I've got mail from MyPostcard

Scanning hit for the future of postal services and customer experience

I’ve been working on a bit of research about the future of mail and couriers. One of the coolest bits of research I found is MyPostcard.

MyPostcard is actually a scanning hit for a trend I’ve been following for a hospitality company. The hospitality industry has been focused on customer experience, experience design, and the role tech plays in curating these experiences. Especially with luxury brands, the success is in the details.

People are buying tailored suits. They are buying more hand-made products. Bespoke products and services are the leaders at the moment. Customers are wanting concierge service from personal butlers. There are modern accommodations that are treating the staff like servants from an upstairs/ downstairs drama. Nostalgia is a key driver, but so too is the desire for high-quality, personalized experiences that technology just doesn’t quite deliver.

MyPostcard is a perfect example of how tech can enable and even drive this trend. First, the app for Android or Apple has a great user experience. It’s easy to upload images, write text, and even sign the card.

You can choose from postcards, greeting cards, XXL greeting cards, or photo prints. You can also order them in bulk. The XXL cards are very cool. I sent two to my parents in the states from here in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. They print photos of the kids all the time, but the cards of our own design featuring photos of the kids and the kids’ signatures/ drawings gave them a special thrill. It was an inexpensive gift that will pay dividends in maintaining relationships between my parents and their grandchildren. My kids love the postcards I sent them too. The app is so easy, even my parents have learned how to use it and send some to my kids.

This is the kind of experience that is both nostalgic and modern. Although society is still pushing toward being completely paperless for all the bills and correspondence that used to flood the mail services, customers still need mail and courier services. This need is expected to continue until Amazon Prime Air can handle all of our delivery needs. By then, it will be the United States of Amazon, right? Until then, little touches like these will add value to personal relationships, client relationships, etc.

I should also include that businesses have long offered personalized cards and gifts. Moonpig is one example that has offered online orders since their launch to deliver anywhere in the world. However, MyPostcard is less expensive, and it has a much easier and pleasant UX. MyPostcard offeres the typical greeting card templates if that’s what you want, but their focus is on sharing your images and helping you create your own card from scratch.

I’m working on a more professional post, but I wanted to share my unique code. If you want to try out MyPostcard, enter my code, TVHESH, after creating a new account. You’ll get $3 and I’ll get $3 too. It’s a great way to stay in contact with people.

I've got mail from MyPostcard
I’ve got mail from MyPostcard

Join me at Block to the Future in Brisbane

BLOCK TO THE FUTURE Friday 27 – Saturday 28 October 2017 BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA If you haven’t registered yet for our Block to the Future event in Brisbane, now is a great time. We have created a few pages to highlight the event, https://apf.org/gatherings/block-to-the-future/. On there, you will see links at the top to the schedule…

via Block to the Future in Brisbane — Association of Professional Futurists

I’m looking forward to attending this event next week. It will be a great time to network with colleagues and learn more about applications for blockchain technology. This will be my APF event since 2009.

Scenarios for Disaster Preparedness

Previous articles in the series addressed the concepts of implementing strategic foresight, conducting horizon scanning, imagining black swans, and mapping existing systems. Now, we’ll look at developing scenarios upon which to base strategies for disaster preparedness.

The Future is Unwritten

The most important thing to remember is that the future is unpredictable. Yes, there will be patterns and trends that may continue into the future. However, patterns and trends can always change course, and the effect they have on everything else can also change.

Read the rest by clicking here.

Think Different: Steve Jobs’ Early Years

I don’t usually write off topic. However, Steve Jobs’ had the ability to mix the harder sciences and engineering with the softer sciences of art, literature, sociology in an effective and profitable manner. Thanks to Jobs most techies now care about user experience, and digital innovation is bursting out of  Silicon Valley and spilling out all over internet and the rest of the world. So, I wrote a quick bio of his early years and how he thought different(ly). Actually this was originally written for someone else who changed their minds, but I liked it enough to post it here.

He was considered a legend in his own time. But even before 1976, when he and Steve Wozniak started Apple in Steve’s garage, Steve Jobs thought a little differently than everyone else.

He was given up for adoption by his Syrian father and Caucasian American mother. His adoptive mother, Clara Jobs, was born in the US to Armenian parents, and his adoptive father, Paul Jobs, was Caucasian American. Neither of them had a college education, and Job’s birthmother forced Paul and Clara to promise that her baby would attend university. While Steve attended Reed College very briefly before dropping out, his passion is what drove him to succeed.

Paul was a high school drop-out with tattoos who travelled the American Midwest looking for work during the Great Depression. Paul was abused as a child, and he was very aggressive as a result. Paul was a repo-man who loved rebuilding cars, and that love for mechanics fuelled the love of technology in him and his adopted son.

Initially, Steve was a loner who played pranks on his teachers and others. He felt bored at school because he learned to read as a toddler while the rest of the class had to catch up with him. By fourth grade, one teacher was so frustrated that she bribed Steve with money to do his bookwork. Steve took the bribery in good form and progressed so much that the school wanted to advance him two years.

Steve was anxious to leave that school because he was bullied, and when the Jobs family bought their own home in the Cupertino School District, Steve got his wish. The new school was no less welcoming, but Steve was able to make friends with Bill Fernandez who introduced him to Steve Wozniak, who was five years older.

At the age of 13, Steve wanted some electronics parts for a school project. So, he phoned up Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett was impressed by the young man, and he offered him a summer job screwing in computer parts. Steve loved the work. However, when he took an electronics course at Homestead High School—a school that has contributed significantly to Silicon Valley’s growth—Steve lost interest in his class largely over a personal clash with the teacher.

