Now Trending…

What is the one word that describes “change” effectively, positively and instantly?

There could be many answers to this question. Our answer though, is grounded in the tangible.

Trend!

Each trend is a precursor to change. Or the change itself!

To extrapolate, there was a time when women were expected, and therefore, portrayed as doing household chores everywhere- in ads, films, etc. But then Julia Child appeared on TV wearing pearls and cooking Boeuf Bourguinon. Et Voila, a trend was created- which changed the way women viewed themselves.


 

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Or that time when people had long standing careers in law or as a professor, and they never seemed to veer out of that cycle. And suddenly we had Steve Jobs with his completely different set of beliefs or Bill Gates, who changed the way the world operates with their ideas. Another trend that is still inspiring people.


 

bill & Steve


 

 

In a world where communication is instant, trends though, have become fleeting. Trends change with the speed of a hyper aware fashionista who changes dresses 3 times a day at least. And people are engaging themselves, without motivation, with trends. Online and concurrently offline, trends manifest in tweets, shares, likes, mentions, pins, actions, decisions, ideas, industry.

At IntelligenceNODE, being a bid data analytics organization specializing in retail, we pay special attention to trends. And we have come across a simple yet important question from retailers when it comes to trends today- how do you quantify a trend that is likely to change in the next (approximately) 60 minutes? And how do you further capitalize on such a trend?

We have had the privilege of associating with many etailers; learning their opinions, ideas and insights have given us the opportunity to study trends.

Putting this into perspective, let us look at one of the quickest “trend amplifiers” in the cloud sphere today- Twitter. You may have seen the various hashtags on twitter that certify trends.


 

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In the graph, circa 2013, 33% respondents paid attention to trending topics on twitter. Twitter has more than 302 million active users, monthly. And 500 million tweets are sent out every day. Out of this overall user base, 30% is in the USA alone. Look again- 33% of those users, in 2013, were influenced by trending topics.

Let us not forget that these trends are in real time or life, if you will. Tweeple all over the world tweet about a particular event, happenstance, etc. And we go on from there…

And twitter is not the only thing that inspires this “trending” psychology in netizens! Apart from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. apps like Snapchat, Pinterest, etc, are cropping up daily. Be it AirB&B, or TripAdvisor, Fitbay or Shoefitr, everyone wants a part of this trending pie.

There is one cardinal rule about trends- Trends create trends.

Now back to the famous questions:

How do you, the retailer, recognize key trends in a boundary blurring world like ours?

The journey from an idea to a trend is marked by various stages.

  • Ideation or Product creation; which involves a whole industry in and of itself.
  • Exhibiting the product: showing the great points of the product, and the product itself, through events.
  • Content Generation: when people other than the creators of the product create stories, utility ideas or opinions about the product and share it- online & offline.
  • Trendification: The product becomes a part of popular culture- translation- TREND.

And this journey is visible only to a few. Others can see just parts of it. The best way to see how tangible a trend is- numbers and effects. There are many tools to measure the effect that social media has on trends and trend creation. Names like KissMetrics, Social Bakers, offer reports and services of this nature.

There is another way, though, to arrive at a decision regarding which so called trends you should follow as a retailer. A holistic view that allows you to get an analysis of the digital atmosphere as well as the strategies and trends of your competitors. You can benchmark pricing, discount, catalogs as well as logistics.

There is another way, though, to arrive at a decision regarding which so called trends you should follow as a retailer. A holistic view that allows you to get an analysis of the digital atmosphere as well as the strategies and trends of your competitors. You can benchmark pricing, discount, catalogs as well as logistics.

The secret blend that gives you such results = your inventory data+ your social plug-in data+ curated data (from various sources) + a little brilliant analysis.

That’ it!

Recognizing the key trends that you MUST take away, add to or innovate with, happen to be right at your fingertips. We know you can just reach out and take it!

And finally, how do you, the retailer, capitalize on these famous trends, when they are so fleeting?

To answer this question, we have an interesting story for you. We call it the Code of Content.

