Notes of Note from John F. Ince

Archive for December, 2010

US Bank Testing Phone Payment Technology | Seer Press

The reality of purchasing goods via a smartphone took a step closer to reality, with Wells Fargo & Co., testing Visa’s ‘payWave’ technology, which has been developed for the credit card company by DeviceFidelity. The idea is that payments are made via ‘contactless’ card payment terminals, where a consumer simply waves their phone at the terminal to make a transaction. All the data for the chip is held inside an inserted data card or protective case.  ’Contactless’ card payment terminals are fairly standard throughout the USA and Europe.

Visa worked with DeviceFidelity for 18 months and trialled the device with financial institutions across Asia, USA, and Europe. Wells Fargo’s pilot study, is the biggest to be undertaken of Visa’s ‘payWave’ technology to date.

Isis, a joint venture by At&T Mobility, T Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, was announced last month and is thought to be similar to ‘payWave’. Isis is also to be expanded to include tickets, train passes, and reward cards.

via US Bank Testing Phone Payment Technology | Seer Press.


Money and Life: The Movie Trailer by Alan Rosenblith – Must See

Money & Life documentary trailer from StormCloud Media on Vimeo.

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire | The Nation

A soft landing for America 40 years from now?  Don’t bet on it.  The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.  If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

by Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of A…

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.

But have no doubt: when Washington’s global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

via The Decline and Fall of the American Empire | The Nation.

Julian Assange to Launch Social Network for Diplomats, Twofacebook -Borowitz Report

LONDON (The Borowitz Report) – Moments after being released on bail, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was already making plans for his next venture, a social network for diplomats called Twofacebook.

Mr. Assange said he came up with the idea for the new site while combing through hundreds of thousands of pages of WikiLeaks documents: “I realized that diplomats didn’t have a way to reconnect with old colleagues so they could lie to them.”

Saying that he hopes to build the site into a “portal of deceit,” Mr. Assange said, “This will be a must-visit destination on the Internet for sworn enemies to friend each other.”

The WikiLeaks founder said that Twofacebook would also enable members of the diplomatic community to share information about music, movies and TV shows “that they say they like but actually detest.”

Additionally, he said he had high hopes for the site’s first online game, Harmville, in which diplomats can kill or maim each other’s sheep.

via Borowitz Report.

Shopkick Proves Early Success In Driving Foot Traffic With Sports Authority | Mobile Marketing Watch

Just four months after kicking off a partnership with Sports Authority, Shopkick is enjoying early success with its LBS rewards app that promises to drive foot traffic into retail stores.

As an inaugural partner, Sports Authority put Shopkick to the test by trying different rewards levels to see what worked.  The app works by detecting a “Shopkick Signal” located in each participating store to deliver rewards known as “kickbucks” to each user.  Kickbucks can be collected and redeemed across all partner stores for things like in-store gift card rewards, discounts at top retail stores, song downloads,  movie tickets, hotel vouchers, Facebook Credits to play games online, donations to 30 different causes and charities and more.

Sports Authority doubled and even tripled the number of “Kickbucks” awarded to shoppers simply for walking into participating stores.  The kickbucks – the so-called “cross-retailer currency of shopkick” – did as intended: as the reward amount increased, more consumers walked into the store with the shopkick app, and in some cases up to seventy percent more.

“Sports Authority is committed to offering our customers the best value and reaching them with the latest technology. shopkick provides a unique technology that makes location-based rewards economically feasible for the first time, has unparalleled team expertise, and with the list of blue chip retailers we joined as launch partners, we were convinced to experiment with the first location-based shopping app in the market,” said Jeff Schumacher, Chief Marketing Officer of Sports Authority. “We had 50% to 70% more shoppers walk into the store with shopkick when we increased the rewards for walking in. There is a direct and measurable correlation. shopkick’s model works.”

For each Sports Authority promotion, they increased kickbucks awarded (2x or 3x) to see how higher rewards impact walk-ins. Walk-ins measure the actual presence of shoppers in a participating store, vs. the proximity-based measurement delivered by GPS-based check-ins. With each promotion, the impact on walk-ins increased dramatically – even as baseline check-ins grew organically – delivering 50 to 70 percent increase in walk-ins.

I’ve been intrigued with Shopkick since its debut, mostly because of the company’s unique take on location-based rewards and it’s emphasis on physical retail stores.  Though it’s still early, these results are interesting, even though it’s too early to judge long-term success.  It should get interesting as more and more retailers sign on.

via Shopkick Proves Early Success In Driving Foot Traffic With Sports Authority | Mobile Marketing Watch.

The Future of Money and Technology Summit

This is a very cool event … informative and timely… Check it out…

The Future of Money & Technology Summit brings together the best and brightest thinkers around money, including visionaries, entrepreneurial business people, developers, press, investors, authors, solution providers, service providers, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of cash and commerce. We meet to discuss the evolving money ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.

Hotel Kabuki

1625 Post Street

San Francisco, CA 94118

Monday, February 28, 2011

9am – 6pm + cocktail party!

The Summit will be soft launched on Wed. December 15, 2010. Register today to get the early bird “pre-sale” discount!

via The Future of Money and Technology Summit.

In Defense of Transparency – Why Central Bank Secrecy is Detrimental to Free-Market Capitalism

Why Central Bank Secrecy is Detrimental to Free-Market Capitalism
Eric Fry

Reporting from Laguna Beach, California…


WikiLeaks is grabbing the headlines, but your California editor considers the “Icky-Leaks” issuing from the Federal Reserve to be much more intriguing – like the icky leak that the Fed doled out trillions of dollars in clandestine bailouts and guarantees during the crisis of 2008 and early 2009.


Thanks to a nifty little provision in the Dodd-Frank reform bill, the Fed was forced to come clean with these embarrassing details. On December 1, the Fed published an exhaustive and detailed list of bailout recipients, along with the sums each received.


The document dump confirms,” The Nation reports, “that the $700 billion Treasury Department bank bailout…signed into law under President George W. Bush in 2008 was a small down payment on an secretive ‘backdoor bailout’ that saw the Fed provide roughly $3.3 trillion in liquidity and more than $9 trillion in short-term loans and other financial arrangements.”


Bernanke vehemently resisted making these disclosures…for obvious reasons. The disclosures reveal the Fed’s too-cozy relationship with Wall Street. They also reveal a kind of institutionalized arrogance: the Federal Reserve knows what’s best for us, even if we don’t know it ourselves…or believe it.


During the last several months, Chairman Bernanke frequently and persistently asserted the need for secrecy at the Federal Reserve. Transparency, he argued, would compromise the Fed’s independence. The argument is ridiculous. Secrecy facilitates corruption and abuse. Transparency prevents it. A couple of free-thinking politicians recognized this reality early in the credit crisis.


As early as February, 2009, Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont Independent, complained to Bernanke, “Given the size of the [Fed’s] commitments, it is incomprehensible that the American people have not received specific details about them.”


Bernanke tersely replied: “The Federal Reserve does not release specific information regarding the borrowings of individual institutions from our lending facilities. The approach is completely consistent with the long-standing practice of central banks.”


As it turns out, this approach is also completely consistent with promoting deceptions and conducting crony capitalism…like doling out enormous bailout checks to Wall Street banks without ever disclosing the timing or size of these bailouts to the general public.


This is not a healthy circumstance for an economy that purports to practice “free-market capitalism.”



The Daily Reckoning | Wednesday, December 15, 2010