Get Ready to Roboshop

The Atlantic • 19 February 2014

Location, location, location. Check out this interview with Walmart's senior VP of mobile and digital for insight into how this mega-retailer is leveraging in-store mobile commerce. A Store Mode app enables shoppers to locate what they're looking for using their smartphones—no more trying to track down a store clerk for assistance. In light of the recent Pew findings that younger library users would like to use mobile technology to search for books, this experiment is one to keep an eye on.

Here are some remarkable statistics. Half the traffic to comes from mobile devices. This was less than 10% two years ago. Walmart mobile labs employ 1,500 staff in Silicon Valley. How'd they get them? Some via billboards. Why? Because they really have big data. (Michalko)

How Your Computer Will Read You Like a Book—and Then Sell You Stuff

Co.exist/Fast Company • 5 March 2014

Affective computing. Computers' ability to recognize, interpret and simulate non-verbal cues through pattern recognition algorithms could revolutionize our interactions with marketers, educators, politicians and law enforcement. Read on an interesting example of how this might work in retail marketing and contemplate the possibilities for automating dynamic consumer interactions in public service situations.

Okay, this is an elaborately fleshed-out scenario that will exist only if a lot of things come together. He invokes the Spike Jonze movie, Her. If that's in your head then this is suddenly plausible. (I have been a Spike Jonze fan ever since he directed Christopher Walken's dancing in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" music video. More Walken?) (Michalko)

Established Companies, Get Ready for the Collaborative Economy

HBR Blog Network • 4 March 2014

Brave new world. As sharing goods and services goes mainstream as a lifestyle choice, market research expert Alexandra Samuel says, "Established companies must grasp the core drivers behind this new economy, and understand how those drivers fit into their already established models." Read on for a good analysis of how this sea change in consumer behavior is making waves across the traditional market economy and consider how your organization can leverage the shift. For a closer look at the demographics of sharing, check out "The Collaborative Economy Is Exploding, and Brands that Ignore It Are Out of Luck.

"Less buying, more sharing." That's a core value for libraries, isn't it? (Michalko)

Silence Is Now a Luxury Product

New Republic • 4 March 2014

Sound off. Quiet cars, silent retreats—the sounds of silence are selling at a premium these days as people attempt to push back against the "gnat-like ticking of technology." Read on for more on the latest trend in elite marketing.

As much catalog of irritations as rant, this observation rang true for me—"matters that have less to do with life and more to do with quality-of-life, tend to arise in times of relative prosperity." You can't position silence as a luxury unless there's a market of well-heeled buyers. Maybe libraries would be well-advised to not entirely distance themselves from the shushing librarian stereotype (this, this, not that)—we are luxury for the masses. (Michalko)

There's No Jot of Shame in Leaving the Books on Your Shelf Unread

The Telegraph • 6 March 2014

Not guilty. Columnist Christopher Howse's clever essay is a welcome reprieve for anyone whose coffee table is groaning with the weight of "vanity" books. After all, books deteriorate the more they're handled—why risk reading them? Howse says, "The great fallacy is to think that you own a book. You don't. You are just looking after it till it gets a new guardian."

Isn't putting aside a book after a legitimate trial read just a sign that you're a fully-grown thinking adult? If you keep one that's had its chance you must replace "thinking" with "delusional" in the previous sentence. Better this. You can always go to the library if you were wrong. (Michalko)

Getty Images Confronts Online Copyright Infringement with a Carrot—and a Stick

Scientific American • 6 March 2014

Making lemonade. Getty Images is joining the freemium culture with its announcement that most of its images will now be available at no charge for noncommercial and editorial use. The move is an acknowledgment that chasing down small-fry copyright violators is a waste of time, but Getty also stands to collect significant amounts of user data through its embedder technology. Photographer and author Alex Wild says, "the move is symptomatic of the broad shift in online business models towards monetizing data while cheapening content," but worries that without a viable compensation plan for photographers, "Getty risks eating their seed corn."

I think the author has got it right—they can't solve the infringement problem so they'll shift the model and make embedded image use into advertising for their paid services. Not unlike the conclusions reached by some of our great art museums who imagined images were a revenue stream and now understand that they are reputation-enhancing marketing for their institution. See Rijksstudio or NYPLDigital. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are the four stages of the educational lifecycle?

Get the answer.