Get creepy

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spies-suburbia-personified

I arrive in Denver at 3:32pm on flight 1431.  I need to get to Boulder by 7pm for a dinner meeting. I get off the plane and make my way to the main concourse. I receive a text that Uber will be at door 8B on the west side as usual. I reply back; “I’m hungry but don’t know what I want. ” They message back, “We’ll take care of it.”  I make my way to the main concourse and as I pass the book store, I receive a notification in my glasses that there’s a book in that store that I may want to take a look at. I walk over and look around. My glasses have highlighted a specific section and as I get closer, it shows me where the book is. I open it up and remember seeing this book listed by one of my friends on Goodreads. My glasses display the option to read my friends review – along with others. I opt out and decide to buy the book. I want something to read at the hotel. 

I exit door 8B and there is a familiar face there to pick me up. Trevor has been my Uber driver the last three trips to Denver. Trevor is holding two bags with food in it; neither of which I recognize.

“The service recommended these two meals for you.  One is from a popular Russian deli and the other is from Asian Cajun.” He says.

Wow! Those both sound amazing.”, I reply.  The deli food is probably best for lunch but I’ve been wanting to eat at the Cajun Asian for a while. I ask trevor to put this back in the cooler he has up front. I slide into the back seat, open the to go box and we’re off.  The car is quickly filled with the rich smell of spicy goodness. As we get on to the highway my mobile phone beeps. I pick it up and see a push notification from my ConcertNow app.  The message reads: Tool is playing Red Rocks tonight. You know you want to go!  I tap the note and it takes me to the app. In the app, it has a list of prices/seating. I know the show is sold out. It has to be. The band releases something new every 8 years and their fans are VERY loyal. Prices range from $300 – $400 and the thought of going to a concert by myself doesn’t sound great. I hit the onesie button and it brings up a list of people that have two tickets and no one to go with – for various reasons. I pick one and review their account. I see that they like the same music as I do and they don’t look like they’ve been incarcerated recently.  The app gives them 4 stars. I review their other social accounts and they seem like someone I could get along with. I send them a note, offering to take the other ticket off of their hands as long as it’s around $100.

We arrive at the hotel and I get to my room. It’s now 5:30pm and I have some time to kill. I turn on the TV, because that’s what one does when you have time to kill. The first 10 channels are filled with content customized to me. Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown, Roy Choi’s Street Food and The Foo Fighters Sonic Highways are some of the first things I see. As I channel surf I see recommended video from of Longboarding in the Alps from Vimeo and YouTube, Danny Macaskill’s latest and live concert footage of none other than Tool at Red Rocks. (Now I really want to go!) I also see an interview with the woman who wrote the book I just bought.  I decide to watch her for a little while I get ready for diner!

Most of you have read a scenario like this before. It’s not uncommon and we’re screaming towards this future now.  These offerings are actually quite simple and I’ve outlined how they would work below.

AR Glasses – No. Google Glass is not the answer. But at some point, many of us will be “Glassholes”. Alerts will be the name of the game for augmented reality (AR) glasses. Alerts for when you receive a test message or a call. Geo-based alerts will also be interesting but only for very specific configurable things. The only real functionality for these classes will be to take pictures and for image recognition. (But that’s another post!)

The Service – Facebook, Pinterest., Twitter and Foodspotting have opened up their APIs to allow for food discovery. Every time someone uses the service The Service gets .5% of the transaction. The data in these social venues are perfect for this service; especially Pinterest with all of their recipes. The Service then takes the data and runs it through algorithms to determine what recommendation should be made. The algorithms filter based on the following questions.

  • What types of food have they shown an interest in on Facebook and/or Pinterest and/or Twitter and/or Foodspotting?
  • What time of day is it?
  • Where is the person?
  • Can the food they want be had in the timeline?
  • Is the food good as takeout? (Chinese food that is more than 10 min old can be gross.)

Things get really interesting when a customer doesn’t know what they want. The system makes creative suggestions.

GrubhubX – Nicknamed Grubby, they deliver to anyone “in motion”. If you want a pizza delivered to you in your car, they will do that. If you want a sandwich on the train, they will do that. If you want Thai delivered when you’re in the parking lot before a concert, they will do that.

ConcertNow – ConcertNow has partnered with Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud to gain access to their APIs. Knows, where I am, what kind of music I like, that I have a meeting at 7pm and knows that the band won’t hit the stage until 9:30pm.

“Curated Content” – This already exists because of things like Twitter and Flipboard, but expect this to get to a much deeper level soon.

Now, some of you while reading this, may have been thinking, “That’s creepy!”. Followed closely by a, “I don’t want them to have all my data. That’s fine and just know that this type of existence is doable now. The data exists now. The primary reason it doesn’t is consumer expectation (and cost). Fast forward 10 years and it’s easy to see that this will be the expectation.  In other words, if your business isn’t creepy, they won’t be in business. Think of what Google Now does now. Then think of how your business could embrace a seamless experience for it’s customers. I say 10 years but with Google on the move, it could be five.

In other words, it’s time to get creepy.

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently interested in artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, cycling, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive + surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and tattooing.

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