In this story, a European car manufacturer wanted to sell a new, different and smaller car in the USA. They contracted a successful ad agency to do the honors. The end result, according to this car manufacturer, they said, had to be twofold: they wanted profits and to be recognized. To rephrase that in today’s business lingo- they wanted ROI & brand recall. Their consumer surveys in the USA showed them that people were not very enthusiastic about their new car.

The advertiser sent a couple of designers to the factory in Europe. Once they came back armed with knowledge and information, they created this:


 

BMW_Lemon2


 

The car manufacturer: Volkswagen; The Advertiser: David Ogilvy.

As you can see, it is not trends you “capitalize” on. Trends capitalize on you! You have immense power- to influence people- with brilliant strategy; amazing content and great deals. People want what you are offering. Isn’t that why you are in business?

It follows therefore, that when people are actively creating trends, they are hoping, expecting even, that you the retailers and service providers will give them well made products to support their pins, tweets, shares, likes, etc.

You can make brilliant strategies from the insights that have been derived through all that data. Fringe has become a trend at LFW? Who makes the trend global in less than a week, then? You the retailer! And we support you every step of the way!

The Power of the Name

name


Shakespeare has famously quoted (in Romeo & Juliet), “What’s in a name; A rose by any other name will smell just as sweet.”

But we believe, au contraire, that names are very powerful. Names give a person a sense of power over themselves. A name in itself is a reflection of the various vibrations that are created during the time of birth.

Most religions have some kind of a naming ceremony, once a child is born. Today there are many people in the world who do not follow religions strictly. But then comes the vast majorities, which actually do things within the auspices of religious conduct.

In most cultures, names are chosen with thought and care. There are elaborate ceremonies just to give a name to the newborn. Christian babies are baptized or christened. Hindu babies get names based on lunar and astrological calculations and moon signs. Babies in China may get plain, ugly names till a more opportune time in life when they will not be influenced by evil spirits.

All this thought that goes into the simple act of naming a person; a name becomes a person’s identity. The most recognizable feature about a being. A name too has roots. A name began with the evolution of language itself. And language is inherent to our culture.

Names cannot be given lightly; for they become one’s identity. But beyond that, it is fascinating to realize that the same name was held by someone else before. It could be one’s ancestors, or someone completely unknown to that soul. But they too gave some meaning to the name.

A name became powerful because it was taken by many who came and went. They gave their bodies the name. That is even why some names are referred to as evil and are not bestowed on anyone.

A name though, is an agency that provides ownership of oneself. Names differentiate and names create and names change as does the world we live in. But names also become an illusion that takes us away from the eternal truth.

The truth about the unchanging nature of the soul. We humans start attaching so much importance to the illusory world around us that we forget to look inside. The soul has no name and is never changing. The soul is a part of the large, divine energy that we all are made of.

Whether one believes it or not, there is a power that creates us. And that power is constantly flowing within our physical bodies. The day that the person ends, the name does not; it continues to provide qualities of strength and perseverance to the eternal soul. A name will become a legacy that one leaves behind.

Because all names are forms of the divine.

No Poverty!?

Recently, in their annual letter, Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates predict that there will be no poor countries by 2035. In their foundation’s just-released annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates attempt to debunk this pervasive myth in development economics: ‘Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.’
Sounds like a dream for many nations. But if this letter is to be believed, then this prediction may turn into reality. You may take this as one of those ‘glass half full,’ moments. Why should we be pessimistic about our world? It would be so much better if dream up a world where financial equality exists.According to Bill Gates, and I quote, “by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbours and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labour forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments.”


 

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This seems far from just an optimistic outlook. It seems like well thought out optimism. This does not dispel the fact that poverty will still be a problem. There will still be poor people, but the most of them will live in self sufficient countries. This predicts a shift to a world that will be better than our world today.

According to Gates, global poverty has evolved drastically. Per-person incomes in Turkey and Chile are where the United States level was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there, as is Gabon. And that no-man’s-land between rich and poor countries has been filled in by China, India, Brazil, and others.

