This is It
By Tony Clark, 2-Dooz Inc. – January 28, 2013 (Original Publication Date)
One might expect that 30-plus years in high tech would render me immune to being wowed by a new application or service. Still, it does happen from time to time; though admittedly with far less frequency than it used to occur. And, at such times, I find myself thinking, “This is it.” This is what user experience is all about.
Such was the case last week when I drove home from the airport. “The Billie Jean” track on Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” album resonated smoothly and at near CD quality through my car’s speakers. It triggered a nostalgic moment and with it brought my inner geek out.
I was suddenly transported back to my freshmen year in college. I was driving home and listening to “Billie Jean.” It could have been any of the hundreds of times I was in the car that year. The “Thriller Album” was breaking records left and right. It dominated the airwaves, so satisfying a craving to hear “Billie Jean” required little to no effort. All it took was a simple turn of the radio dial … and presto, “She’s just a girl who says that I am the one …”
This was typical of 1982. No matter how short, no matter how long the drive, I could always be assured of hearing the song on the radio whenever I wanted. Today, not so much! The odds of hearing “Billie Jean” on the radio while commuting are essentially zero. But as I drove home from the airport last week there was the song (again) blaring from my car’s speaker system. Déjà vu, I thought this is really cool!
Earlier in the week, I had received an email from Amazon indicating that they had automatically uploaded some of the CDs, which I had previously purchased from their site over the past 10 years, into Amazon Cloud Player. This included the album “This Is It.” The engineer in me thought, “What a perfect big data analytics and cloud enabled application.”
I didn’t think about email again until I entered my car for the trip home from the airport. Just before placing my Google Android phone in the seat next to me, a message generated by the Amazon MP3 player app appeared asking me if I wanted to stream “This Is It.” I clicked OK and then play. Moments later, the Amazon Cloud began streaming “Billie Jean” to my phone over Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The song was relayed, via Bluetooth, to my car’s speakers, booming, “… The kid is not my son … yeah, yeah, yeah … ooh!”
I thought to myself, when disparate technologies come together in just the right manner, there can really be a moment of pure magic. Thirty years later, again with little to no effort on my part, “Billie Jean” was playing on my car radio exactly when I wanted to hear it.
Okay, so what does any this have to do with Strategy Talk? The short answer is Amazon’s competitors had better take note. Amazon’s unique combination of retail analytics, cloud, and streaming is a formidable force. Netflix, Facebook, Google, Apple and others beware!
Those are my thoughts. And, as always, I invite and look forward to learning what you think.