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  • The Day When Amazon's Robots Had a Monday Meltdown (sort of)

    Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing branch, experienced a major outage that left thousands of websites and apps down for hours. Amazon’s robots were the ones to blame as they had forgotten to wake up from their weekend slumber. Amazon has been known for its excellent service since it was created by Jeff Bezos in 1994, but on December 7, it proved otherwise as Amazon's servers went offline affecting businesses across the globe. Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash Imagine this Imagine if all of your smart devices decide to take a vacation at the same time. You are at home; you say, "Hey Alexa," and you receive no reply. On 7th December, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had an outage across many parts of the world, as well as all of those smart gadgets powered by AWS. It wasn't only a problem with the smart device. Many organizations were impacted, as a result of it. These firms rely on Amazon's cloud services to store data, run their apps, and perform a variety of other activities, but they had to wait until someone figured out what was going on. It's safe to say that Amazon did respond promptly, but not before it became apparent how reliant we are on the global internet conglomerate. One awful situation occurred when the smart doorbell service Ring malfunctioned completely. Users were unable to silence alarms, keep track of children, or check for intruders during this period since their home monitoring service was down. Likewise, Public, an investment platform, went down at the same time. Users were unable to trade on the site, which potentially eroded a lot of investor money in the process. Wait, there is more to come! The Washington Post, for example, was unable to publish its stories on time. In certain countries, Netflix's streaming services wouldn't operate. Disney theme parks were off-limits to visitors and Tinder became inaccessible for a time (ahem ahem). Despite this, many organizations still believe that they can establish and maintain a secure AWS environment without hiring experts. They are, however, quickly discovering that their initial assumptions were incorrect. It's becoming more apparent that the reliance on AWS has only increased since the pandemic. Companies are investing billions to improve their digital presence, and AWS is their first choice. In fact, AWS now dominates over 40% of the $64 billion cloud infrastructure services market. You'd think that a company's market dominance is based on a great performance. To some extent, it is. However, these massive blackouts are cause for serious concern. Amazon Web Services has had several outages in recent years, including the following: In 2011, AWS was down for a period of more than 24 hours. AWS suffered another outage in 2015 when it went down for 35 minutes. In 2017, Amazon experienced a four-hour AWS outage that cost companies on the US S&P500 Index to lose $150 million. I'm hoping that Amazon will take action on this and ensure that the internet does not go dark all of a sudden once again. Concluding thoughts The recent AWS outage on December 7th brought the internet’s reliance on Amazon into sharp focus. It wasn't just a problem for smart devices; it was an issue that impacted many organizations, who rely on Amazon's cloud services to run their apps and store data. While there are other providers in this space (Google Cloud Platform comes immediately to mind), it's clear that companies like these will need to invest heavily in redundancy so they don't lose customers when something goes wrong with one of their core capabilities. It's safe to say that AWS did respond promptly, but not before it became apparent how reliant we are on the company for many aspects of our digital lives. For now, we can only hope that nothing disrupts ScroogeMarketer posts. Keep learning!

  • What is philosophy and why every Ph.D. candidate should study it first before undertaking research?

    One of the early mistakes I did in my Ph.D. journey was not investing time to understand philosophy. One might think, doesn't Ph.D. mean the Doctor of Philosophy? So how can one not understand what philosophy is all about? Unfortunately, many early researchers (like myself) straight away jump into doing research. This includes going through the literature on the topic. As of today (9th Dec 2021), I am in my second year of Ph.D., and only recently have I invested time to understand the length and breadth of philosophy. This post is targeted at early researchers who are either doing their Ph.D. or master's dissertation. Purpose of philosophy Early researchers are often confused about the purpose of philosophy. Philosophy is an interesting topic that can help you a lot in your research journey, but it's also easy to misunderstand and get lost with all the different schools of thought. This post will give you a broad overview of what philosophy is, its history, how it relates to science, and why it's important for early researchers. I have also included some resources at the end of this post that will help you dig deeper into each topic if interested. Let us start by defining what philosophy actually means… What the hell is Philosophy? Philosophy is the love of wisdom that seeks understanding about the universe and our place in it through critical thinking, logical reasoning, and argumentative discourse. Did it make sense? I am sure, it didn't. Let me try again. Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, and language. Studying philosophy has many benefits for Ph.D. candidates including helping us to develop skills needed to complete research tasks such as critical thinking and understanding complex concepts without oversimplifying their meaning. I hope this made little sense Let me make a final attempt. For this, I will bring up a context that will make it easy for you. Here it is..... Do you recall the time in your life when you gazed up at the stars for the first time? What sparked your interest in space? Have you ever wondered why people can't fly? Why do different species exist? I'm able to think, so why not others as well? Have you ever been perplexed by the question, "why am I here?" or that “the world exists at all”? At its most basic level, philosophy is derived from the Greek word "Philos" (love) and "Sophia" (wisdom). It is translated as "Love of Wisdom" or "Search for truth" or "thinking about thinking." Although other alternative definitions provide a better illustration of its breadth. In other words, philosophy is a way of thinking about the world, the universe, and society. It works by asking very basic questions about the nature of human thoughts, the nature of the universe, and the connection between them. Point to remember: Philosophy is understood differently by different people. Now, that the meaning of Philosophy is clear (hopefully), let's try to understand what can philosophy do? It cannot provide us with lots of money or food (I wish). I used to think that philosophers were nothing more than a bunch of "lazybones" people. They spend their time pondering pointless subjects and squander human resources. But learning philosophy changed my perception. I hope it changes for you too (fingers crossed). In my second year, I've learned that research philosophy is the basis of any study because it sets forth the beliefs on which the inquiry is based. Philosophical heroes (I call them "The Thinkers") Did you know that there were several false beliefs in early human history? In Nordic tales, for example, people thought that it was Thor who generated thunder and lightning, which brought fertility. The ancient Greeks, like the Romans, wrote poetry and produced various myths, including those of Zeus, Apollo, Athena, and Dionysus. People began to change from a mythical mode of thinking to one based on experience and reason after that. The goal of the early Greek thinkers was to discover natural causes for changes in nature, rather than supernatural ones. These individuals are referred to as "natural philosophers." Some philosophical thoughts by early philosophers Parmenides (our first thinker) thought that everything in existence was unchanging and that there was no literal transformation. Nothing can change into anything else. Only "one-ness" is real. Now that's a deep thought, isn't it? Heraclitus (second thinker) argued against this concept. He suggested that “everything flows,” in opposition to the view of Parmenides. He also made the point that everything in the world is defined by polarities. We would not enjoy being full if we had never been hungry; peace would not be valued if there was no warfare, and spring would not be experienced if winter did not exist. As a result, both positive and negative qualities, as well as benevolent and malevolent ones, are required. The world would not exist without the continual interplay of opposing forces. Following the natural philosophers, Socrates (third thinker) introduced philosophy's history. He was a secretive person who kept to himself and was known for his silence. Socrates was one of the most important individuals in European philosophy, but he never wrote anything down himself. All that we know about Socrates thus far is based on Plato's (fourth thinker) teachings. Btw Plato was Socrates's student. According to Socrates, the duty of a philosopher was to recognize how little they knew and thus persevere in their search for truth. He once said, “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” As a result, philosophers are people who realize that they know nothing and are disturbed by this. Socrates considered himself to be a "philosopher," which in Greek means "one who loves wisdom." Soon after, Socrates was charged with corrupting the youth and not believing in the gods of Athens. He was convicted by a jury of 500 individuals, only by a narrow margin. In fact, he could have survived if he had requested a pardon or left Athens sooner, but he instead chose to go to his death with honor. Basically, the people of Athens wanted Socrates to...... Image Source: www.tenor.com Many academics believe that it is more accurate to regard Socrates as a philosophy himself rather than a philosopher. He's more like the physical manifestation of philosophy: in the history of philosophy, all philosophers have regarded philosophy's wisdom and knowledge as a tool; but for Socrates, it was a conversation. The death of Socrates changed philosophy from a merely academic subject to one that was more relevant and significant. After him, philosophy became a genuine calling. (Thank you, Socrates) Now, let's come to our fourth thinker, Plato. When his teacher Socrates died by drinking hemlock, Plato was only 29 years old. He was totally taken aback when Athens sentenced its greatest intellectual to death. This event had a lasting impact on his later philosophical career. The death of Socrates, according to Plato, proved that there was a contradiction between the real world and the ideal one. As a philosopher, Plato's first action was to publish Socrates' entreaty for acquittal in the form of Apology of Socrates. Aside from the Apology, Plato is responsible for the existence of all of Socrates' and Plato's writings. Basically, he is the guy who you quote a lot on Instagram without giving him his due credit. #Plato #Instalove #quote #love #poet #AnyRandomQuote (I don't even know if this random guy is Plato or not) Not only Plato's thoughts were linked to his teacher as well as his student, Aristotle (fifth thinker). Throughout the last two millennia, Plato's ideas have been repeatedly discussed and criticized by others. It was Aristotle who began this practice. Aristotle admired Plato a great deal. “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth,” he added. Lastly, according to Aristotle, nature was a reflection of the real world. Btw, Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great. His work spanned a broad range of themes, including physics, metaphysics, biology, poetry, music, logic, ethics, politics, and economics. This brings us to the end of our Philosophical celebs. Now, let's understand the branches of philosophy. 