Brij Singh's Blog

December 5, 2010

iPad Walks Into a Salon

Filed under: Entrepreneurship,Tech — Brij @ 3:04 pm
“Don’t blame me for the fact that competent programming, as I view it as an intellectual possibility, will be too difficult for ‘the average programmer’, you must not fall into the trap of rejecting a surgical technique because it is beyond the capabilities of the barber in his shop around the corner.” – Dijkstra

We are living in an interesting times. Ubiquitous connectivity and powerful mobile devices are adding interesting new funny twists (ok creepy as well ) to our daily life. We are fast becoming one person self-publishing and information consumption machine. We are at a point where we have almost killed boredom. With all the books, songs, videos and friends at our fingertip, it’s a massive imagination fail to say that one is bored. Jury is still out on whether killing boredom will lead to new behavior and possibly isolation but geeks are not complaining. We will worry about nicotine later, right now we will just blow the rings.

Let’s take the simple act of going to local salon for the hair cut. Not too long ago, that visit used to be a brief tutorial on local politics. Barber’s involuntary recital of how the world is falling apart and how that was related to few local actors was the stuff of our culture. Start of texting started changing some of that light hearted conversation culture. With customer thumbing and texting, barbers also joined their patron in ringtone driven interference game. We were yet to fully adjust to texting culture and then came smartphones.

First iPhone and now iPad, in few years we went from using cellphone for texting purpose to doing things we never even imagined were possible. After all these new devices are more capable than yesterday’s laptops, bring amazing functionality and best of all they are capable of personalizing salon experience in a disruptive way. I am sure a photo album of every haircut in itself will be an experience of significant impact. I mean there are couples where decision to go for specific hair cut results in domestic drama.

Good friend, of course geek, and his wife started a salon in Chennai. They decided to name it Tarache, which in Hindi means process of refinement. They decided to give different color to their venture. Coming from geeky background, internet connectivity was kind of natural thing for them to package as a new salon experience. In an almost software version of alpha version, they decided to give iPad to customers while customers are waiting for their turn. This simple decision to give iPad while they are waiting for turn is extremely exciting for several reasons.

Obvious excitement is a low hanging fruit of the claim that they are first one to do this, iPad carries lot of buzz and taken together this should result in more footfalls. Good business and marketing investment is just the cost of few iPads. But that’s just the start. What will come after this experience is where they are going to see real fun. Gone are the days of coffee table book sized hairdo catalogs. iPad will just show latest and most fashionable hairdo. Ease of selection is a start. Next comes personalization.

Thanks to easy capture and store, now we can carry find-your-style in iPad like devices. Lot of possibilities here. Keeping personal log of haircuts, sharing pictures with friends before and after hair cut.

So next time you are in Chennai, head over to Tarache in Anna Nagar, get a hair cut and have fun with iPad. I can’t wait to see an implementation where barber after doing the 360 degree roundup with mirror and says, “sir theek hai?” will come back, and this time holding iPad in his hand and will request, “sir please tweet this haircut experience”. I am sure this will start with few leading celebrities and eventually will spread to mainstream users. iPad is very much a presence in salon now and going forward only our imagination will limit in how many ways we can say iPadicure!

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