Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Incognito Attention Services

This week Nike and Apple announced a very cool partnership. If you buy Nike+iPod Sport Kit you can make your shoes and MP3 player talk to each other. Basically what happens is you put a sensor in your Nike+ shoes and attach a special device to your iPod nano and you can track your distance, speed and all that good stuff. The really cool part comes when you get home and plug your iPod in, which downloads all your data to the Nike+ site where you can track your progress. Here’s some screenshots:


After my initial ‘wow’ reaction, I got to thinking about this as a kind of attention data. Essentially what Nike and Apple are doing is allowing you to capture some of your data and layering services on top of it. The value is immediate: You get to examine data that would otherwise be difficult to record, which gets me to the more geeky side of attention (I say that with the utmost respect).

I really believe these kind of services have to be leveraged as models. What better companies are there to help understand what the mass consumer wants than Nike and Apple? Both are leaders and innovators in their industries who have reached their place of power by making an active effort to understand their customers. As Ed Batista wrote just today on the AttentionTrust blog: “I’ve heard Felix Miller, CEO of Last.fm, describe his enterprise as an ‘attention service’ running on ‘attention data,’ and I think it’s important to use those terms, to make the connection between our attention and all of these new services–not just music discovery systems, of course–explicit and crystal-clear.”

With that said, what are some other ‘attention services’ that we might not otherwise label as such?

May 25, 2006