3365-3413882090_cbc935b67f_m.jpgThe idea of having your business everywhere might not be the ideal for everyone, but for businesses that are building communities, offering servies, or leading tribes, we have to discuss ubiquitous business.

With the virtual/physical, online/offline worlds becoming so merged together, not only through the mobile, but through other home media devices, advertising, in store displays, and so on, there are new opportunities for your business to be at the water cooler – to be where conversations are taking place, capture and showcase those conversations and make something out of them, and actually provide your services to your customers when they are using these devices and be ‘the elbow of the deal’.

Where are People?

To do this, we need to answer the question, where are people? Not just “which social networks are they on?”, but where are people online, offline? For example, football fans at a game. People on the bus. In fact, where are they offline, like on the underground, where they can take what was gotten online, offline with them?

Where is not just a spatial term, it is a time term, an emotional term, a participatory term. We need to deeply understand our customer to really know where they are.

Once you know where they are, how can you get there? How can you socialise the channels that you use in order to get your content and service there?

A fine example is Absolute Radio, who take their Baddiel and Skinner radio show and turn it into a podcast, live stream, iPhone app, Nokia app, Sony Ericson app, etc. It’s a great move by them, because when someone can’t be online, the content has been put offline on their mobile device, which they use to listen to the podcasts in all those empty spaces throughout the day.

I consider their app-driven approach all the more pertinent as apps will take over browser use on mobile devices. When you’re using the iPad, you’ll quickly note how much nicer it is to use an app in many cases, than using the browser version, even on a desktop. (Full review of this here.)

Another way to be where people are is by having a platform that is trans-platform, i.e., it cross all other platforms. Absolute Radio touch on this above by having their content on multiple channels, however those channels are fixed. I’m really talking about the concept of a hashtag as a platform.

I was quoted in AdWeek last week, in a peice called ‘Learning to Speak on the Social Web‘ (penned by my friend Neal Rodriguez), where I described that the hashtag is a trans-platform platform, that means the platform exists where ever it is used. Ubquity comes through this, because we can tag anything that we say or do with “#likeminds”, and it becomes part of the platform.

What About Location Gaming?

There’s a big discussion to be had here (my fiend Carl Haggerty most recently adding some interesting thoughts), and many of the points are obvious: “people can check into your locations”, “people can see you exist when visiting your town”, etc etc.

Let’s answer the where question on this instead. Where are people? They are on their phones, when they go into any area that warrants a check in.

Do these people use it to find new places? No. They only use it to check into places.

Your Leading Thoughts

  1. Let’s begin by asking ourselves the question: where are you?
  2. What kind of services to you want to be ubiquitous? Do you want services to be with you, where ever you go?

Photo courtesy of ViaMoi

Archived Comments

  • malcolm12boxes

    Thanks. This has given me a fresh perspective on what I should be asking people about when we run our ‘beta test’ workshops on the Value Conversation later this year.

  • / Scott Gould

    Malcolm – if all this post did was help you with that, then I’m thrilled!

    Happy to talk it through more with you if you ever want :-)


  • malcolm12boxes

    Perhaps when you are next this way we could grab a coffee. I know a nice club. :)

  • / Scott Gould

    You do? :-)

  • Scott, very thought provoking post. When I think of being ubiquitous in today’s world, I think of a having a good home base that draws people in from water coolers on every floor and city.

    I’m walking around with a different view of Apps. Today, they are superior to browser…but as the browser advances and connectivity improves, I’m thinking the mobile browser wins the war. I think we’ll be accessing everything “in the cloud”.

    Big question for you. If you were to have someone build a “killer-app” for LikeMinds what features would it include? How could you use that to add value to your conference participants and draw them into your community?

  • / Scott Gould


    I hear you – ubiquitous ability of scattering, and then gathering.

    The Killer App for Like Minds? Oh my word. That’s a question. A few things it would have/do:

    1. All conference info. Maps to hotels, venues. Schedules, times, etc.
    2. “Where people are” – so that you can see where other people are either by where they’ve checked in, or where events are happening right now
    3. Member search – the ability to see who else is here, get their details, arrange to meet, etc. A big benefit. PLUS the ability to meet someone and get their details right away on the app – a digital rolodex / business card thing.
    4. Conference Content – slides of presentations, notes, workbooks – anything that helps learning by providing all that is being discussed in your hands for future reference. An ebook if you will.
    5. Some kind of participation tool. But the thing here is that participation needs to be active – talking, etc – so I’m not sure what needs to go here.
    6. Conference News – relaying the best bits from the day so everyone is up to date.
    7. How to learn. A game of some description that helps people understand how they learn, in order to help them learn better!

