Jul 27, 2011

Innovative idea from airline: Get gift card insurance for delayed flights

I was checking out vacation possibilities for trip this fall and run into AirBaltic airline, which flies mainly around baltic and nordic countries. It's one of these low fare airlines. They had interesting concept to share with you: you could buy "an insurance" for getting a gift card for flights which are delayed over one hour.

That's a great idea for airline flying these short routes. I would think this airline is used a lot for short trips to nearby countries. In those type of trips, delayes flight will eat up important time from vacation. If'you are only travelling for weekend, being delayed couple of hours on Friday, will easily ruin your day and leave only Saturday for vacation. Now with this delay you would get gift card for new trip in future to get back that stolen time.

This type of innovative services from these low fare airlines I appreciate. Many of these type of airlines have went to the other road of billing about everything. That's just annoying. This is good lesson for them to learn that they could be innovative and sell services that add value, not just piss off people.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 21, 2011

How easy it is to serve customers well - case Garmin

So often I've been facing poor customer experiences with broken products, that I was again ready for a fight when charger from our Garmin Forerunner 110 sports watch broke down just after two months of usage. I found the local Garmin warranty and maintenance phone number and took the call: 
"Hi, I have Forerunner 110 and clip connecting the charger to the watch broke down. I've had it only for 2 months."
Lady in the phone responded:
"Was it Forerunner 110?"
"What's your address, so we'll send you a new one."
I was so amazed on this service they provided. It just made my day, because it was so easy and I've been a big fan of Garmin products for a longer time. Now I'm a fan of the whole company.

It's so easy to always complain about bad services, so I thought it's time to also credit the ones who really know how to serve the customer well. Thanks Garmin Finland for great service.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 18, 2011

IKEA just gets it

Yesterday I was at Ikea and noticed how cleverly they place their goods. They are really thinking the whole consumer experience and actual needs of the person. That of course helps on their sales, but it’s also really convenient for the customers.

So what they actually do, is when you are in section for frames and paintings, there’s small sets of tools to hang those in the wall, spread all around that section. So when you pick a frame, you actually realize I need to hang it on the wall and I need some tools for it. Ikea jumps in here and offers set of tools to be picked up also. How convenient.

This same approach is taken all around. So where there are beds, there’s small amounts of pillows and blankets next to those. Still there’s their own sections for all of these separately. So if you are only there for pillows and blankets, you can go to that section directly.

That’s just clever.

This was originally posted 17.2.2011 at lostinux.wordpress.com. I've closed that blog of mine and I'm re-posting some of the most popular and best posts from there to here.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 15, 2011

Super cool augmented reality cinema - not really augmented though

There's a super cool augmented reality cinema app video going viral, definitely worth of checking out. Here's their web pages also: augmentedrealitycinema.com

I'm going to be nitpicker. I don't see how in earth it could really work as augmented reality app? Films are shoot in one or couple different angles, but in order it to really be an augmented reality it would need to be available in all angles and actually shown on top of the view you are looking. Quite challenging, I must say.

From the video you can see, that app is mainly playing back the scenes from the actual movies, so not really augmenting those in the view you are watching. So it's not really augmented reality app, but more of virtual reality based on location.

That's said, the app looks really great and idea is marvelous. It's a perfect addition to movie and series location tourism. I'm eagerly waiting to see it really in action.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 13, 2011

Book I read - The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

I've been a fan of Daniel Pink since I read A Whole New Brain. I've been following his blog and reading his books. Finally I got my hands to The Adventurer of Johnny Bunko - The Last Career Guide You Ever Need.

Image: Danpink.com
It's not at all traditional business book, but it's actually written/drawn in the form of Manga. It's a really entertaining and fun way to deliver the message of the book. Comic type of an approach works well and tells in many points much more than words would have told. This actually got me thinking, why there's not more things explained in comic book format in business books. It would work really well.

Book content itself is also full of good points. It really gives good tips on making yourself to use more of your talents at workplace. And also it encourages to chase for more meaningful and enjoyable work life. Still it doesn't forget the realities of business world and it gives quite realistic picture of work life nowadays.

This is a fast reader, it took me bit over an hour to read it through and this even included some more detailed evaluation of some pages and pictures. I really recommend to get this to your hands, it might really be the last career guide you ever need.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 12, 2011

Follow my Agile SW, Social Media or Book review posts separately!

I tend to blog about wide variety of subjects. I just can't stick with one subject. Also I don't see the point on having own blog for all of those, so I tend to lose some followers for that (more about that here). I've even blogged couple of times about one subject blogs being boring and then revisiting my thought about it for some blogs. Now I have updated my blog so that, if you are only interested in Agile SW development, Social Media or interesting books, you will be able to get RSS feeds from only those!

So if one of those was at your interest, please order RSS feed from here:

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 9, 2011

Usability trick used in ATM’s

First ATM’s (at least in Finland) used to “eat” many forgotten cards. That made customers unhappy and it also cost a lot to the banks. Then the guys designing sw for it revisited their thoughts.

Users only goal in ATM is to get money. What used to happen was, that user put the card in, entered pin code and then told how much money they want. Then money came, they achieved their goal and left. And the card was forgotten.

Currently ATM’s work so, that users are not able to get money, before they take the card out from machine. How simply they fulfilled the need users didn’t know they have. Users would be so much unhappier if they would lose their card. Now they don’t even realise this trick.

