23 April 2014

Real Time Wine is closing (but that's not yet the end of the story)

An open letter sent to the users of Real Time Wine, Wednesday 23 April 2014. It's not all bad news as a little passion side project called Incogvino will come out of this. But it's time for me to move onto new things. So. Internet. What have you got out there that's cool to do? :)

Hello Wine Fans! Let's cut straight to it. I've got good news - and I've got bad news.

The Bad News.

It’s a sad day, but unfortunately I have decided to close down the Real Time Wine app. Turns out we built an amazing product and an incredible community – but just didn’t manage to monetize quickly enough. In the South African landscape, socially active wine (and beer) drinkers with smartphones who wanted to change their buying and discovery habits… just wasn’t a big enough market.

The app will be shut down and the domains redirected on Monday 5 May 2014. Read on to see where they'll be redirected.

It has been a helluva ride. And I have YOU to thank for that. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined the quality of the community that came together around this product. Here are some highlights for you:

  • 4,407 Wine FANS
  • 116 SuperFANS
  • 13,725 reviews and 31,760 ratings
  • 12,058 wines on the system
  • 3,340 farms/producers (including a few international ones, you Wine Fans travelled a bit)
  • 1 Published eBook

Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my wine soaked heart!

I will be writing a bit more about this in the coming weeks. While trying to avoid the schmaltzy boo-hoo of a closure email, I think there are some incredible stories to tell about the business side of Real Time Wine. Call it catharsis or call it wanting to give a little back to the ecosystem that supported everyone involved in the project. Keep an eye on www.andyhadfield.com

But wait, there’s more…

The Good News.

Firstly, we’re open-sourcing everything – all code to the apps and mobile sites. We won’t even wipe the wine stains off it. If you’re a developer and you want to have a hack, if you’re a SuperFAN and you want to tinker, if you’re a mad Wino and you want to launch something similar – be my guest! I’ll post more about this in time on www.andyhadfield.com.

Secondly, the REALLY Good News: We just couldn’t let the community go. The SuperFANS, the relationships we’ve built up with amazing people in the wine industry and all the content and passion we still have to share. It’s all just TOO COOL. So I won’t let it go. Hah.

Today, I’d like to announce a partnership with Marthelize Tredoux (SuperFAN and winner of SA Young Wine Writer 2013).  Together, we’re going to use the social community built up over the last 2 years to launch a brand new venture: INCOGVINO. This will offer a platform for wine writing, news, reviews, events and the odd competition or two. It’s also the place where the SuperFAN Club (and our infamous Twitter Tastings) will continue! We’ll still have a place that is firmly focused on experiencing all the wonderful things this wine country has to offer. A place where my (and our) passion for wine can live on.

incogvino adj. without being known for predictable tastes and opinions, wine-drinker in disguise, an assumed character exploring the realm of wine without pretence, prejudice or pedanticism.

Come visit us – and tell your friends as you reminisce over those crazy wine reviews you wrote. Then write more!

That’s a cool end (and beginning) to the story hey? See you on Incogvino.

Love you all,
Andy Hadfield
Chief Wino

01 April 2014

ZA Tech Show Episode 296 - Take your quark and stick it in your pipe dream!

It’s all about sidetracking and ratholes on this week’s episode as Brett Haggard and Dave Greenway chat to Boozehound and all-round Internet guy, Andy Hadfield about goings on in the tech world. Topics discussed include:

  • The Cell C/MTN mudslinging match;
  • SAFACT’s copyright blunder;
  • Proof of the big bang theory;
  • Google Play’s crash at the hands of a Turkish hacker;
  • The ‘We Love Durban’ debacle;
  • Microsoft’s upcoming cloud/mobile event;
  • YouTube working on a kids’ site; and
  • Standard Bank’s new iPad app.

Our technology picks of the week are:

Listen to the podcast here: http://seed.tv/zats/296/

25 March 2014

Barclays Premier League Live. A pop up FAN PARK. 29 & 30 March 2014.

