Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Retail MUST Die: Of formlessness and fu**ing ants !!

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Ok, be with me on this journey... I shall smoke a little... (What the heck. Let me smoke big time here)

Check this video for some kick-ass inspiration :

Destination Retail MUST die. (Destination retail is any online retailer who has a destination website or a destination app). Locking up millions and millions of SKUs and thousands of product cohorts in a destination catalog is a pre-world-war concept (as a starting reference to demog profiles that is) ! The post war demog cohorts starting from baby boomers and gen-x who have the highest discretionary spend are not discovery savvy once in the destination. Hey, they are not destination bound either...

I strongly believe new age retail should be formless, shapeless, like water. My friend !!

IMO, Millennials and Gen-M are everywhere in the digital world. Shaping the spend of the future. They are the children of a journey as against a destination. They surf through the digital veins, on smart mobility interfaces in and out for "function", for value, for enrichment. Why send them to any place than where they are already? 

In order to change this, you need to take the catalog and pour it into the veins of the omni-channel, like blood flowing through your body or river beating its path to the sea. You need to pour it through millions of micro moments on tens of thousands of channels of engagements. The products in the catalog must gravitate its way on its own to where the worthy (not opportune) micro moments of the consumer exists no matter where she is in her journey of personal enrichment.

The concept of retail master catalog management and PIM must change. Virtual inventory linkage must mature. Merchandising must change. Category management and sourcing must change. PLM must change. Else be ready to die slowly and surely. Death may not be drastic, but it is coming...

Ok smart boy. Sooo, what is the future?
In distant future, Instead, just breathe life into and unleash the products. Like ants in the connected digital internet ant-hill. Like intelligent f**ckin ants (like procreating ants I meant). Empower and seed each of your products (ants) with base customer cohorts (like teaching them about honey and predators). Pour them in the digital veins. Hell ya, let them loose. Let them learn about the consumers on its own. Let the products (ants) bump into each other and exchange notes. Let them learn about the micro moments of the consumers, wherever the consumers are. Let them learn who prefers them, who hates them. Like learning to avoid obstacles and gravitating towards honey. Let them gain a collective consciousness. Let them manage themselves. Maybe they should decide their own freakin worth and price themselves !! they should decide when they are free versus when they are pricey. Let the digital-mother-nature decide when each of them should die and what genetic material they should pass on. Let them syndicate, let them hide... !!

You see where i am going? I shall be happy to pass the pipe (Some powerful shit this is! no?)

First step towards that future? teach your product to show up wherever the consumers are. At the SKU level. With a Buy-Me or rate-me interfaces.

Next, reinvent the concept of sale. Instead, allow people to adopt the products...

Then, learn to code AI. Yes, Artificial Intelligence kinda AI. Its coming my friends... Ready or not :)

I call this, the era of Autonomous Agents (the ants). The "Internet of Autonomous Agents" or #IoAA that is... 

Retail is Dead. Long live Retail.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Free is Blasphemy. Freedom is not.

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
The Hindjudchriaslams, a very wide spread religious group who are know to be extreme thinkers are offering free-food for poor christians of the developing world along with 'conditional' sermons and conversions as part of the free food.

This has created large debates with two groups of people.

One of the groups argues that offering free-food which is basically deep fried potatoes along with hastily cooked pig liver (which is available locally in abundance as a by product) and sugar water to the poor christians which consists of trans fat, high cholesterol, high sodium and completely unbalanced diet is not only unethical, but sermons and conversions is just plain wrong.

The other group argues that any food is better than no food and in the short term this should be ok!! Also what is the harm in a little sermon? after all, the poor christians shall exercise free-will not to eat the food or attend the sermons if need be!

The funny part is, both the groups who are arguing for or against the free food offering is rich, well fed, has no sense of ground reality, arm-chair critics who has never experienced hunger or what it means to be poor.

Better yet, with large marketing budget, the Hindjudchriaslam foundation is able to create propaganda about its benevolence and good intents.

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no voice of the poor christians heard !!

The problem with zero-rating or or any such foundations, even if the intent was partly benovelant but not fully thought through on the repercursions of free markets, is that, there is no proof of the pudding yet. Its been 5 years now !

Free Internet. Free as in freedom. At any cost.

I only used the religions connotation for effect. If not poor christians, feel free to replace with poor hindus or sikh or muslims. The spirit does not change.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

An Ode to Product Cowboys

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Yo! new age cowboys from product acropolis,
why the rush to build products without hypothesis?
Such bottomless confidence without synthesis,
will land you soon in anomalies.
What good then is a psychologist?,
if you behave like everything you do is tautologous !

Bayesian validation may not be haven,
but its a necessary condition in the equation.
Logic evasion at all occasion,
for sure, will lead to product abrasion.
Oh, please stop this invasion.

Why such defiance on compliance?
If you what to forge a true alliance,
show me some signs of science in your appliance !

Be, a creator not a cowboy...

Peace out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What are we optimizing for?

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Here is what is an interesting problem with God. Mostly he shows up, in your face, hawking whatever the opportunities are. The problem is, everytime he opens the line with his second-hand-car-salesman-grin and says "Consider this your lucky day...", we shoo him away with a; *Not now pal, not interested in whatever you are selling...*

Or maybe, I hypothesize, that God is probably like a buoyant little kid, working hard on his creations, making magnificent things, jumping up and down like a exuberant puppy to show us what is in the making; unbounded; ecstatic..

Its just that we are too busy with our strange rituals called the "meetings" and "answering to emails" or whatever the heck we are presumably optimizing for, that we turn him down all the time.

A little gratitude may be in order? The poor little kid...

Oh, I only mean God as a metonym for Life. You would as well replace the word 'God' with 'Life' in this rendition...