Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Web Secret 617: The Real Real

Periodically, I like to review a website that does a great job at whatever they claim they do.

The RealReal is an online luxury goods marketplace, where you can buy or sell Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Chanel (and more) for a fraction of the cost.

What separates Real from the pack is that their experts do an exhaustive job of vetting the authenticity of everything posted on their website. So you can buy with confidence and save a ton of money.

Have you always wanted an iconic Hermes scarf? Instead of paying $550+, for a new one, you can buy these for a fraction of the price.

On the selling side, you can drop off your items at one of their bricks and mortar locations, or, if you have many items, they will come to your house to pickup. They guarantee each of your items will get 100,000+ views. Items that don't sell are shipped back to you at their cost.

It's pretty great.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Web Secret 616: Crafted by Carbon

The future will be printed.

You might have a few prized possession, but anything disposable, that becomes obsolete or gets used up will be printed. In your home, by you.

It's beginning to happen at Crafted by Carbon.

Check out the video:

20 years from now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Web Secret 615: The end of serendipity

I strive for precision in all of my Internet based undertakings. I don't want to waste my time.

This means I have unfriended or unfollowed any individuals, companies or causes that I am against, or fail to interest me. I exist in a social media bubble of my own making.

I zero in on facts or objects with laser precision. I know where I can find red leather combat boots in size 10 wide made in Portugal. I am not surfing the Net, I plan drone strikes.

Recently, I watched a CBS Sunday Morning news piece on the founder of the eponymous Bob's Red Mill, a $100 million health food company started in the 1960s by Bob Moore. Bob Moore was working in the automotive industry when he wandered into a library, and for reasons he cannot recall, picked up "John Goffe's Mill," a book about an archeologist who rebuilt a flour mill. The book inspired Bob to start his own mill business producing whole grain oats and other products making him a very wealthy man.

And it occurred to me that with technology comes a loss of serendipity. No more browsing through libraries, bookstores, clothing racks and more. Or at the very least less browsing.

Think about it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Web Secret 614: Mobile Microlearning

Have you been paying attention to how often you upgrade your smartphone, your computer, your software, your printer, the list goes on and on.

What about the way you perform your job? Have you added video based services, electronic record keeping, online appointment platforms, Square to accept payments, etc., etc.

What about information? New tests and treatments, new cures, new techniques, etc. etc.

The rapidity with which our world is changing because of advances in technology is increasing.

This means all of us, along with our our institutions and companies face a mounting challenge to learn new skills.


Upskilling refers to teaching employees new skills so they can thrive in their current position; reskilling means teaching them new skills to do a different job. We will be doing this a lot, as many jobs are going to become obsolete due to AI.

But how can we do it efficiently?

As learning evolves, we need to reimagine content delivery for the modern learner.

Learning 1.0 Traditional learning: face to face training

Learning 2.0 Old school web-based training - I learned Microsoft Word by watching a VHS tape

Learning 3.0 Video based e-learning - that's your live webinars and other forms of knowledge delivered on YouTube and the like

Learning 4.0 Mobile microlearning which is experiential and participatory.

Never heard of mobile microlearning? It's coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

You will be learning on your smartphone, using an app that integrates andragogy (effective teaching of adult learners) with technology that heightens powerful learning experiences on-the-go. It will be fun, interactive, it won't even feel like learning.

You've been warned.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Web Secret 613: Alerts

I loathe alerts. I am constantly working on getting fewer of them on my smartphone.

It is not always an easy task.

I still get Temple University basketball scores flashing across my screen. I have no idea why.

Minimizing your alerts will lead to improved mental well-being and decreased stress.

Be discriminating. Unless you work for CNN, do you need to get breaking news alerts which invariably feature something terrible like coronavirus deaths or some political idiocy?

If you commute, you probably want to know the weather and traffic situation when you leave to go to work and when you leave work to go home. Not throughout the day. And those alerts negatively impact your battery life.

Also, I set my phone so that when I do get alerts, I hear a swooshing sound, not a ding. Much better for the nerves.

The first time I open a newly downloaded app, I will be asked if I want notifications. The answer is always no. Do you need to be alerted that there is a new level of Candy Crush? No.

The sounds of silence.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Web Secret 612: Excellence

I have passion for excellence. It thrills me when I encounter it.

And it can be discovered in all walks of life and in every action large or small.

There is excellence in flower arranging, in teaching, in the way some people keep their homes, or flip pancakes, or...well you get the idea.

Some events reliably showcase excellence - the Super Bowl does it for TV commercials, many of which embody the zeitgeist of their times.

Who can forget Apple's 1984? Many think it's the best ad ever made. It introduced the revolutionary Macintosh personal computer, and was directed by Ridley Scott before he became famous and won Academy Awards for movies like Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down - to name but a few.

Here it is with apologies for the poor quality - have not been able to find better:

What about the amazing Budweiser 9/11 commercial, featuring their iconic Clydesdale horses, shown at the 2011 Super Bowl? It was shown only once, but is perhaps one of the most moving tributes in the wake of that disaster. And seriously, how classy to show it only one time?

This year, the New York Life Insurance Company knocked my socks off with their ad celebrating love. Where most Super Bowl ads create their wow factor from their visuals, this one does it primarily with words:

“The ancient Greeks had four words for love,” the ad's narrator explains. “The first is ‘Philia’ Philia is affection that grows from friendship.

Next, there’s ‘Storge’ – the kind you have for a grandparent or a brother.

The third is ‘Eros,’ the uncontrollable urge to say ‘I love you.’

“The fourth kind of love is different. It’s the most admirable. It’s called ‘Agape’ – love as an action.” “It takes courage. Sacrifice. Strength.”

The commercial ends with one last message, “For 175 years, we’ve been helping people act on their love, so they can look back, or look ahead, and say – ‘we got it right.'”

I cannot watch this ad without being moved to tears. It is wonderful on so many levels.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Web Secret 611: After-hours email

As I was looking for a topic for this post, I came across a lot of articles about after hours work emails.

All negative.

So in case you need to be reminded or need to remind someone, this is why it's bad:

1. You're sending it after hours and most people respond to those email after hours, on vacation, weekends and their off time.

2. Because of this, you are exacerbating their anxiety and decreasing their workplace well-being. So seriously weigh the pros and cons of doing this after hours.

3. When you respond after hours, you are sending the message that you are available anytime, anywhere. It's called setting a precedent.

No one should be open for business 24/7.

Except hospitals.