Don't Bring Google Glass to a Bullfight

Photo taken by my iPhone, NOT by Google Glass

"So who's the 'Glasshole' who tried to wear Google Glass to a bullfight?"  

Ah, yours truly.

I've been returning to Sevilla, Spain, nearly every year since I spent a semester there as a student, living with a Spanish family.  I learned from that experience that bullfights aren't a tourist gimmick.  They are a deep, albeit divisive, part of Spanish history and culture.  (As an aside, while I still respect the courage and discipline of the bullfight participants, my latest visit made me conclude that I can no longer be a bullfight spectator.  The cruelty to the animals is too obvious and prolonged, even in the best of fights.)

A long weekend brought me back to Spain.  

Heading out the door of my hotel room, I grabbed my Google Glass fitted with sunglasses.  I soon discovered that though I had them "recharging" overnight, they hadn't.  (Double "Glasshole!") (Problem with the outlet, not with the Glass.)  It was too late for me to head back to the hotel.

Even inoperable, Glass still works quite nicely as a very comfortable, uber-expensive pair of sunglasses.  

The problem would've been averted if I had just brought my portable battery pack with me and my Glass recharging cord.  But, why bother lugging a portable charger when I had a Mophie battery pack for my iPhone and a seven-hour charge on my Glass?

I bought my tickets at the bullring, Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza.  I wasn't wearing my Glass when I bought the ticket.   I put them on when I got to my seat.  Though I was sitting in “la sombra,” the shaded side of the ring, sunglasses still made sense.

I watched the first fight uninterrupted.  Immediately upon it ending, however, a uniformed security officer was at my side as I stood up. Eyebrows furrowed, he leaned close to me, pointed to my Glass, and wagged his finger.  I immediately removed the Glass and tucked them in my shirt.

"Wow!  What about everyone else taking pictures and videos with their cameras and smartphones?!"

House rules.

As the second bullfight began, I wondered what might happen next.  I had no intention of putting the Glass back on, but, I wondered if I would be accosted in some way by the management as I left the ring, demanding…?  I considered how unbelievable it would be for me to assure them that my high-powered “glasses” were unpowered – literally.  That issue did not become an issue because, it appears, my removing my Glass ended THE issue.

(I wonder if Hemingway would have tried to wear Glass to a bullfight....I'm inclined to think that he would've wanted the pictures and wouldn't have cared how silly he might've looked.)

  • Don't wear Glass to a bullfight.  (At least not in Seville, Spain.)
  • Don't be a double Glasshole and create a second problem by not abiding by house rules when informed of them.
  • Don't be rude when asking someone in your establishment to remove their Glass.  (This gentleman was NOT; he was simply firm in conveying that his command wasn't going to be subject to a debate.)
  • Always bring a back-up charger when you really want to use your tech.
  • Stay cool whenever you’re confronted and it’s likely nobody gets too excited or demanding.
  • Remember, it’s house rules.
  • This one's for Google Glass or an entrepreneur - develop a keychain device that gives me a quick, even modest recharge of my Glass. 

Comments?  Go ahead, toss your banderillas!  

And, join me on Twitter!  @GlenGilmore 

Fitbit Beats Google Glass in User Experience...

Comparing fitbit with Google Glass...
Comparing Apples with Oranges

I am a "Google Glass Explorer" (translation: I coughed up $1,500 to get Glass early, in beta).  I understand that it's not really fair to compare a simple activity tracker, fitbit, with a "ask-it-to-do-anything" wearable device like Google Glass, but, here it is.

I have been wearing Google Glass for about a year now.  I only recently got a fitbit (and a Pepple smartwatch).  I have waxed poetic in the past about my problems with Glass, but, also, just found improved connectivity with my Glass which, I hope, means a whole new, possibly positive experience with Glass.

But, back to my assertion that fitbit beats Google Glass in user experience.  It's the simple things that count.  Glass has created an online "Explorer" community where we Explorers can share our experiences, network, and the like.  That's a part of the Glass user experience and it's a positive one.  Yet, what I am talking about, is something more proactive, small, but, big.

Like I said, I am new to fitbit.  So, I was delighted to receive the following email from fitbit:

The "Little Things" Are Generally "the Big Things" in User Experience

So, yes, I'm excited about a stupid, little reminder I got telling me that the battery level on my fitbit is low.  "Big deal!"