Opportunity arose quite fortuitously to do a post around Soccer. Just been notified of a pretty funky event available to Joburg Soccer Fans happening at Zoo Lake on 29 & 30 March 2014. Remember the Fan Parks from the World Cup? Yup. Sounds like that.

Firstly. I loved the Fan Parks during the World Cup. They were the most diverse, exciting and vibey places to watch soccer. Even though it was freezing cold. They also served beer by the case. Which helps.

Secondly. I've been having some Premier League Football jealously of late. I've never really been an ardent soccer support - and having seen the emotional journey that most Liverpool fans have gone through of late (I'm told it's been a quarter of a century since they've had a pip at winning the Premiuer League *ducks!*) - I've been thinking of adopting a team.

Problem is, my mates support Liverpool. Almost all of them. If pressed, I've always said I support Manchester United (which is not a great social intro I've learned). But that's only because, when I was younger and got my first TV, the only station which showed soccer was ETV. And the only games they showed were Manchester United games. So I thought, ag ok, the red team looks cool. That's a flimsy connection at best. Although I'll certainly never have the "I've supported Liverpool since birth, bru, and I cry every time I see the stadium, bru" back story. Perhaps it is time to pick a team. And Man U are, well, not that interesting of late - haha!

Thirdly. Sitting on the board and advising PUNTR has got me a lot closer to the soccer fraternity and trying to understand what makes this game the powerhouse it is. PUNTR is a sports prediction game played while watching soccer on TV. It's a helluva lotta fun. And early testing has definitely shown that we're playing in the "experiential space". Trying to add a layer to those watching a game. It doesn't work with the uber-fans, they're too wrapped up in the action. But for the next tier of fans, it's all about experience. The type of experience a "Fan Park" achieves. Have subsequently popped a mail off to the PUNTR team to see if that can start some player groups. They'll buy the beers. Chat to them on @playpuntr if you're keen :)

So without further ado, here's all the official info, including what games, where, when and how:

South African fans in Johannesburg will get the chance to watch the English Premier League live on a huge 100 square metre screen this weekend at Zoo Lake

South African fans will get a taste of the English Premier League thanks a two-day fan park that will be opened in Johannesburg at the end of March.Five matches, including Arsenal v Manchester City, will be broadcast live on a giant screen on the 29th and 30th March.

The free event, which is being held for the first time, will host 12,000 fans each day at Zoo Lake Sports Club. Supporters will also get the chance to meet former Bafana Bafana stars Mark Fish and Lucas Radebe.

In addition, former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler and ex-Chelsea and France captain Marcel Desailly will be in attendance at the event which is the firstFans will also have the opportunity to have their picture taken with the Premier League trophy.

South Africa and Everton star Steven Pienaar, who grew up in Johannesburg, said: "South African fans are very passionate about their football and this is a great way for them to watch the Premier League."I am sure the people will embrace it and it will be another special sporting occasion in my country."

Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with the site opening at 12:00 (local time) and Saturday's first game - featuring champions Manchester United against Aston Villa - will be shown live on a 100m square screen (the biggest in South Africa) from 14:45.

Full list of matches to be shown:

Saturday 29 March - Barclays Premier League Live opens at 12:00 and closes at 22:00

  • 14:45 - Manchester United v Aston Villa
  • 17:00 - Chelsea v Crystal Palace
  • 19:30 - Arsenal v Manchester City

Sunday 30 March - Barclays Premier League Live opens at 12:00 and closes at 20:00

  • 14:30 - Fulham v Everton
  • 17:00 - Liverpool v Tottenham

As well as watching the games, fans can showcase their own skills in 'The Pitch Zone' where they can test their accuracy, close control and shooting power.

South African fans can keep up with the latest developments about Barclays Premier League Live at the website and should also look out for Twitter updates.

[Disclaimer: The announcement of the event is a sponsored post. My thoughts around it and other things soccer related are not. So wah!]

20 February 2014

MindBullet: China swaps US debt for data (Dateline: 15 March 2024)

You've heard it a million times before over the last couple of years. Data is the new oil. But it's easy to say something, a little harder to figure out how that may impact our business lives. Just how valuable is data?

