Thinking about the customer – Why Sure no longer works for me

Had an interesting experience this weekend, so I thought I’d jot down my thoughts, after all that’s what a blog is for, right? And it’s about time I picked up writing again.

So, here in the Isle of Man we have 2 telecoms providers, Manx Telecom and Sure. My main phone contract is with Manx Telecom, but I also have a Sure PAYG to use when I max my data allowance on my contract. This lets me tailor my billing as I only turn on my Sure connection when I need it; but it also lets me compare coverage across both providers and other fun stuff (like using the Dual SIM capability in my One Plus phone).

So this month I hit my allowance limit and bought myself a £5 Sure credit one evening as I usually do when i run out of data. They run a promotion where a purchase of £5 credit gives you 500Mb of data, which is usually more than enough for a the week I had left for my new allowance to kick in. So imagine my surprise when I got a text the following morning telling my my credit had run out. I checked my data allowance, but had only used 23Mb of data, no texts and no voice minutes. Popped into the shop for clarification, got told that my phone’s data usage report was inaccurate and got another £5 credit. Within a few hours I got another text telling me that my 500Mb data had been used up. My phone now reported that I had used another 5Mb of data. What was going on?

The staff at the shop didn’t really have a clue, but doing my own bit of digging I found out that earlier this month Sure instigated a policy that charges a minimum of 0.5Mb data usage every time your phone connects to their network. According to their press release this is supposed to be happen once you’re outside your bundle, but my guess is that this is what’s consuming my bundle without my actually using it.

So, the staff at the shop recommended that I keep my data switched off when I’m not using it, that way my data bundle won’t get used up. Now, my expectation for a modern connection is that it’s available all the time. My phone goes to sleep to conserve battery, but wakes up regularly to see if I have new email, new Facebook messages, new tweets, new instagram messages, and a whole host of other things that require it to be connected. When I pointed this out to Sure staff he recommended that I keep turning my data on every 5 minutes to see if there are any messages, then turn it back off again! Can you imagine trying to use a modern phone in this way?

So, feels like the end of the line for me with Sure. If they don’t understand an ‘always connected’ use case and I can consume 500Mb of their data while my phone reports it’s only sucked down 23Mb, then i can’t use their service any longer. Any other Sure users out there reading this post? Does your data usage seem insane?

The Isle of Man Enterprise Development Scheme

I attended a presentation yesterday organised by the JCC, where a government representative outlined the workings of the Isle of Man Enterprise Development Scheme that was recently approved by Tynwald. I don’t have the slides to share, but in the meantime, I’d like to share some of the tweets that I pushed out at the talk was presented to us. Should help give a flavour of what the Scheme is all about:

That was what I got, I’ll keep trying to get my hands on the slides and will share them here if @JohnGarland15 passes me a copy 🙂

Technics is BACK!

Here’s some great news from Panasonic. They’re reviving the Technics brand, a name that was synonymous with sound quality and a fantastic experience. Here’s a quick journey through time explaining what happened with the brand:

The Technics brand was used for Panasonic’s hi-fi audio systems that were marketed around the world from 1965 to 2010. The brand name was coined from the word “technology” that faithfully reproduces original sounds, and symbolized Panasonic’s commitment to the creation of high-quality audio.

The Technics brand debuted in 1965 with the launch of the Technics 1, a closed-type two-way two-unit speaker system*1. In 1970, Panasonic, then known as Matsushita Electric Industrial, released the Technics SP-10, the world’s first direct-drive*2 (DD) turntable, and followed that up with a wide array of high-quality audio products, including control amplifiers, power amplifiers and CD players, which enjoyed strong support among audio aficionados around the globe.

The news came out on stage at a Panasonics press conference:

If you want to read more about it, check out their IFA page

Where do you nibble yours?

What an awesome tagline: Where do you nibble yours? This is the tagline for a new snack I’ve just discovered called nibsnibs, a collection of tasty treats that come in fun size packages. I’m sitting at home catching up on some work, and they’re just the right thing to be snacking on (I’m trying the Roasted Sale & Pepper Jumbo Peanuts at the moment). I would say that I actually prefer their Exception Cheese Straws though (tried those yesterday 🙂 )

The snacks are extremely tasty, but I was particularly drawn to the branding on the them. The company is obviously based in Yorkshire and very proud of it, from the selection of their ingredients, all through to the declaration on the packaging that the products come ‘From Yorkshire with Love’. This sort of regional branding provides a pretty strong sense of identity, and in my case, even a vivid mental image. I’m pretty sure their factory isn’t sitting smack bang in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales .. but it’s nice to imagine that’s where your food is coming from.

So, would you like to try some nibsnibs products? If you do, check out the Rafflecopter below on ways you can win yourselves some yummy treats:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you want to learn more about nibnibs, they’re on Twitter and Facebook!

Honeypot : Some reading for startups

I came across some great articles with advice for startups in my wanders around the Web today. I used to use this blog to dump links in the past. I used to call the Honeypots as they served to distract the mind from what you were doing. I don’t do this much nowadays, as Twitter serves as a better medium for links. But here we are today, with a collection of themed links aimed at startups and entrepreneurs.

These links represent a great collection of hints and experiences. Check them out!

Introducing Future Tech

Some of you may already know, but last month I quit my job at Intelligence/Webtech and struck out on my own. It’s been a tremendously busy period for me, hence the lack of updates on the blog; but I’m finally starting to catch up and am looking to line up perceptions on where I’m heading.

A number of you won’t even notice a difference. My work with Code Club, JCC, BCS and the WordPress community will continue in the same way it has before. However my day job focus will be on growing Future Tech, my new baby. My focus there will be on strategic IT consultancy; helping organisations make best use of the technologies they have available to them. In this time of accelerating change with new technologies making themselves every day, opportunities for innovation and challenges posed by competitors, markets and regulators and something that every growing organisation has to deal with. There’s the place where I can make a real difference; so get in touch if I can give you a hand.

In the meantime, trying to find time to build a website for Future Tech, but I guess, not having time to focus on a marketing stream can only be a good thing, right?

Check out the Max Cube

I love seeing campaigns that really engage their target customers. That’s exactly what I was thinking while watching this video of Pepsi’s recent campaign in Southbank and other locations around the UK earlier this year. The campaign consisted of black cube with a countdown designed to capture people’s interest. Once the countdown finished, the cube opened up to let visitors explore a series of zones where their perception of space, orientation and time was challenged. This concluded with an incredible levitating can of Pepsi Max (pretty cool). And finally they were presented with a personalised Pepsi Max drinks bottle as a souvenir of the whole experience.

Here’s a video for you to enjoy:

I wish I had a chance to experience the Max Cube, but I missed it I’m afraid. I think the main highlight is the delight of the people at the end when receiving their personalised souvenirs. How’s that for making the whole experience memorable!