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Of Bacon, The Cloud and Connections

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: November 1, 2011, from the November 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

Katie Anderson, the associate editor for GCI sister publication Cosmetics & Toiletries, has a little whiteboard in her cube where she adds her “word of the day.” Recently, it’s become the odd idiom of the day—both marveling and celebrating those phrases that, when given real thought, don’t make a whole lot of sense to modern speakers/writers (though, allow me to sidetrack a bit here to say I love one of Katie’s offerings: “Hotter than a nanny goat in a pepper patch,” which makes complete sense).

One such phrase, “ saved my bacon,” jumped right to mind when I realized that some of my more cherished recent photos, which luckily were uploaded and available on Facebook, disappeared off my iPhone when iTunes played a nasty little update trick and took my phone back to factory presets. (Apple, why are your devices so beautiful yet iTunes remains an ugly beast of an application?) Social media saved my bacon. I had no hard copies of the photos, and I did not have any backup on any other physical device. It struck me that though I hear about cloud computing all the time, I never realized how deeply I’m actually in it and I thoroughly, without real conscious thought or effort, have converted into this method of arranging and organizing my life.

It’s not just about storage and it’s not restricted to one aspect of life, such as work. We do a lot of living in the cloud.

So, today, success in any given area doesn’t simply depend on doing things well in that area—success depends on operating well in the cloud and then doing the other things well.

Take retail as an example. “Online retail is a story of companies that know how to use the Web really, really well,” said Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge office, Kantar Retail, at the retail session of an Irish government trade mission recently held in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, that I had the privilege of attending. In addition to the impact and influence of the Internet on retail, the U.S. market is increasingly a story of fragmentation versus polarization, and this is reflected in the retail landscape.