Amazon announced their new virtual currency, to be called Amazon Coins earlier today. Coins can be used to purchase apps, games and in-app items for Kindle Fire. They also pledge to give away “tens of millions” worth of the coins starting in May when the new service/product launches. See Introducing Amazon Coins.
I think it is smart for Amazon to provide another way to ease the purchase of content in the Kindle Fire ecosystem. Also, I imagine that they will give Coins away with purchases of Kindles and probably with lots of other goods, too. It will be interesting to see where Amazon ultimately goes with this, but here are some of my initial ideas.
Fire Halo Effect
I could see a small kick-back on purchases whether you have a Kindle or not. Soon enough, you’re going to want to have a Kindle so that you can cash in all of your earned Coins. Could be a serious draw for the ecosystem. I know that I spend a fair amount annually with Amazon. If they give me a small percent of credit toward virtual goods on their platform, it could make that seem more attractive.
Coins Aren’t Real Money
I also believe that they will make it easy to buy Amazon Coins or give them as gifts or in-app incentives. Once real money is translated to Coins, Amazon wins! You will spend it at Amazon on virtual goods giving Amazon an easy 30% commission. Also, you’re likely to have some residual coins drawing you back to add or earn some more. Finally, it seems much easier to spend virtual credits than real dollars and cents.
Could it also be a way to create more loyalty to their virtual goods over time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon Coins accepted for Kindle Books or AmazonMP3 to be read and played on other devices, like Android phones and tablets or Apple iDevices. Could be a great way to create lock-in for their virtual marketplace. This would build loyalty toward their marketplace and not just the Fire device portfolio. Amazon’s devices have been created to support their “Long Tail” marketplace, not the other way around.
Drop Some Coin for Anything
Another obvious extension of this would be to allow Coins as payment for all kinds of goods. Want something shipped to your house? Amazon Coins could be a great way to get me to choose Amazon for real-world goods also.
What Did Facebook Miss?
Before I close, it’s worth noting that Facebook failed in their attempt to create a virtual currency for their apps and games. They ultimately abandoned Facebook Credits and just returned to national currencies. This may partly explain why Amazon has defined Coins narrowly for now and will offer only in the USA market at launch.
I wish them luck and can’t wait to see how this develops. Any other ideas or thoughts? Comment below!
On a day like today, I’m forced to re-evaluate my overweight investment position in Apple Stock. Fortunately, I first purchased Apple shares in 2004 in the same month that I got my first iPod, the newly introduced iPod Mini. At the time, I marveled at the miracle of having so much of my music embedded in such a small player and the ease with which I could play back and enjoy the music. I have since owned many other Apple products, but my favorite Apple has been AAPL, the stock.
I’m a frequent victim of the ‘cult of the new’. I’m constantly on the lookout for new apps or services that will make my life better (or at least seem so). I just discovered the value of Evernote this past week. I have seen Evernote mentioned countless times, and have even checked into it a couple of times, but was never sure how I’d make real use of it.
My understanding of Evernote in my previous looks was more aligned with the productivity and organization aspects. I resisted adding another productivity ‘tool’ that would ‘help’ me organize and track better. I have found that those apps tend to create rules that don’t mesh with my dynamic way of getting it done. Also, I really don’t want the chore of filing, distraction of more reminders, or overhead of checking things off the list. I got it wrong.
Along with starting this blog, I realized that I needed a way to really track my research, reading, and writing. So, I set out to find the ‘Dropbox’ of words. I am a fan of Dropbox and have used it with my family for a couple of years. It’s a great way to keep all of the files on different computers in sync and make sure they are available wherever you need to access them, including phones and tablets. Dropbox was my first real glimpse into the value of cloud services.
I checked evernote again and realized that it seems to be the cloud of words, with some organization and media capabilities added on. So, I’ve signed on, connected Zite, my favorite news reader, and started dropping articles into my Ever-notebook. I’ve also started keeping my list of blog ideas, and used it to author my blog entries.
So far, it seems to be the cloud of words that I was seeking. I have had to work out how to get the full articles into the notebook when sending from Zite and it takes a few extra steps, but otherwise it has been quite easy to work, has a simple way to organize into notebooks, and the tagging and search will hopefully help me find things long from now when I just want to refer back to something I know I saved somewhere.
I would love to hear from others that are using Evernote and please offer some tips for where and how to make the best use of it. Also, I’m using the free version, so I’m curious if others can share why they have chosen to upgrade or not.
I spent the better part of my weekend painting, so I’m currently hurting. All over. After countless times up and down the ladder across 2 days, my muscles have rebelled, filled with lactic acid, and done their best to encourage me to hire out the job next time.
Yet, I have a good customer service story to share from the weekend. Lowe’s exceeded my expectations in a couple of ways.
