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Archive for October, 2011

X.commerce

I’ve had the opportunity to redesign multiple sign-up and checkout experiences over the years. You might think it couldn’t be that hard, but it is never simple from my experience. The sales team may want loads of registration data at sign-up even if it means there is a huge associated bounce rate. Worst case, sales might think, “if they don’t finish the form, then who wants the prospective customer anyway?” On the opposing side, savvy business models such as fermium models may dictate that you capture as many users as possible, even if you don’t know much about them.What is exciting to me is that it looks like we may have a new solution to our registration and checkout woes. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the X.commerce Innovate conference where they announced PayPal Access. Unlike Facebook Connect’s focus on sharing the social graph with merchants, PayPal Access brings a user’s authentic e-commerce profile to the registration and checkout process. I use the word authentic, because a person using PayPal is a real world individual with a bank account and purchase history. This product allows users to checkout without sharing their private financial information with the company or physically going through registration. On top of that, the retailer doesn’t have to give up valuable social graph data Facebook provides to merchants since they also announced a partnership with X.commerce at the conference. In a nutshell, a person brings both their wallet and their friends to the shopping experience.

I’m not saying that registration will cease to exist. What I am saying is that PayPal Access may reduce friction in the registration and purchase process for the 100m+ and growing PayPal users. For SMBs, this just might level the playing field a bit with larger companies that have much bigger technology budgets. A few lines of code is all you need to create frictionless checkout for many prospective customers.

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Ever since his passing on October 5th, I had the strong desire to see where he had lived. I took the opportunity to stop by Steve Jobs’ house in Palo Alto before my Saturday yoga class nearby. The neighborhood is very tranquil and his home is rather understated for the leader of the biggest tech company in the world. An early morning jogger stopped by to admire the memorial. She said she didn’t even realize he lived there after all the years of jogging past his house.

Steve Jobs' House

Steve Jobs' Palo Alto Home

The memorial around his house was an emotional site to witness. Candles were still burning 4 days later and more half eaten apples than I could count surrounded me. An apple orchard surrounds his small yard. Something tells me he didn’t work to attain status, but rather worked hard to make his dreams a reality. He didn’t seem to lead the opulent lifestyle that he could have. A friend said that she saw him just 6 – 8 weeks ago eating sushi by himself on California street.

I wasn’t a die hard Mac fan from childhood. I was raised on an 8086 IBM clone that I saved for in 5th grade. I switched to Mac at the time that I considered the Windows OS to be in decline – the dreaded Vista years. Tired of the hassles and lack of reliability of Windows, I gave Mac a shot when a friend of mine at Apple extended his friends and family discount to me. Since then, my house is filled with beautiful Apple products that help me do a lot more of what I want to do.

I’m sad that he is gone, but nothing does last forever and Steve had an incredible run. He did things on his own terms and had a vision that will always captivate me.

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