Archive for the Tag 'web-based'

Measuring the Intangible

Point: Use publicly-available photos to shed light on tourist delightLos ojos del mundo (the world's eyes) by MIT senseable city lab

Story: Barcelona invested heavily to revamp the city to attract tourists for the Olympics and beyond. What places did tourists visit? What did they see and like? What did they tell their friends about? The city can measure tourism dollars, but the intangible experience of pleasure is harder to measure.

The Los Ojos Del Mundo (The World’s Eyes) project helps provide some answers. The project looks at the publicly-available photos on Flickr that people post of Spain. Using data mining and visualization techniques, team members from MIT’s SENSEable city lab plotted photos onto a map of Spain. The concentration of photos shows which places tourists deem most photoworthy and want to share with their friends.

Action: Consider what data is publicly available on your product, brand, or city. Flickr, Twitter and blogs are all rich sources of user-generated photos, opinions or reviews. Analyze which features or aspects of your product are displayed or mentioned. This data helps reveal how customers portray, experience or feel about your product.

For more information: See Los ojos del mundo (the world’s eyes) for full information on the project as well as additional photos, courtesy of
Girardin, F., Calabrese, F., Dal Fiore, F., Ratti, C., and Blat, J. (2008). Digital footprinting: Uncovering tourists with user-generated content. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 7(4):36-43.
Girardin, F., Dal Fiore, F., Ratti, C., and Blat, J. (2008). Leveraging explicitly disclosed location information to understand tourist dynamics: A case study. Journal of Location-Based Services, 2, 1, 41-54.
For more on creative design and the field of information visualization: Information Aesthetics

6 Comments »Customers, How-to, Innovation, Metrics

Don’t Over-Focus on Funding

Point: Too much VC funding can be just as bad as too little

Story: As a small young company, ViaWest had only $34 million in funding. But it faced massive competitors with $300 million and $800 million in war chests, respectively. These big competitors used their deeper pockets to “get big fast” — acquiring other companies, buying big office buildings, and investing in lots of shiny new large datacenters. But sales didn’t materialize and the big companies went bankrupt. In many ways, the money distracted these companies — they were looking for ways to spend it rather than focusing on their core innovation and business fundamentals.
In contrast, ViaWest used its money carefully and made positive cashflow a major goal. ViaWest focused on low-cost, efficient web-based tools to help it out-innovate — not out-spend — its bigger rivals. ViaWest also watched its asset investments carefully, only adding new capacity as needed when demand appeared. After the big competitors cratered, ViaWest bought some of the competitors’ lightly-used datacenter assets for pennies on the dollar.

Action: Use Web-based tools that let you innovate much faster at less cost. Create positive cashflow sooner rather than later. Create business forecasts for investment performance and stick to them — don’t invest more if the first investments aren’t meeting targets.

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