First, we came in on a Saturday at noon to buy paint. I know better, but that’s just the way it worked out this time. I was able to gather all other painting supplies and select a ladder while my wife waited for our turn to order paint.
It was also nice to have some help in the tools section while shopping for a ladder. I was looking at another step ladder at 10 feet to reach the 12 foot ceilings, but lamenting that I already have (and store) a six footer and an eight footer. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could get by with an extension ladder since I’ll need one of those outside eventually anyway? Paul, a friend and frequent help in Lowe’s spotted me and, after hearing why I was looking on with bewilderment, suggested a combo ladder that can work as a step ladder or straighten out and work as an extension ladder. It was heavier to move around, but turned out to be perfect for the job. Incidentally, when I pulled up at the house later, I spotted my next-door neighbor had also just purchased the same ladder. I didn’t ask him, but I bet he also ran into Paul at our local Lowe’s
Paul also reminded me to make sure to scan a MyLowe’s card so that Lowe’s would have record of our exact paint color in case we needed more of it. I told him that I had a card but forgot to register it and don’t have it with me, so there is no way of matching it up. Paul helped me get signed up for a new card and registered right in the store, so I was fully ready to scan and go when I got to the checkout later. MyLowe’s seems a great way to help me, earn my loyalty, and encourage return trips to Lowe’s instead of a competitor. At least it’s not just another “loyalty” program that requires you to join if you want to get the regular price.
After the supply gathering and some more waiting, we had to make the always-tough decision of which paint to purchase. I told the clerk that I wanted paint without the primer since I’m just covering light-colored walls anyway. She answered that both grades of Valspar paint offered have primer, but the premium “Signature” paint has high definition color or some-such-advantage. I told her that that we didn’t need signature and waited for our paint to be ready. Fortunately, the remainder of the trip was relatively quick and efficient and we were headed home soon after.
We didn’t quite finish the job over the weekend, but got really close. As I wound down last night and surveyed the completed parts of the living room, I was grateful to Lowe’s for the good quality paint with primer. It had been a bit thicker to work with and seemed to need frequent refills into the paint buckets, but at the end, it was great to see that it provided great coverage with a single coat. So, as I crawled into bed last night, with achy muscles and sore feet from ladder duty, I was glad to know that I would probably not have to do it all again just to get the walls looking passable.
Lowe’s chose to offer only an effective and high-quality option and I thank them for it. I know that, in product development, we are tempted to cover all the price points, but sometimes it’s best to just offer good stuff and let the customer enjoy a premium and satisfying experience. It was a pleasant surprise to me. Next time I may have to find out what that super saturation molecular color or some-such-advantage was all about. After all, as a consumer, I don’t even always know what I really am wanting, so I appreciate it when a company has found it and helps me discover it.
Pardon the bad pun, but I really feel that Lowe’s got a step up on the competition this time. Nice!
This post is an inauguration. The Presidential Inauguration isn’t until tomorrow, and it’s a big deal. President Obama will officially start his second term as POTUSA. Today, I’m ceremoniously entering the blogosphere, the Technorati, and potentially the forum of verbose windbags. This inaugural address is a big deal for me. I’ll try to keep it meaningful, but I hope you will forgive occasional ramblings or musings that don’t move your thoughts to new heights. I always enjoy starting out. I remember my first friend on Facebook and posting my first picture to Instagram only moments after hearing about it. Creating my first interest page on Evemi was a rush for me. Inaugurations are fun!
It seems appropriate to acknowledge the why, what, and how of this thing that is to become my blog space. I’m starting now because I’ve been challenged by a friend, so that’s “why”. I appreciate that peer pressure can make us better humans. It just did that for me. So, how will writing into a blog make me better? I can’t be fully sure, but I hope to explore some ideas, expand my community of thought, and to push myself toward other firsts. I’ve listed some interests on my ABOUT page, and surely some of the “what” will relate to those topics.
I believe strongly that our minds are not fixed in capacity (recent science backs me up), and I aspire to continuously learn and grow, to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” in the immortal words of Steve Jobs from his Stanford University commencement address of 2005. So, even though I know that I have limited time and resource to bring, I will let other pursuits languish and do my best to blog-about as I find myself with something to say or to at least question and explore.
Which brings me to my last point. I want to pioneer. It’s a part of me. I have had the pleasure of pioneering and innovating many things in my work in the the new mobile economy and I plan to continue. There are always opportunities before us to explore, analyze, study, find the gaps, connect the dots, or just do. I hope that this blog becomes a way for me to share some of my efforts toward redefining mobility and customer experience. I also hope that I will find others that will join me and explore alongside. That’s the “how”.
Let’s get started, shall we?