Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Peter Thiel's Social Bling

It might seem strange to put Peter Thiel's words in the consumer light, but I assure you it will hit you like a-ton-of-bricks.  For reference, if you google search for Start-up classroom notes pdf you will find that someone has prepared acopy of notes for you to reference his thesis as he presented that in his start-up class.

One part of Theil's thesis is he makes the point that since the 1970s income and salaries in real money terms have not increased but declined.  Now, it gets interesting in that what do we grab when we give up?

Some of you will say, illegal drugs and drink, etc. You are not wrong in that there is a whole slew things we grab as distractions from that realization that we are not making any headway or progress. But, somewhat humans are positive animals they tend to even though they may be facing no progress economically they than will search for ways to make progress in a social status manner.

Or put another way, Facebook and twitter have reached the decade old status. Fads usualy start to decline after 5 years so why has not facebook and twitter declined but instead are not fads?  It goes back to why use some our time to buy a facebook or twitter
distraction? I mean we don't do it with Email or SMS.

The key here is that people are using their time to buy something that acts as bling in that it elevates their social status. How does this pertain to mobile applications?

If I am right than the aspect of making a mobile application in some whay the user transformer in that it makes a user a hero in their social network and thus the social likes and tweets become part of the social bling trail that someone would use to eventually download and or buy the mobile application. In short words, your friend sees the social juice you received with a mobile applicaiton and they want the same social bling in their social network.

So its not enough to integrate with a mobile activity but we have to make that user the hero within their social network of their peers. As their peers see that elevation of their friend  than they will want the same mobile application that resulted in that social elevation of their friend.

This is differen than Kevin Rose's theory of gamification. In Kevin Rose's mind Zynga rose because of gamification. Unfortunately, Zynga in fact rose due to abuse of facebook's refusal to enforce policies and that was highlighted when facebook's enforced their policies and Zynga fell crashing to the ground.  Gamification in most respects divorces the incremental rewards from the effects of elevating the application users social status among their peers. Kevin Rose found in his own start-up that gamification without elevating the social status of the mobile application user as part of the application user interactions is nto effective at surging a mobile application download and usage growth curve.

Going back to the RapChat example, one could make an avatar award system whereas the avatar you use on the rap forum boards changes in that as your raps get noticed you are awarded points to buy more accessories to accessorize, ie bling out, your avatar. It sounds corny, right?  Its not, elevate the social status of the mobile application user through interacting with the mobile application. That is the growth curve right there, make it act like social bling in the user's life in their social network!

Some further points. No, its not described in the Google Android Application Marketing documents. But, by the same token its not in the iOS application marketing documents either. But, there are some sublte hints that maybe Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft while they do not yet fully subscribe to the theory I have expressed here are in fact opening their minds to such things.