People have begun to realize the enormous gap between the relational database abstraction and the way people actually think about information. To be clear, I am not suggesting that relational databases will stop being used or that they are going to go away, but that developers are going to stop thinking of their data in relational database terms.
Everyone from regular users to sophisticated developers thinks about information in a pretty simple way. There are objects, and there are connections or relationships between objects. For example if you have two objects, a cup and a table, the relationship between them might be “sitting on”, indicating that the cup is sitting on the table.
What makes this model so sturdy is that we can continuously add new objects: tables, cups, chairs, floors, table cloths, etc. And we can add infinite relationships, such as sitting on, sitting under, covering, etc. Computer scientists, and now, thanks to Facebook, everybody else, refers to this structure as a graph. New data models such as the graph provide new ways to think about persisting data.
The death of the relational database means the death of the relational database *abstraction* as a way that programmers think about data. What programmers need is to model data in the most natural way possible, and we are starting to see storage abstractions that are closer to how humans think instead of how computers need to.
80% of the world population has access to mobile vs. only 23% with access to the Internet! Social interaction has revolutionized (online) digital media as it has opened new demographics and provides for a more compelling and relevant experience for users in addition to opening new tangents for search, recommendations, etc.
The transformative power of social context was especially pronounced in gaming (cf. Zynga ["Farmville"] et al. who have grown into large businesses very quickly).
The mobile landscape is significantly more complex than the Internet (dozens of platforms, hundreds of distribution channels, hundreds of jurisdictions), and the medium has indeed very different underlying dynamics (screen size and general form factor, input methods, mobility, use cases, etc). It is therefore vital to gain deep understanding about the underlying dynamics of both the medium as well as the users' approach in using that medium.
It is essential to avoid a "Galapagos effect" where certain models only work on limited platforms (e.g. iPhone) or in specific territories (e.g. Japan). Only a fraction of the world's 5bn (!) mobile subscriptions are on iPhones or are in Japan, and one needs to look to tackle the fragmentation dilemma in order to unlock the enormous potential the largest medium in the world has to offer.
This session will show the rationales that need to be applied to understand the medium and will outline paths to successfully address it.
by Rich Devine
By 2012, 20 percent of all search queries will come from a mobile device. While there is growing focus on creating mobile site experiences and applications, not enough businesses focus on their mobile search experience. Just because you’ve optimized search for the desktop doesn’t mean it works on a mobile device. Mobile search is different than desktop search—and for many businesses, it’s a critical step toward customer success. Our discussion focuses on three core actions: how to identify unique business opportunities for mobile search, how to optimize for mobile search, and how to measure the performance and value of mobile search.
Imagine walking past your favorite restaurant, and receiving a coupon for a free dessert. Imagine jogging through Central Park, taking a break, and receiving a text from The North Face about a trail nearby that you’ve never taken but sounds great. These scenarios aren’t set in the future, but happening today, and are made possible through geo-fencing, the location-based technology pioneered by Placecast. Through geo-fencing, Placecast creates virtual fences around physical locations – stores, entertainment venues, parks, apartment buildings – literally anywhere on Earth.
This session will provide data-backed information and dispel myths around location-based services (LBS). The audience will learn:
1) How to go about starting a location-based program utilizing geo-fence technology
2) Challenges and best practices in LBS
3) How geo-fences are being used today, including case studies from major brands such as The North Face, American Eagle Outfitters, SONIC
4) How privacy/security issues are handled
Location-based services can offer information, discounts, alerts, and more – all making our lives easier, and bringing the messages we want directly to mobile phones via SMS. The possibilities for geo-fencing are immense, and we’ve only begun to tap into them.
by Paul Lamere
With so much music available, finding new music that you like can
be like finding a needle in a haystack. We need new tools to help
us to explore the world of music, tools that can help us separate
the wheat from the chaff.
In this panel we will look at how visualizations can be used to
help people explore the music space and discover new, interesting
music that they will like. We will look at a wide range of
visualizations, from hand drawn artist maps, to highly interactive,
immersive 3D environments. We'll explore a number of different
visualization techniques including graphs, trees, maps, timelines
and flow diagrams and we'll examine different types of music data
that can contribute to a visualization.
Using numerous examples drawn from commercial and research systems
we'll show how visualizations are being used now to enhance music
discovery and we'll demonstrate some new visualization techniques
coming out of the labs that we'll find in tomorrow's music
by Phil Libin
Want 1 million people to pay for your product? Get 100 million people to love it. But how do you get there? What's the secret to creating engagement and building value? What makes a successful Freemium business work? Here's a hint: don't be clever. Invest in making a product that brings joy and business success will follow. Best part, you don't need single social feature to do it. We will discuss ways to reach your business goals by focusing on a positive, long-term relationship with your users and fans.
In this fun and extremely fast-paced session, you'll learn how to manage an online community backwards. You'll become an expert in the quickest ways to kill your online community, using tips you can take and use today to kill yours as soon as possible! You can even take these skills and work with clients who want to hire you to kill their community, too. Of course, if you want to attend the session to learn from those bad methods and do the opposite, in order to build a successful and well-run online community, you can. But, I'm not sure why you'd want to do that.
While we know, from a very young age, how to ask questions, the skill of getting the right information from users is surprisingly complex and nuanced. This session will focus on getting past the obvious shallow information into the deeper, more subtle, yet crucial, insights. If you are going to the effort to meet with users in order to improve your designs, it's essential that you know how to get the best information and not leave insights behind.
Being great in "field work" involves understanding and accepting your interviewee's world view, and being open to what they need to tell you (in addition to what you already know you want to learn). We'll focus on the importance of rapport-building and listening and look at techniques for both. We will review different types of questions, and why you need to have a range of question types.
This session will explore other contextual research methods that can be built on top of interviewing in a seamless way. We'll also suggest practice exercises for improving your own interviewing skills and how to engage others in your organization successfully in the interviewing experience.
Living Maps are generated using the geo-localisation features of social network services, mobile phones and GPS. They offer us a new tool for living in the cities but they also increase our vulnerability to controls. How can we use Living Maps? What rules do we need? And who makes them?
11th–15th March 2011