So the easiest way to respond to the myth that poor countries are doomed to stay poor is to point to one fact: They haven’t stayed poor. Many — though by no means all — of the countries we used to call poor now have thriving economies. And the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990.

Speaking to Forbes Magazine’s editor Randall Lane, Mr Gates said there will soon come a point where “you’ll have to give a reason why a country is poor”. He said that while it is difficult to make predictions for nations where politics hinders progress (naming North Korea as an example), for almost everyone else there are “good examples to learn from”.

But is it too optimistic to believe that poverty will not be a global crisis point in the next two decades? Is too much wishful thinking that we will see more and more people successfully living their lives and out of economic disparity?

At IntelligenceNODE we believe that with the world becoming more and more digital, the chances of success in this endeavour are quite high. Maybe we will finally get rid of beggars resulting in a drop in crime. Maybe we are doomed to just wishful thinking….

Nevertheless, the power of all our positive thoughts may just remove all disparities!

LGBT Rights in India

Are we really that entrenched in tradition that even when we have taken two steps forward, we seem to take another step back? This is the question many Indians asked after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the LGBT rights issue in India…

The SC, in an astounding move, dragged India back to the Victorian era, by criminalizing homosexuality. This controversial move by the Supreme Court succeeded in breaking the hopes of many gay couples who were hoping to be joined together legally.

Human Rights Campaign which calls itself the largest civil rights organization to achieve equality for the LGBT community reports that Corporate America updated its “non-discrimination policies and benefits packages well ahead of federal mandates to support LGBT employees and their families” and hundreds of companies, including Nationwide, Citigroup, Groupon, Procter & Gamble, Hershey’s and US Airways, joined a public coalition to urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act “a proposed federal law that would provide consistent nationwide legal protections from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”


 

LGBT


 

The decision by the court to reinstate a ban on same-sex relationships overturned four years ago by a lower court represents a “significant step backwards for India” and violates international law, Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner on human rights, said. This just proves what a long way India still has to go to achieve equality. In other countries like India too, where governments haven’t exactly been progressive, companies have broken new ground on promoting LGBT equality.

The idea behind this upsurge of empathy by corporate institutions for different civil rights issues can be credited to CSR (corporate social responsibility). The SC’s decision reflects a very conservative mindset- something many Indians feel they have outgrown with the abolition of practises like child marriage and sati.

Is it amoral to find love? Gay rights have always been a matter of controversy in India. This unpopular ruling by the Supreme Court has stunned the gay rights activists and people at large as well. Vikram Seth, the Indian author, spoke of many gay men in India living lives of “quiet desperation”.

At IntelligenceNODE, we believe that business inexorably is tied with civil rights. Civil rights give society a semblance of freedom and make people believe they have control. Living your life according to your wishes is something we all have in common. Why should the LGBT community be any different?

Equal or Unequal? You Decide…

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was asked to give his advice to women who are uncomfortable requesting a raise, he replied saying, “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” Not asking for a raise, he added, is “good karma” that would help a boss realize that the employee could be trusted and should have more responsibility.

These comments though, were not well received by the online community. And Nadella was forced to retract his words with an apology in which he said that men and women are equal , hence should receive equal pay.

Continue reading “Equal or Unequal? You Decide…”

Leap of Faith…

To ‘believe’ or not to ‘believe’- that is the question when it comes to God. Our reality has become so very miraculous these days; that believing in God takes a backseat. We think we can do everything by ourselves.

Does God really exist, though?

This is a very popular question that religions all over the world claim to have an answer to. Most people believe in a higher force that is the basis of all creation. Different religions have given this force various names. But they all agree that it is God.

The eternal soul which is nothing and nowhere, because it is in everyone and everywhere at once- that is God, it seems. In today’s world, we see miracles happen every day, thanks to our advances in science and technology.

