Tag: seattle

Cloud City Coffee are Smooth Square Operators

This was a groovy experience!

I went in to order a coffee and snack, but little did I know how smooth this transaction would go!

First, I placed my order.
Second, he took and swiped my card.
Third, he turned around the iPad and I was prompted to sign the screen and leave a tip (preset numbers at the bottom of the screen).
Next, I was asked if I wanted my receipt printed, email or ignore it completely.

I was so impressed that I wanted to get back in line and try it again, but to avoid complete ‘mobile dorkiness’. I asked if I could simply take a picture for my blog.

Smooth Checkout

This technology, if you haven’t seen it is Sqaure. This is a Square Register and it claims to be the simplest way to accept credit card payments, and has all the features you need to create an elegant experience at your counter. I was definitely impressed.

When you sign up as a business owner, you get a free card reader, one simple rate for all credit cards, custom inventory and fast checkout. As a retailer this system will also help you create a loyalty program to keep your new and existing customers coming back. Deeper into the app, the retailer will discover insightful analytics, employee permissions, easy tipping features, smart receipts, and integration with your cash drawer.

Square Screenshot

Now that I have seen Square on an iPhone at craft shows and on a iPad at a busy coffee shop, my mind is busy with the possibilities. I sure would love to see more places using this technology.

The sector that keeps coming to my mind is non-profits or those seeking donations. How easy would it be to buy tickets to a show or exhibit and then at the bottom (where the tipping portion was for retail) have it be donation to the museum or a particular cause the show is related to? I personally, found it so easy to just tap the $1 button to add a tip to my transaction total and know that I would likely do the same for a donation, but in a higher denomination.

I have yet to have a bad experience with these devices and would love to hear more about your thoughts on…

  • Where you would like to see this technology? Non-profit, pizza parlor, grocery store, etc.?
  • What the drawbacks could be ? Employee/customer iOS adoption?
  • Why aren’t more business owners using this technology? Cost of device?

WSDOT Traffic Website & Mobile App

As a daily commuter, I often rely on the WSDOT traffic maps to understand how long my commute might take and what areas are backing up, so I can strategically determine the quickest and safest route.

For a long time I used their website (from a bookmark in my browser), that is not mobile optimized. I know the idea is that people are checking this site before they leave and not from the car, but to be honest, I only check it once I am in the car. They have recently added display advertising to their page, which makes it even more difficult to attain the information I need on my mobile phone. Since their website is not optimized for mobile, I must zoom in to get the details I am looking for and in doing so the banner ad consumes a quarter of my screen.

Seattle Area Traffic Map

Because of this addition, I decided to check out their mobile app. I hadn’t before because I had been advised by other commuters that it wasn’t very accurate. In comparing the maps over the last week, I find them fairly similar in traffic volumes. However, I am not thrilled with the user experience on their mobile app.

The most frustrating part is that I am not able to favorite a flowmap for a particular area. For example, I open the app, and I am sent to a menu that has traffic maps, ferries, mountain passes, social media and border information. I select traffic maps, from there I get another menu where I can select from 13 different cities/areas. I select Seattle Area and arrive at the flowmap, which I find the most helpful in determining my commute. This is where I ask, “Where is the favorite button? I want to put this on my flowmap on my home screen for quicker navigation!” While I have done away with the obtrusive display ad, I have to navigate through 2 menus to get to the 3rd screen that I find most helpful.

WSDOT Mobile App   WSDOT Traffic Maps Screen   Seattle Area Flowmap

I am particularly passionate about traffic because I commute over 60 miles, 5 days a week. I recently joined a vanpool (always a passenger), which has allowed me to be more involved socially with traffic than before (passenger half the time). As a passenger, I am able to photograph, retweet updates and give insight to daily commuters. With this said, I would love more social capabilities within the app. For example, I would like to tweet the flowmap or updates I see from the WSDOT instead of the app being a one way street of information to the user.

Another great idea that I found, in the app reviews on iTunes, is to incorporate the ability to report carpool lane violators, instead of calling the HERO phone line. I find myself calling the HERO line at least once a week.

Also, with the recent addition of tolling to the 520 bridge, it would be great for the app to tell the user the current toll rate, so that drivers can decide if it’s worth taking 520 or not.