To me, it is a big deal, because as a new user the email just helped me continue my daily tracking that would have been interrupted if I hadn't gotten the friendly reminder.  I also like how the email walks me through the process of recharging my fitbit.  And, there is an unsubscribe link for when I become more fluent in my fitbit use.

A while ago, my experience with Glass improved when Google Glass finally created an iPhone app that comes with some very friendly walk-through videos.  Still, I don't recall every having received a very simple email like this from Glass on anything.

For example, since it seems that I was alone in complaining about Google Glass connectivity, it would have been really nice to have gotten an email from Glass saying, "Hey, we've heard that more than a few of you have been having problems with Glass connectivity.  Here's what we're doing to try and address this....  And, here are some suggestions on what you might do in the meantime to improve your Glass connectivity:  outline the steps like fitbit outlined the recharging instructions.

The More Complicated Your Wearable Device Is, the More You'll Need to Pay Attention to "the  Little Things"

If you are putting together a really ambitious, do-everything wearable device, please don't forget "the little things" in helping your would-be loyalists through the baby steps.

UPDATE:  Nice Social Response from @GoogleGlass   

So, I tweeted this post and got a really nice response from Google Glass via Twitter:

Kudos to Glass for being social, gracious, and responsive.

Here's to "the Crazy Ones" - and to the MVP

Despite my very public venting when it comes to Glass, I do maintain an abiding faith that Glass WILL only get better with time and, eventually, be the sort of wearable tech that most will want.

Why do I say this?  Simply, because the people at Google are really smart and passionate about innovation and product improvement.

It is crazy for Google to come out so early, even in beta, with a heads-up wearable tech device when that device so obviously needs numerous improvements...Or, is it.

It's finally dawning on this Glass Explorer that Google is merely heeding Eric Ries', Lean Startup model that counsels innovators to launch their MVP (minimum viable product) and start collecting "the maximum amount of validated learning" from customers to quicken improved iterations of the product.  It's certainly not the neatest way to launch a product, but, it is a way to quicken the learning curve for developers by providing them with a bounty of feedback from users -- users who clearly understood when they signed up for the program that they were signing up for a beta product, an MVP....

So, as a tweet from Glass has made me ponder a little bit more about my relationship with Glass, I think I've had an epiphany that makes me feel a bit better about the whole process.  Who says a tech giant can't also be a lean startup?!

If you'd like, please join me on Twitter!  @GlenGilmore 

A Pleasant Walk with #GoogleGlass

Google Glass Has Potential!

I have vented more than a few times about my disappointment with Google Glass.  Most recently, I wrote a blog post, Why Can't Google Fix #GoogleGlass.  My biggest complaint has been about the unreliability of wifi connectivity that enables the features of Glass, beyond picture taking and videos - despite my carrying with me a mobile wifi hotspot device.

This morning, I took a walk wearing my Google Glass, mobile wifi device in my jacket - and I stayed connected with Glass for the entire walk.  It was a pleasant walk with Google Glass.

I was actually surprised to find that I was connected and stayed connected for the entirety of my half-hour or so walk.  In the past, connectivity would be spotty.  This morning it was steady.  The results?

"Glass, Listen to 'Imagine Dragons'"

Giving it a command to play some music worked like a charm.  Within half a moment an album cover of "Imagine Dragons" appeared in the tiny, but easily-readable screen and the music begins.  A tap to the side of the Glass and the music paused.  Playing the music (still tinny sounding, though I wasn't using the earbud that has been provided with the updated version, version two of Glass), I thought I'd give a test of the "Wink" app I had maligned in my last post.

While Listening to "Imagine Dragons," I "Winked" and Took a Picture - Several, In Fact!

Literally, you can just wink and take a picture, using an application for Glass that calibrates to your "wink" when you first download the app.  Once downloaded and calibrated, it will take a photo for you anytime you give a hard wink, versus a blink.  (I noted in my last post that while on a trolly in San Francisco, recently, I found that a single wink was followed by several photos being taken - I suspect, now, that this was not the "wink" app, but, another motion sensitivity of the Glass.)

During my walk, I took several photos using the wink app.  The photo above is one such photo.  There was never any hesitancy in the photo being taken when I gave a hard wink and no unwanted photos from blinks.  Now that's pretty cool....And, yes, I'm still able to take photos "the old-fashioned way," by saying, "Ok, Glass, take a picture."

"Ok, Glass, add an event to my calendar at 3:00 p.m. today...."

While walking my dog, without having to fumble with my phone, I tilt my head back with a little bit of a snap to activate Glass and verbally tell Glass to add an event to my calendar.  It does.  Pretty cool.

