Monday, May 18, 2009

BP: It's better to receive, than to give, if the stuff in question is information. the question is education and the method is "transpromo."

The common wisdom mindset of "transpromo" is giving information. That's the "promo" part. But the real value is receiving information. That's why I think a better word is "transinfo."

Amazon and Google sell goods and services. Amazon sells stuff. Google sells advertising. They are both very good at what they do. They grew up with a user network commercial model so that makes sense. Walmart sells stuff and keeps moving into selling services. Staples sells mostly stuff but keeps creeping up on business services with their copy shops piece.

Selling stuff scientifically is much more predictable than other ways of selling stuff. Science requires unambiguous data and smart people to figure out what the data might reveal. Google gets their data from page views and user behavior on the screen. Amazon also gets their data from page views, but also from what people buy. Walmart gets their data by what people buy and where their stuff is in the pipeline.

But there are very, very few globals that can get to the data of their customer's behavior in actionable form. Data that is two weeks old is too old to respond fast enough to make it actionable. It is nice to have to plan. But responding is much better than planning.

Walmart and Amazon get much less ambiguous data because buying is much easier to understand than viewing or clicking. On the other hand, Google gets a much greater volume of data, so it's easier to find the strange attractors in a world of complexity.

How "TransPromo" or "TransInfo" fit in
Selling a little more stuff is nice. Getting the data that enables scientific selling is much more valuable. When coupled with real time response mechanisms using pURLs and purchases are included in Print, it is possible to harvest unambiguous data. Every organization needs unambiguous data to develop a scientific approach to what they're doing.

For the sales and marketing function the value is clear. But the less noticed value in the fields of education, health and government may in fact be much greater.

TransInfo textbooks, supplements and print products could give unambiguous data of the process of learning, staying healthy and active citizenship. The web is nice. But the fact is that it's a fast growing, but still a niche media. Without an exchange of clear value the signal v noise ratio is much too low. Exchange value can be measured in money, attention or interaction. A click is different from a view. More time on a site indicates something. Buying something means alot more.

Print is a mass media that has a very long half life in the real world. It fixes information in the physical space. For education, it enables compare and contrast. With the addition of a pencil it is the mass media that allows the engagement with words and pictures that is at the kernel of thinking. Once it is linked to the web, it can produce much less ambiguous data in real time.

The point of the pencil, in the form of notes, questions, doodles are concrete data points that a teacher in a classroom can analyze. A published print product, like a book of poems or essays are natural to produce indicators of success that can supplement high stakes tests. Data received through a transinfo intervention in classrooms can seamlessly supply the necessary data on attendance.

Voluntary attendance is the clearest measure of a good educational experience at the bottom of the pyramid. High school students vote every day with their feet. That's why attendance at most bottom of the pyramid high schools is so abysmally low. It's not because kids are stupid. It's because kids are smart. Unlike their middle class colleagues, students with independence, reserves of unbounded curiosity, tend to act out instead of space out, when they are bored.

When they are really bored, they don't show up.

If transinfo interventions were designed to harvest this data in real time, it would be actionable intelligence that would allow small interventions at just the right time to change behavior. The behavior in question is that of the teacher and the student.

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