Archive | October, 2011

QR codes are useless

27 Oct

Should I care about QR codes? I posited the question on Twitter today…and it seems I shouldn’t care. I’m glad to know I’m not alone.

QR codes (or quick-response codes) are like barcodes that can be scanned by a mobile device’s camera and read with an app. As I understand it (and I don’t understand much about these types of things), the cool-looking black squares can be encoded to include any kind of data. They can be used to direct someone to a website, contact information or a map, product details, a coupon, a Facebook fan page and more.

The first time I saw a QR code was about a year ago on a business card for a tech startup. I didn’t and still don’t have a QR code reader on my smartphone so I never bothered to scan that card to see where it took me, but I’d put money on it being a direct link to the guy’s website. Big whoop. That saves me maybe 2 seconds of entering the address into my web browser.

Marketers are now putting these pesky buggers everywhere. They show up frequently on magazine pages, but who reads printed media anymore? I can just touch a link to the same content on my iPad newsstand magazine. I’ve noticed them on the windows of restaurants and retail shops, but then I’m on the move and can’t be bothered to stop and scan with the hopes it yields something worthwhile. I even hear they have a giant one on top of a barn targeted to airplane passengers. I won’t even touch that silliness.

Until today, I thought I was just a non-geek who didn’t get QR codes. Perhaps these ugly black boxes are really cool and I’m missing out on something awesome. Researching for this blog, however, I found out I’m not alone. Even some tech-savvy marketing folks agree with me. From memeburn: “QR codes are not the Next Big Thing (at least, not yet).” Even better, from iMediaConnection: “From the relative lack of public understanding of what they even are, to the dearth of creativity in their usage, the QR code is destined to become just the little box that geek built.”

My sentiments exactly. Can’t we just agree to stop already with QR codes? Yes, they are nifty and new but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are helpful or worthwhile. Until someone can show me value in stopping to scan that little black box when I’m reading a flyer, walking down the street, or flying in an airplane, I’m not downloading a damn QR reader.


Picture This: Thinc Iowa

24 Oct

Highlights of Thinc Iowa include: Paige Craig of BetterWorks, Ben Milne of Dwolla (giving a shoutout to Christian Renaud of StartupCity Des Moines), a panel discussion with several speakers, charging my phone in the hallway due to a surprising lack of a charging station, colorful Chucks worn by Scott Case of StartupAmerica, and local boy Ben Silbermann of Pinterest.

Thinc Big

21 Oct

Have you ever bothered to talk to your barber about his business? It might affect how you shape yours. Such a simple but powerful idea. And that’s what Paige Craig delivered today at Thinc Iowa. In fact, it was sort of his theme. “Think big, execute small.” I like this guy.

He didn’t deliver a bunch of mumbo tech jumbo that I would never understand. Instead, he inspired everyone in the room with real-world ideas that resonate across industries. Heck, they were ideas any business – big or small, tech or old school – need to hear. Treat your employees well, dream big but execute deliberately, focus on yourself and not what others are doing … duh.

I left the room so inspired. Even I spent the lunch hour dreaming of my big idea that can make an impact. Nothing techy (yet) or revolutionary (does it have to be?) but I’m dreaming and ready to act. Isn’t that was this is all about? Thanks, Thinc Iowa.

Just getting started

21 Oct

So I’m blogging. That’s new. I’ve always wanted to but was never quite sure of my niche. Well, one week into my new job at StartUpCity Des Moines I’ve realized I do have something to say. I’m a fish out of water in this tech world and I’m excited to share my journey into geekdom with you.

I have two liberal arts degrees, failed College Algebra (twice) and the only code I know is the one that gets me into my apartment building. Despite that, I’ve always been an early (well, early-ish) adopter of technology. I’ve been an Apple loyalist since playing Frogger on an Apple IIe in 1986 and I’m writing this on my iPad with my iPhone and MacBook sitting next to me.

The timing of this blog is simple. I’m at Thinc Iowa today and feeling inspired to get my geek on. So I’m going to give it a shot. I hope you’ll join me for the (sure to be bumpy) ride.