Saturday, June 18, 2011

Will Groupon last?

I confess, I don't understand Groupon. I mean, I understand how it works. But I don't understand how people will use Groupons much more than regular coupons. I don't understand why Groupon is worth so much, while competing sites that do the same thing are not. And in many cases, I don't understand why businesses sign up for it.

Consider this case, from Posies Cafe:
"Groupon in Retrospect"

This doesn't mean that Groupon is bad. I just think it will be interesting to see how this business model plays out over the years. I wonder if in a few years we'll be looking back and saying "remember Groupon?" and reminiscing about this crazy fad.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life without Google?

I ran across this article in IEEE Spectrum recently and it really made me think. It posed the question of whether one could quit Google cold turkey. Think about it, given all of Google's services, could you do it? Don't answer until you take a moment to think about all of Google's services you might use.

From IEEE Spectrum:
"How I Learned to Live Google-free" by Joshua J. Romero

Google Dashboard (find out how much YOU rely on Google):
I might not be the typical user, but I was shocked at how many Google services I use. And that's not even counting all the t-shirts and phones and chocolate! :)

Other key links:
Google's Data Liberation Front
This is a site that shows you how to extract data from various Google services.

And the announcement of the Data Liberation Front, from Google's Public Policy Blog:
"Introducing Liberate your data!" by by Brian Fitzpatrick

One final note. Even if you CAN quit Google, that doesn't mean that you should. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Song of the Day: Xenia Martinez - Price Tag (The Voice Live Performance)

I saw this on The Voice on NBC (yes, I sometimes watch this). There is some real talent there. In particular, I LOVED this performance.

"Xenia | Price Tag | The Voice Live Performance Team Blake Shelton"

Here is a version with better audio quality but no video.
"Xenia - Price Tag The Voice"

Who is Xenia Martinez? From PopCrush:
"Xenia Takes a ‘Break’ From her High School Classroom to Perform The Script on ‘The Voice’" by Spencer Kaufman
Scroll down to see a very early performance on the show by Xenia. I think she keeps getting better and better.

FWIW, I like Xenia's version way better than the original:
"Jessie J - Price Tag ft. B.o.B."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Land Your Kid (and Yourself!) in Therapy

Interesting article today, from The Atlantic:
"How to Land Your Kid in Therapy" by Lori Gottlieb

This is a story about how we shouldn't try to shield our kids from everything, that it's counterproductive. And I think it's safe to say that I don't coddle my kids like that. So no problem there.

But the thing that really strikes me about the story is that I find myself, as an adult, relating to it from the point of view of the children in the story. Initially, "Lizzie" reminded me of ... me. I have nothing to be unhappy about. Yet I feel adrift and afraid to trust my instincts in my personal life.

Check out this line of the article: "How happy should she be?" I've wondered this same thing. Except replace "she" with "I." And this line: "Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy."

No great conclusion here, sorry. This article left me with only questions, no answers.

I take that back. There is one good lesson, at least one good lesson that I was able to extract from the article. It is this quote: "Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing. But happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster." - Barry Schwartz, professor of social theory at Swarthmore College.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Making the Movies Jealous

File this under "innovative uses of technology" or "romance." Either one, or both. I found this to be extremely clever and touching. You know exactly how the video is going to end, but you don't care.

Making the Movies Jealous, by Matt & Ginny

They also have a website, if you're curious.