If You're Not Gaga Over #GoogleGlass, You're a Bad "Explorer"

About two months ago, I plunked down about $1,600 to get a pair of Google Glass.  

"Wow, cool."

I wish it were.

I have an iPhone.  No plans to switch.  That means that, at this point, I don't have GPS, one of the most coveted features of Glass.

I do have my calendar, photography, videos, occasionally the ability to Google and ask Google questions ala Siri, and the ability to make phone calls and share items with friends.

No Wifi Connectivity, Little Functionality

For the mainstay of Glass functionality, however, you need wifi.  When I got Glass, I upgraded my AT&T iPhone plan so that I would have a personal wifi hotspot for Glass.  The result?  Sometimes I have connectivity, though most of the time I don't.  On occasion, when I do have wifi connectivity, I have gotten the Google equivalent of a "Fail Whale", a message telling me that Google can't be reached at the moment.

Without wifi, you are pretty much left with an expensive camera/video.

So I just stopped by an AT&T store tonight to increase my data plan and mentioned my problem with Glass (and laptop) connectivity.  The rep was quick to say that the iPhone wifi hubspot really isn't all that good and that I should get myself an AT&T wifi hub device, the "Unite", for twenty bucks a month.  He said I should see a big difference.

Got home, went to the Glass site to register the new wifi network and was stumped at the question posed, though I had confronted it once before:

"WPA" or "WEP"?

Now, you may be shaking your head at me not knowing whether to answer "WPA" or "WEP", but I'm going to guess that a lot of other consumers are going to be stumped by the choice - and, yes, we can Google it, but should we have to?  As a lawyer, I have been trained not to use any terms someone may not understand without explaining them.  Would it be too much to have a notation underneath explaining the difference or offering some technical guidance?  But, that's a minor, UX (user experience) point.

Thinking it would be just as easy for me to try one, then the other if the first didn't work, I did just that.  Both failed to connect, despite generating a QR code (part of the new network registration) and a signal saying that Glass was connecting.

So, when I get  a moment, I'll try and stop by Google in NYC to see if they can help me.  I don't have the time to go searching for an answer.  ("Then maybe you don't have time to be an Explorer," someone will be quick to intone.  I realized when I ventured into the program that my approach to exploring would be somewhat passive, seeing where the stream of iterations might take me, rather than me boating to different destinations.)  Should it be so difficult?  I think not.

But, Beware Suggesting that You Are Not Thrilled with Glass Or You May Be Targeted a "Bad Explorer"

When I have raised a general sense of disappointment with Glass, the response from some Explorers has to remind me that I signed up for a beta project, that cool stuff is being done in medicine, that cool recipes are being shared every holiday, etc., etc..  Blah, blah, blah.  I would just like to be able to say that I have something that is pretty cool and easy to use, that makes my day a little easier and more interesting.

Nearly everyone is pretty excited when they first look into Glass.  It would be much cooler, I would have to think, if I had connectivity on a consistent basis.

@GlenGilmore   @GlassExploring

I am about to become a #GoogleGlass Explorer

Friday, October 4th, 2013, I become a 
"Google Glass Explorer"

I'm Not a "Techie"

I'm not a "techie" in the traditional sense.  I do still have trouble, at times, with the television remote.  I do, however, keenly track trends in technology and try to decipher their implications on our lives.

An "Influencer" Invite from IBM - Why Bother Spending $1,600

When I was invited to become a "Google Glass Explorer" by friends at IBM, I asked, "Why?"  What was so compelling that I should spend about $1,600 for a device that might soon be released to the general public for much less than that.

"It's Really, Really Cool - And You Test Drive It Four Months Ahead of Anyone Else"

The answer I got was pretty much that the device is really, really cool, and that I would have the opportunity to test run a disruptive technology months before the general public - anywhere.

An Opportunity I Can't Pass On

However this happened, I thought that it was an opportunity that I should not pass on.  I took a look at the official Google Glass video (I'm not providing a link, because I don't want you to waste your time.) and I wasn't impressed.  It seemed that it was all about taking videos and pictures, making video phone calls and getting directions.  Cool, but not cool enough for me to plunk down $1,600.  (To be clear, my friends at IBM got me the opportunity to buy Google Glass.  An opportunity that arose from being a part of their social media "influencer" network.)

Forget the Official Google Glass Video - Check This One Out

Unimpressed with the official Google Glass (yes, "Google Glass", not "Google Glasses"), I looked elsewhere.  I found a video from my new friends (I tweeted their video; they tweeted back.) at Purple Rock Scissors, that made Glass seem pretty exciting:

So, here it is:  since I have this privilege of becoming a Google Glass Explorer, I feel obliged to share my journey.  I'll be sharing some posts like this, nothing fancy, to record my journey and share my learning.

