Friday, January 27, 2012

The O2O trend

Jack Dikian
January 2012

Back in 1998 I become involved in providing strategic consulting to a small Sydney based e-tailing firm (those that know me know the firm). Back then internet business models were less well defined, building technology platforms from scratch was common, and whilst we knew that even large prime movers such as Amazon weren’t turning in a profit (and the internet bubble burst thing was still happily a few years ahead of us), we nevertheless, thought had some novel differentiation.

One of the big ideas was to forge symbiotic relationships with what (at the time) was called brick and mortar (read that as established shops and businesses) and the online services. For example, you might see our marketing material in a participating store, you might return goods purchased online to a local store, and so on. It’s important to note, these weren’t our stores. Just established business that saw value in integration with an on-line store.

The reason I’m writing this is because 13 or 14 years on Australians spend close to $25billion per annum on the net. Almost 40% of bought products on the net in 2011 and online sales are expected to grow 9% annually by 2012. If only we hung in…

The other reason, and, perhaps the more relevant one is the emerging trend for O2O over the next couple of years. O2O is the idea that small business use the internet (Online) to drive people into their traditional stores (Offline). People will agree that the in-person experience (at least across a variety of products) is the ultimate competitive advantage small businesses have. The O2O approach might see small business re-position themselves against the internet offensive.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friendships, Emotional Wellbeing, and Facebook

Jack Dikian
January 2012

Recently I’ve been thinking about examining correlational factors between the size of a contact list a person contains in their mobile phone and overall psychological well-being.

Sure, this is hugely an over simplification. Pathology aside, we know for example that a raft of factors impacts upon our emotional well-being. And, even when we horde hundreds of contacts, are they of people who we remain in touch with regularly, and are they all positive elements in our lives.

Our capacity to recognize our emotions and express them appropriately can help us avoid depressive, anxiety creating, and/or other negative moods. Having a strong support network, having trusted people we can turn to for encouragement and support can boost resilience in tough times.

I guess what I’m really asking - are people with large groups of [friends] also share good emotional and mental health. I say “friends” in italic because that in it-self has many contentions. For instance, Facebook friends, colleagues, acquaintances, associates, family members, etc sometimes blurred.

An interesting phenomenon, in the United States at least, is the idea that Americans are thought to be suffering a loss in the quality and quantity of close friendships since at least 1985. Facebook friends are on an upward trend. In Britain today, the average 22-year-old has over 1,000 Facebook friends, 50 times more than their parents.

According to the study in the June 2006 issue of the journal American Sociological Review reports that 25% of Americans have no close confidants and that the average total number of confidants per citizen has dropped from four to two. The study reports also:

  • Americans' dependence on family as a safety net went up from 57% to 80%.
  • Americans' dependence on a partner or spouse went up from 5% to 9%.

Incidentally, that research found a link between fewer friendships (especially in quality) and psychological regression.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The next next-step - the world of re-selling almost anything

Jack Dikian
January 2012

It’s often difficult to gaze into a murky crystal ball and attempt to predict future trends. Of course it is a little easier to talk about those trends that might be seen as evolutionally and, built on current trends with strong inertia.

Having said that, I’d like to talk about an emerging trend that may become significant in our everyday life in the next few years. I’m talking about re-commerce.

It wasn’t that long ago when, almost overnight the term e-tailing become a part of our vernacular. E-tailing is, as we know, the selling of retail goods on the Internet. Short for "electronic retailing." The term seems an almost inevitable addition to e-mail, and e-business.

E-tailing began to work for some major corporations and smaller entrepreneurs as early as 1997 when Dell Computer reported multimillion dollar orders taken at its Web site.

Re-commerce is about consumers being able to unlock the value in past purchases. Whilst we have always re-sold large, durable goods like cars and houses; the next few years will see us reselling almost anything we no longer want or need.

A growing number of novel brand buy-backs, exchange schemes, online platforms and mobile marketplaces offer smart and convenient options for consumers keen to ‘trade in to trade up’, alleviate financial strains.

Some early business supporting the re-commerce market place include:

  • Decathlon, a French sports apparel and equipment store, launched Trocathlon for a week in October 2011. Stores bought back any used equipment in return for coupons valid for six months.
  • Levi's Singapore offered customers cash and store vouchers when they brought in their old jeans and bought a new pair.
  • Amazon Student released in August 2011, enables students to scan the barcodes of books, DVDs, games or electronics they own, and see the trade-in price. If accepted, a shipping label is generated, and the funds awarded as an Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Animal Most Likely To Live In The Desert - A science and maths trend

Jack Dikian
January 2012

For those who haven’t heard about TIMSS; it the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. It is carried out every four years with Year 4 and Year 8 students. TIMSS provides data about national and international trends in mathematics and science achievement. In Australia, TIMSS is part
 of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs’ (MCEETYA).

Survey outcomes help inform educational policy in the participating countries, TIMSS also routinely collects extensive background information that addresses concerns about the quantity, quality, and content of instruction.

TIMSS 2007 was the fourth in a cycle of internationally comparative assessments, conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). You can look at the complete report by following the link below.

Here is an interesting benchmark looking at the Year 4 Science: Performance at the Low International Benchmark, designed to be read with the accompanying illustration.

The low international benchmark for science included knowing some simple facts about human health and the behavioural and physical characteristics of animals and humans. The item shown below presents an example of student achievement at this benchmark. Students were presented with a pictorial representation of four animals and asked to identify the animal most likely to live in the desert.

On average internationally 68 per cent of Year 4 students were able to identify the lizard as the most likely desert dweller. More than 90 per cent of students in the United States correctly answered this item, and 88 per cent of Australian students also identified the correct animal. This was significantly higher than the international average.


% Full correct

United States


Russian Federation










International average