Start of Q4 2017, Final Sprint

The final quarter of year 2017 starts today on 1st October 2017, for some of you folks out there, this is also the final sprint to the end of year 2017, on 31st December 2017. Everyone of us had our own unique and special journeys during the first three quarters of year 2017, yet we might have something in common with the tough and difficult economy and market sentiments.

I am taking this time to write on a number of different topics in one article, I might expand on them that I wrote here today, if my time and research planning permits.

Updates: Running my own photography business

How was your first three quarters of year 2017 been? It had been nothing less than a very tough and challenging journey for the past nine months. Running a photography business, time was spent on building the foundations, networks, systems, marketing, branding, collaborations, partnerships and last but not least, finding the business. We are looking at 80% of time spent on the above and 20% spent on actual photography shoot and post photography shoot.

I never really talked or revealed too much into this area, not just that it is private, most of the time, many people around you don’t understand, don’t want to listen, learn and understand. There are also a handful of people around you that don’t want you to succeed, they want you to fail, sad but true (or they might change their stance and words and said they don’t mean it after they spilled the “wrong words” out from their mouth”)

There are a small group of photographer friends that can and will understand what I am going through. Listening to their own photography business journeys over the years, there is a similarity in my own personal journey. Therefore, I still have to grind my way through and make a breakthrough.

Micro influencers – a bit more differentiation into Mini and Micro influencers groupings?

Recently, there has been quite a lot of debates and discussions on the topic of influencers, from both sides of the equation, the brands/companies, public relations agencies, digital agencies etc on one side and a diverse group of influencers on the other side.

I came across this infographic article on LinkedIN written by Preeti Kumar – 7 Influencer types & How to work with them. Reading and analysing this infographic, I was looking at where I fit into – Key Opinion Leaders: Creatives, partly Micro influencers and product seeders.

On the role of micro influencers, it is probably a bigger area of growth and investment for both sides, let’s put it as demand and supply sides of things. While the quantitative part of micro influencers have been debated, some put 20,000, some put 10,000. Personally, I reckon that it is totally and suitably possible, to differentiate them into Mini and Micro influencers.

Why use Mini and Micro? What are the differences?

I am using the two words from a Forex trading lingo, mini and micro lot.

Standard Lot = 100,000 units

Mini Lot = 10,000 units

Micro Lot = 1,000 units

Translating it into digital marketing side of things

Influencer – Above 100,000 followers

Mini Influencer – Above 10,000 followers

Micro Influencer – 3,000 to 5,000 followers?

This is just something that crossed my mind and got me thinking, I have yet to analyse and put into greater details. It’s still a preliminary stage for me, if the opportunity arises to work with other digital marketers on this, that would be nice. Nevertheless, I hope to continue working on this topic in the future if my timing and commitment allows.

We must go beyond ROI with numbers and statistics, while quantitative is important, influencer marketing has a lot of qualitative, intrinsic and psychological aspects that cannot be measured by numers, revenue, statistics and numbers.

Planning to expand with/in the following areas/collaborations

Although the list above doesn’t directly translate into business for my photography business, they reinforce my networkings, contacts and collaborations on my digital marketing, technology writing and social media.

Over the past three quarters of 2017, I unlocked small achivements for myself when organisations approach me, to have a chat and see where I work together with them from there. All these are small testimonials for myself and everything that I put in for the past 10 years at least through writing, social media and photography.

Of mental health, physical health, emotions, mind and soul

A friend whom I look up upon, a very creative and talanted person in writing, photography and music, Fernando Gros, recently wrote an article titled “Creative Health Part 2 – Your Mind and Your Path”. I saw his tweet, read his article and I am kind of like being “shaken up”. In my reply to his tweet, I posted “After reading your article, it dawned upon me that I am stressed out, not taking care of my mind, body and soul.”

The truth and harsh reality is that it can be really brutally hard at times, we just have to take care of ourselves, going through regular maintenance. Not to mention, even the best engineering devices also wear and break down even with regular maintenance.

In case you missed it, Fernando published this book title “No Missing Tools”, do check out my article and have a read and you would be enlightened and know why I respect his works and views a lot.

Where do I go from here?

The seeds had been planted, watered and being taken care of. While not everyday is sunshine, there were rain, storm, bad weather that hit the growth of the plants. Hopefully, the changes and corrections were in place to make the seedlings grow better and faster, allowing me to harvest the fruits of my labour.

Being thankful and grateful

In this short time frame period of a year, there were those that have happy news while I am fighting pain, hurt and loss. Losing 6 people, 4 were relatives of which 2 of them were very close to me, the others were 1 mentor and 1 uni junior.

I may not have the most happy and joyful time during the past 1 year time frame, one of the toughest time that I went through. It made me reflect a lot and be thankful and grateful for everything that I have, the family, relatives and friends support.

Final thoughts

Technology and disruptions are not going to destroy us, ignorance and complacency are going to destroy us.

We MUST start to make the changes, no matter how painful and difficult it will be or else, we might be in a spiral downfall for the next 1-2 generations.

In the midst of re-strategising and making changes to my flow, workflow, daily flow, well-being, growth and rest, while embarking on my Final Sprint Q4 2017.

Touche – World’s 1st Biometric Loyalty & Payment Solution

Imagine one day in the very near future, you are out dining with your friends, having a great time at the restaurant, awesome food, drinks and company. At the end of dinner gathering, you called for the bill.