As a "Non-Techie", I'm Probably a Good Explorer Candidate

Since, as I noted, I'm not really a techie, perhaps that makes me a good Explorer candidate.  If I fail in my journey, so, most likely, do Jane and John Q. Public.  I realize, though, that because of the great community of friends I've gathered in social, I'll likely have more help than most, which I hope will benefit others in their journey and advance the technology of wearable tech.

Help Me Succeed as a Google Glass Explorer (Please)

As a non-technie, I'm going to need the help of those of you who are techies.

A Couple Problems at the Get Go

First problem, I gather, is that I use an iPhone and not an Android.


What apps should I be using?  I really have no idea and "googling" the question hasn't been very helpful.

A Practical Problem - I Wear Glasses (Or Contacts)

When I was given the Google Glass invite, I asked a question concerning a very common problem:  will Google Glass work with contacts.  The answer I got was a, "Well...er...they're going to come out with prescription Glass soon."

I wasn't going to let no stinkn' contacts stand in the way of my getting Google Glass.  I scheduled an emergency appointment with my dear friend "Dr. D", a.k.a., Dr. Nick Despotidis, OD, FCOVD, FAAQ, FIOA (eye doctor) of Eye Care Professionals for his help.  I told him I had researched and learned about new "multi-focus" contact lenses (if I wear contacts, I need reading glasses - naturally.)  So my eye doctor instantly understood how important this Google Glass quest was for me and dismissed the idea of prescribing the new-fangled, multi-focus lenses.  Instead, he said, he would "dedicate" my right eye to Google Glass by prescribing a lense fitted to the Google Glass explanation of how the display screen appears to the average viewer.  I have been fitted with a couple slight variations of this prescription to increase the prospects of my contact working with the Glass.

UPDATE:  The adjusted contact worked like a charm.  The screen is easy to read.  To be clear, what my eye doctor did was to not fully correct the near-sightedness in my right eye, the Google-screen side, allowing me to clearly read the Google Glass screen while still having slightly-improved sight in that eye for distance.

The Google Glass Appointment Reminder

That's It.  Installment One

So there you have it.  Installment One of my Google Glass journey.

Please Help Me on My Journey

Please offer your comments below.

And tweet me your thoughts and suggestions at @GlenGilmore  and @GlassExploring (An account dedicated to my exploration of Glass.)  Thanks!

Kenneth Cole's Newest Collection: Crisis Social Media

By Glen Gilmore

"Boots on the ground."  For a world too familiar with war, the meaning of the phrase is chillingly clear:  soldiers on the ground, in harm's way.  Lives likely to be lost.  Young men and women likely to be maimed.

So, what are we to think when a major fashion designer sends out a tweet, as a major military intervention in Syria by the U.S. looms:

"'Boots on the ground' or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps, and loafers. #Footwear

Provocative?  Edgy?  Gutsy?

Insensitive?  Opportunistic?  Dumb?

Kenneth Cole, namesake of the Kenneth Cole fashion house, describes himself in his Twitter profile as, first and foremost, a "Designer", but also as an "Aspiring Humanitarian" and "Social Networker in training".

So, was the tweet about "Boots on the ground", "sandals, pumps and loafers" in the store, the poor judgment of a crass designer looking to hawk his wares, the plaintiff voice of an "Aspiring Humanitarian", or the stumble of a "Social Networker in training"?

A Promptly Tweeted, Instagram Response

Kenneth Cole was quick to answer the controversy stirred by his "Boots on the ground...sandals, pumps and loafers" in the store tweet.  His very next tweet, sent within six hours of the controversial one, directed viewers to his Instagram video response:

Just Lil' Ole Me Looking to "Provoke Dialogue"

For those skeptics who thought that by including the hashtag, #Footwear, Kenneth Cole was more likely than not merely looking to sell a few more "sandals, pumps and loafers" by cashing in on the specter of armed conflict - wrong.

Or, at least, that's what Kenneth Cole would like us to think.

"I am well aware of the risks..."

Let's have a closer look at Mr. Cole's response:

I have always used my platform to provoke dialogue about important issues, including HIV aids or homelessness.  I am well aware of the risks that come with this approach, and if this encourages further awareness and discussions about critical issues, then all the better.

