How companies can gather personal data without abusing customer trust

Data-driven personalization is the practice of delivering relevant content to your customers based on the information you've gathered about them. Before data and personalization, brands had to generate demand for their products or make assumptions about their audiences using generalized data. But thanks to the internet and mobile devices, it's possible to communicate with heightened awareness about your market.

A data-driven approach enables you to collect data and use that data for a better customer experience throughout the entire customer life cycle. More importantly, it allows you to communicate the right message at the right time, based on where the customer is in that cycle, increasing engagement and conversion rates.

But the secret to making this personalization work is trust, which is earned through responsibly managing your customers' data. You have to strike the right balance between data and personalization, and your customers' privacy. 

Here's exactly how to do that

My wife is a culinary Captain Kirk

Five minutes before dinner (Amira made home made mushroom pasta; I made bread), we realized that we were out of butter. 

Without even hesitating, she grabbed a bottle of whipping cream from the back of the fridge and poured it into a jar. She then tossed in a kefir grain which she always cultivates and keeps in the fridge, closed the lid and handed me the jar. "Please shake this until it's butter," she requested. So I did. 

Once the buttermilk fully separated from the butter, we removed the grain, poured the buttermilk into a jar and put the button in ice water. Amira squeezed out the last bits of buttermilk, and there it was: delicious butter!

Like Captain Kirk confronted with the Kobayashi Maru, she hacked the cream instead of accepting defeat. 

Amira just doesn't believe in the no-butter scenario. 

Find innovation wherever you find mad passion for fixing what's broke

Here is my wonderful friend Aurore, a deeply beautiful human running a maker space and co-working space in the tiny but painfully beautiful French village of Pernes-les-Fontaines in Provence. It's called La Bricothèque, Fablab de Pernes, and you should visit if you can. So far from Silicon Valley, she is one of us: a human engine of innovation and possibility. With her partner Olivier (I fucking love this guy), she is opening a door to a new generation of makers creating a better future for all of us. 

I love talking to winemakers in their vineyards

We discovered this pretty-new winemaker, a father-and-son team. The dad was a French expat CIO in London who always dreamed of making wine. So he came back to Provence, bought a ruin of a chateau surrounded by grenache and syrah vineyards, and invested in reviving both house and vines. The winery is Domaine du Chat Blanc. They're new, but doing everything right -- organic vineyards, hand-harvesting (mostly) and lots of care in their wines. 

(Also: I love grenache and syrah, the only varieties they grow.)

So nice to meet these winemakers, and to share a few moments about their wonderful new winery. Can't wait to visit them again next year and see how they've grown. 

So many new places to discover in Provence!

No matter how many times we live in Provence, we still aways discover new and wonderful places. Like this village of Le Barroux, which is old and beautiful and a still-active community. A family still lives in the castle and, if you look closely, you can see them having dinner on their balcony. Here comes the drone video

A postcard from post-pandemic Provence

Greetings from Provence! We couldn't wait to return to Europe. So we didn't wait. We landed in Spain early in the morning on the first day Spain allowed vaccinated Americans without pandemic restrictions. And then we flew to France early in the morning two days later on the first day France welcomed vaccinated Americans.

After a few weeks, I'm here to report what it's like traveling in Europe after the pandemic. (tl;dr: It's awesome!)