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Archive for March, 2010

So, unless you’ve been hiding under a technological rock, you have probably heard of Chat Roulette. What started as an innovative video chat website developed by a 17 year old Russian kid, has turned into somewhat of a live adult website.  At inception, it was possible to hop on the site and video chat with people all over the world and engage in random chitchat.  Now, I’m not naive, although my first experience with Chat Roulette didn’t involve seeing naked people, I knew it would eventually come to this.  What better way for creepy men and young boys to check out pretty girls anonymously than to hop on and scour through the people chatting.  However, I really see potential value with this concept (and it doesn’t involve the adult industry).  Just as Twitter was seen as a worthless tool for self-indulgent people to share their monotonous daily lives with the world, I feel Chat Roulette could be on to something.  Perhaps CR is the newest web 2.0 media outlet for marketers to adopt or target.  Who knows what the future has in store for such a site, but I’m interested to see where its taken.  One hope – this 17 year old boy gets himself a very talented legal team and a crew of creative business partners.

Warning:  anticipate seeing the not-so-occasional naked man lurking around.  http://chatroulette.com/

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While most people would not enjoy sharing their birthday celebration with someone else, I am happy to split the attention with a very special number…Pi.  Yes, my birthday falls on Pi Day (3/14).  In observance of such a significant constant, here are some 3.14 facts:

    • Most people would say that a circle has no corners, but it is more accurate to say that it has an infinite number of corners.

      The sequences of digits in Pi have so far passed all known tests for randomness.

      Here are the first 100 decimal places of Pi

      3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679

      The fraction (22 / 7) is a well-used number for Pi. It is accurate to 0.04025%.

      Another fraction used as an approximation to Pi is (355 / 113) which is accurate to 0.00000849%

      A more accurate fraction of Pi is (104348 / 33215). This is accurate to 0.00000001056%.

      Pi occurs in hundreds of equations in many sciences including those describing the DNA double helix, a rainbow, ripples spreading from where a raindrop fell into water, general relativity, geometry problems, waves, etc.

      There is no zero in the first 31 digits of Pi.

      Pi is irrational. An irrational number is a number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers.

      In 1991, the Chudnovsky brothers in New York, using their computer, m zero, calculated pi to two billion two hundred sixty million three hundred twenty one thousand three hundred sixty three digits (2, 260, 321, 363). They halted the program that summer.

      The Pi memory champion is Hiroyoki Gotu, who memorized an amazing 42,000 digits.

      The old memory champion was Hideaki Tomoyori, born Sep. 30, 1932. In Yokohama, Japan, Hideaki recited pi from memory to 40,000 places in 17 hrs. 21 min. including breaks totaling 4 hrs. 15min. on 9-10 of March in 1987 at the Tsukuba University Club House.

      Pi is of course the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. If you bring everything up one dimension to get 3D value for Pi, the ratio of a sphere’s surface area to the area of the circle seen if you cut the sphere in half is exactly 4.

      If you take 10 million random digits, statistically on average you would expect 200 cases where you get 5 digits in a row the same. If you take 10 million digits of Pi, you get exactly 200.

      If a billion decimals of pi were printed in ordinary type, they would stretch from New York City, to the middle of Kansas.

      The square root of 9.869604401 is approximately Pi. The square root of an irrational number is irrational too.

      For a circle to equal pi the diameter must be 1.

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Along with the other changes I’ve needed to make to my life since moving to the UK, my stomach (and waistline) have demanded that I abandon my newly acquired English diet.  With the exception of a few things, I feel that I’ve adapted quite well to English living and this whole PhD lifestyle:

  • Sleep – often sporadic and limited in nature.  Although the clock ticks away, my body resists getting itself aligned with GMT and tirelessly likes to keep itself on EST.
  • Social life – non existent.  Friends made:  1 (he works at my school – convenient because my work schedule is never interrupted)
  • Finances – pas si bon (stupid conversion rates)
  • Driving – I’ve got this down!  Just call me James Bond (except that I’m generally equipped with a VW and not a Maserati)
  • Professional – although this PhD is kicking my butt, I’d say I’m progressing rather well

Yet, after months of being excited about immersing myself in a new type of cuisine – I find myself, and my stomach, very unhappy.  Things I refuse to eat:

  • eggs (they’re not refrigerated and sit on the shelves in the supermarket)
  • Fish and Chips (I don’t like fried fish…but will gobble up the chips)
  • Any kind of “pudding” (because I fear that for what I take as ‘chocolate’ is usually some sort of animal organ)
  • Bangers and mash (again, I’ll do the mash, but had a hideous experience with bangers last week)

Things I eat a lot of:

  • cookies (shortbread, chocolate, ginger – I don’t discriminate)
  • tea/coffee
  • Indian food (its always readily available on campus)
  • Oatmeal
  • Anything free on campus

So, after much examination and deductive reasoning – I’ve decided that my American stomach just can not handle my diet of cookies and curry any longer.  I need to reintroduce my stomach to chicken.

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Just for women?! I wouldn't be caught dead in this, and I'm a woman

Monday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day and Professor Moira Clark will be participating in a live blog event discussing the increasing buying power of women…go ladies!!!  Professor Clark has written an article for Reuters UK about the female economy, and addresses the age-old question “what do women want?”  Well, I think its about time marketers and companies start fundamentally addressing this issue, as women make up 85% of all consumer purchases.

A few companies who have successfully started targeting women as their own niche:  Harley Davidson, Ford, and Giant bikes.

However, a word to the wise…Making something pink doesn’t make a female targeted marketing program.  This is quite evident in Dell’s failed attempt at directly targeting women by increasing their product offering to include a pink laptop.  A true campaign marketed towards women?! How about a laptop with a mirror built right in to the hardware…ok, ok, just kidding – but that would be convenient 😉

Check out Moira’s article:  http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate-uk/tag/professor-moira-clark/

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Join the club!

I find myself continually running into people/organizations who are resistant to the adoption of social media (for the purpose of anything from marketing to employee retention and recruiting)…”we’ve thought about it, and its not for us”.  What do you mean “its not for us”?!  Today I sat through a conference where social media was at the forefront of conversation and I found myself having to bite my tongue as people questioned and disregarded the information the main speakers were presenting…arguing that, social media is fundamentally “fluffy”.  Well, research, experience, and testimonies would argue otherwise…so, why the resistance?  Cisco Systems Marketing Director of European Markets, Dr. Christine Bailey, spent time presenting on WHY social media is so useful, and also on some thoughts for inspiration…yet she was still faced with a room full of disbelieving onlookers, and individuals who believe the European market will never adopt social media as the USA has.  Well, I’d say its time everyone jumps on board, looks to corporations who’ve already adopted these technologies as a learning experience, and start coming up with ways social media can improve customer experiences, and improve your bottom line.

(Side note – Christine is a past PhD student of Moira’s, who is also my supervisor…I’m in good company!!!)

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