3 major branches of philosophy: 1) Epistemology Episteme (knowledge) + Logy (science) = science of knowledge It is the argument - why this and not that. Epistemology is concerned with “how” we may gain knowledge and come to understand things - in other words, how can we figure out what reality is and what the limits of this knowledge are. So, how do we know "knowledge?" The sources of knowledge are: a) Revealed knowledge This information is taken as fact because it has been revealed (via divine books). Even the revealed knowledge is now being researched within the context of scientific knowledge. b) Scientific knowledge The knowledge has been acquired through systematic study and organized into general concepts. For example, “mathematics is the foundation for much scientific knowledge. c) Intuitive knowledge Subjective judgment or gut feeling is informed by little or no prior specific learning. d) Man-made knowledge Experiences are at the core of man-made knowledge. Always remember that any examination of the link between theory and practice necessitates an epistemological standpoint. 2) Meta-physics Meta (beyond) + Physics (nature) = beyond the nature Discussion about reality. What is the reality of this universe? What is the reality of human beings? What is the reality of everything that exists or does not exist? What is truth? What is beyond nature? Branches of meta-physics are: Cosmogony: the study of the universe, solar system, how the world came into existence, etc. Cosmology: the study of the universe, space, time, etc. Ontology: this is explained below in detail. Teleology: also known as teleological reasoning or finality, is a rationale for something based on its end, aim, or goal rather than its cause. Eschatology: the study of or doctrine about the end of history or the last things. For example, the judgment day. 3) Axiology Axio (value) + Logy (science) = science of value What are values? What is good? What is bad? What is acceptable? What should be rejected? Basically, discussion of values within a society. Branches of axiology are: Ethics: refers to the moral code of an individual, group, or society. It is determined by sentiments and decided by society. It varies depending on location, time, and circumstance. Aesthetic: in philosophy, aesthetics is based on an individual's perspective. For instance, what I find beautiful, you may find ugly. Now, that we have understood branches of philosophy, next we will learn about paradigms. Research paradigm Before we dive into the research paradigm, let's take a moment to understand the paradigm. What is a paradigm? Greek word meaning 'pattern' A paradigm is a shared worldview that represents the beliefs and values in a discipline that guides how a problem is solved (Schwant, 2001). In other words, a world view or general perspectives (looking through the lens. Basically, how the researcher views the world). Point to remember: Our beliefs, knowledge, and reality are termed paradigms by social scientists. The phrase "shared view" refers to truth, reality, and knowledge. When we think about these things, our minds go to the discipline called philosophy. Remember, a paradigm has its roots in Philosophy. Point to remember: a paradigm has its roots in Philosophy. Let's understand the paradigm with an example. Let's assume you are in a new country and exploring places. You want to go to a certain location. There are three or more routes to reach the destination. Now, it depends on you to decide on a route based on your knowledge, belief, and reality. The important thing is your views on each of the routes. This is the paradigm. Now, that we have learned about the paradigm, let's understand about research paradigm. Whenever we think of doing research, we get a few thoughts such as: 'How do we plan to do this research?' 'What will be my approach of investigation?' 'Will I do Qualitative or Quantitative or mixed?' To come out of this situation, the researcher takes the help of the "Research Paradigm." The research paradigm is guided by our philosophical assumptions. The philosophical assumptions are nothing but branches of philosophy (we have covered at the top) Ontology Epistemology Axiology Point to remember: Every paradigm has its own ontology, epistemology, and axiology. Okay, so what is Ontology? So far we've learned that the study philosophy is at the heart of any research since it sets forth the set of beliefs on which the research is based. Research philosophy can be described from either an ontological, epistemological or axiological point of view. When I explain Ontology to someone The study of concepts such as existence, being, coming into being, and reality is known as Ontology in Philosophy. It addresses issues such as how things are grouped into fundamental categories and which of these things exist at the most basic level. It means to be. Study of reality. Ontology is sometimes referred to as the science of being and belongs to the major branch of Philosophy known as metaphysics (beyond physics). Point to remember: In simple terms, an ontology is the "what" and "how" of what we understand. For example, does reality exist as a single objective thing, or is it different for each person? Think about the simulated reality in the film The Matrix. We have reached the point where we can now understand how researchers decide (or should decide) their methodology in a research study. For deciding your methodology, follow the constituents of the paradigm below. Constituents of research paradigm First, comes ontology. Second, ontology will decide epistemology. Third, epistemology will decide axiology. Fourth, all three will meet and decide the research methodology i.e (positivism/interpretivism). Your research methodology will guide the research design (experimental, cause-effect, survey, grounded theory, ethnography, etc) Lastly, the research design will guide the research instrument. Point to remember: When all the 'ology' is of the same nature, they lead to a certain research methodology. For example, positivism or interpretivism, or pragmatism. Concluding thoughts Philosophy can be a confusing subject (as it was for me), but it's important to understand the basics. The three main branches of philosophy are Epistemology (the study of knowledge), Meta-physics (study on existence and reality), and Axiology (the study of values) all have an impact on how to go about crafting your research question or study whether it be qualitative or quantitative in nature. If you are researching for a paper or dissertation, the three branches of philosophy will help guide your methodology and design. The difference between these fields is vast but understanding them can make the process easier when designing your own research study. Subscribe to the ScroogeMarketer blog today if interested in learning more about research.

