Discover more from The Land of Random
💥Ruin your Ad Data, Go Bananas, and A Starbucks Competitor!
Can Starbucks lose its throne? 🤔
Hey everybody! Ready for Thanksgiving this week? 🦃🍗🥧
or Black Friday?
or CYBER MONDAY? 😃
Yup. It’s that time of year again. I hope you have a wonderful time with your family this Thanksgiving, reminiscing about the old days, giving thanks for blessings, and enjoying time with family you only see on occasion.
It’s hard to slow down and appreciate such things in our fast-moving culture - but they’re important! I encourage you - and myself - to remember that in just a few days.
Let’s get started.
Ruin Your Ad Data
There’s a brand new way to confuse the Surveillance Tech gods (Looking at you Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix) and it looks pretty cool. I ran across a Vice article recently by Edward Ongweso Jr about an experimental device called the FANGo (nicknamed after Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix). An artist named Martin Nadal has created a phone charger that hijacks your phone and clicks randomly around the internet to make your ad data useless.
Here’s Martins stated purpose for creating the device
“FANGo” is a defense weapon against surveillance capitalism. Hidden under its appearance of mobile phone charger will be provided with a micro controller that takes control of the smartphone plugged in making queries to google, amazon and other search engines, launching videos in YouTube in order to deceive data brokers in their data capture process. (Source)
“Woah” was my reaction. I’ve seen projects like Ad Nauseum for browsers (it clicks on ads in the background to ruin your ad data) but I’ve never seen a project like this for a phone. This FANGo device is an attempt to fight back against the commoditization of our data. Our phones and our queries reveal a lot of information about us to Tech companies - who use it to sell us more stuff.
Martin details how the project works.
When the user loads the mobile phone, a microcontroller simulates touches and interactions into the phone, adding noise to the captured data, making them unusable for companies and data brokers.
While the phone is charging, the microcontroller will perform searches, videos will be seen on YouTube will be given likes to Facebook posts, all these interactions will be captured by the data brokers without knowing that they are automatic, noise with the sole intention of worsening the quality of the data captured. (Source)
Essentially - this charger takes over your phone and pretends you are doing stuff - when you actually aren’t. That messes up all your ad data - and makes the ads you get much less targeted. For example, say you are a single guy who lives alone, uses Apple products exclusively, and watches only documentaries.
If FANGo goes and watches a bunch of android videos, searches for cribs, and looks at Korean Drama movies on Netflix, that is going to mess up your ad data! The ads you get will be much less targeted to you, and you’ll be less likely to buy the products. It’s a really neat project and I really hope it becomes commercially available at some point.
Read more at the link.
Go Bananas! (Really)
Have you ever heard of the Savanna Bananas? I hadn’t either until this week. Jennifer Miller, a writer for the Entrepreneur, wrote a fantastic piece entitled “How The Country's Goofiest Baseball Team Made Millions” about the story of Jesse Cole and the Savanna Bananas.
In short, a struggling entrepreneur named Jesse Cole took a struggling baseball team from failure to stardom and rags to riches. How did he do it? 🤔 Well, he made the game all about the fans.
“We had to dramatically change the type of business we were in,” owner Jesse Cole says. “We needed to no longer be a baseball team; we needed to be an entertainment company.” That meant fixing any aspect of the fan experience that didn’t inspire joy. And to his eye, there were many: from marketing to sales to stadium food to the sport itself. “Normal gets normal results,” Cole says. “So I thought, What would be abnormal at a baseball game? What will get people saying, ‘I can’t believe what I saw tonight?’ ” . . . Cole began crystallizing a philosophy he calls “fans first.” The idea is simple. At every step, you put yourself in the shoes of your customers and your employees, and you ask: Is their experience exciting or boring? Easy or complicated? Fun or frustrating? And if at any point it’s the latter, then you’ve got a problem. (Source)
From these simple questions (questions that Comcast and Verizon should examine) he created one of the most unique and sensational sports teams that America had ever seen.
