Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starbucks Could Learn a Valuable Lesson from... Gamers?

iTunes has been through this before. The Gap unsuccessfully navigated these treacherous waters. Starbucks has now ventured into the same depths.

What were they thinking rolling out a new logo in the age of Twitter?

The important lesson from all the negative tweets might sound outrageous, but let me make my case.

Even the people who live on the cutting-edge, the early adopters among us, are still highly resistant to change. Don't misread this. They like "new." But they are not so comfortable with change. There is a difference.

From Twitter user @DarrenLangley
Seemingly unrelated, but still significant evidence of this theory exists in the gaming community. One of, if not the most popular online game is Counter-Strike. At any given time there are between 60,000-80,000 people online playing Counter-Strike. The game was originally released in 1999. Now, a decade later, the game still tops the list of most-played online games. Countless newer alternatives have been released in the last decade including an updated version of Counter-Strike called Counter-Strike:Source. The updated version was released in 2004. The two games split the player base a bit, but they continue to both reside comfortably at the top of the charts each of them having over 50% more players than the next most popular game.

Why is this? Why can't anyone unseat this 12-year-old game? There are probably numerous factors going into this, but I believe one of the strongest draws of Counter-Strike is nostalgia and comfort. The players intimately know each map in the game. They have lived the last decade of their digital lives in this game, and the community is strong. Why would they ever want to change?

When you think about online gamers and people who live their lives on the web, we envision a community that craves the cutting edge. Could it be that those who crave the newest gadgets are not so willing to budge when they are asked to change? What should this teach us about how we approach change in our churches? Maybe that's a question we're afraid to ask honestly because we're afraid we wouldn't like the answer.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Journey into the Unfamiliar

This fall my church is focusing in on discipleship. As leaders we're asking questions like "What does a disciple look like?" and "Is there a process by which we can lead people to become disciples? If so, how do we walk people through it?"

One thing we're discovering through is that discipleship pushes people into unfamiliar territory. Some people see it as a positive challenge, understanding that this will (hopefully) bring them closer to the Lord who loves them. Others are less eager to take on the challenge.

And that's to be expected. Jesus' call to follow him is not a simple action like following someone on Twitter. Look at John 6:53-68. When Jesus told the people to eat his flesh and drink his blood, "many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." When Jesus asked the 12 disciples if they wanted to leave too, Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."  

Being a follower of Jesus is, by definition, a journey into the unfamiliar, but it's where we're supposed to be, because it is the journey that leads to life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do Numbers Really Matter in Ministry?

Photo by Flickr user Pshab. Used under
Creative Commons licence .
I am excited to be part of a team who admins several thriving Facebook pages such as The Bible page, and the Jesus Christ page. The team also manages several other pages which you should definitely check out. 

Recently, our team was discussing the importance of the number of "Likes" each page receives. Some team members liked tracking the numbers and setting goals; others weren't too keen on the idea. 

Personally, I like seeing the numbers. Are they the indicator of good things happening and souls being transformed? No.

But they are an indicator that something awesome is happening. Read through the book of Acts and note how many times Luke talks about people being added to the community of faith. In Acts 2:41 he even cites a specific number! 

The growth of the church in Acts was an indicator that God was doing something amazing with this little bunch of fishermen. Did the numbers tell the whole story? Of course not, otherwise Acts would be about 5 sentences long! 

These conversations are good for our team to stay grounded and focused on the higher prize: not lots of likes, but a single like from the One who matters most.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google Mystery Logo 2 - Grey... With a Twist

Yesterday, Google's logo was a cryptic bouncing ball thingy. Today the home only has a grey (or some might say a "chrome") logo. Kind of a ho-hum logo after yesterday's boisterous display.

But when you start typing something in the search field...

it turns to color!

Here it is completed.

Like a double-rainbow all the way across the sky, it's got me asking, "What does this mean?"

Google may have some answers for us tomorrow though. We'll have to wait and see. It's clear this isn't just a birthday celebration, as I, along with the rest of the internet, previously thought.  

Some are speculating that Google's going to announce a new algorithm for indexing websites that uses the data collected through Google Analytics to help users find the most relevant sites for their search. If this is the case, then Yahoo and Bing might want to start emptying their desks. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What's the Meaning Behind Google's Bouncing Balls Logo

As I've mentioned before, I love Google. Today's logo has me stumped though. Here's what it looks like when you load the page.
Then when you wait a second, the balls fall into place.
Plus, it's interactive! Run your mouse through them and the balls are repelled from the mouse!

I've been trying to figure out what it's all about, but I can't find anything. In the course of searching, I did, however, discover this interesting fact: 6 Nobel laureates were born on September 6th and another Nobel laureate died on September 6th. Weird huh?

If someone figures out what the logo is referring to, please let me know because I'm baffled.

Update: A friend on twitter pointed out that September 7th is Google's birthday. I'd bet if this is a form of digital confetti.

Update 2: Others speculate that it could be Google showing off Chrome's HTML5 skills. Loading the page in IE8 shows a blank area where the logo should be. Could this be the more likely explanation?

Monday, August 23, 2010

So cute. @MalcolmSmith got tired during lunch

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yet Another Reason to Love Chick-Fil-A (@ChickFilA)

I have a dark secret that I have only shared with my most trusted friends. If I were to reveal this secret openly among people in my circles, I would expect gasps of horror followed by endless questions like "Why?" and "How could you ever say such a thing?" 

But I have decided to come clean here in this most public of forums. Prepare yourself. If you're standing, sit down. If you're sitting, well, just keep sitting. Here it goes.

There was a time in my relationship with Jesus Christ during which I did not like to eat at Chick-Fil-A.

Wow that feels good to get off my chest! I have carried this burden for so long, I wasn't sure how I would ever function properly within the community of believers.

Rest assured. I adore Chick-Fil-A now for several reasons and so should you, if for no other reason than Jon Acuff told you to.

Chick-Fil-A called me for some time before I gave my fast-food life over to them. Their marketing is pure genius. Cows. For a chicken restaurant. How did that meeting go?

"Guys we have a new client. Some place called 'Chick-Fil-A.' They claim to have invented the chicken sandwhich. Have any ideas?"

"I'm thinking: cows."

"Sounds good. Go with that."

The first real step in my transformation was the addition of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich a few months ago. Along with a diet lemonade, it's the only thing I ever order. But last week I had the most positive experience I've ever had with any fast-food restaurant thanks to Chick-Fil-A in The Colony, Texas.

Last week, I picked up some Chick-Fil-A food for some people and someone was going to reimburse me, but I lost the receipt. When I called the Chick-Fil-A restaurant and told them about my problem, the employee named Greg took my name and phone number. About 10 minutes later he called me back saying that he had found transaction and a printed copy was waiting for me whenever I could make it back to the store to pick it up. Something as simple as that has made a kept a devoted customer.

I am proud to be a reformed Chick-Fil-A lover. I once was lost, but now I am found. Was blind, but now I see. Chick-Fil-A is THE primo Christian food chain and only Satan and his minions ever eat at other restaurants. 

Except on Sundays.

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