Links for 7-22-2010

Interesting reads from around the web:

  • 22 Statistics That Prove The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America: There are some scary statistics in this article. Without a healthy, confident middle class, the market is not going to tick upwards. The two most critical to me are: 1. In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one. 2. 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  • Why QR Codes Are Poised to Hit the Mainstream: Jennifer Van Grove @mashable also thinks QR codes are about to become hot. She mentions new to me StickyBits and SCVNGR as well as some other good reasons you’re going to keep seeing squares. Want more QR goodness? The sharp folks over at 2D Code mentioned a recent Verizon/ScanLife case study on DROID applications [pdf] that has good demographic information.
  • Chris Dixon is thinking about graphs, more specifically, the underpinnings of data structures (like Hunch’s suggestion engine that tells you what you might like) that connect people in the social graphs such as friendships (Facebook) or people and images (Flickr). He’s predicting the rise of several new types of graphs, such as financial, local and taste based graphs.
  • Paul Graham points out that what you think about in the shower can literally throw you off track, so make sure you are clear about what you’re sharing head space with.
  • Misfit Entrepreneurs: Vulnerable isn’t one of the adjectives I’d use to describe most of the entrepreneurs I know, but paired with misfit, it works!
an image of a QR code that resolves to

Quick Response Codes

an image of a QR code that resolves to

Quick Response Code

Quick Response codes (also called QR or 2D codes) are available in a variety of flavors but their mechanism and use cases are quite similar.

If you see one and have a web enabled mobile device, a photograph of the QR code with your camera will unlock the information encoded within.

That might include some of the following content types:

  • YouTube videos;
  • Mobile landing pages;
  • vCards;
  • Contact information; and
  • Coupons or special offers.

Increasingly, print creators are weaving QR codes into magazines, newspapers and direct mail pieces to build additional levels of engagement into their marketing materials.

Heidi Tolliver-Nigro at Digital Nirvana just posted that their review of QR case studies showed a 65-70% engagement with QR codes, even when a computer is physically present. That dovetailed nicely with Steve Rubel’s post yesterday on the rise of mobile computing devices, or, in his words, the end of the world as we know it.

One key takeaway from an excellent, must read piece:

Mobile devices, by their nature, force users to become more mission-oriented. As more internet consumption shifts to gadgets, it’s increasingly becoming an app world and we just live in it. Innovation, fun, simplicity and single-purpose utility will rule while grandiose design and complexity will fall by the wayside.

Increasing simplicity and fun in marketing sounds like a great outcome to me. How is it working in the real world? Mashable recently profiled how the Boston Globe is using SCVNGR to fuel themed promotions throughout the city of Boston.

With lots of great prizes to be had, is it selling more print editions of its paper? The jury is still out on that as the contest runs through September 3, but I suspect the outcome will be carefully watched by nervous publishers.

What is important to note, however, is that technology has advanced enough that these contests require significantly less human labor to create and monitor, and that testing new mechanisms of engagement only enhances the Boston Globe brand.

What could your business or organization gain from these new tools and technology? If you’ve got an innovative use, please share it!