"OK, Glass, what's the weather going to be like tomorrow?"

I don't have to tell Glass where I am, because, it knows where I am.  In a second or so it tells me what the weather will be like and also gives me a screen view.  Again, no fumbling for a phone.  Head ups. No having to repeat myself.

I tell it to take a video, it does (sorry, it's not an exciting video, so I decided to skip it)

Long and Short of It:  There's Still Hope for Google Glass

The worth of any wearable tech is in its functionality.  It is being useful.  Is it making my life easier or more enjoyable.  Now that connectivity seems to have been improved, I will once again work on playing with Glass more.  I hope it continues to improve.

(Let me also respond to those who are always quick to point out all the cool stuff Glass is already doing in the world of medicine.  I think that's especially exciting.  My obligation, however, as a Google Glass Explorer, is simply to share my experience of wearing Glass as I have found it to be.  For better or worse, that's what I've tried to do.)

Comfort?  "A" for Comfort

Despite Glass' harsh, Terminator-like appearance, it is actually very light-weight and hardly noticeable when you wear it.  It seems to me more comfortable than you average pair of glasses.  Not sure why, but, it just is.

That's it for now!  Thanks.

Please feel free to join me on Twitter at:

@GlenGilmore  and @GlassExploring

Why Can't Google Fix #GoogleGlass?

I am a #GoogleGlassExplorer

Yes, I coughed up $1,500 to be a Google beta guinea pig for Google Glass.  I was very excited at the privilege of doing so, after all, one even had to be invited to join the Google Glass Explorer Program and the invitation came with the opportunity to test a really cool, disruptive tech product months before the rest of the world.

It's a Very Expensive Camera...

I'll cut to the chase:  it's a very expensive, goofy-looking camera.  Oh, the video works all the time, too, but, I really don't fancy the notion of taking a video as I am walking...just about anywhere.

Saturday Night Live Got it Right

Saturday Night Live had a news skit where a guest was showing how cool Glass is:  the only problem, nothing worked.  Well, when I muster the "let's-try-it-again" spirit and don my Google Glass in public, scores of people (truly) will stop me to say, "Whoa, 'Google Glass' - how cool are they?!"'  I always want to say, "Really cool!!!"  I can't.  They're not even close to cool.

Why Can't Google Fix Google Glass?

I went through wearing version one of Glass and then got version two, with a build up from Glass that made me think that what I was going to get in version two was everything I had hoped would be in version one.  Not.

"The time is nigh for your new Glass," the message I received from Google intoned when it informed me that I would be getting a box to exchange my version one of Google Glass for the updated version.  The difference in the two?  I did get an ear bud with my updated version of Glass, but, beyond that, I can't point to anything with version two that made me say "wow" or "finally" or "thank you!"  Even the earbud didn't seem to really improve the phone's sound.

This week I received another (I have received several in the past) survey request from Glass.  Though I dutifully completed the previous surveys, this time, I am not going to bother to even fill it out, because I hate having to repeat myself.  This speaks volumes about the state of my relationship with Google Glass.

What Don't I Like About "Google Glass"?
  • Connectivity is a problem.
  • Connectivity is a problem.  (Did I mention that before?)
  • CONNECTIVITY IS A PROBLEM.  I even bought myself an AT&T mobile wifi device after an AT&T rep told me that the hotspot activation from my iPhone really didn't have the strongest signal and the mobile device should address any connectivity problems I might have; it's made little difference.  "OK Glass, get me directions to...." "OK Glass, get me directions to..."  Whips out iPhone and maps it.  (Now, I did have it give me directions in San Francisco and it worked and it was cool...That was once.)
  • "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?"  It tells me.  Cool.  "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?"  It ignores me.  Not cool.
  • Wink app.  Cool.  I'm on a trolley in SanFrancisco.  No cameras or smartphones allowed to be used while on the outside seats to take pictures.  I've got the wink app.  I wink.  It takes a picture...But, then it takes a bunch  pictures - and I'm not winking!
  • Real-time translation of text?  It's there as an app, but, I'll be darned if I can get it to work sitting down patiently at my desk, in slow motion - don't think I'll be trying it in a foreign county.
  • Play music.  When it works, you just ask it for music by...and it plays.  When it plays, the sound, even with the ear bud, isn't very good...But, too often, the only thing it wants to let me do is take pictures or record a video.
  • Google Glass is not a smart phone that you can discreetly, comfortably fit in a pocket, which means that you have to pay close attention to the weather, as an unexpected rainy day means you're stuck with you Glass tucked in your shirt.
You get the idea.  I could go on, but, for what purpose if Google isn't making progress on the basics.  