The idea of God, it seems, brings out the best in us. But many of us think with single minded focus on God. We want God to solve our problems, give us everything we require and so we give offerings and other things that we think will please God. We are God fearing people. We ascribe qualities to God that we are ourselves guilty of possessing. Do we abstain from doing something morally wrong because we think it will be a curse on humanity? Or because we fear God’s retribution?

Let us examine the concept of God- We are all, as a believer would say, God’s creations. But, when we see a fellow human being, do we see his or her creator in the creation? Not really… We just see the person, the outer shell, the body, and we also judge accordingly. We say that God created everyone as equals- and yet we live in a society that regularly discriminates between people based on gender, color, class, and so many other parameters.

There are many instances in the history of our world where we have passed off discrimination as God’s wish. But if God is the creator, the father or mother, would he or she truly divide us based on various things that make us unique?

In fact, there is a very interesting anecdote about the existence of God and Albert Einstein’s reply when asked about evil in God’s world.

Continue reading “Leap of Faith…”

Save Water- Save Earth!

Don’t let the water run in the sink, our life’s on the brink!


 

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Water- the very essence of life. We imagine it to be infinite. We believe that water will always be available for our most basic needs- like sustaining life on Earth. With Oceans and seas at our disposal, water appears to be not just a force of nature, but a constant. Something we will never miss.

But our water supply is finite, which means that we do not have an endless supply. We only have the water that we have now! 97% of all the water on the earth is salt water which is not suitable for drinking. Only 3% of all the water is fresh water, and only 1% is available for drinking water. The other 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers.

We do not ponder this much. But fact is, water is the reason we exist. If there is no water, there will be no life on Earth. We need to seriously consider this hard, unmitigated, fact. A few thousand years from now, the human race and many other species, may be extinct!

The only way to ensure survival of our posterity is through water conservation. Water conservation means using our water wisely and caring for it properly. Since each of us depends on water for life, it is our responsibility to learn more about water conservation and how we can help keep our water pure and safe for generations to come.

Here are some shocking facts about water:

  • Over 1.5 billion people do not have access to clean, safe water.
  • The average toilet uses 8 litres of clean water in a single flush.
  • It takes about 300 litres of water to make the paper for just one Sunday newspaper.
  • Agriculture is responsible for about 70% of the world’s water usage. Industry uses a further 22%.
  • On average, women in Africa and Asia have to walk 3.7 miles to collect water.

All of these random facts amount to one thing- that we are facing a water shortage already. So what can you do to cut your water footprint? Here are a few tips.

  • On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets.
  • If you use a low-flow showerhead, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.
  • All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. If you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save by retrofitting or filling your tank with something that will displace some of that water, such as a brick.
  • Dishwashing is a relatively small part of your water footprint—less than 2% of indoor use—but there are always ways to conserve.
  • Rain water Harvesting is another effective way to conserve water.

There are many other creative ways to save water subjective to the country and the place. The bottom line is SAVE WATER!

An Unconscious Transition

When Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, remarked at the Aspen Ideas Festival, that women can’t have it all, it turned heads, and minds. For a person of her position to actually quote those words, it set many thinking.

It is a matter of international and psychological debate whether anyone can actually ‘have it all.’ But we are not talking about that. What we are more interested in is the fact that she believes that women can’t.

We have been trained through centuries of conditioning to believe that each person is set in certain roles in society. When the suffragettes started their movement to be able to vote and participate in legislature- a milestone in modern society, the popular roles were shifting, evolving.

Everything evolves with time they say. But before the suffragettes came along, the oracles at Delphi (most certainly women) were revered as priestesses. The Ancient Egyptians followed famous Queens like Nefertiti who were pivotal in changing the course of history. Indian history is riddled with stories of famous women who lead and bled for land and love.

Most notably, on the other end of the spectrum, in the popular TV series Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen is to have famously quoted, “Valar Morghulis- All Men Must Die; but we are not men.” It seems men, too are not free from this condemnation.

Continue reading “An Unconscious Transition”

No Smoking

Smoking is one of those things that chronically affect the world today. Tobacco smoking and chewing has been present in historical accounts dating back many centuries. The history of smoking dates back to as early as 5026 BC in shamanistic rituals.

