The Quarter I Didn't Pick Up


I started work before dawn this morning and I'll be teaching late tonight. So I took a long walk before noon, just to stay fresh. 

Crossing the road in a neighboring town, I spied a quarter in the middle of a quiet intersection. It would have taken me two or three seconds to pick up, and ordinarily I would. But today I just kept walking. 

The risks—of wrenching my back before class this evening; of being late for an early afternoon conference call; of finding myself the victim of a juvenile prank or subject of a college psych experiment—were greater than the rewards. 

I've started to feel the same way about downloading "free" apps, asking myself: What do you really want from me? Will you assault me with emails and upgrade offers? Will you waste my time? Will you compromise my privacy? (A restaurant's web page recently asked me for permission to access the names of all my Facebook friends for the privilege of making a brunch reservation.) 

Like many people, that means I'm passing more and more of those offers by, just like the quarter on the street. Marketers will need to win back our attention and earn our trust with much more than another "shiny object."