The Clover was a nerd’s way to make coffee. Every parameter precisely, digitally controlled, for the most of tweaky of experimentation—or you can make the exact same cup over and over. Then Starbucks bought the company.
What happened next: Waves of independent coffee shops ditched their $10,000 Clover machines, for practical and philosophical reasons. Starbucks rolled them out to 50ish stores across the Northeast, Seattle and San Francisco. Then expansion stopped. That was almost two years ago.
Starbucks’ first Clover showed up in New York around two months ago, in a nearly 20-year-old location that’s been converted into a concept store. The thaw is beginning. Starbucks plans to finally expand the Clover’s footprint gradually over the next 6-8 months, as they figure out how to integrate the machine into the natural rhythm of stores—which is basically dominated by Frappuccinos these days, not coffee.
In a way, it’s a hard sell. The kind of people who would be most interested in coffee made via Clover, designed to pull the most out of a coffee—so shitty coffee would taste shittier—don’t go to Starbucks. Starbucks is so reviled by people who actually like coffee that they’ve experimented with burying the Starbucks name two pilot stores in Seattle which are designed to look more like the kind of place that serves Intelligentsia or Stumptown coffee. So it’s heartening to see them try to live up a bit more to the ideals of caring about coffee and how it’s served.
For instance, while 30 days is what Starbucks considers the expiration date on beans in a store—16 days longer than any self-conscious shop would serve them—if you order a cup made with Clover, you’re far more likely to get beans roasted within the 2-week mark. (In part because there are limited quantities of some coffees served using Clover, like the Jamaica Blue Mountain they’re offering starting tomorrow.)
They’re also making use of their spin on Clovernet, which was one of the big hype points of the machine: Shops and their baristas could share, upload and download recipes for coffees made via Clover. Starbucks pushes recipes for each coffee it serves on the Clover—around 4-6—to stores via a similar network, so there are custom parameters for each coffee. African coffees get a different treatment versus South American ones, as they should.
For all the technology in the Clover, though, it ultimately comes down to the guy (or girl) handling it. Hopefully, it’s someone nerdy enough to know what the Clover was before it landed in front of them at Starbucks.
(Evidently, domestic grosses of $533,345,358, $748,590,960 and $331,666,06, respectively, weren’t enough for Hollywood—nor was the fact that Avatar made $120,000,000 just on IMAX screens, just in the US.)
So a more extreme version of gouging begins at theaters. And just as the public cried about $10 movie tickets while continuing to flood the theaters in droves, many will still pay $20 to see the latest Shrek, complaining about it until they forget that the world was ever any different.
But you know what? I won’t, not now or in the near future. And I’m about as fiscally irresponsible and movie obsessed as idiots come. That’s a bad sign for movie theaters and studios alike, as it means the more sane amongst you will bail on theaters for sure (if you haven’t already).
Over the past few months, Twitter has experienced explosive growth, attracting celebrity users such as Oprah, and a growing mountain of media and blog coverage. Sysomos Inc., one of the world’s leading social media analytics companies, conducted an extensive study to document Twitter’s growth and how people are using it. After analyzing information disclosed on 11.5 million Twitters accounts, we discovered that:
- 72.5% of all users joining during the first five months of 2009
- 85.3% of all Twitter users post less than one update/day
- 21% of users have never posted a Tweet
- 93.6% of users have less than 100 followers, while 92.4% follow less than 100 people
- 5% of Twitter users account for 75% of all activity (see the report on analysis of top-5% users)
- New York has the most Twitters users, followed by Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco and Boston; while Detroit was the fast-growing city over the first five months of 2009
- More than 50% of all updates are published using tools, mobile and Web-based, other than Twitter.com. TweetDeck is the most popular non-Twitter.com tool with 19.7% market share.
- There are more women on Twitter (53%) than men (47%)
- Of the people who identify themselves as marketers, 15% follow more than 2,000 people. This compares with 0.29% of overall Twitter users who follow more than 2,000 people.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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