I just participated in a US-based family member's baby shower over Zoom and have some rather pedestrian observations on technology, culture, and 2020 colliding.
A coinage I can't get out of my head since hearing it on Twitter is the "Zoom class", and it was immediately obvious which family members were in the Zoom class and which weren't. First five minutes were corralling the non-members and dealing with IT issues.
Zoom is clearly the wrong tool for organizing a party, but at the same time it made a party possible during a coronavirus epidemic, and that party affirmatively included several family members abroad whereas no party prior to 2020 ever has, so I feel indebted to it.
Because administrators in the Zoom class are capable of anticipating challenges in how to run a Zoom meeting, the woman in charge of the baby shower had a run-of-show prepared prior to the event, and ran it like a business meeting or conference event.
Great times were had by all, including the mother, her friends, and family members included from around the globe. There was widespread acknowledgment that everyone would definitely want "real" baby showers in future but definitely with a computer open.
(The McKenzies in particular are scattered to the four winds and there are some complicated dynamics around "Who would you fly from PST to Chicago for, and would you do that for a wedding but not the baby shower, both, or neither?", which this eases enormously for many people.)
Bingo came up, of course, and there was a brief bit of "Oh we should have asked Patrick to bring bingo cards!"

Thankfully for me, it was not a priority for anyone.

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More from @patio11

23 Nov
In a sign of the times, the city of Ogaki (where I lived for about 10 years) is offering free Zoom calls with city officials for anyone considering (internal) migration to it.

They'll answer questions about e.g. childcare, schools, etc, and give you honey for showing up.
This is pitched as a response to the pandemic, which it surely is, but this also dovetails with Ogaki's interests in preventing the depopulation that is hitting much of Japan's regions. (Ogaki is definitely regional Japan, but is a "sleeper town" for Nagoya, a large city.)
If you're in Japan and interested in hearing the pitch:

Read 9 tweets
23 Nov
One of the less sung benefits of platforms is that you can have people who are very good and very specialized at business/marketing/product/etc create “pits of success” for the creators using the platforms.

This is a partial unbundling of the traditional employment transaction.
For example, every platform should have both pricing experts and creator education experts, and both the platform and the creators benefit enormously from nudging default pricing (generally upwards) versus letting creators just pick a number.
One of the things @delk used to do for Gumroad users was run through a deck with essentially two takeaways:

1) Charge more; you will make more

2) Have 3 things to sell not 1 for a given product, at price ratio X/1.8X/5X; you will make a lot more
Read 5 tweets
22 Nov
Doing the annual usage of hometown tax in Japan (see below) and I just love this option in a survey from one farming community, from which we are ordering a monthly subscription to 5kg of rice:

Connection to $TOWN: "It begins today."

(I gave most of ours to Ogaki, my adopted hometown, and to Togo, the town Ruriko spent most of her life in, but we have a lot of tax to distribute so I did end up picking up a few things from other places while doing it.)
As mentioned in the above writeup, there is heated competition from basically everywhere in Japan for these "donations" (functionally they're redirection of tax payments at behest of the taxpayer), and some places optimize for competing in the national market for delicious goods.
Read 16 tweets
22 Nov
I find myself in a weird position where all of my credit cards think I'm a churn risk because no travel in 2020, and so their marketing departments are doing their best to retain me, and the best optimization I can do is buy pre-pay several years worth of U.S. Amazon purchases.
I keep waiting for Amazon to offer checking accounts but in the meanwhile it seems like the financial industry is synthetically offering me interest-bearing checking on balances up to around $5k with an APR in the 2.5% range?
Another way of thinking about it is "If our card is inactive in his wallet he is paying the annual fee of $350 to $450 and getting no value; how much of that are we willing to rebate to convince him not to churn? Should be all of it and then some, right, look at the history?"
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
Email is one of the most important skills that isn't, you know, actually taught anywhere, except maybe by apprenticeship in sales and consulting organizations.

This seems like a missed opportunity for every organization which sits downstream of email.
"What do you mean 'email'?"

Literally everything. Inbox management; filters and tags. How to write well for different audiences. The social art of pinging. Difference between a query and status report. How to know what to never ever write in an email. etc, etc
Forward to legal, mark as Privileged and Confidential in subject line and at top, and say:

"Seeking your professional opinion with regards to this email I got [from someone who clearly didn't get the memo we didn't send about what not to write in an email]."
Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
So my two favorite companies (Stripe and @twilio) published a case study together about everyone's favorite topic, credit card authorization rates.


I want to zoom in on what creates a tenth of that 10% uplift, because it's sort of wild. Image
Have you ever wondered what a credit card transaction looks like to the computers handling it, at the closest-to-the-bare-metal level of detail? Feel they're unlikely to be JSON given we've had them for 50+ years?

You're right. Meet our friend ISO 8583.

As a grossly simplified level of detail, the Internet is a network on which whose commerce gets reflected on other networks, which sometimes crisscross the Internet, shipping ISO 8583 messages between various parties.

Most relevantly from the perspective of declines, to issuers.
Read 20 tweets

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