Cannabis was common in the Middle East before the arrival of tobacco, and is known to have existed in at least 2000 BC. Early consumption of cannabis was a common social activity involving the type of water pipe called a hookah. In fact, Indian history continuously mentions invaders and locals alike indulging in the tradition of smoking. The Chinese on the other hand, were famous for opium smoking and trade.


 

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There were certain factions of society, like artists and writers, who were especially enamored with smoking. But in recent times, smoking has been discovered to be not beneficial to the human body but harmful. With cancer instances rising, it is no wonder that smoking is considered one of the biggest follies of our lifestyle.

Our cultural scenes are filled with connotations that have encouraged smoking. Movies, art, plays, etc encouraged this habit in the past. Now though, the knowledge that smoking too has adverse results has brought about a shift in attitudes.

Epidemiological research has been focused primarily on cigarette tobacco smoking, which has been studied more extensively than any other form of consumption.

Tobacco and smoking has a number of negative effects:

 

  • Tobacco smoking kills
  • Tobacco exacerbates poverty
  • Tobacco contributes to world hunger by diverting prime land away from food production
  • Tobacco production damages the environment
  • Tobacco reduces economic productivity
  • While the Tobacco industry may employ people, this can be considered an example of “wasted labor”, capital and resources.

Now days, we see many different perspectives advertising the harmful effects of smoking. But it is a highly individual decision. At IntelligenceNODE, we believe that smoking kills. What is the point of life if it is wasted away in smoke?!

Freemium…

The average smartphone user spends two hours a day with them, which includes a mix of gaming (43 percent) and social networking (26 percent) applications. The trend of free apps is growing rapidly—23 of the top 25 Google Play apps are free. In total, 81 percent of the Google Play Store and 90 percent of the App Store is composed of free apps. Of the over 800,000 mobile apps available in the App Store, only 80 of them generated more than $1 million in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2012.

The moment something is free, it becomes very attractive to customers. In today’s world where marketers have to fight to grab customers’ attentions, shelling out any product or services for free is a quick way to success.

And it’s a fact. Who does not like free goodies…?! So enter Freemium- the term freemium is coined using two words ‘Free’ and ‘Premium’. It describes a business model where in you give away a core product for free and then generate revenue by selling premium products to a small percentage of free users.

One of the biggest industries that use the freemium model is the ecommerce industry. Ecommerce gains a lot from the freemium model. Be it apps or games, this model works very well with customers all over the world.

The freemium business model is taking over — an estimated 65% of revenue generated by the 100 top grossing apps in the App Store, and an estimated 72% of total App Store revenue comes from freemium mobile games.

All of the top grossing games in the app store are freemium. Avid gamers are known to purchase in-app games. Distimo, a global app analytics company that tracks more than 280,000 apps and 3.2 billion downloads per quarter recently released a report on that contains a variety of insights into downloads, app leaders and revenue volumes around the world.

According to the report, revenue based on in-app purchases increased from 77 percent to 92 percent in the Apple App Store. Also, revenues based on in-app purchases increased from 89 percent to 98 percent for Android apps on Google Play.

The great thing about free apps is that users can download them and start using them to really see how they look, feel and work. Freemium apps have functionality that works, and users can figure out if they want to really start using the apps for a long time — or delete them and keep looking for something else, with no loss of money. Once a user has downloaded the app, however, he or she becomes invested. This increases the likelihood that a user will spend more money for added features.

By developing a freemium app, businesses can both appeal to customers and increase ROI. Freemium apps increase the revenue that you draw per customer by allowing the user to become invested. In addition, freemium apps lead to a drop in piracy. While users can easily pirate paid apps, they cannot do the same for in-app purchases. Finally, freemium apps are often less expensive to develop as you only need to start out with a basic, free version.

At IntelligenceNODE we believe that Freemium is one of the most important ways to go in the coming years for many ecommerce ventures…