  • What Really Drives Consumer Behavior: 7 Emotions That Sell

    The study of consumer behavior has been a popular topic for marketers and researchers alike. What drives consumers to make purchase decisions? How can we understand what's going on in their heads when they're looking at a product? In this blog post, we'll explore seven emotions that drive consumer behavior: fear, uncertainty, urgency, anxiety, greed, and altruism. Before we explore the six emotions, we need to first understand consumer behavior and its implications. Consumer behavior is a complex topic that can be difficult to understand. Consumer behavior, also known as Consumer Psychology or Consumerism, is the study of how people make decisions about what to buy and whether they will continue buying it in the future. Consumer behavior is a driving force in the success of a business. Consumer research and motivation have been studied since the 1920s, but it wasn't until 1980 that psychologists began to look into how emotions may drive consumer behavior. Consumer Behavior includes both mental processes and behaviors. Consumers are influenced by their beliefs, attitudes, values, personality traits, and other psychological factors when making purchase decisions. There are many theories on why consumers behave as they do such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory which states that individuals seek fulfillment through satisfying different needs such as food, shelter, safety, etc., while others take into account cultural influences such as family upbringing and social class. Now, that you have understood what is consumer behavior, next you need to understand a bit about emotions. Emotions are complex, powerful feelings that can influence our behavior. Some common emotions include anger and sadness - these might prompt you to speak or act impulsively. Consumers not only make rational judgments, but also emotional ones. Emotions, affect, arousal, and pleasure have been discovered to be critical elements of appraisal that were previously neglected. In addition, research has revealed mechanisms and behavioral patterns that do not conform with the standard idea of acting as a result of a deliberate process. Consumers' beliefs and judgments, as well as their experiences and emotions, influence their behaviors and choices. Individuals bring their own perceptions, values, sentiments, and cognitive systems to bear while interpreting the environment. Due to numerous aspects influencing decision-making processes and the difficulty of measuring them, studying consumer behaviors has long been a tough job. To be able to do so, you must first understand the cognitive, information-processing mechanisms as well as the effective and experiential systems of people. It also necessitates a thorough knowledge of the complex and dynamic interaction between cognitive and emotional processes. In this blog post, we'll explore how seven underlying emotions can shape consumer behavior: 1) Fear It is not surprising that fear is an emotion that shapes consumer behavior. Consumer fears are rooted in different things such as safety (e.g., "Is this food safe?"). Consumer fears can also be internalized, like the fear of failure (e.g., "I'm not good enough to do this"). Consumer product companies rely on consumers' fears for their marketing and advertising campaigns. For example, "Beware of these harmful ingredients lurking in your shampoo!" 2) Uncertainty Consumer behavior and the nature of their spending change when they're uncertain. Consumer uncertainty is not just an economic problem, it's a psychological one as well. Brands take advantage of uncertainty by creating a sense of urgency. They do this by promoting products that are only available for a limited time or that are on sale for a short period of time. Additionally, brands create a sense of exclusivity by making their products available only to certain customers. Consumer behavior and the nature of their spending change when they're uncertain. When consumers are uncertain about future circumstances, consumer buying patterns can shift drastically in terms of how much money gets spent outside necessities like rent/mortgages. 3) Urgency Often urgency is used as a trigger to cause impulse buys. For example, exclusive offers that only last for a limited time will generate an urgent need in consumers who want to take advantage of the offer and people buy now or they'll miss out. If they're only cheap for a few hours they may just buy one more because it's cheap today but tomorrow it might not be so inexpensive and if you don't grab one now you might regret it later. Urgency works as a way to sell products during tough economic times as well as capitalizing on consumers' fear of scarcity. If people sense there is a limited supply they will buy soon to avoid missing out on something that might not be available in the near future, this tactic can work during good times as well. Consumers have been known to impulse-buy items when visiting grocery stores or pharmacies because it just seems like too great an opportunity for them to pass up and if you don't grab one now you may regret it later. 