I believe everybody has a creative ability. Most do not know this because they haven’t discovered what they can do but I believe it is still true. The magic begins when said person discovers they can make others ‘feel’ your emotions within the masterpiece. When your work moves people emotionally, that is when you know what your creative talent is. Music, painting, photography…the medium does not really matter, it’s what you do with it that counts! Everyone who has realised their gift should be given the opportunity to share as much of it with the world. If they so choose, they should also be given an opportunity to exploit their talents in order to improve their own lives, be it mentally or monetarily.
This just so happens to be the inherent beauty of SmartCard. From the outset, whatever idea we have ever had, the main aim has always been to develop a vehicle in which we could help people better themselves and subsequently improve the lives of anyone and everyone we can. This is by no means a soppy, emotional attempt at ‘saving the world’. It is in fact a method of which we could make a real difference to people’s’ lives in a way we know how to. Simply, by identifying our strengths we can help strengthen others. So how will we do this? Let us explain..
We have begun to openly invite creatives to join us. Artists, illustrators, photographers, musicians, cartoonists, jingle makers, writers, comedians, philosophers…we want them all. By giving them a vehicle like SmartCard, they will be able to unleash their creativity upon the world. Starting with Facebook (whom now have over 800M active users), in time, we will eventually be all over the world-wide web. And so will everybody who is with us. The simple tool we will use to deliver their creativity is nothing more than the humble greetings card. We shall exploit this tool in all its variations, allowing the people to create their own cards which we shall place on the SmartCard platform. In the spirit of healthy competition, we will award the best works, voted by the people, the honour of having their work sold alongside our own creations. This will inevitably make the whole experience more challenging, interesting and fulfilling. This program endeavours to inspire people of all ages and nationalities to imagine and create. So what are you waiting for?
So, Where art thou? We believe you are all out there. The question we have to ask is, when will you start discovering all that you can do? Life is short enough and there is nothing worse than a person not realising their gift in time to develop it to the best it can be. I sure as hell am not going to be that person, are you?!
Why be frank? Like most things in life, if not done clearly and in a correct manner, being frank can inevitably lead to hurting somebody’s feelings (this however, depends entirely on the emotional strength of the person you are dealing with). In the extreme case, it may even alter a person’s perception of life for the worse. So why bother? Yet, if executed sincerely, being frank and honest can be the greatest gift you can give to a person. Therefore, it should always be the best way to give advice, right?
Telling someone ‘how it is’ needn’t be difficult, hurtful or pessimistic. Take this example;
When developing SmartCard for launch, the in-house artist Chaz Muircroft, was being as frank and blunt as ever. He told us that there was no way he would begin to start introducing SmartCard Greetings to his fellow greetings card designers (and their conglomerates) until HE was satisfied that the service was working free of any errors and was so simple to use that even he could do it. Naturally, I found this frustrating, but nevertheless, understandable and quite motivational. What I respected most was his honesty. (Just to point out, when all was said and done, he was able to use SmartCard without any difficulty and loves to talk about it!).
What this shows us is that despite how I might have perceived his opinions, he was not about to sugar-coat the message for my emotional benefit. For that would have been missing the point. Life does not work that way, so why should we? As harsh as reality is, if we do not embrace it, we can never be strong enough to be prepared for the worse case scenarios. We do ourselves no favours by continuously looking for an easier, watered down experience just to make life less hurtful. Those who cannot take the truth and frankness, cannot appreciate life in its entirety, and if they can’t they should definitely consider changing how they go about life! For their own sakes..
Being frank is not about being mean, sadistic or rude. It’s about frankly telling the truth AND simultaneously being an encouraging, motivational and supportive person. All you have to do is say it how it needs to be said, with a comforting pat on the back, simple! It is the sincerest, most helpful favour you can do for somebody and EVERYBODY needs it.
“Give your clients the earliest delivery consistent with quality – whatever the inconvenience to us.”
- Arthur C. Nielsen (American market analyst)
When I think about what he said, I realise that it’s exactly how anyone should operate a service, even more so, it is exactly how we should do for others in life itself. One begins to ask questions. Like how often do we really get this quality of service or generosity in this day and age? How much of an inconvenience is it, REALLY, to those who are in a position to do such a deed, but decide not to due inconvenience?? Can we exceed the expectations derived from what Mr. Nielsen said that day?! Just like Barack Obama said, “Yes We Can!”
