By Rex Hammock, CEO

Because an Idea Email is sent every other week to subscribers across the United States and globally, we try to keep our references universal, not local. But when something big happens a few blocks from the Nashville office we call Hammock HQ, we can’t help wanting to share.

And no, I’m not talking about the unprecedented way in which locals (including us) have gone nuts over the success of the Nashville Predators and their first appearance in the finals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoff (#GoPreds).

By Rex Hammock, CEO

From its ho-hum reception by critics and moviegoers, I may be the only person you know who has seen the social media-themed film, The Circle. Despite excellent performances by Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, its dystopian plot lacks some key backstory elements that make the Dave Eggers novel on which it is based a far more compelling story. 

When you compare a corporation’s website from the early web era (the late 1990s) to the same company’s current website, you can easily recognize the DNA of the early site in the 2017 model.

For example, if you use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to view the 2001 version of Ford.com you’ll immediately be blown away by the dramatic changes in aesthetics and “wow” factors.

“All businesses are media businesses.”

That axiom sure sounds believable in 2017. Being a media company means you have the ability to create and distribute your message directly to any audience, without having to pay a toll to intermediaries.

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

Earlier this week, I heard Cisco Systems Chairman and former CEO John Chambers speak to 700 social marketers who work at some of the nation’s savviest and most successful brands. After hearing Chambers share Cisco’s approach to marketing, these all-star marketers were buzzing in the hallways about how far their companies need to go to truly transform their customer relationships.

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

Earlier this week, I spent several hours in one-on-one discussions with engineers and product managers who head up various research and development innovations for Intuit. Their work covers all of the current buzzwords: machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data, speech recognition, blockchain technology and more.

In some cases, the work of these talented experts is already making its way into the platforms on which millions of individuals and small businesses manage their finances (e.g., Mint, TurboTax, QuickBooks, etc.). However, most of their work is about understanding the impact of next-generation technology on their future customers.

In an Idea Email sent in 2013, we suggested that a möobius strip, or infinity loop, is the best graphical representation of the customer journey, or the “customer life cycle.” We like the möobius metaphor because it demonstrates there are two distinct states of being a customer:

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

I used to hear adults complain about the way teenagers’ symbol-laden language was taking over communication. I don’t hear that complaint anymore. Those adults now text me complaints. ?

I am fascinated with the evolution of the symbolic text we are using @ ?  & @ ?. Of course, emojis are the most pervasive examples of symbols replacing letters, words, and phrases. But I’m more interested in the evolution of what I describe as business and professional “font icons.”

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

Earlier this week, the craft and handmade marketplace Etsy announced that, in April, it will be launching a new B2B marketplace to expand the services the company provides to its maker/sellers. In addition to its current emphasis on helping members sell their products, the new Etsy Studio will provide members easy, direct access to vendors they use to create their crafts and other products.

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

About 20 years ago, a Hammock editor made a witty observation that instantly became one of our company’s long-running inside jokes. During a conversation about some wonkish technology trend, the staffer said with a great deal of faux seriousness, “I know I’m going out on a limb here, but I predict that computers will keep getting smaller, and the internet will keep getting faster.” In many subsequent tech discussions, we ask that “futurist,” now the company’s president and COO, to remind us of his tongue-in-cheek prediction.

Funny thing, he was right.