On the Failure of Square Wallet -
From Fast Company’s morose piece on the state of Square:
The fuzzy focus culminated in Square Wallet, which was initially called Card Case. Though Dorsey won’t acknowledge it publicly, the aim internally, says one source, was to “own both sides of the counter”—vendor and customer—so the company could one day “cut out the credit-card companies altogether.” (At weekly all-hands meetings, former COO Keith Rabois, only half-jokingly, used to announce the projected date on which Square’s payments-processing volume would overtake Visa’s.) Instead of helping consumers pay with their phones, like many other digital-wallet products, Square’s Wallet app enabled consumers to open a virtual tab with a nearby shop and then pay for items merely by saying their name when they arrived. Despite its popularity with the tech vanguard, Wallet saw barely any adoption. Few merchants accepted it, partly because few consumers paid with it, and vice versa. Even where Square Wallet was accepted, cashiers often didn’t know how it worked. “It wasn’t necessarily faster, or more convenient,” Dorsey says, looking back. “It felt more futuristic, but that doesn’t make it better.”
Wallet failed because it had a horrible go-to-market plan and it may have been too early.
I taught at least 10 different businesses who used Square how to check me out with it. They had no idea how it worked. Once they were set up, Square Wallet was an amazing way to do business. Transactions weren’t a forced interaction with a keypad, they were a morning greeting and quick chat. My face popped up on their register and they tapped it as they told me the total. I bought more at these venues because I it was a pleasant transaction and the barriers to purchasing were so low.
But again, I had to teach each vendor how Wallet worked. I showed my friends the glimpse of the future Square was offering. They had no idea such technology existed. For years I used Wallet as an example of how location technology was being applied in as a subtle interface.
It’s too bad Square never marketed Wallet, taught their vendors, and showed small businesses how Wallet led to more loyal customers. Wallet could have led to a better type of store.
Relax into the couch as you chill out in Deckard’s apartment helping him track down replicants. Share some hard space liqour out of his bottle bag. This is 12 hours of the ambient droning sound heard in Blade Runner while in Deckard’s domicile. — crysknife007 (Via Gizmodo)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on a security camera dragging his unconscious wife-to-be Janay Palmer by the hair, after knocking her unconscious, and the National Football League has chosen to suspend him for two games. Rice in fact will return to the field just in time to wear the NFL’s pink-festooned uniforms to celebrate their deep commitment to breast cancer awareness. — Dave Zirin
"These two photographs, taken from an Oregon Air National Guard F-15C on July 31, give a close look at a developing pyrocumulus cloud above the Oregon Gulch fire, a part of the Beaver Complex fire on the Oregon/California border." (via EarthSky)
One page of the catalogue is devoted to Restoration Hardware’s environmental impact. First, the company claims that sending out the catalogues all at once is more responsible than spreading them throughout the year. (It does not acknowledge that, in 2003, when it mailed six catalogues annually, it used half as many total pages.) Second, the company says that it purchases paper certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. (However, as Business Week explained, other retailers, such as Pottery Barn, buy paper from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which has stricter environmental standards.) Third, Restoration Hardware points out that it purchases carbon offsets through UPS to fund conservation projects. (Those offsets, while helpful, cover only the shipping, not the paper production, themost harmful part of the process, because of the energy used to break down wood into pulp.) The company responded to my questions about its environmental practices by emailing a press release containing information identical to what’s in the catalogue. —
The New Yorker examines Restoration Hardware’s 6-inch thick catalogue.
Due to the “catalogue,” I’m going out of my way to avoid the store and advise others to do the same.
In China drinking with clients and colleagues is now seen as vital to career advancement; some job adverts even call for “good drinking capacity”. One study found that civil servants had a far higher incidence of alcohol-related liver diseases than the population at large (the higher the rank, the worse their health prospects). — The Economist