In my personal life, I have always endeavoured to go beyond the norm, to give a little extra. And it wasn’t always for making somebody else’s day that little bit better. Sometimes I may have been selfish and did it because I knew it’d make me feel better. Either way, the desired effect was achieved. Always! The point is, did I ever feel inconvenienced? Maybe, at times. Though there was never that feeling of ‘self destruction’ – like I was damaging my own progression by putting somebody else before me. Did some people take advantage? Sure they did, but these type of people have a great knack at exposing themselves and when they do, it’s all too easy to brush them aside and carry on doing good.
Now, we have incorporated the same philosophy into SmartCard. We wanted this service to go further than what anyone would expect from a card delivery service. So we built it to do just that. With SmartCard Express Delivery™ we have created a service which not only posts your greetings to a loved one within seconds of clicking the ‘send’ button, it is also shared with all those that care about you. Also, not only will your well wishes be shared within your e-community, the memory will be stored permanently (until the recipient decides otherwise) so that even after many months, or years, that greeting card you sent can still be enjoyed. All this from one click. And how much more effort went into these extra features? ALOT!! Many more weeks than we anticipated. Whatever the inconvenience to us, we did it because we knew the customers would appreciate it and that made us feel good. Really good. So much so, that we didn’t feel inconvenienced anymore. As if by magic, the minute we completed, we were vindicated, and it didn’t even feel like it was any harder to do.
There it is. The proverbial ‘moment of clarity’. Going that extra mile, giving that much extra, exceeding expectations…it is all so much easier than we want to believe. What i say next will resonate with most of you in some way or form…STOP being lazy, selfish and greedy. Go that little bit extra for each other and you will make your little part of the world that much better for everyone around you. It only takes one kind gesture to change an opinion. Those who do not share this simple ideology, I have only this to say. DO NOT take kindness for weakness, you will regret it. This girls and boys, is the simple truth. Goodnight.
Updating yourself….there are as many possible ways that this could be relevant to you as there are fries in a KFC box meal. You could update your general knowledge, update your wardrobe, update your car, political views etc etc. In this case, it’s not as personal. Today, I am talking about the technology on which you are relying on while you read this blog.
It’s safe to say that there are many people out there who are not the most technological of sorts, that do not understand the principle of updating software. Especially in terms of Internet browsers. With hardware it’s easy, and infuriatingly constant. As soon as one purchases an all shouting, bells ‘n’ whistles, shiny piece of hardware it is without doubt they will be well behind what is deemed ‘current’ technology within six months. And it happens all the time, everywhere and to everyone (unless you are a compulsive, obsessive technophile with access to a trust fund).
Software on the other hand, is a more discreet affair. Some have no idea that web technology has recently and continues to go through a revolution. It has become so much more powerful in such a short space of time. These advances have come with possibilities for the end user to experience more ‘real time’ interactivity. Social platforms such as Facebook continue to foster increasingly advanced applications. Yet when the ‘average’ user of the internet, a person with limited knowledge of the computing universe, has trouble with using these new features they are unlikely to think it’s a simple issue of just updating their browser to the latest version which supports any advances in the WWW. I can bet you they will instead pay to go to a person who know’s ‘more about computers’ to check over their machine to see what’s wrong, or worse still, purchase the new, all shouting, bells ‘n’ whistles, latest piece of shiny computing kit. Why? Lack of Knowledge, due to an absence of update notifications by either the user them self deciding to turn off automatic updates or (in most cases with IE) the browser developers only choosing to give notice of updates when… they ‘feel’ like it coupled with the lack of press releases as a whole to the general public.
The world, in terms of internet users, are predominantly a carefree, lackadaisical bunch of folk. They do what the have to do, be it a simple check of their emails or spending their time watching video’s and chatting to friends. For this, even pre IE9 versions (Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8) and older versions of other browsers can in most cases just about get by. Say if they want to do anything more like run an app or game, then.. (*Nuclear explosion) FOGETABOUTIT! Its whether or not they even notice that there is a problem and for some poor folk if some sites cause there out of date software to hang, crash or behave abnormally; seemingly to them the only available answer is to just not ever revisit that part of the web again (seriously).
It’s Not All doom And Gloom…
Recently (yesterday!) I found it comical to receive a complaint from somebody on Facebook with regards to the SmartCard app. They claimed, profusely, that the app didn’t work on their browser therefore it was broken. After continuous attempts to point out to the user that their web browser is in dire need of an update, with them adamant that it was not, I had no other choice but to I.M. them the web address of the update to their said browser. After a few minutes of updating, they were in the app and suitably impressed. A word of thank you? Not even a sound…just the stale, unforgiving smell of embarrassment. Unfortunately, that person is not alone. The solution to the problem (A F**kin UPDATE!!) is so simple yet it begs the question: Seriously,… WTF!!?