4) Anxiety Anxiety has been studied as feelings of worry, unease, fearfulness. Anxiety is a type of emotional pain. Consumer behavior can be affected because individuals think they may help by purchasing more than need or avoid buying the product entirely so as not to feel worried. There are a few different ways in which brands may use anxiety to sell products. One way is by inducing a sense of fear in the consumer. This could be done by showing images of accidents or other negative events in the ad. Another way is by using disclaimers in ads and on product packaging. This allows the brand to acknowledge that there is a potential for negative consequences, while still selling the product. Research suggests that when bringing a new product to market, new product adoption may be greatest when hope and anxiety are both strong. The findings also point to ways in which marketers might enhance hope and/or anxiety, and they suggest that the use of potentially anxiety-inducing tactics such as disclaimers in ads and on packages might not deter adoption when hope is also strong. The most potent emotion is when consumers are afraid they will miss out on something they want or need later. Fear-based marketing taps into this natural human response with tactics like scarcity (e.g., limited editions), and time-sensitive offers. 5) Greed Greed is a common (and quite simple) emotion that makes us feel that we gain something from the purchase. Companies use greed to generate revenue by creating an artificial sense of want or need so you'll buy more than one product at a time. Consumer research has shown how spending even small increments of money repeatedly can become habitual until wasting millions of dollars on products becomes easy for some consumers. Example: "Two for the price of one!" All “two for one” sales show that most of us have a desire to get as much as possible in the shortest amount of time — and there's nothing wrong with it. Greed is effective because we're wired to want more than what we need, especially when something piques our interest or curiosity. 6) Altruism Consumer decisions are influenced by social norms, which can be either altruistic or selfish. Consumer choice is also determined by the perceived benefits of brands. Altruistic emotions influence consumer choices in a variety of ways including loyalty to preferred products and an inclination towards healthy preparation practices. Altruism drives brand loyalty through increased perceptions about quality and trustworthiness as well as alignment with personal needs such as healthiness or wanting to reduce environmental impact. Altruism can influence consumer behavior in a number of ways. For example, altruism can lead to increased loyalty to preferred brands and products. Additionally, altruism can increase perceptions about the quality and trustworthiness of brands. 7) Angry/Disgusted Most people think that it is best to avoid anger -- a negative emotion that will cause you more harm than good. But in some cases, anger can wake us up and spur action; when somebody hurts or injustice occurs we become angry because their pain pains our hearts deeply! Anger can be used by brands to prod us into action (like boycotting a product, for example), and it's an emotion that is uniquely suited to wake people up. Consumer behaviorists would call this emotion "activation." Another example is disgust. Disgust makes us want to get away from something, and it's often linked with physical contact (e.g., eating icky food). Companies try hard not to make consumers feel disgusted when they think about buying their product or service in order to increase sales. A study of the most popular pictures on imgur.com revealed that while unpleasant emotions were less prevalent in viral material than in positive, viral success occurred when the negative images contained a hint of surprise and anticipation. The Always Like a Girl campaign, which won an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix prize, and the Grand Clio award, uses a famous put-down to pique your interest. Conclusion In this blog post, we’ve explored seven emotions that drive consumer behavior. By understanding these emotions and how they affect people's decision-making process, you can create a more compelling marketing message to help them make the right purchase for their needs. If you want to learn more about marketing psychology or simply find out why consumers do the things they do as it relates to purchasing products from companies like yours, consider subscribing ScroogeMarketer.

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  • About Me | scroogemarketerAE

    What's Scrooge Marketer? Hi, my name is Tausif Mulla. I am a faculty of Business Management at Westford University College, UAE. I'm sure you must be wondering why the name scrooge marketer? I have been blogging since 2015 and have helped thousands of my readers with marketing tips, breaking down key marketing concepts, campaign analysis, and strategy reviews. When I started blogging, I wanted a build a persona that my readers could relate to. The name Scrooge is inspired by the famous Walt Disney character "Scrooge McDuck" popularly known as "Uncle Scrooge". I was mesmerized by the traits of this character and thought of bringing this character to academia and talk about different avenues in marketing. I write content that covers various aspects of marketing ranging from digital marketing, brand management, consumer behavior, and more. I'm sure that you will find this blog resourceful. Enjoy reading. ​

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