To borrow a phrase from Google, "the time is nigh."

P.S.  Google, if it's just too big a task, mind handing it over to Apple!

Please feel free to join me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore

#myNYPD – More Than a "Twitter Fail"

Never Underestimate the Power of a Single Tweet
The social media PR campaign started innocently enough, with a single tweet, asking readers on Twitter to share of photo of the NYPD and include the branded hashtag, #myNYPD.  Viewers were told that their tweet might even find its way to the Department's Facebook page:

Branded Hashtags Can Quickly Become "Bashtags"
The Twitter campaign quickly turned ugly, with scores of people using the NYPD’s Twitter hashtag, #myNYPD, to share stories, often with photos, that spun a very unflattering picture of New York City’s finest. 
Even the staid New Yorker joined the fray, sharing a tweet and story on the subject.  It included one of the most frequently shared photos associated with the hashtag:

While there were those who did use #myNYPD to share stories and pictures expressing positive experiences with the NYPD, most took to the Twitter stream to share stories that were not a positive reflection of the many fine and brave men and women of the NYPD. 
As the NYPD learned, social media is a place where PR can quickly and unexpectedly spin out of control.  The branded hashtag can quickly become a “bashtag.”
In a World that Uses Social Media to Communicate, You Can’t Back Away from Transparency or Social Media

In a candid comment to the Associated Press, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton acknowledged “the Twitter campaign may not have been fully thought through.”  
To his credit, the Commissioner went on to say, “it’s not going to cause us to change any of our efforts to be very active on social media….It is what it is. It’s an open, transparent world.”
Address a Social Media Crisis Where It's Taking Place
Having braved the world of social media transparency, it would have been a positive step for the Commissioner to send a tweet or two sharing from his own official Twitter account his promise that the Department would continue its investment in social media and transparency.  Twitter is, after all, where the firestorm began.

Instead, the Commissioner’s Twitter stream has remained silent on the entire subject, missing an opportunity to demonstrate the transparency and positive use of social media that the Commissioner talked about in his conversation with the AP.  (His Twitter account did find time to post some other standard PR pieces.)   

"It is a Transparent World"

It bears repeating, though, that the Commissioner has pledged to not back away from the Department’s use of social media.  As the Commissioner observed, “It is what it is.  It is a transparent world.”

"A moment to take stock...."

Taken from the perspective of a PR campaign, the #myNYPD Twitter campaign has already joined the annals of epic Twitter PR failures.  But, it is here where one should look for the opportunity that comes with a “failed” marketing campaign – the opportunity to use the torrents of information that have flooded the social media stream to consider how to turn around a powerful discontent with a significant part of one's community.  It is, as The New Yorker observed in its tweet, “a moment to take stock…”

A Recap of Some Lessons Learned:

  1. Do market research before launching any social media marketing campaign.
  2. Conduct brand sentiment analysis as part of your pre-launch review.  (Ask, "What are people saying/tweeting about our brand."  Listen actively.)
  3. Consider the timing of your social media campaign.  (#QuantasLuxury during a company labor dispute?  No.  #AskJPMorgan when massive numbers are still facing foreclosures and unemployment?  No.)
  4. Be prepared for your PR spin to spin out of control.  "My story" may not be your story, or the one you are hoping I will share.
  5. Be willing to address your failed social media marketing campaign in the forum where it failed.
  6. Don't back away from transparency or social media - you can't afford to in a world that places a premium on both.
  7. When a social media campaign spins into a viral negative..."take stock."
Share and Connect

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the subject and connect with me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore

(DISCLOSURE:  For eight years, I served as a "Public Safety Director", aka "Police Director," while serving as mayor of NJ's eighth-largest city.)

#GoogleGlass Fails Social Customer Service

"Whaddaya mean we 'fail social customer service"?!...Didn't we send you a holiday card?!

You did.

"Didn't we offer you coffee, wine, beer and champagne when you came to be fitted for your Glass?!"

You did.

"So how did we 'fail social customer service'?'

You didn't bother to listen after the deal was done.

There's No Excuse for Google Not Listening In Social

Google is quick to beat its chest about how Google Plus is on its way to social media dominance.