So people of the world, If you know someone in need of an update to Web 2.0, PLEASE open their eyes and hopefully they will listen and be able to finally enjoy the web like the rest of us
P.S. In case you were wandering, the app that the now enlightened person wanted to use can be found at http://www.facebook.com/Up4IT.SmartCard
One thing of which I am thoroughly convinced is that after any person has received a greeting card, they are more than likely to have lost/damaged it within the first few weeks. Unless they consciously decide to store it away safely, this is a given. Even then, after so many years of keeping these cards, the collection could become so big whereby you begin to take up space for more the important things in your life. Wouldn’t it be prudent to move to a system whereby the card is stored AUTOMATICALLY for you and the storage space is practically infinite??
This is the argument for a new era of sending, receiving, storing, viewing and remembering precious memories (cleanly, environmentally & ethically) against an age old tradition of hoarding relics of past celebrations with no sign of responsibility for social change in the name of ‘greening’ the planet.
Many people in my family, more of the female variety than male, love to store birthday, anniversary and all manner of celebratory cards from times long gone now. These keepsakes are important for holding memories which they fear they may forget in time. Granted, just over a decade ago, this was the only way for an average household, with an average household income to retain these memories. Since then, times (especially in household technology) have transformed faster and rather more impressively than Optimus Prime!
Now in 2012, you can purchase an All-in-One printer/scanner and external hard drive for less than £60 (http://www.pcworld.co.uk). This would allow you to scan and store every card you have previously received, (front, inside and back (if you so wish!)) and every card you’ll receive in the rest of your lifetime without ever having to worry about damage or loss of your fabled greetings cards. For those of you who are familiar with the latest technology will know about Cloud computing, as this provides you with the facility to hold any personal data in the Web ‘Cloud’ permanently and in some cases, for FREE (http://www.justcloud.com/). This not only allows one to free themselves of all that clutter of long lost love letters, cards, pictures and so fourth, but gives them freedom to choose EXACTLY when and what they want to view, almost instantly, and even gives options to edit/improve the quality of those pictorial memories. Technophobes, tech newbies and hoarders fear not! The transition to the new age of storage is relatively pain free. (If you still fear the use of the computer, you can learn I.T from your local college or http://www.learndirect.co.uk/ and eliminate those gremlins!).
Aside from the obvious advantages of going technological to store you fond memories, there is the ongoing issue of buying a physical card in a shop and sending via the post, or delivery via your car, to the recipient. It is true, that if the person you are buying for is close by, it makes sense to buy a card with a gift to take over and deliver personally. Also cards which are hand-made and are a one-of-a-kind item are too special to lose or damage, can even be seen as a cherished treasure. So we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. The real evil in this industry are the mass produced, mass transported, mass sold and ultimately, mass waste of paper
and/or card. If you break down the life-cycle of a greeting cards, you will start to wonder why on earth they are still produced, en mass! From the start of cutting down the tree’s of which there aren’t enough, to the energy and resources required to turn those tree’s into card, to the eventual nightmare of transporting these cards all over the world. Green house gasses..? This is getting ridiculous!
What if there was a much faster, cleaner and overall better way to send these to far away loved ones? Almost everyone knows about e-cards, and although being revolutionary in their concept, they have been insufficient in changing how we go about sending greetings. Then we had MoonPig (http://www.moonpig.com) who not only did a wonderful job of allowing customers to personalise and send cards directly from their website. This however, has not got rid of the considerable amount environmental issues and still costs the same amount as it would in a shop. We need something that trumps this ‘tradition’ and the new age of digital greetings. Something like SmartCard (http://www.facebook.com/Up4IT.SmartCard). What the clever people at Up4IT! have created is an online service which merges the ease of use that came with e-cards, the personalisation ability of MoonPig with the speed and accessibility of instant messaging. SmartCard will allow you to to do all these and much more! The cards are fully animated, expertly illustrated and more importantly for these times, they are less than 25% opt the cost of sending via any other service! Also, as the Smart Cards are fully digital, they do not require the cost of wasting precious trees or transportation of printed material. Sound impossible? Click on the link above to discover for yourself that with SmartCard, anything is possible..
This is all beginning to sound like a resounding victory for New Greetings Cards against those we used to purchase. To ensure a unanimous decision, it’s down to all of you, me and everybody else. We all have to make the conscious decision to embrace the method of delivering your well wishes through digital technology. Where the creative possibilities are endless, the value and quality of service is beyond reproach and the ethical and environmental issues have been addressed and satisfied. When this migration is completed, we can rest assured that we have made a serious change towards cutting the damage we do to the planet. If we cannot do this, we will continue to harm the planet on which we rely on, and for what, a card just for keepsake??