I use a particular example fairly often in keynotes. Did you know that you can target "Expecting Parents" in South Africa using Facebook advertising? Think about that for a second. Think about how personal that data is. And think how Facebook can figure that out.

Now if Facebook can figure that out from the rampantly inane data we post to the social network - imagine what you could figure out given enough scale and enough personal data tied to unique identifiers like ID Numbers or Social Security Numbers (in the case of the US).

Now think how hard it is to reach customers using traditional media approaches.

Now think if data might help you reach customers a little easier in future.

Now read this. Stellar work again from my clever colleagues at FutureWorld. Click through to the actual article if you're looking for source and reference articles.

America's biggest creditor wipes out massive debt for quantum data
Dateline: 15 March 2024

China has long been thought as 'owning' the United States because of the huge amount of US debt on its books. But now China will 'own' us in the data wars, not finance or trade.

The National Data Protection Agency, the network of government, banks, retailers and internet companies that has been collaborating on collecting and codifying our personal data for the last decade, has sold perpetual access to our data to China, for an indefinite moratorium on the repayment of the debt mountain.

It's a good deal for China, as the likelihood of calling in the loans is pretty slim, so the debt would never be repaid. The US had no option; the alternative would be to default - unthinkable for one of the world's two superpowers.

America is not giving the data away, just sharing it with China. That means they can still keep sensitive stuff under wraps, and only provide our personal data for commercial purposes - things like preferences, consumption habits and price elasticity, drilling down to individual households and consumers. This will allow Chinese manufacturers to predict the success and uptake of new products, improve their cost competitiveness, and avoid tons of research, development and market testing.

We will all benefit from cheaper products, less waste, and more appropriate choices, won't we? And less debt and interest burden means more budget for welfare and social upliftment, doesn't it?
Japan, the second largest owner of US debt, is already clamoring for a similar deal. In the new age global economy, data is the new currency, and the only source of comparative advantage.

But will we sleep well at night, knowing that our personal big data is being sifted and scrutinized by 'foreign' industrialists? And haven't we sold our future freedom for financial relief today?

03 February 2014

MindBullet: 10 Million Fingerprints Hacked. (Dateline: 31 May 2016)

This caused a bit of a reading "double take". Having just moved fingerprint tech into the "mainstream" with the iPhone 5S, this is probably something we need to think through. Examine the trend.

a) how many credit cards have leaked over the last couple of years? Hundreds of millions?

b) how many passwords/user data leaks have we had? Lots! Whether they remained hashed or not is an important part of the argument, but persistence goes a long way in the security argument.

c) how many new startups are coming out of the US/UK that achieve immense scale extremely quickly and simply don't often have the time to ramp up security? Lots!

Knowing that. Imagine your fingerprint data leaked. Hmm...

Enjoy this MindBullet from my friends at the FutureWorld group!

Biometric passwords become epic disaster

'Mary Master's Minor Miracle' was immensely popular for Virtue Studios, the New York-based software studio. Their puzzle game achieved 10.1 million paid downloads in its first week available in the Apple App Store.

This morning, those customers will be cursing Virtue Studios.

Last night, their servers were hacked and all of their customers' personal data compromised. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be so bad, but Virtue is using Apple's new Fingerprint Password Service for permitting micro-payments during the game. In contravention of Apple's terms of service policy, Virtue was storing those fingerprint hashes on their own servers.

Instead of - no matter how inconvenient - simply changing their passwords, users now have the concern that their fingerprints are out in the wild.

The exact impact of the disaster is difficult to quantify. Most mobile phones require biometric verification of one form or another, and Apple's is the leading format. Apple has yet to respond.

As Bruce Schneier, a security expert, says, "Biometric identity is a useful login, but it should never be a password. How do you change your fingerprints, iris, or other personal characteristic once they are compromised? And, as the Virtue situation proves, no matter how careful, that security will be compromised."

Biometric security systems were to have rid us of the tyranny of remembering passwords, but now it appears they are even worse.

Published 30 January 2014