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I came across this blog post by Jonathan Fields today. It provides some insight into how Jet Blue is using Twitter to build stronger relationships with its customers. It’s amazing to see how one individual in a large organization can make such an impact by using a simple tool such as Twitter. What isn’t surprising to me is that Jet Blue would go to these lengths to this level of service.

I’ve always had good experiences with Jet Blue even when things haven’t gone quite right. Back in September, I flew across the country with my 18 month old daughter. When we landed at 10pm, we were disappointed to see that they had broken the handle off her stroller. We notified a person at the gate who apologized and directed us to customer service. At customer service, we were given the option to use one of their brand new stroller or purchase a new one which they would obviously pay for. Since it was so late, we decided to use their stroller and purchase a new one when we got home. Despite how difficult this situation could have been, Jet Blue made it as simple as possible for us by dealing with the problem quickly and efficiently.

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If I was to start an open source hardware project these are 2 that I’d would start today.

The Open Source iPod

What could knock Apple off of its pedestal? What about an open source music/video player that looked and performed like the touch-screen video iPod that everyone has been wanting for years. If Microsoft really wanted to take the leadership position in this market they would have opened the platform up to developers. There’s a huge opportunity right now to provide a sexy player with barebones software that the development community can add-on to. Look at how fast people are hacking the appleTV and adding new features. Imagine the possibilities if for mobile device that opened up it’s software to developers.

The Twitter Mobile Device

Twitter is fun an addictive tool for sharing with friends or the world what you are doing at any given moment. Now what if you had a tool to do this wherever you go? If I had any kind of hardware knowledge, I’d create a very thin device that opened like a clam shell phone only sideways. One half would be a thumb keyboard and the other half would be small screen capable of showing a whole twitter entry. The device would communicate with your mobile phone through bluetooth to keep it light weight, basically it leech what it needed from your mobile phone providing only the additional tools to communicate with twitter. You can leave your mobile phone in your pocket while you use your twitter mobile device to make posts from any place at any time. Thin, lightweight, and simple to use.

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Twitter has been receiving a lot of great publicity over the past several months from some of the most prominent bloggers on the web. This has led to them doubling the size of their community every 3 weeks and this is sure to pick up in speed. One of the reason I believe twitter is so successful is because they’ve managed to find a nice niche between being at an event/place live and reading about it on a blog. I’ve put together a quick graphic to illustrate this.

media_timeline.jpg

What I’ve tried to illustrate is how quickly you can receive your news based on the technologies you use. If you continue to rely upon newspapers, you’ll always be way behind the rest of the world. On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s the web which accounts for the top 3 quickest ways to receive your news.

Companies that find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum from the “live event” need to rethink their business model. There are still people who remember when front page headlines on newspapers broke huge news stories nationwide but this group of people is only getting smaller. Perhaps they should look at what small company like Twitter is doing and embrace it. Wouldn’t it be better to read your favorite newspaper personalities thoughts as the event is happening rather than the next day when the story has already been told from every angle?

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