Mine my data, please

A few days ago we got a new dog. A three-year-old Springer Spaniel named Murphy. We got him from a rescue agency and did a lot of online searching and researching before we decided Murphy was the dog for our family.

A few days before Murphy arrived, we received in the mail a sample of a new dog food. I don’t recall ever receiving a dog food sample before, but there it was, just before our new pet arrived. I can only assume that somewhere along the way we registered on a pet search site that provided our data to a pet food company.

Some would be angry at this seeming unauthorized use of my private data. I, on the other hand, was thrilled. I got a free dog food sample three days before I got a new dog. How perfect is that? I look forward to the day when, because I gave enough people my data, all I receive are relevant marketing outreaches. When I open up my mail or click on an email, what I see is at least a little bit relevant to my lifestyle.

I tried the food on Murphy, by the way, and he loved it. So, I went out and bought a bag. Well done, Marketer. Thank you for mining my data. So much better than all those baby lotion samples I get now that my children are in school!

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Why do we care so much that Steve Jobs is dead?

I am poring over my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin feeds today and reading verse after verse extolling Steve Jobs and what he gave the world. I even posted one myself. I am struck by the depth of emotion that his death evokes.

The majority of those posting never met the man. They did not know him. Their connection was through the devices that his company created. But their grief is real, I don’t doubt it.

I think it speaks to need we have to put a face on a brand. To connect on an emotional level with our chosen purveyor of goods. Our attachment is to the devices and the brand, but we have a need to transfer that love and respect to a single person. Not a company. Not a team of engineers. A single person. If Jobs still had a partner, an equal, I wonder if the outpouring would be as great. I don’t think so.

It’s a terrible loss, no doubt. But what are we really grieving?