Opehn Mobile Summit Conference Report

November 14th, 2013

I really enjoy covering conferences, and often come in as a hired gun for a publisher. It’s an opportunity to speak with very smart people and keep abreast of the latest ideas. And producing a same-day report keeps me focused and challenges me to quickly distill themes and trends.

Here’s my second-day report on Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco.

Car Makers and Hackathons: What Works

November 5th, 2013

Car companies wanna be like tech companies …

Third-party apps: Give them more to work with


Your Mortgage and Your Retirement

October 16th, 2013

I had the privilege of working on a content strategy and creation project with Schwab. This article is one of the results:

Should You Retire Your Mortgage Before You Retire?

Car Dealers vs. Connected Cars

October 9th, 2013

Auto dealerships theoretically could benefit from services for internet-connected cars that would, for example, alert the dealer when a car needs servicing. In practice, dealers are really wary of new products like Ford Sync, Hyundai BlueLink, or BMW ConnectedDrive. They’re hard to sell and harder to support. This article examines the challenges and opportunities.

The New Dealers: Selling Telematics to Car Dealers


Can You Quote Donald Duck?

October 4th, 2013

I’m honored that a rather elderly article I wrote for Wired.com on synthetic humans is referenced in a book review in the Yale Journal of Law and Humanities. The article was written in the early days of computer animation, when “virtual humans” — computer-generated characters that could interact to external stimuli — were just beginning to be possible.

Image Is Everything is one of the first stories I wrote for Wired.com was about the possible that virtual versions of famous people could be used commercially without their approval — a notion that seems quaint in this era of cyberstalking and digital personae.

Here’s the official citation:

Johnson, Peter (2001) “Can You Quote Donald Duck?: Intellectual Property in Cyberculture,” Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Vol. 13: Iss. 2, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol13/iss2/4

See also an early story for ClickZ, Putting Virtual Humans to Work, and

Gamification and the Automotive Interface

July 30th, 2013

Gamification — using elements of play to make tasks more engaging, interesting and/or rewarding — certainly works for me. The task for auto makers and insurance companies is to use gamification to encourage good driving behaviors without being distracting.

Gamification and Telematics

How Brands Milked #RoyalBaby Mania

July 25th, 2013

Royal Baby Emoji from Lango





I had fun with this one … oh, the puns. Is that so wrong?

Brands Milk #RoyalBaby Mania on ClickZ.com

Social Media in the Car? Really??

May 20th, 2013

Everyone wants to twittify their product — even car makers, who are worried that Millennial consumers aren’t interested in driving. Some auto makers are plunging ahead and enabling interaction with Facebook and Twitter accounts, often through voice recognition tech that lets drivers talk to tweet. This article looks at some of the less obvious ways that social media could be integrated with connected car services.

The Making of a Social Car

Will We Really See the Demise of Cookies?

April 16th, 2013

Internet cookies are the Mark Twain of marketing: We’ve been hearing they’re dead — or should be abolished — since the commercial web began. At AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference in San Francisco last week, one speaker warned that marketers need to find a solution by June, thanks to browser makers making do-not-track the default setting. We’ll see.

Read it: Should Marketers Fear the Cookie Apocalypse?

PHOTO: Plutor

Pinterest Adds Amazon-Like Features

March 26th, 2013

Smaller marketers, brands, and indie artists and writers can have trouble rising through the ranks in social media. It’s easy for their posts or pins to get lost. Pinterest now includes recommendations, the “people who pinned this also pinned …” information that can help users find new things to like.

Pinterest Redesign Enables Discovery