Hhhmm.  "Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps, and loafers" #Footwear

Did we really need Mr. Cole's tweet to call awareness to the issue or to encourage discussion about military action that is dominating every news headline and being debated on nearly every news show and coffee shop? 

And the Responses to the Response are In

Comments posted to Cole's Instagram video explanation range from "Power to you. #stirthepot" to "Wow. I am genuinely impressed by the magnitude of bull**** in this video. Bravo, sir."

Kenneth Cole Lost Me at #Cairo

I must confess that my view of the this entire controversy is tainted by my familiarity with a much earlier Kenneth Cole tweet.  In fact, it is a tweet that I always use as an example of social media selling gone bad in a module I teach at Rutgers that touches on crisis communications.

I used to be a fan of Kenneth Cole, the man, the company.  When, however, in the midst of some of the fiercest fighting in Cairo, on a day in which the hashtag #Cairo was trending on Twitter as thirteen protesters lost their lives in the struggle for freedom, Kenneth Cole sent out a tweet that he later described as being an "attempt at humor":

We weren't intending to make light of a serious situation...Okay, maybe we were

Oops, I did it again!....But, this time I meant to!

Mr. Cole's "Boots on the grounds".... "sandals, pumps and loafers" in the store tweet sounds strangely familiar...as does his no-apologies response.

In the dust of the #Cairo fiasco, the social media site Mashable carried an apology from Mr. Cole, shortly after a tweeted reply declaring that they Kenneth Cole had not intended "to make light of a serious situation" failed to calm the storm.  (No attempt here to distinguish the founder, Kenneth Cole, from the fashion house, Kenneth Cole.)

Contradicting the first explanation of the #Cairo tweet, Cole, according to Mashable, later offered an apology on his Facebook page:

"I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate."

Humor and the Loss of Life Don't Mix

"Think before you tweet."  Simple enough as a basic rule for minimizing the risk of a social media crisis.

Mr. Cole wants us to believe that he did think before he tweeted:

"'Boots on the ground' or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps, and loafers. #Footwear "

As in the immediate aftermath of his #Cairo tweet, Mr. Cole has also once again reminded us of his pedigree of social activism.

Perhaps as with his #Cairo tweet, we will later learn that this, too, was another attempt at interjecting humor in addition to sparking discussion.  I would have thought, though, that Mr. Cole would have learned by now that humor and death do not mix well.

While Mr. Cole's Twitter profile asserts that his "tweets are not representative of the corporate feed" I find myself hard pressed to separate the two, as Mr. Cole has thoroughly blended the two. 

There have been times in which I have wondered if have been too rash or harsh in my feelings towards Kenneth Cole, the man and the brand, following the #Cairo fiasco.  This latest episode assures me that I have not.

Be "Aware of the Risks"

Mr. Cole insists that he is aware of the risks of his tweeting.

And, he has, in fact, always promoted a social edginess that might make others uncomfortable. 

In two grave moments of life and death, however, he has chosen to seemingly promote his products with a trending topic, only to chide us for any offense we may have taken, by reminding us of his social pedigree.  I am glad that he is "aware of the risks" of how he chooses to use his social media platforms, as this consumer has had enough.

As the founder of a company, Mr. Cole can take his company where he will in his tweeting.  I trust that this, too, is part of his awareness. 

Thank you, Mr. Cole, for once again reminding us of your social pedigree -- and of the risks of tweeting what you will.

Please join me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore and @CrisisSocMedia


How NOT to Use Hashtags and RTs in a Crisis 

What #SmarterCommerce Means #IBM

For IBM, "Smarter Commerce" is both a series of conferences and a smarter way of doing business.  This year's gathering, in Nashville, is my first IBM conference.  It's being held at the sprawling and magnificent Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee.  It's a fantastic place to learn about new technologies and techniques that all target improving customer capture, experience and loyalty.

Influencers Invited (Disclosure)

I am a guest of IBM at its Smarter Commerce conference, along with about a dozen other "VIP Influencers".  The honor came with no request that I blog or tweet, let alone what I should blog or tweet.  Just a "come and see" invitation.  

Have to say that I like IBM's confidence and approach.   "Engaging" "influencers" always comes with a measure of risk, as you can never be quite sure what they'll have to say should they decide to say something, blog something, tweet something.  Yet IBM's confidence is well placed, as their entire event shows just how much they "get" smarter commerce.