The staff at the restaurant asked “Would you like to pay for the bill just by the touche of your fingers?”. You replied, “Yes, sure!” The staff brings out a small tablet device, showing you the total bill to confirm that it is verified and correct before you place your fingers to process the payment. The next moment, you received an email informing you of your confirmed bill payment at the restaurant.

Is this possible? Yes, it is now possible, a fintech product made in Singapore, making her debut and official appearance recently and I had the opportunity to view it for the first time and had a short hands on experience on the process and payment, from a customer perspective.

Let me introduce Touche, the world’s full fledged biometric loyalty and payment solution platform –

“ … Touché is proud to present the world’s first biometric loyalty and payment platform, which is activated by just your fingers. In Singapore, within a span of three months, 150 restaurants, 15 local hotels and 5 private social clubs have shown interest in implementing this solution. The homegrown company aims to foray into Japan, with a market size in excess of US$200 million.

“Touché is a world first. It is not a better mousetrap, but a brand-new idea,” says Sahba Saint-Claire, CEO of Touché. “At its core, it aims to make people’s lives easier by removing the need to carry things such as credit cards, loyalty and membership cards, vouchers, coupons, etc. while ensuring they get all the benefits to which they are entitled. You register on Touché once at anywhere that offers the service and you can use it globally.” … “ 

(Via Press Release information)

I would like to share some of my personal views from both sides, an end user/customer and a business perspective

For end user/customer

This Touche biometric loyalty and payment platform is probably going towards a boom and rise in convenient, fast cashless and card-less payment system in the near future. With the proposed integration of loyalty rewards program in the near future, the customer payment and rewards experience would be enhanced in this area in the future (in my personal humble opinion).

Security and privacy are definitely concerns by the end users/customers when using the Touche platform. I had these questions at the back of my mind too when I attended their presentation. From their presentation, I am satisfied and glad to hear from them on the aspects of security and privacy procedures in place for the Touche platform.

For a business entity

I worked in the retail and hospitality industries previously, therefore, I had the experiences of the payment system commonly used, the machines for the electronic funds payment e.g. NETS, VISA, MasterCard, Diners, AMEX, JCB. I understood and knew about the costs involved in those machines.

While I do not have the costs and numbers from the business operation side of the Touche system, my personal view is that adopting the Touche platform device is definitely a worthy consideration, not just in terms of cost savings, there would be time savings (e.g. from the service staff printing out the bill, brining it to you, take your credit card, process the payment and back to you for your signature) and administrative time (change the roll of paper, change the ink cartridge)

The integration of this fintech with the entity’s own loyalty/reward system might be a good stepping stone for growing customer relationship management system, rewards and loyalty points system.

If you are in the hotel, hospitality, food and beverage industries, take a look at the Touche platform, have a chat with them.

The following information below were provided via the press release information, that explained my thoughts on Touche –

Efficient Loyalty and Payment through A Simple Device, Made in Singapore

Made in Singapore, the hardware of Touché is an elegant rectangular device that is certified and capable of multiple payment options including a magnetic stripe reader, chip reader, and 2.2-inch (diagonal measurement) biometric sensor with the highest resolution in the market to detect two fingers for efficient payments. Most customers will choose to pay with just two fingers after a simple registration, but they may also choose to pay with their physical credit cards. The device works over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

Convenience is key

You will no longer need to carry anything around when shopping — this includes your cards, phones, vouchers or wallets! Look forward to fast transactions, as there is no need to look for your payment or loyalty cards, count dollar notes or wait for paper receipts and signatures to be processed. Imagine checking your bill on the device, placing your fingers on the Touché device and you’re out of the restaurant in just a few minutes. You will then receive an email detailing your experience. No more paper!

Security is at the core of Touché

The company’s brainchild scans any two of your fingers to extract around 40 to 45 specific points of each fingerprint. It does not store images of your fingerprints. The information is encrypted on a cloud system. It is virtually impossible to create a replica of your fingerprints with this information. The anti-spoofing and live detection technology at Touché also ensures that the fingerprints are real. Credit card information is tokenised, and the card details are not stored in the database. No information is stored on the device, and it communicates with the server using the highest encryption levels to protect our users’ privacy.

With one simple registration, users can use the system globally

The first time you visit a merchant, you can pay with your credit card and use Touché’s solution to link the card to your fingers. You then update your particulars online, and even add your profile picture! For subsequent visits to any merchant that uses Touché, there is no need for further registration, and you can even choose between multiple credit cards in your Touché wallet to make payment.

Smart shopping and increased savings with Touché

The Touché wallet offers you more than just payment methods. Wherever you go, your favourite offers, loyalty programmes, vouchers, coupons and memberships follow. Access to your shopping or dining experiences and expenditure history is readily available via the Touché journal. Touché ensures that your entitlements are applied automatically at every interaction. You will also be notified of the loyalty benefits or credit card promotional offers at one glance, making it easier for you to choose your preferred payment method for greater savings.

Supercharging businesses with a gentle touch

For businesses, this platform is time saving and efficient. It adapts to existing technology and process environments, so integration is a cinch. It can be utilised to create long-term relationships with their customers. They can tailor loyalty programmes and create unique offers for different customers. Businesses can also curate data about their customers, and the insights can be used to create moments that wow at every turn.

(Press Release Information)

Personally, in my personal humble opinion, I believe this Touche platform has a huge growth and expansion potential in the whole world. If the opportunity arises in the future, I hope that I can write and share more on both sides of the story, customer/end user and business.

I would like to thank Touche and Brand Cellar for the invitation to Touche launch event in Singapore.

* Photos and information courtesy of Touche and Brand Cellar *