It might also be interesting if they could generate a screen, where I could go as a regular I-5 commuter, to get tips and tricks for traveling the corridor from other users. They currently have a screen where you can see Seattle Area alerts, but what if I could post a tip that there was a giant pothole in the right lane at the mid-point of the Ship Canal bridge. This way other commuters could be aware of the hole before they slam into it and the WSDOT would be able to gather road conditions first hand and take the steps to fix it.

Altogether, good app, I only have a few suggestions for the WSDOT. First, optimize their area traffic map websites for mobile use. Then, add a favorite option for your area flowmap within the app.

Recap: Beneath the Surface: A Deep Dive Into the World of Social Analytics with #SMCSEA

Speaker: @chuckhemann
Host: #smcsea
Sponsors:  @vitrue, @CityofSeattle, @alaskaair and @Uber_SEA!
Live Stream!

“In 2009 more data was generated by individuals than in the entire history of mankind through 2008” – Andreas Weigend, Amazon.com


  • How do we turn listening data into something actionable?
  • How do I build a robust measurement program to show value and please my boss?
  • Can influencer analysis be quantified, and can I do it without using Klout?

Key Takeaways:

  • There are 4 quads a brand can fall into: Monitoring, Listening, Analyzing, Measuring
  • Analyzing is the future! How should we go to market in new/different ways?
  • Listening and data are at the foundation of everything we do.
  • We must listen, leverage, link and launch.
  • Listening gives you:
    • The ability to optimize content real-time
    • Foster a better customer experience
    • Alert you about potential product issues
  • Ask yourself the 5 W’s while listening.
    • What are people saying about your brand?
    • Where are people talking about your brand?
    • When are people talking about your brand?
    • Who is talking about your brand?
    • Why are people talking about your brand?
  • How do I listen effectively?
    • Have you identified a tool?
      • Once selected, ask yourself the following questions:
        • How many sites does the tool capture?
        • Does it have workflow management?
        • Does it have the ability to import and export data from the tool?
        • Does it incorporate other data sources?
        • What is the cost?
    • Do you have a training protocol?
    • Have you outlined a regular reporting schedule?
    • Have you developed a competitive set?
    • Will you list for the broader category?
    • Don’t review all tools, pick 5 and go into further details.
  • Measurement has two tracks!
    • Improve: real-time intelligence gathering
    • Prove: weekly analysis and monthly dashboards
  • What should we be asking more often? Did the program drive results? Sales/leads/consumer satisfaction. However, without awareness we would never get to the end of the funnel.
  • Process for effective measurement:
    • Understand what your campaign goal and objectives are
    • Conducting benchmark research
    • Developing your strategy and tactics
    • Execution of your campaign
    • Measure and tweak
    • Then REPEAT!
  • Good blog source for thoughts on social media: Being Peter Kim
  • Less than 50 people drive the share of conversations about a brand online, so it is important to have complete clarity into who influences your world, and how to reach them with your content.
  • Relevance is KEY!



At this social media conference, we took a look at what exactly is happening in the world of social engagement today. By doing so together, we hope to influence what it will be in the future. The goal of the conference was to inspire creativity and thought leadership, inform participants with best practices and instigate action throughout everyone’s respective online communities.

Below was the agenda and my key takeaways.

New + Emerging Tools with

  • Panel: David Tedman, CEO at Invoke Media (Creators of Hootsuite), Hanson R. Hosein, Director at UW MCDM, Peter Wilson, Facebook, Evan Lew, Senior Product Manager for Bing
  • Key Takeaways:
    • Wisdom of my friends is more relevant than wisdom from a crowd.
    • The web is now made of verbs, not nouns.
    • Social search will bring in social signals to help you cut through the clutter and bring in the opinions of your friends.
    • How to optimize your website for social search: Quality content, trustworthy content, popularity/traffic, timeliness/current
    • ‘Second screen’ (ex. watching tv with another device open in front of you) is highly successful, now let’s explore ‘third screen’.
    • When putting content on social, think of it as a conversation, be authentic, and make it relevant for the end user (ask yourself, what’s the best way to reach my audience).