Influencers at the conference include the likes of: 

@PeterShankman, author of Nice Companies Finish First (not an affiliate link - none of them are)Triberr founder @DinoDogan, Return on Relationship author @tedrubin, #GetRealChat creator, Pam Moore, Smarter Commerce Social Media Command Center guru, Bryan Kramer, Modern Media CEO, Tonia Ries, Ricoh Global Marketing, Sandra Zoratti, entrepreneur, Kim Garst, social strategist and small business expert, @BrianMoranNew York Times best-selling author Bryan Eisenberg, @TheSocialCMO a network of Chief Marketing Officers "sharing power of social networks and coffee...Robert Moore, founder of Internet Media Labs, and that social media renegade and expert in Bahamian affairs, Drew Neisser - and others! (Glad to add more!) 

IBMers: White Shirts & Power Ties

Gotta confess that I've always had a blue suit, heavily-starched white shirt, power tie impression of IBM (yes, I often find myself wearing the same uniform).  Meaning, I was a bit skeptical of just how good IBM would be at leading others to agile, customer-centric "smarter commerce".  In short, I arrived with a healthy dose of skepticism.    

To make matters worse, when I checked in, I asked how many "IBMers" would be in attendance at this three-day event.  The receptionist answered with a smile:  "About 2,000."  (I have come to learn that 2,000 IBMers at a conference is not so big a conference as IBM goes.)

The reality?  While the white-shirt and power-tie industries still do okay with some IBMers, what impresses one most is how passionate and smart IBMers are.  A diverse group, they have a keen sense of the need for agility.  They are passionate about understanding their customers, their partners, and they are incredible evangelists for their products and services.  

Rush to judgment?  My glowing impression may seem like a broad brush after only two days of IBM immersion, but, rest assured, I have intently listened, met, poked and probed.  Everywhere I turned, there was an IBMer to chat with, to listen to - to learn from.  "Smart and passionate" is the impression everyone here exudes when you take the time to test them at their craft.

Empowered to shine.  It seems that IBMers have been empowered to shine with their own personalities and talents -- and they do so quite well.

Lesson:  Empower your employees to be brand evangelists and they'll inspire

It's a wonderful thing to see employees who are so excited about their brand products and services.  Unleash your employees to be brand evangelists.  They'll likely do a far better job than you'd ever imagine in converting prospects into customers.

Get Smart! (And Get Social!)

Not your grandfather's IBM.  The IBM Smarter Commerce expo center is a great spot to see much of the exciting stuff IBM is up to.  Let's just say, it's not your grandfather's IBM.  It's high-tech.  It's cutting edge.  And, it's very "social".

IBM has always been a tech leader, even in your grandparent's era.  But what makes this company so special now is that as a global, mega-brand, it is working incredibly hard to be agile, to innovate, and to put the customer at the center of every experience.  (Not to suggest that these attributes haven't always been dear to the company!)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Wander, stop, listen and learn.  Don't worry, no sense of walking through a gauntlet of hawkers like at your typical expo hall.  Instead, though the hall is brimming with exhibits, the varieties of technologies and customer solutions being offered let people gravitate to what interests them most.

Want to learn about "Big Data"?  You may not.  I did.  Plenty of experts on hand to make the mysterious, less so.  Ten minutes with IBMer J. Graeme Noseworthy gave a better sense of how it all works and what to look for, than some very long presentations on the topic.  (Make sure you know where the data is coming from.  Is it "at rest" or flowing?  Is it trustworthy?)

Biometrics:  Facial and Voice Recognition  Like I said, give an IBMer a moment to tell you about their products and their eyes light up and they'll tell ya just what you need to know.  Cool stuff. IBM is looking to make online transactions more secure by layering facial and voice recognition "passwords".  Can't these be "gamed"?  Stop by and they'll answer that question.

Test drive a Jaguar or LandRover! (Ok, not really.)  See what IBM is doing with helping customers scale consumer product-testing experiences.  It's  Matrix-like and fun!  (Sorry, that's all I'm saying. Check it out!)

"It's about ME!"  (Your customer, that is!)  Everything about Smarter Commerce is about your customer:  how to serve her when, where and how she wants to be served, wowing her every step of the way.  From mobile banking, to typical retail, customer experiences are getting better because data capture and analysis are getting much better.  Visit the expo and find out what's under the hood!

What about the hologram?  Yes, I know.  It seems a little scary in my Vine video....It's even slightly more so IRL!

It's about the customer...
in context.
Deliver Your Products and Services in Context
Deliver Help, Not Hype

Speaker after speaker hammers away a pivotal point:  "Business must provide customers what they want, when they want it, where they want it, how they want it!"  Tall order.  IBM solutions, however, are all about figuring out those critical touch points.  It's data-driven customer service that focuses on what the customer really wants "today", not six months ago.

