February 19, 2010
The Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association hosted a panel discussion last week on the state of “emerging technologies” and predictions for 2010. “Social marketing, cloud computing, geo-location, oh my” was the first sentence of the official event description, and I assure you, Wednesday morning would have been a great time to play buzzword bingo.
Beyond the buzzwords, though, was one of the more interesting discussions I’ve heard at an event like this. Of course, making accurate predictions is a rough game, but there was still plenty of interesting insight to be found, regardless of whether the forecasting holds true.
Some of the trends the panelists — Kim Garretson, partner at Ovative Group; Alex Hawkinson, founder and CEO of Mural Ventures; Robert Stephens, founder and “Chief Inspector” for the Geek Squad; and Douglas Pollei, VP of Internet strategy and corporate development for IKANO — noted were:
The panel also spoke about automation and technological anticipation. If Web services or mobile phones know what you’re up to and what you might want to do next, that could make your life a lot easier. The Geek Squad’s Stephens made an interesting observation about the difference between services that are “spooky” and those that are “creepy.” Predictive technology should be smart enough to surprise us (spooky) but not so invasive it worries us (creepy).
Garretson suggested a possible service that could easily be considered “spooky” or “creepy,” which hints at an ethical discussion in the near future. He spoke about the idea of “mobile spookiness”: Imagine receiving a text message that says, “We see you’re in aisle 9. May we offer you a 10 percent discount on…”
The quote of the day, though, goes to Stephens. “It’s important, when you can see the future, to remember to back up.” My interpretation: Step back. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Being a visionary or an early adopter doesn’t mean much if you’re so immersed that you can’t bring your colleagues, your clients, your friends along with you.