So, Steve operated outside of two primary groups, arts and engineering. He was too artsy for the tech nerds, and he was too techy for the art crowd. In 1970, Steve smoked marijuana for the first time. He also started listening to music and reading classic literature more than anything engineering. His best friends at the time were his artistic girlfriend and Wozniak who would soon build the Apple I computer single-handedly.

It was the amalgamation of these two primary interests coupled with hard lessons learned from Paul Jobs, most notably an affinity for being a loner toughened against social ostracizing.

He was more interested in pursuing his own vision. He started the Think Different campaign to focus on his childhood heroes. Steve always thought a little differently to everyone else around him, and that is why Apple has dominated technology, design, and culture.

Was he a futurist? No, I don’t think so, but he was an entrepreneur in the truest and best senses of the word.

Top 4 Highest Rated Stovetop Coffee Percolators

If you love the smell of coffee in the morning, you may have fond memories of stovetop percolators. In fact, when brewed properly a stovetop percolator is the best way to brew a hotter, more robust cup of coffee. So, if you love your coffee, you owe it to yourself to try a stovetop percolator.

Amazon has about 22 stovetop percolators available. The glass stovetop coffee percolators are particularly fun because you can watch the whole process while it happens. However, stainless steel stovetop coffee percolators also have much to offer. For starters, they are more likely to last you much longer. If you make a lot of coffee, you should certainly consider stainless steel. However, if you feel like you need to watch the process to get a better quality cup of coffee, then glass is your way to go.

So, out of 22 stovetop coffee percolators, which one do you buy? Here is a list of Amazon’s 4 top rated and bestselling percolators to choose from.

1. Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

This Farberware percolator is quite popular. It can make 8 cups of coffee at a time. The stainless steel is hardy and ready for a good beating no matter how much coffee you drink, or how quickly. And you can keep a good eye on the strong and clear plastic knob on top to know when percolation begins. Then you can gauge the best time to pull it off the stove. One of the best things about this percolator is the steel filter. You will never need to worry about paper filters ever again. The interior of the percolator is entirely non-reactive. That means the water you fill it with will not absorb any trace odors or tastes. Plus, it is easy to clean either in the sink completely immersed or even in your dishwasher. This is one of Amazon’s highest rated percolators with 4.5 stars (from 3,890 customer reviews!), and it is their number 1 best seller. It will cost you less than $20. Also, it does not work with induction hobs, but it will work with a glass stovetop.

2. Kabalo 350ml (6-cup) Espresso Stovetop Coffee Maker – Continental Moka Percolator Pot Aluminium

If you prefer espresso to Americano, you might want to think about this Kabalo percolator. It is another highly rated percolator on Amazon also with 4.5 stars from only 2 customer reviews, and it will cost you less than $10 with shipping. This percolator is made from 100% aluminium, and it has a steel base. It does not work with induction hobs. Since it is specifically designed to brew espresso, you will be able to quickly make a cappuccino if you can froth your milk and even a mocha if you have powdered chocolate. It makes up to 6 cups of coffee.

3. Copco Brushed 4 to 8-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Percolator

This Copco percolator is very similar to the Farberware percolator mentioned above. It is brushed stainless steel. So, both of them are quite durable. Like the Farberware, the Copco has a plastic lid so you can keep tabs on the percolation. And both are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Also, neither of them work on induction, and both work fine on glass stovetops. Although the Copco has a slightly lower rating on Amazon at 4 stars from 48 customer reviews, it also costs another $10 above the Farberware.

4. Medelco 8 Cup Glass Stovetop Percolator

The Medelco has the same rating as the Copco, 4 stars from 642 customer reviews, but it is less than half the price at slightly less than $12. This one is the first glass stovetop coffee percolator on this list. So, again, the reason you might want this is because you will be able to watch the whole process. If you are a bit of a coffee nerd, you probably should be eyeing this one. It is made from lab-quality borosilicate glass. What does that mean? I have no idea, but it is thermal shock resistant which is definitely a good thing. Basically, you can safely move the percolator from the stove to the table or even to the fridge without cracking it. As you can see in the title, it will brew up to 8 cups of coffee. It is also dishwasher safe along with the other 3 on this list. However, unlike the other percolators this one specifically mentions that the handle stays cool because it is heat tolerant. Does that mean that the handles on the others gets hot? I doubt it, but it is probably a nice feature all the same. It should only be used on electric range coils or gas stoves. And this is a key difference from the others on the list.

Bonus Perc: Vintage Pyrex 6 cup Glass Stovetop Percolator Coffee Pot

That’s right. It’s vintage, baby! And, it is Pyrex. Maybe you still watch Mad Men episodes, or maybe you are just old enough to remember what these things were. Or just maybe you still have a manbun. Well, all you hipster coffee fiends can get your fix in style. It is an almost entirely glass stovetop coffee percolator. Only the top and bottom of the filter basket are aluminium. Oh and there is an aluminium band around the outside of it. The photos on the Amazon listing do not include the filter. Since these are vintage, all of them are used. So, some of them may be missing important parts like the filter basket. And you should also be very careful using them on electric stoves. Being older glass, they could easily crack. If you fear you may leave it on the stove too long, you will need to move is as soon as possible because electric stovetops take too long to cool down. You should be able to put it in the dishwasher with no worries.

Stovetop percolators, especially the glass stovetop coffee percolators fell out of favour when the electric drip coffee makers hit the market in the 70s. They seem to be making a comeback now, but I’m not sure exactly why. One thing for sure is that people either love them or hate them. And most of the customer leaving reviews love them. If you like your coffee the way you like your guard dogs, strong and black; then you should give one of the above percolators a go. Besides, considering how inexpensive they are, you will not be out of pocket much if you decide you do not like it.