Push(y) Notifications

As an early adopter of smartphones, and product manager at a company with an iPhone app, I. Love. Push Notifications. They provide relevant information at appropriate times and locations, and a quick entry point for the user to exactly where they want to go within an app. However, companies are (rightly) approaching this new direct-communication method cautiously. There are several reasons why, one of which will be familiar to anyone who has studied the Tragedy of the Commons. Continue reading Push(y) Notifications

_____ for President 2016

Oh how things have changed since 2012! Obama is…well, still President. Mitt Romney is back to being an ordinary businessman, give or take a few publicity stunts. Congress back in 2012 had a pathetic 15% approval rating. Now, they’re at a whopping 17.5% !!!

One thing hasn’t changed though. In the year before a presidential election, like, oh, I dunno, this year, politicians with familiarsounding names, governors of obscure states, and self-proclaimed ‘nonpoliticians‘ you’ve never heard of before throw their hats into the ring and begin their presidential campaigns. There are lots of ways to judge a candidate and their merits, but as an experiment in proxy, today, the Idiot Economist will use just one: their official campaign websites.

Continue reading _____ for President 2016


Target.com, the website for the major US retail company, is down right now. In related news, I am still awake at 3:30 am (atypical of me, even for a weekend night) and my wife is patiently clicking the refresh button on her computer. This current scenario is the result of a poorly-handled product launch, made worse by “quick fixes” and a lack of communication between company and consumer. Let’s break it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly, and see what we can learn from it. Maybe by the end of it all, the site will be back up, and everyone will be happy.

Continue reading #TargetF’dLilly

It’s about Time.

This morning, at 10 am EST, Pebble’s homepage countdown finally finished, and pointed users to a Kickstarter campaign for their latest smartwatch, Pebble Time. Unsurprisingly, they blew through their modest target of $500,000 within 13 minutes. By 24 minutes in, they’d hit $1 million. At the time of this writing, they are at $4,526,809 and not showing any sign of slowing down. But there are a lot of questions – many about the watch itself, but also some important ones about the strategy for Pebble as a business in an increasingly competitive space.

Continue reading It’s about Time.

Tragedy of the (Boston) Commons

This winter, the city of Boston has gotten a LOT of snow [1] [2] [3]. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to watch the local news without seeing another story of a roof collapsing or worse, a meteorologist reporting of more to come. However, the people of Boston have remained strong, and plowed, dug, back-hoed, and removed snow from every major street and sidewalk. Well, almost every sidewalk.

Continue reading Tragedy of the (Boston) Commons