Who is doing the Watching?

We are living in a world, these days, that allow many companies and services, who participate in some form of data collection, to get more “bang for their buck”. In most of history, consent was imperative due to the very blatant fact that companies had to hire or notify their informants directly, in person or through surveys. The collected data was then used as a general idea for how a certain social demographic operated, relaying that information to advertisers. Nowadays, whether voluntarily or not, information is constantly gathered from the everyday choices we make online, which is easily, and cheaply, gathered and sold, no bulky surveys or drawn out interviews necessary. Even better, this information is more targeted! Rather than a general summary of a demographic, the advertisers can pitch a product directly to a specific user, like we often see on Facebook.

Smart TVs and Consent

The truth is, consent is still very much apart of every company’s business model, however, with the advent of the internet and the minute-by-minute advancement of technology, consent is hidden in the manifesto known as “the terms of agreement” tucked way between politics and disclaimers, which we inevitably skim through with little reading in effort to use the service or product.

And well, if that doesn’t satisfy, than perhaps we should be sticking to a good old fashion 12 inch screen with a VCR, or better yet, a book.”

The issue of data collection, privacy and security is constantly coming up as technology advances. Due to the recent release of a voice activation feature on the Samsung Smart TV, owners are bringing up an ethical concern of “who is doing the watching?” Orwellian references have been circulated throughout social media inevitably. In response to this international concern, Samsung has made a statement saying the voice activation feature is manually operated by the user to deactivate. It the effort to be as transparent as possibly, the company also mentioned that upon purchasing the product their policy readily discloses that all information is shared with a third party. The third party being- Nuance.com -a company Samsung works with to provide speech-to-text conversion to deliver customer demands. Unlike Facebook and other social media companies, Samsung also claims they are not selling or retaining customer’s information to advertising companies.

Privacy Issues and Tech Gadgets

So what are the most critical takeaways of privacy issues regarding this new gadget? I believe the most important aspect is- this form of technology evolution has been egged on by what our culture thrives on. There is the constant crave for better, faster, more complex tech to make lives cushier, more convenient, and lazier. Therefore, perhaps the finger is being wagged in the wrong direction when it comes to privacy issues. With the Samsung Smart TV, the user has full control over whether or not to use the voice activation device, deactivating it whenever they choose. One can sit on their couch, not use the remote, yell at the big bully of a screen, and then pick up the remote and deactivate the feature to have their privacy back. And well, if that doesn’t satisfy, than perhaps we should be sticking to a good old fashion 12 inch screen with a VCR, or better yet, a book.


Kayleigh Stack

Customer Liaison & Research Associate

Getting more web development clients

As a consulting firm or independent contractor, it is important to be reminded that, although we are constantly boasting our services throughout our websites, blogs, social media accounts, and google campaigns, at the end of the day, customers are not only purchasing services alone, they are also buying you. Meaning, face-to-face networking, being social, authentic, and naturally brilliant at what you do, often times, will generate far more leads than any online marketing campaign could offer. Simply put, it is not enough to be an “armchair developer,” even when, ironically enough, most developers spend a significant chunk of their lives in an armchair, hunched over their sporadically moving fingers. Rather, we have to get our hands dirty if we want to see any real revenue. People, more often than not, will trust your services if they end up trusting you as a person. Plain and simple. However, albeit simple in theory, a majority of the time I see people taking the complacent approach, believing that it is enough to simply use impersonal, online approaches with the belief that their experience speaks for itself. Although, in theory, this would be ideal, it is human nature to trust an actual face over a well manicured digital storefront – at least for now, that is.

How to cultivate relationships with potential customers built on a solid foundation of trust? The most sound, reliable formula consists of something that would include the following: establishing credibility through authentic conversation, discussing services in an informal dialogue, and continuous follow-up, as it often requires more time than expected for someone to follow through with purchasing just about any product! Continuous contact through follow-up emails using a personable demeanor will help keep the relationship alive post-introduction.

After a customer has been given enough time to ruminate over your services, and seems interested enough, you can help get the ball rolling by offering a free consultation. The best way to help a client get clear on what they are seeking from your services prior to the initial meeting is to supply them with a list of 10 questions to fill out ahead of time. This way, that one-hour free session you are providing them can be fulfilling and effectively utilized.

However, remember, to be able to get to this point of the game, you really have to be willing to get your hands dirty first. Go to networking events, have lunch with local business owners, collect business cards whenever possible, and create a database with all the contacts you gather to send follow-up emails to each person you’ve met, commenting on how pleasant it was to have had an introduction and how you would also like to be of service to them, or their business, in the future.

This starts now, not Monday nor the following week. Take immediate action today to have a successful, thriving business.