Friday, March 21, 2008

Tod Maffin - creating bubbles that burst


Integration's About to Pop

By Lisa Hochgraf
March 26, 2002

Technology develops much the same way as popcorn pops. First one kernel explodes, then another, then three, then all of a sudden the whole pot is full.

Similarly, we could think of the technology world we know today as having started with the solitary pops marking the creation of Microsoft and Apple, Tod Maffin told attendees of CUES’ Executive Technology Forum, March 21-23 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix. This evolution continued with the rapidfire—but separate—development of the IBM personal computer, fax machine and the World Wide Web.

“Until now, various delivery systems have all been isolated from each other,” said Maffin, president and chief strategist of, Vancouver, British Columbia. “We are now at the cusp of the point where those industries are going to integrate. That’s the explosion.”

While full delivery systems integration is not yet here, Maffin said the recent merger between a very large company—Time Warner—and a relatively small company—America Online—marks a key point in this current explosion of technology.

Low Technology Has Value
During his presentation at of CUES’ Executive Technology Forum, March 21-23 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix on Thursday, Tod Maffin suggested that technology isn’t the only—or even the easiest—answer to some problems, and that low-tech solutions should also be on a credit union’s radar screen. To illustrate this point, Maffin, president and chief strategist of, Vancouver, British Columbia, told about making a presentation at Microsoft.

Just before his presentation was to begin, Maffin looked at the screen and saw that the projected image of his slide was way too small. He said the people in the audience—all technologists—got really excited and started bringing out every conceivable gadget for diagnosing and fixing the problem.

Ultimately, Maffin says, low technology saved the day. A couple of Microsoft audio-visual experts came and moved the screen backwards several feet, enlarging the image sufficiently. “Take a look at the technology,” Maffin advised. “Use high-tech to run your credit union. Use low tech to run your brain.”

Not only did two delivery systems companies join, the merger underscored the fact that “AOL figured out something important,” he said. “AOL knows everything about their members. Time Warner knows nothing about their customers.

“That’s the fundamental shift. Think about how important that is to your business.”

Maffin described various ways that financial services and other companies could or already are joining in the coming explosion, merging databases and delivery systems strategies to better know, serve and sell to consumers.


* A power utility and a home alarm company could get together and offer a service to notify homeowners if someone has been staying in their homes while they’re on vacation. By studying regular usage trends when the homeowner is living in his house, the utility company can know if power usage is excessive when the homeowner goes on vacation, and set off an alarm.

* A credit union could offer a service that would send you a cell phone alert when your child makes a withdrawal from the family checking account, or when check no. 1343 is cashed or when your next paycheck is deposited.

* Wireless devices that can pinpoint your location may bring the advent of location-based couponing. Stores nearby could beep you with a coupon right as you walk by. “Get 50 percent off a shoe shine at Joe’s during the next 15 minutes. You just passed it.”


* A service for handheld wireless devices called Vindigo also taps a wireless user’s location information, provides information about eating and shopping choices nearby and even can pop up directions on how to get there.

* Another wireless service linked to geography,, is what Maffin called a “retailer’s nightmare.” When you’re out shopping, you can enter the barcode number for a product you’re considering purchasing and Barpoint will check stock information for that product to see if it’s being offered cheaper at a nearby store, then provide directions for getting there.

* One Internet resource allows you to see where a cell phone chip is located. Imagine sewing this into your child’s backpack, and signing up to get an alert if he strays off the usual path to school?

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Tod Maffin's version of absolute power.
I wrote a comment at a famous blog.
Tod didn't like it, and took the intial steps of legal action to have it removed.
He was successful.

It made me an unhappy camper.
And I happen to really like it here.

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