DJ’s Personal Lessons From a Decade of Digital
By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
As we noted in our last post, Zemoga has been around for a better part of a decade. We’ve learned a lot as a company in that time. And our beloved CEO, DJ Edgerton has learned a number of individual lessons. So in the spirit of Friday Fun he thought he would tell you a little bit more about the knowledge he’s picked up over the last few years:
Check out our photostream on Flickr to see more fun photos of DJ and the rest of the Zemoga team
Lessons From a Decade of Digital
By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
Bush was re-elected, the EU expanded and the world of digital was very different.
I’m musing about this because Zemoga just quietly celebrated a milestone. The anniversary of our incorporation on January 14th, 2004. While that date is our official birthday, DJ, Alejo and a stalwart team of young digital adventurers were working on projects for a couple of years before that. So it’s no stretch to say that Zemoga has expereinced a decade of digital.
Back then, our primary work was building websites, simple games and banner ads (and almost all of this work was done in Flash). No Facebook apps, no mobile sites, no augmented reality or location based projects. And the iPad and iPhone were still gleams in Steve Jobs’ eye. In those days, offering a wallpaper or a screensaver as a value added item was seen as forward thinking marketing. Our world has definitely changed.
Indulging in nostalgia can be fun but it also teaches us (or at least me) an important lesson. While our company and our industry prides itself on staying on top of the latest technology and anticipating future trends, our vision extends only so far. The pace of innovation is so fast these days that if we can predict what’s coming a year or 18 months from now, then we’re way ahead of the game. Figuring out the state of digital ten years from now? Forget about it.
With that in mind, our challenge as digital solutions providers is to keep our projects as open and flexible as possible. To not be too reliant on one platform or programming language, especially if it’s relatively new and unproven (How’s your MySpace page these days? Enjoying that HP tablet?). Apple, Google and Facebook are king right now but a decade ago we were talking about Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL. As one of our SoDA colleagues recently noted, the trick is to design for “people not platforms” and too make sure that your digital offerings acknowledge trends and fashion without being subservient to them. And when the world changes, project architecture and content needs to change with it.
It’s not just a recipe for an enduring digital offering but an enduring company.
I wonder what Zemoga will be working on ten years from now?
Social Media Week (New York) is Coming!
By Sven Larsen (@ Sven Larsen)
We’ve written so much about Social Media Week – Bogota on this blog that we would be remiss in not mentioning that the original version of the event is about to happen in our other hometown, New York City. Toby Daniels and team have put together what looks like their best event yet. Just check out some of these keynote speakers:
Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation of Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Alex Bogusky, Co-Founder of Crispin Porter + Bogusky and founder of Common (we’re looking forward to seeing Alex again after meeting him at the pSFK/Al Gore event)
David Eastman, CEO of JWT North America
Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics
Doug Rushkoff (who wrote one of our favorite books of the last couple of years, Life 2.0)
Elisa Camahort Page, COO and Co-Founder of BlogHer, Inc.
Jay Walker, Chairman and Curator of TEDMED
Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn
Scott Belsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Behance
and that’s only a partial list of the Keynote Speakers!
You can find the full event schedule for New York here. And don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of familiar faces at these events as well. There’s nothing the Zemoga team loves more than hearing from the best and brightest minds in the worlds of social and digital media so we’re already filling up our calendars with the events we want to attend.
See you there!
Why SOPA Won’t Work
We were going to write a post about why we’re opposed to SOPA and PIPA (despite being in the intellectual property business ourselves). But then we found out that the brilliant Clay Shirky had recorded a video on the subject for TED. Clay argues the case much more eloquently than we ever could so pleae take a moment to watch the video (and then contact your local representative if you agree with us and Mr. Shirky).
Why Aren’t We Talking About H-Commerce?
By Sven Larsen
Ed. Note: Sven originally wrote this post for our sister blog, Pixels & Pills but given the ubiquitous nature of the healthcare debate, we thought it would be of interest to the general digital community. Let us know your thoughts.
These days everyone is familiar with e-commerce. And our more social media savvy readers are probably all clued up on f-commerce (that’s Facebook commerce folks). I’ve even heard Google’s Adwords and Adsense business referred to as g-commerce. But what about the next letter in the alphabet. How come no one is talking about h-commerce?
Make no mistake; healthcare commerce online is big business (A Forrester research report projects 2012 Healthcare spending online will reach $8.7 billion). And the traffic for online health retailers is pretty impressive, too. Drugstore.com, a pioneer in the space nets 4.66 million unique users a month (and a not too shabby $416 mm a year in annual sales). But their traffic pales next to more traditional drug retailers like CVS (6.37 mm uniques per month) and Walgreen’s (10.6 mm uniques per month). And then, of course, there is the 800-pound gorilla of health info online, Web MD with a whopping 16 million unique visitors per month (to put that number in comparison, the New York Times website average 17 mm uniques per month). It’s clear that Americans are more than comfortable obtaining health information online and they’re also comfortable with online purchasing of the drugs and other healthcare products they need. So why aren’t we doing a better job of selling those products to them?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating digital snake oil sales or anything similarly distasteful (or anything that might get anyone in trouble with the FDA). In fact, quite the opposite. As an industry, it’s a real black eye for us that most people associate online drug information with spam e-mails offering cheap Viagra and that most of the discussion of drug sales online revolve around things like obtaining cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals. No wonder the Pharma industry has such a bad reputation with many consumers. While drug manufacturers have sat in their ivory towers doing their best to ignore conversations with consumers, the digital space has been ceded to shady characters who have no interest in preserving brand integrity or serving patient’s needs.
Yes, we’re bound by strict regulatory requirements that preclude us using some of the traditional methods that other consumer marketers use to tout the features and benefits of their products. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t find new and better ways to educate consumers about their health and help them maintain positive lifestyles. Or even just make their lives a little easier.
Consider the plight of a young mother who has just relocated with her family to a city where she doesn’t know anyone. She needs to find a GP she can trust for her family. She needs to find a pharmacist she can trust as well. Maybe one of her children has special needs and she needs to find a local support group. Maybe she just needs to know where that 24-hour drugstore is located. Perhaps she has a prescription that has run out and no one to authorize a refill. What does she do now?
She probably looks at Yelp or one of the many sites that publish HCP reviews. She may type the name of a national drugstore chain into a search engine and find a store at random. And she will spend a lot of time online looking for resources to help her and her family. Not a problem, right? We all know young moms have nothing but time on their hands.
How much better would it be if she were able to go to a one stop portal that contained tons of information about the healthcare resources available in her community? A site that listed HCPs, local specialists, pharmacists and patient support groups. A site that also provided links to educational resources online and e-commerce partners who could help with issues of supply and cost. A site sponsored by one (or several) Pharma companies that provided a real service to the community and a positive representation of our industry online. And, not for nothing, a site that increased compliance and by extension benefitted both the patient and the Pharma company.
The above, is just one example, of ways we can interact with and benefit the end consumer, without violating FDA guidelines. I’m sure our readers could come up with numerous other ideas. The key here is to once again step outside the narrow confines of our traditional industry thinking and to learn from other players in the market. A good start would be for Pharma companies to become more active in the general conversations about online marketing and retailing that take place at sites like INTERNET RETAILER andSHOP.ORG. Ultimately, the end consumer for Pharma is a consumer and we need to realize that despite all the rules that bind us, the purchase funnel for our products is no different than any other.
What do you think? Is this the year we finally start talking about h-commerce?