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Grab’s Promotion Problems

(updated to include Grab’s response, edits) Grab, Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia, is putting up an impressive fight against the ridesharing company. Both have deep pockets, and offer incentives to both drivers and riders. But Grab is either struggling to phrase its promos correctly or something more sinister afoot. Today riders were in uproar when they found that a promotion that offered “$4 off 20 Grab rides next week” turned out to mean, well, not exactly that. Those complaining that the $4 deal was cut short well before they’d used 20 rides were told that “the Terms and condition stated that the promo [has] limitedContinue readingGrab’s Promotion Problems

Ripe for Disruption: Bank Authentication

One thing that still drives me crazy, and doesn’t seem to have changed with banks, is they way they handle fraud detection with the customer. Their sophisticated algorithms detect fraudulent activity, they flag it, suspend the card, and give you a call, leaving a message identifying themselves as your bank and asking you to call back a number — which is not on the back of the credit card you have. So, if you’re like me, you call back the number given in the voice message and have this conversation: Hello this is Bank A’s fraud detection team, how can I help you today? Hi,Continue readingRipe for Disruption: Bank Authentication

LinkedIn’s Blinkers

LinkedIn comes across as quite tone deaf when it comes to their UX, makes me wonder if anyone there eats their own dogfood. This annoying popup every time you try to download a deck from SlideShare drives me nuts. How can it not figure out that no, you don’t want to clip it and remember that?

Awesomeness Fatigue

This is a commentary piece I’ve recorded for the BBC World Service. I call it awesomeness fatigue – the exhaustion that comes from being bombarded with stories, videos and pictures designed to amaze you. The problem is not that they don’t work: it’s that they’re too good. In the past week or so I’ve watched people fly off mountains, some figure skating guy and a kid who sued his school after being bullied. All are awesome. No, the problem is that a sort of “awesome inflation” kicks in, meaning that as your Facebook page, or Twitter feed, or however you consume social media, fills upContinue readingAwesomeness Fatigue

The Rising Noise of Silence

This is a commentary piece for a semi-regular slot on the BBC’s World Service. It’s not content that appears on Reuters, nor does it reflect the views of my employer.  I’m here to report a new scourge of the public space: folk who watch video on their tablets in public without a headset. Just the other day someone sat next to me in a coffee shop watching a local soap opera on her iPad quite oblivious to the disturbance she was causing me and, well, just me. Now this may sound like a small thing, but I’ve canvassed friends and it’s clearly a problem thatContinue readingThe Rising Noise of Silence

PR Stands for Presumptious

This is the kind of email that drives me nuts. The subject field: Can you teleconference w/ xxxxx Software April 7 or 8? The first line: Mark xxxxx, CEO of xxxxx Software, would like to teleconference with you Thursday, April 7th or Friday, April 8th. Can you suggest a couple of times and dates that work for you to speak with Mark? I’ve never heard from this flak before, she has no idea of what I cover, she jumps right in pushing a teleconference on me (when was it just called a phone call?) and the whole thing smacks of foot-in-the-door salesmanship. PR needs toContinue readingPR Stands for Presumptious

Podcast: Presentation Blues

The BBC World Service Business Daily version of my column on presentation blues. (The Business Daily podcast is here.) Loose Wireless 100623 To listen to Business Daily on the radio, tune into BBC World Service at the following times, or click here. Australasia: Mon-Fri 0141*, 0741  East Asia: Mon-Fri 0041, 1441  South Asia: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741  East Africa: Mon-Fri 1941  West Africa: Mon-Fri 1541*  Middle East: Mon-Fri 0141*, 1141*  Europe: Mon-Fri 0741, 2132  Americas: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741, 1041, 2132 Thanks to the BBC for allowing me to reproduce it as a podcast.

Still Sneaky After All These Years

I still retain the capacity to get bummed out by the intrusiveness of software from companies you’d think would be trying to make us happy these days, not make us madder. My friend Scotty, the Winpatrol watchdog, has been doing a great job of keeping an eye on these things. The culprits either try to change file associations or add a program to the boot sequence, without telling us. Some recent examples: Windows Live Mail, without me doing anything at all, suddenly tried to wrest control of my emails by grabbing the extension EML from Thunderbird: This was unconnected to anything I was doing, orContinue readingStill Sneaky After All These Years

Software, Slowly, Gets Better

Is it just me, or are software developers beginning to get their users? For a long time I’ve felt the only real innovation in software has been in online applications, Web 2.0 non-apps—simple services that exist in your browser—but now it seems that ordinary apps are getting better too. Evernote, I feel, is one that’s really leading the charge. They’ve taken the feedback that us users have been giving them and have added, incremental release by incremental release, some really cool features. For example: now you can save searches in the Windows version. Reminds me of the old Enfish Tracker Pro, whose departure I stillContinue readingSoftware, Slowly, Gets Better

Is New Media Ready for Old Media?

I’m very excited by the fact that newspapers are beginning to carry content from the top five or so Web 2.0/tech sites. These blogs (the word no longer seems apt for what they do; Vindu Goel calls them ‘news sources’) have really evolved in the past three years and the quality of their coverage, particularly that of ReadWrite Web, has grown in leaps and bounds. Now it’s being carried by the New York Times. A couple of nagging questions remain, however. 1) Is this old media eating new media, or new media eating the old? On the surface this is a big coup for folkContinue readingIs New Media Ready for Old Media?

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