From Jesse wearing a yellow tuxedo to games, unlimited food with admission tickets, silly games, to the Bananas team dancing around the stadium - he made every game fun and unforgettable. Everyone wanted to go to a Savanna Bananas game, and tickets were (and are still) sold out months in advance.
It is an incredible story - one that every business owner wishes he could have. We have a tendency to get so lost in the the “bottom line” that we lose sight of what we are supposed to do - serve the customer.
Industries like Banking, Health Care, or Government make everything so convoluted and “Red Tapey” that we often have anxiety dealing with things that should be relatively straightforward.
For example, think about your last experience at the DMV. It was pretty horrible, wasn’t it? Even if the last one wasn’t too bad, I’m sure you can remember a different horrible experience in the past. It’s a sucky place to be for hours at a time.
What if a DMV decided to put its customers first? It could make its vast waiting room look more like a cafe, with free coffee and wifi. There could be giveaways and prizes every day, and free samples of food from local businesses. It could put a lot of documents on the web so one could sign online and get a lot of the formalities out of the way.
It would be a much smoother experience, to be sure, and maybe we wouldn’t even dread it.
Anyways, I hope this story is inspirational to you too. Read the whole article at the link. It’s quite worth the read, and I didn’t really do it justice. 😃
A Starbucks Competitor Arises
There may be a new competitor to Starbucks on the block, and it takes its inspiration from the Chinese chain Luckin Coffee. It has a simple goal - to beat Starbucks at speed.
“Bandit’s pitch: cheaper and faster than Starbucks and the other big chains. All customers place their order on Bandit’s mobile app. “Bandit is coffee at the push of a button,” Crowley tells Yahoo Finance. “It’s ready in hopefully less than a minute.”” (Source)
Bandit is seeking to remove the friction that Starbucks and many other coffee chains have by going the “Tech First” Route.
I’ll let the emoji laden explanation from their site say it for me.
“☕ 🥤 drinks on-demand
🏃♀️ 🏃 no lines or waiting around
❌ 💵 cashless
🚀 🔮 coffee shop of the future
📲 📳 all via mobile app”
There are no lines - and Bandit is leading with an emphasis on speed. Yahoo Finance put them to the test.
When we placed the order, we started a stopwatch. When the order is sent to the baristas, the app generates a ticket number. The cold brew was ready in exactly one minute, while the latte took an additional 40 seconds. Both drinks were ready for pick up in under two minutes. (Source)
That’s a whole lot faster than Starbucks, or many of my other Coffee haunts. My struggle with them is twofold, long lines and a long wait for my coffee. I hate mindlessly staring at my phone while I wait five minutes for a cup of coffee. I would betray my favorite haunts in a minute if I could find something faster and more convenient. That’s the angle Bandit is going for.
For now Bandit only has one location, but its pop up business model may change that quite quickly. People always flock to what is most convenient - and if Bandit can beat other shops at this game - they just might win.
Especially if they can build shops quickly.
Crowley says Bandit can multiply with similar speed. Its locations are like a coffee-shop-in-a-box: each one has a small footprint (11 feet by 11 feet) and costs just $45,000 to $60,000 to build out and open. (Source)
That’s pretty incredible if you ask me. If Max Crowley (visionary owner of Bandit) can scale this, he just might give Starbucks a run for its money - and I hope he does! 😃
Check out their site at the link!
The Land of Random
Here we are again! Random links you all love. 😘
I stumbled upon this free design tool called Adaptiff. It’s kind of like Canva but simplified. It’s a lot of fun to play around with and there are some pretty fun designs. Check it out!
These amazing people fought their devious landlord who was trying to put facial recognition cameras in their apartment complex - and they won too! Check out the story at the link.
Have you gotten on TikTok yet? It’s the hottest new social media platform, and really the only place you can actually get organic reach these days. This guy likes to explore abandoned buildings AT NIGHT, and his videos are terrifying. Watch them at the link!