Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.
I remember the moment I discovered that pressing the letter "t" on my Blackberry took me to the top of my email list. It was a welcome reward for accidentally poking my keyboard. Those old phones were tough enough on the thumbs.
I probably only know 20 percent of what my current smartphone can do for the simple reason that, like most people, I do not read instructions. I expect my technology to be intuitive.
I am exactly whom David Pogue is talking to in his insightful 5-minute TEDTalk about time-saving tech tips. He explains that today we are expected to learn to use technology via osmosis.
I would say, more accurately, we expect technology to teach us using osmosis. The most amazing technological advances for everyday life would never see the light of day if the interface needed instructions.
Indeed, all of Pogue's tips in his TEDTalk session are easy to figure out. You only have to accidentally hit the space bar once to notice the webpage you are reading then scrolls down. Pogue himself mocks instructions when he points out that he does not need a 30-second voicemail prompt to tell him how to leave a message.
As a professional communicator and marketer, I am in the business of helping my clients interface with their customers. Regardless of what industry you're in or what product of service you are selling, the key to success is connecting your brand with your customers. Every point of contact must be choreographed. Your customers must feel that you understand the way they think.
Apple is the world's most valuable brand today largely because Steve Jobs understood that fingers like to touch and explore technology.
And what do we ultimately want from technology? Paraphrasing Pogue's underlying message -- people today are looking to technology for ways to get some time back. Ultimately technology has done wonders in the realm of efficiency. The problem is, all the efficiency and time saved isn't used for leisure. Instead most of us end up doing more.
The desire to get more done, achieve more milestones or the infamous 'catch up' for my time off is a widespread by-product of great technology.
So, with that in mind, how do these 'time-saving' tech tips translate into an insight for corporations? First, it's about positioning. Pogue wasn't trying to sell me anything but if he was, he could've positioned a new spacebar as the single most efficient button on the keyboard. Or he could have promoted a book with 100 ways to save 60 seconds a day. In any case, it's about marrying this underlying desire to get back some time in our daily lives with something that delivers just that.
However, the insight is not the discovery that people want more time -- it's figuring out what they want to do with it.
it's fascinating to discover that the majority of moms do not aspire to be different, better or someone else. Instead, they aspire to spend more time with a key audience. -- Nick Cowling
Whether it's parents who want to finish the housework faster so they can spend more time with their kids or the college student who needs to organize herself so she has more time to spend with friends or the stressed-out worker looking for a way to make the commute more efficient in order to make a 7 p.m. yoga class, understanding your audience is paramount.
I've been studying moms (stay-at-home and working moms) by investing in sophisticated consumer behavior research. While these two groups of moms seem inherently different given their daily routine, it's fascinating to discover that the majority of moms do not aspire to be different, better or someone else. Instead, they aspire to spend more time with a key audience. Stay-at-home moms want more time with their spouse and friends; working moms want more time with their kids. It's that simple.
Can a household product or piece of technology deliver that promise to both of these women? Sure -- but it could be difficult to do with one voice. Spending time with friends and spouses is a much different activity than spending time with your kids, so the message needs to intuitively interact with either of them.
Pogue knows what his audience wanted. If he did a typical 17-minute TEDTalk about 30 to 40 tech saving tips you'd walk away remembering 5-10 at most, or you'd stop watching the YouTube video halfway through. Five minutes is all we'd be willing to invest in this topic, but he knew that we'd have other things to do.
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