new people will join the fray, its almost like a cheap, white powder my Colombian friends would be familiar with - addictive.

The conversations continue and propagate themselves, they add more users to the system, which thereby add more conversation and interact with each other more and more. Now they say the best way advertisement that one can get is word of mouth - why not stick the words in your customers' mouth's? Get on there, get active, participate, be apart of the ecosystem, bring new people on board, show them you are real people too, in short - Get Engaged!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blog is Back! Adding some tech focus

Sorry for the long absence, but it was an attempt to cleanup my online profile for any potential employers. That whole situation is still in the air, but I have not been happy with the kind of success that I have had. Yes, some job offers have been forthcoming, but everything has been of the lackluster variety. I understand that the economy is still pretty rough and the luxury I have of being surrounded by employers through my graduate program is akin to an "adult Disney World" (as Dr. Rappa likes to put it) however, life is short. I am circling around the idea that I need to start doing some things at home and just trying to build myself out a little more in the industries I want to focus on. The world of social media is ripe for new businesses and new ideas, the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. have created a whole new ecosystem for startups and new business ideas. The only problem with this idea is the lack of health insurance that comes with it...

So to kind of help me frame some of the subjects I am interested in investigating, I would like to take a more technology focus with the blog. I have been thinking a lot about measuring effectiveness of social media advertising campaigns. There is some combination of click-through analysis, reach measurement, and sentiment analysis that needs to be done to effectively measure and understand your social media advertising strategy. My next couple of posts will surround these topics. Let me know if you have read any good books or any other blogs that talk about these subjects. I am ready to learn what is already out there and build on it.

Thanks for your patience, and I hope you come back and join the conversation after my long absence. You can also find me on Twitter @marcomascioli

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Job Search


I am cutting down who is allowed to read the blog. I am trying to trim down my image for the job search, so I want to make sure this blog is available to only people I trust for the time being. I know I haven't posted much recently, but just take it as a sign of how busy I have been with school. I will be around more in the next couple of months, for sure.