Maybe smart homes could grow to be similar in the future. When you are leaving the house, system would check that there no lights on and stove is off. Or maybe there’s much more obvious case I don’t even now realise. Surely something to keep in mind.

I just love these simple tricks to make users being not unhappy.

This was originally posted 9.12.2010 at lostinux.wordpress.com. I've closed that blog of mine and I'm re-posting some of the most popular and best posts from there to here.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Me learning words: Rad

My ultimate source on being somewhat aware what the native english speakers from U.S really mean with slang words is Urbandictionary. I was once again searching for a word I noticed somewhere and I was so amused with this explanation that had to share with you.

Word: Rad
really cool, but in a more subtle way. as opposed to extreme or awesome. one of the highest compliments you can give someone. being rad is like being cool without having to work for it. it's like a natural coolness.
I love the wording "being cool without having to work for it". That defines so well many of the guys who are cool, but they really have to work for it. Then there are guys, who just are rad, cool without having to work for it.

I bet you native speakers might not find it hilarious, but it really made me smile. Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 7, 2011

Take pictures you can focus later

I run into to this new camera type from Lytro, which will take pictures so that you don't need to focus. You can actually leave the focusing to the one's who are looking the picture later. Here's promotional video about their solution:

Here's some picture's from their demo gallery, so you can see and try it yourself. So tick different places in image to focus on that level:

By Lytro / Richard Koci Hernandez
Sophie Hernandez, 13, lost in her favorite book.

By Lytro / Jason Bradley
Shore entry in Monterey Bay, California

By Lytro / Eric Cheng
The colorful crowds of Hollywood, CA.

I don't want to judge too much in this phase of what purpose this could be used, but definitely there will be use for this kind of camera. I would guess it will cost a lot for starters, but as all technology it will come cheaper over time.

It will make one aspect of photography totally different. You can't play with focus as you have used to, but you must use focus much more creatively, since users can focus your pictures later on.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 6, 2011

Online grocery store in subway stations - great idea by Tesco

My favorite idea sharing site Springwise just blogged about Tesco's South-Korea online Grocery market experiment.

This stuff is just genius. People can shop when they wait for subway in a look alike grocery store and then food get's delivered to their home. Check the video out, it's really groundbreakingly cool:

I have long history with grocery store business, since both my parents have been in the industry my whole life, so it's close to my heart. I always keep on wondering the delivery chain for these online grocery markets. To keep the cold chain, you would need to make sure that deliveries are not standing anywhere without fridge. This is one really challenging task and unfortunately they don't tell in the video how they tackled that one. Maybe the problem is bit "western", since we tend to be so strict with these regulations at least in Nordic countries.

I just love the idea and especially execution of store shelf lookalikes.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 4, 2011

Facebook happy birthday wishes

I had my birthday couple days ago. On that day I received 36 birthday wishes in Facebook. All of those where just because people noticed from top right corner in Facebook that it was my birthday on that day. None, or maybe 1 or 2, might have actually known that it is my birthday on that day.

At first, I didn't really give any value to those and I was even bit irritated, knowing the fact that they have just noticed my birthday on the Events sections on top right of FB. When I kept on receiving those wishes during the day, I started to get glad. Some of the wishes came from persons who I haven't been in real life contact for years, but those have been part of my life in some point at past. At the end of the day, I actually felt happy receiving those birthday wishes, even my thinking started off from the complete opposite side.

I started to analyze this bit more (I do have a bad habit for that). Noticing one's birthday is a one thing, sending a birthday wish is another. It requires an action. Really small, I must say, but still it requires you to act based on what you saw and actually type something. I for example, I've wished for a birthday once in past year in Facebook. All the rest birthday's I've just skipped.

So these people have first seen that it's my birthday. Then they have somehow associated me to their memories and then thought that I could wish for a good birthday for Henkka (me). So even as it seems as such a meaningless act, people are not wishing good birthday for anyone in the world, but only for those, who have some meaning or memory in their life.

At that day, I was able to convince myself, that birthday wishes in Facebook are real ones and I really can be happy about those. It's a small gesture, but I believe small gestures are the ones that make us show that we care. Most often big ones are just showing off.

Happy belated birthday to myself!

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 2, 2011

Is Google+ invite only just a marketing trick?

It's funny that company with maybe most servers in the world says they don't have the capacity to support everyone to get into Google+. It's easy to question that one and think that maybe the only purpose of invite only is to get more visibility and interest to Google+.

Is it a coincidence that GMail and Google Wave where invite only also for a long time. They got a lot of publicity when people where trying to chase the invites from different sources. It's always so that when you can't get something you'll chase for, it becomes more interesting. Could this be the strategy with Google+ also?

Also when you eventually get Google+ account, you can basically invite anyone to use it, without any limitations. So if they would be scared of capacity problems, maybe they would have limited invite possibilities in some way.

Still there's a second change. It maybe that Google guys have noticed that invite only is the best way to limit the speed of adaption of the service and that way control their capacity better. Pier to pier inviting is more predictable than plain open service adaption.

Whatever the reason is, still Google+ invite only is a perfect marketing way. It will raise awareness of service when people who are interested are chasing for invite or when they have received an invite.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen