released February 23, 2021
(recorded February 21, 2021) - 1 hour, 20 minutes
Today we’ve got valuable info on how you can protect yourself from getting scammed by con artists who try to trick you with phishing emails to get your passwords and and paper solicitations to get your money. Followed by an explanation of what a digital stack is and how it relates to omnichannel. And our conversation of a recent bug in WordPress that had many people upset and confused, with guidance of how you can avoid your own future WordPress problems. It’s all in this episode of the RethinkYour.com Podcast.
Scam Warning Signs:
I'm in a car with some friends in the summer of 2010 when one of them gets all excited about a new app that she just downloaded to her iPhone. She was carrying on so much about this fantastic app that everyone else in the car wanted to know why it was so good. But that's not what I wanted to know. I really wanted to check my hearing because I couldn't believe she used the term "app."
You see, in the 1990s with Windows 3.1 we all talked about software. You bought software at a computer store. It came on a floppy disk, a CD, and then a DVD.
We all used the word software until 2008. In 2008 Apple opened the first incarnation of the Apple App Store. In case you don't know, "app" is short for application. To distinguish between a program used on a personal computer from that of a smartphone, Apple chose to use the word "application" instead of "software."
As a programmer I thought it was odd that Apple chose the term app, and I honestly didn't think it was going to catch on. After all, at that time people had already been using the word "software" since 1988, so 20 years.
But then in the summer of 2010 I was in the front passenger seat of a car with a few friends when my friend, Kristin, sitting in the back seat, said she had just installed a new app on her phone, and she was excited about it. Now, Kristin wasn't very computer savvy at the time, but her understanding of how to expand the usefulness of her iPhone by installing apps took me by surprise. I vividly remember turning around in the car seat and asking "Did you just say 'app'?"
That's when I realized that the term "app" was going to overtake the word "software.
In fact, by 2010 the term "app" had become such a popular buzzword that it was awarded the honor of being 2010's "Word of the Year" by the American Dialect Society.
In 2012 Microsoft released Windows 8 with the Windows Store as a way to bring the ability to download software to desktops. Microsoft had similar digital stores for their smartphones and Xbox. This is when Microsoft began using the term apps instead of software.
When Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015, they also merged all their digital stores together and called them the Microsoft Store. Everything inside the Microsoft Store is now called an "app." Most of the software that you used to buy on a disk in a store is now downloadable as a "desktop app" through the Microsoft Store.
By 2008, I already had 20 years of computer programming behind me. Maybe it was around 2005 when computer started becoming user friendly enough for wider adoption. The iPhone paved the way for a completely different way of thinking to create an uber friendly user experience, and that experience is evolving every day in ways you might not realize.
As a developer I knew that there was no difference between the programming of software that ran on a computer compared to the software that would run through a web browser, in fact, one of the most difficult things about programming software for a computer was creating the screens and buttons because they all had to be programmed individually. In website software it was the first time there was a built-in look and feel for how things looked that the programmer didn't have to worry about.
While I was outside shoveling snow and alone in my thoughts on February 19, 2021, I was reminiscing about this story I just told, and I realized that we are going through another reframing of terms and technology right now.
Right now, when anyone thinks about a website they just think about this online thing that represents a business. To build a website you use an app that runs through a web browser. We call these apps Content Management Systems, or a CMS for short.
If you want your website to be found in search engines then you have to dabble into something called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Every CMS has some SEO features built into them, but you always have to pay for another online app to measure the success of your SEO and give you guidance.
When you think about ecommerce it brings up ideas of how to sell something online, maybe through a website, maybe through Amazon, maybe through etsy, ebay, Shopify, or any number of methods. Every one of these online methods is another online app that you have to learn. Some jewelers will skip the website setup with a CMS and just use ecommerce systems, like Shopify and etsy, to sell online. These methods are all an extra expense.
When you think about email newsletters it brings up thoughts of using Constant Contact, MailChimp, HubSpot, and many systems. Once again, these systems are all apps that run through a web browser that come with their own cost of time and real money.
Lastly, when you think about online advertising it brings up thoughts of paying for ads on Google, Facebook, Yelp, banner ads, and many other places where you see online ads appear. Both Google and Facebook have made great strides to create new versions of their online marketing apps to make it easier to create and deliver online ads. The online marketing apps don't cost anything to use, but you do pay for the ads.
Jumping into the brick and mortar realm, you also have the point of sale system, or POS, that manages inventory, customer information, and sales in the retail store. Newer POS' are online apps that run through a web browser, while older POS' are still installed on a computer as software.
There's a new term that is gaining popularity in the last few years, and that term is "stack." A stack is any number of online apps that you have to use in order to accomplish all of your online goals.
I just mentioned several components of a typical digital stack. They are:
The SEO tool
The Ecommerce platform
The Email platform
The Online marketing platform
The Point of sale system
Each of these components of the stack builds upon the one below it. The best websites have all 6 of those sewn together somehow, unless you're using Shopify or Etsy, in which case you won't have the CMS component, but you still need the other 5.
All of the components that run through a web browser are paid for on a monthly subscription basis. You don't pay for the app outright, instead you are paying for use of the Software as a Service, which we call SaaS for short.
Remember how I said that Apple changed the world by making difficult to use software much easier, and they changed the terminology from software to app.
Right now there are 6 components to this digital stack of how to conduct business. Each one of those components is usually sold by a different service company, which means getting them to share information between them is very difficult.
The term Omnichannel has been buzzing around for a few years now, and it refers to a seamless connection between all 6 parts of that digital stack. This is the current holy grail for all businesses that want to remain relevant in the eyes of their customers by making them happy.
In 2007 when the iPhone was introduced there was a rush of people to adopt the smartphone. By 2008 there were millions of new users of apps that had never used computer software.
Right now, new jewelers that are just starting have a benefit over existing jewelers because those new jewelers can carefully choose better online apps that seamlessly work together to create an omnichannel opportunity.
Existing jewelers have to struggle rethinking what they have slowly grown into over the last 10 years. What began as 6 different steps for new media marketing have now grown into a single omnichannel necessity. The current procedures might have worked for a while, but now is the time to change.
I suspect that in a very short time frame we won't be talking about 6 individual components of a digital stack. Instead, we will see an emergence of single platforms that specialize in different vertical markets that have all 6 components built-in.
In other words, I suspect that omnichannel will move from a concept of "how do we get all this stuff to talk to one another" to a new classification of online apps, or SaaS, that are called Omnichannel apps.