Google Plus IS big.  How could it not be?  If you have a gmail account you are beaten into submission. No peace until you agree to having a Google Plus account.  Be that as it may.

Google wants to be social.  It really wants to be social.

To underscore the point, you can find Glass on Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, Google doesn't understand that listening is the first and most important step in social media success.

Engage Your Customers

Google wants to be social.  I really want to like Google Glass.  It should be a match made in heaven.

I want Glass to succeed not just because I paid about $1,600 for the privilege of becoming a Glass Explorer, but, because I actually  like Google as a company and would love to see Glass succeed.  It has incredible potential.  If it can't get the simple stuff, however, it's going to have a tough time with the big stuff.

When your customers complain in social media, they should get a response.  Somehow.  Somewhere.

I gather that there are a grand total of less than 10,000 Google Glass Explorers, people who have Glass, world wide.  This should be a manageable group for a company like Google.  Somehow, it's not.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Not long ago, I shared a post on Google's own private platform for Glass Explorers.  I vented about how I had trouble with connectivity and wasn't impressed with the functionality of Glass generally.  Two fellow explorers responded.  No one from Glass did.

So, the other day, I blogged about my disappointment with Glass.  I then shared that post with my 160,000 some closest friends on Twitter.  Still nothing from Glass.

Are my expectations that unrealistic…Or is it true, Google just doesn't get social, especial social customer service?

Why Couldn't Glass Help Me Get Connected?

A lack of reliable connectivity has been a big problem for Glass and me.  I have an iPhone.  I got a Verizon personal wifi hotspot for my phone for Glass connectivity.  It rarely worked.

I was then told by someone at Verizon to get a portable Unite wifi device and I would find a vast improvement in connectivity.  I did, but then could not get my Glass to sync with the new wifi hotspot.  I complained about this in my blog and tweets.

I then stumbled upon the recently released Glass app for the iPhone.  It provided a simple way to register a wifi network.  I am hoping that my connectivity issue has been resolved.

Would it have been too much to ask Glass to have listened to my complaint and said, "Hey, Glen, we think we can help…"

For Zappos, that wouldn't be too much to ask or expect.

For Glass…well, you know my thoughts.

Please Share Your Thoughts and Connect with Me on Twitter!

@GlenGilmore   @GlassExploring

Social Governance: Take Ownership of Your Social Media Accounts #SocBiz

Don't Become This Year's @PhoneDog_Noah Poster Child 

The infamous case of @PhoneDog_Noah dragged on for three years, wracking up legal fees all along the way.  The skinny?  Employee with business-branded Twitter account decides to leave the company, taking along with him "his" Twitter account, with its 23,000 followers.  Tug of war ensues.  "It belongs to the company."  "It belongs to me."  Company sues asserting each follower has a value of $2.50.  Three years later a settlement with a confidentiality agreement.  We know the case is settled, but, we don't know the terms.

How to Avoid Becoming This Year's @PhoneDog_Noah - or @hmvtweets?

Social media accounts used for a business purpose are a business asset.  Businesses need to define with their employees who owns or controls what and to what extent.  Forget to limit how and when an employee may use a business-branded Twitter account and you just may find your company's next difficult move live-tweeted, as the entertainment company HMV found out when one of its employees rather hilariously live tweeted company layoffs.  Avoiding litigation or embarrassment from one's business social media accounts requires defining who controls them, when and to what extent.

Some Simple Social Media Governance Suggestions:

  • Define ownership.  If your company's intention is to retain control over a specific social media account:  say so.  Say so NOW!  
  • Put It In Writing.  Forget the "he said, she said".  Get your employees - or partners - to sign an agreement that in consideration of being permitted to use any given branded social media account, he or she acknowledges that such an account(s) is/are the sole property of the business and remains under the business' ownership and control regardless of what may happen to the employee.
  • Include Safety Brakes.  Include a provision in your social media accounts agreements that should an employee who has access or management privileges to a business social media account is any way suspended or terminated or leaves the company's employment, he or she must immediately cease any communication or management of the company's social media accounts and that he or she may not change the account(s) passwords and that he or she will assist the company, even in such instances, in resuming control of the social media accounts.
Bonus Social Media Governance Tip
  • Change Your Account Passwords Anytime an Employee Who had Access Leaves!  Simple enough.  So see that it's done!  It's a simple step too many enterprises, big and small, ignore.
* Nothing contained in this post should be considered legal advice.  If you have a legal question, please contact an attorney from your jurisdiction.

Connect with me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore   @SocialMediaLaw1