    What would you add to that?


  • http://blog.ecairn.com Laurent Pfertzel

    Yes about being (for business and their employees) where the people are. No need for a website anymore ;-) .
    The key is that social media is about networks (and am not taking twitter, facebook here but more networks of ‘arsenal’ fans, beauty fanatics, vintage clothing. To stay relevant, employees have to be part of the right networks.
    Companies are good at providing structure/infrastructure/data for efficient and coherent collaboration.
    Social media participation where the people are should be no exception and designed to bring the right data/establish the right connection at the right place between the outside and inside word.

  • Nice list Scott. We’ve been kicking this one around here and there lately. It would be pretty cool to have a Velvet Chainsaw app when presenting to an audience. A couple more cool things might include:

    1. Some sort of tweetchat like feature that allows you to follow the conference hashtag.
    2. An ability to do real time polls, rate speakers (like Yelp?)
    3. Feed to the conference blog(s).
    4. Feed to a conference photo sharing site.
    5. Auto created twitter lists based on who was in a session or registered for the conference.
    6. Speaker bios and links
    7. Virtual cocktails?

    In the future, the cool conferences will probably do stuff like this. Today, I mostly see it to drive expo traffic, but building community is way more meaningful.

    Now if I can find someone to build it on the cheap??

  • / Scott Gould

    Good additions.

    I must say, I would see it as a great enabler tool – however I’m not sure if Id’ want it to be too perfect, in as much as I want people to lok at the people in front of them!

    We are building a Like Minds App, but at the moment it’s only for content delivery, as that’s what generates the most ROI for us. Then we can build the other things in on top of it.

    Will let you know how we get on!


  • / Scott Gould

    Hi Laurent

    So good to hear from you and have you comment.

    I like what you’re saying here – we do need to design apps with a differnet way of thinking. There was a great presentation by Google UX on this recently.

    So Laurent, tell me more about yourself!


  • I’m going to add something to Dave’s app list…

    As a conference/meeting organizer, I want an app that measures social media sentiment of the conference. Are people saying positive, negative or neutral things about the conference and content. There are plenty of sites that tell me how many hashtag tweets, who’s tweeting the most, FB stats, etc. I want something that measures more of the emotion behind those social media mentions…just sayin…

  • I’m going to take a different spin on your questions “where are people when they check in and do they use it to find new places.”

    I absolutely believe that people are using location gaming to find new places and people. When I visit a specific area, I go to my location based apps and see which of my friends have checked into various spots. I read their tips and get some additional insight on what I might like. And with Fourwhere, I can see comments, tips and recommendations from those left in Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp is a nice map mashup. It’s really incredible.

    I also like Gowalla’s iPad app and have started carrying my iPad with me when I go into certain parts of different cities. I get an overlay may with checkins and can see recomendations from people for things to do. So I’m using it to decide where to go.

    I think we’ve just scratched the surface of the location gaming and how it provides recommendations for users like myself.

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Jeff

    I like that – real time stats, from the socialsphere with sentiment and intent analysis. I would expect that intent analysis could help us predict flow of people too.

    I agree!

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Jeff

    Sounds like you’re using Gowalla / Foursquare more for finding places than most. In my experience, most aren’t usign it to find new places at all.

    What I do like is Foursquares “Trending” feature – now *that* is interesting and where I can see lots of exciting development.


  • http://blog.ecairn.com Laurent Pfertzel

    Hi Scott,

    Do you want me to tell you that here?

    Well I founded and run eCairn, a community and influencer marketing platform. It’s basically for marketing teams in enterprises and agencies to identify/learn&understand/participate in virtual communities that are relevant for them. It puts a high focus on tribes and knowledge networks for optimum, relevant and value added communication with stakeholders.
    I’d be happy to show you our platform which is always work in progress and shaped by inputs from people like you. Just email me when you feel like it.

  • Dang, Jeff gave away the one secret feature that would make our’s cooler than others. Back to the drawing board. ;-)

  • / Scott Gould

    I cerainly know the people who can make this!

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Laurent

    Thanks for this – I will check it out!


  • / Scott Gould

    Laurent – I have a proposition actually, now looking at this. Can we talk next week?


  • http://blog.ecairn.com Laurent Pfertzel

    Hi Scott

    Yes we can (we’re already next week)

    Send me an email with time that would suit you Wednesday to Friday.

    Thanks and waiting for our conversation

  • / Scott Gould

    Sent you an email