As keynote speaker and author @JayBaer would say, smarter commerce is about replacing hype, with help.  IBM Smarter Commerce looks to deliver both the data analysis and platforms to deliver the "help" seamlessly.  At the Smarter Commerce conference, you’ll see how leading organizations are using IBM Smarter Commerce to meet the demands of empowered customers in real time.

Additional Smarter Commerce Takeaways
From keynotes, breakout sessions, conversations and social

 IBM's "Supercomputer", @IBMWatson?  Yah, there's an app for that!

IBM supercomputer, the one of the Jeopardy gameshow fame, is in virtual attendance at Smarter Commerce.  In fact, a big announcement was made that now that IBMWatson had proven itself on primetime, IBMWatson is ready for the challenge of customer service, putting to task his unparalleled ability to find answers to the toughest questions.  (Oh, by the way, we are told he has also gotten much smarter since his last gameshow appearance.  It seems that he has the ability to learn from his experiences -- and even programs himself to be smarter...Scared yet?)

Make no mistake, IBM understands the challenge of customer service and the need to be really good at it.  As IMBWatson's chief technologist observed, "One letter separates customer 'help' from customer 'hell'.'

IBM Partner USAA, Wayne Peacock
  • What matters is what you hear from your customers.
  • Have a relentless focus on your customers.
  • Be purpose driven.

Sir Terry Leahy, of Tesco fame

In a keynote address, Sir Terry Leahy, of Tesco fame, helped capture the essences of "smarter commerce".  Explaining Tesco's stunning success, Sir Leahy observed, in a very understated way:  "We transformed the customer experience on the basis of data."  

Other points Sir Leahy made:
  • A leader will take you farther than you can go on your own.
  • You have to find the truth.  See yourself as others see you.
  • Leadership has to have the courage to confront what they’re not doing so well.
  • Customers are your most reliable guide. If you listen, they’ll show you the way forward.
  • Have audacious goals.
  • We all screen out information that is not focused to our needs.
  • Ask your customers what they think your company stands for and what they would like it to stand for -- make their answers your guideposts.
  • Differentiate the experience globally to suit local customers.
  • Call the company to the needs of the customer.
  • Data is priceless.  Build everything back from the customer.  (Tesco used heat-seeking cameras in its stores to assess when lines occurred most!)

 Peter Shankman - "Nice Companies Finish First"

Entrepreneur Peter Shankman, who spent fourteen hours a day for about years building an online community at HARO, offered his latest insights:
  • Brevity is the new nice.  
  • You have about 2.3 seconds to connect with a consumer online.
  • Do the thing you say you’re going to do.
  • Strive to be transparent and relevant.
  • Use the consumer data you have to bring relevant content to consumers.
  • Look for opportunities to dazzle your customers so that you stay "top of mind".
  • Be transparent with your customers about how they can get in touch with you.

Triberr founder Dino Dogan on Creating "Insane Loyalty"

Triberr founder, DinoDogan, who has been able to create "insane loyalty" with his Tribber community, provided some tips on how to do the same elsewhere:
  • Be a super-connector.  (Connect with others and help others connect with each other.)
  • Make your customers feel special.  Give them status.  (A Mercedes wouldn't feel quite the same without the Mercedes crest.)
  • There's no such thing as "B2B", it's all people to people.
  • If you can give your customers a special status, they will come back.

Some "Smarter Commerce"nuggets captured from my Twitter stream

If you link to my Twitter stream, you'll get to see the "tweets" in all their glory, with notations on where they originated from.  Please forgive me for honing them down to mainly the lessons here:
  • No trust.  No business.  @valaafshar
  • Make your employees feel stewardship over your brand.  @tedrubin
  • Use social media like a telephone, not a megaphone.  @valaafshar
  • Social is not about the number of tweets or followers you have, but about the depth and quality of conversations and relationships.  @PamMktgNut (aka, Pam Moore)
  • Three words Apple uses internally:  simple, innovative and beautiful.  @PorterGail via @PamMktgNut
  • Your network is your net worth.  @PorterGail via @KimGarst
  • Use social media as your marketing GPS.  @BryanKramer via @tamicann
If you use Twitter, I strongly suggest you search the hashtag #SmarterCommerce for tons of Smarter Commerce nuggets.  If you're not using Twitter, no better time to start than now!

Please be sure to connect with me on LinkedIn Twitter or shoot me an email at:  


And I'd love to hear any Smarter Commerce comments you may have!  Thanks!

And special thanks to IBM, Tami Cannizzaro, Jay Baer, and Michael Ditanna!