Things I’ve Learned from Lately #83

“Things I’ve Learned from Lately” is a regular compilation of articles that have made me a smarter marketer. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too.

Buy with Google - ReCode's Jason Del Rey looks at Google's plan to take on Amazon for product purchases and searches. The plan includes investing in marketing to build awareness and infrastructure to get products to customers' doors. The challenge for Google right now is to make search ads and results more actionable by allowing users to buy immediately on Google.com. Where Google aims to differentiate from Amazon is in working with local retailers to get the goods and then deliver them to customers through contracted couriers. Google has a long way to go to compete with Amazon, but they have the capital and know-how to make it happen. Google's never been a business to shy away from new challenges and evolving landscapes, but it must first build trust with consumers and retailers alike.

Uber Looks for Lots of Love - Uber has faced a lot of scrutiny and been the source of a great deal of controversy, but as WIRED'S Marcus Wohlsen points out, that doesn't matter if its too popular to ban. Growing fast is key to success, and it has the funds to afford discounting and encouraging trial. The piece shows that losing money to gain customers is a risky approach with a potentially significant payoff as exhibited by Amazon. With high adoption and deep penetration, any controversy Uber faces will be pushed aside when the people have spoken.

The Game that Sparked a Creative Renaissance - This New York Times piece from Ethan Gilsdorf shares part of the legacy the 40-year old Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) game has built, inspiring the creative ives of people like George R. R. Martin and Brent Hartinger to Stephen Colbert and Matt Groening. The game encourages creativity and improvisation in a way that encourages creativity. The story of D&D shows the power of exposing oneself to new experiences and challenging the mind in new ways.

Facebook as a Conduit - The Facebook News Feed has seen its share of controversy. In this piece, Cornell University's Tarleton Gillespie looks at Facebook's practice of curating user News Feeds through the lens of Facebook's recent study on News Feed content's effect on user motions. Gillespie writes that society is adjusting to a culture that is algorithmically organized. It's a new information system, and people are realizing they can't necessarily trust Facebook as an information conduit. But the debate of whether or not this was ever Facebook's job continues.

Evolving Unlocks Unexpected Opportunities - This short Gizmodo piece reveals that Aerosmith made more money licensing its songs and image to Guitar Hero than from any of their albums. The story is a testament to how businesses evolving how they view their 4 Ps can unlock unexpected potential.