Social Engagement with Alexandra Wheeler, VP of Global Digital Marketing at Starbucks

  • Key Takeaways:
    • You cannot stamp out the same content across every social media channel!
    • Go beyond campaigns by building stronger customer relationships.
    • Get closer to the customer by improving sentiment and increasing word of mouth.
    • If you want to set and forget, social is not for your brand.
    • It’s all about relationships, not marketing.

The Power of the Internet to Bring About Change with Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger

  • Key Takeaways:
    • The Internet is the greatest thing man has ever made!
    • There will always be a David and Goliath. If we keep supporting Goliath, then we will never see more David’s.

Tweet ‘n Eat with Corey Dilley, Marketing & Business Development Manager at Eat St.

  • Key Takeaways:
    • Download their app to find out where local food trucks are in your area.

Crisis Management with Monte Lutz, SVP at Edelman Digital

  • Key Takeaways:
    • Trust is your most important asset.
    • Social media is the new 1-800 #.
    • You have on reputation and it’s at risk.
    • How to navigate through a crisis:
      • Crisis planning.
      • Search strategy.
      • Rapid Response.
      • Content Development.
      • Asses your risk.
      • Monitor, monitor, monitor.
      • Escalate.
      • Plan ahead: explore your “dark” site.
      • Plant the seed.
      • Win the battle for search.
      • Respond in kind.
      • A little schadenfreude never hurt you.
      • Drill baby drill.

New Media: Getting Your Story Heard + Told with

  • Panel: Monica Guzman, Journalist and Community Strategist, Mark Briggs, Director of Digital Media at King 5 TV, Tracy Record, Co-publisher and editor at the West Seattle Blog, and Sharon Pian Chan, Senior Producer for The Seattle Times website and mobile platforms
  • Key Takeaways:
    • What gets your story heard? Your story should have impact, be compelling and be told through people.
    • Ask yourself: Is it local? Is it timely? Is it significant?
    • All media channels are useful, but think of it as an orchestra each of them has a place and don’t have to be updated all at once.

Non Profit + Cause Engagement with

  • Panel: Mary Grace Roske, Director of Communications at The Seattle Foundation, Kaitlin Bartik,Volunteer Coordinator at the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County, Madeline Moy, Digital Media Manager at the Seattle Art Museum, Joelle B. Gruber, Relationship Associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Jaci Dahlvang, Children’s Home Society of Washington, North Seattle Family Center
  • Key  Takeaways:
    • Remember that social allows your content to become richer.
    • Changing followers into brand ambassadors will truly tell your story or support your cause.
    • Wondering what your followers what to see? Ask them!

Twitter for Marketing with Robert Pietsch, Twitter

  • Key  Takeaways:
    • Twitter users are opinion leaders.
    • 2 of 3 users say that Twitter influences their purchase decisions.
    • Users want discounts, promos, free stuff, plus fun and entertainment.
    • Social marketing is getting your brand IN the conversation, not just around.
    • Secrets to success on Twitter engagement:
      • Link
      • #hashtag
      • Real time
      • Call to action
      • Exclamatory
      • New product
      • Ask a question
      • Game related

Music + Media with


The Shift in SEM

I recently attended a Social Media Breakfast – Seattle meeting at Edelman, where I had the pleasure of listening to Craig Kronenberger.

Below are a few key takeaways.

Be found!

  • Stop ignoring natural search.
  • Invest in content.
  • Become a newsroom.
    • Content should be personalized, high in volume, updated consistently, be accurate, etc.
  • Define a process for content.
    • By setting priorities, defining the audience experience, defining the content and operational requirement, then implement a process and a process for measurement.
  • Invest in search and social optimization.
    • Consider keywords, social signals (influencers), media type (images, video, news or text), and relevancy (local and mobile).
  • Invest in Google+.
    • It gives you the ability to segment your audience.
  • Look at measurement differently.
    • Monitoring and increased positive sentiment and increased social presence will drive search and also be able to track where people are coming from.


As many of you may know, I have started a traffic blog for a MCDM school project.

Yesterday, I had a great discussion with a few folks over at the WSDOT. I was able to watch the traffic control room, ask them questions about their social media engagement and watch them in action.

If you don’t already, you can follow them on Twitter (@wsdot, @wsdot_traffic or @wsdot_passes), Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, or their blog.

Key Takeaways:

Reach ‘Influencers’, meet them face to face if possible because content is only as good as far as it is spread.
Qualitative content is better than quantitative content.
Engage curiosity.
Figure out who your audience is and ask yourself what value are you adding?
Storify can help your story go national or international.

Seattle Interactive Conference – Day 2

I went to more sessions than I have highlighted below, but by the afternoon my mind was well saturated from the previous day. I had reached my max!

Inbound Marketing is All Connected – Rand Fishkin (CEO of SEOmoz)
Key Takeaways:

  • How people buy in 2011: Ask Friends, Seek out experts, Find communities, Dig into every detail available, convert
  • The power of search, social and content equals conversation.
  • 10 Actionable Tactics: 1. Data as content marketing, 2. Video content and SERP visuals, 3. Thought leadership and rel equals author, 4. Social networks for personalized rankings, 5. Link building with your social followers, 6. Long tail seo via gamification, 7. Promotion through social outreach, 8. Viral-worthy content via q&a research, 9. Influence search suggest through branding, 10. Leveraging thought leaders to build content

Social Triggers – Derek Halpern
Key Takeaways:

  • Foundational triggers: Nobody cares about you or your business, The allure of now is irresistible, few products and services so people can talk about them.
  • Implementation triggers: Less options=More sales, Instant credibility, Positioning your sales message, and feared self.

My Head is Going to Explode if We Add Another Screen – TA Cann (VP of Research in Motion)
Key Takeaways:

  • Get used to the maintenance of multiple screens
  • Go native for now, sprinkle in web/experiment
  • 1 designer and multiple coders

Seattle Interactive Conference – Day 1

Today I attended the 1st annual Seattle Interactive Conference and had a great time!
I attended six different sessions and now struggling with information overload. To prep for tomorrow, I thought I would document some of the learnings or reinforcement I received today.

The Practitioner’s Guide to the Social Engagement Journey
Key Takeaways:

  • Start with a customer need
  • Executive buy in is key
  • Real results lie ‘between the seams’
  • Look for early wins.Set expectations
  • Measure for impact

Social Media Panel (Banyan Branch)
Panel Members: Alex Samano (T-Mobile), Black Cahill (Banyan Branch), David Camp (Amazon), Kim Johnston (Parallels) and Paul Peterman (Facebook)
Key Takeaways:

  • Social media is an earned media, not paid media
  • Think of social as a loud speaker
  • Be ready to respond and mediate the conversation
  • Never delete unwanted or negative comments
  • Always try to dress the issue publicly, as other product supporters will respond

Social Local Mobile (SoLoMo) Comes of Age: From Local Expression to Local Utility
Key Takeaways:

  • Download Trover (very fun app for entertainment and fun, useful for finding nearby things, social, useful for trip planning to a new city and educational)
  • Expressive, Visual and Fun (now useful)
  • 350 million mobile Facebook users
  • 4 billion Twitter posts per month
  • 1 billion mobile photos per month
  • 1 billion four square checkins to date

Strategy and Creativity in Verbal Branding
Key Takeaways:

  • Book: Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little
  • Short messages: grab attention, communicate instantly, stick in the mind, and roll of the tongue
  • Two parts of messaging: message goals (what you want to say) and communication strategies (how you say it)

Conveying Community Through Stories
Key Takeaways:

  • Follow these 4 R’s to cut through the noise: Relationship (with the people), Relevance (know what matters), Rigor (craftmanship), Results (evaluation strategy)
  • Continuum of Story Types: Investigative Journalistic, Promotional Advocacy, Instructional and Educational, Business Communication, and Community-Centric
  • Always create a action-idea/logline

The Rise of the Social Customer and Their Impact on Business
Key Takeaways:

  • How does the social customer behave?
    • The customer journey is dynamic and always changes
    • Brands need to have multiple customer touch points to break through the clutter
    • Customers need to hear things 3-5 times before they actually believe (must have a relevant message in all mediums)
  • The Social Customer and Brand Experience
    • Google product and services
    • Minimal participation
    • Share content when convenient
    • Aid and influence their micro-communities down the purchase funnel through organic conversations
  • The New Purchase Funnel
    • Build relationship in order to drive advocacy
    • Advocates talk about the brand, even if the brand isn’t listening
    • Advocates are trusted among their peers
    • Influencing them down the purchase funnel